a wooden bar across the top and the shake brought a huge chunk of ceiling down, and this had smashed the top of the bed to bits but missed me altogether. In the morning there was very little lrft [left] of our house, just heaps of clay and of wood.
Our neighbours were the Hunters, the Cannings, and the St Hills, and of course the Maoris.
During the years up to 1868 we were completely dependant on Maoris for labour. They mustered our sheep on foot – we did’nt have horses at first – and shore them and took the wool down to the river where eventually it was picked up by the schooner which plied along the coast.
I might tell you here, too, that during the journey up the river to Porangahau the Maoris were most obliging and honest – excellent workers. The only currency in those days, were sticks of black tobacco, about two inches long and about the thickness of ones finger. The Maoris would do a good days work for two sticks. The tobacco came from the Southern States of America and we would order about 50 or 60 pounds of it from the merchants in Wellington who would saw off what was sufficient from the whole barrel and this would come up to us solid.
If we were short of’ wheat to grind the Maoris would supply it. When we were short of meat they would go into the scrub or hills and get a “Captain Cook” pig, dress it perfectly, and sell it to us for two sticks of tobacco.
The only time I can remember the Maoris being what you may call a bit sharp, was when father, in a dry season, set fire to the scrub and flax. A wind got up and the fire burnt for weeks, and didn’t stop until It got to the Wainui river. About a week after this fire an old fellow came along to see us and said “Korohi” (this being the nearest they could get to our name) “Korohi, you have done us an injury”. “In what way” my father said. The old Maori then related how my father had burnt his pig, so out came two, sticks of tobacco in payment. Soon more and more Maoris came along all claiming we had burnt their pigs. We learnt later, however, that pigs were not allowed in Maori Pa’s.
I might digress here a moment to talk about Maori place names, as I feel very strongly about this subject. The trouble is that many of these names have become so mangled that they have lost their original meaning. The names used today have no real meaning, whereas the Maoris never named a place without a meaning.
KAHURANAKI used to be three words, and Naki means to be kissed. The translation of this is The Hill with the Sunkissed Robe.
Another name quite close to here which has been shortened is PAKOWHAI. It is really two words, the two words being Pa Kowhai – The Kowhai Pa.
NGARORORO [NGAURORO] is not Maori at all. I hav’nt spoken to any Maoris about it but I am quite certain it should be Ngarara Roa. Many years ago the river ran all over the plain, so the Maoris called it, The Long Lizard.
TUTAIKURI [TUTAEKURI] : has, as you know, an unpleasant sort of meaning, but it is rediculous to call it that as there were no Kuris (or dogs) when the place was christened and I am sure that the real name would be Teuti Koura which means, a freshwater Cray Fish.
Another name that annoys me enoemously in its present pronunciation is Pahiatua. It should of course be pronounced PaHIAtua. The reason it is called that is because it used to be a good place for native food, and translated means Gods Pa.
PAEKAKARIKI : really three words – Pae (good) Kaka (big fat parrot) and Riki (sweet) – the Good Sweet Fat Parrot.
TAUMARANUI : should be four words. Tau Ma Ra Nui which means the White Year but with Much Sun.
WAIMARARMA : should really be two words. Wai Marama, meaning the Watered Queen. These are only a few examples of the many place names which have become so distorted and mis-pronounced that the original meaning is completely lost.
However, to come back to my own memories of those early days, I will tell you of a family that took up land at about the same time as mine, but out at Waimarama just to give you some idea of the hazards of pioneering families. They occupied a Maori Whare on the south side os the stream, and their run was on the opposite side. Their only means of transport was a pack bullock. One morning they were going out as usual to their land across the stream, when the Maoris met them and said “You’d better not go out today, going to rain very hard and this stream will