We found the village totally deserted, all the inhabitants being employed in their various plantations; they shouted to us as we passed, thus bidding us welcome, but did not leave their occupations to receive us. To view the cultivated parts of this country from an eminence a person might easily imagine himself in a civilised land; for miles around the village of Ty-a-my nothing but beautiful green fields present themselves to the eye. The exact rows in which they plant their Indian corn would do credit to a first-rate English farmer, and the way in which they prepare the soil is admirable. The greatest deficiency which I observed in the country around me was the total absence of fences; and this defect occasions the natives a great deal of trouble, which might very easily be avoided. Hogs are the principal part of their wealth, with which, at all times, they can traffic with vessels touching at their ports. These animals, consequently, are of the utmost importance to them; but during the growth of their crops, the constant watching the hogs require to keep them out of the plantations consumes more time than would effectually fence in their whole country; but I have no doubt, as they already begin to follow our advice and adopt our plans, they will soon see the utility of fencing in their land. I have at various times held many conversations with different chiefs on this subject, all of whom have acknowledged the propriety of so doing.
A few miles after leaving this beautiful village we came to a spot covered with heaps of cinders and hillocks of volcanic matter. I found all these hillocks small craters, but none of them, burning; and for miles our road lay through ashes and lava. These fires must have been extinguished many ages since, as there is not the slightest tradition among any of the natives of their ever having been burning.
After passing over this lava, our journey lay through a very swampy country, intersected with streams. I got completely wearied with stripping to wade through them, so that at length I plunged in clothes and all. At the close of a most fatiguing day’s march, we arrived in sight of the bay, having travelled over an extent of about fifty miles since the morning! No canoe being in sight, and we being too distant to make signals to our brig, we had to pass another night in bivouac on a part of the beach called Waitangi; and as it did not rain we slept pretty comfortably. The next morning I procured a canoe, and went on board our vessel.
The day following the brig took her final departure from New Zealand, and we bade farewell to Captain Kent. We now formally placed ourselves under the protection of King George, who seemed highly pleased with his charge; and in a few days three good houses were ready for our reception—one for ourselves, a second for our stores, and a third for our servants. But our pleasant prospects were soon obscured by a circumstance totally unexpected, which placed us in a most critical situation, and which we had every reason to fear would lead to our total destruction.