Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 8, October 1967
A VISIT TO STEWART'S SETTLEMENT - KATIKATI
Copied from Thames Advertiser 22-6-1875
As the families to form the above settlement have left Belfast in the "Carisbrook Castle" a short description of the place may be interesting. One gentleman, the Pres. Mins. of the intending colonists, has already arrived, and kindly invited me to accompany him over the block.
We embarked at Thames on the "Alert" on Tuesday and were agreeably surprised to find a broad river stretching for so many miles through an equally excellent country. My friend had only just left Ireland and I have come from Australia. We arrived at Ohinemuri soon after dusk and I must say that our landing was anything but dignified. A crowd of men were on the landing stage, and as each passenger made for the shore, they good-naturedly hauled him up by the arms, landing him on his hands and knees.
Ohinemuri is quite a respectable township and we found no difficulty in procuring good accommodation and excellent horses to take us on our journey, when we set out the next day for Katikati. The road to Mackaytown is bad, in fact atrocious, we found a number of men waiting for a fresh in the river to subside a little, before venturing across, and they tried to dissuade us from doing so. The river was certainly high, and running very swiftly, but having faith in our horses, we faced it and got safely over.
After crossing the ranges, the road presented no obstacles except a few nasty creeks. It was only nearing the native settlement near Waihi Beach that we encountered more hills, and then our road lay for five miles along the coast which brought us to the township of Katikati. We put up at Falkner's where we were most hospitably treated, finding good accommodation for man and horse.
The next morning we procured a Maori guide, with whom we set out to see over the land selected by Mr. Stewart. It lies across an arm of the sea to cross which we had to wait for low tide. Five miles along the other side brought us to the Wiro river, sometimes called the Tuapiro, which forms the boundary of the block. The settlement will extend in a southerly direction towards Tauranga. Our verdict was that Mr. Stewart has picked out as good a block of 10,000 acres as he could possibly find. At the end of the strip of land where the township will be is deep water and the S.S. "Taranaki" three years ago discharged telegraph poles and other cargo there.
Raupo houses are to be erected at either end and in the middle of the section for the convenience of settlers on arrival. During our ride we noticed quantities of pheasants, and on the rocks found splendid oysters. Our journey back to Falkners was by moonlight, and as the tide was in we had to skirt the coast for some distance before we could get across. Even then we had a difficult time and felt fortunateto get back.
Next day we took our departure for the Thames where we arrived on Saturday, highly pleased with the success of our trip. Our best thanks are due to Mr. Benner, the gentleman in charge of the telegraph station at Katikati who rendered us every assistance.