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Inside Cover: -

Battle, chivalry and courage, land disputes; unscrupulous dealings; inept judgments by an insane governor; this is the essence of which Taranaki’s history was made. Wells captures it in all his detailed History of Taranaki; first published in 1878.

Comment and anecdote lighten the seriousness of pioneer life; “In times of peace…the medical men had to cultivate their land to live, there being no sickness to require their aid”. The arrival of the first horse filled its Maori audience with fear and curiosity; they called it Kuri nui –the big dog and asked if it talked and ate boiled potatoes.

The book intended to be a reference work, is basic to a study of the province. It is also well written, in a clear journalistic style, and treats fairly of both the Maori and European view points. A comprehensive index has been added to this edition.

Illustration from book “New Plymouth 1843” By Mrs WICKSTEED

Benjamin Wells (1824-1881) arrived in New Plymouth in 1848, aboard the CORNWALL.

DURING THE WAR YEARS Wells served in the militia and when peace came took an active part in community affairs, acting as chairman of the Taranaki Education Board, and as a member of the New Plymouth Harbour Board for many years.

Wells was Editor of the Taranaki News from 1874 until death in June 1881.

***PHOTO-View of Egmont from New Plymouth



A standard work on the History of the province

“It appears to me to be a noble employment to rescue from oblivion those who deserve to be eternally remembered, and by extending the reputation of others, to advance at the same time our own.”- PLINY THE YOUNGER

New Zealand

EDMONSON & AVERY, “Taranaki New” Office,

New Plymouth



Tag No 1569361

Dewey Numbers-993.48 Alpha Welz

Reprint published by


Christchurch New Zealand


Printed offset by the Caxton Press-Christchurch


The Establishment "The European Settlements of Taranaki was intended with no ordinary difficulty. Not only had the heroic pioneers to contend with the primeval wilderness which received them when they landed on the Taranaki shores, and a barbarous and turbulent race of aborigines, but also with the inability of the Plymouth and New Zealand companies to fulfil in a satisfactory manner the work of colonisation which they had undertaken. The records of these proceedings are few and very scarce, death has removed some of the chief actors in them and aged has dimmed the memories of others; it seemed therefore right to me, having a love for the work and having more than ordinary opportunities for its accomplishment, to collect, arrange, the more important documents and traditions and publish all the important documents and traditions relating to these affairs. My labors having been brought to a close, having been brought to a close, I am now able to present to my fellow settlers a lasting memorial of them have taken part, and which have happily resulted in the foundation of a beautiful home for us in a fertile land and under genial skies, and in adding another Province to that Empire on which the sun never sets. I am persuaded that this little work will be generally welcomed in the Province whose history it relates, and that it will have the use of all history by extending the lives of its readers into the past by leading them to the sources of existing things, and therefore to a deeper comprehension of them, and by examples of heroism and patient endurance incite a repetition of such virtues. I desire very cordially to express my thanks for aid rendered to me in the preparation of this work to:

F. A. Carrington, Esq., M.H.:late Superintendent of Taranaki;

Major Charles Brown, Civil Commissioner;

R. Parris, Esq., late Civil Commissioner;

Major Charles Stapp, Commanding Taranaki Militia and Volunteers;

C. P. Whitcombe, Esq., Commissioner of Crown Lands;

Mrs S. Popham King; Miss Kate Flight;

G. P. Hamerton, Esq., Coroner;

J. B. Lawson, Esq., Clerk to the Provincial Council of Taranaki;

Mr. F. U. Gledhill and Mr. Max. P. King.

In passing the work through the press I have received every assistance from Messrs. Edmondson and Avery, the printers.


“News Office,” New Plymouth,

March 31st, 1878.


CHAPTER 1. -Page. 1-3

Maori traditions respecting the Morioris - Resemblance of the Maoris to a tribe in India Affinity of the Maori and Indo-European tongues. - Resemblance of Maori customs with those of a tribe in China and with those of the ancient Africans - Indian ship’s bell found in New Zealand - Remarkable resemblance of some Maori and Egyptian words

CHAPTER Page 4-6

The canoes of the Maori immigrants. - The naming of the Taranaki rivers And hills - The Etymology of some Maori common names - The arrival of the Ngatiawa at the Bay of Islands - They double the North Cape and enter the Waitara.-They subdue the aborigines and establish themselves at Ngapuketurua - They roam about the island - They send a taua to assist Rauparaha - They flee to the Chatham Islands, and return to Taranaki - The location of the hapus - Maori Antiquities

CHAPTER III. Page 7 -11

Description of Pukerangiora - Description of Ngamotu - Waikato spies arrive in a canoe. War party of Waikatos arrive at Waitara - The assault on Pukerangiora - The Massacre of the Garrison - The cannibal feast-The attack and defence of Ngamotu - The defeat and retreat of the Waikatos - Visit to Poarama ...

CHAPTER IV Page 12 - 14

Discovery of New Zealand - Juan Fernandez - Tasman sights Taranaki - Captain Cook names Mount Egmont - M. Marion du Fresne ...

CHAPTER V. Page 15 - 18

Commerce with New Zealand - Arrival of the Missionaries.—Kororareka - The British Resident-Native Confederation - The New Zealand Charter - Difficulties of the Company -Relinquishment of charter - Debt Cancelled

CHAPTER VI. Page 19 - 22

Despatch of the Tory - Arrival of the Tory in Cook Strait. —Richard Barrett - Guard the whaler - Wreck of the Harriet - Rev. H. Williams - E. Puni and Warepori - Sale of land by Ngatiawa - Colonel Wakefield sails northward - Anchors off the Sugarloaves - Dr. Dieffenbach and Barrett land at Ngamotu

CHAPTER VII. Page 23 - 42

Dr. Dieffenbach obtains a view of Egmont and Ruapehu - Description of the Ngamotu rocks - Description of the Huatoki, Henui, and Waiwakaiho rivers - Starts for the Mountain - Travels up the right bank of the Waiwakaiho - Returns unsuccessful to Ngamotu - Makes a second attempt to reach the Mountain - The ascent - Returns to Ngamotu - Starts to the Waitara.- Visits Mokau.- Buys the land of the natives - The deed of sale

CHAPTER VIII. Page 43-47

New Zealand made a dependency of New South Wales - Captain Hobson appointed Lieutenant-Governor - Mr. Somes remonstrates with Lord Palmerston - arrival of Governor Hobson - The Treaty of Waitangi - A French expedition arrives at Akaroa

CHAPTER IX. Page 48-58

The establishment of the Plymouth Company.—Despatch of the Chief Surveyor.—Taranaki overland exploring expedition-—the expedition reaches Ngamotu.—Colonel Wakefield’s letter to the Plymouth Company. —The prospectus of the Company.—Arrival of Mr. Carrington in Wellington—He sails in the Brougham on an expedition in search of a site for a settlement—Selects Taranaki—Lands and at Ngamotu with his staff

CHAPTER X. Page 59-73

Despatch of the William Bryan. —Failure of Wright’s Bank.—Port to be called Port Eliot.—Mr. Cutfield’s letter describing the landing of the pioneers.—Commencement of trouble with the natives.—Mr. Cutfield sows the first European seeds, —Despatch of the Amelia Thompson—Farewell dinner at Plymouth—God Speed the Ship. —Bahia.—Arrival

at New Plymouth—Arrival and wreck of the Regina.—Arrival of the Oriental,-Captain Liardet

CHAPTER XI. Page 74-80

Governor Hobson—His service in the Royal Navy—Attempts to establish a town at the Bay of Islands—Founds Auckland—Opposes the settlement of Wanganui and Taranaki—Constitutes a Legislative Council.—Te Kaka of Waikato visits Taranaki to claim the land by rights of conquest. — Governor Hobson purchases the rights of Waikato—Proclaims a commission to inquire into land claims by Europeans.—Mr. Spain appointed commissioner.—New Zealand constituted a distinct Colony. —The Governor attempts to curtail the New Plymouth settlement. —Financial difficulties of the Government. —Governor Hobson’s death

CHAPTER XII. Page 81-92

Arrival of the Timandra.—Moorings laid in the roadstead. —Colonel Wakefield visits the settlement—Appoints Mr. Wicksteed Resident Agent—Mr. Wicksteed’s report.—Death of Mr. C. Brown, senr.—The Nairn’s employed to open a bridle path behind the Mountain.—Quarrels between settlers and natives.—Introduction of horses.—The Chief Surveyor’s horse.—State of the settlement.—Return of the Ngatiawa slaves.—The first Waiwakaiho bridge.—Arrival of the Blenheim, —Another quarrel with the natives

CHAPTER XIII. Page.93-101

Arrival of the Essex.—Captain Cooke drives cattle and sheep from Wellington.—Mr. E. J. Wakefield visits the settlement.—Reduction of expenditure.—Notice to the Chief Surveyor that his services are no longer required.——Arrival of the Thomas Sparks—Reduction of wages-the Wairau massacre — Governor Shortland’s proclamation - Mr Wicksteed's report —Erection of the first mill and brewery—Appointment of Rev. W. Bolland.—Arrival of the William Stoveld.—Arrival of the Himalaya. —Governor Fitzroy

CHAPTER XIV Page 102-121

Natives cut the timber on Captain Cooke’s section at Te Hua—State of the settlement.—Arrival of the Theresa—Mutiny on board.—Arrival of the Belle. Marina. Arrival of Colonel Wake-field and Mr Commissioner Spain—Mr. Spain’s award. — Threatenings of the natives—Messengers despatched to Auckland. —Arrival of the Governor by H.M. S. Hazard, and of Bishop Selwyn, Rev. J. Whiteley and Mr. Maclean overland.—-Temporary conciliation of the natives effected—Governor again visits the settlement and reduces New Plymouth to a block of 3,500 acres.—Extracts from the reports of Messrs. Forsaith and Maclean. —Extract of a letter from the Rev. John Whiteley.——Wi Kingi’s letter to the Governor—Other reports and letters relating to the affairs of the settlement

CHAPTER XV. Page 122-134

Rev. S. Marsden. Rev. J. F. Churton. The Church Society for New Zealand. Arrangement for the endowment of a Bishopric. Despatch of Mr. Wicksteed to the colony as agent. Nomination of Rev. G. A. Selwyn to the office of Bishop—Consecration—Presentation of Communion service at Windsor—Description of the service. The Bishop sails for Sydney. His arrival in Auckland—His tour of his diocese Description of his journey to New Plymouth. Waimate College. Cathedral library. First confirmation. The Company’s grant for churches. Appointment of Rev. W. Bolland to New Plymouth—His zeal. Church building committee—collecting materials—laying the first stone. Fever in the parsonage. Death of Rev. W. Bolland. Appointment of Rev. H. Govett. BA. Brief notice of other Clergymen. Roman Catholic Church. Appointment of Bishop Pompallier by Pope Gregory XVI—Lands in the North—Takes up his abode at the Bay of Islands. Father Pezant visits Taranaki. Chapel built in Courtenay-street. -Arrival of Father Tressallet. Church built in Devon-street. Rev. Father Pertius. Rev. Father Rolland—His bravery. Fathers Binfield and Lampillia. Wesleyan Methodist Church. Mission established at Wangaroa—Missionaries driven away. Re-establishment of the Mission at Hokianga. Mr. Creed sent to Ngamotu. Mr. Skevington sent to Taranaki proper. Wesleyan Chapel built in Brougham-street. Captain King and Mr. Wicksteed wish to hold a horticultural show in the chapel and are refused. Wesleyans ordered to remove their chapel. Mr. Groube commences the erection of a sandstone chapel in Courtenay-street—Sells it to the Wesleyans. Mr. Turton. The Grey Institution. Death of Mr. Skevington. Arrival of Mr. Whiteley. Mr. Ironside. Other Ministers. Primitive Methodist Church. Origin of Primitive Methodism. Bible Christians. Mr. Veale gives a site for a chapel. Mr. Ward preaches on the town bridge—Bible Christians accept him as their minister—Takes up his residence at Te Henui—Attempts to preach to the Maoris who threaten to tomahawk him—Succeeded by Mr. Long.

Chapels built at Bell Block and Hurdon. Return of Mr. Ward—His sufferings during the war. Erection of Queen. street chapel Arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Waters. Arrival of Messrs. Dumbell, Standrin and Clover. Congregationalism in New Plymouth. Mr. Groube arrives in the Timandra—Conducts service in a raupo whare—Attempts to erect a sandstone chapel in Courtenay-street-Builds a timber chapel in Devon-street. His sufferings during the war. Leaves for Melbourne. Presbyterianism in Taranaki. Rev. J. Thom visits the settlement—Conducts the service in the Independent Chapel—-Induces the Military Settlers to petition the Church of Scotland for a Minister. The ordination of the Rev. R F. Macnicol—His arrival. The building of the kirk. Mr. Macnicol accepts a call from Auckland. Rev. T. Blain. Lay Ministry. Rev. M. S. Breach. Death of Rev. J. Thom. The Baptist cause. Laying foundation stone of chapel. The trustees, Building shut up

CHAPTER XVI.-Page 135-146

Mr. Day goes to Sydney in the Slaines Castle to buy cattle and goods. The Paul Jones conveys eighteen despairing settlers to Adelaide. Maoris build a church at Mangoraka of materials stolen from the settlers. Dreadful storm and loss of the schooner Richmond on Kawhia bar. W. Bayly’s barn and wheat stack burned at Mangoraka. Mr. Bolland returns from Auckland overland with the news of the appointment of a new Governor. Sir George Grey—His birth and

education—Joins the 83rd Regiment—Commands an expedition sent to the interior of Australia—Assumes the Governorship of Australia—Arrives in Auckland—Brings the war in the North to a close—Is invested with the Star of the Order of the Bath—Chooses Tamati Waka Nene and Te Puni as his esquires—Settles the land claims in New Plymouth—Establishes Pensioner Settlements in Auckland—Delays the proclamation of the Constitution—Returns to England His literary works—He receives the degree of Doctor of Civil Laws at Oxford—Is appointed (Governor of the Cape Colony—Is re-appointed Governor of Now Zealand—Tries diplomacy and fails—Breaks the power of Waikato—Treats his -prisoners in a weak and ridiculous manner—Proceeds to England—Returns and retires to the Kawau—Accepts the office of Superintendent of Auckland—Enters Parliament and becomes Premier of the Colony. Origin of the Union Mill. Arrival of the Marianne, Letter from Mr.Gladstone to Governor Grey. Suicide of Mr. Williams. Arrival of the Madras and Ralph Bernal. - Constabulary Barracks built. Site and plan for the hospital. Bells Falls discovered. Arrival of the Elora. Death of Richard Barrett. Arrival of the Inflexible with Governor Grey. The Governor’s instructions to Mr. Maclean. Quarrel among the Puketapu. Purchase of Tataraimaka. Death of Rev. W.Bolland. Mr. F. D. Bell supersedes Mr. Wicksteed as Resident

Agent. Bishop Selwyn lands from the Undine. Quarrel between the Puketapus and Taranakis of Omata. Arrival of Lieutenant Collinson RE and Corporal Henderson, R.A. on secret service. The Grey and Omata Blocks purchased. Land allotted to the whalers. Dr. Wilson and Mr. Hulke leave Wanganui for Taranaki. Mr.Devenish brings a herd of cattle from Wellington. The Governor revisits New Plymouth. Mr. Bell purchases Bell Block of the Puketapu. The Waikanae migration. Kingi settles on the south bank of the Waitara: Opening of the Omata block. Establishment of the Grey Institution. Death of Colonel Wakefield. Severe earthquake. Table of Waikanae migration

CHAPTER XV11 Page 147-149

Depression. State of New Plymouth in 1849. Compensation. Arrival of the Barque Cornwall. Dates of conveyances of Blocks. Major Lloyd molested at Omata.


Company resign their Charter to the Crown. Arrival of the Acheron. Consequences of gold discovery in Australia. The Taranaki Herald published. Constitution proclaimed. Reduction of price of Waste Lands of the Crown. Election of the first Superintendent. Election of the first members of the Provincial Council. Death of James Foreman. Departure of Sir George Grey. Severe earthquake. Difficulties of negotiation with the natives. Purchase of the Hua and Waiwakaiho Block. Te Puni seizes all the open land on the block. Murder of a native at Kaipakopako. Death of Simon Crawley. Mary Rodgers murdered at Omata by Cassidy. A tract against land selling printed and published among the natives. Deaths of Richard Eaton and William Holloway. Earthquake. Public Works Ordinance—First election under it. Arrival of acting Governor Wynyard. Arrival of the Duke of Portland with troops. The Bishop publishes a pastoral letter. Arrival of Governor Brown. Natives cut a line across- the ranges

CHAPTER XIX. Page 158-165

The Puketapu hapu—their ancient home. The chief Rawiri. Land.leaguers and anti-land leaguers. Rawiri and his men while cutting a line are fired on by Katatore and his men. Death of Rawiri. Great excitement. Appeal to the Government. Colonel Wynyard fears to interfere with the matter. Efforts made to settle the quarrel. Katatore offers laud to the Government. Death of Rimene. Ngati-ruanui besiege Ihaia—Ihaia retreats to Mahoetahi—Joins Arama Karaka. Settlers petition for military protection. Arrival of detachments of the 58th and 65th Regiments. Tragical death of Katatore. The burning of the Ikamoana pa. Ihaia retreats to Mimi. Ihaia Kirikumara

CHAPTER XX. -Page 166-173

Governor Gore Browne. Origin of the Anti-land-selling League. Origin of the King movement. Mr. Cutfield elected Superintendent. First publication of the Taranki News. The second session of the Maori parliament. Public Debt Apportionment Act. Calling out of the Taranaki Militia. Death of Captain Dawson. Death of John Wright. Change of the name of the Province to Taranaki

CHAPTER XXI. Page 174-185

Puketapu natives receive payment for the Tarurutangi Block. Preparations for erecting a bridge over the Waiwakaiho. Volunteer regulations-Election of officers. Arrival of the Iris with the Governor. Conference with the natives. Te Teira of Waitara offers New Plymouth. Wiremu Kingi Whiti Rangitaki


The Taranaki war. Minutes of the Executive Council. Instructions to Mr. Parris. Natives stop the survey at the Waitara. Proclamation of martial law. Settlers remove into New Plymouth. Commencement of hostilities. Defection of Manahi. Engagement at Waireka. Reports of the engagement. Narrow escape of Mr. Parris. Request for aid made to the Australian Colonies. Arrival of reinforcements. Captain Richard Brown. Battle of Puketakauere. Death of Hugh Corbyn Harris. Death of John Hurford. Wreck of the George Henderson. Death of Ephraim Coad and Henry Crann. Attack on Mahoetahi. Death of John Hawken. Death of Joseph Sarten.

Taking of Matarikoriko. Expedition to the South. Attack on the Huirangi Redoubt. Death of Captain W. C. King. The sap. Death of Captain Strange. Death of E. Messenger. Death of Lieutenant McNaughten

CHAPTER XXIII. Page 226-234

Arrival of Tamihana. Hapurona hoists the white flag. Arrival of the Governor. Ministers, Mr. D. Maclean and Tamati Waka Nene. Arrival of General Cameron. Terms offered to the insurgents. Declaration of Hapurona. Sickness. Mr. C. Brown re-elected Superintendent. Arrival of reinforcements from India. Colors presented to the Taranaki Militia and Volunteers. Bank of New Zealand opened. Sir George Grey re-appointed Governor. Bishop Selwyn attempts to travel along the coast. Canon Stowell’s opinion of the Taranaki settlers. Death of E. G. Wakefield. Wreck of the s.s.Lord Worsley. Wreck of the Orpheus. The Governor with his Ministers arrive by the Harrier for the purpose of reinstating the Province. Compensation. Troops take possession of Tataraimaka. Warning of ambuscades

CHAPTER XXIV. Page 235-256

Massacre at Oakura. Abandonment of the Waitara purchase. Attack on Katikara. The Maori toll-gate. Hapurona sends a challenge. Rebels take possession of a spur of the Kaitake Ranges. A fishing party of the rebels attacked by an ambuscade of the 58th Regiment near Kaitake. Death of Mr. Patterson. Rebels disturbed at Mangorei Skirmish at Kaitake. Defeat at Ahuahu. Origin of Pai Marireism. Defeat of rebels at Sentry Hill. Capture of Manutahi, Mataitawa and Te Arei. Colonel Maxwell Lepper. Disbanding of the old Militia. Native murders at Kaipikari. Death of Frank Roebuck. General Cameron arrives at Patea. Military settlers and Bushrangers embark for Patea. Accidents to the surf boats. Death of Joseph Hawke. Expedition embarks for the White Cliffs. Demand of the Imperial Government for payment for the troops employed in the Colony. Scheme for the settlement of Tikorangi. Skirmish at Whatino. Colonel Warre attacks the rebels inland of Warea. Revocation of the proclamation of martial-law. Engagement at Warea. General Cameron resigns the command of the army in New Zealand. Wreck of the steam transport Alexandra. Arrival of General Chute. Embarkation of the Imperial Forces

CHAPTER XXV. Page 257-264

Confiscation—Military settlements. Arrival of Military settlers. Lands proclaimed under the Military Settlements Act, 1863. Area of lands confiscated. Exodus of Military settlers. Occupation of other confiscated lands. The Waste Lands Board. Establishment of Inglewood.

CHAPTER XXVI Page 265-287

General Chute marches from Wanganui-Attacks Otapawa-Marches through the forest-Emerges at Maitawa-His reception at New Plymouth-Proceeds to Patea. Waiwakaiho Bridge swept away. Death of Roby, at Manutahi. First sale of land at Waitara. Disturbance at Patea. Repulse at Ruaruru. Major Von Tempsky. Repulse at Okutuku. The Brothers Hunter. The massacre at the White Cliffs. Rev John Whiteley

CHAPTER XXVII Page 288-297

Peace. The iron sand. Provincial Government. Land fund. Local Government. Immigrants and public works. New Plymouth harbour. Electric Telegraph. Judicature. Literary Institute. Education. Hospital. Botanic Garden. Acclimatisation. Victories of peace


Taranaki pioneers. Mr F.A. Carrington, Captain Henry King. Mr Charles Brown Senior,

Mr Chilman.

List of ships page Page309-310

Index Of Names


2002-2006 Barbara Andrew