Two young white sisters Lizzie
and Edith walked home along the
country road at dusk in their strange
new land at the end of the world
carrying eggs from Mrs Green back
to Mum for the hens at home had
been laying poorly lately.
The old indigenous Maori man
coming towards them muttered
disapprovingly at these white
strangers sending their children
out at dusk, a dangerous time for
Taipo the bad spirit came out after
dark to commit his evil deeds.
“You go home fast or Taipo will
get you !” he ordered the very
surprised young girls.
Lizzie and Edith walked home
as fast as they could with
the precious delicate eggs.
New off their sailing ship from
half a world away they started
anew buying a farm in this strange
distant land. At fifty one his
father’s death released him from
their shop to sell up, sail away to
a new life far away. He needed a
wife, married a twenty one year
old cousin desperate to escape her
unfortunate older sister’s discipline.
They settled on their land learning
how to farm it, the first baby arrived.
Then the earlier migrant settlers lost
patience with the new white strangers.
Being warned of a rapidly nearing
war party she saddled up, grabbed
baby and family silver, rode to warn
her horrified husband who sent her
to the local church which bears
bullet holes in its walls to this day.
Loudly chanting warriors chased
her galloping horse but she
reached the church in time.
They came home to groceries in
a mixed up heap on the pantry floor.
six weeks later the regular supply
barge arrived, all was well again.
They stayed for nearly thirty years.
Shortly before they left they found
the hand wheel operated sewing
machine with its “spirits” in a
hollow tree trunk in the forest.
After many days in cramped
quarters on board the little ship
the family longed to disembark
stand on rock solid land.
Until they took in the sight of
their new land on a grey July
winter’s day in the gloom of
heavy rain shrouding a sandy
beach under tall dark evergreen
trees backed by grassy flat
land where large tents would
be pitched – in the rain – where
the new migrants would camp
with their possessions while
claiming their new “farm” land.
Brown skinned descendants of
earlier migrants helped them on
to the beach from the boat that
rowed them ashore. Two teenage
sisters broke their stunned silence
in floods of tears. “Oh Mam, we
want to gang awa’ to Sydney !”
Too late. They were on an
Auckland beach in 1842.
“Ah ! Hauld yer whisht !”
replied their much tried mother.