'The Trail Of Waitangi' - the Treaty

(v) Auckland Area Chosen for the 'Seat of Government'

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The next stage of course was for an area to be selected from which it would be suitable to run a Government. The site chosen was very suitable as there would be little or no contention over the land. Henry Williams gives an account in his paper "Early Recollections":

"Captain Hobson, enquired of me my opinion as to the proper site of the seat of Government, - whether I thought the Bay [of Islands] would be a good place for that purpose. I objected to the Bay, as too confined; as being too generally occupied by Europeans and natives, and also situated at the extreme end of the island; but stated that the land about the Tamaki and Waitemata was not occupied by either natives or Europeans, and possessed advantages beyond all other places; commanding convenient access by the river Thames to the interior of the country; the river Kaipara to the North, through extensive kauri forests; also by Manukau to the river Waikato, which takes its rise in Taupo lake, in the centre of the island; that there was a vast extent of fine country without an inhabitant; that the island of Waiheke and other islands formed safe roadsteads, with their numberless small bays, for vessels of all sizes.

This part of New Zealand, with the rivers and bays, had not been visited by any Europeans, except by the Missionaries, who alone possessed correct and general information.

On the 21st February I sailed with Captain Hobson, in H.M.S. "Herald," to examine the neighbourhood of the Tamaki, to which place I had directed his attention. His Excellency was not long in pointing out the spot, the present site of Auckland, seeing immediately its various advantages.

I was despatched to Maraitai, to communicate with and collect the natives of the Thames, and around. On my return to the ship, after four days, I met Captain Nias in his boat, coming to meet me and the natives with me, who informed me that on Sunday morning Captain Hobson had been disabled by an attack of paralysis, and considered that he was not able to hold his office, and had determined to sail for Sydney.

On my seeing Captain Hobson, I suggested his not determining so immediately to relinquish his office as governor of New Zealand; that I would guarantee quarters on shore, either at Paihia or Waimate, but recommending Waimate as being more quiet. The "Herald" returned to the Bay, and Captain Hobson was conveyed to Waimate to good quarters at Mr. Davis' house, where every attention was paid to him, having the presence of his own Surgeon and Secretary.

After remaining at Waimate some months, Captain Hobson so far recovered as to resume his duties in the Bay, and finally founded the City of Auckland." ....

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