Page:Manual of the New Zealand Flora.djvu/25

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xxi
BOTANICAL DISCOVERY.

containing much valuable information, it bears evident marks of hasty preparation, and can hardly be considered an adequate memorial of its enthusiastic and talented author. The herbarium of both the Cunninghams is now preserved at Kew.

Mr. J. C. Bidwill visited New Zealand for the first time in 1839, and after a short stay at the Bay of Islands proceeded to the Bay of Plenty, from whence he journeyed to Rotorua and Taupo. Crossing Lake Taupo he reached Lake Rotoaira; and, using the Native village there as a base of operations, succeeded in exploring the spurs of Tongariro and in ascending the cone of Ngauruhoe, being the first European to accomplish the feat. He returned by way of Rotorua, Tauranga, and the Thames Valley. His collections, which were forwarded to Sir W. J. Hooker, were the first made in the mountainous interior of the North Island, and contained several interesting discoveries, as Veronica tetragona, Dacrydium laxifolium, Senecio Bidwillii, Dracophyllum recurvum, &c. A few years later he visited the mountains of Nelson, forming a very interesting collection of mountain-plants, which were also forwarded to Sir W. J. Hooker.

In the years 1839–40–41, Dr. Ernest Dieffenbach made extensive travels in New Zealand as naturalist to the New Zealand Company. In addition to an examination of the whole of the northern peninsula, from the North Cape to Auckland, he travelled along the western coast to Raglan and Kawhia, and, crossing to the Waipa Valley, followed the western bank of the Waikato River to Lake Taupo. A project to ascend Tongariro and Ruapehu was frustrated by the opposition of the Maoris, and he returned to Auckland by way of Rotorua, Tauranga, and the Thames Valley. During another journey he explored a large part of the Taranaki District, and was the first European to ascend Mount Egmont. He also visited Wellington, Wanganui, and Kapiti Island, and spent some time in the exploration of Queen Charlotte Sound, Cloudy Bay, and the whaling-stations on the north-east coast of the South Island. Finally, he paid a visit to the Chatham Islands, and brought away the first plants collected in that outlying dependency of the colony. On his return to England Dieffenbach published his "Travels in New Zealand," the two volumes of which are replete with interesting matter relating to the flora, fauna, and Native inhabitants. His botanical collections were presented to the Kew Herbarium, but, according to Sir J. D. Hooker, they are "most scanty, compared with the great extent of interesting ground he passed over."

In July, 1840, the French corvette "L'Aube" arrived at the Bay of Islands, and after a brief stay proceeded to Akaroa, remaining there until November, 1841. In January, 1842, "L'Aube" was replaced by "L'Allier," which was stationed at Akaroa until January, 1843. The surgeon attached to these two vessels, M. E. Raoul, made excellent collections, mainly at Akaroa, and, as he was the first botanist to