Extract from the Maori Journal written by John Webster

Tuesday 18 th May (1847)

This morning before breakfast I measured some of the spars I had brought down yesterday and marked the ends to be cross cut also sharpened a cross cut saw, after breakfast, Parker and I took the boat and went up the Wairere for a pleasure trip we had the tide with us got up in about an hour & half found Brother Wmup there he is splitting fencing for the Mission people he has several natives employed had some figs and a few bunches grapes the latter are out of season, Parker & I then took a trip up into the bush to try & get a pigeon went up among the rocks the scenery is wild and romantic numerous caves & chasms I knew the tracks and led the way @ times we would have to scramble thro’ between immense Rocks & then leap over chasms of great depth with the water gushing below great blocks of rock Piled one on top of another in the most surprising confusion We crossed to the other side the creek & entered the forest I led the way to where I knew there was plenty of miro on which the pigeons feed    we heard a great many flying about I fired at one and missed it I told Parker to stay about where he was & I would go & scour about as I knew the place I went a good way could hear pigeons flying but the foliage of the trees is so thick they difficult to be seen I shot four in about an hour when I thought of returning to Parker I had not heard him fire at all I had some difficulty in returning I could hear the rushing of the water @ a good distance and made for it knowing it to he the Wairere when I got near it I found I was much higher up than the crossing place I had to retrace my steps got into a terrific place immense rocks towered high above me with great yawning chasms below

I had to cross several of these on fallen trees I had occasionally to leap over places so deep the bottom was scarcely seen I got @ last to the place we had entered I hallooed for Parker but could get no answer, I was afraid something had happened to him, I got down, to the landing place & found Parker in the garden picking strawberries. Hallo I said, youre back how many pigeons have you got? Pigeons eh! I may thank my stars I am here safe & sound. He then gave me an account of how he had tried in vain to get a shot @ the pigeons but was unsuccessful when he tried to get back he guided himself by the sun and came out amongst rocks similar to those I had been amongst he was nearly precipitated down a precipice he had been pushing his way thro’ a quantity of toe toe a long grassy bush which cuts ones fingers & faces when he found himself on the verge rock one step farther & he would have been a mangled corps below. He returned & was amazed to find himself on top of a rock with precipitous sides all round how he got on to it he could not find he was ultimately obliged to lower himself by a strong vine which reached to the bottom he had also to leap over a chasm about 60 ft deep when he got clear of the rocks he got into a jungle of fern where he was about 1/2 an hour in sight of the garden and could not get thro’ it such a day he says he will not forget in a hurry, he can’t conceive what could take one shooting in such a place. I showed him my 4 fat pigeons I told him I consider a little danger enhanced the value of the game & gave me more relish to the sport. We made our way to the Boat & started back when about half way down Wm hailed us to the bush & told us to wait for him he soon made his appearance coming out of a creek in a canoe when he came alongside we found he had a pot of hot soup in his canoe which be brought for us we had a good dinner of it, I left him a fat pigeon for his supper we got to Rangiora by dark had a laugh over our day’s exploits among the rooks and @ Parker’s bad luck in no shooting. a pigeon those I shot are very fat and nearly resembling hens in size.

A number of natives here tonight ko Tangaru , after dark the lightning foretold bad weather it soon began to rain in torrents accompanied with thunder.

Illustration by Webster.

Illus: Parker at the Wairere. [Precipice with descent by hanging vine]


From NZ MS 116, special collection Room, Auckland Public Library, John Webster Jan. 1 1847 - 9. July 1847 called Maori Journal, Illustrated by John Webster.

Parker was Captain Parker who settled for a time near Koutu but came up to stay with John Webster.