Page:Discovery of the West Coast Gold-Fields Waite 1869.pdf/17

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


—how well they carried out their good intentions it is my desire to shew. I simply relate it as another instance of Nelson treatment, so commonly practised by those who people would naturally suppose had more respect for their good names, if not for themselves.


Hokitika—The Great Rush!—Final Development.

After I had settled my business in Nelson I again returned to the coast, the name of which was now beginning to spread far and wide, and the population was increasing accordingly. The next diggings were again found by the Maoris—ever restless, they seemed to be proud of being the first to find the gold. This was the Totara Creek, about twelve miles south of Hokitika, and was very rich. My bullocks, dray, and horses crossed to Hokitika, long before there was a house in Hokitika, to take goods to the Totara. The only shelter that was there was a small tent or store belonging to Messrs. Price and Hudson, who got their supplies from me at the Grey, and the ferry-house, which consisted of brushwood and beach timber. The ferry-boat was formed from a large tree, dug out all in one piece. I had also a whale-boat, which I purchased from Mr. Dobson, who had it built to cross these rivers with. For crossing in this primitive affair at Hokitika, the modest sum of 2s. 6d. a head was demanded, and 4s. each horse; at Teremakau, 2s. 6d. each person, and 5s. each horse.

The next diggings discovered were those called the Three-mile, the spot being about that distance from Teremakau; and the next were the Six-mile, so named for the same reason. This has been one of the best and most lasting diggings on the West Coast, and is now known as the Waimea. There was a lull for some time, and things began to look slack, but I think it was owing to the sudden influx of diggers. I started a party up the Teremakau to try the Taipo, or Devil’s River, and I really believe, had they persevered there, they would have found some good gold, as the gold they did get was coarse and rough. The Hokitika River had been tried and given up by the Maoris, and some men that had been in the employ of Mr. Dobson. But the Maoris had no idea of fine gold working. They did not understand working with quicksilver, or plush, as a proof of which I recollect one time on the Buller I gave some provisions to a party of Maoris to go south, towards what is now called Charleston, to prospect. After being away some time they came back saying there was fine gold everywhere, but no heavy gold. They have learned better since.

About the month of November, 1864, Captain Leach, of the