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Colenso William 1884. In Memoriam. An account of visits to, and crossings over, the Ruahine Mountain Range, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand; and of the natural history of that region; performed in 1845-1847; cum multis aliis. Daily Telegraph

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p.16 Section on track marking (pāwhatiwhati)

p.18 "They had had nothing to eat since they had left us, save a few small cabbage-tree tops, they had found yesterday growing among the fern lands lower down the mountain, which they had broken off and eaten raw." A footnote reads "Or rather the small blanched bases of the leaves, which offers a scanty nutriment."

pp.22-23 Encounters with Aciphylla.

p.33 "On one occasion I was shut up here on the W. side of the Mohaka in time of flood for nearly 3 days, with very little to eat! ..... after consultation we managed to cross and to escape, by collecting with no little trouble dry raupō (Typha) leaves and flax flower-stalks wherewith to make a big moki, or catamaran, - also, green flax leaves to twist into ropes. Having finished our huge unwieldy raft, which occupied more than a day in making, it was thrown into the river, and towed up through still water a considerable distance, to allow for the strength of the current, now very great, besides we all feared the waterfall below; then, our baggage, myself, and dog being on it, it was dragged and shoved and drifted amid much uproar to the opposite shore, the natives swimming and propelling! Taken altogether, with the dark frowning cliffs on either side, it was a scene worthy of a sketch."

p.36 "... we tried, however, to get a poor fire by pulling up the withered tufts of long wiry grass, which, according to the mode practised here by natives of these parts, we twisted together before burning, through which device they did last a little longer, and so we managed to scorch our scanty supper of small potatoes..."

p.38 At Motutere (on shores of Lake Taupo) "Just outside the village a single large sized Karaka tree ... was growing; a rare sight so far from the sea-coast."

p.41 Colenso blamed for bringing on a spell of atrocious weather "through my uprooting some small trees (Dacrydiums), and my crossing the desert without observing certain superstitious ceremonies, and my sacrilegiously eating some Gaultheria berries while crossing, which the guide had detected!! &c., &c."

p.44 "... we arose from our fern couch, hunger-impelled, and having broken off the tops of the branches of the large and many-headed cabbage trees .. which grew close by, and which the light of the moon revealed, we made a fire and roasted the stalks of the young leaves, which, though both tough and bitter, served to allay our pangs. The Cordyline trees of these parts are the largest I have ever seen, they are not only high and many branched, but bulky also in the trunk. I remember one, in which a native of Patea had made a house, or room, and fitted it with a door to keep his tools, baskets, &c., in; I went into it, and stood upright within it, the tree was living and healthy; I took down its exact girth, 20ft. 2in."

p.46 At Matuku. "They were all dressed in true Māori costume, in mats of various kinds of their own manufacture, come of which were made from the Toii (Cordyline indivisa); without a single article of European clothing among them."

p.48 At a later date "Poor creatures! at this season they were all living on fern root, which the children were incessantly roasting and hammering; yet they were all very healthy."

p.50 At Te Awarua , lower slopes of Ruahine range, (western side). ".. this is one of the principal potatoe cultivations of this tribe, the soil being rich and well-sheltered by the forest around" In a footnote, Colenso notes that in later visits to the locality he found extensive patches of dock, "4-5 feet high, and densely thick... " "On enquiry I found, when some of these people had visited Whanganui, to sell their pigs, they had purchased from a white man there some seed, which they were told was tobacco seed! in their ignorance they took their treasure back with them, and carefully sowed it in some of their best soil, which they also had prepared by digging;

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In Memoriam. An account of visits to, and crossings over, the Ruahine Mountain Range, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand; and of the natural history of that region; performed in 1845-1847; cum multis aliis

Colenso William
Daily Telegraph

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12 June 2007
4 September 2009
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