Maruiwi Press

In Print

Recollections of a Voyage to South Australia and New Zealand Commenced in 1838, Recorded at Huntly in 1907 by William Porter. 

Editors Miranda Law and Garry Law

2007   96pp - illustrated - soft covers - ISBN: 0-476-01579-0           

Net Version - no illustrations or bibliography


William Porter had an exciting early life. Accompanying his parents, brother and sister in their family owned brig, he was a pioneer settler at both Port Lincoln and Auckland, arriving in the latter in the town’s first year and before the main immigrant ships. Their emigration, a single family version of Wakefield’s vision of transporting British society to new worlds, has been described by one observer as a sort of Swiss Family Robinson adventure. William or his captain father met and knew some leading citizens of their age including George Grey and Eyre, both Australian explorers and New Zealand governors, Franklin of Arctic exploration fame and many other leading citizens of the new colony of New Zealand. He visited Adelaide, Melbourne, Geelong, Wellington, New Plymouth and Nelson within a few years of their founding. At Nelson he witnessed the departure of the armed settler party to Wairau which culminated in the famous massacre. He was an ammunition boy at a redoubt built there in the aftermath to defend the settlers. He also observed many of the prominent citizens of the new colonies at play and work. 

Appended here are brief biographies of both the father Captain Porter and his son, the author of these recollections, William Porter.  

This account written in old age, gives a child’s memory of the events of his early life, complete with explorers, pirates, whaling, exotic animals and the to him strange indigenous inhabitants of his new home. It is not artless, as much of the material is clearly with the input of an adult perspective. 

The recollections were specifically written for his young descendants. They, young and old, have treasured it ever since not just as a document of historical value but as an insight to his character. 

Corrections / Additions

The reminiscences said little about two periods in his life in the 1840s. These had been covered in two other reminiscences published in the New Zealand Herald.

1897 Reminiscences of Auckland in 1841 and 1842.

1907  St. Johns College in the Forties.

Follow the links to read the transcriptions.

Electronic Publication:

Auckland, August 1908: A Stop on the Great White Fleet World Cruise.

by: Garry Law

2008  37 pp.   ISBN:  978-0-473-13645-1   

This booklet places the visit of the Great White Fleet to Auckland in its New Zealand context and its geopolitical context - that of great power rivalry over prestige, territorial ambitions and projection of force by battleship lead fleets. It shows the social context of Auckland 100 years ago. 
Illustrated with contemporary pictures, many drawn from colour printed post cards.  

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This is available in electronic form only.

Electronic Publication:

Abundance and Constraint: A Short History of Water Use in New Zealand. 

by: Garry Law

First published 2008, revised edition 2011   61 pp  ISBN 978-0-473-13754-0

New Zealand has an abundance of water but still there has been conflict over its use. Maori managed water and asserted their right to its use particularly for fishing. Colonists soon came into conflict with Maori over water, disrupting traditional fishing through rafting logs, introducing  new species and using waterways for wastes. Water was an important early source of power in colonial New Zealand used for milling a variety of products and in hydraulic mining. Gold mining was intimately connected to early hydroelectric development, a use which came to have the most profound effects on New Zealand's waterways.   The Law followed the different forms of use of water as they developed. Through mining contamination many rivers were declared sludge canals and their banks taken into Crown ownership - the Queens Chain - to prevent court actions by the adjoining owners. Wetlands have been much affected by development and there is a sad list of lost or endangered waterbird species. Despite a long  history of disputes over allocation New Zealand's Law on water allocation is little developed. 
Illustrated with many historical pictures.

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This is available in electronic form only.

 The Maruiwi Press is a hobby press based in Auckland.