Friday, August 9, 2013

20 September 1859

20th - Came in sight of New Zealand. The fact was scarcely credited at first, but, happily, it soon becanme indisputable. the coast was very bold and rocky, and the most of the hills in the background were of a light colour, as if formed of sand. Some passengers, however, who had been in New Zealand before, said the appearance was caused by the dry and withered grass and fern with which they are covered, the new sprouts not having yet come up. In the afternoon we rounded Cape Maria Van Diemen. There are three large rocks at its point, which the officers of the ship, somehow or other, mistook for the Three Kings, though these are situated some 30 miles to the northward, and it was actually in contemplation to carry the ship through between them and the mainland; fortunately however, it was at last resolved to go round them, and when night fell we were just off the North Cape. We were close upon it, and as the wind was light and off the land, there was no danger of running fooul of it; but, as the captain was unacquainted with the coast and had not been supplied with proper charts (in fact there was no chart of the coast on board) we stood away to the eastward, in place of hugging the land, which would have enabled us to have got into the harbour without any loss of time
Our Voyage to New Zealand Per the Tornado (by a Glasgow Emigrant) Glasgow Herald December 19, 1859

 September 20. Sighted New Zealand. Passed the 3 Kings, the North point of New Zealand.
Campbell, Alexander. Letters and papers, 1859 - 1870. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 50.

20th. A pleasant morning after a night of very steady sailing the breeze having just come at the right time and speed for we desired fine weather, a calm sea and a steady wind in order to sight and safely round the mainland at a shortcut without going out to sea and round another island called the 3 Kings which lies it is said 30 miles north of the north point of New Zealand and which is the only safe passage in heavy weather. But The Lord has allowed us to have it literally our own way granting us all our petition, may we never forget his goodness. About nine o'clock this morning there was heard the exciting cry “Land, land ahead” and looking forward we could discern on our own starboard bow along the dim and distant skirts of the horizon a long range of rocks or mountains scarcely distinguishable from the large massive clouds. But as the sun broke through the murky clouds shedding his enlightening rays along the bleached brow of the rugged shore, we could see variegated patches of land looking like rich meadows and luxuriant cornfields but it is likely to have been nothing more than beds of oft washed sand interspersed by ledges of rocky reefs and thickets of dwarfy trees which lay stretched along the bleak coast of our adopted land and as the day revealed the coast or land it appeared very open but barren and mountainous and from the time we sighted land to the north end of the island through (?) which we pass to the east side of the land to make the port of Auckland, we viewed about one hundred miles of the west coast of NZ but not a trace of any population or cultivated portion of land could be discerned by the intent and wishful looks of the passengers. We passed the North Cape in the afternoon about 4 o'clock within about one mile and a half sufficiently near to see something green upon the wild unsightly peaks of land which forms the extreme north point of the island of NZ. We could see on the opposite side 7 or more miles distant the waves breaking over a large reef of sunken rocks and a little ahead in a north westerly direction we could dimly scan some apparent outlines of land said to be the 3 Kings island. We passed the end of the island before dark which we guess would be about 25 miles. During these hours of excitement we lost unperceive (?) the Cape pigeons albatrosses which have followed our ship from about 1000 miles beyond the Cape of Good Hope. This day has met our immergencies with special favours being a clear sky and steady wind which had it been squally or we had arrived here some dark night it's impossible for imaginations to picture in thoughts or pen describe in words what might have been the terrible result.
Booth, Thomas. Papers, 1857 - 1859. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 2002/56.

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