The Boy Travellers in Australasia/Chapter 10

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CHAPTER X.


THE HOT LAKE DISTRICT; ITS EXTENT AND PECULIARITIES.—MEDICINAL SPRINGS.—ANALYSIS OF THE WATERS.—FRED'S NARROW ESCAPE.—SCALDED TO DEATH IN A HOT POOL.—LAKE ROTOMAHANA.—THE WHITE TERRACES; HOW THEY ARE FORMED.—THE PINK TERRACES.—BOILING LAKES.—NATURE'S BATH-TUBS.—PETRIFIED BIRDS.—A TABOOED MOUNTAIN.—THE TABU ON DUCKS.—NATIVE DEMORALIZATION.—WAIROA.—DESTRUCTION OF THE TERRACES.—TERRIBLE ERUPTION, WITH LOSS OF LIFE.—A VILLAGE THROWN INTO A LAKE.—TAURANGA AND THE GATE PAH.—MAORI FORTIFICATIONS.—SHORT HISTORY OF THE MAORI WAR; ITS CAUSES AND RESULTS.—FROM TAURANGA TO NAPIER.—A PASTORAL COUNTRY.—ATTRACTIONS OF NAPIER.—OVERLAND TO WELLINGTON.—FARMING AND HERDING SCENES.—A CURIOUS ARTICLE OF COMMERCE.


" THE volcanic region of North Island is a large one," wrote Frank in his journal, "and as I can't find any two persons who agree as to its extent, I won't attempt to give its area in square miles or acres; but it is large enough to meet the wants of everybody, and hot enough to suit the most fastidious.

"Long before you reach the neighborhood of the Hot Lakes you find steaming springs, and there is hardly one of them that is not credited with some wonderful healing properties. On an area of a hundred and fifty square miles there are many thousands of hot springs of all temperatures from tepid to boiling, and of all sorts of composition. Only a few have been analyzed, but enough of them to show that hardly any two are alike. All the mineral springs of the world seem to be represented in this district, and when they have been properly catalogued they will form a sanatorium to which the entire globe can send its invalids for relief and healing.

"To make a list of the chemicals they hold in solution would be to copy the index of an exhaustive work on chemistry, and therefore I refrain.

"These springs have been the resort of the Maoris for centuries, and for white people ever since New Zealand could boast a white population. Wonderful cures are recorded or reported, but it is evident that an invalid should have the advice of a competent physician before trying the springs in earnest. To come here and take the baths indiscriminately, when the number and variety are so great, would be much like turning one's self loose in a drug-store and tasting the contents of all the jars in succession. Thus far the principal diseases treated have been gout and rheumatism, and many a sufferer has found relief and been cured of his malady. One bath has been so successful in curing skin diseases that it is known as the 'pain-killer;' its ingredients are sulphate of potash, sulphate of soda, chlorides of sodium, calcium, magnesia, and iron, silica, hydrochloric acid, sulphuretted hydrogen, and traces of alumina, lithium, and iodine. What disease could stand such a combination as that?

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AMONG THE HOT SPRINGS.

"Most of the villages are near hot springs, not so much for the curative properties of the waters as for the convenience of cooking food without the trouble of collecting fuel, or even building a fire. At one village where we stopped for dinner there were twelve or fifteen springs of all temperatures from tepid to boiling; we bathed in one spring while the potatoes for our dinner were being boiled in another not a dozen yards away. Around the springs, and along the path by which we walked from them to the house, there were cracks and holes in the ground from which steam issued, and occasionally little jets of boiling water. It gave us an uncanny feeling to walk along this path, and we agreed that it was not a nice place for promenading in the dark.

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THE BATHS AT ROTOMAHANA.

"The proprietor of the hotel accompanied us, and said it was not safe to stray from the path, as one was liable to break through the thin crust and find his feet plunged into hot water which had accumulated beneath the surface. He showed us a pool which is the special resort of the Maoris, and where half a dozen of them were bathing, the bathers being watched by as many more of their kinsmen, who were squatted on flat stones erected over the steam-jets at the edge of the pool. The temperature of the water is about ninety degrees, but it rises occasionally to a hundred and more. we found a secluded pool, and took a bath there; after the bath we greatly enjoyed a luscious melon which our host brought us.

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HOTEL LIFE AT THE HOT LAKES.

"It is a curious sensation to stand on a hill and look over a considerable area of country which may easily be imagined to be undergoing a cooking process from one end to the other. Jets of steam rise from the ground in a great many places; some of them continuously, others in quick or slow jets, and with intervals of a second or so, or perhaps fractions of a second, and others with dignified intervals of several minutes. Some of the geysers threw up columns of water fifteen or twenty feet in height; but, on the whole, they were less interesting than the geysers of Yellowstone Park in America. At one place the sulphur fumes were so stifling that it was next to impossible to look into the holes in the ground, and only possible by holding the nose firmly and looking while the breath was retained.

"And these sulphur fumes came very near causing a horrible death to Fred. We were among the boiling springs, where the greatest precaution was necessary to avoid falling into the pools, as they were only short distances apart, sometimes less than a foot. Our guide had called attention to one of the geyser holes, where the water at the bottom was boiling furiously. Fred was looking into it, when suddenly there rose a puff of sulphur that half stifled him. He sprang backward as he threw his head in the air, and in doing so stepped within three inches of the edge of a pool of water that was quiescent, though almost at the boiling-point. Had he fallen into it he would have been scalded to death in a few moments.

"Accidents of this sort are by no means uncommon. A child of the hotel-keeper fell into a pool a few months ago, and was scalded so badly that it died within an hour. They told how a native woman dropped her baby from her arms; it fell into a pool of scalding water by the side of the path. The woman went in to rescue it, and both mother and child were drowned in the pool. Men, horses, and dogs have fallen into these pools, or more frequently broken through the thin crust that lies above the accumulated hot water or hot mud beneath the surface.

"One Maori village where we stopped is so completely built on a volcanic foundation that the steam rises in every house; and the little open space in the centre, where the village councils are held, is half paved with broad stones, which are all kept warm by steam from the earth. Close to the village are several mud-baths, where one may sit up to his neck in hot mud for hours, and then wash off the adhesive stuff in a neighboring pool. These solfataras, or mud-baths, are very numerous, and in many instances very dangerous. Where they are small the hot mud simply boils and bubbles, and slowly oozes out of the ground; and the chief danger lies in breaking through the crust near them and finding yourself plunged in the scalding mush. The larger solfataras are like the mouth of a well, the mud bubbling up in the centre and forming a ring of dirt that solidifies and offers a good footing, so far as the eye can perceive; but woe betide the unfortunate stranger who ventures to step upon it; the crust gives way, and he will be fortunate if he escapes with his life.

"We reached Rotomahana, the famous little lake of this district, without accident, although it was evening when we got there. We were lodged in a Maori wharry, or house, close to Te Tarata, or The White Terraces, and we had a glimpse of the terraces through the indistinctness of the evening. There were steam and water jets all
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A MUD CRATER.

around, and the potatoes for our supper were boiled in one of the natural caldrons, free of charge. To boil vegetables in one of these springs all you have to do is to enclose them in a net of hemp or flax and lower them into the water. When they have been there long enough take them out, and that's all there is about it. What a nice thing it would be to have a natural hot spring at your door, provided you could escape the other inconveniences connected with it!

"We bathed in a pool and also in the lake, the latter, though warm, being less so than the pool. The ground was warm, and made the atmosphere of the house too hot for comfort; and altogether we passed an uncomfortable night. Next morning we were up bright and early, to look at the terraces; and of all the wonderful things in the world, there are few that can surpass them.

"The White Terraces are on this side of the little lake, and the Pink Terraces on the other. Imagine, if you can, a series of irregular steps, of silver or alabaster, or polished marble, about three hundred feet from side to side, and rising about two hundred feet from the shore of the lake. These steps or terraces have been formed by the crystallization of the silica contained in the hot water in the boiling lake above; the hot water holds it in solution, and as its temperature falls the silica is released and deposited.

"In the sunlight the terraces glistened and sparkled like a collection of all the precious stones in the world, and the picture was fascinating in the extreme. We ascended from the base to the edge of the boiling lake, where the terraces begin. Our guides cautioned us that we must expect to walk continually in the water which flowed over the terraces but as the surface is soft and smooth we doffed our boots and encased our feet in moccasins, or shoes of untanned skin. The water at the bottom of the terraces is tepid; but each successive stage finds it hotter, and at last it is too much so for comfort. On one terrace after the other you find delightful tubs suitable for bathing; we should have bathed in them, but had been told to wait for the Pink Terraces, on the other side of the lake, where the baths are finer. There is just enough softness to the surface formed by the silica to make it pleasant to the touch and entirely safe to walk on without danger of slipping.

"Not only are the terraces beautiful, but the ornamentation which has been made by the hand of Nature, busily working here through many centuries, is beautiful in the extreme. The hanging ornaments and cornices at the outer edges of the terraces and on the rims of the baths surpass the work of the most gifted designer or the most vivid
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THE WHITE TERRACES, SEEN FROM ABOVE.

imagination. Description by words is out of the question, and I must fall back on the picture which I send with this.

"The boiling lake at the top of the White Terraces is a pool perhaps a hundred feet in diameter, and varying in height from time to time. Curiously enough, it changes with the wind, though why the wind should affect it I am unable to guess. It is boiling, boiling, boiling all the while, though more furiously at some times than at others. The water is a beautiful turquoise blue, and so intense is the blue that it reflects upon the cloud of steam that rises from the lake. In fact, nearly all the hot springs in this region are blue, and the color is perceptible at very slight depths.

"We wanted to spend a whole day here; but time pressed, and we descended to the lake again and crossed to the Pink Terraces. The lake is a tiny one, only a mile in length by half a mile in width. "The Pink Terraces are smaller and lower than the White Terraces, and the spaces between the pools, or bathing-tubs, are not so finely wrought. The Pink Terraces are really not pink at all, but salmon-colored; the White Terraces have a tint of salmon, but it is less pronounced than in the other. The formation is the same in both, and having described one, it is hardly necessary that I should describe the other. We were eager for the promised bath, and were not long in getting at it. And such a bath!

"We undressed on the rocks a short distance from the foot of the terrace, and then entered one of the pools. The water was tepid, almost too warm for thorough enjoyment, but we did not pay much attention to it. The tub, or pool, was large enough for six or eight persons to bathe in and have plenty of room, and we splashed and played there like dolphins—at least as far as our limited abilities would allow us. What surprised us most was the wonderful smoothness of the rock. It was soft to the foot when we stood upon it, and soft to the hands when we pressed them on the sides of the bath. We dashed our bodies with no light force against the rock, and somehow it seemed to yield, or at all events it did not hurt us. We went from one bath to another, and kept ascending till the warmth was more than we could endure. We sat on the edges of some of these great shell-like baths, and looked down upon the little lake and over to the White Terraces on the other side. It was a remarkable sight, and I certainly never heard of any other bathing-tub where there was so much scenery and so much enjoyment.

"At the top of the Pink Terraces there is a lake similar to the one
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THE PINK TERRACES, SEEN FROM ABOVE.

that feeds the White Terraces. It is about a quarter of a mile around it, the water in the lake is all the time boiling, and it has the same blue color that I have already mentioned. A cloud of steam rose continually from the surface, and it was only when we got on the windward side of the lake that we could see the water at all, and then only as the wind blew the steam away. All around the lake the rocks were incrusted with sulphur, and the incrustation continued for a good part of the way down the slope.

"We brought away some interesting souvenirs of our visit in the shape of leaves and flowers incrusted with silica, the substance out of which the terraces have been formed. Leaves, flowers, feathers, sticks, any small things placed in the water, become incrusted with the silica in a short time, and are easily preserved by wrapping them in cotton or other soft substances. A bird dropping in the water becomes, as it were, petrified, feathers and all: some of the Maoris who live in the neighborhood have adopted the plan of killing small birds, and after stuffing them with sand or other heavy substance, immersing them in the water long enough to allow the feathers to be incrusted with silica. We have bought some of these petrified birds, and find them very pretty and interesting.

"From the little lake we descended by a small and swift stream to Lake Tarawera, which is about seven miles long by four or five in width. We were in the ordinary canoe of the country, hollowed from the trunk of a tree, and very ticklish to sit in, as you cannot make the least inclination to one side or the other without risk of overturning. The canoe which carried us had eight rowers, so that with ourselves and guide we were twelve in all. The stream connecting the lakes is narrow and crooked, and so swift that it threatened to dash us on the shore and smash things generally; but we got through without accident, and then crossed the lake to the village of Wairoa. On our way we passed near the foot of Mount Tarawera, a truncated cone about two thousand feet high, which is considered sacred by the Maoris. They will neither ascend it nor allow any one else to do so; it is the burial-place of the Arawa tribe of Maoris and the dwelling-place of one of their tutelary gods, and for these double reasons it is held in rigid tabu.

"There's another tabu here, and that is on the ducks and other water-fowl that inhabit the lakes; and as no one is allowed to shoot them, they are in great numbers. The tabu was removed when the Duke of Edinburgh came here, and probably any one who would pay a high price could get it suspended long enough to allow him to satisfy
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LAKE TARAWERA, IN THE HOT LAKE DISTRICT.

his desires for shooting. But the tabu does not include trapping or netting, and we had roast ducks for dinner and luncheon on payment of a few shillings. There is a grand slaughtering festivity in December of each year, and this is the real reason of enforcing the tabu at other times.
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THE TABU REMOVED.

"Sight-seeing places the world over are the cause of great demoralization to the people that live near them, and the Hot Lake district of New Zealand is no exception. The Maoris here are as rapacious as the hackmen at Niagara Falls, the guides and hotel-keepers at Rome, Naples, and hundreds of other places on the Continent, or the custodians of the Taj Mahal at Agra, or the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky. Every step we take has a fee of some kind attached to it, and they have even established a charge of five pounds (twenty-five dollars) for the privilege of taking photographs in the Hot Lake district. Miss Cumming, who wrote "At Home in Fiji" and other interesting books, tells how they tried to make her pay the photograph fee for taking sketches of the White Terraces and other curiosities during her visit. She resisted on the ground that a sketch was not a photograph; but they refused to listen to her excuses, and threatened to destroy her sketches unless she paid the sum demanded. She managed, however, to smuggle them away by concealing the sketches among some rugs, and leaving the district under the escort of a large party of English tourists.

"Wairoa is a pretty village with some two or three hundred inhabitants, most of them Maoris, and has a church, a school-house, and two
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MAORI VILLAGE OF WAIROA, IN THE HOT LAKE DISTRICT.

hotels for the accommodation of tourists. The church and school are less prosperous than they used to be, as the natives are not as zealous in Christianity as when they were first converted. Soon after the Maori war broke out they hanged one of their pastors, and compelled another to flee to avoid the same fate.[1]

"We were comfortably lodged at one of the hotels, and the next morning took the coach for Tauranga, rejecting the advice of several persons who told us we should not fail to see Lake Taupo and Mount Tongariro.
MAORI PROPHET IN THE KING COUNTRY.
The country is desolate, and the most that can be said of it, so far as we could learn, is that it contains larger geysers and hot springs than are to be found around Lake Tarawera. There is a hot river which is fed from boiling springs below it, and Lake Taupo is a pretty sheet of water twenty-five miles long by twenty in width. Tongariro is an active volcano, much larger than Tarawera, and has been ascended by very few people. The ascent is attended with so many difficulties that we did not care to undertake it, and, as we had seen the most interesting part of the volcanic region of New Zealand, we concluded to return.

"The road from "Wairoa to Tauranga was rough, but the strong coach endured it without injury, and the team of six horses carried us along at a good pace. Tauranga has a melancholy history, as it was the scene of severe fighting in the Maori war. About four miles from the town is the celebrated Gate Pah, which was built by the Maoris as a defiance to the English, who had a fort at Tauranga. It was a fortification of double palisades such as the Maoris usually make, the inner line of palisades being much stronger than the outer one. Inside the inner line there is a ditch where the men can stand, with the earth breast-high in front of them; and they aim their guns through loop-holes notched in the logs of the palisades. The outer fence is expected to delay the assailants sufficiently long to enable the defenders to shoot them down. A Maori fort is constructed with much more military skill than one would expect of a people without any training in engineering work.

"An English officer says that the salients, angles, ditches, and parapets of the Maori pahs greatly astonished the generals who tried to capture them, and often led to disasters. The Tauranga Gate Pah was held by about three hundred Maoris, while the English had about
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BRITISH SOLDIERS ATTACKING A MAORI PAH

seventeen hundred men for the attack. They shelled the pah all day with heavy guns, and about 4 p.m. tried to carry it by assault. They got inside the pah, and there the soldiers were taken by panic, and retreated in disorder, leaving the Maoris in possession, though they evacuated the place in the night. The English lost twenty-seven killed and sixty-six wounded, and among the dead there were eleven officers.

"We went through the ruins of the pah, and could not understand how the Maoris were able to stay there in all the rain of shot and shell that was poured in before the assault. There is a monument at Tauranga to commemorate the event, and an English resident showed us the little cemetery where those who fell at the Gate Pah were buried. It is quite close to the sea, and, like English cemeteries generally, is carefully tended and kept in order.

"Perhaps you would like to know something of the Maori war, as we have had occasion to mention it two or three times. Well, there was trouble between the natives and the English a few years after the establishment of the Government at Auckland; it grew out of the imposition of customs duties and the purchase of land, and the natives thought they had not been treated properly. There was a good deal of fighting on a small scale; but after a while peace was established, and it lasted practically for ten or twelve years.

"But in March, 1860, there were fresh troubles, and from the same cause as before, or rather from one of the causes, the sale of land. The Government had bought some land, for which they paid the man who claimed to own it; after he had been paid the tribe claimed it, and because the Government would not pay a second time the tribe declared war. It was joined by other tribes, and in a very short time a considerable number of Maori tribes were in full insurrection against the military authority. Bishop Selwyn and others thought the natives had been unjustly treated, and there was much dissension among the Europeans as to the right and wrong of the matter.

"The war lasted through 1860, and down to March, 1861, when the natives, having been several times defeated, ended the trouble by surrendering. Soon after this the Maoris thought they would have a king of their own, and representatives of some of the tribes assembled and proclaimed a native sovereignty. Previously to this they had formed a league which opposed the sale of land to the white strangers, and this league was entered into by a good many tribes. The movement for a king was based on the belief that, as the English had a queen, the Maoris could have a similar ruler, and so in 1862 a king was chosen.

"War broke out again in May, 1863. Troops were sent from Australia and from England, and a vigorous attempt was made to suppress the insurrection. There were many opinions as to the proper policy to pursue, owing to the differences between English and Maori laws and customs, and whatever was done by the Governor or the military authorities was sure to receive severe criticism. Sometimes there were long periods of inaction in which there was much negotiation, which generally amounted to nothing. The Maoris refused to give up their lands or arbitrate the questions in dispute, and seemed determined to defend their homes. They not only repudiated English laws regarding land tenure, but they started a movement for reviving their old practices of paganism, or, rather, setting up a new religion in place of the Christianity which so many of them had adopted.

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OUTWORKS OF A MAORI PAH.

"Several tribes joined in this movement, and the new religion spread. It was called the Pai Marire by its adherents, who are known as Hau-Haus, or How-Hows, for the reason that they pronounce that sound in loud tones during their ceremonial worship or when engaged in battle. Some of the tribes killed or drove out their former pastors and Christian teachers, and all among them who refused to adopt the new faith were relentlessly persecuted. On the other hand, many tribes and individual Maoris remained friendly, and materially aided the Government in prosecuting the war.

"The Hau-Haus were subdued in 1866, and the murderers of Rev. Mr. Volkner and other missionaries were captured and executed. Peace came, but it was temporary; hostilities were soon resumed, but the fighting that followed was not of a very serious character. Straggling bands and isolated tribes continued to give trouble, and there was one guerilla warrior, named Te Kooti, who was hunted for years without success.

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IN THE HARBOR.

"The King of the Maoris lived among his own people, and made no trouble as long as he was allowed to remain undisturbed. His territory was known as the King Country, and no Englishman was allowed to enter it except with a special permission from the King or some other Maori authority. Gradually his power melted away, and he is now a very shadowy king indeed. Finding that war was not made upon them, the natives became less and less exclusive regarding the King Country, and in 1883 the chiefs consented to have their lands surveyed, with a view to having the titles determined in the native land-courts. In 1884 the Minister for Public Works passed right through the King Country with the avowed object of selecting a suitable route for a railway; he was not opposed in any manner, but, on the contrary, was respectfully received by the chiefs. A law has been passed which reserves a large area of land for the sole use of the natives, and from present appearances there will be no further trouble with the Maoris.

"There you have the Maori war boiled down. It cost the Government a vast amount of money, caused the shedding of a great deal of blood, led to bitter quarrels between the civil and military authorities and very often was a matter of much perplexity to the Home Government of Great Britain; and practically it all came from the determination of two races of people, one native and the other foreign, to possess the rich soil of New Zealand."

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IN NAPIER FOR HIS HEALTH.

From Tauranga our friends went by steamer to Napier, touching on the way at two or three ports of secondary importance. Napier is the chief town in the provincial district of Hawke's Bay, and is prettily situated in a position that in some of its features reminded Fred and Frank of Naples. The harbor is fairly good, but not as deep nor as well sheltered as that of Auckland. Important works are in progress for improving the harbor, and one of the leading citizens with whom our friends conversed assured them that before their words were in print Napier would be ready to accommodate the largest steamers in any of the regular lines between New Zealand and Europe.

Fred learned on inquiry that Napier was the outlet of a large area of grazing country, its exports consisting mainly of wool, frozen and canned meats, hides, and other products of regions whose chief industries were the raising of cattle and sheep. His informant told him that since the railway had reached the forest region they had done a fine business in lumber, and expected the lumber-trade to increase year by year. He further said that while Napier was an excellent place for a man in good health it was attractive to invalids, owing to the mildness of its climate. "It is," said he, "the resort of consumptive and asthmatic patients from various parts of New Zealand, and in time we expect to have them come here from Australia and India. A sanatorium has been established here in charge of our local medical men, and we also," he added, "have a fine cemetery, where anybody who fails to be cured can be sure of a comfortable and quiet place." After this, what more could a town claim in its behalf?

Hotels, churches, public buildings, and all the paraphernalia of a perfect and prosperous town were visible to the eyes of the strangers as they rode or walked through the streets. Manufactories of various kinds were busy, there was a goodly number of ships in port, and altogether Napier had an attractive appearance. That it was in the region of the Maoris was evident by the numbers of the natives on the streets, though they did not seem to be busily employed. While looking at a group of them engaged in rubbing noses with friends they had just met—this is the Maori form of salutation—Frank asked a gentleman to whom he had been introduced if the Maoris around Napier were as industrious as those of Auckland and its neighborhood.

"They are not," said the gentleman; "at least, such is my impression. The Maoris here were friendly during the war times, and consequently were allowed to retain their lands, those of the hostile tribes having been confiscated. There are about four thousand Maoris in the Hawke's Bay district, and they own large tracts of fertile lands. Some of them have farms which they cultivate, but the greater part of them prefer to lease their lands to European settlers and live in laziness on the rentals they receive. They are as a rule improvident, and show little desire to improve their condition, though the Government maintains native schools among them at its own expense.

"This district," he continued, "is much more pastoral than agricultural, and we think it is the best part of New Zealand for sheep and cattle. I wish you could be here at the time of our annual fair, so that you could see for yourself what we produce. The show of sheep is excellent, and the merinos, Lincolns, and Cotswolds exhibited cannot be excelled anywhere in the whole colony. Our horses are certainly good, and at the last show there was not an inferior animal in the cattle-pens. One class of eight heifers was so good that the judges commended all that did not take prizes. Then we had ploughs, horse-rakes, grain-sowers, wagons, pleasure carriages, and other things, all made in our own factories, together with jewellery and silver and gold work from New Zealand metals, various manufactured articles, such as farina, starch, glucose, and other products from the growth of our fields.

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SCENE ON A SHEEP FARM.—OFF TO THE PASTURE.

"And here," said the gentleman, as he took up a curious lump that resembled a dried and shrivelled mushroom, "here is something that will puzzle you."

The youths looked wonderingly at it, and confessed their ignorance as to its character.

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FARM SCENES IN THE OPEN COUNTRY.

"I thought it would be new to you," their informant continued. "It is a fungus that grows in considerable quantities on the decaying forest trees; it is sent exclusively to China, where it is highly prized both as a medicine and an article of food, and it is said to be the base of a valuable dye. The export of this fungus began about 1870 or '71; in 1873 we sent about ten thousand dollars' worth of it to China, and ten years later nearly ten times as much. There is an abundance of it, and as fast as one crop is taken from a log a new one starts; so that there seems to be no reasonable limit to the business which may grow out of it."

Frank asked if the stuff was good to eat.

"I never heard of any one trying to eat it here," was the reply, "except a Chinaman. No European would venture to put it into his mouth, but that's no reason why we shouldn't send it to China for consumption."

Doctor Bronson and his young friends remained a day at Napier, and then proceeded by railway, coach, and railway again to Wellington, the capital of the colony. Napier is distant from Auckland by sea about three hundred and seventy miles, and two hundred from Wellington. The railway carried them southward to Tahoraiti, a distance of eighty-three miles, where they took the coach for a ride of forty miles to Mauriceville. There they found the railway to carry them to Wellington, another ride of eighty-three miles. They were told that within a year or two the gap would be completed, and the whole distance between Napier and Wellington could then be made by train between sunrise and sunset.

The first part of the ride was through a broken country, and the flocks of sheep and herds of cattle scattered on the hills supported the statement of their Napier acquaintance that the country was an excellent one for grazing. After leaving the grazing country they entered a forest region, where there seemed to be an inexhaustible supply of lumber; and farther south they came to a comparatively level and open territory, admirably suited to farms. The whole region was sparsely settled, but is said to be rapidly filling up. Rabbits are numerous, and our friends were told that the Government and settlers had expended a great deal of money to get rid of them; but in spite of all efforts they are on the increase, and have already rendered worthless large areas of good pasture land.

We will have more to say of the rabbit pest in another place. For the present we will land our travellers at Wellington, and send them to one of its many hotels.


  1. Shortly after the visit described above, the famous terraces were destroyed by an eruption of Mount Tarawera. Soon after midnight of June 10, 1886, loud explosions were heard and violent earthquakes felt; in a few minutes Mount Tarawera broke out as an active volcano, hurling ashes, dust, and red-hot stones to a great height, and the whole sky in all directions seemed to be aflame. The ashes, dust, and mud were distributed over a wide area of country, some of the dust and ashes falling fifty miles away. The outbreak of Tarawera was followed almost immediately by a terrific outburst at Lake Rotomahana; the water of the lake, with its clay bed and the material of the Pink and White Terraces, was suddenly blown into the air in the shape of an immense mud-cloud followed by steam and smoke. The mud-cloud in its descent buried the surrounding country to various depths, ranging as high as thirty feet. The native villages of Wairoa and Te Ariki were completely covered, and the village of Mourea was bodily thrown into Lake Tarawera and swallowed out of sight. Over one hundred persons perished, the most of them natives. Mr. Hazard, the master of the native school at Wairoa, and four of his children were among the killed.

    It was estimated that fifty square miles of country were covered to a depth of three feet and more by the mud, ashes, and stones, and sixteen hundred square miles more or less affected by the eruption or the deposits from it. Stones weighing half a ton and upwards were found nine miles from the scene of the explosion, and some within a mile or less weighed several tons. The explosions were heard eighty miles away, and are described as resembling heavy guns at sea. They continued about three hours, ceasing before daylight; and the night is well described as a night of terror.