The Cruise of The Flying Squadron
1869 - 1870
"Entered Wellington harbour under steam attended by several steamers full of people. Found here HM Ships Challenger and Rosario."
" I did not think much of Wellington as being the seat of government in New Zealand. There was a ball the first night we anchored which we were invited to before we left Lyttleton. It was attended by several Maori chiefs. I went to see some Caledonian games but thought them great humbug. However I went ashore again on the evening of the 26th to keep up my birthday. I went with the young fellows I was with at Hobart Town. The first thing we did on landing at 11pm was to mount a horse we found tied up outside a public house and ride him about 5 miles into the country so as to see a little of New Zealand by moonlight. Then we returned to the town by another route cast the horse loose and walked to a hotel and thence off to the ship."
Poverty Bay the spot where Cook first landed
"Steamed out of the harbour for Auckland and made sail as soon as we were clear of the heads. A heavy squall came on and the Phoebe lost many sails. Nothing of importance happened on the way to Auckland. Passed a burning mountain and Poverty Bay the scene of the massacre " 1
Wednesday February 3rd
"Sailed into Auckland with a fine fair wind. The passage in is very intricate full of small islands. I went onshore shortly after we anchored and had not a very favourable idea of the place. The town is full of Maori’s and half-castes all the people here seem to be of a very second class lot. However I was able to procure some photographs. We did not think the people received us so warmly here as at the other places. Most likely it was on account of the government withdrawing the troops. All the fighting being done now against the Maori’s is done with Waikato militia. A man named Te Kooti 2 being the great rebel chief."
Transporting Cowrie logs down the mountain
Monday Feb 7th
"Acted in the Prince of Wales Theatre the star company there. We were going to act our old piece ‘Kenilworth’ and they asked Grissell of the Endymion and myself to take our parts which we did. I never had a jollier night on the stage. Mr and Mrs Hale were such nice people. After the acting was over and the audience had departed we cleared away the stage and had a dance. Of course the papers puffed up our acting the next day."
"There are gold mines here but they are different to the ones at Ballarat, the gold being found in quartz instead of being dug out of the soil."
Wednesday Feb 9th
"Sailed from Auckland and experienced a strong head wind. The Scylla and ourselves were the only two that sailed out, the others being obliged to get up steam. We dropped a man overboard on our way out but picked him up all safe. Nothing of importance (light winds and much rain) till the 24th having made only 900 miles from Auckland up to that time."
The Troops at Drury ?? Zy during the war 3
"Captured a small shark 6ft long."
"We take great precautions now in sailing, keeping leadsmen in the chains and forming one column at night; we are going through a passage that has never been traversed by a man of war (at least this century) and coral formations spring up so suddenly that we might go onshore before they could get a heave of the lead. My Tasmanian cousin seems to enjoy very good health up to this time."
"I forgot to say the Admiral inspected us on the 16th and found some improvement in the ship. After the inspection he made a signal to all the ships to man and arm boats and send them away with three days provisions. It seemed so curious to see about six boats from each ship pulling about in the ocean. Of course the weather was very calm and the ships hove too."
Captain Bythesea, VC
"Man fell overboard but was speedily saved."
"Passed Horne islands running with the SE trades. This Island has 1100 inhabitants."
March 1st 2am
"A man fell overboard from Phoebe and was drowned. Same night she nearly ran us down."
"Nothing of importance transpired till the 8th when having only come 1700 miles from Auckland, and being in nothing but calms for the last week, the Admiral got up steam in the Liverpool, Endymion and Liffey and took the other ships in tow. Liverpool took Barrosa, Endymion took Scylla and we took the Phoebe. The same evening we captured two sharks; these sea’s seem to be very full of them."
"Kept on steaming slowly till the morning of the 12th when we cast off the tow and made sail to the NW trades. In the evening of the 9th the squadron stopped and three of the captains went onboard the Liverpool to dine with the Admiral. The same evening permission was given for officers to visit other ships during the Admiral’s dinner hour 6.30 to 9.30. The evening of the 12th the same program took place only the other two captains being the guests."
"At half past twelve we crossed the line in Long 168 E. Monday fleet hove too, to exchange naval instructors for Midshipmen’s examinations. Tuesday exercised at fleet manoeuvres."
Wednesday March 16th
"Found ourselves abreast of Ualan or Strong Island. Exercised all the forenoon in firing away our quarter’s ammunition so close to the island that the natives might have heard us. I have heard from a cooper that in 1854 when he was there in a whale ship there were about 1500 natives on the island and only 2 or 3 white men. Amongst these was a man named Hayward a Captain of a merchant ship who, having shot a man, one of his crew, was afraid to return to America. He put in to Ualan, gave charge of his ship to the mate and landed with his wife and child. The natives plant yams and plantains. They also breed pigs and poultry which are very acceptable to the whalers which occasionally touch at the island. The height of the highest point is 200 ft."
"Lost sight of the island with a strong NE trade. Kept the strong trades till we arrived at Assumption Island an island rising up 3000 feet from the level of the sea. It is a volcano and only 3 miles round the base. We arrived here on the 25th and it is 1000 miles from Japan. The sooner we get there the better as all our fresh provisions are gone".
"Caught a shark"
"Hove too for 3 hours in the evening and communicated with the other ships.
I went onboard the Endymion and had a very pleasant three hours for a change. (Pulling about in a the middle of the ocean is a thing you don’t have every day.)"
"Heard of the death of Lieutenant Robinson of the Endymion – poor fellow he died of heart disease. Cook, one of our Lieutenants was sent to take his place."
At the time of the squadron's arrival New Zealand was in the midst of the Maori wars. A year previously fifty four people including women and children had been massacred at Poverty Bay by the rebel chief Te Kooti
"We have a fine strong breeze – passed a large three mast schooner the first sail we have seen for seven weeks. 7pm a man named Henry Pink fell from aloft and was killed on the spot."
2 Te Kootie, born in 1814 was perhaps the most fearsome of all the Maoris during the wars. By means of guerrilla tactics and an intimate knowledge of the countryside and his enemies' tactics he fought against both the government and other chiefs for over 20 years. In 1873 he became a pacifist and set up his own church. He was formally pardoned in 1883.
3 The four regiments of Waikato Militia were raised as military settlers, being part of a plan to pacify areas in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty after the New Zealand Wars. Many of the men were recruited in Australia. Their service entitled them to land grants, but much of the land surveyed was unsuitable for farming and was deserted or bought up by speculators.