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Title: A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827
Author: Earle, Augustus
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827" ***

[Illustration: A New Zealand War Speech. (From a sketch by A. Earle.)]






IN 1827





Whitecombe & Tombs Limited

Christchurch, Wellington, and Dunedin, N.Z.;

Melbourne and London



The author of this account of New Zealand in the year 1827 was an artist
by profession. "A love of roving and adventure," he states, tempted him,
at an early age, to sea. In 1815 he procured a passage on board a
storeship bound for Sicily and Malta, where he had a brother stationed
who was a captain in the navy. He visited many parts of the
Mediterranean, accompanying Lord Exmouth's fleet in his brother's gunboat
on his Lordship's first expedition against the Barbary States. He
afterwards visited the ruins of Carthage and the remains of the ancient
city of Ptolomea, or Lepida, situated in ancient Libya. Returning to
Malta, he passed through Sicily, and ascended Mount Etna. In 1818 he left
England for the United States, and spent nearly two years in rambling
through that country. Thence he proceeded to Brazil and Chile, returning
to Rio de Janeiro, where he practised his art until the commencement of
1824. Having received letters of introduction to Lord Amherst, who had
left England to undertake the government of India, Mr. Earle left Rio for
the Cape of Good Hope, intending to take his passage thence to Calcutta.
On the voyage to the Cape the vessel by which he was a passenger touched
at Tristan d'Acunha, and was driven off that island in a gale while Mr.
Earle was ashore, leaving him stranded in that desolate land, where he
remained for six months, when he was rescued by a passing ship, the
"Admiral Cockburn," bound for Van Diemen's Land, whence he visited New
South Wales and New Zealand, returning again to Sydney. In pursuance of
his original resolution to visit India, he left Sydney in "The Rainbow,"
touching at the Caroline Islands, Manilla, and Singapore. After spending
some time in Madras, where he executed many original drawings, which were
afterwards copied and exhibited in a panorama, he set out for England by
a French vessel, which was compelled by stress of weather to put into
Mauritius, where she was condemned. Mr. Earle ultimately reached England
in a vessel named the "Resource," but, being still animated by the desire
for travel, he accepted the situation of draughtsman on His Majesty's
ship "Beagle," commanded by Captain Fitzroy, which in the year 1831 left
on a voyage of discovery that has been made famous by the observations of
Charles Darwin, who accompanied the expedition in the capacity of

The notes which furnished the materials for this book were made by Mr.
Earle during his first visit to New Zealand, in 1827. They are valuable
as setting forth the impressions formed by an educated man, who came into
the primitive community then existing at Hokianga and the Bay of Islands,
without being personally connected either with the trading community,
the missionaries, or the whalers. It should not be inferred from the
reflections Mr. Earle casts upon the missionaries that he was himself an
irreligious man, because the journal of his residence on Tristan d'Acunha
shows that, while living there, he read the whole service of the Church
of England to that little community every Sunday, and his diary in many
places exhibits a reverence for Divine things. It may, however, be said
in extenuation of the lack of hospitality on the part of the missionaries
of which he complains, that many of the early residents and European
visitors to New Zealand were of an undesirable class, and that they
exercised a demoralising influence upon the Maoris. It was not easy for
the missionaries to consort, upon terms of intimacy, with their
fellow-countrymen whose relations with the Natives were such as they must
strongly condemn. Earle's narrative is interesting because it conveys a
realistic description of the Maoris before their national customs and
habits had undergone any material change through association with white
settlers. In dealing with Maori names, Mr. Earle, having at that period
no standard of orthography to guide him, followed the example of Captain
Cook in spelling words phonetically. Except in the case of certain
well-known places the original spelling has been retained in the present
edition of his book.























































































































A Maori War Speech (Frontispiece)
Patuone, a Hokianga Chief
Mission Station, Kerikeri
Scene of Boyd Massacre
Maori War Expedition
Maori Method of Tattooing
Specimens of Tattooing
Whalers at Bay of Islands



Having made up my mind to visit the island of New Zealand, and having
persuaded my friend Mr. Shand to accompany me, we made an arrangement for
the passage with Captain Kent, of the brig Governor Macquarie, and,
bidding adieu to our friends at Sydney, in a few hours (on October 20th,
1827) we were wafted into the great Pacific Ocean.

There were several other passengers on board, who were proceeding to New
Zealand to form a Wesleyan missionary establishment at Hokianga. Amongst
these were a Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs, who were most enthusiastic in the cause.
They had formerly belonged to the same mission at Whangaroa, when a war
which took place amongst the natives totally destroyed their
establishment; and, after enduring great varieties of suffering, they
escaped, but lost everything they possessed, except the clothes they had
on. We had a very fine wind for nine days, and on the 29th we saw a
gannet, a sure sign we were within a hundred miles of land, for these
birds are never seen at a greater distance from it. True to our
anticipations, towards the afternoon the water became discoloured, and at
midnight we saw the land.

This interesting island, of which we now got sight, was first discovered
by that eminent and enterprising Dutch navigator, Tasman, subsequently to
the discovery of Van Diemen's Land. His voyage from Batavia in 1642,
undertaken by order of the then Governor-General of Dutch India, Anthony
Van Diemen, was one of the most important and successful ever undertaken,
for it was during this voyage that New Holland was discovered, of which
Van Diemen's Land was then supposed to form a part, the extensive island
of New Zealand being supposed to form another portion.[1]

The slight intercourse of the discoverers with the natives had so
calamitous a termination, and the exaggerated accounts it was then a kind
of fashion to give of savages, stigmatised the New Zealanders with such a
character for treachery and cruelty, that their island was not visited
again for upwards of a century, when the immortal Cook drew aside the
veil of error and obscurity from this unexplored land, and rescued the
character of its inhabitants from the ignominy which its original
discoverers, the Dutch, had thrown upon them. This immense tract of land
was imagined by Tasman to form but one island, and he most unaptly gave
it the name of New Zealand, from its great resemblance (as was stated) to
his own country.[2]

In 1770 Cook discovered a strait of easy access and safe navigation,
cutting the island nearly in half, thus making two islands of what had
before been imagined but one. This strait bears his name, and is often
traversed by vessels from New South Wales returning home by way of Cape

In 1827 His Majesty's ship Warsprite passed through this strait in
company with the Volage, twenty-eight guns, being the first English line
of battleship which had ever made the attempt. A few years since, Captain
Stewart, commanding a colonial vessel out of Port Jackson, discovered
another strait, which cut off the extreme southern point, making it a
separate island that bears his name, and now almost every year our
sealers and whalers are making additional and useful discoveries along
its coasts.

These islands lie between lat. 34° and 48°S. and long. 166° and 180°E.
The opening of the land to which we were now opposite, and which was our
destined port, the accurate eye of Cook had observed, but did not attempt
the entrance; and it is only about ten years since, when the two store
ships, the Dromedary and Coromandel, loaded with spars on the coast, that
a small vessel attending on those ships first crossed the bar; but
although they took soundings and laid down buoys, the commanders of the
large vessels were afraid of attempting the entrance, which proved their
good sense, for their great draught of water would have rendered the
undertaking more hazardous than the risk was worth. Yet during my
residence in this country two large vessels crossed the bar, and
recrossed it heavily laden, without the slightest accident--one the
Harmony, of London, 400 tons burden; the other the Elizabeth, of Sydney,
of nearly equal tonnage--but in proof that it is not always safe, a few
months after this, two schooners of extremely light draught were lost,
though they were both commanded by men who perfectly well knew the
channels through the bar. It was a singular circumstance that both
vessels had been built in New Zealand; one, the Herald, a small and
beautiful craft, built by and belonging to the Church missionaries, the
crew of which escaped, but the disastrous circumstances attending the
wreck of the other, called the Enterprise, I shall relate in their proper

The morning of the 30th was foggy and unfavourable, but it suddenly
cleared up, and exhibited the entrance of Hokianga right before us, and a
light breeze came to our aid to carry us in. The entrance to this river
is very remarkable, and can never be mistaken by mariners. On the north
side, for many miles, are hills of sand, white, bleak, and barren, ending
abruptly at the entrance of the river, which is about a quarter of a mile
across. Where the south head rises abrupt, craggy, and black, the land
all round is covered with verdure; thus, at the first glimpse of these
heads from the sea, one is white, the other black.

The only difficulty attending the entrance (and, indeed, the only thing
which prevents Hokianga from being one of the finest harbours in the
world) is the bar. This lies two miles from the mouth of the river, its
head enveloped in breakers and foam, bidding defiance and threatening
destruction to all large ships which may attempt the passage. However,
we fortunately slipped over its sandy sides, undamaged, in three-fathom

After crossing the bar, no other obstacle lay in our way, and, floating
gradually into a beautiful river, we soon lost sight of the sea, and were
sailing up a spacious sheet of water, which became considerably wider
after entering it; while majestic hills rose on each side, covered with
verdure to their very summits. Looking up the river, we beheld various
headlands stretching into the water, and gradually contracting in width,
till they became fainter and fainter in the distance, and all was lost in
the azure of the horizon. The excitement occasioned by contemplating
these beautiful scenes was soon interrupted by the hurried approach of
canoes, and the extraordinary noises made by the natives who were in


[Footnote 1: The Dutch and Spanish had discovered N.E. Australia as early
as 1606, and the Dutch had on several occasions visited the N.W. and
South coasts of the Continent before the date of Tasman's voyage.]

[Footnote 2: The name given by Tasman was Staten Landt. The name New
Zealand was bestowed in 1643 by the States-General of the United



As the arrival of a ship is always a profitable occurrence, great
exertions are made to be the first on board. There were several canoes
pulling towards us, and from them a number of muskets were fired, a
compliment we returned with our swivels; one of the canoes soon came
alongside, and an old chief came on board, who rubbed noses with Captain
Kent, whom he recognised as an old acquaintance; he then went round and
shook hands with all the strangers, after which he squatted himself down
upon the deck, seeming very much to enjoy the triumph of being the first
on board. But others very soon coming up with us, our decks were crowded
with them, some boarding us at the gangway, others climbing up the chains
and bows, and finding entrances where they could. All were in perfect
good humour, and pleasure beamed in all their countenances.

I had heard a great deal respecting the splendid race of men I was going
to visit, and the few specimens I had occasionally met with at Sydney so
much pleased me, that I was extremely anxious to see a number of them
together, to judge whether (as a nation) they were finer in their
proportions than the English, or whether it was mere accident that
brought some of their tallest and finest proportioned men before me.

I examined these savages, as they crowded round our decks, with the
critical eye of an artist; they were generally taller and larger men
than ourselves; those of middle height were broad-chested and muscular,
and their limbs as sinewy as though they had been occupied all their
lives in laborious employments. Their colour is lighter than that of the
American Indian, their features small and regular, their hair is in a
profusion of beautiful curls, whereas that of the Indian is straight and
lank. The disposition of the New Zealander appears to be full of fun and
gaiety, while the Indian is dull, shy, and suspicious.

I have known Indians in America from the north to the south--the
miserable, idiotic Botecooda of Brazil, the fierce warrior of Canada, and
the gentle and civilised Peruvian, yet in their features and complexions
they are all much alike. I observed their statures altered with their
different latitudes; the Chilians and the Canadians being nearly the
same, in figure tall, thin, and active, their climate being nearly the
same, although at the two extremes of America; while those living between
the equinoxes are short, fat, and lazy. I am persuaded that these South
Sea Islanders, though so nearly of the same complexion, still are not of
the same race, laziness being the characteristic of the American Indian
from north to south, while the New Zealanders are laborious in the
extreme, as their astonishing and minute carvings prove. The moment the
Indian tasted intoxicating spirits his valour left him, he became an
idiot and a tool in the hands of the white man. Here they have the utmost
aversion to every kind of "wine or strong drink," and very often severely
take us to task for indulging in such an extraordinary and debasing
propensity, or, as they call it, "of making ourselves mad;" but both
nations are equally fond of tobacco.

The first thing which struck me forcibly was, that each of these savages
was armed with a good musket, and most of them had also a cartouch box
buckled round their waists, filled with ball cartridges, and those who
had fired their pieces from the canoes carefully cleaned the pans,
covered the locks over with a piece of dry rag, and put them in a secure
place in their canoes. Every person who has read Captain Cook's account
of the natives of New Zealand would be astonished at the change which has
taken place since his time, when the firing of a single musket would have
terrified a whole village.

As we sailed up the river very slowly, the throng of savages increased to
such a degree that we could scarcely move, and, to add to our confusion,
they gave us "a dance of welcome," standing on one spot, and stamping so
furiously that I really feared they would have stove in the decks, which
our lady passengers were obliged to leave, as when the dance began each
man proceeded to strip himself naked, a custom indispensable among

We came to an anchor off a native village called Pakanae, where two
chiefs of consequence came on board, who soon cleared our decks of a
considerable number. We paid great attention to these chiefs, admitting
them into the cabin, etc., and it had the effect of lessening the noise,
and bringing about some kind of order amongst those who still continued
on deck. The names of these chiefs were Moetara and Akaeigh, and they
were the heads of the village opposite to which we had anchored. They
were well known to our captain, who spoke their language. They were
accustomed to the society of Europeans, also to transact business with
them; and as they were flax, timber, and hog merchants, they and the
captain talked over the state of the markets during the evening. They
were clothed in mats, called Kaka-hoos. The ladies joined our party at
supper, and we spent a very cheerful time with our savage visitors, who
both behaved in as polite and respectful a manner as the best educated
gentlemen could have done; their pleasing manners so ingratiated them
into the good opinion of the ladies, that they all declared "they would
be really very handsome men if their faces were not tattooed."

The next day we received a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Butler, English
people, who had taken up their residence here for the purpose of trading,
and we returned with them on shore, taking our female passengers with us,
and leaving them in charge of Mrs. Butler. I determined to stroll through
the village, which is, in fact, a collection of rude huts, huddled
together without system or regularity. Dock leaves and weeds of every
description were growing luxuriantly all round them, and in many places
actually overtopping the houses, few being more than four feet high, with
a doorway about two feet. Scarcely any of them were inhabited, as at this
season of the year the greater part of the population prefer living in
the open air to remaining in their small, smoky ovens of houses.

I had not rambled far before I witnessed a scene which forcibly reminded
me of the savage country in which I then was, and the great alteration of
character and customs a few days' sail will make. The sight to me so
appalling was that of the remains of a human body which had been roasted,
and a number of hogs and dogs were snarling and feasting upon it! I was
more shocked than surprised, for I had been informed of the character of
the New Zealanders long before my arrival amongst them; still, the
coming suddenly and unexpectedly upon a sight like this completely
sickened me of rambling, at least for that day, and I hastened back to
Mr. Butler's, eager to inquire into the particulars of the horrid

That gentleman informed me that the night of the arrival of our ship, a
chief had set one of his kookies (or slaves) to watch a piece of ground
planted with the kumara, or sweet potato, in order to prevent the hogs
committing depredations upon it. The poor lad, delighted with the
appearance of our vessel, was more intent upon observing her come to an
anchor than upon guarding his master's property, and suffered the hogs to
ramble into the plantation, where they soon made dreadful havoc. In the
midst of this trespass and neglect of orders his master arrived. The
result was certain; he instantly killed the unfortunate boy with a blow
on the head from his stone hatchet, then ordered a fire to be made, and
the body to be dragged to it, where it was roasted and consumed.

It was now time to return on board, and we walked down to the beach for
that purpose, but it was quite low water, and the boat was full two
hundred feet off. She lay at the end of a long, slimy, muddy flat, and
while we were debating how we should manage to get to her, the native
chiefs took up the females in their arms, as though they were children,
and, in spite of all their blushes and remonstrances, carried them to the
boat and placed them safely in it, each seeming to enjoy the task. They
then returned and gave us a passage, walking as easily with us upon their
backs as if we had been no heavier than so many muskets. We took care not
to shock the feelings of the females by letting them know the tragedy so
lately acted in the village, or horrify them by telling them that one of
their carriers was the murderer! It would have been difficult to have
made them believe that such a noble-looking and good-natured fellow had
so lately imbrued his hands in the blood of a fellow creature.

We had now been lying here two days, and the curiosity of the people did
not diminish, nor were our visitors less numerous. Parties were hourly
coming up and down the river to pay their respects to our captain, and
the report of there being numerous passengers on board greatly increased
their desire to hold intercourse with us. They all appeared anxious to
make themselves useful, some chopping wood for our cook, others assisting
the steward, in order to get what might be left on the plates, others
brought small presents of fish; in fact, all availed themselves of any
excuse to get on board; yet, notwithstanding the crowd, and the confusion
attending their movements, there was scarcely any thieving amongst them.
They have seen the detestation that theft is held in by Europeans, and
the injury it does to trade, and have, in consequence, nearly left it
off. None but the meanest slaves will now practise it, and they do so at
the risk of their lives; for, if caught in the act, and the charge is
proved against them, their heads are cut off!



On November 3rd we visited Pakanae, a village lying round the base of a
large conical hill, about three hundred feet high, with a fortification
on the top, which gives it its name, pa signifying in their language a
fortified place. Behind it lies a swamp, which is covered at high water,
and which adds greatly to its security; for the unsettled and war-like
spirit of the natives renders it absolutely necessary that they always
should have a place of strength near at hand to retreat to, as they never
know how suddenly their enemies may make an attack upon them. To the
right of this swamp is a beautiful valley, in a very high state of
cultivation. At the time I stood viewing it from the summit of the hill,
I was charmed with the scene of industry and bustle it presented, all the
inhabitants of the village having gone forth to plant their potatoes,
kumaras, and Indian corn. In the rear, and forming a fine, bold
background, is an immense chain of high and rugged hills, covered to
their summits with thick forests, and forming, as it were, a natural
barrier and protection to this smiling and fruitful valley, while from
their wooded sides issue innumerable small streams of clear water, which,
meeting at the base, form beautiful rivulets, and after meandering
through the valley, and serving all the purposes of irrigation, they
empty themselves into the Hokianga river.

Standing on the spot from which I have described the above prospect, I
felt fully convinced of the frugality and industry of these savages. The
regularity of their plantations, and the order with which they carry on
their various works, differ greatly from most of their brethren in the
South Seas, as here the chiefs and their families set the example of
labour; and when that is the case, none can refuse to toil. Round the
village of Pakanae, at one glance is to be seen above 200 acres of
cultivated land, and that not slightly turned up, but well worked and
cleared; and when the badness of their tools is considered, together with
their limited knowledge of agriculture, their persevering industry I look
upon as truly astonishing.

The New Zealanders have established here a wise custom, which prevents a
great deal of waste and confusion, and generally preserves to the planter
a good crop, in return for the trouble of sowing; namely, as soon as the
ground is finished, and the seed sown, it is _tabooed,_ that, is rendered
sacred, by men appointed for that service, and it is death to trample
over or disturb any part of this consecrated ground. The wisdom and
utility of this regulation must be obvious to every one. But, however
useful this taboo system is to the natives, it is a great inconvenience
to a stranger who is rambling over the country, for if he does not use
the greatest caution, and procure a guide, he may get himself into a
serious dilemma before his rambles be over, which had nearly been the
case with our party this day. We were ascending a hill, for the purpose
of inspecting a New Zealand fortification on the summit, when a little
boy joined our party, either out of curiosity, or in hopes of getting a
fish-hook from us--a thing the natives are continually asking for; but as
we had a man with us who spoke the language fluently, we did not much
regard the boy's guidance, though to us it speedily became of great
importance. We were taking a short cut, to make a quick ascent to the top
of the hill, when the little fellow uttered a cry of horror. Our
interpreter asked him what he meant, when he pointed his finger forward,
and told him to look, for the ground was tabooed. We did as he desired
us, but beheld nothing particular, till he showed us, in one of the
trees, among the branches, a large bunch of something, but we could not
make out what it was. This, he told us, was the body of a chief, then
undergoing the process of decomposition, previous to interment, which
process is witnessed by men appointed for that purpose, who alone are
permitted to approach the spot. The ground all round is tabooed, so that,
had it not been for the interference of our young guide, we should
certainly have been placed in a most distressing situation; and it is a
question if our ignorance of their customs would have been considered a
sufficient excuse for our offence.

The top of this hill was level and square, and was capable of containing
several hundred warriors. It was cut into slopes all round, and fortified
by stockades in every direction, which rendered it impregnable. The
natives assured me its strength had been often tried. The famous warrior
Hongi had attacked it several times, but had always been defeated with
great loss. After inspecting this fortification, which excited our
admiration, we proceeded through the village at the bottom of the hill.
Nearly the whole of the inhabitants were out working in the fields. We
entered several of their habitations, and found all their property
exposed and unguarded. Even their muskets and powder, which they prize
above everything, were open to our inspection, so little idea of robbery
have they amongst themselves. But as there are many hogs and dogs roaming
at large through their villages, they are very careful to fence their
dwellings round with wicker work, to preserve them from the depredations
of these animals; and as the houses are extremely low, they have very
much the appearance of bird cages or rabbit hutches. Their storehouses
are generally placed upon poles, a few feet from the ground, and tabooed
or consecrated. Great taste and ingenuity are displayed in carving and
ornamenting these depositories. I made drawings from several of them,
which were entirely covered with carving; and some good attempts at
groups of figures, as large as life, plainly showed the dawning of the
art of sculpture amongst them. Many of the attempts of the New Zealanders
in that art are quite as good, if not better, than various specimens I
have seen of the first efforts of the early Egyptians.

Painting and sculpture are both arts greatly admired by these rude
people. Every house of consequence is ornamented and embellished, and
their canoes have the most minute and elaborate workmanship bestowed upon

Their food is always eaten out of little baskets, rudely woven of green
flax; and as they generally leave some for their next meal, they hang
these baskets on sticks or props, till they are ready to eat again. Thus
a village presents a very singular appearance, as it is stuck full of
sticks, with various kinds of baskets hanging from them. This plan,
however, is the most rational that could be adopted, as none of their
eatables can be left on the ground, or they would become the prey of the
hogs and dogs.

In the course of our long ramble we noticed many pretty little huts, some
having neat gardens all round them, planted with fruits and corn. One
house which we saw was built by a chief who had made several voyages to
Port Jackson, and it was really a very comfortable dwelling. It had a
high door, which we could enter without stooping, and in a separate room
was constructed a bed, after the pattern of one on ship-board. He had
likewise a large sea-chest in his house, the key of which (highly
polished) was hung round his neck as an ornament. In the course of our
walk we came to a spot on which a group of old people were sitting
sunning themselves, and they immediately all rose to welcome us. I
remarked one amongst them who seemed, from his silvery locks and feeble
limbs, to be very old. I asked him, among other questions, whether he
remembered Captain Cook. He said he did not, but well recollected Captain
Furneaux, and was one of the party which cut off and massacred his boat's
crew; and from other information which I received I believe his assertion
to have been correct.[3]


[Footnote 3: Captain Furneaux's account of this massacre is printed in
the Appendix.]



As our missionary passengers had by this time fixed upon the spot where
they intended to establish their settlement, and it being several miles
up the river, we got under weigh to proceed thither. The captain's
agreement being to that effect, we proceeded with the first fair wind,
about twenty miles up the stream, which was as far as we could with
safety take the vessel. The shores on each side this noble river are
composed of hills gradually rising behind each other, most of them
covered with woods to the water's edge. Not a vestige of a habitation is
to be seen, and if it had not been for the occasional sight of a canoe,
we might have imagined the country to be totally uninhabited. Opposite a
small island, or, rather, sand-bank, the vessel grounded, and had to
remain there till the next tide floated her off. It was a curious and
interesting spot, being a native pa and depot, and was entirely covered
with storehouses for provisions and ammunition. The centre was so
contrived that all assailants might be cut off before they could effect a
landing; and we were all much gratified by the judgment and forethought
displayed in this little military work. The next morning we got off, but
could not proceed far, as the shoals were becoming so numerous as to
render the navigation dangerous. But here we beheld, with both surprise
and satisfaction, a most unexpected sight, namely, a snug little colony
of our own countrymen, comfortably settled and usefully employed in this
savage and unexplored country. Some enterprising merchants of Port
Jackson have established here a dockyard and a number of sawpits. Several
vessels have been laden with timber and spars; one vessel has been built,
launched, and sent to sea from this spot; and another of a hundred and
fifty tons burthen was then upon the stocks!

On landing at this establishment at Te Horeke, or, as the Englishmen have
called it, "Deptford," I was greatly delighted with the appearance of
order, bustle, and industry it presented. Here were storehouses,
dwelling-houses, and various offices for the mechanics; and every
department seemed as well filled as it could have been in a civilised
country. To me the most interesting circumstance was to notice the great
delight of the natives, and the pleasure they seemed to take in observing
the progress of the various works. All were officious to "lend a hand,"
and each seemed eager to be employed. This feeling corresponds with my
idea of the best method of civilising a savage. Nothing can more
completely show the importance of the useful arts than a dockyard. In it
are practised nearly all the mechanical trades; and these present to the
busy enquiring mind of a New Zealander a practical encyclopaedia of
knowledge. When he sees the combined exertions of the smith and carpenter
create so huge a fabric as a ship, his mind is filled with wonder and
delight; and when he witnesses the moulding of iron at the anvil, it
excites his astonishment and emulation.

The people of the dockyard informed me that, although it was constantly
crowded with natives, scarcely anything had ever been stolen, and all the
chiefs in the neighbourhood took so great an interest in the work that
any annoyance offered to those employed would immediately be revenged as
a personal affront.



Here we left the brig to unload her cargo; my friend Shand and myself
having determined to proceed overland to the Bay of Islands. An
intelligent chief, hearing of our intention, offered to accompany us
himself, and lent us two of his kookies to carry our baggage. We accepted
the chieftain's offer, and several other natives joined the party to bear
us company.

November 7.--We all embarked in a canoe, in order to reach the head of
the river before we began our pedestrian tour; and, after paddling about
eight or nine miles further up, where the river became exceedingly
narrow, we came to another English settlement. This consisted of a party
of men who had come out in the Rosanna, the vessel employed by the New
Zealand Company. When all ideas of settling were totally abandoned by the
officers sent out for that purpose, these men chose rather to remain by
themselves than to return home; and we found them busily employed in
cutting timber, sawing planks, and making oars for the Sydney market. How
far they may prove successful, time only can develop; but as these
enterprising men had only their own industry to assist them, it could not
be expected that their establishment could bear a comparison with the one
at Te Horeke, which is supported by several of the most wealthy
merchants of New South Wales.

As the river became narrower, the habitations of the natives were more
numerous. The chief of this district (whose name is Patuone) has a
splendid village very near the carpenters' establishment we have just
described. He had taken these industrious men under his especial
protection, and seemed very proud of having a settlement of that kind in
his territories, as it gave him power and consequence among all the
neighbouring chiefs, from the trade he carried on by means of their

Patuone had likewise induced the Wesleyan missionaries to settle upon his
land, about a mile below; so that the head of this river assumed quite
the appearance of a civilised colony.

Our party now disembarked. We landed in a dense forest, which reached to
the water's edge; and our guides and slaves began to divide the loads
each was to carry on his back. Several joined us from the two English
stations on the river, and we then amounted to a very large party; all in
high spirits, and anxious to proceed on our journey. When our natives had
distributed the luggage, they loaded themselves, which they did with both
skill and quickness; for a New Zealander is never at a loss for cords or
ropes. Their plan is to gather a few handfuls of flax, which they soon
twist into a very good substitute: with this material they formed slings,
with which they dexterously fastened our moveables on their backs, and
set off at a good trot, calling out to us to follow them.



We travelled through a wood so thick that the light of heaven could not
penetrate the trees that composed it. They were so large and so close
together that in many places we had some difficulty to squeeze ourselves
through them. To add to our perplexities, innumerable streams intersected
this forest, which always brought us Europeans to a complete standstill.
The only bridges which the natives ever think of making are formed by
cutting down a tree, and letting it fall across; and over these our
bare-legged attendants, loaded as they were, scrambled with all the
agility of cats or monkeys; but it was not so with us: for several times
they seated one of us on the top of their load, and carried him over. The
chief, who accompanied us, made it his particular business to see me safe
through every difficulty, and many times he carried me himself over such
places as I dared scarcely venture to look down upon.

In the midst of this wood we met the chief of this district, Patuone,
who, together with all his family, were employed in planting a small,
cleared patch of land. He appeared highly delighted at beholding
strangers; and all his wives came from their occupations to welcome us.
He told us that, a very few miles farther on, we should come to a village
belonging to him, where his eldest son was residing, and that we must
there pass the night.

[Illustration: Patuone, a Notable Hokianga Chief.]

We thanked him for the invitation, rubbed noses with him (their token of
friendship), and parted.

Soon after parting with Patuone, we fell in with a most beautiful bull,
cow, and calf. I was amazed at seeing such fine animals in this country;
but my companions soon cleared up the mystery by informing me that they
were gifts from the missionaries, who had orders from Home to distribute
these useful animals amongst such chiefs as they thought would take care
of them: a wise and beneficial measure. These animals were tabooed,
consequently they could ramble wherever they found food most to their
liking. About dusk we arrived at the village Patuone had described to us.
We were most happy to see it, as we were heartily tired, and dripping wet
from a recent and heavy shower.



The village was situated on the side of a small, picturesque stream, one
of the branches of the Hokianga, but continued droughts had at this time
reduced it to a trifling brook. From its lofty banks, and the large trees
lying athwart it, we conjectured that during heavy rains it must be a
mighty flood. A long straggling collection of huts composed the village:
a great deal of land in its vicinity was cleared and planted, which
doubtless was the ostensible object of Patuone's people being here. As
the village lay upon the opposite shore from that on which we arrived, we
sat some time under the shelter of a large tree, to contemplate its
appearance, and to give time to arrange our party for passing the stream,
and also for my making a sketch. The red glare of the setting sun, just
touching the top of every object, beautifully illuminated the landscape;
and its rays bursting through the black woods in the background, gave the
woods an appearance of being on fire; while a beautiful rainbow, thrown
across the sky, tinged the scene with a fairy-land effect.

As soon as they perceived us from the opposite shore, a loud shout of
welcome was raised, and all the inhabitants came out to meet us. They
carried us over the stream, conducted us to their huts, and then sat down
to gaze at and admire us.

As we were very hungry after our fatiguing walk, we soon unpacked our
baggage, and in so doing made an unavoidable display of many valuable and
glittering objects, which roused the attention of our savage spectators,
and caused them, on the unfolding of every fresh object, to make loud and
long exclamations of wonder and amazement. As I was then "a stranger in
their land," and unaccustomed to their peculiarities, I felt a little
alarmed at their shouts; but, on a longer acquaintance with them, I found
my fears had been groundless.

Here we saw the son of Patuone, accompanied by thirty or forty young
savages, sitting or lying all round us. All were exceedingly handsome,
notwithstanding the wildness of their appearance and the ferocity of
their looks. Let the reader picture to himself this savage group,
handling everything they saw, each one armed with a musket, loaded with
ball, a cartouch-box buckled round his waist, and a stone patoo-patoo, or
hatchet, in his hand, while human bones were hung round each neck by way
of ornament; let the scene and situation be taken into consideration, and
he will acknowledge it was calculated to make the young traveller wish
himself safe at home; but, when I suspected, I wronged them; for after
admiring everything we had brought with us (more especially our
fowling-pieces, which were very beautiful ones), they begged a little
tobacco, then retired to a distance from the hut which had been prepared
for our reception, and left us to take our supper uninterrupted; after
which they placed all our baggage in the hut, that we might be assured of
its safety.

It proved a rainy, miserable night; and we were a large party, crowded
into a small, smoky hut, with a fire lighted in the middle; as, after
our supper, the natives, in order to have as much of our company as
possible, crowded it till it was literally crammed. However annoying this
might be, still I was recompensed by the novelty and picturesque
appearance of the scene. Salvator Rosa could not have conceived a finer
study of the horrible. A dozen men, of the largest and most athletic
forms, their cakahoos (or mat-dresses) laid aside, and their huge limbs
exposed to the red glare of the fire; their faces rendered hideous by
being tattooed all over, showing by the firelight quite a bright blue;
their eyes, which are remarkable for their fierce expression, all fixed
upon us, but with a look of good temper, co-mingled with intense
curiosity. All my fears had by this time subsided, and, being master of
myself, I had leisure to study and enjoy the scene; we smoked a social
pipe with them (for they are all immoderately fond of tobacco), and I
then stretched myself down to sleep amidst all their chattering and

But all my attempts at slumber were fruitless. I underwent a simultaneous
attack of vermin of all descriptions; fleas, mosquitoes, and sand-flies,
which, beside their depredations on my person, made such a buzzing noise,
that even the chattering of the natives could not drown it, or the smoke
from the fire or pipes drive them away.



Next morning, at daybreak, we took leave of our hosts, and proceeded on
our journey; we had eight miles more of this thick forest to scramble
through, and this part we found considerably worse than that we had
traversed yesterday. The roots of trees covered the path in all
directions, rendering it necessary to watch every step we took, in order
to prevent being thrown down; the supple-jacks, suspended and twining
from tree to tree, making in many places a complete net-work; and while
we were toiling with the greatest difficulty through this miserable road,
our natives were jogging on as comfortably as possible: use had so
completely accustomed them to it, that they sprung over the roots, and
dived under the supple-jacks and branches, with perfect ease, while we
were panting after them in vain. The whole way was mountainous. The
climbing up, and then descending, was truly frightful; not a gleam of sky
was to be seen, all was a mass of gigantic trees, straight and lofty,
their wide spreading branches mingling overhead, and producing throughout
the forest an endless darkness and unbroken gloom.

After three or four hours of laborious struggling, we emerged from the
wood, and found ourselves upon an extensive plain, which, as far as the
eye could reach, appeared covered with fern. A small path lay before us,
and this was our road. The New Zealanders always travel on foot, one
after the other, or in Indian file. Their pathways are not more than a
foot wide, which to a European is most painful; but as the natives
invariably walk with the feet turned in, or pigeon-toed, they feel no
inconvenience from the narrowness. When a traveller is once on the path,
it is impossible for him to go astray. No other animal, except man, ever
traverses this country, and _his_ track cannot be mistaken, since none
ever deviate from the beaten footpath, which was in consequence, in some
places (where the soil was light), worn so deep as to resemble a gutter
more than a road. We proceeded for many miles in this unsocial manner;
unsocial, for it precludes all conversation. Our natives occasionally
gave us a song, or, rather, dirge, in which they all joined chorus.
Having at length attained the summit of a hill, we beheld the Bay of
Islands, stretching out in the distance; and at sunset we arrived at the
Kerikeri river, where there is a Church-missionary settlement.

[Illustration: Mission Station, Kerikeri.]



We had travelled all day through a country in which every object we saw
was of a character that reminded us forcibly of the savage community we
were with. Occasionally we met groups of naked men, trotting along under
immense loads, and screaming their barbarous songs of recognition;
sometimes we beheld an uncouthly carved figure, daubed over with red
ochre, and fixed in the ground, to give notice that one side of the road
was tabooed. An extraordinary contrast was now presented to our view, for
we came suddenly in front of a complete little English village. Wreaths
of white smoke were rising from the chimneys, of neat weather-boarded
houses. The glazed windows reflected the brilliant glow from the rays of
the setting sun, while herds of fat cattle were winding down the hills,
lowing as they leisurely bent their steps toward the farm-yard. It is
impossible for me to describe what I felt on contemplating a scene so
similar to those I had left behind me.

According to the custom of this country, we fired our muskets, to warn
the inhabitants of the settlement of our approach. We arranged our
dresses in the best order we could, and proceeded towards the village. As
the report of our guns had been heard, groups of nondescripts came
running out to meet us. I could scarcely tell to what order of beings
they belonged; but on their near approach, I found them to be the New
Zealand youths, who were settled with the missionaries. They were habited
in the most uncouth dresses imaginable. These pious men, certainly, have
no taste for the picturesque; they had obscured the finest human forms
under a seaman's huge clothing. Boys not more than fifteen wore jackets
reaching to their knees, and buttoned up to the throat with great black
horn buttons, a coarse checked shirt, the collar of which spread half-way
over their face, their luxuriant, beautiful hair was cut close off, and
each head was crammed into a close Scotch bonnet!

These half-converted, or, rather, half-_covered_, youths, after rubbing
noses, and chattering with our guides, conducted us to the dwellings of
their masters. As I had a letter of introduction from one of their own
body, I felt not the slightest doubt of a kind reception; so we proceeded
with confidence. We were ushered into a house, all cleanliness and
comfort, all order, silence, and unsociability. After presenting my
letter to a grave-looking personage, it had to undergo a private
inspection in an adjoining room, and the result was an invitation "to
stay and take a cup of tea!" All that an abundant farm and excellent
grocer in England could supply were soon before us. Each person of the
mission, as he appeared during our repast, was called aside, and I could
hear my own letter read and discussed by them. I could not help thinking
(within myself) whether this was a way to receive a countryman at the
Antipodes! No smile beamed upon their countenance; there were no
inquiries after news; in short, there was no touch of human sympathy,
such as we "of the world" feel at receiving an Englishman under our roof
in such a savage country as this!

The chubby children who peeped at us from all corners, and the very
hearty appearance of their parents, plainly evidenced that theirs was an
excellent and thriving trade. We had a cold invitation to stay all night;
but this the number of our party entirely precluded; so they lent us
their boat to convey us to the Bay of Islands, a distance of about
twenty-five miles.

As the night proved dark and stormy, and as our boat was crowded with
natives, our passage down the Kerikeri river became both disagreeable and
dangerous. The river being filled with rocks, some under, and others just
above the water, we were obliged to keep a good look-out. After
experiencing many alarms, we arrived safely at Kororareka beach about
midnight, where an Englishman of the name of Johnstone gave us a shelter
in his hut.



In the morning we beheld two vessels at anchor in the harbour. The
Indian, whaler, of London, and the East India Company's ship Research;
which latter ship had been cruising in search of the wreck of the vessels
under the command of La Perouse, and had completely elucidated the
circumstances relating to that event. The Bay of Islands is surrounded by
lofty and picturesque hills, and is secured from all winds. It is full of
lovely coves, and a safe anchorage is to be found nearly all over it;
added to this, a number of navigable rivers are for ever emptying
themselves into the Bay, which is spotted with innumerable romantic
islands all covered with perpetual verdure.

It is with peculiar interest that we look upon the spot where the
illustrious Cook cast anchor after his discovery of this Bay. Some
unhappy quarrels with the natives occasioned much blood to be shed on
both sides, and for a long time caused this island to be looked upon with
horror, and avoided by all Europeans. It was the courage and enterprise
of the crews of our South Sea Whalers who exhibited these interesting
islanders in their true character, and proved to the world that it was
quite as safe to anchor in the Bay of Islands as in the harbour of Port



Since the time of Cook, and other circumnavigators of that period, the
character of these people has undergone a thorough change. Then it was
necessary when a ship anchored, that the boarding nettings should be up,
and all the arms ready for immediate use. The principal object the chiefs
had in view seemed to be to lull the commanders into a fatal security,
then to rush upon them, seize their vessel, and murder all the crew! Too
often had they succeeded, and as often have they paid most dearly for
their treachery and cruelty. In the case of the ship Boyd, though they
attained their object, they were as completely punished for their
perfidy. From their ignorance of the nature of powder, and the use of a
magazine, they blew up the ship, and vast numbers of the natives were
destroyed. Besides this calamity, they brought down upon themselves the
vengeance of every vessel that visited these shores for a long period
afterwards. As the circumstances may not be generally known, Mr. Berry's
letter, relating the particulars of that melancholy, yet interesting
event, is here inserted:--

                                 "Ship, City of Edinburgh,
                                        "Lima, Oct. 20, 1810.

     I am very sorry to have the painful task of introducing myself to
     you, with an account of the loss of your ship Boyd, Captain

     Towards the end of last year I was employed in the Bay of
     Islands, New Zealand, in procuring a cargo of spars for the Cape
     of Good Hope. About the middle of December the natives brought me
     an account of a ship's being taken at Whangaroa, a harbour about
     fifty miles to the N.W. At first we were disposed to doubt the
     truth of this report, but it every day became more probable, from
     the variety of circumstances they informed us of; and which were
     so connected as appeared impossible for them to invent.
     Accordingly, about the end of the month, when we had finished our
     cargo, although it was a business of some danger, I determined to
     go round.

     "I set out with three armed boats: we experienced very bad
     weather, and after a narrow escape were glad to return to the
     ship. As we arrived in a most miserable condition, I had then
     relinquished all idea of the enterprise; but having recruited my
     strength and spirits, I was shocked at the idea of leaving any of
     my countrymen in the hands of savages, and determined to make a
     second attempt. We had this time better weather, and reached the
     harbour without any difficulty. Whangaroa is formed as
     follows:--First, a large outer bay, with an island at its
     entrance; in the bottom of this bay is seen a narrow opening,
     which appears terminated at the distance of a quarter of a mile;
     but, upon entering it, it is seen to expand into two large
     basins, at least as secure as any of the docks on the banks of
     the Thames, and capable of containing (I think) the whole British
     navy. We found the wreck of the Boyd in shoal water, at the top
     of the harbour, a most melancholy picture of wanton mischief. The
     natives had cut her cables, and towed her up the harbour till she
     had grounded, and then set her on fire, and burnt her to the
     water's edge. In her hold were seen the remains of her
     cargo--coals, salted seal skins, and planks. Her guns, iron,
     standards, etc., were lying on the top, having fallen in when her
     decks were consumed.

     "The cargo must have been very valuable; but it appears that the
     captain, anxious to make a better voyage, had come to that port
     for the purpose of filling up with spars for the Cape of Good

     "Not to tire you with the minutia of the business, I recovered
     from the natives a woman, two children, and a boy of the name of
     Davies, one of your apprentices, who were the only survivors. I
     found also the accompanying papers, which, I hope, may prove of
     service to you. I did all this by gentle measures, and you will
     admit that bloodshed and revenge would have answered no good
     purpose. The ship was taken the third morning after her arrival.
     The captain had been rather too hasty in resenting some slight
     theft. Early in the morning the ship was surrounded by a great
     number of canoes, and many natives gradually insinuated
     themselves on board. Tippahee, a chief of the Bay of Islands, and
     who had been twice at Port Jackson, also arrived; he went into
     the cabin, and, after paying his respects to the captain, begged
     a little bread for his men; but the captain received him rather
     slightingly, and desired him to go away, and not trouble him, as
     he was busy.

     "The proud old savage (who had been a constant guest at the
     Governor's table at Port Jackson) was highly offended at this
     treatment, immediately left the cabin, and, after stamping a few
     minutes on the deck, went into his canoe. After breakfast the
     captain went on shore with four hands, and no other arms but his
     fowling-piece. From the account of the savages, as soon as he
     landed they rushed upon him; he had only time to fire his piece,
     and it killed a child. As soon as the captain left the ship,
     Tippahee (who remained alongside in his canoe) came again on
     board. A number of sailors were repairing sails upon the quarter
     deck, and the remainder were carelessly dispersed about, and
     fifty of the natives were sitting on the deck. In a moment they
     all started up, and each knocked his man on the head: a few ran
     wounded below, and four or five escaped up the rigging, and in a
     few seconds the savages had complete possession of the ship. The
     boy Davies escaped into the hold, where he lay concealed for
     several days, till they were fairly glutted with human blood,
     when they spared his life. The woman says she was discovered by
     an old savage, and that she moved him by her tears and embraces;
     that he (being a subordinate chief) carried her to Tippahee, who
     allowed him to spare her life. She says, that at this time the
     deck was covered with human bodies, which they were employed in
     cutting up; after which they exhibited a most horrid dance and
     song in honour of their victory, and concluded by a hymn of
     gratitude to their god.

     "Tippahee now took the speaking trumpet, and hailing the poor
     wretches at the mast-head, told them that he was now captain,
     and that they must in future obey his commands. He then ordered
     them to unbend the sails, they readily complied; but when he
     ordered them to come down they hesitated, but he enforced prompt
     obedience by threatening to cut away the masts. When they came
     down he received them with much civility, and told them he would
     take care of them; he immediately ordered them into a canoe, and
     sent them on shore. A few minutes after this the woman went on
     shore with her deliverer. The first object that struck her view
     was the dead bodies of these men, lying naked on the beach. As
     soon as she landed a number of men started up, and marched
     towards her with their patoo-patoos. A number of women ran
     screaming betwixt them, covered her with their clothes, and by
     tears and entreaties saved her life.

     "The horrid feasting on human flesh which followed would be too
     shocking for description. The second mate begged his life at the
     time of the general massacre; they spared him for a fortnight,
     and then killed and eat him. I think if the captain had received
     Tippahee with a little more civility, that he would have informed
     him of his danger, and saved the ship; but that from being
     treated in the manner I have mentioned, he entered into the plot
     along with the others.

     "I assure you it has been a most unpleasant thing for me to write
     about, and I could only have been induced to do it from a sense
     of duty, and a desire to give you all the information in my
     power, which I suppose may be of some use.

            "I am, Sir,
                    "Your obedient humble servant,
                                      "ALEXANDER BERRY."

Considering Mr. Berry's limited acquaintance with these islanders, and
the horror of the scene before him, his is a good and an impartial
account; but facts which have been obtained subsequently have exonerated
the natives to a certain extent. By repeated conversations I have held
with several chiefs who were engaged in this dreadful affair, and from
information I procured at Sydney, I have no doubt but that the Captain
himself was the most in fault.

[Illustration: Whangaroa, Scene of the "Boyd" Massacre.]

He was commissioned by the Government of New South Wales to land a native
chief named Philip at New Zealand, whom he subjected to a cruel and
impolitic punishment. This man, smarting from his stripes, and burning
with a desire to revenge his dishonourable treatment, excited all his
friends to the commission of that bloody massacre.



The tragic fate of the Boyd's crew is now fast sinking into oblivion;
and, like the islanders of Hawaii, after the murder of Cook, they seem to
wish to obliterate the remembrance of their disgraceful conduct by a kind
and friendly intercourse with our nation. The severe chastisement which
they have always received from us after a treacherous action, has proved
to them how little they gain by so debasing a line of conduct; and as
they are most anxious to possess many of our productions, they seem to
have come to a resolution to abandon their former system; which, if they
may not be sensible of the injustice of, they see is destructive to their
own interests; and now every chief is as solicitous for the safety of a
European vessel as he would have been formerly for its destruction.

They have not only lost a portion of their ferocity, but also much of
their native simplicity of character, which, in all parts of the world,
is so highly interesting a study for the traveller. Their constant
intercourse with whalers, who are generally low, unpolished men, leaves
behind it a tinge of vulgarity, of which the native women retain the
largest portion. In many instances, they quite spoil their good looks, by
half adopting the European costume. Those who are living in the
retirement of their own villages have a natural ease and elegance of
manner, which they soon lose after their introduction to our rough
sailors. I have seen a party of very handsome girls, just landing from
one of the whalers, their beautiful forms hid under old greasy red or
checked shirts, generally put on with the hind parts before. In some
cases the sailors, knowing their taste for finery, bring out with them,
from London, old tawdry gowns, and fierce coloured ribands. And thus
equipped, they come on shore the most grotesque objects imaginable, each
highly delighted with her gaudy habiliments.

Kororareka beach, where we took up our residence, seemed the general
place of rendezvous for all Europeans whom chance might bring into this
bay. At this time there were two large vessels lying at anchor within a
quarter of a mile of the shore, and I was informed there were sometimes
as many as twelve or thirteen.

The spot is a most delightful one, being about three-quarters of a mile
in extent, sheltered by two picturesque promontories, and possessing a
fine circular, firm, sandy beach, on which there is seldom much surf, so
that boats can at all times land and haul up. Scattered amongst the
rushes and small bushes is seen a New Zealand village, which at first
landing is scarcely perceptible, the huts being so low. Some of them are
of English design, though of native workmanship. These are generally the
dwellings of some Europeans, who are of so doubtful a character that it
would be difficult to guess to what order of society they belonged
previous to their being transplanted amongst these savages.

I found a respectable body of Scotch mechanics settled here, who came out
in the New Zealand Company's ship Rosanna, and who determined to remain
at Kororareka. Their persevering industry as yet has been crowned with
success, and they seem well pleased with the prospects before them.

Here, these hardy sons of Britain are employed in both carrying on and
instructing the wondering savage in various branches of useful art. Here
the smith has erected his forge, and his sooty mansion is crowded by
curious natives, who voluntarily perform the hardest and most dirty work,
and consider themselves fully recompensed by a sight of his mysterious
labours, every portion of which fills them with astonishment. Here is
heard daily the sound of the sawpit, while piles of neat white planks
appear arranged on the beach. These laborious and useful Scotchmen
interfere with no one, and pursue successfully their industrious career,
without either requiring or receiving any assistance from Home.

But there is another class of Europeans here, who are both useless and
dangerous, and these lower the character of the white people in the
estimation of the natives. These men are called "Beach Rangers," most of
whom have deserted from, or have been turned out of whalers for crimes,
for which, had they been taken Home and tried, they would have been
hanged; some few among them, having been too lazy to finish the voyage
they had begun, had deserted from their ships, and were then leading a
mean and miserable life amongst the natives.

There is still a third class of our countrymen to be met with here, whose
downcast and sneaking looks proclaim them to be runaway convicts from New
South Wales. These unhappy men are treated with derision and contempt by
all classes; and the New Zealanders, being perfectly aware of their state
of degradation, refuse all intercourse with them. They are idle,
unprincipled, and vicious in the extreme, and are much feared in the Bay
of Islands; for when by any means they obtain liquor, they prove
themselves most dangerous neighbours.

My friend Shand and myself were most comfortably situated. An intimate
friend of mine (Captain Duke, of the whaler The Sisters) had, in
consequence of ill-health, taken up his residence on shore while his
vessel completed her cruise. In his hut we found comfort and safety; and
from his information and advice we were enabled to avoid the advances of
all whom his experience had taught him were to be shunned.

On terms of the closest intimacy, and with his hut adjoining that of my
friend Captain Duke, lived Shulitea[4] (or King George, as he styled
himself), a chief of great power, who controlled the whole of the
district where we were. We all felt grateful to him for his
manifestations of friendship, and at the same time were conscious of
enjoying a greater degree of security by his proximity. He was the first
chief who offered protection to "the white people," and he has never been
known to have broken his engagement. An unexpected and remarkable
instance of his adherence to their interests, in spite of temptation,
took place a few years since, which I deem worthy of relation here.

The ship Brompton, in endeavouring to work out of the bay, by some
accident got on shore, and finally became a complete wreck. This fine
vessel, with a valuable cargo on board, lay helpless on the beach, and
the crew and passengers expected nothing less than plunder and
destruction. The natives from the interior, hearing of the circumstance,
hastened down in vast numbers to participate in the general pillage. But
King George summoned all his warriors to his aid, and with this party
placed himself between the wreck and those who came to plunder it. I was
informed by several who were present at the time, that, after declaring
that "not an article should be taken till himself and all his party were
destroyed," he advanced, and thus explained his reasons for protecting
the strangers and their property:--

"You" (said King George) "come from the interior; all of you think only
of what you can get, without considering the consequences, which, indeed,
are of little import to you, living, as you do, out of reach of the
reproaches and vengeance of the white men. But look how differently I am
situated. I live on the beach; this Bay is my residence; I invite the
white men to come and trade here under the promise of my protection; they
come; several years of profitable trading have passed between us. King
George, they say, is a good man; now an accident has befallen one of
their ships in my territory, what must King George do? Why, he _must_
assist them; which he _will_ do, and defend them against everyone who
shall attempt to injure them." In consequence of this speech, and his
exertions, not a thing was taken from the wreck by the savages who had
collected for that purpose.


[Footnote 4: The chief referred to by Mr. Earle as Shulitea, or King
George, was a noted Bay of Islands chief named Whareumu. He was killed in
a fight with the Hokianga tribes, in March, 1828. (See appendix.)]



This anecdote proves that King George and his people possessed feelings
of honour and generosity, which, if properly cultivated, might lead to
the most happy results. From the length of time these people have been
known to the Europeans, it might naturally be expected that great changes
would have taken place in their habits, manners, arts, and manufactures;
but this is not the case. Their huts are of the same diminutive
proportions as described by Captain Cook; their clothing and mats, their
canoes and paddles, are precisely the same as when that navigator
described them. When they can obtain English tools, they use them in
preference to their own; still their work is not better done. The only
material change that has taken place is in their mode of warfare.

The moment the New Zealanders became acquainted with the nature of
firearms, their minds were directed but to one point, namely, to become
possessed of them. After many ingenious and treacherous attempts to
obtain these oft-coveted treasures, and which, for the most part, ended
in their defeat, they had recourse to industry, and determined to create
commodities which they might fairly barter for these envied muskets.
Potatoes were planted, hogs were reared, and flax prepared, not for their
own use or comfort, but to exchange with the Europeans for firearms.
Their plans succeeded; and they have now fairly possessed themselves of
those weapons, which at first made us so formidable in their eyes; and as
they are in constant want of fresh supplies of ammunition, I feel
convinced it will always be their wish to be on friendly terms with us,
for the purpose of procuring these desirable stores. I have not heard of
a single instance in which they have turned these arms against us, though
they are often grossly insulted.

In their combats with each other, firearms are used with dreadful effect.
The whole soul of a New Zealander seems absorbed in the thoughts of war;
every action of his life is influenced by it; and to possess weapons
which give him such a decided superiority over those who have only their
native implements of offence, he will sacrifice everything. The value
attached by them to muskets, and their ceaseless desire to possess them,
will prove a sufficient security to foreigners who enter their harbours,
or remain on their coasts; as I know, from experience, that the New
Zealanders will rather put up with injuries than run the risk of
offending those who manufacture and barter with them such inestimable



A few days after my arrival in the Bay, I crossed to the opposite side,
to visit the Church missionary settlement, and to deliver a letter of
introduction I had to one of the members. Here, on a beautiful bank, with
a delightful beach in front, and the entrance of the bay open to them,
the clear and blue expanse of water speckled over with fertile islands,
reside these comfortable teachers of the Gospel. The name they have given
this spot is "Marsden Vale." They very soon gave us to understand they
did not wish for our acquaintance, and their coldness and inhospitality
(I must acknowledge) created in my mind a thorough dislike to them. The
object of the mission, as it was first planned, might have been attained,
and might have proved highly beneficial to the New Zealanders; but as it
is now conducted, no good result can be expected from it. Any man of
common sense must agree with me, that a savage can receive but little
benefit from having the abstruse points of the Gospel preached to him, if
his mind is not prepared to receive them. This is the plan adopted here;
and nothing will convince these enthusiasts that it is wrong, or induce
them to change it for one more agreeable to the dictates of reason.

Upon inquiring who and what these men were, I found that the greater part
of them were hardy mechanics (not well-educated clergymen), whom the
benevolent and well-intentioned people of England had sent out in order
to teach the natives the importance of _different trades_--a most
judicious arrangement, and which ought to be the foundation of all
missions. What could be a more gratifying sight than groups of these
athletic savages, toiling at the anvil or the saw; erecting for
themselves substantial dwellings; thus leading them by degrees to know
and to appreciate the comforts resulting from peaceful, laborious, and
useful occupations? Then, while they felt sincere gratitude for services
rendered them, at their leisure hours, and on certain days, _these_
missionaries should attempt to expound to them, in as simple a manner as
possible, the nature of revealed religion!

In New Zealand, the "mechanic" missionary only carries on his trade till
he has every comfort around him--his house finished, his garden fenced,
and a strong stockade enclosing all, to keep off the "pagan" savages.
This done, then commences the easy task of preaching. They collect a few
ragged urchins of natives, whom they teach to read and write their own
language--the English tongue being forbidden; and when these children
return to their families, they are despised by them, as being effeminate
and useless.

I once saw a sturdy blacksmith in the prime of life, sitting in the midst
of a group of savages, attempting to expound to them the mysteries of our
holy redemption--perplexing his own brains, as well as those of his
auditors, with the most incomprehensible and absurd opinions. How much
better would he have been employed in teaching them how to weld a piece
of iron, or to make a nail!

What causes much disapprobation here, is the contemptuous manner in which
they treat their own countrymen, as they receive most of them on the
outside of their stockade fence.

On our return from Marsden Vale, our savage friends laughed heartily at
us. They had warned us of the reception we should meet with; and their
delight at seeing us again formed a strange contrast to that of their
Christian teachers, whose inhospitable dwellings we determined never to



A few days after my visit to the missionaries, while we were busily
employed in constructing our huts, assisted by about fifty natives, on a
sudden a great commotion took place amongst them. Each left his work and
ran to his hut, and immediately returned armed with both musket and
cartouch box: apparently all the arms in the village were mustered, and
all seemed ready for immediate use. On inquiring into the cause of all
these war-like preparations, I was informed that Hongi and his chief men
were crossing the bay in several large war canoes; and though he was
considered as a friend and ally, yet, as he was a man of such desperate
ambition, and consummate cunning, it was considered necessary to receive
him under arms, which he might take either as a compliment, or as a proof
of how well they were aware of the guest they were receiving.

This man, Hongi, was a most extraordinary character, and a person I had
long had a great curiosity to see, his daring and savage deeds having
often been the subject of conversation in New South Wales. In his own
country he was looked upon as invulnerable and invincible. In the year
1821 he had visited England, during which he had been honoured by having
a personal interview with George the Fourth, and had received from His
Majesty several valuable presents; amongst others, were a superb suit of
chain armour, and a splendid double-barrelled gun. From possessing these
arms, so far superior to any of his neighbours, he looked upon himself
as impossible to be conquered, and commenced a career of warfare and
destruction on all his enemies, and nearly exterminated them. His friends
called him "a god," and his enemies feared him as "a devil." Last year,
Hongi made war upon, and totally annihilated, the tribe who had fifteen
years previously attacked and murdered the crew of the Boyd. He had long
determined to take revenge for that treacherous action, as he always
styled himself "the friend of the English." After this, he removed his
residence, and took possession of the conquered district. But in this his
last battle he had to fight without his invulnerable coat of mail, his
slaves having stolen it and gone over with it to the enemy. His people
were now confirmed in their superstition respecting its being proof
against shot, by his having received during the combat a bullet in the
breast, from the effects of which he is fast sinking into the grave. His
companions related the following extraordinary anecdote concerning him
after he received this wound, which proves his great presence of mind.

His party were retreating, and the enemy were charging him vigorously;
Hongi stood alone when he received the bullet; he did not fall
immediately, and the enemy were eagerly running up to despatch him, when
he roused all his energies, and shouted aloud for the two hundred chiefs,
who lay concealed, to rush forward and fall on. The foe, hearing this,
paused, when about a dozen chiefs, and indeed, as Hongi well knew, all
that he had, suddenly made their appearance. This caused a panic; they
turned about; the pursued became the pursuers, and nearly the whole tribe
were destroyed.



He landed about a mile from the village, and we lost no time in procuring
an interpreter, with whom we went instantly to pay our respects to this
celebrated conqueror.

We found him and his party; his slaves preparing their morning repast.
The scene altogether was highly interesting. In a beautiful bay,
surrounded by high rocks and overhanging trees, the chiefs sat in mute
contemplation, their arms piled up in regular order on the beach. Hongi,
not only from his high rank (but in consequence of his wound being
toboo'd, or rendered holy), sat apart from the rest. Their richly
ornamented war canoes were drawn up on the strand; some of the slaves
were unlading stores, others were kindling fires. To me it almost seemed
to realise some of the passages of Homer, where he describes the wanderer
Ulysses and his gallant band of warriors. We approached the chief, and
paid our respects to him. He received us kindly, and with a dignified
composure, as one accustomed to receive homage. His look was emaciated;
but so mild was the expression of his features, that he would have been
the last man I should have imagined accustomed to scenes of bloodshed and
cruelty. But I soon remarked, that when he became animated in
conversation, his eyes sparkled with fire, and their expression changed,
demonstrating that it only required his passions to be roused to exhibit
him under a very different aspect. His wife and daughter were permitted
to sit close to him, to administer to his wants, no others being allowed
so to do, on account of his taboo.

He was arrayed in a new blanket, which completely enveloped his figure,
leaving exposed his highly-tattooed face, and head profusely covered with
long, black, curling hair, adorned with a quantity of white feathers. He
was altogether a very fine study; and, with his permission, I made a
sketch of him, and also one including the whole group. Finding we were
newcomers, he asked us a variety of questions, and, among others, our
opinion of his country. His remarks were judicious and sensible, and he
seemed much pleased with our admiration of his territory. I produced a
bottle of wine that I had brought with me, and his wife supplied him with
a few glasses, which seemed to revive and animate him.

We were then invited to join him in a trip in one of his canoes, in which
was placed a bed for him to recline upon; his wife seated herself close
to him, while his daughter, a very pretty, interesting girl about fifteen
years of age, took a paddle in her hand, which she used with the greatest
dexterity. I took the liberty of presenting her with a bracelet, with
which she seemed highly delighted; when Hongi, perceiving that I was in a
giving mood, pointed to his beard, and asked me for a razor. Fortunately,
I had put one in my pocket on setting out, and I now presented it to
him, by which gifts we continued on terms of great sociability and
friendship. After a pleasant cruise with this (to us) extraordinary
family, and contriving to make ourselves pretty well understood, we
returned about the close of the day, and landed at the bay. All the
natives were much delighted at our confidence in them, and we were
equally gratified by their hospitality.



I was much amused with the punctilios used in the visit of ceremony paid
to King George. Hongi, accompanied by about a dozen of his chiefs,
advanced towards our settlement, leaving their guns and hatchets behind
them; as they approached, all our tribe discharged their pieces in the
air. When they met, all rubbed noses (a ceremony never to be dispensed
with on formal occasions). They were then conducted by King George to his
huts on the beach, and in the enclosure in front of them the warriors
squatted on the ground. Hongi, being tabooed, or under the immediate
protection of their Atua, or God, still sat apart. Then the mother of
George, called Tururo, or the Queen, and who is regarded quite as a sybil
by the whole tribe, approached Hongi with the greatest respect and
caution, and seated herself some paces from his feet. She then began,
with a most melancholy cadence (her eyes streaming with tears and fixed
upon the ground), the song of welcome. All their meetings of ceremony or
friendship begin with the shedding of copious floods of tears; and as
Hongi's visit was such an unhoped for and unexpected honour, so much
greater in proportion was the necessity for their lamentations. This
woeful song lasted half an hour, and all the assembly were soon in tears;
and though at first I was inclined to turn it into ridicule, I was soon
in the same state myself. The pathetic strain, and the scene altogether,
was most impressive. As the song proceeded, I was informed of the nature
of the subject, which was a theme highly calculated to affect all
present. She began by complimenting the wounded warrior, deploring the
incurable state of his wound, and regretting that God was wanting him,
and was about so soon to take him from his friends! Then she recounted
some of his most celebrated deeds of valour, naming and deploring the
number of his friends who had fallen bravely in the wars, and lamenting
that the enemies who had killed them were still living! This part seemed
to affect them powerfully; and when Tururo ceased her song (being quite
exhausted) they all rose, thus demonstrating their respect and

This was followed by a general attack upon the good things King George
had prepared for them. The slaves came flocking in, bearing baskets of
hot kumaras, potatoes, and fish. I observed their tears had not spoiled
their appetites; they ate voraciously. After having done great honour to
the feast, they all started on their feet for a dance, which lasted a
long while, and with which they concluded the evening.

The dances of all savage nations are beautiful, but those of the New
Zealanders partake also of the horrible. The regularity of their
movements is truly astonishing; and the song, which always accompanies a
dance, is most harmonious. They soon work themselves up to a pitch of
frenzy; the distortions of their face and body are truly dreadful, and
fill the mind with horror. Love and war are the subjects of their songs
and dances; but the details of the latter passion are by far the most
popular among them. I was astonished to find that their women mixed in
the dance indiscriminately with the men, and went through all those
horrid gestures with seemingly as much pleasure as the warriors

The next morning I was awakened, at daybreak, by the most dismal sounds I
had ever heard. I started up, and found it proceeded from the tribes
parting with each other. They had divided themselves into little parties,
each forming a circle, and were crying most piteously, and cutting their
flesh as a cook would score pork for roasting. On such occasions each is
armed with a sharp shell, or, if he can possibly obtain so valuable a
prize, a piece of a broken glass bottle. All were streaming with tears
and blood, while Hongi and his friends embarked in their large and
richly-ornamented canoes, and sailed from our beach. After his departure,
I soon discovered that, notwithstanding their apparent affection, King
George and his friends were most happy their visitors had left them; and
that it was more the dread of Hongi's power, than love for him, that
induced them to treat him with such respect and homage.



I made several excursions into the interior, and each confirmed me in the
good opinion I had formed of the natives. I felt myself quite safe
amongst them. There is a great peculiarity in rambling through this
country; namely, the total absence of quadrupeds. There are abundance of
birds, which are so numerous at times as almost to darken the air--many
of them possessing very sweet notes; and wild ducks, teal, etc., cover
the various streams. Wherever I went I did not discover any grass, almost
every part being covered either with fern or flax; the former yielding
the natives their principal article of food, and the latter their
clothing. To this dearth of animals may be attributed the chief cause of
their ferocity and propensity to cannibalism.

In most uncivilised countries the natives use their arms against the wild
animals of the forest. The dangers and difficulties they encounter in
overcoming them form a kind of prelude to war, and perfect them in the
use of their weapons. The rifle of the North American Indian would never
be so much dreaded did he not depend upon its produce for his
subsistence. I have myself (during my travels through North America) had
many opportunities of witnessing the certain aim they take both with the
arrow and the bullet; while those in the southern parts of that vast
continent, who depend on taking the wild cattle, acquire, by constant
practice, an equal dexterity with the _lassoo_, which those who have not
witnessed it could scarcely imagine possible. The New Zealander, while
handling a musket, is quite in a state of trepidation; and though it is
his darling weapon he seems always afraid of it, and is never sure of his
aim till he is quite close to his object. I have mentioned this fact to
several Europeans who had accompanied various tribes to battle, and they
all informed me they made a sad bungling use of the musket; their aim
would be surer if they had large and ferocious animals to hunt or contend
with. There is another circumstance that operates against their acquiring
skill in the use of the gun: they are so fond of cleaning, scrubbing, and
taking them to pieces, that in a short time the locks become loose, the
screws are injured, and they are soon rendered entirely useless, to the
great surprise and dismay of their owners, who are constantly pestering
the Europeans by bringing them _sick_ muskets (as they call them) to look
at, and put to rights, and are quite surprised that we "cannot make them
well again." They cannot be made to comprehend that every white man does
not know how to make a musket, or, at least, to repair it.



On the 24th November we took our departure from the bay, as we had to
return to Hokianga, where we had left our brig; and it was only under a
promise of making a speedy return, and remaining longer with them, that
our savage friends would suffer us to leave them. We expected to reach
the Kerikeri River before night; but in this we were disappointed. It at
length became quite dark; and the ebb tide making against us, rendered
further advance impossible. We had to seek some place of shelter for the
night, and not a hut was visible. While we were debating on what was best
to be done, we observed a light from the shore, and made for it; but, it
being low water, our boat stuck fast in the slime long before we reached
the banks; we were, consequently, obliged to wade knee-deep through the
slippery mud. We soon discovered a party of women sitting round a fire
made in the midst of the swamp. They had come here for the purpose of
procuring shell-fish; and as they are never very fastidious about shelter
or dry beds, they had determined (according to their usual custom) to
pass the night where they had been occupied during the day. This sort of
bivouac I found excessively uncomfortable. The moment we were seated the
water began to ooze out an inch or two all round us. We sought in vain
for a dry place, for we were enveloped in darkness, and surrounded by
rushes and flags six or seven feet high; but, being very much fatigued,
we slept, notwithstanding the misery of a wet bed, with a cloud of fog
for curtains. I did not wake till one of the women gave me a good shake,
and informed me that the day was well up. They had prepared us a
breakfast of hot shell-fish, which they had caught the preceding day, and
they all seemed delighted by our eating heartily of them. As we had some
biscuits in our boat, we sent for them, and gave our "fair founders of
the feast" a share; and we were all very sociable and merry. When we left
them, as it was again low water, the women carried us to our boat, and
took their leave of us amidst peals of laughter. This was another proof
to me that the English are quite safe, though travelling unguarded,
amongst these people.



About nine the next morning we reached the Kerikeri River; and, it being
Sunday, the members of the mission met us on landing, and used all their
endeavours to prevent our travelling on that day; but, independent of the
urgent necessity of our reaching Hokianga, the captain of our vessel, who
was with us, being particularly anxious to return on board, we continued
our journey, and at night came to a bivouac in a dense wood, so that we
now had the luxury of stretching our weary limbs on dry ground. The next
day, as we journeyed towards the river, we fell in with all our old
friends, who inquired into the particulars of our adventures, and seemed
highly delighted at our return.

We found "all right" on board the brig; but as she was chartered to go to
Tongataboo I and my friend Shand determined to remain at New Zealand till
her return. Our principal difficulty seemed to be which side of the
island we should make choice of for a dwelling-place. When it became
known to the natives that we intended to remain with them, several chiefs
came and offered us their protection; and each would have built us a
house, but we preferred making our sojourn at the Bay of Islands. We were
often at a loss how to evade the kind importunities of our savage hosts
without giving them offence. "Is not our country as good as
theirs?"--"Are you not as safe amongst us?"--"Are we not as willing and
as capable of protecting you as Shulitea?" These were the arguments they
used; and, finally, we were obliged to inform them that we had a friend
and countryman (Captain Duke) settled on the other side, who was
preparing a house for our reception. On being informed of this
circumstance they consented to part with us, though evidently with great

While we lay here the ship Harmony, of London, Captain Middleton, arrived
from Sydney for a cargo of spars. So large a vessel entering the port put
the whole district into commotion; and when the chiefs understood the
nature of her wants, and had seen the fine double-barrelled guns and
store of powder to be given as payment for the wished-for freight, they
hastened to the woods, and the axe was soon laid to the roots of the
trees. I saw them pursuing their laborious employ with alacrity. In a few
days a sufficient number of fine logs came floating down the river to
load the ship, and they were all cleared in a workmanlike manner, ready
to stow away. The chief things to induce these people to work are
firearms and powder; these are two stimulants to their industry which
never fail.



A few days after our return to Hokianga we received intelligence that A
Rowa, the father of Mooetara, and the eldest chief in the district, was
dead. These deaths, when they occur among men of rank, are generally
accompanied by some horrible scenes of butchery among their slaves--a
common custom among all savages, but practised here (I was informed) with
peculiar cruelty. We went on shore to witness the ceremony of A Rowa's
lying in state, hoping at the same time that our presence might induce
them to dispense with some of those barbarous cruelties which generally
accompany their funeral rites. We had, indeed, every reason to think we
had conjectured rightly, for nothing of the kind took place; which was
considered by all as a circumstance somewhat remarkable. A great
concourse of savages had assembled all round the village of the deceased
chief, and there was a tremendous firing of muskets, but no particular
marks of grief. I spoke to Mooetara, and requested, as a favour, if it
were not breaking through their established rules, that he would conduct
me to the body of his father. He accordingly led me to the outside of the
village; and under a rude hut (constructed for the purpose) lay the body
of the deceased chief, closely covered up with mats, leaving only part of
the face and head exposed; in his hair was stuck a profusion of long
white feathers, by way of ornament. Two women (whom I understood were his
wives) sat close to the corpse; they were painted all over with red
ochre, and seemed to perform the parts of chief mourners. These kept up a
low moaning noise, and occasionally whisked off the flies from the face
of the deceased. The women, the corpse, the hut, and the ground for some
space round them, were all strictly tapued. Some bundles of fish, and
some calabashes filled with oil, were left close by the body, intended
for his consumption during his passage to the next world.

I imagine that one reason of no outrage having been committed during this
solemn occasion was our brig being on the point of sailing, and previous
to her departure a great deal of traffic was expected to be carried on
with the natives, for there was still a considerable quantity of muskets
undisposed of; and I think, in this instance, avarice overcame filial
affection--the minds of the chief's family being so intent upon obtaining
good bargains, that they had not time to sit and mourn over their
departed parent, nor to work themselves up into a paroxysm of passion
sufficiently violent to cause them to murder their slaves. This afforded
me a convincing proof that as soon as they are occupied by commerce, or
the useful arts, their barbarous rites will gradually be discontinued,
and will speedily cease altogether.

Our brig having sailed, we were again alone with these wild yet
interesting people. We expected our stay might be about six months, and
had provided a stock-in-trade, consisting of a barrel of powder, half a
dozen muskets, some fish-hooks, and a quantity of tobacco. Everything we
possessed we delivered into the hands of the natives, who accounted to
us for the stock thus entrusted to their management with the most
scrupulous exactness. Nothing can be fairer than their mode of bartering
with the Europeans; the prices are fixed; ten large hogs, or 120 baskets
of potatoes (about a ton and a-half), are given for a musket; for small
articles, such as fish, Indian corn, or fruits, the ready money are
fish-hooks and tobacco. As we were now about to become inhabitants of New
Zealand, it became necessary that we should be well acquainted with the
particulars of their methods of "doing business," and that we should
apply ourselves diligently to the study of the language, which we
acquired much more readily than I had anticipated.



A few days after the departure of the brig I witnessed a specimen of
their summary method of executing justice. A chief, resident in the
village, had proof of the infidelity of one of his wives; and, being
perfectly sure of her guilt, he took his patoo-patoo (or stone hatchet)
and proceeded to his hut, where this wretched woman was employed in
household affairs. Without mentioning the cause of his suspicion, or once
upbraiding her, he deliberately aimed a blow at her head, which killed
her on the spot; and, as she was a slave, he dragged the body to the
outside of the village, and there left it to be devoured by the dogs. The
account of this transaction was soon brought to us, and we proceeded to
the place to request permission to bury the body of the murdered woman,
which was immediately granted. Accordingly, we procured a couple of
slaves, who assisted us to carry the corpse down to the beach, where we
interred it in the most decent manner we could.

This was the second murder I was very nearly a witness to since my
arrival; and the indifference with which each had been spoken of induced
me to believe that such barbarities were events of frequent occurrence;
yet the manners of all seemed kind and gentle towards each other; but
infidelity in a wife is never forgiven here; and, in general, if the
lover can be taken, he also is sacrificed along with the adulteress.
Truth obliges me to confess that, notwithstanding these horrors staring
them in the face, they will, if opportunity offers, indulge in an



As there were two roads across to the Bay of Islands, and I was anxious
to see as much of the country as possible, I determined that my second
journey should be by the longest route. I set off, accompanied only by a
native boy to carry a small portmanteau and to serve me as a guide. As,
on my former journey, we travelled many miles through thick tangled
forests, fatiguing beyond description. In the midst of our toilsome
progress, night frequently overtook us; then, by means of my
fowling-piece, I procured a light, the boy made a fire, and we passed the
night in this vast wilderness, far from the habitation of any human
being! At daybreak we resumed our journey, and at length (about ten
o'clock) we emerged from the wood, and entered upon extensive plains.
These were not naked deserts, similar to the ones I had passed through on
my former route, but were diversified with bush and brake, with a number
of small villages scattered in various directions. At mid-day we arrived
at what in New Zealand is considered a town of great size and importance,
called Ty-a-my. It is situated on the sides of a beautiful hill, the top
surmounted by a pa, in the midst of a lonely and extensive plain, covered
with plantations of Indian corn, Kumara and potatoes. This is the
principal inland settlement, and, in point of quiet beauty and
fertility, it equalled any place I had ever seen in the various countries
I have visited. Its situation brought forcibly to my remembrance the
scenery around Canterbury.

We found the village totally deserted, all the inhabitants being employed
in their various plantations; they shouted to us as we passed, thus
bidding us welcome, but did not leave their occupations to receive us. To
view the cultivated parts of this country from an eminence a person might
easily imagine himself in a civilised land; for miles around the village
of Ty-a-my nothing but beautiful green fields present themselves to the
eye. The exact rows in which they plant their Indian corn would do credit
to a first-rate English farmer, and the way in which they prepare the
soil is admirable. The greatest deficiency which I observed in the
country around me was the total absence of fences; and this defect
occasions the natives a great deal of trouble, which might very easily be
avoided. Hogs are the principal part of their wealth, with which, at all
times, they can traffic with vessels touching at their ports. These
animals, consequently, are of the utmost importance to them; but during
the growth of their crops, the constant watching the hogs require to keep
them out of the plantations consumes more time than would effectually
fence in their whole country; but I have no doubt, as they already begin
to follow our advice and adopt our plans, they will soon see the utility
of fencing in their land. I have at various times held many conversations
with different chiefs on this subject, all of whom have acknowledged the
propriety of so doing.

A few miles after leaving this beautiful village we came to a spot
covered with heaps of cinders and hillocks of volcanic matter. I found
all these hillocks small craters, but none of them, burning; and for
miles our road lay through ashes and lava. These fires must have been
extinguished many ages since, as there is not the slightest tradition
among any of the natives of their ever having been burning.

After passing over this lava, our journey lay through a very swampy
country, intersected with streams. I got completely wearied with
stripping to wade through them, so that at length I plunged in clothes
and all. At the close of a most fatiguing day's march, we arrived in
sight of the bay, having travelled over an extent of about fifty miles
since the morning! No canoe being in sight, and we being too distant to
make signals to our brig, we had to pass another night in bivouac on a
part of the beach called Waitangi; and as it did not rain we slept pretty
comfortably. The next morning I procured a canoe, and went on board our

The day following the brig took her final departure from New Zealand, and
we bade farewell to Captain Kent. We now formally placed ourselves under
the protection of King George, who seemed highly pleased with his charge;
and in a few days three good houses were ready for our reception--one for
ourselves, a second for our stores, and a third for our servants. But our
pleasant prospects were soon obscured by a circumstance totally
unexpected, which placed us in a most critical situation, and which we
had every reason to fear would lead to our total destruction.



I was roused one morning at daybreak by my servant running in with the
intelligence that a great number of war canoes were crossing the bay. As
King George had told us but the evening before that he expected a visit
from Ta-ri-ah, a chief of the tribe called Ngapuhis, whose territory lay
on the opposite side of the bay, and given us to understand that Ta-ri-ah
was a man not to be trusted, and therefore feared some mischief might
happen if he really came, the sight of these war canoes naturally caused
us considerable alarm, and we sincerely wished that the visit was over.

We dressed ourselves with the utmost expedition, and walked down to the
beach. The landing of these warriors was conducted with a considerable
degree of order, and could I have divested myself of all ideas of danger
I should have admired the sight excessively. All our New Zealand
friends--the tribe of Shulitea--were stripped naked, their bodies were
oiled, and all were completely armed; their muskets were loaded, their
cartouch boxes were fastened round their waists, and their patoo-patoos
were fixed to their wrists. Their hair was tied up in a tight knot at the
top of their heads, beautifully ornamented with feathers of the
albatross. As the opposite party landed, ours all crouched on the ground,
their eyes fixed on their visitors, and perfectly silent. When the
debarkation was completed I observed the chief, Ta-ri-ah, put himself at
their head, and march towards us with his party formed closely and
compactly, and armed with muskets and paddles. When they came very near
they suddenly stopped. Our party continued still mute, with their
firelocks poised ready for use. For the space of a few minutes all was
still, each party glaring fiercely on the other; and they certainly
formed one of the most beautiful and extraordinary pictures I had ever
beheld. The foreground was formed by a line of naked savages, each
resting on one knee, with musket advanced, their gaze fixed on the
opposite party, their fine, broad, muscular backs contrasting with the
dark foliage in front, and catching the gleam of the rising sun. The
strangers were clothed in the most grotesque manner imaginable--some
armed, some naked, some with long beards, others were painted all over
with red ochre; every part of each figure was quite still, except the
rolling and glaring of their eyes on their opponents. The background was
formed by the beach, and a number of their beautiful war canoes dancing
on the waves; while, in the distance, the mountains on the opposite side
of the bay were just tinged with the varied and beautiful colours of the
sun, then rising in splendour from behind them.

The stillness of this extraordinary scene did not last long. The Ngapuhis
commenced a noisy and discordant song and dance, yelling, jumping, and
making the most hideous faces. This was soon answered by a loud shout
from our party, who endeavoured to outdo the Ngapuhis in making horrible
distortions of their countenances; then succeeded another dance from our
visitors, after which our friends made a rush, and in a sort of rough
joke set them running. Then all joined in a pell-mell sort of encounter,
in which numerous hard blows were given and received; then all the party
fired their pieces in the air, and the ceremony of landing was thus
deemed completed. They then approached each other, and began rubbing
noses; and those who were particular friends cried and lamented over each

The slaves now commenced the labour of making fires to cook the morning
meal, while the chiefs, squatting down, formed a ring, or, rather, an
oblong circle, on the ground; then one at a time rose up, and made long
speeches, which they did in a manner peculiar to themselves. The speaker,
during his harangue, keeps running backwards and forwards within the
oblong space, using the most violent but appropriate gesticulation; so
expressive, indeed, of the subject on which he is speaking, that a
spectator who does not understand their language can form a tolerable
idea as to what the affair is then under debate. The orator is never
interrupted in his speech; but, when he finishes and sits down, another
immediately rises up and takes his place, so that all who choose have an
opportunity of delivering their sentiments, after which the assembly
breaks up.

Though the meeting of these hostile tribes had thus ended more amicably
than King George and his party could have expected, it was easily to be
perceived that the Ngapuhis were determined on executing some atrocity or
depredations before their return; they accordingly pretended to recollect
some old offence committed by the English settlers at the other end of
the beach. They proceeded thither, and first attacked and broke open the
house of a blacksmith, and carried off every article it contained. They
then marched to the residence of an English captain (who was in England),
and plundered it of everything that could be taken away, and afterwards
sent word they intended to return to our end of the beach. Our fears were
greatly increased by finding that our friends were not sufficiently
strong to protect us from the superior force of the Ngapuhis, and our
chief, George, being himself (we supposed) conscious of his inability,
had left us to depend upon our own resources.



We now called a council of war of all the Europeans settled here; and it
was unanimously resolved that we should protect and defend our houses and
property, and fortify our position in the best way we could. Captain Duke
had in his possession four twelve-pounders, and these we brought in front
of the enclosure in which our huts were situated, and were all entirely
employed in loading them with round and grape shot, and had made them all
ready for action, when, to our consternation and dismay, we found we had
a new and totally unexpected enemy to contend with. By some accident one
of our houses was in flames. Our situation was now perilous in the
extreme. The buildings, the work of English carpenters, were constructed
of dry rushes and well-seasoned wood, and this was one of a very
respectable size, and we had hoped, in a very few days, would be finished
fit for our removing into.

For some seconds we stood in mute amazement, not knowing to which point
to direct our energies. As the cry of "fire" was raised, groups of
natives came rushing from all directions upon our devoted settlement,
stripping off their clothes, and yelling in the most discordant pitch of
voice. I entered the house, and brought out one of my trunks, but on
attempting to return a second time I found it filled with naked savages,
tearing everything to pieces, and carrying away whatever they could lay
their hands upon. The fierce raging of the flames, the heat from the
fire, the yells of the men, and the shrill cries of the women, formed,
altogether, a horrible combination; added to all this was the
mortification of seeing all our property carried off in different
directions, without the least possibility of our preventing it. The tribe
of the Ngapuhis (who, when the fire began, were at the other end of the
beach) left their operations in that quarter and poured down upon us to
share in the general plunder. Never shall I forget the countenance of the
chief, as he rushed forward at the head of his destroying crew! He was
called "The Giant," and he was well worthy of the name, being the tallest
and largest man I had ever seen; he had an immense bushy black beard, and
grinned exultingly when he saw the work of destruction proceeding with
such rapidity, and kept shouting loudly to his party to excite them to
carry off all they could.

A cask containing seventy gallons of rum now caught fire and blew up with
a terrible explosion; and, the wind freshening considerably, huge volumes
of smoke and flame burst out in every direction. Two of our houses were
so completely enveloped that we had given up all hopes of saving them.
The third, which was a beautifully carved tapued one, some little
distance from the others, and which we had converted into a store and
magazine, was now the only object of our solicitude and terror. For,
besides the valuable property of various kinds which were deposited
within it, it contained several barrels of gunpowder! It was in vain we
attempted to warn the frantic natives to retire from the vicinity of this
danger. At length we persuaded about a dozen of the most rational to
listen while we explained to them the cause of our alarm; and they
immediately ascended to the roof, where, with the utmost intrepidity and
coolness, they kept pouring water over the thatch, thus lessening the
probability of an immediate explosion. About this time we noticed the
reappearance of King George, which circumstance rekindled our hopes. He
was armed with a thick stick, which he laid heavily on the backs of such
of his subjects as were running away with our property, thus forcing them
to relinquish their prizes, and to lay them down before his own mansion,
where all was safe. By this means a great deal was recollected. The fire
was now nearly extinguished; but our two really tolerably good houses
were reduced to a heap of smoking ruins, and the greater part of what
belonged to us was taken away by the Ngapuhis.

This calamity had made us acquainted with another of their barbarous
customs, which is, whenever a misfortune happens to a community, or an
individual, every person, even the friends of his own tribe, fall upon
and strip him of all he has remaining. As an unfortunate fish, when
struck by a harpoon, is instantly surrounded and devoured by his
companions, so in New Zealand, when a chief is killed, his former friends
plunder his widow and children; and they, in revenge, ill-use and even
murder their slaves--thus one misfortune gives birth to various
cruelties. During the fire, our allies proved themselves the most adroit
and active thieves imaginable, though previously to that event we had
never lost an article, although everything we possessed was open to them.

When we questioned them about our property, they frankly told us where it
was; and, after some difficulty in settling the amount of its ransom, we
got most of our things back again, with the exception of such as had been
carried off by the Ngapuhis.

Upon the cruelty of this custom I shall make no comments. Probably I
should have remained in ignorance of this savage law, had I not had the
misfortune to become its victim.

By redeeming from the natives what they had purloined from the fire, we
had restored to us some of our boxes, desks, and clothes; but all our
little comforts towards housekeeping were irretrievably lost. When the
fire was over we received a visit from one of the missionaries, who made
us a cold offer of assistance. We accepted a little tea, sugar and some
few articles of crockery from them; but, although they knew we stood
there houseless, amongst a horde of savages, they never offered us the
shelter of their roofs. I am very sure that had the calamity befallen
them, we should immediately have offered our huts, and shared with them
everything we possessed. Here was an opportunity of practically showing
the "pagans" (as they termed the New Zealanders) the great Christian
doctrine of "doing to others as we would they should do unto us." I must
acknowledge I was sometimes mortified at being obliged to sleep (three of
us huddled up close together) in a small New Zealand hut, filled with
filth and vermin of all kinds, while at only two miles' distance from us
stood a neat village, abounding in every comfort that a bountiful British
public could provide; and we, members of that community, and, indeed,
partly contributors to the funds for its support.

The high state of excitement into which the savages had been thrown by
the late conflagration gradually subsided, and as we had escaped the
dreaded calamity of our magazine blowing up, we began to look with
calmness on our desolate condition, and draw comfort from thinking how
much worse we might have been circumstanced than we then were. I hope our
distress may prove a benefit to future sojourners in this country, by
showing them the great importance of forming a proper magazine for
powder. The agonies I suffered in contemplating the destruction which six
barrels of powder, each of an hundredweight, would cause amongst a mob of
several hundred naked savages, it is impossible to imagine!

King George, as well as all his people, were most anxious to build us a
new habitation entirely themselves. They requested us to give them the
dimensions of the various dwellings, and said we should have no further
trouble about them. A party accordingly proceeded to the bush to collect
materials. They first formed the skeleton of a cottage containing three
rooms, with slight sticks, firmly tied together with strips of flax.
While this was in progress, another party was collecting rushes (which
grow plentifully in the neighbourhood, called Ra-poo). These they spread
in the sun for twenty-four hours, when they considered them sufficiently
dry. They then thatched every part of the house, which for neatness and
strength was equal to anything I had ever seen. The doors and windows we
employed our carpenter to make, these being luxuries quite beyond the
comprehension of the natives. We were thus tolerably well lodged again;
and our time passed on tranquilly, almost every day developing some fresh
trait of character amongst these children of nature.



I went to reside for a short time at a village about half a mile distant,
where there was a pretty good house vacant. It was called Ma-to-we, and
belonged to a chief named Atoi, a relation of George's, but a much
younger man. His power was not so great, and he was every way subject to
the authority of the tribe under whose protection I had placed myself.
One morning, at daybreak, we were roused by the hasty approach of King
George and all his warriors towards Ma-to-we. All were fully equipped for
war, and each countenance looked fierce and wild. Our late misfortunes
having rendered us more than usually anxious, this hostile appearance
gave us considerable alarm. We left our house to inquire the reason
thereof, and saw George and his followers enter the village, pull down
several fences, fire a few muskets in the air, dance a most hideous dance
of defiance, and then depart; but not one word of explanation could we
obtain from him. In the course of the morning, however, the women
acquainted us with the cause of this mysterious proceeding, which
determined me to remove my things back again to George's village of
Kororarika as soon as possible.

The affair was simply this: Atoi had two wives. During the time of our
visit to his village, he was absent, and had entrusted these women to the
care of his brother; but he, instead of being faithful to the trust
reposed in him, had actually seduced one of them. This circumstance came
to the knowledge of George, and he, feeling for the honour of his absent
friend, immediately proceeded to the village, and thus gave the parties
warning that he was fully aware of the nature of their proceedings. He
had also dispatched a messenger to Atoi, to inform him of his disgrace,
and to request his immediate return. In the course of the day it was
expected he would arrive, and bring with him a strong party of friends,
all burning with revenge, and eager to punish his brother for his
unnatural perfidy. It was thought that unless George interfered, much
bloodshed might ensue; and it may readily be imagined how anxious we were
that this dreaded meeting should be over; yet I (for one) had determined
that I would be a witness of it. Therefore, when word was brought to me
that Atoi was crossing the bay, I hastened down to the beach. There I
found all parties assembled from both villages. George and his followers,
who were to act as mediators, sat immediately in front of the place of
landing; behind them were Atoi's brother and all his partizans; and in
the rear were all the women and children, with about a dozen white faces
scattered amongst them. The scene was picturesque and exceedingly
interesting. It was near the close of a lovely summer's day--the sun,
fast sinking towards the horizon, threw a warm and mellow glow over the
wide expanse of the far-spreading bay, whose smooth waters were only
disturbed by the approaching canoe cutting its foamy way. It was crowded
with naked warriors, urging their rapid course towards the shore; and we
heard the loud and furious song of the chief, animating his friends to
exertion; we saw his frantic gestures, as he stood in the centre of his
canoe, brandishing his weapons. As they came near the place of landing,
George ran into the stream, and as the canoe touched the shore, attacked
Atoi, but in a playful manner, splashing water over him. Thus irritated,
Atoi jumped on land, and, with a double-barrelled musket in his hand, ran
towards his brother, and doubtless would have killed him on the spot, had
he not been prevented. I now saw the advantage of George and his party
being present. He and three of his subjects seized upon Atoi, and tried
to wrest the weapon from his hands, which if they had been able to
effect, a mortal combat could not take place, such being the custom here.
Atoi was a very powerful man of about thirty, and those who attacked him
had a most difficult task; twice he broke from them; and I then watched
the countenance of his brother, which was perfectly cool and collected,
though the firelock was in readiness, and the finger on the trigger,
which might despatch him instantly. All parties sat perfectly quiet
during the desperate struggle; one of the barrels of Atoi's piece went
off, and the contents flew amongst us, without, however, doing any
material injury; and, finally, the musket was wrested out of his hands.
He then sat still for about twenty minutes, to recover his breath, when
he seized a club and rushed upon his brother (for mortal weapons were now
prohibited). The brother started up, armed in the same manner; some heavy
blows passed between them; when, having thrown aside their clubs, they
grappled each other firmly, and a dreadful struggle ensued. As they were
both completely naked, their hair was the only thing to take hold by; but
being long, thick, and strong, it afforded a firm grasp, and they
committed desperate havoc on each other's persons. At this period of the
fight their poor old mother, who was quite blind, came forward to try and
separate the combatants; the sister and younger brothers now followed her
example; and, finally, the fair and frail cause of all this commotion.

The brothers, having completely exhausted their strength, were easily
separated; and as their friends had carefully removed all weapons out of
their reach, they of course were deprived of the means of injuring each
other. The members of Atoi's family, together with a few friends, now sat
down in a circle, to converse and consult on the affair. Atoi's wife
totally denied the charge, and protested her innocence, and many
circumstances were brought forward to corroborate her statements. The
husband at length was satisfied, and all parties were reconciled.



This affair was scarcely terminated, when we found that another of a
still more serious nature was likely to arise from it and would threaten
the peace of both villages. When King George sent his messenger to inform
Atoi of the infidelity of his wife, the infuriated husband assaulted the
man, and it was rumoured that he had killed him. This was an offence not
to be forgiven, and George was so exasperated by it that he vowed he
would exterminate the whole of Atoi's tribe. A native, however, arrived
with the intelligence that the man was not dead, but only wounded. This
did not seem to allay George's feelings of resentment, and he instantly
made great preparations for war. When our anxiety was wound up to the
utmost, we were greatly astonished to see Atoi and all his friends
approach our settlement, totally unarmed. George went out to meet them,
looking so full of rage that I thought Atoi stood but a slight chance for
his life. After a great deal of violent pantomimic action and grimace,
the apology offered by Atoi was accepted, and the visit was concluded by
a grand war-dance and sham fight performed in their best manner. King
George, in the fulness of his heart at this complete restoration of
friendship, gave a great feast of kumaras and fish, to which we added
some tobacco; and the whole of the party seated themselves by each other
with the utmost sociality--a convincing proof that animosity is not long
an inmate of their breasts.

I took every opportunity of inquiring into the nature of their laws and
mode of government, and I found that, in general, their method of
redressing wrongs was very summary, and that their ideas of what was
strictly just were, for the most part, simple and equitable. For any
theft, or offence of that sort, committed by one tribe on another, the
parties are called to instant account. If one native takes from another
any part of his possessions, the party injured has a right to retaliate,
and the party retaliated upon must not make the slightest resistance. We
ourselves experienced a proof of this. Some part of our property, which
we supposed had been destroyed by our late fire, we had been told was to
be found in the hut of a neighbouring chief. We one day took advantage of
his absence, searched the hut ourselves, and discovered our things
carefully deposited therein. Thus assured of the fact, we laid our
complaint before King George, who, after hearing our story to the end,
replied, "Well, my friends, you must go to the hut and take away all your
property, and whatever else you may find, which you may think sufficient
payment for the injury you have received." We accordingly proceeded to
the chief's dwelling, whom we found standing at his door. We charged him
with having robbed us, and entered the house to seize our property. He
held down his head, and seemed ashamed and overpowered at this discovery.
He did not attempt to vindicate his conduct, but quietly allowed us not
only to take away all that had belonged to us, but likewise a musket and
double-barrelled gun, which he concluded he had lost for ever. These we
had only taken away temporarily to deter him from theft in future, for a
few days after we brought them back to him, to his infinite delight and

I was frequently shocked during my residence in this country by the
number of accidents which continually happened to the natives from
gunpowder, and not even the saddest experience could render them more
careful. We were doubtful of the strength of a French fowling-piece we
had, so we loaded it to the muzzle and discharged it, in order to prove
it. Some young chiefs, who saw us do this (approving of this method), as
soon as they returned home loaded a musket in the same manner, and then
discharged it; but not managing the affair as we did--by means of a
string fastened to the trigger--the piece burst, and mangled two of them
dreadfully, and we got greatly blamed for showing them what was
considered so bad an example.

A few months since a native came from the interior driving a quantity of
pigs to barter for powder; he obtained several pounds' weight, and set
off to return home. On his journey he passed the night in a hut, and for
safety put the bag of powder under his head as a pillow; and as a New
Zealander always sleeps with a fire close to him, the consequence was, in
the course of the night the fire communicated to the powder, and
destroyed the man and the whole of his family, who were journeying with



Last year a chief, and cousin of King George, named Pomare, was defeated
and killed by the people of the Thames, and George was now resolved to
revenge his death. This determination having become known, we had a
constant succession of visitors, and a considerable number of blows,
scratches, and rubbing noses were the consequence. Our beach presented a
most interesting and busy scene. A dozen superb war canoes were lying
ready to convey the forces; and, considering their limited means, the
solidity of their structure and the carved work on them are surprising.
None but men of rank are allowed to work upon them, and they labour like
slaves. Some canoes were to be lengthened; others patched; others were
condemned to be broken up, and the fragments taken to complete the new
ones. Every morning we were awakened by the sound of the hammer and saw,
and they were much gratified by our walking down to their dockyard to
observe the progress they made, and by giving our opinions of their work.
They thankfully received any hint we gave them as to better methods of
completing or proceeding with their operations. Here were carvers,
painters, caulkers, and sailmakers, all working in their different
departments with great good humour and industry. Some of their vessels
were eighty feet long, and were entirely covered with beautiful
carving. Their form was light and delicate, and if their intentions were
hostile towards us, they would be very formidable alongside any merchant
man. If our Government should determine to colonise any part of New
Zealand, they would find the natives hardy and willing assistants, and
very different from the natives of New South Wales.

[Illustration: Maori War Expedition (With Mission boat accompanying

As their canoes were ready for launching, they ran them off the beach,
jumped into them, and scudded across the bay with an almost incredible
swiftness. When it is considered that in each canoe were seated eighty
stout young men, each with a large paddle in his hand propelling the
vessel forward, the velocity with which she flew may be imagined! It was
in the midst of scenes like these that we were passing our time, and I
had just become delighted with the appearance of innocence and industry
so continually displayed by these people, when I was called upon to
witness a sight which exhibited their character in its worst light, and
confirmed all my horrible suspicions regarding their alleged cannibalism.

The New Zealanders have been long charged with cannibalism; but as no
person of importance or celebrity had actually been a witness to the
disgusting act, in pity to our nature such relations have been
universally rejected, and much has been written to prove the
non-existence of so hideous a propensity. It was my lot to behold it in
all its horrors!

One morning, about eleven o'clock, after I had just returned from a long
walk, Captain Duke informed me he had heard, from very good authority
(though the natives wished it to be kept a profound secret), that in the
adjoining village a female slave, named Matowe, had been put to death,
and that the people were at that very time preparing her flesh for
cooking. At the same time he reminded me of a circumstance which had
taken place the evening before. Atoi had been paying us a visit, and,
when going away, he recognised a girl whom he said was a slave that had
run away from him; he immediately seized hold of her, and gave her in
charge to some of his people. The girl had been employed in carrying wood
for us; Atoi's laying claim to her had caused us no alarm for her life,
and we had thought no more on the subject; but now, to my surprise and
horror, I heard this poor girl was the victim they were preparing for the
oven! Captain Duke and myself were resolved to witness this dreadful
scene. We therefore kept our information as secret as possible, well
knowing that if we had manifested our wishes they would have denied the
whole affair. We set out, taking a circuitous route towards the village,
and, being well acquainted with the road, we came upon them suddenly, and
found them in the midst of their abominable ceremonies.

On a spot of rising ground, just outside the village, we saw a man
preparing a native oven, which is done in the following simple manner:--A
hole is made in the ground, and hot stones are put within it, and then
all is covered up close. As we approached, we saw evident signs of the
murder which had been perpetrated; bloody mats were strewed around, and a
boy was standing by them actually laughing: he put his finger to his
head, and then pointed towards a bush. I approached the bush, and there
discovered a human head. My feelings of horror may be imagined as I
recognised the features of the unfortunate girl I had seen forced from
our village the preceding evening!

We ran towards the fire, and there stood a man occupied in a way few
would wish to see. He was preparing the four-quarters of a human body for
a feast; the large bones, having been taken out, were thrown aside, and
the flesh being compressed, he was in the act of forcing it into the
oven. While we stood transfixed by this terrible sight, a large dog,
which lay before the fire, rose up, seized the bloody head, and walked
off with it into the bushes, no doubt to hide it there for another meal!
The man completed his task with the most perfect composure, telling us,
at the same time, that the repast would not be ready for some hours!

Here stood Captain Duke and myself, both witnesses of a scene which many
travellers have related, and their relations have invariably been treated
with contempt; indeed, the veracity of those who had the temerity to
relate such incredible events has been everywhere questioned. In this
instance it was no warrior's flesh to be eaten; there was no enemy's
blood to drink, in order to infuriate them. They had no revenge to
gratify; no plea could they make of their passions having been roused by
battle, nor the excuse that they eat their enemies to perfect their
triumph. This was an action of unjustifiable cannibalism. Atoi, the
chief, who had given orders for this cruel feast, had only the night
before sold us four pigs for a few pounds of powder; so he had not even
the excuse of want of food. After Captain Duke and myself had consulted
with each other, we walked into the village, determining to charge Atoi
with his brutality.

Atoi received us in his usual manner; and his handsome, open countenance
could not be imagined to belong to so savage a monster as he had proved
himself to be. I shuddered at beholding the unusual quantity of potatoes
his slaves were preparing to eat with this infernal banquet. We talked
coolly with him on the subject, for, as we could not prevent what had
taken place, we were resolved to learn, if possible, the whole
particulars. Atoi at first tried to make us believe he knew nothing about
it, and that it was only a meal for his slaves; but we had ascertained it
was for himself and his favourite companions. After various endeavours to
conceal the fact, Atoi frankly owned that he was only waiting till the
cooking was completed to partake of it. He added that, knowing the horror
we Europeans held these feasts in, the natives were always most anxious
to conceal them from us, and he was very angry that it had come to our
knowledge; but, as he had acknowledged the fact, he had no objection to
talk about it. He told us that human flesh required a greater number of
hours to cook than any other; that if not done enough it was very tough,
but when sufficiently cooked it was as tender as paper. He held in his
hand a piece of paper, which he tore in illustration of his remark. He
said the flesh then preparing would not be ready till next morning; but
one of his sisters whispered in my ear that her brother was deceiving us,
as they intended feasting at sunset.

We inquired why and how he had murdered the poor girl. He replied that
running away from him to her own relations was her only crime. He then
took us outside his village, and showed us the post to which she had been
tied, and laughed to think how he had cheated her: "For," said he, "I
told her I only intended to give her a flogging; but I fired, and shot
her through the heart!" My blood ran cold at this relation, and I looked
with feelings of horror at the savage while he related it. Shall I be
credited when I again affirm that he was not only a handsome young man,
but mild and genteel in his demeanour? He was a man we had admitted to
our table, and was a general favourite with us all; and the poor victim
to his bloody cruelty was a pretty girl of about sixteen years of age!

While listening to this frightful detail, we felt sick almost to
fainting. We left Atoi, and again strolled towards the spot where this
disgusting mess was cooking. Not a native was now near it: a hot, fetid
steam kept occasionally bursting from the smothered mass; and the same
dog we had seen with the head now crept from beneath the bushes, and
sneaked towards the village. To add to the gloominess of the whole, a
large hawk rose heavily from the very spot where the poor victim had been
cut in pieces. My friend and I sat gazing on this melancholy place; it
was a lowering, gusty day, and the moaning of the wind through the
bushes, as it swept round the hill on which we were, seemed in unison
with our feelings.

After some time spent in contemplating the miserable scene before us,
during which we gave full vent to the most passionate exclamations of
disgust, we determined to spoil this intended feast. This resolution
formed, we rose to execute it. I ran off to our beach, leaving Duke on
guard, and, collecting all the white men I could, I informed them of what
had happened, and asked them if they would assist in destroying the oven
and burying the remains of the girl. They consented, and each having
provided himself with a shovel or a pickaxe, we repaired in a body to
the spot. Atoi and his friends had by some means been informed of our
intention, and they came out to prevent it. He used various threats to
deter us, and seemed highly indignant; but as none of his followers
appeared willing to come to blows, and seemed ashamed that such a
transaction should have been discovered by us, we were permitted by them
to do as we chose. We accordingly dug a tolerably deep grave; then we
resolutely attacked the oven. On removing the earth and leaves, the
shocking spectacle was presented to our view--the four quarters of a
human body half roasted. During our work clouds of steam enveloped us,
and the disgust created by our task was almost overpowering. We collected
all the parts we could recognise; the heart was placed separately, we
supposed, as a savoury morsel for the chief himself. We placed the whole
in the grave, which we filled up as well as we could, and then broke and
scattered the oven.

By this time the natives from both villages had assembled, and a scene
similar to this was never before witnessed in New Zealand. Six unarmed
men, quite unprotected (for there was not a single vessel in the harbour,
nor had there been for a month), had attacked and destroyed all the
preparations of the natives for what they consider a national feast; and
this was done in the presence of a great body of armed chiefs, who had
assembled to partake of it. After having finished this exploit, and our
passion and disgust had somewhat subsided, I could not help feeling that
we had acted very imprudently in thus tempting the fury of these savages,
and interfering in an affair that certainly was no concern of ours; but
as no harm accrued to any of our party, it plainly shows the influence
"the white men" have already obtained over them; had the offence we
committed been done by any hostile tribe, hundreds of lives would have
been sacrificed.

The next day our old friend King George paid us a long visit, and we
talked over the affair very calmly. He highly disapproved of our conduct.
"In the first place," said he, "you did a foolish thing, which might have
cost you your lives; and yet did not accomplish your purpose after all,
as you merely succeeded in burying the flesh near the spot on which you
found it. After you went away it was again taken up, and every bit was
eaten"--a fact I afterwards ascertained by examining the grave and
finding it empty. King George further said: "It was an old custom, which
their fathers practised before them; and you had no right to interfere
with their ceremonies. I myself," added he, "have left off eating human
flesh, out of compliment to you white men; but you have no reason to
expect the same compliance from all the other chiefs. What punishment
have you in England for thieves and runaways?" We answered, "After trial,
flogging or hanging." "Then," he replied, "the only difference in our
laws is, you flog and hang, but we shoot and eat."

After thus reproving us, he became very communicative on the subject of
cannibalism. He said, he recollected the time prior to pigs and potatoes
being introduced into the island (an epoch of great importance to the New
Zealanders), and stated that he was born and reared in an inland
district, and the only food they then had consisted of fern roots and
kumara; fish they never saw, and the only flesh he then partook of was
human. But I will no longer dwell on this humiliating subject. Most
white men who have visited the island have been sceptical on this point;
I myself was before I had "ocular proof." Consequently I availed myself
of the first opportunity to convince myself of the fact. I have reflected
upon the subject, and am thoroughly satisfied that nothing will cure the
natives of this dreadful propensity but the introduction of many
varieties of animals, both wild and tame, and all would be sure to thrive
in so mild and fine a climate.



The scene I have just described brings into consideration the subject of
slavery, as it now exists in New Zealand. That slavery should be the
custom of savage nations and cannibals, is not a cause of wonder: they
are the only class of human beings it ought to remain with. Here slavery
assumes its most hideous shape! Every one they can effect a seizure of in
an enemy's country becomes the slave of the captors. Chiefs are never
made prisoners; they either fight to the last, or are killed on the spot,
and their heads are preserved (by a peculiar method) as trophies.
Children are greatly prized: these they bring to their dwellings, and
they remain slaves for life. Upon the number of slaves a chief can muster
he takes his rank as a man of wealth and consequence in society; and the
only chance these wretched beings have of being released from their
miseries, is their master getting into a rage, and murdering them without
further ceremony.

On entering a village, a stranger instantly discovers which portion of
its inhabitants are the slaves, though both the complexion and the
dresses of all are alike. The free Zealander is a joyous, good-humoured
looking man, full of laughter and vivacity, and is chattering
incessantly; but the slaves have invariably a squalid, dejected look;
they are never seen to smile, and appear literally half starved. The
beauties characteristic of a New Zealander are his teeth and hair; the
latter, in particular, is his pride and study; but the slaves have their
heads half shorn. The male slave is not allowed to marry; and any
intercourse with a female, if discovered, is generally punished by death.
Never was there a body of men so completely cut off from all society as
these poor slaves; they never can count, with certainty, on a single
moment of life, as the savage caprice of their master may instantly
deprive them of it. If, by chance, a slave should belong to a kind and
good master, an accident happening to him, or any of his family, will
probably prove equally fatal to the slave, as some are generally
sacrificed on the death of a chief.

Thus these poor slaves are deprived of every hope and stimulus by which
all other classes and individuals are animated; no good conduct of theirs
towards their master, no attachment to his person or family, no fidelity
or long service can ensure kind treatment. If the slave effect his escape
to his own part of the country, he is there treated with contempt; and
when he dies (if a natural death), his body is dragged to the outside of
the village, there to be made sport of by the children, or to furnish
food for the dogs! but more frequently his fate is to receive a fatal
blow in a fit of passion, and then be devoured by his brutal master! Even
the female slaves who, if pretty, are frequently taken as wives by their
conquerors, have not a much greater chance of happiness, all being
dependent upon the caprice of their owners.

When I can relate anything favourable to the missionaries, I invariably
intend to do so, which will account for the introduction of the
following: A few days since, I paid a visit to one of their settlements,
and noticed a remarkably fine native woman attending as a servant. She
was respectably dressed, and in every respect (except complexion) she was
similar to a European. She spoke English fluently. Upon expressing my
admiration of her, I was informed that this woman had been a slave of
Hongi's, and that about a year previous he had lost one of his sons, and
had determined to sacrifice this poor girl as an atonement. She was
actually bound for the purpose, and nothing but the strong interference
of the whole of the missionary society here could have saved her life.
They exerted themselves greatly, and preserved her; and she had proved a
faithful and valuable servant.



Before finally quitting the subject of slavery, I must give an account of
some white men I saw in this state of degradation, and who belonged to a
chief who visited us some weeks since. In the beginning of 1827, the
Government of New South Wales hired the brig Wellington to convey a
number of prisoners to Norfolk Island, most of whom were felons of the
worst description: the greater part were under sentence of banishment for
life. These desperadoes amounted to seventy-four; by far too many for the
size of the brig, as those whose duty is was to guard them, and the crew
of the vessel, were too few to keep them under subjection. When within a
few days' sail of their destination, they rose on the guard, and, after a
desperate struggle, made themselves masters of the vessel, which was a
very fine one, and was well provided with arms and stores of every kind,
amounting to a sufficiency to carry them to any part of the world they
chose. But the machinations of the wicked rarely prosper, and this was
another proof of the truth of the observation; for, after a stormy and
violent debate among themselves, they at length determined to run for the
Bay of Islands, and if any vessel more eligible was there, they were to
take possession of her, and leave the Wellington behind, she having no
register. It is but justice to them to state that they behaved with
humanity to their captives, and no lives were lost: they appointed
officers amongst themselves, and, with the assistance of the deposed
captain, made this port. On their arrival here, they found two English
whalers, the Sisters, Captain Duke, and the Harriet. The commanders, as
is usual on these occasions, went immediately on board the newcomer.
Captain Duke well knew the vessel, having seen her at Sydney; but, of
course, had no idea of what had happened. The pirates received them with
great civility, and deceived them with a false description of their
voyage--of being bound to a southern port with prisoners; and the two
captains, not having the slightest suspicion of who their hosts really
were, passed a very merry evening with these marauders.

Soon, however, their bad management of the vessel, their want of
discipline, and the general confusion on board, roused a vague suspicion
in the minds of the two captains that all was not "quite right" on board
the Wellington. The real captain, too, had succeeded in conveying a note
to Duke, informing him of his situation, and claiming his assistance to
recapture the brig, and entreating him to release them all from

This communication produced universal alarm, as both the whalers were
quite unprovided for attack or defence, and all the missionary
settlements lay quite at the mercy of this band of pirates. Had the
latter acted with promptness and spirit, they might easily have made
themselves masters of the whole; but while they were arguing and
hesitating where they would make their first attack, the whalers were
actively employed in getting their great guns out of the hold, and in
preparing their vessels for defence; so that, by the time the pirates
came to the resolution to attack them, the whalers were in a good
posture for resistance, and finally became the assailants. Aided by the
prompt assistance of the natives, the whole of these outlaws were taken
into custody, with the exception of six. The extreme interest the savages
took in capturing these deluded men was truly astonishing. When they were
made to understand that these were King George's (of England) slaves, who
had broken loose, they knew, from their own laws, that they ought to be
taken, and they displayed a great deal of courage and address in
approaching and securing them.

The pirates (having many passengers and others in their power) stipulated
that they should be landed at Kororarika, unmolested by any of the
English. This was granted; but no sooner were they left by themselves
than a party of natives came forward, seized and bound them, stripped off
their clothes, and, after dressing themselves up in them, conducted their
prisoners on board the whalers; but notwithstanding the anxiety of the
whalers to secure the whole, and the activity of the natives, six of them
found means to elude the search, and here they now are.

The day on which our houses were burned, these six landed in the train of
one of the chiefs; and I have since entertained a suspicion that it was
their desire of revenge that occasioned the destruction of our property
at the time the calamity happened. I chanced to be in the house alone,
and was amazed by seeing an Englishman enter the hut with his face
tattooed all over. Not being aware he was one of the runaways from the
Wellington, I spoke to him. He slunk into our cooking-house on pretence
of lighting his pipe, and before ten minutes had elapsed, the house was
in flames.



The summer was now far advanced, and never, during its progress, had we
been incommoded by any very hot weather. Our house was generally crowded
with visitors: for, as it was the workmanship of King George and his
people, they were prodigiously proud of it, and each seemed to think he
had an undoubted right to sit in it as much as he liked. This, at times,
we felt as a great annoyance; but we were obliged to be very cautious not
to say or do anything that should give offence to them, as all were
exceedingly irritable, and we felt it to be most essential to our comfort
to continue on friendly terms with them.

Although we were situated in the same latitude as Sydney, we found the
climate of New Zealand infinitely superior. Moderate heats and
beautifully clear skies succeeded each other every day. We were quite
free from those oppressive, feverish heats which invariably prevail in
the middle of the day at Sydney, and from those hot pestilential winds
which are the terror of the inhabitants of New South Wales; nor were we
subject to those long droughts, which are often the ruin of the
Australian farmer. The temperature here was neither too hot nor too cold,
neither too wet nor too dry. Reflecting on this country--its situation,
inhabitants, and climate--I felt convinced that, if it were the object of
our Government to form a new colony, they could not select a more
desirable spot than New Zealand. When we left Sydney, a disease was
raging there of a most disagreeable nature, namely, catarrh. As usual, it
affected strongly the eyes and nose, and generally proved fatal to the
very old and to children. We found the poor natives here subject to the
same complaint, which they called the "Murray," or "Murraybad"; and they
declared they caught it from us Europeans.

I could scarcely refrain from laughing while witnessing the strange
methods they adopted to effect a cure. Sometimes they would envelope
their heads entirely in green leaves, at other times they would almost
roast themselves in a heated hut; but their universal remedy, and the one
they generally found successful, was starvation, which is, in fact, the
doctor who cures them of all the diseases the Europeans have imported
amongst them: and, I confess, I have often been amazed at their rapid
recovery from maladies which I should have thought incurable. The other
day I asked the opinion of a clever medical man, who came here with one
of the whalers, and he informed me the only cases he had met with amongst
the natives, which terminated fatally, were a few instances of

After the novelty of our savage life began to wear away, I rambled much
about the country, in order to form some judgment of its capability of
improvement. I never possessed any practical knowledge of farming, and
therefore cannot give a scientific opinion or description of the
different soils. In whatever direction I travelled, and at this time I
had crossed the country in various directions several times, the soil
appeared to me to be fat and rich, and also well watered. From every
part of it which the natives have cultivated, the produce has been
immense. Here, where the finest samples of the human race are to be
found, the largest and finest timber grows, and every vegetable (yet
planted) thrives, the introduction of European grasses, fruits, etc.,
etc., would be a great desideratum. Were this done, in a very short time
farms would be more eagerly sought after here than they now are in New
South Wales. All the fruits and plants hitherto introduced by the
missionary establishments have succeeded wonderfully. Peaches and water
melons now were in full season; the natives brought baskets full of them
to our door every day, which they exchanged with us for the merest
trifles, such as a fish-hook, or a button.

Indian corn was likewise very abundant, but as the natives did not
possess any means or knowledge of grinding it, they were not aware of its
full value. Their only method of cooking it was one very disgusting to
Europeans. They soaked the ear in water till it was quite soft and sour,
the smell from which was exceedingly offensive; they then placed it in
their earth ovens to bake, and when they partook of it they seemed to
enjoy it very much.

In one of my journeys across the island I was accompanied by my Scotch
friend, Mr. Shand, who prided himself very much upon his general
knowledge of agricultural pursuits; and when I indulged in some sudden
bursts of admiration at the beauty of the surrounding prospect, he would
invariably check my enthusiasm, by observing that no animals could
possibly live in a country so overgrown with fern, and where no grass was
indigenous. These observations, often repeated, obliged me to qualify my
admiration of this picturesque and beautiful land; but my surprise, and I
may say my triumph, were complete when, on approaching the missionary
village of Kirikiri, we fell in with a herd of at least a hundred fat
cattle, browsing on the sides of the hill, and having nothing else but
this very fern to eat; and, on inquiry, we found they gave as good milk,
and were in as healthy a condition, as when they grazed on the rich
grasses of Lincolnshire.

My friend, Captain Duke, made great preparations for the return of his
ships, and purchased many pigs to be salted. The self-denial of the
natives is wonderful: though very fond of animal food, they sell the
whole to us Europeans for the means of war; thus conquering the appetite
for the purpose of possessing arms to make them terrible in the sight of
their enemies. This feeling, properly directed, may lead to their
becoming a great nation. In the course of our saltings and picklings of
pork, owing to the warmth of the weather, a considerable quantity was
spoiled. I recommended its being immediately thrown into the sea, but
Duke, who knew the propensities of the people better than I did, and
wished to ingratiate himself among them, sent for some of his favourites,
and presented them with the damaged meat, with which they marched off
highly delighted, and made a public feast of it in the evening.

[Illustration: New Zealand Method of Tattooing. (From a sketch by
A. Earle.)]



The art of tattooing has been brought to such perfection here, that
whenever we have seen a New Zealander whose skin is thus ornamented, we
have admired him. It is looked upon as answering the same purposes as
clothes. When a chief throws off his mats, he seems as proud of
displaying the beautiful ornaments figured on his skin as a first-rate
exquisite is in exhibiting himself in his last fashionable attire. It is
an essential part of war-like preparations. The whole of this district of
Kororarika was preparing for the approaching war. Their canoes, muskets,
powder and balls, increased daily; and a very ingenious artist, called
Aranghie, arrived to carry on this important branch of his art, which was
soon placed in requisition, for all the mighty men in the neighbourhood
were one by one under his operating hands.

As this "professor" was a near neighbour of mine, I frequently paid him a
visit in his "studio," and he returned the compliment whenever he had
time to spare. He was considered by his countrymen a perfect master in
the art of tattooing, and men of the highest rank and importance were in
the habit of travelling long journeys in order to put their skins under
his skilful hands. Indeed, so highly were his works esteemed, that I have
seen many of his drawings exhibited even after death. A neighbour of mine
very lately killed a chief who had been tattooed by Aranghie, and,
appreciating the artist's work so highly, he skinned the chieftain's
thighs, and covered his cartouch box with it.

I was astonished to see with what boldness and precision Aranghie drew
his designs upon the skin, and what beautiful ornaments he produced; no
rule and compasses could be more exact than the lines and circles he
formed. So unrivalled is he in his profession, that a highly-finished
face of a chief from the hands of this artist is as greatly prized in New
Zealand as a head from the hands of Sir Thomas Lawrence is amongst us. It
was most gratifying to behold the respect these savages pay to the fine
arts. This "professor" was merely a _kooky_ or slave, but by skill and
industry he raised himself to an equality with the greatest men of his
country; and as every chief who employed him always made him some
handsome present, he soon became a man of wealth, and was constantly
surrounded by such important personages as Pungho Pungho, Ruky Ruky, Kivy
Kivy, Aranghy Tooker, etc., etc. My friend Shulitea (King George) sent
him every day the choicest things from his own table. Though thus basking
in the full sunshine of court favour, Aranghie, like a true genius, was
not puffed up with pride by his success, for he condescended to come and
take tea with me almost every evening. He was delighted with my drawings,
particularly with a portrait I made of him. He copied so well, and seemed
to enter with such interest into the few lessons of painting I gave him,
that if I were returning from here direct to England, I would certainly
bring him with me, as I look upon him as a great natural genius.

[Illustration: Specimens of Tattooed Faces and Thigh. (From "Expedition
de l'Astrolabe.")]

One of the important personages who came to the village to employ the
talent of our artist was a _Mr_. Rooky Rooky (and he was always very
particular in remembering the _Mister_); he brought four of his wives
with him, leaving six more at home (polygamy in New Zealand being allowed
to any extent). One of this man's wives was a little girl not more than
ten years of age, and she excited a great deal of interest amongst us,
which, when he discovered, he became very anxious to dispose of her to
any of us. He importuned us incessantly on the subject, saying she was
his slave, and offered her in exchange for a musket.



Though from my increased knowledge of the language, I was enabled to hold
longer conversations, I could not discover that the New Zealanders had
any universal form of government: there appeared to me to be no public
bodies, or any functionaries employed by the people. Each chief seemed to
possess absolute power over his own slaves, and there his authority
terminated. Wealth made him feared by his foes, but gave him no influence
over his friends. All offence offered to any one of a tribe (or clan) is
instantly followed by some act of retaliation by the aggrieved party; and
if one tribe is too weak to contend against the one from whom they have
received the injury, they call in the aid of another. But should the
offence be of a very aggravated nature, and several families be injured
by it, a meeting of the chiefs is called. They assemble in one of their
forts, and, after a discussion, decide either for an amicable adjustment,
or for an exterminating war. Thus these misguided beings are continually
destroying each other for some imaginary insult.

I became acquainted with a few venerable men of truly noble and
praiseworthy characters, such as would do honour to any age, country, or
religion. They had passed their whole lives in travelling from one
chieftain's residence to another, for the purpose of endeavouring to
explain away insults, to offer apologies, and to strive by every means
in their power to establish peace between those about to plunge their
country into the horrors of war. I have several times met these
benevolent men journeying through the country on these pacific missions;
and twice during my residence here they have been the happy means of
preventing bloodshed. Although the New Zealander is so fond of war, and
possesses such war-like manners, yet are these peacemakers held in the
highest respect, although they do not hold any sacred function--indeed,
no order of priesthood exists amongst the natives. I have never
discovered any symptoms of religion in these people, except it consists
in a great variety of absurd and superstitious ceremonies. Before I
visited this island I used to imagine, from seeing so great a variety of
carved figures which had been brought from this country, that they were
idols, to whom they paid their devotions; but in this I was deceived.
They were merely the grotesque carvings of rude artists, possessing a
lively fancy, and were a proof of their industry as well as genius. Every
chief's house is adorned with an abundance of these carved monsters. One
of their favourite subjects is a lizard taking hold of the top of a man's
head; their tradition being that that was the origin of man. The lizard
is sacred, and never injured by them. Several of their chiefs assured me
they believed in the existence of a great and invisible spirit, called
Atna, who keeps a constant charge and watch over them; and that they are
constantly looking out for tokens of his approbation or displeasure.
There is not a wind that blows but they imagine it bears some message
from him. And there are not wanting crafty men who pretend to a much more
intimate knowledge of his sentiments than the generality, and they easily
work on the minds of the credulous and the ignorant. These imposters
obtain great consideration, and their counsel and advice is most
anxiously sought after by those about to undertake any important
business; but, like ancient astrologers and modern gypsies, they speak
only in ambiguous terms; so that whatever may be the result, their
prediction may still correspond with it.

Like all rude and ignorant people, the New Zealanders seem more to fear
the wrath of their God than to love his attributes; and constant
sacrifices (too often human ones) are offered up to appease his anger.
They imagine that the just and glorious Deity is ever ready to destroy,
and that His hand is always stretched forth to execute vengeance.

These sacred, or, more correctly speaking, these "cunning" men and women,
who pretend to see into futurity, and to hold an intercourse with the
Great Spirit, are here (in one way, at least) turned to a good and useful
account. As they themselves are held sacred, everything they wish to have
taken particular care of, they can render sacred also. All the chiefs
find these people of the greatest use in protecting their property, for
they possess the power of tabooing, and when once this ceremony is
performed over any person or thing, no one dares to touch either; and for
a sufficiently good bribe they will impart their sacred power to any
chief, who, by means of this device, thus can protect a field of potatoes
or grain, at fifty miles distance from his settlement, more securely and
effectually than by any fences, or number of persons he might place to
guard it.

This ceremony of taboo, which is common to the whole of the South Sea
Islands, seems the principal part of their religion, and it is really
difficult to walk without trespassing or infringing on some spot under
this influence. All those who touch a corpse are immediately taboo'd, and
must be fed like an infant, as their own hands must not touch anything
that is put into their mouths. In fact, as we strolled through the
village at the time of their evening repast, it appeared as though some
dreadful disease had suddenly struck the greater part of the inhabitants,
and deprived them of the use of their limbs, most of them being either
fed by their slaves, or lying flat down on the ground, and with their
mouths eating out of their platters or baskets. The canoe that carries a
corpse to the place of its interment is, from that time, taboo'd and laid
up; and if any one by chance touches it, he does so at his peril.

All those chiefs who were under the operating hands of Aranghie, the
tatooer, were under this law, and all those who worked upon their war
canoes were similarly situated. Unfortunately for me, I one day took away
a handful of chips from their dockyard to make our fire burn clearly. I
was informed they were taboo'd, and upon my pleading ignorance, and
sorrow for the misdemeanour, together with a promise not to renew the
offence, I was pardoned. A poor hen of ours did not escape so well; she,
poor thing, ventured to form a nest, and actually hatched a fine family
of chickens amongst these sacred shavings! Loud was the outcry, and great
the horror she occasioned when she marched forth cackling, with her merry
brood around her. She and "all her little ones" were sacrificed
instantly. What became of their bodies we could never learn; probably the
workmen were not too fastidious to eat them.

I have observed, since my residence here, one circumstance which proves a
kind feeling in the natives, and shows they are not averse to the
preaching of the missionaries, or the doctrines they inculcate.

It was the custom of all the Europeans settled here, on the beach at
Kororarika, to refrain from all kinds of work on the Sabbath; to shave,
and dress themselves in their best habiliments; and if any of the
missionaries came over, they went forth to meet them, and hear divine
service. Several of the natives generally assembled and witnessed the
ceremony; and as they observed it came every seventh day, they called it
"the white taboo'd day, when the pakeha (or white men) put on clean
clothes, and leave off work;" and, strange to say, the natives also
abstained from working on that day. Nothing could induce them to the
contrary; not that we wished to persuade them to work, but merely
endeavoured so to do to ascertain the strength of their politeness. Not a
bit of work would they do upon a Sunday, although it was a critical time
with them; for all the chiefs were unprepared with their war canoes for
the approaching expedition. At length we discovered that their cunning
was as conspicuous as their politeness. They had observed we generally
lay longer in bed on a Sunday morning than any other; they accordingly
were up by break of day, and had completed many hours' work before we
made our appearance; but the moment one of us did appear the work was
instantly left off. This degree of outward respect, though craftily
managed, was infinitely more than could be reasonably expected from a
rude and turbulent savage. It is mere respect than we Europeans pay to
any religious ceremony we do not understand. Even their taboo'd grounds
would not be so respected by us, if we were not quite certain they
possessed the power instantly to revenge any affront offered to their
sacred places.

Of all animals introduced by the Europeans, the most unserviceable, and
indeed injurious, have been the dogs. They have increased rapidly; every
spot was crowded with poor half-starved curs, that were all night long
committing depredations on the poultry, pigs, and goats; and if some
effectual means of diminishing this pernicious breed is not soon resorted
to, the island will be cleared of every other quadruped. Goats were
beginning to increase, and the craggy heights round the bays formed a
favourite retreat for these interesting wanderers. Captain Duke put
himself to great expense and trouble, and effected the importation of
some sheep from Van Diemen's Land; but the dogs soon destroyed them all.


Our friend George generally paid us a visit after the business of the day
was over, and took a cup of tea; wine or grog he detested: so, while he
sipped his beverage, we lit our pipes, and managed, with our slight
knowledge of his language, together with his imperfect English, to keep
up a sort of conversation. Sometimes this was rather wearisome; but
occasionally it became interesting in the extreme. He told us that, when
Captain Cook touched here, he was a little child; but that his mother
(old Turero, who was then with him) remembered his coming well. The
French navigator, Marion, he recollected perfectly, and made one of the
party that murdered him and his people. His observation was, "They were
all brave men; but they were killed and eaten."

He assured us that the catastrophe was quite unpremeditated. Marion's
entire ignorance of the customs of the New Zealanders occasioned that
distressing event: as I have before observed, that strangers, not
acquainted with their religious prejudices, are likely to commit some
fatal error; and no action is more likely to lead a party into danger
than an incautious use of the seine, for most of the beaches (best suited
for that purpose) are taboo'd. This led to the dreadful fate of Marion
and his party. I understood from George, that when Marion's men assembled
to trail their net on the sacred beach, the natives used every kind of
entreaty and remonstrance to induce them to forbear, but, either from
ignorance or obstinacy, they persisted in their intentions, and drew
their net to land.

The natives, greatly incensed by this act of impiety, vowed revenge; and
the suspicions of the French not being roused, an opportunity soon
presented itself of taking ample retaliation. The seine being very heavy,
the French required the assistance of the natives in drawing it on shore.
These wily fellows instantly consented to the task, and placed themselves
alternately between each Frenchman, apparently, to equalise the work.
Consequently, in the act of pulling, each native had a white man before
him; and, on an appointed signal, the brains of each European were
knocked out by a tremendous blow of the stone hatchet.

Captain Marion, who, from his ship, was an eye-witness of these horrid
murders, instantly hastened on shore with the remainder of his crew to
avenge the slaughter of his countrymen. Led on more by ardour than
prudence, he suffered himself to be surrounded; was overpowered by
numbers, defeated, and every one was put to death!

This account of George's does not, I acknowledge, exactly agree with the
published narrative of that unfortunate event, nor does his age agree
with the dates. Only a few years elapsed between the time of Cook and
Marion, yet he declares himself to have been a child at the death of the
navigator, and a man at the murder of the latter; but as it was voluntary
on his part to give me the above detail, and even if he were not present
himself, he most probably had the facts from one who was, I thought it
worth inserting, as tending to throw light on one of the most melancholy
events which ever took place on these coasts.

George also related to me the dreadful tragedy of the ship Boyd, and,
horrible as these relations were, I felt a particular interest, almost
amounting to pleasure, in hearing them related by an eye-witness; one who
had been an actor in those bloody scenes which I had before read of:
narratives which from my very childhood had always possessed particular
charms for me; and at this time I was not only looking on the very spot
the hero of my imagination, Cook, had trod, but was hearing the tale from
one who had actually seen him; and was listening to every particular
concerning the transactions of Marion and his men, as though they had
just taken place.

Even in the dreadful destruction of the Boyd, George laid the blame
entirely on the English, and spoke with great bitterness of the
ill-treatment of Philip, the native chief, who came as passenger in the
ship. He described and mimicked his cleaning shoes and knives; his being
flogged when he refused to do this degrading work; and, finally, his
speech to his countrymen when he came on shore, soliciting their
assistance in capturing the vessel, and revenging his ill-treatment. Over
and over again our friend George, having worked up his passion by a full
recollection of the subject, went through the whole tragedy. The scene
thus portrayed was interesting although horrible. No actor, trained in
the strictest rules of his art, could compete with George's vehemence of
action. The flexibility of his features enabled him to vary the
expression of each passion; and he represented hatred, anger, horror, and
the imploring of mercy so ably that, in short, one would have imagined he
had spent his whole life in practising the art of imitation.



I frequently conversed with George upon the subject of religion, and from
what he told me I found that the natives had not formed the slightest
idea of there being a state of future punishment. They refuse to believe
that the good Spirit intends to make them miserable after their decease.
They imagine all the actions of this life are punished here, and that
every one when dead, good or bad, bondsman or free, is assembled on an
island situated near the North Cape, where both the necessaries and
comforts of life will be found in the greatest abundance, and all will
enjoy a state of uninterrupted happiness. A people of their simple
habits, and possessing so little property, have but few temptations to
excesses of any kind, excepting the cruelties practised by them in war,
in which they fancy themselves perfectly justified, and the tyranny
exercised by them over their slaves, whom they look upon as mere
machines. There is, in fact, but little crime among them, for which
reason they cannot imagine any man wicked enough to deserve eternal
punishment. This opinion of theirs we saw an illustration of one Sunday,
when one of the missionaries paid us a visit.

The ceremony of all assembling to public worship astonished the natives
greatly, though they always behaved with the utmost decorum when admitted
into the house where the ceremony takes place. On the day in question
the minister endeavoured to explain the sacred mysteries of our religion
to a number of the chiefs who were present. They listened attentively to
all he said, and expressed no doubts as to its truth, only remarking that
"as all these wonderful circumstances happened only in the country of the
white men, the great Spirit expected the white men only to believe them."
The missionary then began to expatiate on the torments of hell, at which
some of them seemed horrified, but others said "they were quite sure such
a place could only be made for the white faces, for they had no men half
wicked enough in New Zealand to be sent there;" but when the reverend
gentleman added with vehemence that "all men" would be condemned, the
savages all burst into a loud laugh, declaring "they would have nothing
to do with a God who delighted in such cruelties; and then (as a matter
of right) hoped the missionary would give them each a blanket for having
taken the trouble of listening to him so patiently."

I cannot forbear censuring the missionaries, inasmuch as they prevent the
natives, by every means in their power, from acquiring the English
language. They make a point of mastering the native tongue as quickly as
possible, and being able to give their whole time and attention to it,
this is easily accomplished. It is of importance that they should do so,
otherwise they could not carry on the duties of the mission; but by thus
engrossing the knowledge, they obtain great influence over the minds of
the natives. We ourselves were sadly puzzled by a correspondence we had
with two native chiefs, who had been taught to read and write by some of
the Society; but their acquirements being in their native language, were
of no possible use. The difficulty of teaching them English would not
have been greater, and then what stores of information and improvement
might not their instructors have laid open to them.



We had passed some months here, and were beginning to look out for the
return of our brig, to take us again into civilised society, when we were
once more thrown into alarm by a threatened invasion. A rumour was
circulated in the village that Hongi, who now lay at the point of death,
had declared that he would make one last glorious effort before he
expired. He was resolved (it was reported) to collect his warriors,
overcome George and his followers, possess himself of Kororarika, and die
upon the conquered territory of his enemy; and I had no doubt that in his
moment of delirium such had been his exclamations, as it had always been
one of his favourite projects. When this was reported to George, he
immediately came to us, and with a most doleful countenance told us we
must take care of ourselves; for, if the report proved true, he was much
too weak to protect us. This certainly caused us some alarm, but,
fortunately for us, a good-sized whaler, the Marianne, was then lying at
anchor in the port, having arrived but a few days previously. The
presence of a ship, all over the world, is felt as a protection to
Europeans, as in case of danger it is a sure place of refuge.

King George sent off his messengers in every direction to inform his
friends and dependants of the threats uttered against him by Hongi, and
the next day eight large war canoes, filled with warriors, came to his
assistance. They landed at some distance from the beach, and, as it was
late in the day, they would not make their public _entree_ till the next
morning; for the New Zealanders are very fond of giving a grand effect to
all their public meetings. I determined to pay them a visit, to witness
the ceremonies of the night bivouack, which proved a most picturesque
scene, and wild and beautiful in the extreme. Their watch fires glanced
upon the dark skins of these finely formed men, and on their bright
weapons. Some groups were dancing; others were lying round a fire,
chanting wild songs, descriptive of former wars; whilst the graver elders
sat in a circle, and discussed the present state of affairs. All were
delighted to see me, and each group offered to share their fire and
provisions with the "white visitor," as they termed me.

The next morning these auxiliary forces were seen descending the hills to
our village; and, in order to return the compliment, we all went in our
best array to receive them. There were upwards of two hundred athletic,
naked savages, each armed with his firelock, and marching with the utmost
regularity. The chiefs took the lead. The alarm such a sight might have
created was dissipated by the certainty that they came as our protectors.
I even imagined their countenances were not so ferocious as usual but as
they approached near to our party, the usual sham fight began,
accompanied by the war dance, and although I expected it, and indeed had
come for the purpose of witnessing it, it was conducted with so much fury
on both sides, that at length I became quite horrified, and for some
time could not divest myself of the feeling that our visitors were
playing false, so closely did this mock combat resemble a real one. The
dreadful noises, the hideous faces, the screeching of the women, and the
menacing gestures of each party, were so calculated to inspire terror,
that stouter hearts than mine might have felt fear. When the tumult
subsided, the elder chiefs squatted down, and had the long talk usual on
these occasions.

I was much delighted to recognise among these chiefs one I had known at
Sydney. During his residence in that city I had permitted him to remain
in my house, and the few presents which he had requested on his return to
his own country I had provided him with, and sent him off delighted and
happy, and never expected to behold him again. The moment I approached he
recollected me, jumped up from the "council," ran up to me, hugged me in
his arms, and rubbed noses so forcibly with me that I felt his friendship
for some time, besides being daubed all over most plentifully with red
ochre, which he, being then on a war-like and ceremonious visit, was
smeared with from head to foot.

When my savage friend (whom we used to call Mr. Tookee) had overcome his
first burst of delight at seeing me, and had literally left off jumping
for joy, he introduced me to his father, Mr. De Frookee, the chief of his
tribe, a very fine specimen of an old New Zealander, who was (I found)
highly respected for his integrity and benevolence. His eyes overflowed
with tears when he heard I was the person who had shown such kindness to
his son at Sydney. I soon felt quite "at home" with the old chief, and
experienced the good effect of having kept my word with this uncultivated
savage. I had, at the time I presented him with the gifts, been much
laughed at by my acquaintances at Sydney for putting myself to such
unnecessary expense; but, from the gratitude he displayed for the
trifling services I had then rendered him, I felt assured he and his
companions would do all in their power to protect me from every danger.

A long discussion was now carried on, one speaker at a time occupying the
oblong space round which the warriors sat, and the more animated the
debate, the faster ran the speaker to and fro, flourishing his hatchet in
a most dexterous manner. The instant one speaker finishes, another starts
up to answer him; but previous to rising they throw a mat or blanket over
their shoulders, and arrange it most tastefully around them; and, as
their attitudes are all striking and graceful, and a great part of the
figure is left exposed, it forms a study for an artist, well worth his
going many miles to witness, and invariably reminded me of the fine
models of antiquity.

As a painter, I conceive that this must have been the great secret of the
perfection to which the Greek and Roman sculptors brought their works; as
they constantly contemplated the display of the human form in all its
beauty in their various gymnastic exercises, which enabled them to
transfer to marble such ease and elegance as we, living in an age of
coats and breeches, never shall be able to rival.

After the important subjects had been settled by the elders, the young
men assembled without their weapons, and began another kind of sham
fight, one grappling with another, till hundreds of them were locked in
each other's arms, and were flung in heaps in every direction. After
they were tired of this pastime, a regular ring was formed, and a
wrestling match began, which was carried on in as regular and fair a
manner as a boxing match in our own country, and as much skill and
cunning were displayed in the art of throwing as the greatest connoisseur
would desire. I was pleased, also, to observe that, whatever happened
(and some most severe throws and blows passed), nothing could disturb
their good humour.

This party, having remained for seven days on our beach, and not hearing
anything more of our intended invaders, their provisions also becoming
rather scarce, took leave in order to return to their own district,
placing scouts to give them quick intelligence of the movements of the



A few days after the departure of this friendly tribe, a "King's ship" of
eighteen guns arrived in the Bay; consequently all our fears of an
immediate invasion were over. No sooner had she cast anchor than our
friend George came to us, expressing the greatest anxiety to visit King
George of England's warship, and requesting we would accompany him, which
we readily agreed to do; and he left us to adorn himself for the
occasion. Soon after he reappeared in great state. A very splendid
war-mat was thrown over his shoulders; his hair was dressed, oiled, and
decorated with feathers, and his person was plentifully covered with red
ochre: he appeared a very fine-looking fellow: his mother, his three
wives, and all his sons and daughters were dressed in equal magnificence,
and accompanied him.

In this state we went off to visit the vessel; but the moment I came
alongside, I repented my being there, for the rude and churlish manner in
which we were received distressed me considerably. In the first place, an
order was given that none but the chief himself should be allowed to come
on board; consequently his wives and daughters were obliged to remain in
the canoe. The captain spoke only a few words to George, who was allowed
to remain but a few minutes in the cabin; on getting up to take leave,
George took off his fine war-mantle and presented it to the captain; but,
receiving no other covering in return for his gift, he went on shore
naked! The officers of the vessel behaved differently: they conducted us
all down into the gun-room, where they treated us most kindly, and paid
every attention to our friend George, whose dignity was deeply wounded by
the cool and contemptuous behaviour of the captain.

How greatly is it to be regretted that some arrangements are not made by
our Government at Home, and that there are not orders given to commanders
of ships of war touching here to pay attention to the chiefs, and to make
some trifling presents amongst them; for there never were a people more
anxious to cultivate a friendly intercourse with British subjects than
the inhabitants of New Zealand: and yet there is scarcely a Government
vessel that puts into port here but the natives receive some insult,
though they are sent for the express purpose of supporting the dignity of
the English nation, and to cultivate the amicable feelings of the chiefs.

When a "King's ship" comes to anchor, the chiefs (with all the glee of
children going to a fair) collect together their wives, children, and
friends, and pay a visit to the "fighting ships," to see King George's
warriors (as they call them): when they come alongside they are kept off
by an armed sentry; and, after a long parley, they are informed the chief
may come, but his family and friends must not. In this case, the natives
generally spit at the vessel, and, uttering execrations on their
inhospitality, return on shore.

One of the savage chieftains who accompanied us to the vessel in
question, on our way back remarked, "that the white warriors were
_afraid_ of admitting them, though they were unarmed and but a few; while
the warriors in the ships were many, and armed with their great guns."

Living entirely amongst these people so long as I had done, I felt the
absurdity of such conduct, and the folly of treating them so harshly. If
ever individuals are so situated as to need either the esteem or the
confidence of savages, they must bear with their prying and childish
curiosity, and not be afraid of treating them too kindly; by this means
they become the quietest and gentlest creatures in the world; but, if
treated with contumely, and their wives and families repulsed from your
ship, they become dangerous, vindictive, and cruel neighbours, as many a
dreadful deed which has taken place in this vicinity will fully prove.



The South Sea whalers are the ships the natives are the most anxious to
see on their coasts; and it is the crews of those vessels who have, in a
manner, civilised these hardy islanders. Captain Gardiner, of the
Marianne (the vessel now in the harbour), is the oldest person in that
trade; and he informed me, that not longer than twenty years back
scarcely any vessel would dare to touch at New Zealand; and when, from
particular circumstances, they were obliged so to do, they kept their
boarding-nettings up, and kept a strict guard night and day: their fears
arose from a want of knowledge of the disposition of the people. The
vessels frequenting the island use no precautions now: hundreds of
natives are permitted to crowd on board each ship; and no accident has
ever occurred from this mode of treatment. But when a ship of war arrives
here for the first time, the precautions taken are, to arm the row-guard
with cutlasses and pistols, and to harass the crew with constant
watching, while the only enemy that exists is in their own imaginations.
To the courage and enterprise of the commanders of whalers all credit is
due for working the rapid change in these once bloody-minded savages, and
forming safe and commodious harbours for their vessels to refit in: this
have they done in a part of the world lately looked upon with horror.
What credit soever the missionaries may take to themselves, or try to
make their supporters in England believe, every man who has visited this
place, and will speak his mind freely and disinterestedly, must
acknowledge _they_ have had no share in bringing about this change of
character; but, on the contrary, they have done all that in them lay to
injure the reputation of the whaler in the estimation of the natives.
Hitherto they have not succeeded: their want of hospitality and kindness
to their own countrymen raises a strong dislike to them in the minds of
these unsophisticated people. According to their simple notions of right
and wrong, they think the want of hospitality an unpardonable offence,
and that the counsel or advice of a man who shuts his door against his
neighbour is not worthy of being attended to.

I will give the reader one more anecdote of these men, who are sent out
to set an example of the beauty of the Christian faith to the
unenlightened heathens. A few weeks since, the festival of Christmas took
place; and Englishmen, in whatever part of the world they chance to be,
make a point of assembling together on that day, our recollections then
being associated with "home" and our families, uniting to spend that day
in mutual congratulations and wishes for happiness. For some time
previous to its arrival, the captains of the two whalers and myself had
been deliberating where we should spend this social day; and it was
finally settled that we should cross the bay to Te Puna, a beautiful and
romantic spot, the residence of an intelligent chief, called Warri Pork,
and an Englishman, named Hanson. Near this was a church missionary
establishment; and at this Englishman's house we determined we would
spend the day. The captains of the two whalers then in the harbour
joined our party; and as everyone contributed his share towards our
picnic feast, the joint stock made altogether a respectable appearance.

We proceeded to Te Puna in two whaleboats: it was a most delightful trip,
the scenery being strikingly beautiful. The village of Ranghe Hue,
belonging to Warri Pork, is situated on the summit of an immense and
abrupt hill: the huts belonging to the savages appeared, in many places,
as though they were overhanging the sea, the height being crowned with a
mighty pah. At the bottom of this hill, and in a beautiful valley, the
cottages of the missionaries are situated, complete pictures of English
comfort, content, and prosperity; they are close to a bright sandy beach:
a beautiful green slope lies in their rear, and a clear and never-failing
stream of water runs by the side of their enclosures. As the boats
approached this lovely spot, I was in an ecstasy of delight: such a happy
mixture of savage and civilised life I had never seen before; and when I
observed the white smoke curling out of the chimneys of my countrymen, I
anticipated the joyful surprise, the hearty welcome, the smiling faces,
and old Christmas compliments that were going to take place, and the
great pleasure it would give our secluded countrymen to meet us, in these
distant regions, at this happy season, and talk of our relatives and
friends in England.

My romantic notions were soon crushed; our landing gave no pleasure to
these secluded Englishmen: they gave us no welcome; but, as our boats
approached the shore, they walked away to their own dwellings, closed
their gates and doors after them, and gazed at us through their windows;
and during three days that we passed in a hut quite near them, they
never exchanged one word with any of the party. Thus foiled in our hopes
of spending a social day with our compatriots, after our dinner was over
we sent materials for making a bowl of punch up the hill to the chiefs,
and spent the remainder of the day surrounded by generous savages, who
were delighted with our company, and who did everything in their power to
make us comfortable. In the course of the afternoon two of the mission
came up to preach; but the savages were so angry with them for not
showing more kindness to their own countrymen, that none would listen to

I have visited many of the Roman Catholic missionary establishments;
their priests adopt quite a different line of conduct: they are cheerful
and kind to the savage pagan, and polite and attentive to their European
brethren; they have gained the esteem of those they have been sent to
convert; they have introduced their own language amongst them, which
enables them to have intercourse with strangers; and, however we may
differ in some tenets of religious belief, we must acknowledge the
success of their mission. They have brought nearly the whole of the
Indian population in South America into the bosom of their church; and
their converts form the greater part of the people. Notwithstanding the
numerous church and sectarian missionaries sent from England, I never met
with one Indian converted by them. I have attended mass in an Indian
village; a native priest performed the ceremony, and the whole
congregation (except myself) were of his cast and complexion: and, it is
worthy of remark, that in Peru, and some of the most populous provinces,
a pagan is scarcely to be found.



We now heard that Tetoro (one of the most powerful chiefs of this part of
the island) had taken offence, and had sent a defiance to King George,
saying he intended coming to seek revenge, accompanied by a strong body
of warriors; and the "herald" who brought this proclamation informed us
that the English settlers were to be attacked and plundered also.

We had every reason to fear this might prove a more calamitous affair
than any we had yet experienced; as George immediately collected all his
family and dependents, and took his departure for the Kawakawa river (the
residence of De Kookie, the chief who had come to his assistance against
Hongi's attack), leaving behind only a few slaves. Thus a second time
were we left to our own resources on Kororarika Beach. George and his
followers were too much scattered: some were trading with the ships,
others were distributed in various districts, attending to their
agricultural pursuits. Thus separated, each might become an easy prey to
any of the powerful chiefs; but, were they united, they would be too
strong for any of the tribes: unfortunately the hope of gain made them
risk so great a danger. At this period, too, there was not a single
vessel in the bay to protect us. The known partiality of all the tribes
for Europeans was the only consolation we had; and we endeavoured to
cheer each other with this hope, under what in reality might be
considered very appalling circumstances.

After enduring this state of suspense and anxiety for several days, and
no enemy appearing, we determined to pay a visit to the camp of the
combined army of our friends, which would, at the same time, gratify our
own curiosity, and give them a degree of satisfaction; as it would prove
to them that we were not afraid of venturing amongst them, even in times
of danger. We accordingly prepared the whaleboats to proceed up the
Kawakawa river; and, as I had never been there before, the present
afforded an excellent opportunity for exploring that picturesque spot.

At the top of the Bay of Islands, two rivers disembogue, the Wye Catte
and the Kawakawa: they are both small but beautiful streams. It was early
in the morning when we started: the dewy mist rose from the unruffled
bosom of the river like the gradual lifting up of a curtain, and, at
length, displayed its lofty sides, covered with immense trees, the
verdure extending to the very edge of the water. All was quiet,
beautiful, and serene; the only sounds which broke the calm were the wild
notes of the tui (or New Zealand blackbird), the splashing of our own
oars, or the occasional flight of a wild duck (or shag), disturbed by our

We rowed our boat many miles without seeing the slightest vestige of any
human inhabitants or civilisation: all appeared wild and magnificent as
if just fresh from the hands of nature; and it failed not to lead the
mind up to the contemplation of the Creator. It seemed utterly impossible
to reconcile the idea that such lonely, romantic, and sequestered scenes
could conceal hordes of savage cannibals, or that the tranquility of this
very place would soon be exchanged for the noise and tumult of savage
warfare. We soon reached the village where the coalesced chiefs had taken
up their station: they had fortified their position, and were waiting the
approach of the enemy. No sooner, however, was our arrival known, than
all came running down tumultuously to give us welcome: all business was
laid aside to greet our landing, and we were conducted with great
ceremony into the centre of the camp.



We found eight hundred warriors, who (to use a sea phrase) were "all at
quarters." The magic pen of Scott might here have been well employed to
describe "The Gathering." The chiefs sat apart from their followers in
deep consultation: we did not approach near enough to hear their
discussion; but it ended by their paying us a high compliment for coming
amongst them. The young and active were busily employed in constructing a
strong stockade fort to annoy the enemy as he approached; others were
preparing their weapons, or practising the use of arms.

The village itself was an object of extreme interest; and, after
contemplating the war-like preparations of the chiefs, we turned with
pleasure to gaze on the beauty of the surrounding country. In a plain,
surrounded by high hills, with a beautiful stream of water meandering
through it, was situated a group of huts; and many acres of cultivated
ground, neatly fenced and cleared, encircled them. Their harvest,
consisting of Indian corn, potatoes, and kumara, was now ready for
gathering, and all the women were busily occupied. As I from an eminence
looked down upon their labours, I could almost fancy I was in Italy, and
beheld the peasantry at work in their vineyards: but the adjacent camp
and naked warriors soon dissipated the illusion!

On approaching the village we occasioned quite a commotion: the girls
brought forth baskets filled with cooked kumaras and peaches, while the
men erected a tent to screen us from the rays of the sun: indeed, all
seemed anxious to do something that should prove acceptable to us. We had
brought with us sufficient provision for a good dinner which was soon
cooked, and we invited them to partake of our fare, and a very merry and
noisy group we formed. After our repast, the chief warriors took us round
their camp, and exhibited to us all their means of defence, and the
different works they had thrown up. Where the use of artillery is
unknown, the principles of fortification are simple, and the New
Zealanders seem to possess a clear notion of the art: necessity being
with them the mother of invention.

In the direction where the approach of the enemy was expected, they had
erected a strong square stockade, to molest the army; while the women and
children retired to the principal fort, which was very strong, and
situated at the summit of the highest hill: it had a breast-work all
round it about five feet high, and a broad ditch beyond that. The
fortress was large enough to contain several hundred men: it had a
spacious glacis in front, and every approach to it was so completely
exposed, that we thought even a body of regular troops, without
artillery, would have found it very difficult to storm; and to the New
Zealand warrior it seemed a wonderful and impregnable work.

The chief who had the command of this fort was our old acquaintance Kiney
Kiney, a younger brother of King George's, who seemed proud of this
honour, and appeared highly delighted in showing us round, and
explaining everything to us; even condescending to ask our advice as to
any means of adding strength and security to the works. He listened
attentively to all our observations; and if he approved any alteration we
suggested he ordered it instantly to be carried into effect. I noticed a
thicket too near the fort, and told him I thought it might shelter a body
of men, and before I left the pa it was reduced to a heap of ashes.
Sentinels were posted in every direction to give notice of the approach
of an enemy. _Mr._ Kiney Kiney (as he was sometimes called) was
splendidly apparelled on this occasion: he had, by some means or other,
become possessed of a light infantry sabre, with all its paraphernalia of
belts and buckles; this was girded round his naked body, which gave him a
very gallant air, and, I have no doubt, was the envy and admiration of
all his followers.



After we had seen and approved all their preparations, we were treated
with a grand review and sham fight: they divided themselves into two
parties; one half the number took their station on a hill, and lay
concealed; the other party crouched on the plains to receive the attack,
all kneeling on one knee, with their eyes fixed on the spot whence they
expected the rush of their pretended enemies. In a moment, the concealed
party burst forth from their ambush, with a tremendous and simultaneous
shout, and the mock battle began with great fury.

Nothing in nature can be imagined more horrible than the noise they make
on these occasions. I have heard, under circumstances of some peril, the
North American Indian war-whoop; but that is trifling compared with it
and their countenances are hideous beyond description. My principal
astonishment on these occasions was, that they did not actually kill each
other, or, at least, break each other's bones; for they seemed to strike
with all the fury and vigour of a real engagement; but they kept such
exact time, that at a moment's notice they all left off, and began joking
and laughing, except a very few, whom I observed to sneak away to wash
off some bloody witness, or to put a plaster on their broken skin.

After these military and gymnastic exhibitions, they formed a grand
assembly, and the chiefs, as usual, made long speeches in rotation. This
rude parliament is one of the most beautiful features in savage
government: all public matters are discussed openly, grievances are
complained of, and justice is summarily administered.

Thus, after spending a pleasant day, we rose to depart, and took an
affectionate leave of our entertainers, who were most anxious that we
should remain longer; but we thought we had better return to Kororarika,
where our property had been left. Most of the chiefs accompanied us to
our boats, and, after exhibiting various testimonies of their friendly
feeling towards us, they suffered us to depart.

The day following this visit, we were alarmed by the appearance of two
war canoes crossing the bay: we waited their approach with considerable
anxiety: what few valuables we had with us we concealed about our
persons; but, as they neared our beach, our fears subsided, on finding
there were only a few men in each. Three chiefs (unarmed) landed, whom we
found to be Rivers and two of his near kinsmen, the most dreaded persons
of our expected invaders; but they immediately informed us they came on a
mission of peace, and, for that reason, had come to us unattended and

We were most happy to hear this, and to find hostilities were again
likely to be deferred. Though we well knew the character of these men,
and that they were capable of the most treacherous acts, and the deepest
dissimulation, yet, their thus throwing themselves into our power, with
the olive branch in their hands, was irresistible; and we received them
with all the pomp we were capable of. We ordered a pig to be killed for
the feast, and requested them to remain for that night. In order to do
honour to our noble guests, and credit to our friend and ally King
George, we produced all the luxuries we had; and, in addition to the
pork, piles of pancakes and molasses were devoured: after this we gave
them tea, of which they are very fond; and, over our pipes, in the
evening, we informed them of the preparations the coalesced chiefs had
made for their reception, had their intentions been hostile.

The next morning they embarked for the camp at Kawakawa, where, I
understood, they had considerable difficulty in arranging the "treaty of
peace": George having been so often alarmed, now that such great
preparations had been effected (as he well know the treacherous character
of his foe), he was unwilling to give up the hopes of conquest; however,
by the advice of the chiefs, it was finally settled amicably. George and
his friends accordingly returned to Kororarika, leaving a strong party at
the pa to finish the fortifications; and, though peace was made, our
party still kept themselves in a posture of defence.



We had been expecting with great anxiety the return of our brig; and,
soon after the termination of this affair, we had the pleasure of seeing
her enter the bay, after her cruise from Tongataboo and Tucopea. We found
that, on leaving the Bay of Islands, she had touched at the Thames, or
(as the natives call it) Hauraki, in order to land two chiefs, whom
Captain Dillon had taken thence two years before, and, in the confusion
occasioned by the disembarking, the visiting and congratulations of
friends (the vessel being under weigh), one chief was left on board, who
had not been discovered till all the canoes were out of sight, and there
remained no other alternative for him than to proceed on the whole

This was of no importance as it respected Tongataboo or Tucopea; but, on
his return to Kororarika, it was not only placing him, but all of us, in
a dreadful dilemma! His tribe being at deadly enmity with that of George,
the moment he was seen on deck (which was as soon as the vessel arrived),
George and all the men in the various canoes appeared to grow outrageous:
nothing would convince them but that we were in league with their
enemies, and had brought this spy into their territories from interested
motives; and they seemed resolved upon boarding the brig and executing
vengeance upon the unfortunate victim. To all our remonstrances George
replied, "Any other man than this I would have pardoned; but it was only
last year he killed, and helped to eat, my own uncle, whose death still
remains unrevenged: I cannot allow him to leave my country alive; if I
did, I should be despised for ever."

I was greatly grieved at the circumstance; but, as I was somewhat of a
favourite with George, I succeeded in convincing him that it arose purely
from accident, and no intention of giving him offence; and he consented
to leave him on board, but cautioned us not to allow him to land. "If I
see him on shore he dies," he repeated several times. It would have been
well for us had we attended to this warning: we did not; and we
accordingly infringed on the customs of his country; thus placing
ourselves in a most perilous situation with the natives, and plainly
showing that the imprudence of our countrymen is invariably the cause of
quarrels and misunderstandings with these islanders.

Some days having passed since this altercation with George, we thought no
more about it. The brig, from various causes, was certain to remain some
time in this harbour; and, as our New Zealand guest expressed a great
desire to go on shore one day, we consented to his accompanying us. We
had scarcely entered our house, when we had reason to repent the
imprudent step we had taken: all the natives were in commotion;
messengers were sent off to George to acquaint him with the circumstance,
and soon after we saw him, attended by all his relations, accoutred for
war; that is, quite naked, their skins oiled and painted, and armed with
muskets. Fury was in their looks and gestures as they hastened towards
our residence. We had scarcely time to shut and fasten our door, when
they made a rush to force it; and we had a severe struggle to keep them
out. At one period their rage became so ungovernable that we expected
every instant they would fire on us for preventing their entrance. The
man who was the cause of all this violence crept into our bedroom, and
kept out of sight; but he did not, at any period of the disturbance,
exhibit the least sign of fear, so accustomed are they from childhood to
these deadly frays.

When the natives found we would not give up the man, but that they must
murder us before they could accomplish their revenge, the disappointment
rendered them nearly frantic. Our situation was most critical and
appalling; and nothing can be a more convincing proof of the influence
the Europeans have obtained over them, than that, at such a moment, they
should have refrained from setting fire to or pulling down the house, and
sacrificing every one of us. George again remonstrated with us, assuring
us it was his sacred duty to destroy this man, now he was in his
territory; a duty which, he said, he owed to the memory of his murdered
relations, and which must be performed, even though he should sacrifice
his "good English friends." He cautioned us not to stand between him and
his enemy, who must die before the sun set, pointing, at the same time,
to that luminary, and ordering his slaves to kindle a large fire to roast
him on. Finally, he and his friends planted themselves all round the
house to prevent the escape of their victim. Thus were we environed with
fifty or sixty well armed and exasperated savages.

Our imprudence had given us no other alternative than either to give up
the man, who had put himself under our protection, or still to defend him
at the risk of our own lives: we instantly adopted the latter course.
Fortunately for us, a whaler was lying in the harbour, and a party of her
men were then on shore in the neighbourhood procuring water. We had sent
to them to explain the nature of our situation, and we saw them coming to
our assistance, though the numbers of natives at this time assembled
totally precluded all chance of our getting off by force; and a variety
of schemes were suggested as to how we should save the man's life, and
get clear of this difficulty, without sacrificing the good opinion we
were held in by the natives.

We were well aware of the great importance it was to George to continue
on friendly terms with the English vessels touching here, as they not
only afforded him various sources of considerable profit, but the
intercourse gave him great importance in the eyes of his countrymen; and
we determined to make this circumstance a means of saving the man's life,
as we suspected that a threat of removing the seat of trade would soon
make him compromise his revenge for his interest.

We therefore sent him a formal message, that, if he was resolved to kill
his enemy in our house, we had determined not to prevent him, but that we
would not stay to witness such a cruelty; and that we should immediately
remove every thing we possessed on board ship, leave the Bay of Islands,
and seek the protection and shelter of some other chief; and, if he
compelled us to do so, no other British ship would ever be seen at

We accordingly ordered the ship's boats ashore, and our things were
quickly conveyed into them. I trembled when I looked on the natives, and
saw the rage depicted on their countenances; and I, trusting in
Providence to avert from me the dreadful death with which I saw myself
threatened, prepared myself for some fatal catastrophe. Tumultuous
discussions ensued, and it at length became difficult for the elders to
restrain the impetuosity of the younger chiefs. Fortunately for us, their
vehement speeches soon produced a violent feud amongst themselves. Mutual
upbraidings took place: each accused the other of being the cause of
quarrel, and the consequent loss of the white men. This was precisely the
state of things we wished for; and, while we were waiting the return of
the last boat, a messenger came from the elder chiefs, to propose an
amicable adjustment of the affair. The chiefs promised that, if we would
reland our goods and remain with them, the man we protected should go
without molestation on board the brig; but, if we persevered in leaving
them, the man should be killed before our eyes. This was what we
expected; and though I really now wished to leave them, being quite tired
of these perpetual broils, we assented, in order that the man's life
might be spared When they found we agreed to their proposal, they
retreated out of sight, thereby carefully avoiding polluting their eyes
by looking upon their enemy.

No sooner had they disappeared than I visited the poor fellow who had
been the cause of all this disturbance: he seemed half dead with anxiety;
but I soon revived him with the information that all was settled
amicably; and we lost no time in getting him off, which we safely
accomplished, though, as the boat which conveyed him left the shore, a
bullet whizzed close by me, aimed, no doubt, by some young fiery chief,
who had concealed himself in the bushes for that purpose.

During this transaction I witnessed the natural kindness of heart and
disinterested tenderness of the female sex: no matter how distressing the
circumstance or appalling the danger, they are, in all countries, the
last to forsake man. While the enraged chiefs were yelling outside our
house, and all our exertions could scarcely prevent them from making a
forcible entry, all the women were sitting with, and trying to comfort
the unhappy cause of this calamity. They had cooked for him a delicate
dinner, brought him fruit, and were using every means by which they could
keep up his spirits and buoy up his hopes, confidently assuring him the
white men would not yield him up to his ferocious foes. Notwithstanding
all their exertions, he was miserable, till informed by me of his safety;
and I received the warmest thanks, and even blessings, from his "fair"
friends, as if I had conferred upon each a personal favour.

The man being now in safety, we determined to demand satisfaction for the
affront which had been put upon us, and we sent George word we could not
again receive him into our house unless he made an ample apology for his
behaviour, painting in strong colours how deeply our feelings had been
wounded, and how much this indignity had lowered us in the esteem of all
our acquaintances.

After some consultation among their leading men upon the subject of our
message, King George presented himself at the door of our hut, and, in
the most humble manner, surrendered his musket; and shortly after his
brother Kiney Kiney did the same. Thus we gained our point, and received
both payment and apologies for their violent behaviour. Friendship being
thus restored, we soon gave them back their muskets, to their infinite
surprise and satisfaction.

On reflection, I felt quite convinced that the natives liked us the
better for what we had done: it afforded them also a lesson of humanity,
for they all well knew we had no other object in view when we stood
forward to defend the poor fellow, who had relied upon our promise of
protecting him. Several chiefs told us that they greatly admired our
principles, and should always feel themselves quite safe with men like
us, who would risk their own lives rather than break their word, or
desert a friend in the hour of danger.

At the close of this eventful day we received another token of peace,
which was in its manner simple and affecting, and not such as could have
been expected from a nation of savages. A procession of young girls
approached our door, each bearing a basket: some were filled with nicely
cooked potatoes, others with various fruits and flowers, which they set
down before us, chanting, in a low voice, a song in praise of our recent
exploit; a man bearing a very large fish closed the procession; he
repeated the song also. We were informed that these presents had been
sent by King George as a ratification of friendship, for the New
Zealanders never think a reconciliation perfected till you have again
eaten and drank with them.

Two important conclusions may be drawn from the termination of this
affair: first, that if a spirited interference takes place on the part of
the Europeans, murder may be at times prevented, as we actually rescued
a mortal foe from the vengeance of an exasperated enemy; and, secondly,
their efforts to restore amity proves their extreme desire to have white
people settle amongst them.

About a week after this event we witnessed a most extraordinary ceremony,
which partook more of the ludicrous than the horrible, though I have no
doubt it was regarded by the natives as a most solemn affair. For some
days we had been honoured by the presence of a great priest, or one of
their chief tabooers; he came for the purpose of discussing with the
chiefs the affairs of the nation, particularly the approaching war with
the tribe of the Thames; and the day set apart for the discussion of the
principal points was ushered in by a rich feast, not of pork nor fish,
nor even the kumara, but of two old, sturdy, large dogs!

I was much surprised on rising one morning to see Kiney Kiney, with
several chiefs of the highest rank, stripped, and performing the offices
of the meanest slave (the washing the feet of the pilgrims by cardinals
and persons of rank in Rome came instantly to my remembrance). These
chiefs were making a fire and cooking. I was still more astonished, on
approaching them, to find the nature of the food they were singeing and
scraping. This bow-wow meat they were preparing after the fashion of
pork: pigs being the only quadruped they have ever seen cooked, they of
course are not acquainted with any other way of dressing the animal
creation, and a sad bungling job they made of it; for the dogs were old
and tough, and the hair adhered most pertinaciously to the skin, and in
many places would not come off.

There were only five persons allowed to partake of this delicious meal,
which was, as well as the five partakers, strictly taboo'd for the whole
of that day: and we strongly recommended them to hold a similar feast
every day, until they had cleared the country of these canine nuisances,
the dogs being the greatest pests they have.



One morning I was roused out of a sound sleep by continued discharges of
musketry from a number of war canoes. I jumped up instantly in alarm; but
I soon discovered them to be Atoi and his party, who had been absent
about two months on a war-like expedition to the Thames, and they were now
returning successful.

I had witnessed the departure of this expedition, and considered it in
the light of a reconnoitring party. I could not make out what the real
object was they had been in search of; but, wherever they had been, they
had been victorious, for they now returned with quantities of plunder,
human heads, human flesh, and many prisoners! After the dance and sham
fight had been duly gone through, they proceeded to land their cargo of
spoil. First came a group of miserable creatures, women and children,
torn by violence from their native homes, henceforth to be the slaves of
their conquerors; some were miserably wounded and lacerated, others
looked half-starved, but all seemed wretched and dejected.

The women of Kororarika, with their usual humanity, instantly surrounded
them, and endeavoured to console them, and then shed abundance of tears
over them. I enquired of one of the warriors what they had done with the
male prisoners: he coolly replied, they had all been eaten, except some
"titbits," which had been packed up in the baskets and brought on shore,
in order to regale particular friends and favourites!

They had also brought with them several heads, which they have the art of
preparing in their native ovens, so as not to disfigure the countenance
nor injure the figure tatoo'd upon them. One of these, the skull of a
distinguished chief, seemed to afford them amazing delight. Most of our
people had known him well, and several of his near relations were
present: but cruel war seemed to have eradicated every feeling of
humanity; for all appeared to contemplate this ghastly object with great
satisfaction. These heads were decorated profusely with yellow and red
ribbons, and with white feathers: they were then stuck upon short poles,
and placed, with great ceremony, in front of the old Queen Turero's
house; who, sitting at the door, received this token of respect with
approval and condescension.

The group altogether formed an interesting picture of savage manners, in
which ferocity was strongly blended with humanity, for their respect and
devotion to the old sybil was manifested as feelingly as their hatred
towards those whom they call their enemies: in fact, the young warrior
chiefs presenting to her (as was the case with several) their first
spoils of conquest, reminded me of young lions bringing part of the
spoils of the chase to their aged dam.

In this affray only a few of Atoi's party had been wounded, and
twenty-five of the enemy had been killed. It was a fortunate circumstance
for the wretched prisoners that none of the conquering party had been
killed; for, if that had been the case, there would have been a dreadful
slaughter of the captives on their arrival at the village, an act of
cruelty never dispensed with. This sight I dreaded I should encounter
when I went to witness the disembarkation; but, hoping that my presence
might be some restraint upon their barbarities, I awaited the result with
as much firmness as I was master of.

[Illustration: Old Pa and Whalers at Bay of Islands.]



Two South Sea whalers were at this time lying in the bay: the Anne, from
London, a full ship; and the Lynx, from Sydney. Since I have been living
here, five vessels of this description have visited us; and many others
would have touched here but for the want of proper regulations, and a
dread of the dispositions of the natives. There being here no
representatives of the British Government, the crews of whalers are often
involved in disputes with the natives. This want of Government support
has also frightened other vessels away; their commanders preferring going
on to Port Jackson, where they half ruin themselves by the unavoidable
expenses they incur. Even when their vessels have anchored here, the
thoughtlessness and eccentricity of this class of men, when they are
under no restraint or control, has sometimes not only led to disputes
with the natives, but with each other, which eventually have proved
equally detrimental. In short, New Zealand is a place of such vast
importance to so many lucrative branches of British trade, that it must
be well worthy the speedy attention of our Government at home.

We spoke frequently to our friend George, as well as to several other of
their powerful chiefs, respecting the erection of a small fort with a
British garrison, and of permanently hoisting the English flag. They
always expressed the utmost delight at the idea; and, from all I have
seen of them, I feel convinced it would prove a most politic measure.
George (who had visited Port Jackson) said: "This country is finer than
Port Jackson; yet the English go and settle there. Our people are much
better than the black natives of New South Wales, and yet you English
live amongst them in preference to us."

The ship Anne, Captain Gray, was out three years, and during that period
she never entered a civilised port. She had touched twice at this bay,
and had cruised four months on the coast of Japan, off Timor, through the
Sandwich and Friendly Islands, and passed several times over the Pacific
Ocean, in order to obtain a cargo of sperm oil, which she at length
accomplished; and was at this time here to refit for her voyage home to
England round Cape Horn, having picked up most of her cargo off this

For twelve years past, notwithstanding all the disadvantages, this has
been the favourite resort for ships in the above-mentioned trade. Here,
surrounded with savages and cannibals, they heave down their vessels,
land the cargoes and stores, and carry on work, both on board and on
shore, in tolerable security. The safety of the harbour, the facility of
wooding and watering, the supplies of pigs and potatoes, tempt them to
run the risk of placing themselves in the power of capricious and
barbarous people.

It has been imagined that the residence of missionaries would have the
effect of civilising the natives, and adding to the safety of ships
touching here; but experience fully proves the fallacy of such an
expectation. These people, abstracted by their own gloomy reflections,
look with contempt on all who are in the pursuit of "worldly wealth"; and
regard the arrival of a whaler as an enemy coming to interfere with the
spiritual interests of "their flock," as they term the inhabitants,
though I never yet saw one proselyte of their converting.

They never visit a whaler except on a Sunday, and then it is to beg for
the benefit of their society. It cannot, therefore, be expected that much
sympathy can exist between parties, where the cold formality of one
excites the contempt and disgust of the other.

The ship Anne, of which I have formerly spoken, arrived here lately from
Wahoo, one of the Sandwich Islands, which possesses the advantage of a
British consul. The pacific disposition and orderly government of the
natives do not require a British garrison, or any war-like force; and of
the excellent effects produced by this representation of our Government
Captain Gray speaks with admiration and enthusiasm. The harbours were
crowded with shipping; houses, nay, even streets, were beginning to
appear; the savage character of the people was gradually subsiding into
industrious and peaceful occupations; and comfort and prosperity were
spreading their benign influence over the whole island: yet Wahoo is not
nearly so well situated as a rendezvous for South Sea whalers as New
Zealand; at least so I have been informed by all the captains of those
ships who have conversed with me on the subject.

It is rather a remarkable and novel circumstance that the natives, who
have been now for fourteen or fifteen years in close intercourse and
carrying on traffic with Europeans, should not, in the course of that
period, understand the nature and value of money; a laughable instance of
which occurred to us a few days since. A native came to our house with a
serious countenance and business-like manner, and said he wished to
purchase a musket: we asked to see what he had brought in exchange for
one, when, with great ceremony, he produced a copper penny piece in the
way of payment. The poor fellow had, doubtless, seen some one pass a
doubloon, and had mistaken his penny for one; as a doubloon is about the
price given for a musket in our regulated list of charges. We, of course,
refrained from laughter; but he was quite astonished and mortified when
he was made to understand we could not trade with him. He took a stroll
round the beach, offering his penny, by way of barter, to every white man
he met, but everywhere with equally bad success.



When our brig left Tucopea she brought away two natives of that island,
who had most earnestly entreated the captain to take them off, and leave
them upon any other land he pleased, as, according to their statement,
Tucopea was so overstocked with inhabitants that it was scarcely possible
to find subsistence; and the scarcity of food had become so general, that
parents destroyed their children rather than witness their sufferings
from famine. Captain Kent, therefore, from motives of compassion,
received them on board his ship; and, not having touched at any inhabited
spot, brought them with him here. Their extraordinary appearance excited
a great deal of surprise, both among Europeans and New Zealanders. They
appeared simple, timid creatures, though stout and comely, but their hair
was unlike anything I had before beheld, as in length it reached below
the waist, and was so abundantly thick as completely to conceal their
faces. By some curious chemical process which the natives of Tucopea have
discovered, they render their hair a bright sulphur colour; and, as this
mass of yellow hangs over their faces and shoulders, they bear the most
striking resemblance to the lion monkeys of the Brazils.

These poor creatures, upon landing, shook with fear, and trembled greatly
when they beheld the New Zealanders, whose character for cannibalism had
reached even their remote island: when our friend George went up to them,
and lifted up (in order to examine closely) the curious mass of hair in
which they were enveloped, they burst into a passionate fit of tears, and
ran up to us for protection. The New Zealanders, with characteristic
cunning, perceiving the horror they had created, tormented them still
more cruelly, by making grotesque signs, as if they were about to
commence devouring them; and, at the same time (like most savages),
evincing the most sovereign contempt for them, from their apparent

After they had been some days on shore, we had a very diverting scene
with them, which exhibited strongly the great difference there is in the
nature of the two classes of savages we now had such opportunities of
observing. I had brought my violin from Sydney, on which I used to play
occasionally. The New Zealanders generally expressed the greatest dislike
to it; and my companions used to rally me much on the subject, saying it
was not that the savages did not like music, but it was my discordant
playing that frightened them away, which might be true. It was, however,
a useful discovery for us all, as I often took that method of civilly
driving them out of our house when we grew tired of their company. But
when I began to play before the Tucopeans, the effect it had instantly
upon them was ludicrous in the extreme. They sprang up, and began dancing
most furiously; at the same time, so waving their heads about as to keep
their long hair extended at its fullest length: as I played faster, they
quickened their pace. A lively Scotch reel seemed to render them nearly
frantic; and when I ceased playing, they threw themselves down on the
floor quite exhausted, and unable to articulate a word. I have observed
(generally speaking) that savages are not much affected by music; but
these two Tucopeans were excited to a most extraordinary degree.



We at length received authentic intelligence of the death of the
celebrated Hongi. Finding his dissolution fast approaching, he convened a
meeting of all the neighbouring chiefs; and as many as could reach the
spot in time attended. The wounded warrior expired, surrounded by the men
he had so frequently led to battle and conquest. After the numerous and
desperate risks he had run, the many encounters he had sustained with
various enemies, it appeared extraordinary to us Europeans that he should
die quietly in his hut. It is the custom to keep a guarded and mysterious
silence relating to the subjects which are spoken of by a dying chief. I
questioned several who had attended Hongi: all spoke with the greatest
solemnity of his last moments. One sentence (uttered by him) was all I
could obtain after much manoeuvring, and that was spoken but a few
minutes before he breathed his last, which was, that "Shulitea (viz., our
friend George) would not live one week longer than himself"; but, as our
patron was in perfect health at the time, and all seemed peaceful around
him, I only laughed at the improbability of the prophecy being fulfilled.

The natives of New Zealand pay the greatest respect to courage and
war-like talents: these were the only distinguishing characteristics of
Hongi; yet, by possessing these, he was more feared, and had a greater
number of followers, than any other chief in the island. His hereditary
possessions were but small, and his name was little known; yet his
undaunted courage, his skill, and success in many sanguinary battles,
made him, at length, a most powerful chief, and obtained for him that
which is considered wealth in this country, namely, an immense number of
slaves. In his last moments he was attended by more men of rank than had
ever before assembled to witness the dissolution of a warrior, and this
is considered the greatest proof of attention and respect one chieftain
can show towards another.



Our brig now sailed for Hokianga to take in a cargo of planks; and my
friend, Mr. Shand, being tired of wandering, accompanied her; but I,
being still anxious to procure more sketches of this interesting country,
determined to remain as long as possible, and to take one more walk
across the island, and join the brig by the time she was loaded. I was
preparing to start on my last pedestrian tour, when a chain of events
occurred which threw all the tribes into confusion. Bloodshed and
devastation stared me in the face from all quarters; and from the state
of security I had imagined myself to be in, I was roused to behold myself
beset with difficulties; to crown which, our brig, which would have been
a place of safety and refuge, was now on the opposite side of the island.

Arising from a trifling circumstance, which was partly caused by us,
though innocently, Pomare's only son had lost his life; and, as is usual
among savage tribes, the severest retaliation soon took place.

By relating the particulars, the reader will perceive how easily the
war-cry is raised among these turbulent savages.

Pomare's only surviving son. Tiki, was a very finely-formed, handsome
young man, of twenty years of age, and he had made an arrangement with a
captain of a ship here to supply him with a certain number of hogs.
Accordingly, accompanied by a party of his friends, he started into the
interior for the purpose of collecting them. In making his selection, he
not only proceeded to drive off some of his own, but actually laid claim
to, and began marching away with, some belonging to his neighbours. The
right owners remonstrated with him in vain. He, being an insolent,
over-bearing young fellow, persisted in his unjust claims, and set them
all at defiance. They were compelled to yield up their property, as his
tribe was a most powerful one; and Tiki was driving away the stolen hogs
in triumph, when a sudden stop was put to his predatory career. Finding
words were of no avail to induce the young man to restore the swine, one
of the injured party had recourse to a musket. A bullet, aimed from
behind a tree, killed Tiki on the spot; but from whose hand it came could
only be conjectured. The greatest confusion instantly took place. His
companions, being well armed, the war-cry was immediately raised; and the
fray becoming general, seven more lives were lost.

When the account of this melancholy affair reached our beach, everyone
flew to arms, even all the women, for the young man was a general
favourite. The war-cry spread in every direction. "Here," they exclaimed,
"is the last of the Pomare family killed treacherously, a warrior related
to and connected with every chief of consequence in the country, and a
nephew of the great Shulitea." The cry for blood and revenge was
universal. I must confess that, added to the danger it placed me in, I
was much shocked when I heard of the fate of poor Tiki, for he was one of
our particular friends, and had passed many an evening in our hut. I had
taken leave of him only the day before, when he had set out, full of
health and spirits, on this hog expedition, which had terminated thus

The death of this young man excited the highest indignation in the minds
of his countrymen, as well as in those of his numerous intimate friends
and relations; for a report was industriously circulated that he had
fallen by the hands of a slave. This was considered by his tribe as a
degradation infinitely worse than the murder itself. The offended chiefs
assembled on our beach, with all their followers, armed: and none
appeared more indignant at the transaction than our friend George, who,
with his brother Kiney Kiney, placed themselves at the head of the party,
to revenge the insult which had been offered them.

The night before they started on this expedition, George spent the
evening with us. He was in particularly low spirits, and said he did not
at all like the business he was going upon: but, as he was the nearest
relation of the deceased, and the eldest of the tribe, he went in hopes
of being able to prevent a great effusion of blood, and also to restrain
the impetuosity of the young men. Little did we then think he would be
the first victim; although his unusual depression of mind brought to my
remembrance the prophecy of Hongi, and, spite of my endeavours to banish
my forebodings, I felt convinced that the prediction would in all
probability be fulfilled.

Three days had elapsed from the time the avenging party had gone on their
mission, when, at midnight, a messenger, faint and nearly exhausted,
arrived on our beach with the following dreadful intelligence; and that
night no other sounds were heard than those of agony and woe, the yelling
of women, and the shrieks of slaves.

The substance of the man's information was, that George and the offending
party had met; but, as several days had passed since the murder of their
friend, their feelings were in some degree appeased, and they had
contented themselves with a general plunder of whatever property their
enemies possessed. They had spared their lives, and the outrage was
considered as atoned for. The chiefs were on their return home, laden
with spoil, when, like other coalesced armies, disagreements began to
take place among themselves, and discord long smothered, broke out in
every quarter of the camp.

George, the principal person of their party, was the one marked to be
dissatisfied with. All were jealous of him, in consequence of his
possessions at Kororarika giving him such a decided advantage over every
other tribe, by his trade and intercourse with Europeans. It is probable,
also, that as the other tribes went forth with an intention to fight,
they were resolved not to be disappointed, and therefore determined to
create a feud among themselves, rather than return home devoid of the
pleasures or the trophies of a combat.

Some irritating language had been uttered by both sides, when an accident
of a fatal nature took place, which produced an instantaneous and general
appeal to arms. At the close of the day a halt was made, as usual, and
each party began erecting their temporary huts to pass the night in. One
of George's wives, assisted by a little boy, his nephew, was busily
engaged in constructing one; arms and baggage of every description being
strewed about in all directions. At this period a lad took up one of
George's muskets, and began to play with it; but not understanding the
management of it, he, by his injudicious handling, accidentally
discharged the piece, and killed both the wife and nephew, the ball
passing through both their bodies.

The sensation produced by this unfortunate accident may readily be
conceived. As the woman who was killed was related to the tribe who had
been disputing with George all day, her death furnished an ostensible
motive for open war; and before the real cause of the accident could be
explained, another shot was fired, which wounded a chief of the name of
Moo-de-wy in the thigh. This proved the signal for a general fight: each
party ran to their arms, ranged themselves under their different leaders,
and a general discharge of muskets immediately took place.

Almost at the beginning of the combat George received a shot, which broke
both his legs: his brother and friends endeavoured to support him in
their arms. It being then nearly dark, added much to the confusion, as it
was difficult to distinguish friend from foe; indeed, so sudden had been
the onset, that many could scarcely have been aware of the cause of the
contest. But our unhappy friend, who seemed particularly marked out in
this unfortunate affray, soon after received another bullet, which struck
him on the throat, and terminated his existence; thus dying before a week
had passed since the death of his rival Hongi. I heard from one of his
friends who supported him in his last moments, that he died like a hero:
finding both his legs were broken, and that consequently he was totally
unable to move, he begged those friends who were about him to leave him
to his fate, and either again enter the fight, or make their escape
while they yet had time. He then gave his musket to one, took off his
mantle to present to another, and while thus in the act of exhorting his
friends and distributing amongst them his tokens of regard, he received
his death-wound, and expired without a groan. When George fell, a general
flight took place; and though the engagement had lasted but a short time,
great numbers had fallen on both sides.



This news caused mourning and lamentation along our beach, and filled all
the Europeans with dismay. We could not calculate the extent of the
injury we might receive, but felt certain we should be considerable
sufferers in some way or other. The light of day seemed to add to, rather
than to diminish, the moans of George's faithful subjects. The violent
sobbings from every dwelling were most dismal. Groups were scattered
about, forming small crying parties, and cutting their skins deeply with
knives and pieces of broken glass; in short, nothing was heard but
yelling and groaning, and nothing was seen but streams of blood!

But however shocked I might feel by the train of accidents and deaths
which had made such cruel havoc amongst my friends, and notwithstanding
my sincere grief and regret for the fate of poor George, who was a most
humane and intelligent chief, and particularly kind to all the English;
the predicament in which I was now placed demanded all my energies, for I
felt that I stood in a situation of great danger.

I have before noticed their barbarous custom, on the death of a chief, of
plundering his family and friends. As we had always been considered as a
part of George's family, living under his protection, adopted by him,
and admitted into his tribe, I entertained great suspicions that we also
should be sufferers by the general plunder about to take place: besides,
I was so circumstanced as to be obliged to cross the country with all my
goods, and my route lay through the territories of all those chiefs who
had been fighting against George; and I was at no loss to guess in what
light they would regard me. Depending, too securely, on the general
tranquility, I had not sent my luggage by sea, as I might have done, and
which would have saved me great anxiety, as I should have ventured alone
without fear, but could not manage to carry what I possessed; and to
engage any to convey them was an impossibility, for the moment I made the
proposition to any (even the meanest of the slaves) to accompany me, they
ran off into the bush, nor could any entreaty, presents, or threats
induce them to venture with me; so, for security, I removed all the
property I had, and went with it on board the Marianne, whaler.

For three days after the death of George, all gave themselves up to
grief; no work was done, and not an individual was to be seen but in an
agony of tears. I began to feel strangely affected with melancholy
myself, when, on the fourth morning, a scene of bustle took place, and
low spirits were banished by tumult, noise, and confusion.

At six o'clock on that morning we discovered upwards of twenty sail of
war canoes, crowded with armed warriors, coming into the bay. What their
intentions were we could not imagine; but for fear of the worst, the
ships in the harbour shotted their guns, and when the canoes were abreast
of us, we fired a blank one over their heads. On this they all stopped,
and we saw some stir amongst them: at length a very small canoe left the
main body, and pulled directly towards us; it contained the chief persons
of the expedition: they came on board, and assured us they meant no harm
to any persons; they were merely some of the late George's friends, who
were going to pay a visit of condolence to his relations; and, after
making a most hearty breakfast with us, they went on shore, and we
accompanied them.

Whether the account they gave of themselves was correct, or the reverse,
we knew not at the time; but we felt assured their intentions were not
hostile towards us Europeans, and their quarrels with each other we were
determined not to interfere in. We soon discovered their falsehood, for
George's eldest daughter informed me that amongst the chiefs who landed
with us were several of the most inveterate foes of her father, and that
they were only restrained from committing the most dreadful outrages, and
carrying off all her relations as slaves, by witnessing the many friends
of George by whom they were surrounded. The day was spent in savage
dancing, yelling, making speeches, and debating as to who the proper
person was to succeed George in his dignities: several times I thought
the affair would end in blows. George's relation, Rivers, made great
exertions "to keep the peace," and finally, by force of argument,
succeeded. It was at length unanimously agreed that Kiney Kiney was to
succeed his brother, and that Rivers should take the command until the
time of Kiney Kiney's mourning for the loss of George should be



After these important matters were amicably disposed of, I made a sign to
Rivers, and, separating him from the crowd, I explained to him the nature
of my situation, and asked his assistance in getting me safely over to
Hokianga. He replied, there would certainly be great danger in attempting
it; but I soon discovered that he magnified the difficulties in order to
increase his demand for payment, for even the greatest chiefs have here
their price. He said (and I had every reason to think he was correct)
that I ran no risk of being molested by any chiefs, like himself, who
would always protect rather than molest every European; but that the
country being in such a state of commotion, in consequence of the late
events, it was full of runaway slaves, who always took advantage of such
times to make their escape; and if I chanced to fall in with any of them,
I should be exposed to great peril: "However (he added), keep up your
spirits; I have two confidential slaves, who shall conduct you over, and
carry your luggage, if you will make me a present of a stocking full of
powder, a bag of small shot, and a powder-horn." He also proposed, as he
himself was going to the Kirikiri, and thence to a village in the
interior, to meet a large assemblage of chiefs, in order to talk over the
late tragical events, that I should journey the first part of my way
with him, in his own canoe.

Accordingly, after having made preparations for my departure, I took
leave of all my friends at the Bay of Islands, both civilised and savage.
I must say I felt considerable regret when I found myself really going to
take final leave of several native families, with whom I had been on
terms of intimacy since my residence here, from whom I had received many
proofs of personal regard, and whom, I felt convinced, I should never
meet or hear of more; none I regretted parting with more than the family
of poor Shulitea; the mere sight of me seemed to rekindle all their grief
for the loss of their kinsman, and to remind them more forcibly than ever
of his tragical fate. His mother, old Turero, in point of grief, had
rivalled Niobe; she had never ceased weeping and lamenting from the time
she heard of her son's death, and had twice attempted to strangle
herself. But even in the midst of her passionate sorrow, I could scarcely
refrain from laughing, while observing her care and anxiety to get all
she could from me. After deploring the sad fate of her dear son, "You
know," she continued, "you promised him that you would send him a
handsome new musket from Sydney; and now, poor fellow, he is dead; and
cannot shoot with it; but then you must remember that his brother Kiney
Kiney is still alive, and he can shoot with it; and poor George would
wish that his brother should have his new musket." This speech I felt
quite irresistible; therefore, in order to comfort the old queen, I
promised that I would send the musket for her second son; which
declaration seemed to afford her great consolation, and considerably
abated the violence of her grief.

Just at the dawn of morning we started from the bay in Rivers' canoe,
accompanied by his wife, one child, and the two stout slaves he had
mentioned to me. My luggage, which consisted of one leathern portmanteau
and my bed, was placed in the centre. I had also provided myself with a
small basket of cooked meat, with bread, and a small bottle of brandy,
which was given me by the captain of one of the whalers. The day broke
around us with more than usual brightness; the dewy mists of night were
just rising from the waters, and the huge and abrupt forms of the
mountains were beginning to develop themselves; flights of wild ducks and
stray birds skimmed rapidly by us. The thoughts that crowded my mind were
strange and varied, while contemplating scenes of such tranquil beauty as
were now presented, glowing with the tints of the rising sun. I
contrasted these with the difficulties and dangers I might have to
encounter from hordes of ferocious savages, who, now flushed with
conquest, were plotting murder and destruction against each other: even a
glance at my companions banished all peaceful illusions. While the wife,
son, and slaves were using the paddles with the greatest exertions,
Rivers was carefully examining his weapons. The beauty of the morning and
the romantic scenery was unnoticed: his thoughts were directed solely to
contemplating the depth and the width of my stocking of powder, which
seemed to afford him infinite satisfaction. He had with him a beautiful
double-barrelled gun, and a very good Tower musket; and seeing so many
wild ducks fly past, he drew the bullet out of one of the barrels of the
former, and, with some of my stock of small shot, fired occasionally
amongst them.

At about eight o'clock a light sea breeze sprang up: they then set their
sail, and all went to sleep, excepting one slave, who was employed to
steer the canoe; so that I had ample time to ruminate upon my solitary
and perilous situation. The tide failed us at twelve o'clock, and we then
went on shore, kindled a fire, and soon collected such a supply of
shell-fish as furnished us a splendid repast. Here we remained till the
flood-tide set in strong, when, again hoisting our sail, we arrived at
the Kirikiri about sunset.

I here found the missionaries in the greatest consternation and dismay,
and learned that it was one of the chiefs of Hokianga who had shot
George, and they dreaded lest the result of that deed should be that the
whole of the savage tribes on that part of the island would be opposed to
each other; that combats would ensue; and which side soever might be
victorious, it would prove equally injurious to them, as they had
settlements on both sides of the island. But their greatest alarm was
occasioned by their possessions at Hokianga, as the most violent
depredations were there being committed; and as this was the very point
of my destination, the news was not very consolatory to me. "So anxious,"
said one of "the brethren" to me, "were we to inform our Christian
brethren of our danger, that we actually gave a _warm piece_ to a native
to carry a letter over to you, although that is strictly contrary to our
orders." I expressed a desire to know what he meant by a _warm piece_; he
kicked his foot against the stock of a gun I had at the time in my hand;
and, looking at me with an expression of the greatest contempt, said, "It
is what _you worldly_ folks call a musket!"

They were making considerable preparations to repair to the great meeting
of the chiefs, to which Rivers was journeying. This was a wise and
politic measure for them to pursue; and they were highly delighted to
have such an addition to their party as this well-known chief; and though
they would not acknowledge it, their satisfaction was very visible. I
earnestly requested them to inform me candidly, from all they had heard,
whether they thought I might, with safety, venture across the country;
but I could get nothing from them but vague and mysterious answers: one
thing, however, they made me very clearly understand; which was, that
they neither cared for me nor for my drawings; that their own safety
engrossed all their thoughts; and that a worldly-minded, misguided
creature like me was but as dust in the balance, compared to such godly
people as themselves, who were now placed in jeopardy. They, without
scruple, applied quotations from the Scriptures to themselves, such as,
"Why do the heathen so furiously rage," etc., etc.

My necessities compelled me to request a favour from them, which was,
that they would allow one of their boys, who could speak English, to
accompany me, as our loads were heavy; and his being known to belong to
their establishment I thought might be some protection; but the short
answer of the monosyllable "_No_" soon made me repent having asked it. I
spread my bed in one of their empty rooms; and started at daybreak next
morning, with my two native slaves. I could not banish from my
remembrance the inhospitable conduct of these missionaries; they never
even inquired whether I had any provision for a journey they themselves
would not have dared to undertake, which was evident by their giving a
native a _warm piece_ for merely taking a letter for them. As my shoes
were nearly worn out, and I had a long distance to go, over execrable
roads, I had intended asking them for a new pair, as they had abundance
of everything of the kind sent to them from England, to distribute to the
needy (and I fully came under that description of character); but finding
them so selfish and cold-hearted, and meeting with one refusal, I
refrained, and set off, literally almost barefooted.



We journeyed on all day by a road I had never been before, my attendants
evidently taking by-paths to avoid meeting stragglers or runaways. I was
well laden, having to carry my musket and my basket of provisions; and
each of my men, in addition to the loads I had placed on his shoulders,
bore a basket of potatoes. Once or twice, during our route, we saw some
persons at a distance, and I was sorry to notice the great alarm it
occasioned to my companions, as I now had every reason to apprehend,
that, in case of danger, they would slip off their burdens, make their
escape, and leave me and my baggage to my fate, which the missionaries
had told me they considered a thing very likely to happen. Once we heard
a great firing of muskets, which I afterwards ascertained to be the _feu
de joie_ fired at the first meeting of the chiefs, at their grand
assembling in the neutral village.

At night, we arrived safe at Patuone's Village, where I had slept on my
first journey across the island; but it now presented a very different
appearance to what it had done then; instead of the tumult I had formerly
heard, all was silence; the numerous families then there, all fully
occupied, were exchanged for a few old surly-looking slaves, and the
huts were all deserted. The inhabitants, in consequence of the rumour of
approaching war, having betaken themselves to one of their fortified pas,
I had no alternative but to pass the night with these suspicious-looking
creatures, who, feeling themselves beyond the control of their cruel
masters, soon gave way to their own vile passions, and became most
impertinent and intrusive--taking every advantage of my loneliness to
indulge their curiosity and familiarity.

On my arrival, I had deposited my things in one of the empty huts, and
spread my bed, hoping to enjoy the luxury of a few hours' repose after
the fatigue and great anxieties of the day; but these fellows would force
themselves into the hut I had chosen, where they lighted a fire, and sat
chattering around it all the night long. Finding that I did not appear
alarmed at their intrusion or noise, they kept doing everything they
could think of to rouse my fears. They threatened to break open my
portmanteau; and one old wretch sharpened his knife, and made motions as
though he were going to cut my throat and eat me. I knew my only chance
of safety was not to betray any sign of apprehension; so I forced a
laugh, and made them believe I considered their tricks an excellent joke.
I gave them all my tobacco to keep them in good humour; but I passed a
most miserable night, nearly suffocated with smoke, distracted with their
noise, and annoyed by vermin of every description.

I was most happy when daybreak gave me an excuse for leaving these brutal
savages, and resuming my journey. Every step I took brought before me
proofs of the horrors of war: villages which had been crowded, were now
entirely desolate, and, in many instances, burned to the ground. On that
spot where I had left a party of enterprising Scotchmen busily employed
in sawing timber, with crowds of natives assisting them, all was quiet
and totally deserted, with the exception of a few nearly starved,
wretched-looking dogs, who, hearing someone approach, came out, and tried
to bark at us, but were too weak to utter a sound.



Our march along the banks of the river was through a most beautiful
country; but all the inhabitants had fled; their plantations were in a
most luxuriant state; fields which I had left bare and uncultivated were
now covered with Indian corn standing higher than my head, the ripe ears
hanging fantastically in all directions, and none to gather in the
harvest; the crops of kumara and potatoes were equally abundant. I could
not help thinking that, if they expected an invasion of their enemies,
they had left an ample supply of forage for their use. In the evening I
arrived at Horeke, or Deptford Dock-yard (of which I made mention in my
first journey). I here found my countrymen in a state of considerable
embarrassment. The various chiefs of that district had encamped all round
them; so near to them had they taken up their position, that, whatever
might be the result of their battles, the European settlement would be in
danger. The settlers had fortified their place of refuge in the best
manner they could; and all were determined to defend themselves and
property to the last. They had four nine-pounders mounted on a hill, and
a tolerable battery made of three-inch pine stuff.

Before the English erected their fortifications, there was a great
difference of opinion amongst them as to the propriety and utility of
adopting so strong a measure, and the affair was finally put to the vote,
when the majority proved to be in favour of a strong resistance. I
opposed the measure all I could, for I felt convinced that in the event
of our allies being worsted we all should be involved in one common
massacre; whereas, if no resistance was made, plunder alone would have
been the extent of the injury we should suffer; and even of that taking
place I had strong doubts. However, as my opinion was overruled, I had to
submit, which I did unhesitatingly; and, like a good soldier, I held
myself in readiness in case of an attack.

The proprietor and manager of the Dock-yard possessed certainly a
"satisfying reason" for striving to defend himself at all hazards. The
vessel I had left here, on my former visit, in frame, was now nearly
completed, and a most beautiful one she was. He told me he would much
rather part with life than see her destroyed; and I confess I could fully
enter into his feelings on the subject; but as I had no such object at
stake, and was not quite enthusiastic enough to fight for a vessel I had
no share in, I felt very much inclined to let the natives war among
themselves without interference; but as we Europeans had agreed to assist
each other, I would not be behind-hand.

I discharged Rivers' two slaves, and rewarded them liberally for
conducting me with safety through such a wild and perilous country; they
departed (after expressing the heartiest wishes for my reaching my own
home in safety, and thanks for my generosity) to join their master at the
great meeting of the chiefs in the interior. These men, while assisting
me, were performing a great service to their master, by acting as spies.
When we started from the Kirikiri each was armed with a musket; but when
we had accomplished about half the journey, they concealed these in a
hollow tree, under pretence of extreme fatigue. I felt convinced at the
time that was not their real reason for so doing; and afterwards I
learned the true motive. Had they been found armed when returning to
their master (who was hostile to those assembled round the Dock-yard),
they would have been detained; but, by their coming unarmed amongst us,
they were suffered to depart; and I have no doubt the information they
carried back to Rivers was very important. I did not mention to anyone
the hiding of these muskets in the woods, though, according to "The
Articles of War," I ought to have done so, as getting possession of them
would have added two more to our strength, and lessened that of our
enemy; my silence arose from a repugnance I felt to betray these poor
creatures, who had behaved so well to me.

Although prepared for war, we were very well pleased to find no attack
was made upon us. Indeed, from the first, it had been my decided opinion,
that unless we interfered, and made ourselves by that means obnoxious,
they had too much respect for us, and were too anxious to retain our
kindly feelings towards them, to molest us; at the same time, I felt that
it might be a very politic measure to show them what powerful resistance
we could make, if driven to extremities.

After passing a week of the greatest anxiety, on account of our expected
invasion, it afforded us the utmost satisfaction to receive a visit from
Mr. Hobbs, the Wesleyan missionary, one of the persons who had visited
the war-camp of the assembled chiefs, who were convened, on the death of
our lamented friend George, to debate and decide upon the momentous
question of peace or war.

The subject (our informant stated) had been gone into at great length,
and stormy and fierce had been the discussion. Finally, the good sense of
the elder and more experienced chiefs prevailed over the fiercer passions
of the younger, and peace was decided upon. This event forms a new era in
"The Political History of the Few Zealanders," it being the first time so
great an assemblage had met to discuss openly a national question, or in
which they had allowed cool reasoning and good sense to prevail over
their habitual ferocity. As may naturally be supposed, where such various
interests were at stake, this pacific measure was not effected without
considerable opposition from the young and furious chiefs. The
provocations given by them to the elders, whose voices were for peace,
were considerable. They did not confine themselves to abuse, but fired
several muskets during debate, in hopes that one shot out of the many
might prove fatal; which, if it had, and any distinguished chief had been
killed, or even wounded, it would have immediately thrown all into
confusion. Even when pacific measures were decided upon by a very large
majority, and the chiefs were about to separate, a bullet was fired from
the pa, which had evidently been aimed at a chief, a well-known ally of
the late Shulitea, as it fell at his feet, and the earth it threw up fell
upon him. For a few seconds surprise kept all silent; but, as the angry
chief rose up, and was about to address the crowd, his friends eagerly
surrounded him, and hurried him away.

This was the first instance on record, in which these people had laid a
statement of their private wrongs before a public assembly consisting of
deputies from every part of the island, and abided by the decision of the
majority; and it was the only instance of a chief being killed in battle,
and his decease not having been followed up by the plundering and
destruction of his whole family or tribe.

This had been a question of peculiar interest to us Europeans, as several
of their great men had fallen in a skirmish (whether an accidental one or
a decided combat made not the slightest difference). We knew their
barbarous custom; and, consequently, we were preparing for scenes of
deadly revenge and insatiable fury to be acted by both parties, and which
must have involved all settled here in destruction. Our feelings may
therefore be imagined, when we were informed that a parliament had been
convened, and all the parties interested were present by invitation, and
took part in the debate. A central spot was fixed on to accommodate the
various chieftains. The causes of the accident were then explained; they
wept and lamented the fallen chiefs, and finally retired satisfied to
their several homes. Surely everyone who is interested in tracing our own
form of government, from the present time up to its first rude outline,
will perceive the similarity of causes and events, and will anticipate
the glorious prospect of beholding a clever, brave, and, I may add, noble
race of men, like the New Zealanders, rescued from barbarism. This
pacific and rational discussion among the chiefs seems, in reality, to
give promise of the germ of a regular reform. Should a few more such
meetings take place, and terminate in the same amicable manner (and I
think it very probable), some clever individual may rise up amongst them,
take the reins in his own hands, and establish something like a regular
form of government.



Feeling that I was not likely now to be called upon to act offensively, I
considered myself at liberty to make numerous excursions round our
fortress, not only to admire this fertile and beautiful country, but to
visit some of my old friends. I was very much astonished and shocked at
seeing several very beautiful young women, whom I left only a few months
back in perfect health and strength, now reduced to mere "living
skeletons," and also to hear of the death of others by consumption. This
disease seems to be the scourge of the young; and when they are once
seized with its symptoms, they are very speedily brought to the grave.
The natives say, "It is Atua, the Great Spirit, coming into them, and
eating up their inside; for the patient can feel those parts gradually go
away, and then they become weaker and weaker till no more is left; after
which the Spirit sends them to the happy island." They never attempt any
means of curing or of alleviating the pains caused by this cruel
complaint; and all those under its influence are tabooed. I procured from
the brig all my remaining stores of tapioca, sago, arrowroot, and sugar,
and distributed them in the best way I could amongst my sick friends.
They were anxious for wine; but that portion of my sea-stock, as well as
spirits, had been long since expended.

It seems unaccountable that the natives of an atmosphere so dry as this
is--a country in which there are no marshy bogs, and where, though there
is an abundance of water, it is generally seen in clear and sparkling
rills rushing down from the mountains into the rivers--should be subject
to so fatal a disease as galloping consumption. The only cause to which I
can attribute such an affliction is, their indifference to lying out all
night exposed to every change of weather--to cold and rain--which, in
young and tender constitutions, must produce the most pernicious
consequences. If some few are rendered hardy and robust by this process,
many, no doubt, are killed by it. I endeavoured to impress on the minds
of all my female friends the great danger of thus exposing themselves to
cold; but they only laughed at my precautions, and said, "If Atua wished
it, so it must be; they could not strive with the Great Spirit."

I have heard so much said about the great impropriety of the white
settlers admitting the native females into their society, so much of the
scandalous conduct of captains of ships suffering their men to have
sweethearts during their stay in port, and so much urged in justification
of the indignation shown by the missionaries when this subject is touched
on by them, that I feel it necessary to state one decided benefit which
has resulted from that intercourse, and which, in my opinion, far more
than counterbalances the evil against which there has been raised so loud
an outcry.

Before our intercourse took place with the New Zealanders, a universal
and unnatural custom existed amongst them, which was that of destroying
most of their female children in infancy, their excuse being that they
were quite as much trouble to rear, and consumed just as much food, as a
male child, and yet, when grown up, they were not fit to go to war as
their boys were. The strength and pride of a chief then consisted in the
number of his sons; while the few females who had been suffered to live
were invariably looked down upon by all with the utmost contempt. They
led a life of misery and degradation. The difference now is most
remarkable. The natives, seeing with what admiration strangers beheld
their fine young women, and what handsome presents were made to them, by
which their families were benefited, feeling also that their influence
was so powerful over the white men, have been latterly as anxious to
cherish and protect their infant girls as they were formerly cruelly bent
on destroying them. Therefore, if one sin has been, to a certain degree,
encouraged, a much greater one has been annihilated. Infanticide, the
former curse of this country, and the cause of its scanty population, a
crime every way calculated to make men bloody-minded and ferocious, and
to stifle every benevolent and tender feeling, has totally disappeared
wherever an intercourse has taken place between the natives and the crews
of European vessels.

The New Zealand method of "courtship and matrimony" is a most
extraordinary one; so much so, that an observer could never imagine any
affection existed between the parties. A man sees a woman whom he fancies
he should like for a wife; he asks the consent of her father, or, if an
orphan, of her nearest relation, which, if he obtains, he carries his
"intended" off by force, she resisting with all her strength; and, as the
New Zealand girls are generally pretty robust, sometimes a dreadful
struggle takes place; both are soon stripped to the skin, and it is
sometimes the work of hours to remove the fair prize a hundred yards. If
she breaks away, she instantly flies from her antagonist, and he has his
labour to commence again. We may suppose that if the lady feels any wish
to be united to her would-be spouse, she will not make too violent an
opposition; but it sometimes happens that she secures her retreat into
her father's house, and the lover loses all chance of ever obtaining her;
whereas, if he can manage to carry her in triumph into his own, she
immediately, becomes his wife. The women have a decided aversion to
marriage, which can scarcely be wondered at, when we consider how they
are circumstanced. While they remain single, they enjoy all the
privileges of the other sex; they may rove where they please, and bestow
their favours on whom they choose, and are entirely beyond control or
restraint; but when married their freedom is at an end; they become mere
slaves, and sink gradually into domestic drudges to those who have the
power of life and death over them; and whether their conduct be criminal
or exemplary, they are equally likely to receive a blow, in a moment of
passion, of sufficient force to end life and slavery together! There are
many exceptions to this frightful picture; and I saw several old couples,
who had been united in youth, who had always lived in happiness together,
and whose kind and friendly manner towards each other set an example well
worthy of imitation in many English families.



April 2nd.--This day, perceiving that an unusual number of canoes were
passing up the river, all proceeding towards the village of Par-Finneigh,
we hailed one; and, upon its coming alongside, we inquired what had
occurred, for every appearance of bustle or commotion amongst this
restless and war-like people is truly alarming. They informed us that the
great chief A-Rowa, who died four months since, and the ceremony of whose
"lying in state" I had been permitted by his eldest son to be a witness
of, was this day to be exposed to the view of his friends; was to be
cried over; and was finally to be deposited in the tomb of his ancestors.
As this was one of their imposing spectacles which I had never yet seen,
I was anxious to witness it. We soon got a boat ready, and a party of us
joined the throng, and proceeded with them to the village. Upon our
arrival thither, we found an immense concourse of people assembled; for
here, as in most uncivilised or early states of society, the disposition
and good qualities of the deceased are made known by the number of
friends and followers who meet at his funeral. As these New Zealanders
were all fully equipped in arms, they had more the appearance of a
hostile meeting in an enemy's camp, than of a group of mourners about to
be occupied in the melancholy duty of depositing out of sight for ever
the last remains of a beloved chief.

Mooetara, the son and successor of the deceased, came to meet us on the
beach, and seemed much gratified by our attention, our appearance on this
solemn occasion giving him importance in the eyes of all the natives then
assembled. He gave orders for our being conducted with much ceremony to
the place of mourning, where, amidst a number of uncouth pieces of
carving (which, we were informed were all tombs reared in honour of the
memory of several former chiefs, and all tabooed), was erected a small
hut, covered in at the top with thatch, but open at the sides. In the
centre of this hut the bones of the deceased chief were exposed to view.
After having undergone the process of decomposition during four months'
exposure to heat, wind, and rain, they had been collected, cleaned, and
decorated with a quantity of fresh white feathers, which rendered the
appearance of the skull still more frightful.

The women here invariably perform the parts of chief mourners; a group of
them, with the widow of the deceased at their head, kept up a most
mournful cadence, and at every pause in their dismal song slashed their
skins with a piece of shell, till their faces, necks, and arms were
literally streaming down with blood. This mourning and cutting is
completely a matter of business, and is sometimes carried on without
their feeling any real sorrow or sympathy. Parties kept arriving, and
when there was not room for them to thrust themselves round the hut, they
sat down in groups, perfectly unconcerned, employing themselves in
cleaning their firelocks, or playing off upon each other some practical
joke; but the moment a vacant space was presented near the hut, they
deliberately stripped themselves, put on a most sorrowful countenance,
and, seating themselves as near to the ornamented bones as possible, they
immediately began their howling and slashing; no one seemed to like the
idea of being outdone by his neighbour; but when the time allotted to
this ceremony had expired, all instantly jumped up, wiped themselves, put
on their mats, and joined the busy throng. There was, indeed, one real
mourner, who never moved from the bones, nor once lifted up her eyes from
them; she neither howled nor cut herself, and yet she inspired me with
pity and commiseration for her forlorn state. This woman had been the
only wife of the late chief; and I was informed they had lived many years
together, and had a large family; she looked as if she herself was on the
very brink of the grave. The contemplation of the mouldering remains of
her partner through life must have been, even to her savage mind, most

After witnessing several parties perform their funeral ceremonies, and
imbibing, in some degree, the melancholy tone of mind such a sight must
necessarily create, we arose and joined Mooetara. Here I witnessed a
scene that reminded me of an English country fair. An immense number of
temporary huts had been erected for the accommodation of the chiefs and
their families, where they might repose after their exertions, while
their slaves cooked their provisions, of which an abundant quantity had
been provided, consisting of piles of kumara and Indian corn, with heaps
of fish, which were served out, to all who came for them, with a most
liberal hand, and which, of course, added not a little to the pleasure of
the day. After all had satisfied their hunger (and even the lowest slaves
were permitted, on this occasion, to have as much as they wished for)
they jumped up, flew to their muskets, and commenced their war dance with
great noise and vigour. The violence of their exertions caused their
recent wounds to bleed afresh, and added much to the horror of their
hideous grimaces. They then divided into two parties, and had a sham
battle. I must here do justice to the temperate habits of my savage
friends. During my residence in New Zealand, I have known but very few
who were addicted to drinking, and I scarcely ever saw one of them in a
state of intoxication; and, on this occasion, where a profusion of what
they esteem delicacies was provided gratuitously, they partook so
moderately of the tempting fare as not to be prevented using the most
violent exertions immediately after their meal. The entertainment being
now over, the different parties gathered up what remained of the portions
of food distributed to them, and without taking any leave of their
entertainer, or returning any thanks for his bountiful providing, they
all entered their canoes and paddled away.



An unfortunate prejudice has gone forth into the world against the
natives of New Zealand, which I have always endeavoured to counteract
from a sense of justice, and, from a careful review of those
circumstances which have fallen immediately under my own observation;
this prejudice has long retarded our knowledge of their true character,
but error must gradually give way to truth; and as the circumstances
which first brought the stigma upon their name come to light, and are
investigated and properly explained, I feel confident the conduct of
these islanders will be found superior to that of any other nation in the
South Seas. If we take the whole catalogue of dreadful massacres they
have been charged with, and (setting aside partiality for our own
countrymen) allow them to be carefully examined, it will be found that we
have invariably been the aggressors; and when we have given serious cause
of offence, can we be so irrational as to express astonishment that a
savage should seek revenge? The last massacre was that of "The Boyd's"
crew; every impartial person who reads the account of that melancholy
transaction must acknowledge the unfortunate captain was most to blame.
But that event took place nineteen years back; since which time they know
us better, and respect us more; in proof of which, four years since, The
Mercury brig was taken possession of by a crowd of natives, after they
had endured a series of offences and every kind of ill-treatment; but the
difference in their fate, compared with that of The Boyd's ship's
company, was remarkable, and proved that the savage temper of the natives
was much softened down and humanised, as they merely plundered the
vessel, but made no attempt to murder or molest any of the crew, who, if
they had possessed sufficient courage, would not have sacrificed their
vessel; but, being terrified, they abandoned her, and she was finally
wrecked. During my residence, I never heard of one of the men having been
murdered; and I feel fully convinced no massacres will ever again be
committed in any of the ports in New Zealand where European vessels have
been accustomed to anchor.

I once saw, with indignation, a chief absolutely knocked overboard from a
whaler's deck by the mate. Twenty years ago so gross an insult would have
cost the lives of every individual on board the vessel, but, at the time
this occurred, it was only made the subject of complaint, and finally
became a cause of just remonstrance with the commander of the whaler. The
natives themselves (and I have heard the opinions of various tribes) have
invariably told me that these things occurred from our want of knowledge
of their laws and customs, which compelled them to seek revenge. "It
was," they said, "no act of treachery on our part; we did not invite you
to our shores for the purpose of plunder and murder: but you came, and
ill-used us; you broke into our tabooed grounds. And did not Atua give
those bad white men into the hands of our fathers?"

I am confident that a body of Europeans may now reside in perfect
security in any part of these islands. The late plundering of the
missionaries at Whangaroa was a peculiar circumstance, which might have
happened even in civilised Europe, had the seat of war approached so near
their place of residence. If their houses and chapel had been on the
plains of Waterloo during the June of 1815 they would not have
experienced a better fate.

This recent tumult has brought a circumstance into notice highly
interesting to all who may hereafter wish to settle here. It has hitherto
been their custom, when an accident occurs, such as the sudden death of a
chief, to make a general plunder of everything belonging to the family of
the deceased, and all under their protection. A knowledge of this
horrible custom has deterred many from settling in New Zealand; and even
those who have resolved to run so great a risk have lived in a continued
state of alarm, lest the death of their protecting chief should leave
them at the mercy of a savage enemy.

The deaths of Hongi and Shulitea placed the missionaries and all the
settlers on Kororarika Beach in considerable jeopardy: but it appeared as
if reason had begun to dawn on the minds of these benighted savages, for
this unjust and cruel custom was now for the first time discontinued. I
was on the beach at the time when an immense party, well armed, came for
the express purpose of satiating their revengeful feelings. I had taken
the precaution of removing what I possessed on board a whaler then lying
in the harbour. The chiefs first sat down to discuss the matter over
amongst themselves, and their deliberations ended in their being
satisfied with destroying the village of Matowe, the one adjoining ours,
and which had been the residence of Pomare's son, whose death was the
cause of all the late turbulent events.

The great and leading defect in this country, and the principal cause of
their frequent wars and disturbances, which harass and depopulate the
tribes, and puts a stop to all improvement, is the want of some regular
system of government. There are only two classes of people--chiefs and
slaves; and, as consanguinity constitutes a high claim, the eldest son of
a large family, who can bring the greatest number of warriors of his own
name into the field, is considered the chief of that district or tribe;
and as he, by reason of his followers, can take possession of the
greatest number of prisoners or slaves, he becomes the ruling man. Every
other man of his tribe considers himself on an equality with him in
everything, except that he shows him obedience, and follows him to

Each is independent in his own family, and holds uncontrolled power of
life and death over every individual it contains. They seem not to
exercise any coercion over the younger branches of a family, who are
allowed unbounded liberty till the girls have sweethearts and the boys
are strong enough to go to war. They are kind and hospitable to
strangers, and are excessively fond of their children. On a journey, it
is more usual to see the father carrying his infant than the mother; and
all the little offices of a nurse are performed by him with the tenderest
care and good humour. In many instances (wherein they differ from most
savage tribes) I have seen the wife treated as an equal and companion. In
fact, when not engaged in war, the New Zealander is quite a domestic,
cheerful, harmless character; but once rouse his anger, or turn him into
ridicule, and his disposition is instantly changed. A being, whose
passions have never been curbed from infancy, and whose only notion of
what he conceives to be his right is to retaliate for an offence with
blood, must naturally form a cruel and vindictive character. Such these
islanders seemed to us on our first visiting them. The sight of beings so
extraordinary (for thus we Europeans must have appeared to them) excited
in their savage minds the greatest wonder; and they thought we were sent
as a scourge and an enemy; and though Cook, one of their earliest
visitors, adopted every method his ingenuity could devise to conciliate
them, yet, as they never could thoroughly understand his intentions, they
were always on the alert to attack him. Hence arose the horror and
disgust expressed formerly at the mere mention of the name of "a New

I have often tried, in vain, to account for there being such a decided
dissimilarity between the natives of New Holland and New Zealand. So
trifling is the difference in their situation on the globe, and so
_similar their climates_--both having remained so long unknown to the
great continents, and so devoid of intercourse with the rest of the
world--that one would be led to imagine a great resemblance must be the
result. But the natives of the former seem of the lowest grade--the last
link in the great chain of existence which unites man with the monkey.
Their limbs are long, thin, and flat, with large bony knees and elbows, a
projecting forehead, and pot-belly. The mind, too, seems adapted to this
mean configuration; they have neither energy, enterprise, nor industry;
and their curiosity can scarcely be excited. A few exceptions may be met
with; but these are their general characteristics. While the natives of
the latter island are "cast in beauty's perfect mould;" the children are
so fine and powerfully made, that each might serve as a model for a
statue of "the Infant Hercules;" nothing can exceed the graceful and
athletic forms of the men, or the rounded limbs of their young women.
These possess eyes beautiful and eloquent, and a profusion of long,
silky, curling hair; while the intellects of both sexes seem of a
superior order; all appear eager for improvement, full of energy, and
indefatigably industrious, and possessing amongst themselves several arts
which are totally unknown to their neighbours.



On April the 14th, our brig being stored with planks, flax, and potatoes,
and ready for sea, I went on board of her. We had fine weather till we
dropped down to the entrance of the river, where we intended taking in
our stock of water for the voyage, when the scene suddenly changed, and a
severe gale came on, right out to sea, which we could not avail ourselves
of; neither could we get the water off, as our rafts of casks got adrift
in the attempt to get them on board. To add to our disasters, one of our
cables parted, and we had to ride out the gale (of two days' continuance)
with one only, the sea rolling heavily right open before us, and we in
momentary expectation of the remaining cable's going; we had not a single
day's allowance of water on board, and at one period all hands (except
the carpenter and passengers) were out of the brig, on shore, filling the
casks. Fortunately for us, the cable proved a tough one; had it parted,
we should have been in a most perilous situation.

April 20th.--For the last week we were stationary at the river's mouth,
waiting for a fair wind to carry us over the bar; and during that time
there was no appearance of any change; we also heard that vessels had
been detained here for six weeks before they could accomplish it. We
were visited daily by parties of natives, who seemed to rejoice at our
being delayed, as it gave them more of our company than they had
calculated upon. They were more delighted with our society than we were
with theirs; in a small vessel they are a serious nuisance, on account of
the swarms of vermin they bring with them, and which they communicate
liberally to all. Myself and all the passengers on board had our leisure
time fully occupied in dislodging these "little familiars" from their
strongholds in different parts of our apparel.

During the time we were lying here, I saw and conversed with several
individuals who had attended the "Great Meeting," and their accounts gave
rise to various opinions respecting the policy of supplying the natives
with firearms. As I had always been an advocate for the measure, I was
gratified by hearing that it was thought to be in consequence of each
party's being possessed of a nearly equal quantity of muskets, that a
general and exterminating war was avoided. Some may suppose that similar
tranquility would have been preserved, had they been equally well
supplied with their native weapons of war; but that would not have been
the case. When they found that each party could furnish forth the same
number of European muskets, they paused, well knowing that it was
contrary to the wish of all the white settlers that they should proceed
to hostilities. Indeed, Europeans intrepidly mingled amongst them, urging
them to a reconciliation, and threatening that, if they failed in their
endeavours, the supplies of arms and ammunition should be discontinued.
This threat had its desired effect on the minds of the natives; no blood
was spilt, and each chief returned quietly to his own home.

On the night we heard of the death of George and his wife, "Revenge and
war" was the universal cry. His party would not believe that it could be
an accident, nor would they hear of any apology being received. At this
time they imagined the tribes of Hokianga were possessed of but very few
firearms; and, as the skirmish took place in that district, it was
determined that an exterminating war should be carried into the heart of
it. However, before all the preparations could be made to carry their
intentions into effect, they received certain information that the people
of Hokianga were even better supplied with muskets than those of the Bay
of Islands. This intelligence occasioned an assemblage of the different
tribes to be proposed, and when it took place the friends of George saw
their opponents so well prepared for the "tug of war" that they deemed it
judicious to come forward and to shake hands and to acknowledge that the
death of Shulitea proceeded either from accident or mistake. A curious
circumstance took place in the midst of their debate. An old chief, who
wished for a fight, and did not approve of the introduction of firearms,
but was an advocate for the old method of New Zealand warfare, proposed
that each party should send away _all_ their muskets and ammunition, and
engage manfully with their own native weapons, and then it could be
easily proved which were the "best men;" but this mode of settling the
dispute, not being agreeable to the majority, was instantly negatived,
and treated with disdain.

The colony of Scotch carpenters, who had formed a settlement at the head
of the river, and of whom I made "honourable mention" on my first
journey, finding themselves so close to what they feared might become
the seat of war, and having no means whatever of defending themselves,
made an arrangement with Mooetara, the chief of Parkunugh (which is
situated at the entrance of the same river), and placed themselves under
his protection. They accordingly moved down here, which gave great
satisfaction to that chief. Neither could their former protector,
Patuone, feel offended at their removal, from the peculiar nature of the
circumstances they were placed in. These hardy North Britons were
delighted to find a reasonable excuse for moving, their former
establishment being situated too far from the sea for them to reap any
advantage from ships coming into port. Nothing can be more gratifying
than to behold the great anxiety of the natives to induce Englishmen to
settle amongst them; it ensures their safety; and no one act of treachery
is on record of their having practised towards those whom they had
invited to reside with them.

Mooetara is a man of great property and high rank, and is considered a
very proud chief by the natives; yet he is to be seen every day working
as hard as any slave in assisting in the erection of houses for the
accommodation of his new settlers. He has actually removed from his old
village of Parkunugh (a strong and beautiful place), and is erecting huts
for his tribe near the spot chosen by his new friends; so that, in a very
short time, a barren point of land, hitherto without a vestige of a human
habitation, will become a thriving and populous village, for it is
incredible how quickly the orders of these chiefs are carried into
effect. I was frequently a witness to the short space of time they took
to erect their houses; and, though small, they are tight, weather-proof,
and warm: their storehouses are put together in the most substantial and
workmanlike manner.

It is very difficult to make the New Zealanders explain the nature of
their religious belief. One superstition seems general with all the
tribes respecting the formation of the world, or, rather, of their own
island, for that is the place of the first importance in their
estimation. They say a man, or a god, or some great spirit, was fishing
in his war-canoe, and pulled up a large fish, which instantly turned into
an island; and a lizard came upon that, and brought up a man out of the
water by his long hair; and he was the father of all the New Zealanders.
Almost all their grotesque carvings are illustrations of this idea in
some way or other. The favourite theme on which (I observed) the
missionaries discoursed to them were "the torments of hell." This has
become a subject of ridicule to most of the natives; they do not deny
that there may be such a place, but they add, it is not for them, for if
Atua had intended it so he would have sent them word about it long before
he sent the white men into their country; and they conclude by stating
that they know perfectly well the situation of the island where they are
to go to after this life.



While remaining here wind-bound, in imaginary security, and amusing
ourselves with noticing the curious customs and peculiarities of these
islanders, a dreadful tragedy was taking place only a few miles' distance
from us, and to which I before alluded, when I mentioned crossing the bar
on our first arrival from Port Jackson. The Enterprise schooner, a very
fine vessel, which was built at the settlement on this river, had been
sent to Sydney, and while we were lying there we were in hourly
expectation of her return. She did return. The unfavourable weather which
detained us so long proved fatal to her, and she was wrecked a few miles
to the northward of the river's mouth, and every soul on board perished.

The moment this catastrophe was known every European hastened to the
spot, and, with feelings of horror, perceived but too plainly, from the
appearance of the wreck and the boat, and by finding also the clothes of
the crew, that they had reached the shore in safety, and had afterwards
all been murdered; but how, or by whom, it was impossible to discover.
The most probable conclusion was that the tribes situated around the
European dockyard at Hokianga, having meditated for some time past a
great war-like expedition, waited the return of this schooner from Sydney
to possess themselves of an additional supply of arms and ammunition,
which might enable them to take the field with a certainty of conquest.
They had regularly purchased the cargo of this vessel by their labour
and their merchandise, and the schooner was merely employed to convey it
thither from Sydney, for the use of the natives; unhappily for the poor
creatures on board, in running for the mouth of the river, she fell to
leeward, and got stranded on the beach, in the very territory of that
tribe against whom these preparations were made--the tribe intended to be
invaded. Though no formal declaration of war had taken place, the tribes
well knew the preparations that were making against them, and the nature
of the cargo contained in The Enterprise; falling into the hands of such
fierce and vindictive savages, the fate of the crew may be imagined--all
our poor fellows were sacrificed to gratify their feelings of revenge.

Mooetara (the friendly chief of Hokianga) no sooner heard of the fate of
the vessel and her crew than he hastened with his party to the spot; it
was owing to the investigation which then took place that the conclusion
was arrived at that all had been murdered. What remained for Mooetara to
do (according to their savage notion of what was right) was to take ample
revenge on all the hostile tribes that might fall in his way, whether our
poor countrymen met their deaths through accident or treachery. Mooetara
instantly commenced the work of destruction; and, having made his
vengeance complete, he returned laden with spoil. The promptness with
which he acted on this melancholy occasion greatly increased the feelings
of security possessed by those Englishmen settled on the banks of the
river, as it proved to them that he was both able and willing to protect
them, and though the dead could not be restored, yet he had inflicted an
awful punishment on their murderers.



On the 21st a fair wind and smooth sea favoured our departure. Early in
the morning the natives who were on board assured us everything would
facilitate our passing over the bar with safety, and they prepared to
leave the ship. When the moment of separation came, it caused a great
deal of emotion on both sides. I must confess I felt much affected when I
came to rub noses, shake hands, and say "Farewell" to these kind-hearted
people. I saw them go over the ship's side, and reflected that I should
never behold them more. There is always something repugnant to our
feelings in the idea of separating from any being for ever; and as, in
this instance, I felt assured that this was our last time of meeting, it
cast a gloom over the pleasure the fair wind and smooth sea would
otherwise have afforded me. As we fell down towards the river's mouth,
and, indeed, as long as their canoes were to be seen, they kept waving
their hands towards us.

Thus terminated my visit to the islands of New Zealand. I had arrived
with feelings of fear and disgust, and was merely induced to take up a
temporary residence amongst the natives, in hopes of finding something
new for my pencil in their peculiar and picturesque style of life. I left
them with opinions, in many respects, very favourable towards them. It
is true, they are cunning and over-reaching in trade, and filthy in their
persons. In regard to the former, we Europeans, I fear, set them a bad
example; of the latter, they will gradually amend. Our short visit to
Kororarika greatly improved them in that particular. All took great pains
to come as clean as possible when they attended our "evening
tea-parties." In my opinion, their sprightly, free, and independent
deportment, together with their kindness and attention to strangers,
compensates for many defects.

On looking round upon their country, an Englishman cannot fail to feel
gratified when he beholds the good already resulting to these poor
savages from their intercourse with his countrymen; and they themselves
are fully sensible of, and truly grateful for, every mark of kindness
manifested towards them. They have stores full of the finest Indian corn,
which they consider a great luxury, a food which requires little trouble
in preparing, keeps well, and is very nutritious. It is but a few years
since this useful grain was introduced amongst them; and I sincerely hope
this introduction may be followed up, not only by our sending out to them
seeds of vegetables and fruits, but by our forwarding to them every
variety of quadruped which can be used for food. Abundance of the finest
water-melons are daily brought alongside vessels entering their ports;
these, in point of flavour, are superior to any I ever met with. I have
no doubt every variety of European produce essential to the support of
life would thrive equally well; and as food became abundant, and luxuries
were introduced, their disgusting feasts on human flesh would soon be
discontinued altogether.

We were soon at sea, and speedily felt considerable apprehensions as to
the safe termination of our voyage. Our vessel (the brig Governor
Macquarie) we well knew was a leaky one, though her leaks did not
distress us on the outward voyage, she being then only in ballast trim;
but now that she was loaded to the water's edge, and the winter coming
on, we became greatly alarmed for her. Another disagreeable circumstance
was having no bread or flour on board. To obviate the first evil, and to
save the sailors a great deal of hard labour, our Captain offered to give
a passage to Sydney to several natives, who accepted his offer, they
being always anxious to see the colony; we likewise had on board the
great Chief from the Thames, who had caused us so much trouble at
Kororarika. These men, being fine, strong, active young fellows, were
indefatigable in their exertions at the pumps; and though we had to
contend with much heavy weather, and contrary winds, they kept our vessel
pretty dry. The want of bread was not so easily remedied; though our
Captain treated it lightly, saying he was sure of getting a supply by
making a requisition to the missionaries. He accordingly waited upon
them, and acquainted them with our distressed condition; they had plenty
(for only a few weeks previously they had received a large supply), and
as we knew their agent at Sydney, Mr. Campbell, we had no doubt of
procuring a sufficiency from them to carry us home; but in this we were
disappointed. Captain Kent did not ask them for a supply as a gift, but
solicited merely the _loan_ of a cask or two till we arrived at Sydney,
when he guaranteed that the owners of the brig should return the same
quantity into the missionary storehouse there. The little monosyllable
_No_ was again put in requisition, with this qualification--"that they
did not like the Botany Bay skippers." Through their "dislike," the
passengers and seamen of the brig might have gone unprovided to sea, had
not a "worldly-minded" whaler (fortunately for us) at that critical
moment come into port, who, the instant he heard of the ill-success of
our entreaty, vented his indignation in pretty coarse language, and said,
"if it detained his vessel a week, he would supply us;" and he kept his
word; he gave us a bountiful supply, which rendered us comfortable during
the whole way home.

It was most interesting to observe our savages when we got well out to
sea. They soon appeared to become accustomed to their novel situation,
and seemed to feel quite at home and at their ease "on board ship." Their
exertions at the pumps were indefatigable. I felt convinced they thought
that during all voyages the same labour was gone through to keep the
vessel afloat; and as it only required strength and exertion, they
cheerfully took that department entirely to themselves, especially as
they soon perceived how useless they were when they attempted to perform
any other duty on board of the brig, as their knowledge of voyaging
extended no further than the distance they go in their own canoes, which,
though very beautiful, are sad leaky things at sea; and as, during the
time they are out, the greater part of the crew are baling the water out
of them, they thought the leaky state of our vessel was no uncommon
occurrence. But however cheerfully they worked during the day, nothing
could induce them to "turn out" at night; they always stowed themselves
away, but in what part of the vessel I never could conjecture. They have
a dread of some unknown evil spirit, which they imagine has power over
them at night; and this supposition makes them terrible cowards in the

The second day after we were at sea, I saw a group of savages lying round
the binnacle, all intently occupied in observing the phenomenon of the
magnetic attraction; they seemed at once to comprehend the purpose to
which it was applied, and I listened with eager curiosity to their
remarks upon it.

"This," said they, "is the white man's God, who directs them safely to
different countries, and then can guide them home again." Out of
compliment to us, and respect for its wonderful powers, they seemed much
inclined to worship this silent little monitor.

During our voyage to Port Jackson we experienced a succession of
southerly gales, which Captain Kent informed me were very prevalent at
this season of the year. Notwithstanding all our exertions to prevent it,
we were carried considerably to leeward of the port. We made Lord Howe's
Islands, whose high and bold features rise, as it were, out of the ocean;
as we passed close to them, we perceived they were well wooded and
watered; and one of the men, who had been on shore there, informed me that
there was a tolerably good harbour for small craft. A few miles to the
southward of these islands is Ball's Pyramid, a most singular and
sublime-looking rock, rising perpendicularly out of the sea to a height
of a thousand feet; the base of it is enveloped in perpetual surf,
dashing and climbing up its craggy sides. Its appearance, as we saw it,
relieved by the setting sun, and the coming on of a stormy night, was
awful in the extreme!

Nothing could exceed the delight manifested by our New Zealanders as we
sailed up Port Jackson harbour; but, above all, the windmills most
astonished them. After dancing and screaming with joy at beholding them,
they came running and asking me "if they were not gods." I found they
were inclined to attach that sacred appellation to most things they could
not understand; they did so when they first became possessed of their
muskets, and actually worshipped them, until they discovered how soon
they got out of repair, and then, notwithstanding all the prayers they
could bestow upon them, they would not mend again of their own accord.

Our Chief from the Thames, who had a great idea of his own dignity,
commenced adorning his person, as he felt convinced the Governor would
instantly grant him an audience when he came on shore. All our lamps were
emptied to add a more beautiful gloss to his hair and complexion; his
whole stock of feathers and bones were arranged to the greatest
advantage. He at length became quite enraged when he found that he was
allowed to sit two days on our deck, amongst all manner of dirty porters
and sailors, without either being visited or sent for; and he was loud in
his reproaches to us for having deceived him. We certainly were to blame
in having induced him to believe we had any influence with the Governor,
for however politic we (who had lived in New Zealand) might think it, to
pay some attentions to these simple savages, his Excellency,
unfortunately, thought otherwise; and though the Chief, attended by his
followers, used to sit in the verandah at Government House from morning
till night, the Governor never once deigned to speak to them, and they
were, in consequence, constantly coming to me with complaints. At length
they told me that unless they obtained an audience from our Chief they
should consider it so great an insult that they would revenge it upon all
the Europeans they could get into their power; and I, well knowing that
several families were settled in that part of the country wherein this
man was Chief, thought it my duty to let the Governor know, that, however
he might dislike their manners and appearance, it might lead to some
serious calamity, if he continued to refuse to give them an audience.

I accordingly waited upon the Brigade Major, and explained to him how
unwise it was to treat these men with such undisguised contempt. The
result was, the Governor saw the affair in the same point of view as
myself, and condescended to meet them and converse with them for about
five minutes; and with that they were satisfied. Other heads of
departments (civil and military) behaved differently, and evidently felt
a pleasure in having them with them. The Commander of the troops suffered
them to sit at the same table with himself and officers, and had the
war-dance performed in the mess-room, which I thought would have brought
the house down upon our heads. He likewise permitted them to fall into
the ranks with the soldiers, which pleased them beyond everything,
inasmuch as they considered it a higher honour in being permitted to
stand by our warriors on the martial parade than to take food with our
Chiefs at their own table!

The Attorney-General of the colony took a particular interest in these
savages, and gave a large party, to which they were invited. Several of
the visitors on this occasion came out of curiosity to see how these
cannibals would conduct themselves, expecting, no doubt, to witness a
display of disgusting gluttony; but in that they were disappointed, for
never did any set of men behave with greater decorum than they did.

On being apprised of this invitation, they were all most anxious to
obtain European dresses, and when we refused to lend them ours, they
requested of our servants the loan of a suit. This being denied them
also, with the little money they had they attempted to bargain for whole
suits of _convict_ dresses, in order to make their _debut_ in style at
the table of the Attorney-General! When I discovered this to be the case,
I explained to them the impropriety of their conduct, and roused their
pride by pointing out to them the absurdity of men of their high rank in
their own country wishing to appear in the cast-off dress of degraded
slaves, and how much more suitable it was to the dignity of their
character to appear in their own national costume. Accordingly, on the
appointed day, they met the company superbly attired in mats and
feathers; they made a splendid show at the dinner-table, and afforded
great amusement to the evening visitors. At an early hour they got very
sleepy, but were too polite to hint how much they felt oppressed by
drowsiness. I saw their eyes grow heavy, and perceived that it was
difficult for them to sit upright on their chairs. I mentioned these
symptoms to their kind host, who immediately consented to their retiring.
They accordingly withdrew into a corner of one of the adjoining rooms,
where, lying down huddled together, and covering themselves with their
mats, they were soon asleep, and gave no interruption to anyone during
the remainder of the evening.

The greatest treat it was in our power to bestow on them was to take them
to a review of the troops then stationed at Sydney. The splendour of
their regimentals, the regularity of their movements, and the precision
of their firing, made them nearly mad with delight; they ran about the
plain literally wild with joy, occasionally stopping to gaze with wonder
on men performing what they deemed such prodigies. In their ecstasies
they occasionally vociferated their own furious war-whoop. Their
extravagant expressions of delight, and their many extraordinary
gestures, caused great amusement both to the military and to the
spectators assembled on the ground; and when the review was over my
savage friends were quite exhausted with fatigue and excitement.

After two months' residence at Sydney we had an opportunity of procuring
a passage for them to their own country; and they departed, expressing
the greatest gratitude for our attentions towards them. They were loaded
with presents of all descriptions; for, finding they generally got what
they begged for, while here, they importuned everyone they met, and they
used daily to return home burthened with the most miscellaneous and
extraordinary jumble of commodities it was possible to conceive; for, as
everything they then beheld was new to them, and might be (they thought)
of some service to them in their own country, each trifle was of great
value in their estimation, and was carefully stowed away. They always
expressed their concern that so few muskets were given to them, and that
they were presented with ammunition in such small quantities. War-like
stores were their grand desideratum; and though they would accept of any
thing you chose to give them, yet they always had hopes they should
finally receive their favourite presents of a stocking of powder, a piece
of lead, or a musket.





[_The following is the account given by Captain Furneaux of the massacre
of his boat's crew, referred to in Earle's narrative on page 24._]

       *       *       *       *       *

The Resolution, under command of Captain Cook, and the Adventure,
commanded by Captain Furneaux, sailed from Plymouth on the 13th April,
1772, to continue the exploration of New Zealand begun during Captain
Cook's first voyage. The vessels became finally separated in a gale off
Cape Palliser in October, 1773, and the two navigators did not meet again
until after Cook's return to England in July, 1775.

Captain Furneaux reported that while his ship was refitting in Queen
Charlotte Sound the astronomer's tent was robbed by a party of natives.
One who was seen escaping was fired upon and wounded, when he and his
confederates made for the woods, leaving their canoe with most of the
stolen goods on the shore. "This petty larceny," Captain Furneaux
remarks, "probably laid the foundation of that dreadful catastrophe which
soon after happened," and which he thus describes:

"On Friday, the 17th, we sent out our large cutter, manned with seven
seamen, under the command of Mr. John Rowe, the first mate, accompanied
by Mr. Woodhouse, midshipman, and James Tobias Swilley, the carpenter's
servant. They were to proceed up the Sound to Grass Cove to gather greens
and celery for the ship's company, with orders to return that evening;
for the tents had been struck at two in the afternoon, and the ship made
ready for sailing the next day. Night coming on, and no cutter appearing,
the captain and others began to express great uneasiness. They sat up all
night in expectation of their arrival, but to no purpose. At daybreak,
therefore, the captain ordered the launch to be hoisted out. She was
double manned, and under the command of our second lieutenant, Mr.
Burney, accompanied by Mr. Freeman, master, the corporal of marines, with
five private men, all well armed, and having plenty of ammunition and
three days' provision. They were ordered first to look into East Bay,
then to proceed to Grass Cove, and if nothing was to be seen or heard of
the cutter there, they were to go farther up the cove, and return by the
west shore. Mr. Rowe having left the ship an hour before the time
proposed for his departure, we thought his curiosity might have carried
him into East Bay, none of our people having ever been there, or that
some accident might have happened to the boat, for not the least
suspicion was entertained of the natives. Mr. Burney returned about
eleven o'clock the same night, and gave us a pointed description of a
most horrible scene, described in the following relation:--

"'On Saturday, the 18th, we left the ship about nine o'clock in the
morning. We soon got round Long Island and Long Point. We continued
sailing and rowing for East Bay, keeping close in shore, and examining
with our glasses every cove on the larboard side, till near two o'clock
in the afternoon, at which time we stopped at a beach on our left going
up East Bay, to dress our dinner.

"'About five o'clock in the afternoon, and within an hour after we had
left this place, we opened a small bay adjoining to Grass Cove, and here
we saw a large double canoe just hauled upon the beach, with two men and
a dog. The two men, on seeing us approach, instantly fled, which made us
suspect it was here we should have some tidings of the cutter. On landing
and examining the canoe, the first thing we saw therein was one of our
cutter's rowlock ports and some shoes, one of which among the latter was
known to belong to Mr. Woodhouse. A piece of flesh was found by one of
our people, which at first was thought to be some of the salt meat
belonging to the cutter's men, but, upon examination, we supposed to be
dog's flesh. A most horrid and undeniable proof soon cleared up our
doubts, and convinced us we were among no other than cannibals; for,
advancing further on the beach, we saw about twenty baskets tied up, and
a dog eating a piece of broiled flesh, which, upon examination, we
suspected to be human. We cut open the baskets, some of which were full
of roasted flesh, and others of fern root, which serves them for bread.
Searching others, we found more shoes and a hand, which was immediately
known to have belonged to Thos. Hill, one of our forecastle men, it
having been tattooed with the initials of his name. We now proceeded a
little way in the woods, but saw nothing else. Our next design was to
launch the canoe, intending to destroy her; but seeing a great smoke
ascending over the nearest hill, we made all possible haste to be with
them before sunset.

"'At half after six we opened Grass Cove, where we saw one single and
three double canoes, and a great many natives assembled on the beach, who
retreated to a small hill, within a ship's length of the water side,
where they stood talking to us. On the top of the high land, beyond the
woods, was a large fire, from whence, all the way down the hill, the
place was thronged like a fair. When we entered the cove, a musketoon was
fired at one of the canoes, as we imagined they might be full of men
lying down, for they were all afloat, but no one was seen in them. Being
doubtful whether their retreat proceeded from fear or a desire to decoy
us into an ambuscade, we were determined not to be surprised, and
therefore, running close in shore, we dropped the grappling near enough
to reach them with our guns, but at too great a distance to be under any
apprehensions from their treachery. The savages on the little hill kept
their ground, hallooing, and making signs for us to land. At these we now
took aim, resolving to kill as many of them as our bullets would reach,
yet it was some time before we could dislodge them. The first volley did
not seem to affect them much, but on the second they began to scramble
away as fast as they could, some howling and others limping. We continued
to fire as long as we could see the least glimpse of any of them through
the bushes. Among these were two very robust men, who maintained their
ground without moving an inch till they found themselves forsaken by all
their companions, and then, disdaining to run, they marched off with
great composure and deliberation. One of them, however, got a fall, and
either lay there or crawled away on his hands and feet; but the other
escaped without any apparent hurt. Mr. Burney now improved their panic,
and, supported by the marines, leaped on shore and pursued the fugitives.
We had not advanced far from the water-side, on the beach, before we met
with two bunches of celery, which had been gathered by the cutter's crew.
A broken oar was stuck upright in the ground, to which the natives had
tied their canoes, whereby we were convinced this was the spot where the
attack had been made. We now searched all along at the back of the beach,
to see if the cutter was there, but instead of her, the most horrible
scene was presented to our view; for there lay the hearts, heads, and
lungs of several of our people, with hands and limbs in a mangled
condition, some broiled and some raw; but no other parts of their bodies,
which made us suspect that the cannibals had feasted upon and devoured
the rest. At a little distance we saw the dogs gnawing their entrails. We
observed a large body of the natives collected together on a hill about
two miles off, but as night drew on apace, we could not advance to such a
distance; neither did we think it safe to attack them, or even to quit
the shore to take an account of the number killed, our troop being a very
small one, and the savages were both numerous, fierce, and much
irritated. While we remained almost stupefied on the spot, Mr. Fannen
said that he heard the cannibals assembling in the woods, on which we
returned to our boat, and having hauled alongside the canoes, we
demolished three of them. During this transaction the fire on the top of
the hill disappeared, and we could hear the savages in the woods at high
words, quarrelling, perhaps, on account of their different opinions,
whether they should attack us and try to save their canoes. They were
armed with long lances, and weapons not unlike a sergeant's halbert in
shape, made of hard wood, and mounted with bone instead of iron. We
suspected that the dead bodies of our people had been divided among those
different parties of cannibals who had been concerned in the massacre,
and it was not improbable that the group we saw at a distance by the fire
were feasting upon some of them, as those on shore had been where the
remains were found, before they had been disturbed by our unexpected
visit. Be that as it may, we could discover no traces of more than four
of our friends' bodies, nor could we find the place where the cutter was
concealed. It now grew dark, on which account we collected carefully the
remains of our mangled friends, and, putting off, made the best of our
way from this polluted place. When we opened the upper part of the Sound,
we saw a very large fire about three or four miles higher up, which
formed a complete oval, reaching from the top of a hill down almost to
the water-side, the middle space being enclosed all round by the fire,
like a hedge. Mr. Burney and Mr. Fannen having consulted together, they
were both of opinion that we could, by an attempt, reap no other
advantage than the poor satisfaction of killing some more of the savages.
Upon leaving Grass Cove we had fired a volley towards where we heard the
Indians talking, but by going in and out of the boat our pieces had got
wet, and four of them missed fire. What rendered our situation more
critical, it began to rain, and our ammunition was more than half
expended. We, for these reasons, without spending time where nothing
could be hoped for but revenge, proceeded for the ship, and arrived safe
aboard before midnight.'"

It is a little remarkable that Captain Furneaux had been several times up
Grass Cove with Captain Cook, where they saw no inhabitants, and no other
signs of any but a few deserted villages, which appeared as if they had
not been occupied for many years, and yet, in Mr. Burney's opinion, when
he entered the same cove, there could not be less than fifteen hundred or
two thousand people.

On Thursday, the 23rd of December, the Adventure departed from, and made
sail out of, the Sound. She stood to the eastward, to clear the straits,
which was happily effected the same evening; but the ship was baffled for
two or three days with light winds before she could clear the coast. In
this interval of time the chests and effects of the ten men who had been
murdered were sold before the mast, according to an old sea custom.

When Captain Cook was in the Sound on his third voyage, he learned that
the massacre arose over an unpremeditated quarrel. Kahura, who had been
active in the tragedy, told Cook that a Maori having brought a stone
hatchet to barter, the man to whom it was offered took it, and would
neither return it nor give anything for it, and on which the owner
snatched some bread from the party of Europeans, who were at dinner on
the beach, as an equivalent, and then the quarrel began. Kahura himself
had a narrow escape of being shot, while another was shot beside him; and
the Europeans, outnumbered, were surrounded and killed. It was also
stated by the natives that not one of the shots fired by the party of
Captain Furneaux led by Mr. Burney to search for the missing people had
taken effect so as to kill or even to hurt a single person.



The death of this Bay of Islands chief, who acted as protector to Mr.
Earle during his residence at Kororareka, is thus described by Messrs.
Hobbs and Stack, Wesleyan missionaries at Hokianga, in a letter dated
from Mangungu, Hokianga, on the 22nd March, 1828:--

"On the same day that Hongi died at Whangaroa a son of the late Pomare's,
named Tiki, was killed at Waima by a chief of the tribe called
Mahurihuri. Waima is in Hokianga, and only a few miles distance from us.
The cause of the quarrel was this: Tiki had had some of his pigs stolen
by the natives of Waima, and he was seeking utu by robbing their sweet
potato plantations, for which he was shot.

"As soon as the report of the young man's death reached the Bay of
Islands, 400 natives collected together, forming two divisions, under two
separate chiefs, Whareumu, or, as he is called by the Europeans, King
George, and Toi, and came to Hokianga. Toi and his party arrived first at
Waima, where he found Patuone and all the natives and other chiefs of our
district. After robbing the natives of Waima of their potatoes, etc.,
peace was made, and no further evil consequences seemed likely to arise.
The next day, the 14th, Whareumu and his party arrived. He was highly
displeased with Toi for having made peace on such easy terms. He
prevailed upon him, therefore, to break his league. Whareumu was also
very insolent to Muriwai, intimated that he was a coward, and poured
contempt upon the idea of the Hokianga natives standing in their own
defence. On the morning of the 15th a quarrel ensued between the 400 Bay
of Islanders and the natives of Waima, our natives also having now become
their allies. This fray did not at the outset seem likely to be attended
with fatal results, but, as Solomon justly observes, the beginning of
strife is like the letting out of water; so it was in this instance.
Shots were fired on both sides till several were killed and wounded. At
length Muriwai, who was a pacificator, was wounded and fell. Supposing he
was killed, our natives (for the natives of Waima fled as soon as matters
assumed a serious aspect) no longer regarded matters lightly, but turned
round in great rage, for they also were in the act of retreating, and
singled out Whareumu as a satisfaction for Muriwai. Whareumu received two
balls before he was killed. The one which killed him went through his
throat. As soon as he fell all his followers fled, leaving about nine of
their companions dead on the field, amongst whom was Oro, the chief who
commenced our Whangaroa robbing. This ended the contest. Patuone and Nene
immediately took up the body of the fallen chief and made great
lamentation over him, and have since placed his body between the bodies
of their own relations as a mark of respect."

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827" ***

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