In 1897 A.M.G. made a trip to Waiuku and then wrote about it in the New Zealand Herald. Here is what was written about a trip to Waiuku.
A TRIP TO WAIUKU.
By A. M. G.
Receiving an invitation from friends residing near Waiuku to pay them a visit and enjoy the fresh sea breeze for a few days, I accepted the invitation, picked my carpet-bag and went. The little steamer Oregon blows her whittle, and puffs away from the Ouehunga Wharf at 7.15 a.m. The water is smooth as glass, and the air warm and pleasant. There are not many passengers this morning, — about half a-dozen men and three or four ladies. Antonio, the captain, is very attentive. He sees that this “la lish” is comfortable, and that “ladish” luggage is right. He has a pleasant word for everybody, although it is hard to know what that word is sometimes, at least I found it so. The first stopping-place is Kauri Point. Here the boat is sent ashore with a few parcels, which occupies only a few minutes in delivery when, screech goes the whistle, the paddles commence their beat, beat, making quite a commotion in the water. The next station is Awitu. There is a wharf here. The steamer gets alongside, and discharges a quantity of cargo, hay in bales, leather in rolls, mutton alive and dead, parcels, &c. Mr. Garland’s residence is a quarter-of-a-mile or so from the landing-place, and looks pretty and quiet from the river. The little steamer is doing her best to-day, and soon opposite the Pollok settlement. Goods and passengers are put ashore here, and some fresh passengers come on board. We now make straight for the Waiuku landing. Captain Antonio comes to collect the fare (only 7s 6d return ticket, available for eight days), and informs us that we shall reach Waiuku about twelve o’clock. He tells, truly, for at a quarter past twelve we are at the landing. Such a quiet little place. Some ladies and gentlemen watch us from the distance; a few Maoris stand idly about, and some boys on the look-out for luggage to carry. A fine looking little Maori takes my bag to the hotel, where I expect to meet my friends. Mr. Sedgwick, the landlord, is very courteous and attentive. Dinner is served at half-past 12: the beef is excellent and well cooked, and the cup of tea, so enjoyable after five hours in the open air, cannot be too highly praised; the bread was not so good as it might be, having been made of inferior flour. Three o’clock finds me on the high road to Maioro. Such a pleasant drive; pretty white cottages scattered here and there with a scrap of garden, and a green paddock or two attached. Mr. May’s property (recently purchased from Mr. John Wallace) lies four and a-half miles from Waiuku. The house stands a short distance from the road, in the centre of a field. Mr. May, in broad-brimmed hat and red shirt, is out with the men, preparing more land for grass. By next summer this will be one of the best farms in the district. On the left side of the road, opposite Mr. May’s, is Bothwell Park, the estate of Mr. Wallace, late of Flat Bush. This is a large property, some 1500 acres in extent. A considerable portion is in grass, and there are now several hundred acres ready for seed. Mr. Wallace has erected a large and commodious dwelling-house, which stands on a hill and overlooks almost the whole farm. The view from the verandah is magnificent — from the east side the Waikato river is to be seen for miles, the dark green of the forest beyond, shewing the water like “a silver line,” and, gleaming against the dark background, stands the little chapel where the Rev. Mr. Maunsell, in days gone by, conducted service in the Maori language, and taught the children to read in their own and the English tongue. The Mauku settlement lies toward the east. The homesteads look comfortable and the farms well stocked with cattle and sheep. Looking northward, the scenery for variety and beauty cannot be surpassed. The little village of Maioro, the Waiuku township, the river, the ranges covered with trees, the Manukau, Onehunga, One-Tree Hill, Mount Eden, Rangitoto, Mount Wellington, and all the other smaller hills lie spread out like a grand picture before you. Lost in admiration at the beauty of the scene, you experience something of the spirit which inspired the poet Cowper to write the following touching lines : —
He looks abroad into the varied field
Of nature; and tho’ poor, perhaps, compared
With those whose mansions glitter in his sight,
Calls the delightful scenery all his own.
His are the mountains, and the valleys his,
And the resplendent rivers his to enjoy
With a propriety that none can feel
But who, with filial confidence inspired,
Can lift to Heaven an eye,
And smiling say, ” My Father mills them all!’
Westward, a line of sandhills extends along the coast. Driving would be impossible over these hills, but mounted upon a good horse, it is a comparatively easy matter to ride over to the Waikato Heads, and thence along tho beach to Awitu is a most delightful ride. The beach is smooth and hard. On the flat rocks close to the cliff are pools of water. Horses not accustomed to the beach are apt to shy at these pools, and if the rider is taken unawares he may be plunged into one of them. An accident happened to a worthy clergyman living not a day’s journey from Papakura. He was riding along, meditating, no doubt, upon the sermon he was about to deliver, when, without the slightest warning, his horse sprang several feet forward, and stood still as a monument. The consequence was that the worthy pastor, to his own and the horse’s dismay, shot over the horse’s ears and dived head first into the pool. There was not much water in it, but more than sufficient to make him very uncomfortable, and the mud and sand disfigured his hat frightfully. Still, a disfigured hat was better than a broken head. Accidents of this kind are, happily, very rare. It is a splendid sigh to stand at a respectful distance and watch the waves rolling in mountains high. Now they roll, and tumble, and break into clouds of spray and foam. A few miles inland a strange is apt to mistake the sound of the waves for the train. At times the sound very much resembles the rumbling of a train in the distance.
The great want of the Waiuku and surrounding districts is a railway. A branch line could be laid between Waiuku and Pukekohe, a distance of fifteen miles, for £30,000 or £40,000. This sum, or nearly so, could be raised amongst the settlers. All are anxious either to get a railway or a large steamer on the river. The majority are in favour of a railway, and one gentleman who owns 1000 acres of land, says it would pay him to give £1 per acre towards making a railway, and he will give it with pleasure, but he never will give anything towards a steamer. I sincerely trust an effort may be made to procure a branch line of railroad. It would increase the value of property very much, and the settlers’ produce would arrive in Auckland in good order and in good time, and would then be able to compete with that from Waikato and other places. Not being one of the “lords of creation,” I cannot go fully into the matter, but at the same time I can sympathise with the people, and will rejoice greatly when I hear that the railway to Waiuku is a fact. I hope Mr. Hamlin M.H.K., and all concerned will not leave a stone unturned until they get what they want and what they ought to have. One word more before stopping on board the Oregon. I received great attention from some of the inhabitants of Waiuku. Hospitality is not wanting there. Strangers are welcomed and treated like friends. On Saturday afternoon, the farmers and their wives come in to do their marketing. Meetings are held on Saturday afternoons in connection with School Boards and Road Boards, &c.; but not one intoxicated individual is to be seen, nor a brawl heard. Such is Waiuku to the eye of a stranger.
New Zealand Herald, New Zealand Herald, Volume XVI, Issue 5425, 7 April 1879