Saturday 18 August 2018

16 October to 22 October, 1867

Two very pressing wants.

Wednesday, 16 October

David Graham’s party are up early making a start for Ohinemuri. A courier has been sent off in advance to announce that Graham and Ngatai are coming.

The sail up the river from Shortland Town to Ohinemuri, a distance of about forty miles, is very pleasant. The river banks are generally low, backed by a range of broken mountains rising up to 2,000 feet. The high land is well timbered with kahikatea and rimu.

The flats, extending from the margin of the river to the foot of the hills, look to be very fine agricultural land.There is an abundance of good water. Cabbage trees in full foliage abound on the banks of the river giving a picturesque effect. Wild duck are plentiful. There are many swamps along the banks, but they are well drained. There are few snags in the bed of the river, so that navigation is easy and safe.

 Chief Paul -  Paora Tuhaere. 
Ref: 1/2-073329-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22898811

At the Thames Chief Paul has a long interview with Superintendent Williamson on board the steamer Gemini. The party aboard the Gemini were expected to land at 7am before proceeding at once up the Waihou River but there is a delay waiting for the permission of Te Hira. The party decide to remain at the Thames and “do” the reefs.

Shortland Town is cheerful and brisk this morning. A few women are making purchases and numerous columns of smoke are rising from the flat, where, beside their tents, the diggers are cooking breakfast. 


When Superintendent Williamson comes ashore this morning he receives three hearty cheers from a large crowd of diggers. He goes to the courthouse to see Mr Mackay but he is up the Kuranui. The miners, however, with characteristic earnestness, improvise a meeting. There were two very pressing wants which they are anxious to bring to the notice of the Superintendent. 

The first is a wharf which would cost about £60. What was at first a deep landing place has been trodden down, or more accurately, trodden out, and vessels of any draught of water cannot come alongside to discharge cargo. Another problem is the snags which are in the channel.

The Superintendent replies regarding the wharf that he will do all in his power to promote the wishes of the miners. As to the snags in the channel - he has brought Captain Burgess with him to inspect the channel and improve its navigation. 

Mr Mackay arrives and says statements have been made which should not go unchallenged. It is said that the Maoris complain that the government will not pay money to them due from miner’s rights. This is false. Money accrued will be paid on the 1st of November. The diggers are told these stories by some Maori who loaf about public houses.

As to the opening of the Upper Thames the diggers will not be allowed to go up the river yet nor will anything like a rush be permitted. The miners are urged to wait patiently during negotiations on the Upper Thames and if they do so all will be well. (Cheers).

David Graham and party arrive at Ohinemuri. The Maori are extremely civil and courteous. The visitors are invited into a commodious whare where an abundance of food is placed before them. Men begin to flock in from the adjoining whares, to take part in the approaching korero. The Maori here are dressed in flax mats and do not appear to be well off. There is very little evidence of comfort apparent. There are about one hundred men and two hundred women and children at the settlement. An unusually large proportion of the men and women appear to be very old. They are planting a few potatoes -  some women holding the plough, an old man driving the team of horses, and two women following planting the seed in the ground.

After the meeting Taraia and the others part with David Graham in a most kindly manner and intimate that he and his friends, or any others not in search of gold, would always be welcome to their place. The party are forwarded by a well appointed canoe to Mr Thorpe’s landing.

A rage and a war dance.

At the Thames a meeting is held a short distance from the township. There are about 80 Maori present comprising all the principal men of the Ngati Maru tribe. The meeting has been called at the insistence of the Ngati Maru  who want to hear something from the Superintendent about their claim on account of the sale of the island of Waiheke. This has been a very old bone of contention between them and the Government.

There are about ninety Maori present and Superintendent Williamson addresses the meeting, interpreted by Mr J White, at considerable length. The Maori, after a long korero, agree to settle the matter with Mr Mackay and Chief Paul, and shortly after the meeting the sum of £300 is handed over.

Chief Taipari makes a long speech, telling how for years he has assisted the Europeans to open the goldfield. He ends his speech by pulling out of his pocket a copy of the proclamation offering £5,000 for a payable goldfield. He claims that sum.

The Superintendent and Chief Paul tell him “you cannot get the money till there is a large export of gold and there cannot be that till the whole goldfield is thrown open.” 

An old chief gets up and tells the Superintendent that he and his friends have no confidence in the Provincial Government. He works himself into a rage and concludes by doing a war dance. A second chief does likewise. The Superintendent attempts to pacify them in vain. Mr Mackay is sent for and eventually gets them into a more reasonable frame of mind. 

Superintendent Williamson addresses the contentious issue that digger’s have been stating publicly that the money derived from miners' rights has not been paid to the Maori, and that it is because of this that the districts higher up can not be opened. He says money from miner’s rights is being carefully kept for the Maori by Commissioner Mackay, and it will be paid to them on the Ist of November, the day on which it becomes due, but not before.

He reminds them that the pound a head for miner’s rights in all other colonies went into the coffers of the Government, while in New Zealand it goes direct to the owners of the soil. In this way they derive a very great and direct pecuniary advantage, such as is given to no other aboriginal inhabitants of the colonies. The more gold that is found, and the greater extent of country that is opened, the greater will be the amount of money accruing to them at the end of every quarter. By spreading such stories the miners only do themselves harm.

The Maori listen to the Superintendent with great attention. He concludes with a call to assist himself and Commissioner Mackay in opening up land for gold-digging and prospecting, as it is as much to their advantage as it is to the advantage of Europeans that the resources of the country should be developed and its wealth accumulated.

The Superintendent informs the meeting that the Queen's son, Prince Alfred, will soon arrive in Auckland in the large ship of which he is commander, and he invites the Maori to Auckland to pay their respects. They express their willingness to go to Auckland, but think that two steamers should be sent for them. The Superintendent replies that there will be plenty of steamers to take them up to Auckland, if they want to go.

A mounted courier is sent to Te Hira with a letter from the Superintendent asking permission for the Gemini and party to proceed up river.

The Superintendent, in the midst of rain and up to his knees in mud, attempts to visit the claims. He is accompanied by several gentlemen, but it is not very agreeable as it rains heavily all the time. In spite of the rain, a great number of men are hard at work. The weary NZ Herald correspondent notes “I did not go to the reefs as a special correspondent . . . I know I ought to have gone, but you will perhaps excuse me saying that I have “done” all this for some ten weeks and I am just a little tired of it.”

This afternoon nearly 2,000 miners meet in front of the courthouse to hear again from Superintendent Williamson and Commissioner Mackay. Messages have been sent to most of the claims and the majority of the men working come into the township. The men want to know when the Upper Thames might be opened up. 

Mr Mackay explains that when Walter Williamson first came to the district he found he could go only through a limited portion of the country. Shortly after it was said that gold was in the country, Dr Pollen and himself got hold of some 7000 acres. Other negotiations were entered into. There was land northward, along the beach, to the extent of ten miles, open to miners. But there are a great many disputes to be settled—a great many questions to be decided before land can be opened. At present the working is confined to the 7000 acres, but he hopes shortly to have much more land open.

“There is not half enough land open,” interjects a digger.

Mackay says the land to the North would be open to Coromandel soon. As to the land to the south it was probable that the Maori were waiting to see how many miners' rights were issued, and what payments would be made to them on 1st November. He was doing his best to open up the country.  He believes by Monday next the whole extent of the country northwards to Coromandel will be opened to the miners. 

Mr Boyd asks “Will you be good enough to tell us who they are that are endeavoring to make private purchases?”. Mr Mackay replies he knows nothing of private purchases. David Graham came to him on Sunday, and said that he was going up to Ohinemuri, to endeavor to open up the country.

The Superintendent says he hopes that the miners will exhibit no impatience.  Te Hira is very obstinate in regard to his land, and if there were any interference or impatience it will delay the result desired. He regrets much that private people had come from Auckland and had hurried up the Thames only to mar the prospect that might exist of opening up the country there. He believes David Graham will fail.

The presence of the Pakeha in the valley of the Thames.

Mr Baillie is just at this moment issuing miners right number 1,177, Twenty two business licenses have been issued at £5 for the year, £3 for the half year and £2 for the quarter.  There are now an estimated 3,000 people on the diggings.

The Midge leaves the Queen Street wharf for the Thames with upwards of 200 passengers, being the largest amount taken by one steamer. The Wanderer is loading a quartz crushing machine at Coromandel for the Thames. It is the property of Mr Goodall of Coromandel and is very powerful.

This evening the first public dinner to take place in Shortland Town is held at Captain Butt’s hotel for Superintendent Williamson. It is quite an improvisation, but in style and quality it is most creditable to all concerned. Everything is wonderfully and impressively well supplied. There are numerous speeches and a toast of “prosperity to the Karaka field” is responded to by Walter Williamson and James Boyd. About 25 gentlemen sit down to dinner. The speeches, promises the NZ Herald, will be duly and correctly reported, as there are no less than four representatives of the daily press of Auckland also present.

Thursday, 17 October
Very early this morning the Maori messenger sent to Te Hira returns having ridden a distance of 75 miles since one o’clock yesterday afternoon.  He brings a letter aboard the Gemini announcing that he is the bearer of an answer to Superintendent Williamson’s letter to Te Hira. The letter however is from Ropata and is couched in evasive and cautious language. It suggests a meeting of certain chiefs of the Upper Thames.

Te Hira has vowed, in consequence of some affront by Mr Mackay, that he will never more look upon the face of a white man. Mr Mackay receives letters from Te Hira saying that the Maori of the Upper Thames do not desire the presence of the pakeha in the valley of the Thames. Te Hira indicates that if Europeans should attempt to proceed up the river, they will be sent back “quietly” and that there is no intention to molest the pakeha’s at Karaka or Coromandel. An optimistic interpretation of Te Hira’s letter is that it shows a sensitiveness to the presence of a large number of European’s in his neighbourhood and that he will yet be open to terms if only he can save his dignity.

The messenger who brings the letter reports that David Graham and party were observed by the Maoris proceeding up the river. He is dispatched again with another letter to the Upper Thames.

Superintendent Williamson is unwell today with a severe cold after yesterday’s drenching in the rain.

The weather is still very bad this morning and the Gemini slips further up the stream. Heavy showers of rain fall and the view from the deck of the steamer is not very cheering. On the one side are the wild hills, with the white tents of the diggers here and there amongst the clouds and mist that comes down almost to the foothills; on the other side nothing can be seen but the sea washing through the mangroves. 

Walking about Shortland Town is not very pleasant, as the streets are a good deal cut up by carting. Building is going on briskly but some have not taken out business licenses, fearing that, if the land to the south is not opened, the township will not be of much importance.

Mr Morton Jones sells a considerable quantity of timber at the landing place today. A korero which the Superintendent is to attend was to have taken place today but is postponed until tomorrow as the weather is so unfavourable. A bill is posted up calling for a “monster meeting” at 5 o’clock at Mulligan’s Hotel.

Spey for Shortland Town with 10,000 ft timber.
Dee for Kauaeranga with 6,000 ft timber, two tins nails. 
Severn for the Thames with 2,000 ft timber, 8 tons sundries and 6 passengers.
Doady for the Thames with 6,000 ft timber, 7,000 shingles, 2 gallons rum, 2 dozen porter, 6 cases beer, 1 cask ale, 1 case pipes, 6 pairs sashes, 1 cask ginger beer.

At the Resident Magistrates Court John Waddington Graves is committed for trial for having attempted to sell an allotment of the Shortland township land already sold, and obtaining money under false pretenses. Graves sold Mr Sceats, of the British Hotel, an allotment, receiving a £10 deposit, but Graves had previously sold the same allotment and received £10 from Charles Mitchell. 

At Tauranga several vessels are in harbour, two of which are laid on for the Thames and will probably diminish the population by about 30. Tauranga faces a further loss when the men in the first Waikato Regiment are paid up, leading to an exodus.

Major Heaphy and Captain Burgess travel about two miles up the Kauaeranga River and find deep water right up. At the entrance the place is considerably exposed, but there is good shelter, with plenty of water, in the river. Major Heaphy is making an outline survey of the river. Captain Burgess has also been busy rearranging buoys in the channel.


Wiki Commons Public Domain

Mission unaccomplished.

David Graham fails in his mission. Te Hira does not come down from his mountain plantation to see him. Ngatai tells the Maori assembled that his pakeha has come up to ask them to open their lands to dig gold on but Hohepa and Tukukino tell him “All our lands from Kauaeranga to Mohehau we have agreed to let the pakehas have to dig on; if the pakehas go to dig gold, let them dig there; and should any pakehas come up to dig gold in this part of the district, we will send them back month after month, as we will never agree to allow our land here to be opened to Europeans and therefore you and your pakehas had better return to Kauaeranga."

Te Moananui is thought to be acting a double game. Rumour says he has previously told the Ohinemuri Hauhaus that they are great fools to continue planting on the banks of the river, and that he would advise them to plant more on the mountains, and they had better be ready at a moment's notice for the coming of the gold seekers.

Te Hira is now planting on the mountains in some felled bush three miles from his old settlement. This piece of felled bush they are enlarging, by felling more bush, and dragging away the tops, and planting potatoes between the green stumps. Te Hira is going to make it his permanent residence as he is afraid of the pakehas, and he does not wish to see any more new pakeha faces. The plantations are for a retreating ground when the pakehas come up to dig gold.

Mr Mackay has written to Te Hira, Ropata, and Tukukino, telling them if they wish to have a korero with him they are to send him word. He also tells them that any Europeans who come to ask permission to dig gold are to be sent kindly back, but if they still persist in going to dig, they are to send Mr Mackay word, and he will send some pakeha and Maori police to bring them back.

The tardy manner displayed by Mr Mackay in delaying to hand over the fees for miners' rights to Maori at the Thames is causing displeasure but there is little doubt, if Superintendent Williamson and Mr Mackay can only get Te Moananui's consent to the Upper Thames being opened, then those landowners who now oppose it will be forced to give way.

Two gentlemen return from Thorpe’s and report that they met David Graham and party coming back down the river, their mission unaccomplished. The Maoris would have nothing to say to Mr Graham and were incensed by the presence of Ngati, who is not a favourite in those quarters.

Joshua Thorpe 

The second 'Belmont' built about 1847 after the first burnt down in 1846.

The Thorpe family were the first permanent European settlers at Puke (Paeroa). Their home is on the Thames River at Puke and is named Belmont after a Thorpe home in Yorkshire.

Joshua Thorpe, from Sheffield, Yorkshire, was a superintendent of public works and a town surveyor at Sydney. He first came to the Thames in early 1839 on a visit. He observed the local clay soil to be good for wheat growing in a region  generally hilly with a few small alluvial flats and sandy gravely beaches. He first obtained land at Te Kouma, Coromandel Harbour, and at Opukeko, on the Waihou River near to Puke. He moved his wife and children over from Sydney in 1840 first to Te Kouma, and then to Opukeko when their house was built on the property they named Belmont.

Belmont, which has one of the finest orchards and gardens in the province, is about 22 miles up the river from the Thames. In turning a sharp bend on the river a pretty two storied English-looking house comes into view, surrounded by fruit trees, shrubbery, and meadows, the latter beautifully green, the former laden with fruit. There are several avenues all covered with grape vines. There are fine orange, mulberry, loquat and pear trees; in fact there is hardly a fruit that is not represented. Around this large orchard are meadows and fields. There is a dairy, famous throughout the whole area for its cheese and butter. Belmont is in the midst of a great Maori district, miles from European settlements, surrounded by wild and uncultivated lands, except small patches belonging to several hundred Hau-haus.

The river is the only means of communication between Auckland and Matamata, and Belmont is a stopping place for many travellers. Their nearest European neighbours are the McCaskills who settled on the bank of the Hikutaia creek in 1839 and built a timber mill there in 1840.

The Thorpe’s send produce to Auckland – a hazardous and time consuming business. Depending on the weather the journey from Paeroa to Auckland could be four or five days and the produce turned bad.

John Thorpe currently owns Belmont. After the Waikato war, while the country was still in an unsettled state, John Thorpe acted as Upper Thames correspondent for the Southern Cross and Herald newspapers. His knowledge of the Maori language and people enables him to be of great assistance to Commissioner Mackay.

Hisses and groans.

A crowd gathers at Mulligan’s Hotel, many of them newcomers to the district, and a resolution is passed appointing a deputation of 12 diggers to wait upon the Maori chiefs of the Upper Thames regarding the opening up that district. The deputation proposes going direct to Te Hira and offering to hand over the money for miner’s rights. In consequence of this gathering Mr Mackay has convened a meeting of all the diggers to be held in front of the courthouse at 8 o’clock tomorrow morning. A notice is posted to this effect in Mulligan’s billiard room.

The messenger from the Upper Thames arrives this evening with another letter from Ropata who is thought favourable to the opening of the district, but declines to commit himself to any action that would compromise him with the other chiefs. His letter is very indefinite in its language. He tells Superintendent Williamson not to "weary", that he will meet him, and Ropata's arrival with some other chiefs is now expected at Shortland.

Hawkes Bay Times 17 October, 1867

NZH 17 October, 1867

Friday, 18 October

A great many miners assemble in front of the court house for a fiery meeting. There is significant unrest over the question of opening the Upper Thames. Captain Fraser presides. Mr Mackay says the reason he called the meeting is that it is necessary that explanations should be made.  He found out that a meeting had been held yesterday afternoon at which it was resolved to oppose the government. There are cries of “No, no!”

Mackay backtracks saying he must have been misinformed but the diggers are now so worked up that he is scarcely allowed to proceed with his speech. He is continually interrupted by hisses and groans.

He tells them most emphatically that the Maori will get the money for miner’s rights on 1st November, according to agreement. If they looked at the circumstances they would see that it was impossible the money could be paid earlier, owing to the adjustment of the payments.

A miner shouts “We want to go where the government have no control over us.”

Mackay responds they will never go where the government has no control over them. They will not be allowed to go until the ground is thrown open. If they attempt to rush the ground, the government will swear in special constables. The miners will not be allowed to interfere between the Maori and the government. If any man goes up the river he will bring them back, and besides, the Maoris will not even see them.

The government are not going to be dragged in to another war by the proceedings of some of them. The government are as anxious to have them employed as they are themselves. If they would remain quiet and try and find gold on the ground already open, Mackay says he will do his best to open up more ground. If a deputation goes up and really gets any liberty the goldfield will get into the hands of a few parties. A digger cries out “we want alluvial gold; reefs are no good for most of us.”

When Mackay sits down Superintendent Williamson commences his speech. He is received with  respect due to his high official position but he comes across as threatening and bullying to some. He thinks there is some misunderstanding about Mr Mackay’s department. He is Civil Commissioner. A reward had been offered by the Provincial Council for a gold field – not the general government. 

The government could not ensure the safety of the lives of any deputation that went up river and if any of them were killed, every miner would be liable to be put on the militia and the gold digging would be over.

He himself had not been idle. He was expecting the return of the messenger who had been travelling day and night carrying messages and who went away yesterday with the Superintendents cloak on his back. The diggers must go on bit by bit, and he has little doubt that when the good weather comes, they will have more ground. He had got Mr Mackay’s reports published at Wellington to prevent a rush from the West Coast by showing that there was no alluvial gold.

Private parties will not succeed. David Graham has been sent back and will be at the Thames  this afternoon. Those men came down too soon. The government did not bring them. A digger says the government did, by proclaiming the Thames a goldfield. Editors of newspapers have also told any amount of lies on the subject. It has partly been a swindle. The object of this meeting has been misreported. The object was to send peaceable delegates to the Maori, just to ask them if they were determined to keep the ground shut. There are many men at the Thames very poor and desperate.

It is thought most unlikely, after this meeting that any deputation of miner’s will go to the Upper Thames.

Amongst all the turmoil Father Nivard, Catholic priest, arrives at the Thames with £7 7 shillings in his pocket. He stays with Joseph Mulligan, at the Victoria Hotel. His services will held in the back room of Mulligan’s hotel for the men  many of whom are of Irish extraction. Father Nivard is fluent in both English and Maori. 

David Graham arrives back from the Upper Thames district. He is " boo-booed " upon getting out of his boat. The diggers are for the most part indignant at his interference. David Graham gives no account of what he heard and saw in the districts of the Upper Thames. His errand is thought a most foolish one. 

The Gemini still lies in the Kauaeranga Creek, awaiting the coming of the Maori chiefs.

Beefsteak off the point of a lancet.

A newspaper correspondent walking about the settlement observes that there is a great flow and ebb of population at the Thames. There are crowds of people coming and going —coming to look, and going away to decry what they cannot understand. Some of these people have never handled a pick or shovel, and appear to think that gold must be found without the trouble of steady and persevering work. He sees a great number of Auckland friends in Shortland Town - they are principally lawyers. Medicine is also well represented. Another friend he spies eating underdone beefsteak in a wet tent, off the point of a lancet.

Warden Baillie decides that a tramway will be constructed over the ground belonging to the parties who occupy the claims between the Shotover and the allotment where an engine will be placed. Mr Goodall’s machinery will be put down at the mouth of the Moanataiari. This situation is equi-distant between the Kuranui and Waiotahi and will be convenient to the claims situated on the three creeks. 

Warden Baillie has sent up to Auckland for forms of miner’s rights and requested that they should be printed on vellum. It is necessary that each miner should have his 'right' on his person and it must be able to stand wet and wear. Some person in Auckland thought that, to save expense, they should be printed on tracing cloth and so books of forms are sent down to the Thames, which, when wet, the whole printing and writing disappears. “There are some awfully stupid people in Auckland,” writes the Cross correspondent in exasperation. 

The number of miner’s rights now issued amounts to 1,273. Payable stone has been found on a spur beyond Tararu Point by Deans and party. Their claim is five miles to the north of the ground opened up in that direction. Several miners anticipate profitable results. There are many men at the Thames now, however, who grumble. During the last ten days 500 men have arrived and instead of going out on the ranges are clamouring for the opening of the upper country.

Mr H Levy is fined £20 and costs for sly grog selling. 

Captain Burgess gets some 17 or 18 smaller snags out of the channel and this afternoon the Gemini goes out and lifts out a huge snag that might have caused loss of life. The steamer goes out to the entrance of the channel, where the buoys have been re-arranged, and on returning goes up as far as the Kauaeranga River to the old Hauraki Mission Station.

Major Heaphy has been occupied surveying the coast line and taking the bearings so that that may be laid down properly for the guidance of mariners

Alabama for the Thames with sundry merchandise. 
Catherine for the Thames with 7,000 ft sawn timber, 6,500 shingles and a quantity of sashes and doors. 

Tonight Detective William Crick brings up to Auckland, by the Enterprise,  the prisoner John Waddington Graves. Graves has been committed to trial at the next criminal session of the Supreme Court.

DSC 19 October, 1867

Saturday 19 October
On the Karaka Flat the upper prospecting shaft is finally bottomed. There is no show of alluvial gold whatever. This great undertaking, known initially as the British Claim, for which such  high hopes were held, where a flag proudly stood and where dozens of  men laboured for weeks, has failed.

There is a game of quoits at the Thames between Mr Holmes, builder of the Enterprise, and Mr J F Crane, in which the former is the winner.

At Riverhead there are loud complaints at the total stoppage of the steamer Gemini which has been taken off the Auckland and Riverhead service to take Superintendent Williamson to the Thames. The steamer is gone for a whole week, without notice of any kind. Many settlers have been seriously inconvenienced and one lady walks 13 miles on two occasions only to be disappointed in getting to town to find no steamer.

Otahuhu for the Thames with 5 cases spirits, 1 case kerosene, 5 hhds beer, 5,000 ft timber. 

The Hawkes Bay Herald notes that the Star of the South sails this day for the “new El Dorado.”

Evil might arise.

David Graham announces that he had no personal motives in going to the Thames. His motives were for the good of the country, knowing that news of gold being found had gone abroad and that Europeans were arriving in their hundreds and that in a few months there would be many thousands assembled on the Thames goldfield, which was too limited for the multitudes who would be there, Unless the Upper Thames was laid open, evil might arise and his object was to prevent that evil by suggesting that a party of four to five men, recommended by the government or himself, went to ascertain the truth of gold in payable quantities in the Upper Thames.

At the Thames the tramway between Barry’s, the Shotover and Hampton’s claims to Fraser’s crushing machine is pegged off by the Warden. There is still great activity on the different claims.

The defeated Karaka Flat prospecting party is broken up. 

The Enterprise arrives back at Auckland with a large number of men who had gone down to dig at the Thames. They turned back because of the wretched accounts of the loafers hanging about the township. The return of a few discontented prospectors is dismissed as part and parcel of every rush to a new goldfield. There is hope that with two machines in the course of erection and others being readied for sending down there will soon be proof of the richness of the field. 

Ropata arrives at the Thames from Ohinemuri. He is a quiet wise man, who has stood aloof from the extreme party of his countrymen, but who has abstained from doing anything which might break himself from them. He is not inclined to assume the sole responsibility of taking a steamer up the Thames or alone assisting Superintendent Williamson to open up the country up that river. He is anxious that Te Moananui should also go in the steamer to Ohinemuri, as without his aid not much good can be done. 

Te Moananui is at Matarirki, Manaia, and it is resolved by the Superintendent to send Mr Mackay there by the steamer on Monday to then return to the Thames with Te Moananui.

Overnight the windows of the Victoria and Duke of Edinburgh Hotels at Shortland are smashed.

DSC 19 October, 1867

Sunday, 20 October

There is a great storm of loud thunder and vivid lightning, very close, followed by pouring rain and a gale from the southwest.


There is no word from upriver.

Three clergymen who came down to the Thames yesterday hold services today in the court house whare.

Rev George S Harper, Wesleyan minister, also preaches twice in the open air to a congregation of about 400 people.  Rev Harper is a junior minister on the Auckland circuit.  He is a young man of intense devotion and a gifted evangelist.  He has recently spent 12 months on the Hokitika gold field where he built the first church.  Among the first arrivals on the Thames goldfield were a number of Wesleyan's. Rev Harper now organises two society classes and appoints leaders for the Thames.   

A pretty strong breeze blows up from the north west. The river  looks busy with three steamers and a whole fleet of small sailing craft.

The Midge and Tauranga bring back to Auckland 170 passengers from the Thames of whom a great number were the visitors who usually go down on a Saturday afternoon, returning to their business in town before Monday morning. 

Monday, 21 October
Bickering between the
Cross and the Herald is inflamed again over the opening of the Upper Thames. The Herald says the Cross is jubilant over the fact that as yet Mr Mackay has not succeeded in opening the Upper Thames. The Cross fires back that the Herald exaggerated reports and produced a rush and the result is discontent, disappointment and an agitation which may ultimately lead to very unpleasant consequences.

The Herald denies emphatically that it has published exaggerated reports of affairs at the Thames. They have never put forth the discovery of an alluvial goldfield, except on one occasion a few days after the goldfield was opened when the master of a trading vessel misinformed their shipping reporter and which report they corrected in a following issue. The Herald counter accuses the Cross of writing up a silly rush to Coromandel which brought hundreds from the south to starve in Auckland, styling the Coromandel field as “the richest goldfield in the southern hemisphere.”

The large issue of miner’s licences at the Thames is a complete refutation of the statement of the Cross that of the large numbers of people at the Thames, two hundred only are profitably employed.  Day after day well known respectable residents have come back from the Thames to visit their families, bringing with them specimens showing the richness of their claims. Their reports and the evidence of their truthfulness cause a rush from within the circle of acquaintances of each person and beyond it. As an example a respectable mechanic returned to his home in the suburbs about a week ago.  He had left some ten days before for the Thames with 17 shillings in his pocket, leaving only fortnight’s supplies for his family at home. He returned with a bag of specimens from his claim, with money in his pocket and a bright future before him.

Superintendent Williamson, accompanied by Mr Eyre, the government surveyor, and Chief Ropata, visit the Waiotahi, Moanataiari and Kuranui to give Ropata an opportunity of seeing the gold in its virgin state as taken from the ground. 

The first claim visited is the Moanataiari, worked by Williamson and party, where the quartz is broken up in the presence of the visitors. The next claim visited is Tookey’s where some splendid stone is shown. Further on, the celebrated Shotover claim is the great attraction. Hunt and White show the gold already retorted. 

Proceeding up the creek,  Hayes and Grant’s claim is visited where the gold is being retorted. Here Ropata has an opportunity of seeing how the gold is separated from the amalgam. Ropata expresses astonishment at what he sees during the visit to the claims. Other claims could not be visited as the Superintendent has to meet Te Moananui who has arrived from Matariki, Manaia.

A NZ Herald correspondent, with his guide Ipiniha, follows the Superintendent on the rounds. Ipiniha objects to the pakeha’s going in certain directions. The correspondent notices a great many boards on which is written in large letters 'Burial Places.' At first he thinks these might be areas necessary for deaths in consequence of the small number of medical men at the Thames, until Ipihana explains to him about Maori forefathers and tapu areas. 

Intentions greatly misconstrued.

A letter from David Graham, now back in Remuera, is published in the Cross saying that his intentions in making the visit to Te Hira have been greatly misconstrued by their special correspondents. The Cross has done an injustice to the Maori in referring to them as inhospitable. He was not turned back or ordered away. In fact the party were received in the friendliest manner and hospitably treated. He was asked to remain until the following day so as to meet with other chiefs who were at a considerable distance, but feeling indisposed and having achieved the object of his visit, he declined and parted from them in the friendliest manner.

The Cross comes to his defence saying a great deal of prejudice which exists against David Graham and party, is, to say the least, founded on misapprehension. Ngatai, who has been reported as being “awfully drunk” in Shortland Town and elsewhere, is also defended as being temperate and very respectable – a chief of high rank and influence as well as a real friend to the European’s. He owns large tracts of land in the Thames district and is favourable to  opening land for gold prospecting.

Tay for the Thames via Kennedy Bay with 1 case beer (for military stores) and 2 passengers. 
Severn for the Thames with 10 tons sundries, 1 horse, 4 passengers.

The Gemini leaves Shortland Town for Matariki, Manaia, Coromandel, at flood tide. Superintendent Williamson and others go ashore for the night and Mr Mackay and the interpreter Mr White go by the vessel accompanied by newspaper correspondents. It blows very heavily on the passage up the river but the Gemini stands the weather admirably. At midnight the lights and tents beyond Tararu Point are passed.

Tuesday, 22 October
Captain Burgess, assisted by Mr Mackay, who knows every nook on the coast, and every current on the shores, brings the Gemini into a small cove near the entrance to Manaia harbour.

At daylight they find themselves close to a small Maori village, the people of which are much surprised at the sight of the Gemini. This village is famous for its kumaras and early potatoes, and a hangi can be seen in preparation. Once on shore Mr Mackay, in the presence of all the people, explains to Te Moananui the object of the Superintendent's coming to the Thames, and asks him to go up the river in the steamer. The chief hears him to the end, and then flatly refuses to have anything to do with the matter, saying that he was fired upon by the Hauhaus the last time he himself was up there, although this is only a figure of speech.

Te Moananui is certain that Te Hira will not be seen. There is no use in arguing the matter with Te Moananui and the whole affair is settled as far as he is concerned. He is ready, however, at once to go up to Shortland to see the Superintendent.

A planned korero about the opening of the land around Manaia cannot take place, as a number of those interested are at settlements some distance off.

The Tauranga has been unable to leave the Thames until now on account of very boisterous weather. She has strong winds all the way up to Auckland with a heavy cross sea. The Enterprise arrives from Auckland just as she is leaving, having had to anchor off the sandspit for the night.

Steam is got up and the Gemini returns to Shortland Town this evening bringing Te Moananui. Several conferences are held between the Maori and Superintendent Williamson, at the conclusion of which Te Moananui agrees to go up the river, but stipulates that he must be allowed first to finish the negotiations about the land in the Manaia district.


Belmont was opposite the present day Historic  Martime Park in Paeora .

Chief Taraia's fortified pa was on the high ground near the Historic Maritime Park.

Papers Past
Ohinemuri - Thorp Family - Paeroa's First Settlers
This is my place - Hauraki Contested – Paul Monin
Thames Borough Centenary 1873- 1973, L P O’Neil (ed) –The Sunday school in NZ Methodism by the Rev Frank Hanson

© Meghan Hawkes / First year on the Thames Goldfield 2017

Please credit Meghan Hawkes/ First year on the Thames Goldfield 2017 when re-using information from this blog.

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