One can gather a pretty bouquet out of doors any day in the year. At Auckland, we are in the vicinity of the famous Hot Lake District of New Zealand, the veritable wonderland of these regions, to reach which we take the cars for a distance of a hundred and thirty miles, then proceed thirty miles further by stage to the native town of Ohinemutu, on Lake Rotorua.
The water of these flowing hot wells is said to be pure, and of such temperature as to be fit for cooking. The natives of Ohinemutu, New Zealand, boil their vegetables and meat in similar springs, as the author can testify from personal observation. The ruins of a temple dedicated to Ganesa show that this vicinity was once, ages ago, the resort of worshipers of that god of wisdom.
In short, the little town of Ohinemutu is built on a thin crust, roofing over as it were a vast fiery furnace, whose remarkable volcanic eccentricities form the marvel of this locality. Here, the traveller eats, drinks, and sleeps above a series of suppressed volcanoes, and is apt to recall the fate of Pompeii.
It was not long before he was able to gratify this wolfish taste, and in the confusion which followed the assault upon the Ohinemutu pa the missionary premises were looted. They were at the time in charge of two young assistants, Knight and Pilley the former being a nephew of Marsden. Both were felled to the ground, wounded and stripped of their clothes.
Hamlin and Stack settled at Mangapouri; Brown and Morgan at Matamata; Wilson at Tauranga; and Chapman near Ohinemutu, amidst the hot springs and geysers of Rotorua. It will be noticed that these frontier posts were occupied mainly by the new men who had not acquired much knowledge of the language or of the customs of the Maori.
The last part of this brief journey, that from Oxford to Ohinemutu, takes us through one of the grandest forests in all New Zealand, extending eighteen or twenty miles, with scarcely a human habitation or sign of life, save the cabin where we change horses, and the occasional flutter of a bird.
There can be no doubt but that all the medicinal virtues possessed by similar springs in Europe and America are found in these of New Zealand. Ohinemutu is the most typical home of the natives, and for ages has formed the chief settlement of the Arawa tribe.