W hat I believe to be genuine and authentic the collected publications of William Colenso



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[270] paddled to the opposite end. This little lake is about a mile in length, and about three quarters of a mile in breadth. Resuming our journey, and gaining the top of a high hill, we had a fine prospect of the principal Lake of Rotorua; a fine sheet of water about six miles in diameter, with a very picturesque island nearly in the midst. An easy journey of a few miles from the top of the hill, brought us to Te Ngae, a church mission station on the eastern side of the lake; where we were very hospitably received by Mr. Chapman. I gained not a single botanical specimen throughout the whole of this day.

I remained at Te Ngae for a few days; during which time I visited Ohinemutu, a large and fenced town on the banks of the lake, celebrated for its boiling springs. This village is one of the principal ones belonging to that very turbulent tribe, Ngatiwakaaue; in it the head chiefs of the tribe have for a long time resided. The large spring at this place was boiling most furiously, throwing out many gallons of water a minute, which rolled away steaming and smoking into the lake, a second Phlegethon. In the smaller springs, of which there were several, the natives cook their food, merely tying it up in a rude basket made of the leaves of Phormium tenax woven together, and. placing it in the boiling water, where it is soon dressed. For this purpose, and for that of bathing, they have made a number of holes through the crust, or scoria, on which this village is principally built; so that it may truly be said, that this people dwell in houses built over subterranean fires. The sulphureous stench which abounded here, was almost insupportable. The blade of a knife immersed for a short period in some of these waters, soon [271] becomes as it were superficially bronzed. Pebbles and small stones lying within the influence of the water or steam, wore a bronze-like appearance. Accidents not unfrequently happen to children; and to dogs and pigs brought from a distance. The quadrupeds, however, of the place, appear instinctively to be well aware of the potential callidity of these streams, and shun them accordingly. The natives who live in this neighbourhood are, when travelling, easily recognised as belonging to this district, in consequence of their front teeth decaying at a very early age, contrary to those of other New Zealanders. This is supposed to be caused by the sulphur with which these springs are impregnated, being deposited on the surface of their food during the operation of cooking, which, consisting chiefly of roots, is mostly bitten into morsels with their front teeth. The natives of this village are celebrated, among other things, for their manufacture of tobacco-pipes; an article of first-rate utility to a New Zealander. These they carve out of a white stone which is found in this neighbourhood, patiently finishing a short-stemmed pipe in a day. These pipes look well, and stand the heat of the fire.120 I saw some beautiful white blocks of this stone near the village, lying on the surface of the ground; some of which were vitrified on the outside. The natives of this neighbourhood grow their own tobacco, which they gather, and, separating the large fibres of the leaf, twist up into figs, in imitation [272] of our negro-head. Here, on the very edge of the large boiling spring, several plants flourished in perfection; particularly Pteris Brunoniana, Endl.; and two small plants which I considered new. One of these, a species of Carex; the other a Compositæ, probably a species of Myriogyne, differing, however, from M. minuta, Less. (the already-described New Zealand species), the leaves of which are sessile and much smaller. I regretted that I had not a thermometer, with which I might ascertain the temperature of the water. Fine specimens of crystallized sulphur abound in this neighbourhood, but, from their delicate structure and extreme fragility, it is rather a difficult matter to convey them to any distance, and at the same time to preserve their beauty. From the barren hills in this locality I gained an elegant Lycopodium, and a new species of Gaultheria, a branching shrub, 4-7 feet in height. Some natives informing me of a new and peculiar tree which grew on Mokoia, the island in the midst of the lake, I crossed over to it and sought for the same, but gained nothing new. From subsequent information I was led to conclude, that the tree which I had been in quest of, was no other than the Vitex littoralis, one of which species, according to the natives, grew on the island, but not another in the whole district. I observed the natives continually masticating a kind of resinous gum, which was insoluable in water, and which did not decrease through the process of repeated chewing; this, they informed me, they obtained from the Pukapuka (Brachyglottis repanda, A. Cunn.), assuring me that the swallowing of the substance caused death. They pointed me out the shrub, which, although slightly differing in general appearance, bore strong resemblance to [273] Cunningham’s plant; as it was neither in flower nor fruit, I did not take any specimens: it may, however, prove a new species. Through the kindness of Mr. Chapman, I obtained, from a spring in the neighbourhood, several specimens of a Siliceous matter, deposited by the waters of the spring on twigs, leaves, &c. lying in it. During my stay I procured fine specimens of two large species of Curculio; the head and snout of one, without its antennæ, being more than two inches in length; the other had a peculiar flabelliform tail, somewhat like that of a small shrimp. The lake contains an abundance of small crayfish, which are very good eating. Here are, also, two small species of fish, called by the natives Kokopu, and Inanga; and a black bivalve shell fish, a species of Unio; the whole of which are common in most of the fresh water streams in New Zealand.

On the 13th of January I left Te Ngae. Crossing the lake, I landed at the N.W. extremity, and once more resumed my journey. I soon entered the dense forest, through which the road to Tauranga lies, in which we continued travelling until sun-set. In this forest, in a low, wet, and dark spot, I obtained another new and peculiar species of Lomaria (L. nigra, n.sp., W.C.); and on the stony banks of Mangarewa, a small river running in a deep ravine, I discovered an elegant species of Lindsæa (L. viridis, n.sp. W.C.). In travelling this day, I carelessly plucked a fern which grew pendulous from a tree, believing it to be Asplenium falcatum, Forst.; happening, however, to preserve the fragment, I have since examined it, and find it to be a distinct and new species. This I have named A. Forsterianum, in honour of that celebrated botanist, whose name should ever be had in remembrance by all persons [274] botanizing in the forests of New Zealand. I also obtained some fine specimens of Tmesipteris, which (if not possessing distinctness of character sufficient to constitute a new species) differs much from my specimens of T. Forsteri, Endl. (the described New Zealand species) in size and general appearance; some plants being between two and three feet in length. Whilst my natives were pitching my tent, I, wandering about, obtained a few specimens of small Jungermanniæ, and a Moss with a peculiar yellow lichen parasitical upon it As the shades of night closed about us, in the deep recesses of the forest, we were visited with numbers of a large green coleopterous insect, which my natives caught, roasted, and ate. During the night the mosquitoes so sadly annoyed us as to keep us all from sleeping.

At an early. hour the next morning we re-commenced our march. Continuing our course, as yesterday, in the forest, I discovered a fine moss, a species of Polytrichum; and an Urtica, with lanceolate leaves. From the summit of the hill, where this long forest terminates, a fine and extensive prospect of Tauranga harbour, distant about fifteen miles, presents itself to the view. The path hence to the sea-side lies through fern land, and is chiefly a descent the whole way. Towards evening we arrived, at the mission station, without observing anything worthy of notice by the way.

I remained a few days at Tauranga, and during my stay, obtained a fine species of Hippocampus, measuring nearly a foot in length. This animal the natives sometimes dry and use for an ear-ornament, suspending it by its tail, which they curl that it may the better remain in their ears. I once procured from this place a beautiful and unique specimen of the genus Ardea; it [275] was a small bird, somewhat resembling A. exilis. The natives, however, did not know it, declaring they had never seen such a bird before.

On the 19th, I once more re-commenced my peregrination. Crossing the inner harbour, which is wide and very shallow, we landed at the N.W. extremity of the bay, where the road to Matamata commences. Our route this day (after landing) being principally by the sea-side, I obtained nothing new save a curious species of Anthoceros, which grew on the wet pipe-clay cliffs. We bivouacked for the night by the side of a small stream, where we were incessantly tormented with mosquitoes. To add to our misery my guides returned, sans ceremonie, leaving my baggage in the wilderness, without saying a word to me, who was on before, on the subject; through this conduct of theirs we all had to remain supperless.

The next morning (after some delay from our want of guides, who were eventually obtained from a party of natives at work in the neighbourhood) we again proceeded, and entering a dense forest continued travelling through it for some hours. We emerged at length on the top of Te Wairere, a very high hill, from the summit of which the view of the surrounding country is most extensive. Tongariro (a very high and still active volcano in the Taupo district), my guide assured me, is to be seen in clear weather from this place. Beneath, in the vast plain, the river Waiho, hence navigable for canoes, meandered, mingling its waters with those of the ocean at Puriri, in the river Thames. In passing through the forest I obtained a few small Cryptogamic specimens; but no other plants attracted my notice as being either new or rare. Descending Te Wairere, we [276] halted at a brawling stream at its base to roast a few potatoes. Here, on the brink of the stream, I discovered a small tree of a genus unknown to me (unless it should prove to belong to the genus Tophis); I only observed one plant, which was about 15 feet high, with smooth cineraceous bark, solitary crimson fruit, and small serrated oval dark-green leaves. On cutting its bark, a profusion of thick viscid milky juice gushed out. From the stream I obtained some fine specimens of Algæ. Leaving this place, we crossed the river Waiho, which at the ford was breast-high, and proceeded on, over the plain and through the extensive swamps, towards Matamata, a large native village, which place we reached late at night. In crossing the marshes, I only noticed a Coprosma as being new, of which I brought specimens. The chapel at this village, being wholly of native execution, is worthy of notice, and does them great credit. Length, breadth, and height included, I suppose it to be the largest native-built house in New Zealand. It measures 95 feet by 40, and is nearly 18 feet to wall-plate. It has fine large smooth slabs of the Totara for posts, some of which were nearly 3 feet in width. The interior was very neatly constructed of a kind of chequer-work, composed of the stalks of the common fern (Pteris esculenta), placed laterally on each other, interlaced with strips of the fibrous Kiekie (Freycinetia Banksii). the grave colour of the fern stalks agreeing well with the purpose for which the house was built. The whole possessed a very neat appearance. From the natives I learnt, that they were indebted to the Taranake tribes, on the S.W. coast, for the knowledge of this kind of ornamental work.

Early on the morning of the 21st I left Matamata, [277] travelling in a S.W. direction for Maungatautari, an elevated district situated nearly midway between the E. and W. coasts. In crossing a small stream, I discovered a peculiar Carex-like procumbent plant growing in its bed, completely under water. As it was now the driest season of the year, and as the water of the stream was nearly two feet deep, this plant must necessarily be always immersed. A graceful leaved Hydrocotyle, I also obtained from the same locality. After walking about eight miles over level and barren ground, we entered a romantic valley, called by the natives Hinuera. This valley has, on either side, high and perpendicular volcanic rocks, composed of a conglomerate of pumice, scoriæ, obsidian, &c. On the S. side of the valley, this rocky rampart ran continuously for nearly two miles; while on the N. side, the hills bore on their table-tops groves and clumps of graceful pines, contributing not a little to the beauty of the landscape. At 2 p.m., we halted to dine under a large and pensile crag, which, jutting out from the rocks on the N. side, overhung our path. Here, beneath this rock, I discovered an elegant Asplenium (A. Hookerianum, n.sp. W.C.), a species approaching, both in habit and affinity, very near to A. Colensii. I did myself the honor and pleasure of naming this graceful fern, in memorial of my much respected and talented friend, J.D. Hooker, Esq., M.D., who, as assistant-surgeon and naturalist, visited these islands in H.M.S. Erebus, in the winter of 1841. In a thicket in this neighbourhood, through which we passed, I detected a graceful shrub of very slender habit, with peculiarly hairy bark. This plant bears a small white blossom, has but few divaricate branches, and attains to the height of 6-9 feet. [278]

Proceeding hence, we suddenly came upon a most remarkable subsidence of the earth in the midst of a large plain. Descending through a rapidly-inclining and narrow defile, having sandy slopes on either side, I came to a level, also of sand and destitute of the least blade of vegetation; thence I descended, an almost perpendicular descent knee-deep in sand, to another level, where a subject for contemplation and astonishment presented itself. On all sides rose perpendicular and sandy cliffs, varying in height from 150 to 200 feet, for the most part white and sterile, and composed of volcanic sand and pebbles to their very bases. At the bottom of this immense ravine, a gentle stream wound its silent way, while, a little further on, whole trees, dead and charred (from whose sides the loose sand, &c. had been removed by the action of the winds and rains), stood erect, in the places where many ages ago they once grew; at a depth of from 100 to 200 feet below the present level of the soil! I greatly regretted my being so much pressed for time in passing this place, called by the natives, Piarere; but the sabbath drew nigh, we had no provision, with several miles yet to go ere we should reach a village; and the loose sand, through which we were now toiling, we often sank in up to our knees.

Quitting this hollow, and ascending its S.W. side, I was again agreeably surprised in seeing the noble river Waikato, with its blue waters (here wide, and swift, and deep), rolling majestically along. This is the largest fresh water stream I have yet seen in New Zealand. This river the natives navigate in their canoes from above this place to where it disembogues into the Southern Ocean on the W. coast, a distance of nearly [279] 250 miles. In consequence of there not being any food at this place, we had to travel about five miles in an almost southerly direction by the bank of the river, before we could cross it. We found, however, a rude bridge thrown across, at a place where the river was very narrow, being confined within a sandstone channel, through which it rushes with fearful velocity, eddying, and foaming, and carrying everything before it. The sandstone rocks on either side, through the softness of the stone and the continual working of the waters, were fretted into a thousand fantastic shapes. Leaving the river, and ascending the western banks (which here rose in regular terraces over one another), we proceeded in a westerly direction for upwards of six miles, arriving at sunset, unwell, in pain, and much fatigued at Wareturere, a small village in the Maungatautari district, where we were hospitably received by the natives. The sun throughout this day was intensely hot, and most of the country over which we passed quite free from wood, and very dry and dusty.

At an early hour on the morning of the 24th, I once more re-commenced my journey. The land in the immediate neighbourhood of this village appeared to be of very good quality; such also, is the land immediately around Matamata. The fervent sun, unobscured with clouds, told of another melting day, and the high fern-brakes, through which we had to force our way, abounded with their dreaded subtile yellow dust. I could but think how very applicable were the words of the poet:—

“In vain the sight, dejected to the ground,
Stoops for relief; thence hot ascending steams.
And keen reflection pain.————– [280]
—————–Distressful Nature pants.
The very streams look languid from afar;
Or, through th’unshelter’d glade, impatient seems
To hurl into the covert of the grove.”
Thoms. Seas. Summer.

Cheering my native fellow travellers, we struggled on together up the steep hills; gaining the summit of the wooded mountainous range, we descended over open fern-land into extensive swampy plains. I observed those pests to agriculture, the large-leaved docks (R. crispus and R. obtusifolius), to be very plentiful here among the fern; where they attain to a great size, 4-5 feet in height. The natives say, that the Ngapuhi tribes (who live in the northern parts of the island, and with whom they were formerly at continual enmity) sowed the seeds of this plant hereabouts, in order to spoil their lands.121 I doubt, however, the cause assigned for its introduction here in the very centre of the island, but not the fact. At Poverty Bay, and parts adjacent, the natives assert, that the seed of the dock, was originally sold them by whites for that of the tobacco plant! Various species of the genus Rumex are now too frequent in several districts, in common with many other noxious European weeds. I have often noticed, in travelling, certain spots abounding in the rankest vegetation, but without a single indigenous plant. The new comers appear to vegetate so fast, as quite to exterminate and supersede the original possessors of the soil. In crossing a very [281] deep swamp, a beautiful bird, apparently of the crane kind, rose gracefully from the mud among the reeds, and flew slowly around us; its under plumage was of a light-yellow or ochre colour, with a dark-brown upper plumage. None of my natives knew the bird, declaring they had never seen such an one before. Leaving the swamp, and entering on a plain, I discovered a new and elegant plant of the Orchideæ family (probably belonging to the genus Microtis), possessing a lovely carmine-coloured perianth, with pubescent scape and spike. It was, however, very scarce, I only detecting it in one low spot by the side of the path. A pretty little Lobelia grew about here in great profusion. At sunset we reached Otawao, a mission station. This place being in the midst of an extensive plain of fern, affords little entertainment to the botanist.

On the 26th I continued my journey towards the western coast. During the whole of this day I did not obtain a single plant, although we travelled over many a weary mile of desolate wild until some time after sunset. At one part of our route this morning, the scenery was of the most enchanting description. Groves and clumps of that elegant pine., Dacrydium excelsum, were intersected with small placid lakes and level plains, appearing like a work of art. Late at night we threw ourselves down to rest among the fern, in a small and miserable village near the banks of the river Waipa. Rest, however, was quite out of the question, for our old and implacable tormentors, the musquitoes, were innumerable. The next morning, before sunrise, hungry, weary and sleepy, we willingly started from this wretched place, where our night instead of being one of rest, had literally been one of continual torment! [282] Passing through a deep and muddy watercourse, I obtained specimens of a large-leaved Myriophyllum. Half-an-hour’s march brought us to a village on the immediate banks of the Waipa river. Here, we obtained a canoe, and got some food, which, having despatched, we proceeded down the river in our little bark. This river has a very tortuous course, winding continually to all points of the compass.122 Its width is pretty uniform, being generally from 70 to 100 feet, with a slow current. It is navigable hence to the sea for large boats, and its sides are, in many places, densely clothed with trees to the water’s edge, among which Dacrydium excelsum shows itself conspicuous. In its banks, which are mostly composed of alluvial earth, and which in some places are from 14 to 20 feet in height, pipe-clay and volcanic sand often present themselves to the view. At 4 p.m., we reached Ngaruawahie, the spot where the junction of this river with the Waikato is effected. As before, the Waikato came rolling impetuously on, carrying its waters quite across the quiet Waiapa to the opposite bank. From this place the two rivers bear the name of Waikato to the sea, and justly so, as the waters of the Waipa are completely lost in those of the deep and rapid Waikato.

A little below Ngaruawahie, we met a native in a canoe, with a live and elegant specimen of the genus Fulica. I hailed the man and purchased the bird, [283] which he had recently snared, for a little tobacco. It was a most graceful creature, and, as far as I am aware, an entirely new and undescribed species. Its general colour was dark, almost black; head, grey, and without a frontal shield; fore-neck and breast, ferruginous red; wings, barred with white; bill, produced and sharp; feet and legs, glossy olive; toes, beautifully and largely festooned at the edges; eye, light-coloured and very animated. It was very fierce, and never ceased attempting to bite at everything within its reach. I kept it until we landed, intending to preserve it, but—as it was late, and neither material at hand nor time to spare, and the animal, too, looking so very lovely that I could not make up my mind to put it to death—I let it go; it swam, dived, and disappeared. From its not possessing a frontal shield on the forehead (which is one of the principal generic marks of the Linn. genus, Fulica), it may possibly hereafter be considered as the type of a new genus, serving to connect the genera Fulica and Rallus. Not a doubt, however, in my opinion can exist, as to its being naturally allied in habit and affinity to the Fulicæ; I have, therefore, named it Fulica Nova-Zealandiæ. In size, it was somewhat less than our European species, F. atra.

I gained not any botanical specimens this clay, save the Myriophyllum already mentioned; although I had every reason to believe, that many new and interesting plants would doubtless be found, in the dense and ever-humid forests on the immediate banks of this noble river: time, however, would not permit my delaying for that purpose.

At an early hour the next morning I re-commenced my voyage down the Waikato. I found the river to [284] widen considerably as I advanced, being in some places from 300 to 500 yards in width, but very shallow. Its course, here, was not so sinuous, and much more northerly, than those portions we passed over yesterday. The land is low on either side, and, as I proceeded, several small and flat islands divided the river into channels. After paddling about 20 miles, we beached our canoe on a small island, in order to breakfast. The river here is very shoal, with a sandy bottom, which, together with the sub-soil of the island on which we landed, is of volcanic origin, consisting of broken lava and pumice. I found nothing new among the vegetation of the islet. Near this place, the natives informed me, and at a short distance from the right bank of the river, is a large lake, in which are quantities of Kanæ (Mugil ——) and Patiki (Pleuronectes ——–), neither of which are found in the Waikato. These fish are found, in their season, on all the New Zealand coasts, and are very delicate eating. The lake is named Waikare, and runs into the main river a little lower down. As we proceeded, the banks of the river became more and more lovely, being in many places clothed with the richest profusion of vegetation to the water’s edge. Among the trees, the Kahikatea (Dacrydium excelsum) was ever predominant. We noticed a Kauri (Dammara australis) to-day, for the first time since we left the Bay of Islands. At seeing this pine my natives, whom I had brought from the E. Cape, and who had never seen one of these trees before, were much gratified. Towards evening, we passed several islets in the river, some of which were high and beautifully wooded. Noticed the Kahikatea to stand very close together in the forests. I gathered, overhanging the banks of the [285] river, a specimen of Parsonsia, with axillary inflorescence; this, however, may prove but a variety of P. heterophylla, as that plant continually varies in appearance, hardly two specimens being alike. Two species of Epilobium, one a very fine plant—a Myriophyllum— and a linear-leaved floating plant (? Potamogeton), I also obtained in this locality. Bivouacked for the night on a little open flat on the left bank of the river. The musquitoes, as might have been expected, were in interminable clouds and most annoying. Large quantities of an elegant species of Cyperus (C.fulvus? R. Brown) grew here, on either shore.

Early the next morning we resumed our paddling: down the river, which here begins to be under the influence of the tides. The morning was squally and lowering, with every indication of a gale at hand. As we neared the sea-coast the river became very wide, being from two to three miles across, and containing several flat islands. The water here is shallow. At noon I had a prospect of the outer range of hills on the western coast, and a more dreary and sterile one can not easily be imagined. High and broken ferruginous coloured sand-hills, destitute of the least vestige of vegetation. The wind setting in from the sea, against the ebbing tide, caused the water to be very rough, and called forth our united energies to keep our frail bark from swamping. At 2 p. m. we landed in safety at Maraetai, a station belonging to the Church Mission, where the Rev. R. Maunsell resides, whose kind and hospitable reception quickly made us forget the little danger we had so lately beenin.

Maraetai, is on the immediate south bank of Waikato river, and only about a mile distant from the heads. [286] The land on the southern side is very high and precipitous, while on the northern it is hilly but lower, and, for about three or four miles, the very perfection of barrenness. Mr. Maunsell, who has several times been up and down this river, supposes the distance which I came by water to be from 130 to 150 miles; being very nearly what I had calculated it to be. The river decreases rapidly in width as you approach its mouth, which is very narrow with a bar across it, on which there is two fathoms of water. Here, the breakers burst continually; one or two small vessels have, however, entered.



At 6 a.m., on the 1st February, we left Maraetai. Crossing the river in a canoe to the northern bank, we proceeded over the sandhills on our journey towards Manukau. Descending to the outer coast, we continued travelling over the interminable sandy beach until after sunset; when, much fatigued, we halted for the night on the sands, about three miles within the southern head of Manukau Bay. The cliffs to our right in this day’s travelling, were high and much broken, composed of sand and sandstone, and in many places covered with verdure. The continual falling, however, of the sandy material of which they are composed, will, in process of time, cause them to entirely disappear. In several places, for many yards together, the line of cliff nearest the sea had recently fallen, bringing with it quantities of small trees and shrubs, causing, at the time of high water, no small obstacle to our progress. I noticed some small shrubs, evidently species of Edwardsia, the habit and foliage of which differed from the one I had hitherto seen; I took specimens, regretting there being neither flower nor fruit. [287] A little Limosella? also, grew here in the sand. On the face of a damp cliff, near a small watercourse which trickled down the rocks, I discovered a peculiar succulent plant, bearing a raceme of obovate red drupæ. These, with a curious moss, from the wet rocks in this locality, comprised the whole of my collection in this day’s journey. Here, on the sandy beaches, feeding on small marine insects, the Dusky Plover (Charadrius obscurus) and Southern Godwit (Limora australis) were in large flocks. The natives call the former, Tuturuwatu; and the latter, Kuaka. The Godwit is, when in season, very fat, and good eating.

The next morning we continued our course by the sinuous shores of Manukau Bay. We soon reached a native village, where, gaining a supply of potatoes, &c., we recruited our strength, and, engaging a canoe, paddled to the upper extremity of the harbour; landing at Otahuhu, the isthmus connecting the northern and southern parts of the Northern Island of New Zealand. The appearance of the strata in the low cliffs at this place is very curious, and worthy the consideration of the geologist. Alluvial earth, clay, volcanic sand, pipe clay, and peat, present themselves in beds one above another, the peat being invariably underneath. Steatite, in small masses, I found mixed among the clay. A stratum of fine white clay, much resembling pipe clay, is generally visible below the bed of volcanic sand, which I believe to consist of either disintegrated lava and pumice, or fine white volcanic ashes. In the sand and mud beneath the cliff over which the tide at high-water flows, calcined and charred roots, and portions of the lower trunks and stems of trees and shrubs abound, still standing in the position in which ages back they [288] grew. The whole appearance of the country in this neighbourhood is of a highly volcanic character. Several abruptly rising isolated hills, partly covered with scoriæ, having their sides peculiarly terraced (which, though doubtless augmented by art,123 attest their volcanic origin), are here scattered about. On the northern side of the bay, and about a mile distant, scoriæ abounds; the ground being in some places as if entirely composed of it, in massy flat and continuous layers. This isthmus is very narrow, being only about three quarters of a mile across, and that over an almost level plain, a few feet only above the level of the sea. There are not any forests in this locality; the eye wanders over a succession of low volcanic hills, bearing nothing but the monotonous brown fern, with here and there a shrub of Coriaria sarmentosa rising a few feet above the common denizen of the soil, by which it is every where surrounded. Here, among the fern brakes, the New Zealand quail (Coturnix ——–) is found. This bird, once (according to the natives) very common in this island, has become somewhat scarce, owing, no doubt, to the increasing number of its introduced foes—dogs, cats, and rats. The natives used to take this bird with nets; their name for it is Koitareke. It is a shy bird, being but seldom seen; their cry, however, is often heard. From the dry hills, I obtained two new species of ferns; one, an elegant little Gymnogramma (G. Nova Zealandia, W.C.) only two or three inches high, I found growing on the scoria among the grass; the other, a species of Asplenium (A. oblongifolium, W.C.), I gained [289] from the sides of the dark pits and ravines in the same locality. A peculiar species of Coprosma (C. crassifolia,124 W.C.), I detected growing among the scoria on the northern side of the bay; together with a curious slender tree, bearing a profusion of red drupæ, and having spathulato-orbiculate leaves, white and downy underneath, perhaps a species belonging to A. Cunningham’s new genus Corokia. This neighbourhood was once densely inhabited; but the frequent and sanguinary wars of the ferocious tribes of this benighted land, all but entirely depopulated these fertile districts.

Having concluded to return overland to the Bay of Islands, and having obtained a supply of rice from the capital, the only portable article of food procurable an these parts—for we were now about entering on an uninhabited route, and that, too, without a guide—early in the morning of the 4th, we left Otahuhu, in a small canoe which we had borrowed, and paddling down the bay about four miles we landed on the north side of the harbour; continuing our course by the muddy winding shores to Te Wau, a little cove where the path leading to Kaipara commenced. Here, while my natives were engaged in cooking our breakfast, I, looking about, discovered a shrub of a genus altogether unknown to [290] me. This plant bears an oblong succulent crimson-coloured bacca, containing several large angular and irregularly shaped seeds; its growth is diffuse and slender with but few branches, and its height is from 5-9 feet. In habit alone it closely approaches to some species of the Coprosma genus. There were several of them here, on the immediate banks of a little rivulet which ran through this dell; I did not, however, observe it in any other locality. Continuing my journey, I found (in ascending the first clayey hill from the seaside) a handsome shrubby Dracophyllum; a species not noticed by Cunningham in his “ Precursor.” This shrub is from 2-5 feet in height, somewhat rigid in its growth, and branched at bottom. It will (with the other new species already mentioned, p. 266) naturally fall between D. latifolium, Banks; and D. Urvillianum, Rich., and thus well connect the whole of the already known New Zealand species. We travelled on, over open and barren heaths, in a northerly direction until sunset. Observed nothing new in these dreary and sterile wilds save the Dracophyllum already mentioned. Bivouacked for the night in a little dell, nestling among the close growing Leptospermum, not a stick being any where within ken large enough to serve as a tent pole.

The next morning we re-commenced our journey in rain. Country, for several miles, much the same as that we passed over yesterday. About noon we passed by some forests of Dammara, which were burning fiercely; some person or persons who had lately passed that way having set fire to the brushwood, which soon communicated to the forests. This is an event of very common occurrence in New Zealand, and is often thoughtlessly done by the natives to cause a blaze! [291] through which means many a noble forest of pines has been entirely consumed.125

Arriving at Kaipara, we found we had no means of crossing the harbour; a sheet of water, which, from where we now stood (at the extreme southern inlet) to the nearest landing-place on the northern shore, was more than fifty miles across. Our situation at this place was rather unpleasant, no natives being near by; we preferred, however, to wait here a day or two, in hopes of a canoe arriving at the landing-place, rather than retrace our steps to Otahuhu. In this place we remained until the night of Tuesday the 8th, making fires on the brow of the hill, in order to attract the attention of the natives residing on the opposite shores of the water before us. No one, however, came; and on Tuesday, reconnoitring with my glass, I detected the roof of a hut about four miles distant, which, from its construction, I knew to belong to a white. Thither, without delay, I despatched two of my natives; who, to [292] their credit be it recorded, willingly went, although they had to force a passage through mud and under-wood the whole distance! At night they returned, with two whites, in an old patched-up and leaky boat, in which we gladly left this miserable place, where the mosquitoes were more numerous and intolerably annoying than I had ever before found them. So thick and tormenting were they at night, that I was obliged to leave my tent, and wander about in my cloak from place to place as they successively found me out. We had, in hopes of avoiding them, pitched on the top of the hill, more than a mile from the water below, but without the least change for the better.



On the morning of the 12th, after encountering no little hardship and danger, we landed near the upper end of Otamatea inlet, on the N.E. side of Kaipara. Here, the boat left us, and we soon found that our situation was ten times worse than it was before; for there was not any path, nor the slightest indication of the treading of a human foot on these solitary and pathless deserts. Return, we could not, as our boat was gone; stand still, we dared not, as our small supply of food was fast diminishing; proceed, we hardly cared to think of, not knowing whither our tortuous course would end—in a country like this, in which we now for the first time were, hemmed in among tangled brakes and primæval forests, bounded by a distant horizon of high and broken hills.. In this exigency I determined on proceeding by compass, in as straight a line as possible to the eastern coast; for, although I had not a map with me, I was well aware that the island was narrow in these parts. Words, however, fail to describe what we had to undergo, in forcing our way [293] through the horrid interwoven mass of shrubs and prickly creepers, fern and cutting-grass, and prostrate trees, and swamps, and mud! Suffice to say, that, by dint of extreme exertion, I providentially gained the sandhills at Mangawai, on the east coast, by 10 a.m. on Monday, the 14th. Descending the hilly range near the sea coast, I found I had an extensive inlet to cross, which, as the tide was flowing fast I lost no time in fording; so, plunging in, I waded to the opposite shore, the water being breast-high. I supposed my natives to be following pretty closely after me, and, having quite an appetite for my breakfast (having walked nearly six hours this morning), I commenced looking narrowly about for fresh water, continuing my journey towards the coast. Exhausted as I was, I discovered and secured, an hitherto unnoticed species of Leptospermum, a shrub, or small tree, growing plentifully on the high ridges of the sandhills, from 6-10 feet in height, bearing a villous capsule, apparently near L. attenuatim, Smith. A pretty compositaceous shrub (Cassinia leptophylla?) grew profusely here on the sand. Travelling on by the rocky coast, I detected in a little watercourse which trickled on the beach, a small peculiar plant, probably a species of Chara. It was now past noon, the day was very sultry, and I was tired, wet, and ravenously hungry in a desolate and wild place, when, for the first time, I realised a conviction which had been for the last hour gaining ground in my mind—that I was alone! I retraced my steps to the sandhills, and sought about, and bawled repeatedly, but all in vain; nought but the loud dash of the billow as it broke on the lonely strand, with now and then the melancholy wail of the Sandpiper burst on my [294] expectant ear. My natives, somehow, had strayed into another direction, or lagged behind, so that I saw nothing more of them until after sunset on Tuesday, the 15th, when they joined me on the outer beach of Wangarei Bay.

During these two days I managed to subsist on some shell-fish (Mytilus, sp.) from the rocks, the scanty sarcocarp of the fruit of the Corynocarpus lævigatus, Forst. (the large kernel of this fruit being in its raw state an active poison), and the inner young leaves of Areca sapida, Sol.; this latter plant (the palm of New Zealand) affords good eating, a bonne bouche to any one in my situation. My natives were exceedingly happy the next night, on coming up to the spot where I had brought up for the night, and finding me safe and well. To their honour be it mentioned, that, though they were bearers of provisions, they would not touch a morsel of it during the two days we were separated from each other knowing that I was without food; saying, “What! shall we eat when our father is fasting?” Like myself, they subsisted on shell-fish and the fruit before mentioned.



On the morning of the 16th, leaving the little fishing hut in which we had passed the night, we struck inland towards Te Ruakaka; a small village a few miles from the south shore of Wangarei Bay. Arriving thither, we were hospitably received, and, having breakfasted, resumed our journey onwards. In the low rushy land between this village and the inner shore of the harbour, I discovered a species of Lycopodium, with axillary spikes of fructification, which was new to me; it grew together with a closely-allied species, L. laterale, R. Br., from which plant, however, it differs [295] much in habit, this being erect and almost invariably bifurcate. In this locality, too, I detected another fine species of Pterostylis, with undulated oblong-lanceolate leaves; which will rank between P. Banksii, R. Br., and my minute and truly elegant n.sp., P. collina. Its time of flowering had scarcely arrived when I passed; I gained, after some search, a specimen or two with unfolded perianth. Arriving at the water’s side, we found, to our disappointment, that we could not obtain a canoe, all of them being in use further up the harbour. As, however, we could not cross the water without one, I sent two of my natives to fetch it, patiently awaiting their return on the solitary mud banks. While here, I was much amused in observing the predatory habits of the metallic plumaged Kotaretare (Dacelo Leachii?). Perched on an outstretched branch of a Mangrove tree, intently watching for the appearing of some unwary little crab from his hole in the mud beneath, the Dacelo quietly sits. Presently some ill-starr’d wight would be seen peeping out of his dwelling, suspiciously reconnoitring about him; being satisfied that the coast was clear of enemies, he suddenly pops out and commences his irregular sideway run, when, swift as an arrow, the Dacelo, who has attentively beheld all his movements, pounces down, seizes the hapless little wanderer in his capacious beak, and returns to his station on the tree, with as much haste as if he knew himself to be a thief and trespassing on forbidden ground. I have often witnessed their mode of obtaining their prey, and hardly ever observed them to vary in the least, rarely venturing into the shallow water. Towards evening my natives returning with a canoe, and an old female slave to bale! we entered our frail bark and paddled directly [296] across the harbour to the northern shore, a distance of about five miles. A heavy swell setting in, we ran some risk, but crossed in safety; landing at Tamatarau, a small village, at 9 p.m., where we passed the night. The natives of this place, and in fact the whole neighbourhood, stunk insufferably from shark oil, and the effluvia arising from thousands of the Squalus genus, which were hung up to dry in the sun in all directions. This bay being shallow and sandy, is a favorite resort of several species of Squalus in the summer season; at which time the natives congregate together, and take them in great numbers. They call them Mango, their ova, which they carefully preserve and dry, is considered a great delicacy. Several species of the genus Raia, Linn., are also taken here in multitudes. I have seen the natives capture them, by plunging a long pole through their horizontally flattened bodies, when passing in a canoe over the extensive mud flats with which this bay abounds. The tail of one large species, is armed with large spines of three inches and upwards in length, which spines are deeply, closely, and sharply serrated. One pretty little species, I once saw, had a very long filiform cylindrical and smooth tail. These fish are called ‘Wai, by the natives. A species of the Hammer-headed Shark (Zygœna, Cuv.) is sometimes met with on these shores among the shoals of its congeners in the summer. I have only seen a small one, about 2 feet 6 inches in length; the natives know them by the name of Mangopare.

The next morning we again re-commenced our march. On the clayey hills near Te Karaka, in this neighbourhood, I discovered a graceful and minute Lycopodium; a curious and unique little plant, scarcely two inches [297] high, bearing a yellow terminal spike of fructification on a white stalk, with few linear-lanceolate patent radical leaves, and tuberculated root. At first glance I took it for a little Orchideous plant; but soon found what it was in reality. I have never met with the description of any plant of that Natural Order, at all resembling this. On the high hills in this locality, I also detected an elegant and new species of Microtis, closely resembling M. Banksii, but differing in having a much shorter subulate fistulous leaf, and beautifully coloured perianth, as well as in its flowering in the autumn, that species only being seen in the spring. Here, in the forests on the hill tops, an enormous Fungus grows pendant from the larger branches of the large-leaved Fagus,126 some of which measures a full yard across, and about eighteen inches in width and thickness. These, the natives call Putawa, and when dried use them for tinder, for which purpose they are excellent. Hitherto, I have only found them to grow on this tree. A fine plant of that truly sweet genus, Alseuosmia, A. Cunn., I also discovered in these dry hilly forests. This species127 is, in appearance, very near A. linariifolia, A. Cunn., though differing much in habit. Its leaves, too, are longer, midrib and petioles villous, and its numerous flowers both axillary and terminal. It is the largest shrub I have yet seen of the genus; growing to the height of 5-7 feet. In the forests, [298] a little further on, I detected a new species of Mira (another new genus of A. Cunn.’s), a small graceful tree bearing elegant blossoms.128 The wood, of the different species of this genus, is very hard, dark, and heavy, and is used by the natives in making walking-staffs, spears, and, in former times, implements of war. The native name, Maire (whence the generic appellation), is proverbially applied, when speaking of any obstinate determined person. A new species of Coprosma,129 I also detected in these woods; a slender shrub with long drooping filiform branches. Proceeding on, through the forests, I discovered two, if not three, small aromatic trees of a genus evidently belonging to the Natural Order Winteraceæ; one of which, a handsome tree, had large obovate shining leaves. A species of the same genus I had before detected in the humid forests on the mountains near Waikare Lake. A fine and handsome species of ? Myrsine; an elegant tree, 20-35 feet high, with a full branched head, long linear leaves, and straight and smooth bark; often found on the skirts of woods in dry hilly situations. A dwarf species of the Melicytus genus;130 a small tree, 6-7 feet high, apparently an intermediate species between M. ramiflorus, Forst., and M. macrophyllus, A. Cunn. A curious parasitical black Fungus, hanging suspended like a black ball of fine silk by a thread of the same texture [299] to the fruit of a Cyperaceous plant; together with several specimens of Musci, Jungermanneæ, and Fungi.

Crossing the mouth of Horahora creek, in the evening at low water, a small red-coloured fish swam towards us, and bit a toe of the native who was carrying me. I immediately got down and captured the little assailant, putting him into my specimen bottle. It was a curious little scale-less fellow, about three inches in length, with a large broad compressed head, eyes distant, red and sunk, wide mouth, projecting jaws, numerous small and pointed teeth, pectorals very large, ventrals forming somewhat of a reniform and concave disk, and dorsal small and near the tail; it may possibly prove to be a new species of Cyclopterus, Linn.

Late at night we arrived at Ngunguru, a village near the coast, situate on a river of the same name navigable for small vessels. Here, I obtained a few John-dory (Zeus, sp.), which the children captured in the shallow water at the ebb tide. It appeared to differ but little from the common English species. The natives call it, Kuparu.

Leaving Ngunguru the next morning in a boat, the sea being very calm and the wind favorable, a voyage of six hours brought us to Owae, a small village in Wangaruru Bay. Here we landed and remained during the sabbath.

On the high southern headland of Wangururu Bay (near which we landed), I discovered a clump of small trees, bearing a handsome fruit of the size of a large walnut. Each fruit contained three large shining seeds somewhat crescent-shaped, and having the front as it were scraped away. Its leaves are oblong glabrous and much veined, arid its young branches lactescent. I [300] have little doubt but that this tree will be found to rank in the Natural Order Sapotaceæ, and probably under the genus Achras. The natives call it, Tawaapou.

At Owae I obtained a fine specimen of Scolopendra, measuring nearly six inches in length, and beautifully coloured with brown and blue. I found it beneath the bark of a decayed Dammara. It bit my native lad, in seizing it, through his thick-skinned hand, which it caused to bleed; neither swelling nor great pain, however, followed. The wood of the Dammara (especially when decaying) is often found pierced with large cylindrical holes, extending a great way into it; this is the work of the Larvæ of some insect at present unknown to me. I have, however, several of the Larvæ, which are large, wrinkled, and of a dirty-white colour, with a black head. Some measure from four to six inches in length, and are proportionably thick. The natives call them, Huhu, and consider them a great delicacy! devouring them greedily when roasted. Here, too, 1 detected an active little insect of the scorpion family, or rather (being tailless) of the genus Chelifer, Geoff. This small insect is about four lines in length; its body somewhat oval, grey, and annulated; its palpi red and elongated, with forceps resembling a hand, which, when at all checked in its movements, it raises and opens in an attitude of defence. It runs very swiftly, and equally well backwards as forwards, or sideways like a crab. Near logs of wood and roots of trees, I noticed the Larvæ of some species of the Myrmeleon genus, hidden at the bottom of their funnel-shaped cavities in the sand; which much resembled those of M. formicarium, Linn. Its body is about 4-6 lines in length, and is of the colour of the sand it lives in. A fine dark-coloured [301] bulky Scarabœus, I also obtained; together with several elegant and graceful species of Sphinx and Phalæna. One of the Sphinges being the parent of the Larvæ on which the curious parasitical Fungus, Sphæria Robertsii, is produced. Two species of the Phalænæ were particularly interesting; one, a small species, whose wings were of a delicate and bright grass-green colour studded with triangular spots of the deepest black;—the other, a large downy species (?Pyralis, Fab.), with brown wings having oval silver spots in relief, peculiarly arcuated and raised, upon its body, and four distinct and plaited red crests on its back, the upper one being nearly two lines in height.

On a tall branching Pohutukawa tree (Metrosideros tomentosa), which grew on the rocky cliff at the northern end of the beach of Owae, I observed several Cormorants (Pelecanus, sp.) had built their nests. These birds had inhabited this tree for many years; yearly increasing the number of their nests, which they build of dry Algæ, sticks, and small plants. Their social habits and large nests, forcibly reminded me of an English rookery. Two species inhabit these shores; one, with entirely black plumage, which the natives call Kawau—the other, with white fore-neck, breast, and belly, and olive-black neck, back, and wings, called by them Karuhiruhi; this last is the most common.

From the rocks near this village, I obtained fine specimens of that peculiar univalve, the Parmophorus The shell of this animal is almost entirely hidden with its large dark-brown and fleshy mantle, which curves upwards quite around. Some of these Molluscæ would, doubtless, weigh from eight to twelve ounces each. It is found adhering under Fuci in the hollow sides of [302] rocks below low-water mark. Its flesh is eaten by the natives, who call it, Rori. On these rocks I noticed several fine species of the genus Chiton, some measuring more than two inches in length.

The natives of this village, who had been lately fishing, had taken several very fine Kokiri (Balistes, sp., Linn.); some being a foot in length. This fish they greatly prize; its large liver especially being a dainty. This species has a very large moveable spine between its head and its back, a little before its dorsal, which it can erect at pleasure, and (reasoning from appearance) use as a weapon of defence. Its skin is of a dirty-olive colour, and rough, resembling shagreen.

From these natives I obtained a large and peculiar species of Asterias, smooth and of a red-colour, with a pentagonal-circular body of 1½ inch diameter, and five cylindrical and tapering rays, each ray 10 inches long, compactly covered with imbricated scales; the scales on the upper part of the rays being broadly lateral, each scale being minutely dotted with dark red in two rows; while those on the sides of the rays consisted of alternate rows laterally and longitudinally placed, one long narrow scale (lat.) being between 9-12 short (long.) ones; the scales in the undermost row were almost square and notched at the apices. The natives themselves had looked on the animal as being a curiosity; they give the different species of the Asterias genus (of which there are several here), the appellation of Korotupa.

Along the shore lay several Zoophyta, common to these seas in the summer season. Among them were species of Medusa, and Physalia (P. pelagica?); the last still retaining their lovely ultra-marine colour. [303] These, the natives distinguish by the name of Aumoana. Routing over a heap of cast up Algæ, I found what appeared to have been the air-bladder of a fish; it was complete, stout, semi-transparent, and inflated, about 6 inches long by 2½ inches wide, and forked throughout three-fourths of its entire length. The natives assured me, it was the air-bladder of a fish of the Diodon genus, with which they were well acquainted, and to which they had given the very appropriate name of Koputotara, i.e. Prickled-belly. These air-bladders are sometimes used by the natives instead of small calabashes for the purpose of holding liquids, such as oil, ink, &c. A large Cephalopod (Sepia, sp), with long formidable-looking tentacula studded with large tubercules, I also noticed.

The village of Owae, being built on a sandy spot close to the sea, the sand flies are here exceedingly numerous and annoying. When at this place, in 1839, I detected a very tall and graceful fern-tree (Cyathea dealbata) growing by the river side. Sending one of my native lads to the top of the fern to measure its height, I found it to be upwards of 38 feet. Another arborescent fern of the same species, which I subsequently discovered in a wood in the neighbourhood, was three-branched at about 5 feet from the ground, each branch being 4 feet in length, and bearing a fine head of living fronds.

Leaving Owae in a canoe, on the morning of the 21st, we paddled across Wangaruru Bay, and by noon gained the upper end of Wangaruru River. This salt-water inlet is famous for a species of Grey Mullet (Mugil——–), which is very numerous. It is a particularly interesting sight, and one that invariably gives an [304] additional beauty to the delightful scenery of the New Zealand rivers, to witness this sportive fish leaping out of the water on a still fine summer’s evening. It is not an unusual thing for one of those fish to leap into a passing canoe. In some rivers, where they are very plentiful, the natives moor their canoes off in the stream on a fine night, and are sometimes rewarded with a fine fish or two for their trouble. The New Zealanders, however, take them in large quantities in their nets.

Landing at Tutaimatai, at the head of the river, we proceeded on over Te Ranga, a high hill, from the summit of which on a clear day the traveller has a most magnificent and picturesque bird’s-eye view, extending over the whole of the Bay of Islands, and northwards beyond the Cavalles. The dense forests of Dammara and other pines, with their foliage of every hue, cresting the hills in the immediate foreground, and spreading up the steep sides of the eminence beneath his feet, heighten, not a little, the surpassing loveliness of the scene. Those gallant little gentlemen, the Cicadæ, who make—

“Their summer lives one ceaseless song,”

were rattling away at a merry rate on the different trees and shrubs around. Of these insects, several species inhabit New Zealand. One species of a light emerald-green, and another of a golden colour, are peculiarly charming: the natives call them, Tatarakihi. Descending Te Ranga, I detected, growing in a mossy bank, a fine Pterostylis, with numerous lanceolate bracts, its radical leaves and perianth much like those of P. collina, with which elegant species it has close affinity. Passing through a swamp at the base of the hill, a fine bird of the Ardea genus, rose gracefully and slowly [305] from among the rushes. This bird, which resembles very much the English Bittern in its general appearance, is large, being upwards of three feet in length, and is very shy, mostly remaining solitary in swampy places. Its plumage has a very elegant appearance, being of a light colour underneath, and reddish-brown on the back and wings, dappled with black. Its bill and legs are of a delicate yellowish-green colour. The native name for this bird is, Matukuhurepo. In about three hours from our leaving the landing place at the bead of Wangaruru River, we arrived at Waikare, a village situate on the inner waters of the Bay of Islands.

It was from the woods in this locality, that I first obtained specimens of the Para, a fine fern of the Marattia genus, whose curiously jointed and bipinnate fronds attain to the height of 10-13 feet. This plant was formerly in great request among the natives, the large gibbous fleshy and vaginant bases of its petioles, being an article of food of the first quality. Hence its scarcity, a few plants only being found remaining in the deepest and darkest recesses of the forest. The largest tree fern I have yet seen, I found in these woods. It was a Cyathea medullaris, and measured, from its base to the springing of its petioles, 42 feet! My admiration and astonishment were greatly increased, on detecting this fine fern, and ascertaining its height, as all of this species I had hitherto seen seldom attained a greater altitude than 10-12 feet; and A. Cunningham (in Comp. Bot. Mag., v.ii., p. 368), speaking of it, says, “Caudex orgyalis.” Here, too, I noticed a splendid plant of Fuchsia excorticata; quite a tree, being 21 feet [306] in height, and 2 feet 9 inches in girth; bearing a profusion of lovely blossoms and fragrant edible fruit. Don (Syst. Bot., v.ii., p. 679), describes this species as “a shrub from New Zealand, 2-3 feet in height.”

At Waikare I remained during the night, and, on the next morning, the 22nd, obtaining a boat, a row of three hours returned us in safety to Paihia, one of the Church Missionary Society’s stations in the Bay of Islands. In our passage down the Waikare River, several fine Gannets (Sula, sp.) attracted our attention. We pursued one, swimming on the water, and very nearly seized him. In order to escape us, and just as our boat was upon him, he disgorged a large fish which he had recently swallowed, and took to flight. This fish measured 11 inches in length, and 9 inches in girth, and was quite whole. The natives often take this bird by watching its movements, and giving chase directly after it has gorged itself with food, when it is easily taken. They call it Takupu. A small but graceful species of Garfish (Belone, Cuv.), hastening away from its voracious pursuers, flew, or rather sprung, into my boat. This fish is common here in the summer months. Its under jaw a1one is produced. It swims in shoals, and often scuds along on the surface of the water, sometimes taking a long leap, especially when pursued by larger fish. It is very delicate eating, and is justly esteemed both by whites and natives. The natives take them in large quantities with small nets. Here, they call them, Takeke; but among the southern tribes, Ihe.

In concluding this somewhat incongruous collection of Memoranda, I would embrace the opportunity of stating, as my decided opinion, that New Zealand [307] presents a fine field of labour to the Naturalist, particularly in cryptogamic botany, conchology, and entomology. It is true, that here we cannot boast of many indigenous natural productions serviceable to man, nor of a showy flora, nor of splendid insects, such as many other and neighbouring countries can produce; yet the truly careful observer will soon perceive, that the productions of New Zealand are, generally speaking, peculiar to herself, and highly curious in structure.

Lastly, I would briefly remark, that the more I see of this country—now my adopted one—the more I feel assured that she is still but very imperfectly known, both in her productions and capabilities. Arising, I am persuaded (at least as far as her capabilities are concerned), more from carelessness and ignorance, or design, than from any other assignable reason. The soils, in particular, of New Zealand, have been represented as possessing a fertility unparalleled, and such everywhere abounding to an almost unlimited extent! Nearly ten years of residence (during which period a good share of travelling and numerous opportunities of obtaining the most correct information) has, however, convinced me, that such is far, very far, from the truth. Few, indeed, are the districts, which can in any sense be termed fertile; and where such exist, the native population is generally very great.

New Zealand (the North Island) is, on the whole, a barren country; and—bearing in mind the absolute and prior claims of her own sons—unavailable to the stranger to any very great extent for agricultural purposes. Nor must it be forgotten, that her best and most fertile portions (few though they be) are still in [308] the hands of her children; whose eyes are now opening to the fact, that they cannot part with such lands to the foreigner without detriment to themselves or their descendants. Her natural productions—her fisheries, her metals, her timber, her flax, her pork, and her barks for dyeing and tanning—will, doubtless, prove an inexhaustible mine of wealth; but, ere these can be available, the spirit of labour and industry, of energy and alacrity, must be infused into her present occupiers; contentment and unity must dwell among us—and self denial be extensively practised.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand,


January, 1843.

P.S.—The total number of specimens in Natural History, collected and observed by me in this excursion, may amount to nearly 1,000, of which I have had the pleasure of transmitting to Sir W.J. Hooker, upwards of 600, being about the number I considered new; two thirds of which, at least, I can but suppose to be at present unknown to science. It is chiefly in consequence of my having done so that I have not cared minutely to particularize or describe the greater number, knowing that that gentleman—and who more eminently qualified?—will not fail to do so.—W.C.

________________________________________________
1846 A classification and description of some newly discovered ferns collected in the northern island of New Zealand in the summer of 1841-2.
Launceston Examiner, Launceston. 29p; reprinted Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science, Agriculture, Statistics, Etc; 2: 161-189.131

It is now nearly seven years since a monograph on the then known botany of the islands of New Zealand, from the pen of the late Allan Cunningham, Esq., first appeared in the pages of the second volume of the Companion to the Botanical Magazine, which paper was continued and completed (on the discontinuance of that work) in Vols. I.–IV. of Annals of Natural History. This “precursor” of the botany of this increasingly interesting country contained 639 species132 of plants, nearly the whole of which have hitherto been detected only in these islands. This enumeration embraced the published discoveries of those truly eminent men, Sir Joseph Banks and Dr. Solander, who accompanied our illustrious [162] circumnavigator, Cook, on his first voyage to these seas in 1769; as well as those of the Forsters who also accompanied Cook on his second voyage of discovery in 1772; of Menzies, who, in Vancouver’s ship, visited these islands in 1791; of M. Achille Richard in 1822; of D’Urville and M. Lesson in 1827; and other later botanists. More, however, than a fourth part of the whole number, comprising several new and. interesting genera, was discovered by the two brothers, Messrs. Allan and Richard Cunningham; of whom, indefatigably attached as they both were to the pursuit of their favourite science, it may be truly said they fell victims in their laudable attempts to make known the botanical treasures of a fair portion of the southern hemisphere. To this number Mr. Allan Cunningham in his last visit to New Zealand, in the year 1838, made an addition of several plants peculiar to the northernmost part of New Zealand.

The number of species of Ferns, published in the “Precursor” amounts to eighty-five; from which, I venture to hazard an opinion, at least two species– Niphobolus bicolor and Doodia caudata–will have to be deducted; as, I, believe, these will be found to be merely varieties of N. rupesiris and D. aspera. To the total number Mr. C. added four more on his last visit; namely, Gleichenia arachnoidea and three species of LomariaL. crenulata, L. gigantea, and L. polymorpha. During the few remaining months of Mr. C’s. life I had the pleasure of discovering and forwarding to him a few additional species of the following genera, Nothochlæna, Cheilanthes, Aspidium, Adiantum, Lomaria, Marattia, and Hymenophyllum. Since that period. I have been fortunate enough to discover a few others, which have been sent to England to Sir W.J. Hooker, by whom they have, without doubt, been fully investigated and published ere this. It was, however, in a journey which I undertook in the summer of last year that I discovered the majority, of these contained in this paper. [163]

I am not aware of any one of these Ferns now described by me ever being seen by any botanist; they certainly are not mentioned in any works on botany at present in my possession; and considering the localities whence they were obtained, together with my never having noticed them in the many parts of New Zealand in which I have at various times travelled, I can but deem them new to science.

The arrangement I have adopted is that of Sir W.J. Hooker and Dr. Lindley, as given in the second edition of A Natural System of Botany by the latter gentleman.

The total number of New Zealand Ferns now known, exclusive of varieties, is about 140 species of these I have very nearly 120 species in my herbarium.



Order–POLYPODIACEÆ.

(I. Nudæ.)



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