Wellington Independent 16 October 1850
The favourable weather recently set in has completely changed the appearance of the valley. Settlers are busily occupied in clearing and burning the timber off the land, and putting in crops of such vegetables as are suitable for the Californian market. The low price of timber at San Francisco put a stop to the sawing operations, to which the former high prices there had given rise; but a considerable number of the sawyers are still occupied in splitting Totara into posts, rails, and palings for fencing, this wood haviug been found more durable than any other used for these purposes in the district.
Two omnibuses run daily between Wellington aud the Hutt. They start from the Hutt Bridge every morning, Sunday excepted, between the hours of 8 and 9 o”clock, leaving Wellington at 4 in the afternoon. The fares are moderate, and the drivers civil.
The road between Wellington and Petoni (sic) is good, with the exception of two small portions where it requires widening, there being scarcely sufficient room for a single vehicle to pass. Between the Hutt Bridge and the Taiti the road is excellent, but appears in some places to have been washed by winter floods. Indeed, so great is the change produced by this agency, that we should not be surprised if, in a year or two, the river were to change its course across the road into the Waiwetu River.
The mischiefs resulting from the floods have been greatly aggravated by the wanton manner in which timber has been felled and thrown into the river. Obstructions thus raised to the course of the stream have not only occasioned much heavier floods than would otherwise have occurred, but in many places has changed the course of the river.
We have been informed that the river in some parts is more than twice as wide as it was seven years ago; in others, by the changes in its course, breaches have been made in the banks, and several acres of valuable land on which labour had been expended now forms part of its bed.
Only sufficient wheat for home consumption will be grown in the Hutt this season. The settlers state that, at the present rate of wages and market price of wheat, the cultivation of it for sale will not remunerate them; and that it is not probable they will be able to compete with the Maories in this article. The ground on which wheat, &c, has been grown for two or three years past, is now laid down in grass, and there is every prospect of a good crop of hay, if care be taken to eradicate the docks.
A flour mill is now being erected at the Taiti, to be driven by a water-wheel of 15 horse power. This will be a great convenience to the settlers in that district, to whom the expense of carting the wheat required for their own consumption to the Bridge or Wellington, and returning with the flour, has hitherto been a considerable tax.