7 SEPTEMBER 1850, Page 14


[The growing interest and curiosity about New Zealand as a field of colonizing ac- , and especially about its youngest settlement Canterbury, have created a de- mand for information which keeps ahead of the supply. The newest, most authen- tic, and most complete information, arrived just in time for the farewell dinner of Monday last at Gravesend. Among the pioneers of Canterbury, is Mr. John Robert Godley ; whose naturally keen observation has been sharpened by extensive travel, political experience, and an affectionate solicitude, while fortune has favoured the natural independence of his mind. He has sent home his private journal; and the portion of it from which we select the following extracts—exclusively relating to the territory of Canterbury—has been printed by the Association, for the use of the emi- grants, now at sea.] "On Thursday evening, [11th April 1850,1 after a tedious day's work beat- ing up the Northern shore of Banks's Peninsula, we came to an anchor about seven o'clock, just outside the heads of Port Cooper. If we had had two hours' more daylight, we should have gone, in ; but our captain was very cautious, and though we had been positively assured that nothing could possibly happen even if we ran in blindfold, he preferred waiting till morn- ing. At six we weighed anchor, the wind being fair, though light, and pinned quietly up the bay. None of us, I believe, were prepared for the beauty of the scenery; it took us more by surprise than even at Otago, for the sketches which we had seen in England were far from inviting." . . . . "The harbour is very fine, both in a picturesque and an utilitarian point of view : the captain and all the nautical men on board were delighted with it, and gave it a very decided preference over Otago, as being equally safe, and far easier of ingress and egress. It consists in a regularly-shaped inlet, about seven miles long from the entrance -to the end, and varying from a mile to a mile and a half in width. It is open to one -wind (E.N.E.) ; but everybody. agrees that it never blows hard from that quarter, and also that


the swell lost before it reaches the harbour. There is a good anchorage outside in seven fathoms, and from thence it gradually shoals to three fathoms about five miles up. There are two small bays, in which, if it should be found necessary, shelter for ships may be found from the only wind to which the rest of the harbour is exposed. No pilot is required, as there is literally nothing to avoid, except the hills on each side, and there is width enough to beat in or out in fine weather. Half-way up the harbour, we passed a whale-boat, which informed us that we might go up and anchor opposite the town.' At that time we had seen no sign of civi- lization, except the line of a road in process of formation along the face and over the top of the hill on the Northern shore, and no human habi- tation except some Maori huts, close to the beach ; but we held on, and presently another whale-boat, with Captain Thomas, the Chief Surveyor of the Association, on board, shot from behind a bluff on the Northern shore, and boarded us. Immediately afterwards we let go our anchor, though 'the town' was not yet visible ; and my wife and I went off' with Thomas. On rounding the bluff aforesaid again, I was perfectly astounded at wliat-l-saw: One might have supposed that • the country had been colo- nized for year); so settled and busy, was the look of its port. In the first place, there is what the Yankees would call a splendid' jetty ; from thence a wide beaten-looking road leads up the hill, and turns off through a deep cutting to the Eastward. On each side of the road there are houses scat- toted to the number of about twenty-five, including two hotels,' and a =storehouse !—in the shape of a small weather-boarded hut certainly, but still a customhouse. In a square, nailed off close bathe jetty, are four ex- cellent houses, intended for emigrants' barracks, with a cool-house in the centre. Next to this square comes a small house, which Thomas now in- habits himself, and which he destined for an agent's office. Behind this, divided from illy a plot of ground intended for a garden, stands a stately edifice which was introduced in due .form to us as our house.' It is wea- ther-boarded, has six very good-sized rooms, and a verandah ; in short, after seeing it, we could not help laughing atour own anticipations of a shed on the bare beach, with a fire at the doot." . . . .

"In order to gets general idea of the country, I asked Thomas to have a couple of horses taken from the tarts and saddled for us ; upon these we started to cross the hills into the plain. The truck lies up the side of what may fairly be termed a mountain; in fact, it can hardly be called a track at all, and it requires some habit and nerve to keep the saddle. Near the top we both dismounted, and scrambled up the rocks on foot, leading our horses. It is about two miles and a half, in a straight line from the port, to the nearest point of the plain ; and it took us two hours to ride to Dean's farm, which is nine miles off. From the top of the hill there is a perfect view of the whole district intended for our settlement; and I was struck by the ac- curacy with whir& its reality corresponded with the idea conveyed by the map: In fact, you have it before you, in the office at Charing Cross, almost as vividly es on the spot. "There is an amphitheatre of mountains, not snow-covered but snow- sprinkled, and a vast grassy plain, without the smallest apparent inequality OLL its surface, stretching between them and the sea ; absolutely no other feature whatever, except a large lake close to the sea, on the South-west corner of BrmIts's Peninsula (or rather promontory), and several streams which, from flowing in -very deep channels make small show at a distance. The promontory itself must contain exceedingly beautiful scenery, as its -whole surface consists of hills covered with forest, broken and diversified in outline, and indented by bays reminding me of the 'fields and fiords' of Norway. The hills immediately around Port Cooper alone appear cempara- lively bare : their character resembles very much that of the mountains which form the °given Pass' near Bangor, or perhaps, still more that of 'the Bosom of Fenn' on Lough Swilly ; for Whilo the Welsh mountain is higher and grander than ours, it would, on the other hand, be very unjust to compare our beautiful dark blue bay to such a paltry lake as Ogwen. The first view of these plains, as of all others that I have seen in New Zea- land, is rather disappointing to an English eye; that is, one misses the greenness and luxuriousness which the growth of grass in a country long cultivated and grazed over exhibits." . . . . "The site of our chief town is laid out on the banks of a river navigable for the largest barges, that is, with more than four feet water ; and there is already a oonstaaat coramunicatinn by water between Port Cooper and Pigeon Bay on the one band, and the surveyors occupied in laying out the aite and surveying the neighbourhood of it on the other. By this chan- nel, sawn timber can be laid down atthe town for 12s. 61. per hundred feet, and fuel for 15s. a cord, (I quote the present prices ; it is impossible to cal- culatelow far the proportion of demand to supply may be affected by a large colonization,) the same as at Port Cooper, and 30 per cent cheaper than at Dunedin, [the capital of-the Otago settlement,] which is in the middle of woods : a most important fact in illustration of the cheapness of water. carriage, and of the facilities which it will afford to us of remedying our de- ficiency in timber on that part of the plain which is within the reach of water.

" The chief work now in progress at Port Cooper is a road over the hills from Lyttelton to Christchurch, a distance of tenand a half miles. Until this shall be completed, the only mode of conveying goods from the harbour to the plain will be by boats round the heads of the port and up the river be- fore-mentioned, and this will of course only be available in fine weather. The completion of the road is therefore an object of primary importance as the track over the hills is hardly practicable even for a horseman." . . . . , "Thomas has brought 120 Maon labourers from the Northem Island; and

considers his having induced them to come, and kept them in good-humour while with him, as no small feat. Every one told him it was impossible ; one great difficulty being, that the tribes from which he tool these men had, ten or twelve years ago, made an incursion into the Port Cooper country, when they killed and ate the greater portion of the -aboriginal inhabitants ; so that a feud of blood prevails between the survivors and the conquerors. It does not seem to have been prosecuted, however • and all agree , Mao- ries themselves, their White superintendent, and Thomas—that the experi- ment has been perfectly successful. He has been paying them 2s. 64. a clay when well, and is. when sick,—this last a bad arrangement, as he admits. By having these Natives at his back, he gets a great pull upon the White labourers, who would otherwise have him at their mercy. lie thinks, how- ever, that the Whites are, as yet, cheaper at 4s. 6d. a day than the Minnies at 2s. 6d.

-" We climbed the hill to where the road passes over it, allalpoked down the other side upon the plain. It is two miles from Lyttelton to the top of the ridge, and two miles down from thence to the plain. The road is a tremen- dous piece of work on the harbour side—great part of it being carried through - solid rock, which can only be removed by blasting. It reminds one of the steepest parts of the Holyhead road, only that the precipice here is far higher, and at the bottom there is sea instead of river. The line, to my am- professional eye, seems very well engineered, being nowhere steeper than one in twenty—that is, what mail-coachmen used to call good trotting ground : but the expense is very great, and the time which it will require must also, I fear, be considerable, the nature of the ground not allOwing an unlimited application of force.

" We were amused with seeing the Maories at work ; they struck, shovelled, &c., all together, keeping time to a song, like sailors at a windlass. We spoke to several ; and they seemed most civil, goodnatured fellows, laughing immoderately at our questions, and chattering broken English very fast in reply. They all expressed themselves delighted with the treatment they had received, and said they were taking home 'plenty money ' with them. They are Christians - and, I am told, pray together regularly morning and evening, before and after leaving off work. To our eyes they appeared nearly equal to average Europeans in stature and muscular development; but they have not in fact the same strength and endurance, and, above all, they seem deficient in the power of steady continuous work : they do everything by fits and starts, and they must be coaxed, like children, by talking to them, or singing to them, or in some artificial way stimulating their vanity and emu- lation.' . . . .

"While we were absent with Thomas, the captain, with some of the pas- sengers, bad gone up to Mr. Rhodes's farm, and came back in the evemn highly delighted both with him and with what they had seen and

I am amused at seeing how those who had been the most inveterate aneerers and croakers about our settlement during the voyage, have changed their tone since they have been on the spot; very often, indeed, with almost as little reason as they had for their former prejudices. Even the disappoint- ment of those who expected far more luxuriant vegetation on the plains, has entirely yielded to the unanimous testimony of men who are practically ac- quainted with the results of the soil and the climate in combination as re- gards the production of crops. Our explorers brought back some magnificent 'robe' of Indian corn perfectly developed and ripened, and some water-me- lons, also perfectly ripe, both of which the Maories had grown in their gar- dens. Rhodes not only spoke highly of the agricultural capabilities of the country, but backed his testimony by exhibiting a very full and flourishing garden. In the course of the afternoon, a brigantine came into the harbour from Wellington, chartered by Thomas to, take back the Maories to their own country, which is the central part of the Northern Island. They had, bargained with him to be taken back before the 'commencement of the cold weather ; but they will be delighted to return if required in the spring ; and I have no doubt that this experiment will lay the foundation for a regular supply of Native labour to the Middle Island. As yet it has been found im- possible to make use of the Maories for farm:work-,-they require the stimu- lus of society and superintendence : but from idleness and cannibalism to gang-work and Christianity, is a much longer step than from their present step to civilization ; so that we may hope to see one instance at least of .a reclaimed and amalgamated native race.' . . . .

"The supposed discovery of bituminous coal is not confirmed; but there is undoubtedly some anthracite, and at different places, especially along the C,ourtenay forer, considerable quantities of peat. It is very fortunate that carts can traverse the plain in every direction, except of course where rivers intervene so that the deficiency of wood, though very important, is more easily remediable than it would be elsewhere. However, the first settlers must fence with banks and ditches, and plant gorse and picks upon them ; and they must also make up their minds to pay a high price for their fuel. This is the one drawback to what would otherwise be an incomparable dis- trict for settlement ; and its existence should be known and published to prevent deception and disappointment. There are quantities of wild pigs on the plain, and quail and wild ducks innumerable : I wish I had a good pointer and .retnever. Probably the Indian sport of boar-hunting with the spear on horseback will be introduced, as the country is specially fitted 14 it. I cannot bring myself to wish for foxes, but deer and hares we must positively have, as well as partridges and pheasants. There are a pair of partridges at Dunedin, which, after being imported with much difficulty, turned out to be both cocks so, as I cannot hear of any others in the colony, I fear the unfortunate animals are doomed to spend the rest of- their lives in cheerless celibacy. If the Association goes on and flourishes, it could not do better than send out by each ship that it charters, pairs of these animals, until it receives intelligence that a sufficient number to make the propaga- tion. of the species certain have safely landed. "It is impossible, of course, to draw a general conclusion from our limited observations of the climate ; but it is worth remarking, that, though we have beep just a month in or on the coasts of New Zealand, at the end of autumn, we have had only one wet day, and not above three or four that were showery or otherwise unpleasant. In general the sky has been almost cloudless, and the temperature pleasant—quite warm and summery in the daytime, and cool at night, with heavy dews."