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Title: Old New Zealand: - being Incidents of Native Customs and Character in the Old Times
Author: 'A Pakeha Maori'
Language: English
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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 "Old New Zealand: - being Incidents of Native Customs and Character in the Old Times" ***









[_The right of Translation is reserved._]


To the English reader, and to most of those who have arrived in New
Zealand within the last thirty years, it may be necessary to state that
the descriptions of Maori life and manners of past times, found in
these sketches, owe nothing to fiction. The different scenes and
incidents are given exactly as they occurred, and all the persons
described are real persons.

Contact with the British settlers has of late years effected a marked
and rapid change in the manners and mode of life of the natives, and
the Maori of the present day are as unlike what they were when I first
saw them as they are still unlike a civilized people or British

The writer has, therefore, thought it might be worth while to place a
few sketches of old Maori life on record, before the remembrance of
them has quite passed away; though in doing so he has by no means
exhausted an interesting subject, and a more full and particular
delineation of old Maori life, manners, and history has yet to be




Introductory.--First View of New Zealand.--First Sight of the
Natives, and First Sensations experienced by a mere Pakeha.--A Maori
Chief's Notions of Trading in the Old Times.--A Dissertation on
"Courage."--A few Words on Dress.--The Chief's Soliloquy.--The Maori
Cry of Welcome.                                                     1


The Market Price of a Pakeha.--The Value of a Pakeha "as such."--
Maori Hospitality in the Good Old Times.--A respectable Friend.--
Maori Mermaids.--My Notions of the Value of Gold.--How I got
on Shore.                                                          16


A Wrestling Match.--Beef against Melons.--The Victor gains a Loss.
--"Our Chief."--His Speech.--His _status_ in the Tribe.--Death of
"Melons."--Rumours of Peace and War.--Getting the Pa in Fighting
Order.--My Friend the "Relation Eater."--Expectation and Preparation.
--Arrival of doubtful Friends.--Sham Fight.--The "Taki."--The War
Dance.--Another Example of Maori Hospitality.--Crocodile's Tears.--
Loose Notions about Heads.--Tears of Blood.--Brotherly Love.--
Capital Felony.--Peace.                                            28


A little Affair of "Flotsam and Jetsam."--Rebellion crushed in the
Bud.--A Pakeha's House sacked.--Maori Law.--A Maori Lawsuit.--Affair
thrown into Chancery.                                              61


Every Englishman's House is his Castle.--My Estate and Castle.--How
I purchased my Estate.--Native Titles to Land, of what Nature.--Value
of Land in New Zealand.--Land Commissioners.--The Triumphs of
Eloquence.--Magna Charta.                                          70


How I kept House.--Maori Freebooters.--An Ugly Customer.--The
"Suaviter in Modo."--A Single Combat to amuse the Ladies.--The true
Maori Gentleman.--Character of the Maori People.                   78


Excitement caused by first Contact with Europeans.--The two great
Institutions of Maori Land.--The Muru.--The Tapu.--Instances of Legal
Robbery.--Descriptions and Examples of the Muru.--Profit and
Loss.--Explanation of some of the Workings of the Law of Muru.     94


The Muru falling into Disuse.--Why.--Examples of the Tapu.--The
Personal Tapu.--Evading the Tapu.--The Undertaker's Tapu.--How I got
Tabooed.--Frightful Difficulties.--How I got out of them.--The War
Tapu.--Maori War Customs.                                         107


The Tapu Tohunga.--The Maori Oracle.--Responses of the Oracle.--
Priestcraft.                                                      136


The Priest evokes a Spirit.--The Consequences.--A Maori Tragedy.--
The "Tohunga" again.                                              143


The Local Tapu.--The Taniwha.--The Battle of Motiti.--The Death of
Tiki Whenua.--Reflections.--Brutus, Marcus Antonius, and Tiki
Whenua.--Suicide.                                                 151


The Tapa.--Instances of.--The Storming of Mokoia.--Pomare.--Hongi
Ika.--Tareha.--Honour amongst Thieves.                            160


"My Rangatira."--The respective Duties of the Pakeha and his
Rangatira.--Public Opinion.--A "Pakeha Kino."--Description of my
Rangatira.--His Exploits and Misadventures.--His Moral Principles.
--Decline in the Numbers of the Natives.--Proofs of former Large
Population.--Ancient Forts.--Causes of Decrease.                  164


Trading in the Old Times.--The Native Difficulty.--Virtue its own
Reward.--Rule, Britannia.--Death of my Chief.--His Dying.--Rescue.
--How the World goes round.                                       193


Mana.--Young New Zealand.--The Law of England.--"Pop goes the
Weasel."--Right if we have Might--God save the Queen.--Good
Advice.                                                           204

GLOSSARY                                                          213



    Introductory.--First View of New Zealand.--First Sight of the
    Natives, and First Sensations experienced by a mere Pakeha.--A
    Maori Chief's Notions of Trading in the Old Times.--A Dissertation
    on "Courage."--A few Words on Dress.--The Chief's Soliloquy.--The
    Maori Cry of Welcome.

Ah! those good old times, when first I came to New Zealand, we shall
never see their like again. Since then the world seems to have gone
wrong, somehow. A dull sort of world this, now. The very sun does not
seem to me to shine as bright as it used. Pigs and potatoes have
degenerated; and everything seems "flat, stale, and unprofitable." But
those were the times!--the "good old times"--before Governors were
invented, and law, and justice, and all that. When every one did as he
liked,--except when his neighbours would not let him, (the more shame
for them,)--when there were no taxes, or duties, or public works, or
public to require them. Who cared then whether he owned a coat?--or
believed in shoes or stockings? The men were bigger and stouter in
those days; and the women,--ah! Money was useless and might go
a-begging. A sovereign was of no use, except to make a hole in and hang
it in a child's ear. The few I brought went that way, and I have seen
them swapped for shillings, which were thought more becoming.

What cared I? A fish-hook was worth a dozen of them, and I had lots of
fish-hooks. Little did I think in those days that I should ever see
here towns and villages, banks and insurance offices, prime ministers
and bishops; and hear sermons preached, and see men hung, and all the
other plagues of civilization. I am a melancholy man. I feel somehow as
if I had got older. I am no use in these dull times. I mope about in
solitary places, exclaiming often, "Oh! where are those good old
times?" and echo, or some young Maori whelp from the Three Kings,
answers from behind a bush,--NO HEA.

I shall not state the year in which I first saw the mountains of New
Zealand appear above the sea; there is a false suspicion getting about
that I am growing old. This must be looked down, so I will at present
avoid dates. I always held a theory that time was of no account in New
Zealand, and I do believe I was right up to the time of the arrival of
the first Governor. The natives hold this opinion still, especially
those who are in debt: so I will just say, it was in the good old
times, long ago, that from the deck of a small trading schooner, in
which I had taken my passage from somewhere, that I first cast eyes on
Maori land. It _was_ Maori land then; but, alas! what is it now?
Success to you, O King of Waikato. May your _mana_ never be less;--long
may you hold at bay the demon of civilization, though fall at last I
fear you must. Plutus with golden hoof is trampling on your land-marks.
He mocks the war-song, but should _I_ see your fall, at least one
Pakeha Maori shall raise the _tangi_; and with flint and shell as of
old shall the women lament you.

Let me, however, leave these melancholy thoughts for a time, forget the
present, take courage, and talk about the past. I have not got on shore
yet; a thing I must accomplish as a necessary preliminary to looking
about me, and telling what I saw. I do not understand the pakeha way of
beginning a story in the middle; so to start fair, I must fairly get on
shore, which, I am surprised to find, was easier to _do_ than to

The little schooner neared the land, and as we came closer and closer,
I began in a most unaccountable manner to remember all the tales I had
ever heard of people being baked in ovens, with cabbage and potato
"fixins." I had before this had some considerable experience of
"savages," but as they had no regular system of domestic cookery of the
nature I have hinted at, and being, as I was in those days, a mere
pakeha (a character I have since learned to despise), I felt, to say
the least, rather curious as to the then existing demand on shore for
butchers' meat.

The ship sailed on, and I went below and loaded my pistols; not that I
expected at all to conquer the country with them, but somehow because I
couldn't help it. We soon came to anchor in a fine harbour before the
house of the very first settler who had ever entered it, and to this
time he was the only one. He had, however, a few Europeans in his
employ; and there was at some forty miles distance a sort of nest of
English, Irish, Scotch, Dutch, French, and American runaways from South
Sea whalers, with whom were also congregated certain other individuals
of the pakeha race, whose manner of arrival in the country was not
clearly accounted for, and to inquire into which was, as I found
afterwards, considered extremely impolite, and a great breach of
_bienséance_. They lived in a half-savage state, or, to speak
correctly, in a savage and-a-half state, being greater savages by far
than the natives themselves.

I must, however, turn back a little, for I perceive I am not on shore

The anchoring of a vessel of any size, large or small, in a port of New
Zealand, in those days, was an event of no small importance; and,
accordingly, from the deck we could see the shore crowded by several
hundreds of natives, all in a great state of excitement, shouting and
running about, many with spears and clubs in their hands, and
altogether looking to the inexperienced newcomer very much as if they
were speculating on an immediate change of diet. I must say these, at
least, were my impressions on seeing the mass of shouting,
gesticulating, tattooed fellows, who were exhibiting before us, and who
all seemed to be mad with excitement of some sort or other.

Shortly after we came to anchor, a boat came off, in which was Mr.
----, the settler I have mentioned, and also the principal chief of the
tribe of natives inhabiting this part of the country. Mr. ---- gave me
a hearty welcome to New Zealand, and also an invitation to his house,
telling me I was welcome to make it my home for any unlimited time,
till I had one of my own. The chief also, having made some inquiries
first of the captain of the schooner--such as, whether I was a
_rangatira_, if I had plenty of _taonga_ (goods) on board, and other
particulars; and having been answered by the captain in the most
satisfactory manner,--came up to me and gave me a most sincere welcome.
(I love sincerity.) He would have welcomed me, however, had I been as
poor as Job, for pakehas were, in those days, at an enormous premium.
Even Job, at the worst (a _pakeha_ Job), might be supposed to have an
old coat, or a spike nail, or a couple of iron hoops left on hand, and
these were "good trade" in the times I speak of; and under a process
well understood at the time by my friend the chief, were sure to change
hands soon after his becoming aware of their whereabouts.

His idea of trade was this:--He took them, and never paid for them till
he took something else of greater value, which, whatever it might be,
he never paid for till he made a third still heavier haul. He always
paid just what he thought fit to give, and when he chose to withdraw
his patronage from any pakeha who might be getting too knowing for him,
and extend it to some newer arrival, he never paid for the last "lot of
trade;" but, to give him his due, he allowed his pakeha friends to make
the best bargain they could with the rest of the tribe, with the
exception of a few of his nearest relations, over whose interests he
would watch. So, after all, the pakeha would make a living; but I have
never heard of one of the old traders who got rich by trading with the
natives: there were too many drawbacks of the nature I have mentioned,
as well as others unnecessary to mention just yet, which prevented it.

I positively vow and protest to you, gentle and patient reader, that if
ever I get safe on shore, I will do my best to give you satisfaction;
let me get once on shore, and I am all right: but, unless I get my feet
on _terra firma_, how can I ever begin my tale of the good old times?
As long as I am on board ship I am cramped and crippled, and a mere
slave to Greenwich time, and can't get on. Some people, I am aware,
would make a dash at it, and manage the thing without the aid of boat,
canoe, or life preserver; but such people are, for the most part,
dealers in fiction, which I am not: my story is a true story, not
"founded on fact," but fact itself, and so I cannot manage to get on
shore a moment sooner than circumstances will permit.

It may be that I ought to have landed before this; but I must confess I
don't know any more about the right way to tell a story, than a native
minister knows how to "come" a war dance. I declare the mention of the
war dance calls up a host of reminiscences, pleasurable and painful,
exhilarating and depressing, in such a way as no one but a few, a very
few, pakeha Maori can understand. Thunder!--but no; let me get ashore;
how can I dance on the water, or before I ever knew how? On shore I
will get this time, I am determined, in spite of fate--so now for it.

The boat of my friend Mr. ---- being about to return to the shore,
leaving the chief and Mr. ---- on board, and I seeing the thing had to
be done, plucked up courage, and having secretly felt the priming of my
pistols under my coat, got into the boat.

I must here correct myself. I have said "plucked up courage," but that
is not exactly my meaning. The fact is, kind reader, if you have
followed me thus far, you are about to be rewarded for your
perseverance, I am determined to make you as wise as I am myself on at
least one important subject, and that is not saying a little, let me
inform you, as I can hardly suppose you have made the discovery for
yourself on so short an acquaintance. Falstaff, who was a very clever
fellow, and whose word cannot be doubted, says, "The better part of
valour is discretion." Now, that being the case, what in the name of
Achilles,--(he was a rank coward, though, for he went about knocking
people on the head, being himself next thing to invulnerable, as he
could not be hurt till he turned his back to the enemy. There is a deep
moral in this same story about Achilles, which, perhaps, by-and-by, I
may explain to you)--what, I say again, in the name of everything
valorous, can the worser part of valour be, if "discretion" be the
better? The fact is, my dear sir, I don't believe in courage at all,
nor ever did: but there is something far better, which has carried me
through many serious scrapes with _éclat_ and safety; I mean the
appearance of courage. If you have this, you may drive the world before
you. As for real courage, I do not believe there can be any such thing.
A man who sees himself in danger of being killed by his enemy and is
not in a precious fright, is simply not courageous but mad. The man who
is not frightened because he cannot see the danger, is a person of weak
mind--a fool--who ought to be locked up lest he walk into a well with
eyes open; but the appearance of courage--or rather, as I deny the
existence of the thing itself, that appearance which is thought to be
courage--that is the thing will carry you through! get you made K.C.B.,
Victoria Cross, and all that! Men by help of this quality do the most
heroic actions, being all the time ready to die of mere fright, but
keeping up a good countenance all the time.

Here is the secret--pay attention, it is worth much money--if ever you
get into any desperate battle or skirmish, and feel in such a state of
mortal fear that you almost wish to be shot to get rid of it, just say
to yourself--"If I am so preciously frightened, what must the other
fellow be?" The thought will refresh you; your own self-esteem will
answer that, of course, the enemy is more frightened than you are,
consequently the nearer you feel to running away the more reason you
have to stand. Look at the last gazette of the last victory, where
thousands of men at one shilling _per diem_, minus certain very serious
deductions, "covered themselves with glory." The thing is clear: the
other fellows ran first; and that is all about it! My secret is a very
good secret; but one must of course do the thing properly: no matter of
what kind the danger is, you must look it boldly in the face and keep
your wits about you, and the more frightened you get the more
determined you must be--to keep up appearances--and half the danger is
gone at once. So now, having corrected myself, as well as given some
valuable advice, I shall start again for the shore, by saying that I
plucked up a very good appearance of courage and got on board the boat.

For the honour and glory of the British nation, of which I considered
myself in some degree a representative on this momentous occasion, I
had dressed myself in one of my best suits. My frock-coat was, I fancy,
"the thing;" my waistcoat was the result of much and deep thought, in
cut, colour, and material; I may venture to affirm that the like had
not been often seen in the southern hemisphere. My tailor has, as I
hear, long since realized a fortune and retired, in consequence of the
enlightenment he at different times received from me on the great
principles of, not clothing, but embellishing the human subject. My hat
looked down criticism, and my whole turn-out was such as I calculated
would "astonish the natives," and create awe and respect for myself
individually and the British nation in general; of whom I thought fit
to consider myself no bad sample.

Here I will take occasion to remark that some attention to ornament and
elegance in the matter of dress is not only allowable but commendable.
Man is the only beast to whom a discretionary power has been left in
this respect: why then should he not take a hint from nature, and
endeavour to beautify his person? Peacocks and birds of paradise could
no doubt live and get fat though all their feathers were the colour of
a Quaker's leggings, but see how they are ornamented! Nature has, one
would say, exhausted herself in beautifying them. Look at the tiger and
leopard! Could not they murder without their stripes and spots?--but
see how their coats are painted! Look at the flowers--at the whole
universe--and you will see everywhere the ornamental combined with the
useful. Look, then, to the cut and colour of your coat, and do not
laugh at the Maori of past times, who, not being "seised" of a coat,
because he has never been able to seize one, carves and tattoos legs,
arms, and face.

The boat is, however, darting towards the shore, rapidly propelled by
four stout natives. My friend ---- and the chief are on board. The
chief has got his eye on my double gun, which is hanging up in the
cabin. He takes it down and examines it closely. He is a good judge of
a gun. It is the best _tupara_ he has ever seen, and his speculations
run something very like this:--"A good gun, a first-rate gun; I must
have this; I must _tapu_ it before I leave the ship:--[here he pulls a
piece of the fringe from his cloak and ties it round the stock of the
gun, thereby rendering it impossible for me to sell, give away, or
dispose of it in any way to any one but himself]--I wonder what the
pakeha will want for it? I will promise him as much flax or as many
pigs as ever he likes for it. True, I have no flax just now, and am
short of pigs, they were almost all killed at the last _hahunga_; but
if he is in a hurry he can buy the flax or pigs from the people, which
ought to satisfy him. Perhaps he would take a piece of land!--that
would be famous. I would give him a piece quite close to the _kainga_,
where I would always have him close to me. I hope he may take the land;
then I should have two pakehas, him and ----. All the inland chiefs
would envy me. This ---- is getting too knowing; he has taken to hiding
his best goods of late, and selling them before I knew he had them.
It's just the same as thieving, and I won't stand it. He sold three
muskets the other day to the Ngatiwaki, and I did not know he had them,
or I should have taken them. I could have paid for them some time or
another. It was wrong, wrong, very wrong, to let that tribe have those
muskets. He is not their pakeha; let them look for a pakeha for
themselves. Those Ngatiwaki are getting too many muskets--those three
make sixty-four they have got, besides two _tupara_. Certainly we have
a great many more, and the Ngatiwaki are our relations; but then there
was Kohu, we killed, and Patu, we stole his wife. There is no saying
what these Ngatiwaki may do if they should get plenty of muskets; they
are game enough for anything. It was wrong to give them those muskets;
wrong, wrong, wrong!" After experience enabled me to tell just what the
chief's soliloquy was, as above.

But all this time the boat is darting to the shore; and as the distance
is only a couple of hundred yards, I can hardly understand how it is
that I have not yet landed. The crew are pulling like mad, being
impatient to show the tribe the prize they have made,--a regular
_pakeha rangatira_ as well as a _rangatira pakeha_ (two very different
things), who has lots of tomahawks, and fish-hooks, and blankets, and a
_tupara_, and is even suspected to be the owner of a great many "pots"
of gunpowder! "He is going to stop with the tribe, he is going to
trade, he is going to be a pakeha _for us_." These last conclusions
were, however, jumped at; the "pakeha" not having then any notions of
trade or commerce, and being only inclined to look about and amuse

The boat nears the shore, and now arises from a hundred voices the call
of welcome,--"_Haere mai! haere mai! hoe mai! hoe mai! haere mai,
e-te-pa-ke-ha, haere mai!_" Mats, hands, and certain ragged petticoats
put into requisition for that occasion, all at the same time waving in
the air in sign of welcome. Then a pause. Then, as the boat came
nearer, another burst of _haere mai!_ But unaccustomed as I was then to
the Maori salute, I disliked the sound. There was a wailing melancholy
cadence that did not strike me as being the appropriate tone of
welcome; and as I was quite ignorant up to this time of my own
importance, wealth, and general value as a pakeha, I began, as the boat
closed in with the shore, to ask myself whether possibly this same
"_haere mai_" might not be the Maori for "dilly, dilly, come and be
killed." There was, however, no help for it now; we were close to the
shore, and so, putting on the most unconcerned countenance possible, I
prepared to make my _entrée_ into Maori land in a proper and dignified


    The Market Price of a Pakeha.--The Value of a Pakeha "as
    such."--Maori Hospitality in the Good Old Times.--A respectable
    Friend.--Maori Mermaids.--My Notions of the Value of Gold.--How I
    got on Shore.

Here I must remark that in those days the value of a pakeha to a tribe
was enormous. For want of pakehas to trade with, and from whom to
procure gunpowder and muskets, many tribes or sections of tribes were
about this time exterminated, or nearly so, by their more fortunate
neighbours who got pakehas before them, and who consequently became
armed with muskets first. A pakeha trader was therefore of a value say
about twenty times his own weight in muskets. This, according to my
notes made at the time, I find to have represented a value in New
Zealand something about what we mean in England when we talk of the sum
total of the national debt. A book-keeper, or a second-rate pakeha, not
a trader, might be valued at, say, his weight in tomahawks; an enormous
sum also. The poorest labouring pakeha, though he might have no
property, would earn something--his value to the chief and tribe with
whom he lived might be estimated at, say, his weight in fish-hooks, or
about a hundred thousand pounds or so: value estimated by eagerness to
obtain the article.

The value of a musket was not to be estimated to a native by just what
he gave for it: he gave all he had, or could procure, and had he ten
times as much to give, he would have given it, if necessary; or if not,
he would buy ten muskets instead of one. Muskets! muskets! muskets!
nothing but muskets, was the first demand of the Maori: muskets and
gunpowder, at any cost.

I do not, however, mean to affirm that pakehas were at this time valued
"as such,"--like Mr. Pickwick's silk stockings, which were very good
and valuable stockings, "as stockings;" not at all. A loose straggling
pakeha--a runaway from a ship for instance, who had nothing, and was
never likely to have anything--a vagrant straggler passing from place
to place,--was not of much account, even in those times. Two men of
this description (runaway sailors) were hospitably entertained one
night by a chief, a very particular friend of mine, who, to pay himself
for his trouble and outlay, ate one of them next morning.

Remember, my good reader, I don't deal in fiction; my friend ate the
pakeha sure enough, and killed him before he ate him: which was civil,
for it was not always done. But then, certainly, the pakeha was a
_tutua_, a nobody, a fellow not worth a spike-nail; no one knew him; he
had no relations, no goods, no expectations, no anything: what could be
made of him? Of what use on earth was he except to eat? And, indeed,
not much good even for that--they say he was not good meat. But good
well-to-do pakehas, traders, ship-captains, labourers, or employers of
labour, these were to be honoured, cherished, caressed, protected--and
plucked: plucked judiciously (the Maori is a clever fellow in his way),
so that the feathers might grow again. But as for poor, mean, mere
_Pakeha tutua, e aha te pai_?

Before going any farther I beg to state that I hope the English reader
or the new-comer, who does not understand Maori morality--especially of
the glorious old time--will not form a bad opinion of my friend's
character, merely because he ate a good-for-nothing sort of pakeha, who
really was good for nothing else. People from the old countries I have
often observed to have a kind of over-delicacy about them, the result
of a too effeminate course of life and over-civilization; which is the
cause that, often starting from premises which are true enough, they
will, being carried away by their over-sensitive constitution or sickly
nervous system, jump at once, without any just process of reasoning, to
the most erroneous conclusions. I know as well as can be that some of
this description of my readers will at once, without reflection, set my
friend down as a very rude ill-mannered sort of person. Nothing of the
kind, I assure you. You never made a greater mistake in your life. My
friend was a highly respectable person in his way; he was a great
friend and protector of rich, well-to-do pakehas; he was, moreover, a
great warrior, and had killed the first man in several different
battles. He always wore, hanging round his neck, a handsome carved
flute (this at least showed a soft and musical turn of mind), which was
made of the thigh-bone of one of his enemies; and when Heke, the
Ngapuhi, made war against us, my friend came to the rescue, fought
manfully for his pakeha friends, and was desperately wounded in so
doing. Now can any one imagine a more respectable character?--a
warrior, a musician, a friend in need, who would stand by you while he
had a leg to stand on, and would not eat a _friend_ on any account
whatever--except he should be very hungry.

The boat darts on; she touches the edge of a steep rock; the "_haere
mai_" has subsided; six or seven "personages"--the magnates of the
tribe--come gravely to the front to meet me as I land. There are about
six or seven yards of shallow water to be crossed between the boat and
where they stand. A stout fellow rushes to the boat's nose, and "shows
a back," as we used to say at leap-frog. He is a young fellow of
respectable standing in the tribe, a far-off cousin of the chief's, a
warrior, and as such has no back: that is to say, to carry loads of
fuel or potatoes. He is too good a man to be spoiled in that way; the
women must carry for him; the able-bodied men of the tribe must be
saved for its protection; but he is ready to carry the pakeha on
shore--the _rangatira pakeha_--who wears a real _koti roa_ (a long
coat) and beaver hat! Carry! He would lie down and make a bridge of his
body, with pleasure, for him. Has he not half a shipful of _taonga_?

Well, having stepped in as dignified a manner as I knew how, from
thwart to thwart, till I came to the bow of the boat, and having
tightened on my hat and buttoned up my coat, I fairly mounted on the
broad shoulders of my aboriginal friend. I felt at the time that the
thing was a sort of failure--a come down; the position was not
graceful, or in any way likely to suggest ideas of respect or awe, with
my legs projecting a yard or so from under each arm of my bearer,
holding on to his shoulders in the most painful, cramped, and awkward
manner: to be sacked on shore thus, and delivered like a bag of goods
thus, into the hands of the assembled multitude, did not strike me as a
good first appearance on this stage. But little, indeed, can we tell in
this world what one second may produce. Gentle reader, fair reader,
patient reader! The fates have decreed it; the fiat has gone forth; on
that man's back I shall never land in New Zealand. Manifold are the
doubts and fears which have yet to shake and agitate the hearts and
minds of all my friends as to whether I shall ever land at all, or ever
again feel _terra firma_ touch my longing foot. My bearer made one
step; the rock is slippery; backwards he goes; back, back! The steep is
near--is passed! down, down, we go! backwards, and headlong to the
depths below!

The ebb tide is running like a sluice; in an instant we are forty yards
off, and a fathom below the surface; ten more fathoms are beneath us.
The heels of my boots, my polished boots, point to the upper air--ay,
point; but when, oh, when again, shall I salute thee, gentle air; when
again, unchoked by the saline flood, cry _Veni, aura?_ When, indeed!
for now I am wrong end uppermost, drifting away with the tide, and
ballasted with heavy pistols, boots, tight clothes, and all the straps
and strings of civilization. Oh, heavens! and oh, earth! and oh, ye
little thieves of fishes who manage to live in the waters under the
earth (a miserable sort of life you must have of it)! oh, Maori sea
nymphs! who, with yellow hair--yellow? egad--that's odd enough, to say
the least of it: how ever the Maori should come to give their sea
nymphs or spirits yellow hair is curious. The Maori know nothing about
yellow hair; their hair is black. About one in a hundred of them have a
sort of dirty brown hair; but even if there should be now and then a
native with yellow hair, how is it that they have come to give this
colour to the sea-sprites in particular?--who also "dance on the sands,
and yet no footstep seen." Now I confess I am rather puzzled and struck
by the coincidence. I don't believe Shakspeare ever was in New Zealand;
Jason might, being a seafaring man, and if he should have called in for
wood and water, and happened to have the golden fleece by any accident
on board, and by any chance put it on for a wig, why the thing would be
accounted for at once.

The world is mad now-a-days about gold, so no one cares a fig about
what is called "golden hair:" nuggets and dust have the preference; but
this is a grand mistake. Gold is of no use, or very little, except in
so far as this--that through the foolishness of human beings, one can
purchase the necessaries and conveniences of life with it. Now, this
being the case, if I have a chest full of gold (which I have not), I am
no richer for it, in fact, until I have given it away in exchange for
necessaries, comforts, and luxuries, which are, properly speaking,
riches or wealth; but it follows from this, that he who has given me
this same riches or wealth for my gold, has become poor, and his only
chance to set himself up again, is to get rid of the gold as fast as he
can, in exchange for the same sort and quantity of things, if he can
get them: which is always doubtful. But here lies the gist of the
matter--how did I, in the first instance, become possessed of my gold?
If I bought it, and gave real wealth for it, beef, mutton, silk, tea,
sugar, tobacco, ostrich feathers, leather breeches, and
crinoline,--why, then, all I have done in parting with my gold, is
merely to get them back again, and I am, consequently, no richer by the
transaction; but if I steal my gold, then I am a clear gainer of the
whole lot of valuables above mentioned. So, upon the whole, I don't see
much use in getting gold honestly, and one must not steal it: digging
it certainly is almost as good as stealing, if it is not too deep,
which fully accounts for so many employing themselves in this way; but
then the same amount of labour would raise no end of wheat and
potatoes, beef and mutton: and all farmers, mathematicians, and
algebraists will agree with me in this--that after any country is fully
cultivated, all the gold in the world won't force it to grow one extra
turnip, and what more can anyone desire? So now Adam Smith, McCulloch,
and all the rest of them may go and be hanged. The whole upshot of this
treatise on political economy and golden hair (which I humbly lay at
the feet of the Colonial Treasurer), is this:--I would not give one of
your golden locks, my dear, for all the gold, silver, pearls, diamonds,
_mere ponamus_--stop, let me think: a good _mere ponamu_ would be a

I had once a _mere_, a present from a Maori friend, the most beautiful
thing of the kind ever seen. It was nearly as transparent as glass; in
it there were beautiful marks like fern leaves, trees, fishes--and I
would not give much for a person who could not see almost _anything_ in
it. Never shall I cease to regret having parted with it. The Emperor of
Brazil, I think, has it now; but he does not know the proper use of it.
It went to the Minister many years ago. I did not sell it. I would have
scorned to do that: but I did expect to be made Knight of the Golden
Pig-knife, or Elephant and Watch-box, or something of that nature: but
here I am still, a mere pakeha Maori--and, as I recollect, in desperate
danger of being drowned.

Up we came at last, blowing and puffing like grampuses. With a glance I
"recognized the situation:" we had drifted a long way from the
landing-place. My hat was dashing away before the land breeze towards
the sea, and had already made a good "offing." Three of the boat's crew
had jumped overboard, had passed us a long distance, and were seemingly
bound after the hat; the fourth man was pulling madly with one oar, and
consequently making great progress in no very particular direction. The
whole tribe of natives had followed our drift along the shore, shouting
and gesticulating, and some were launching a large canoe, evidently
bent on saving the _hat_, on which all eyes were turned. As for the
pakeha, it appears they must have thought it an insult to his
understanding to suppose he could be drowned anywhere in sight of land.
"'Did he not come from the sea?' Was he not a fish? Was not the sea
solid land to him? Did not his fire burn on the ocean? Had he not slept
on the crests of the waves?" All this I heard afterwards; but at the
time, had I not been as much at home in the water as anything not
amphibious could be, I should have been very little better than a gone
pakeha. Here was a pretty wind up! I was going to "astonish the
natives," was I?--with my black hat and my _koti roa_?

But the villain is within a yard of me--the rascally cause of all my
grief. The furies take possession of me! I dart upon him like a hungry
shark! I have him! I have him under! Down, villain! down to the kraken
and the whale, to the Taniwha cave!--down! down! down! As we sank I
heard one grand roar of wild laughter from the shore: the word _utu_ I
heard roared by many voices, but did not then know its import. The
pakeha was drowning the Maori for _utu_ for himself, in _case_ he
should be drowned. No matter: if the Maori can't hold his own, it's
fair play; and then, if the pakeha really does drown the Maori, has he
not lots of _taonga_ to be robbed of?--No, not exactly to be robbed of,
either; let us not use unnecessarily bad language--we will say to be
distrained upon.

Crack! What do I hear? Down in the deep I felt a shock, and actually
heard a sudden noise. Is it the "crack of doom?" No, it is my
frock-coat gone at one split "from clue to earing"--split down the
back. Oh, if my pistols would go off, a fiery and watery death shouldst
thou die, Caliban. Egad! they have gone off--they are both gone to the
bottom! My boots are getting heavy! Humane Society, ahoy! where is your
boat-hook?--where is your bellows? Humane Society, ahoy! We are now
drifting fast by a sandy point, after which there will be no chance of
landing,--the tide will take us right out to sea. My friend is very
hard to drown--I must finish him some other time. We both swim for the
point, and land.

And this is how I got ashore on Maori land.


    A Wrestling Match.--Beef against Melons.--The Victor gains a
    Loss.--"Our Chief."--His Speech.--His _status_ in the
    Tribe.--Death of "Melons."--Rumours of Peace and War.--Getting
    the Pa in Fighting Order.--My Friend the "Relation Eater."--
    Expectation and Preparation.--Arrival of doubtful Friends.--Sham
    Fight.--The "Taki."--The War Dance.--Another Example of Maori
    Hospitality.--Crocodile's Tears.--Loose Notions about Heads.--
    Tears of Blood.--Brotherly Love.--Capital Felony.--Peace.

Something between a cheer, a scream, and a roar, greets our arrival on
the sand. An English voice salutes me with "Well, you served that
fellow out." One half of my coat hangs from my right elbow, the other
from my left; a small shred of the collar is still around my neck. My
hat, alas! my hat is gone. I am surrounded by a dense mob of natives,
laughing, shouting, and gesticulating, in the most grotesque manner.
Three Englishmen are also in the crowd; they seem greatly amused at
something, and offer repeated welcomes.

At this moment, up comes my salt-water acquaintance, elbowing his way
through the crowd; there is a strange serio-comic expression of anger
in his face; he stoops, makes horrid grimaces, quivering at the same
time his left hand and arm about in a most extraordinary manner, and
striking the thick part of his left arm with the palm of the right
hand. "_Hu!_" says he, "_hu! hu!_" "What _can_ he mean?" said I. "He is
challenging you to wrestle," cried one of the Englishmen; "he wants
_utu_." "What is _utu_" said I. "Payment." "I won't pay him." "Oh,
that's not it, he wants to take it out of you wrestling." "Oh, I see;
here's at him; pull off my coat and boots: I'll wrestle him. 'His foot
is in his own country, and his name is'--what?" "Sir, his name in
English means 'An eater of melons:' he is a good wrestler; you must
mind." "_Water_-melons, I suppose! Beef against melons for ever,
hurrah! Here's at him."

Here the natives began to run between us to separate us, but seeing
that I was in the humour to "have it out," and that neither self nor
friend were actually out of temper--and, no doubt, expecting to see the
pakeha floored--they stood to one side and made a ring. A wrestler soon
recognizes another, and my friend soon gave me some hints that showed
me I had some work before me. I was a youngster in those days, all bone
and sinew, full of animal spirits, and as tough as leather. A couple of
desperate main strength efforts soon convinced us both that science or
endurance must decide the contest. My antagonist was a strapping fellow
of about five-and-twenty, tremendously strong, and much heavier than
me. I, however, in those days actually could not be fatigued: I did not
know the sensation, and I could run from morning till night. I
therefore trusted to wearing him out, and avoiding his _ta_ and _wiri_.
All this time the mob were shouting encouragement to one or other of
us. Such a row never was seen. I soon perceived I had a "party." "Well
done, pakeha!" "Now for it, Melons!" "At him again!" "Take care the
pakeha is a _taniwha_! the pakeha is a _tino tangata_!" "Hooray!" (from
the British element). "The pakeha is down!" "No, he isn't!" (from
English side). Here I saw my friend's knees beginning to tremble. I
made a great effort, administered my favourite remedy, and there lay
the "Eater of Melons" prone upon the sand.

I stood a victor; and, like many other conquerors, a very great loser.
There I stood, _minus_ hat, coat, and pistols; wet and mauled, and
transformed very considerably for the worse since I left the ship. When
my antagonist fell, the natives gave a great shout of triumph, and
congratulated me in their own way with the greatest good will. I could
see I had got their good opinion, though I scarcely could understand
how. After sitting on the sand some time, my friend arose, and with a
very graceful movement, and a smile of good-nature on his dusky
countenance, he held out his hand and said in English, "How do you do?"
I was much pleased at this; the natives had given me fair play, and my
antagonist, though defeated both by sea and land, offered me his hand,
and welcomed me to the shore with his whole stock of English--"How do
you do?"

But the row is not half over yet. Here comes the chief in the ship's
boat. The other is miles off with its one man crew still pulling no one
knows, or at all cares, where. Some one has been off in a canoe and
told the chief that "Melons" and the "New Pakeha" were fighting like
mad on the beach. Here he comes, flourishing his _mere ponamu_. He is a
tall, stout fellow, in the prime of life, black with tatooing, and
splendidly dressed, according to the splendour of those days. He has on
a very good blue jacket, no shirt or waistcoat, a pair of duck
trousers, and a red sash round his waist; no hat or shoes, these being
as yet things beyond a chief's ambition. The jacket was the only one in
the tribe; and amongst the surrounding company I saw only one other
pair of trousers, which had a large hole at each knee; but this was not
considered to detract at all from its value.

The chief jumps ashore; he begins his oration, or rather to "blow up,"
all and sundry, the tribe in general, and poor "Melons" in particular.
He is really vexed, and wishes to appear to me more vexed than he
really is. He runs gesticulating and flourishing his _mere_ about ten
steps in one direction, in the course of which ten steps he delivers a
sentence; he then turns and runs back the same distance, giving vent to
his wrath in another sentence, and so back and forward, forward and
back, till he has exhausted the subject, and tired his legs. The
Englishmen were beside me, and gave a running translation of what he

"Pretty work this," he began, "_good_ work; killing my pakeha: look at
him! (here a flourish in my direction with the _mere_.) I won't stand
this; not at all! not at all! not at all! (the last sentence took three
jumps, a step, and a turn-round, to keep correct time.) Who killed the
pakeha? It was Melons. You are a nice man, are you not? (this with a
sneer.) Killing my pakeha! (in a voice like thunder, and rushing
savagely, _mere_ in hand, at poor Melons, but turning exactly at the
end of the ten steps and coming back again.) It will be heard of all
over the country; we shall be called the 'pakeha killers;' I shall be
sick with shame; the pakeha will run away, and take all his _taonga_
along with him: what if you had killed him dead, or broken his bones?
his relations would be coming across the sea for _utu_. (Great
sensation, and I try to look as though I would say 'of course they
would.') What did I build this pa close to the sea for?--was it not to
trade with the pakehas?--and here you are killing the second that has
come to stop with me! (Here poor Melons burst out crying like an
infant.) Where is the hat?--where the _koti roa_?--where the
shoes?--(Boots were shoes in those days.) The pakeha is robbed! he is
murdered! (Here a howl from Melons, and I go over and sit down by him,
clap him on the bare back, and shake his hand.) Look at that,--the
pakeha does not bear malice; I would kill you if he asked me: you are a
bad people, killers of pakehas; be off with you, the whole of you,

This command was instantly obeyed by all the women, boys, and slaves.
Melons also, being in disgrace, disappeared; but I observed that "the
whole of you" did not seem to be understood as including the stout,
able-bodied, tattooed part of the population, the strength of the
tribe--the warriors, in fact, many of whom counted themselves to be
very much about as good as the chief. They were his nearest relations,
without whose support he could do nothing, and were entirely beyond his

I found afterwards that it was only during actual war that this chief
was perfectly absolute, which arose from the confidence the tribe had
in him, both as a general and a fighting man, and the obvious necessity
that in war implicit obedience be given to one head. I have, however,
observed in other tribes, that in war they would elect a chief for the
occasion, a war chief, and have been surprised to see the obedience
they gave him, even when his conduct was very open to criticism. I say
with surprise, for the natives are so self-possessed, opinionated, and
republican, that the chiefs have at ordinary times but little control
over them; except in very rare cases, where the chief happens to
possess a singular vigour of character, or some other unusual
advantage, to enable him to keep them under.

I will mention here that my first antagonist, "The Eater of Melons,"
became a great friend of mine. He was my right-hand man and manager
when I set up house on my own account, and did me many friendly
services in the course of my acquaintance with him. He came to an
unfortunate end some years later. The tribe were getting ready for a
war expedition; poor Melons was filling cartridges from a fifty pound
barrel of gunpowder, pouring the gunpowder into the cartridges with his
hand, and smoking his pipe at the time, as I have seen the natives
doing fifty times since: a spark fell into the cask, and it is scarcely
necessary to say that my poor friend was roasted alive in a second. I
have known three other accidents of the same kind, from smoking whilst
filling cartridges. In one of these accidents three lives were lost,
and many injured; and I really do believe that the certainty of death
will not prevent some of the natives from smoking for more than a given
time. I have often seen infants refuse the mother's breast, and cry for
the pipe till it was given to them; and dying natives often ask for a
pipe, and die smoking. I can clearly perceive that the young men of the
present day are neither so tall, or stout, or strong, as men of the
same age were when I first came to the country; and I believe that this
smoking, from their infancy, is one of the chief causes of this
decrease in strength and stature.

I am landed at last, certainly; but I am tattered and wet, and in a
most deplorable plight: so, to make my story short--for I see, if I am
too particular, I shall never come to the end of it--I returned to the
ship, put myself to rights, and came on shore next day with all my
_taonga_, to the great delight of the chief and tribe. My hospitable
entertainer, Mr. ----, found room for my possessions in his store, and
a room for myself in his house; and so now that I am fairly housed we
shall see what will come of it.

I have now all New Zealand before me to caper about in; so I shall do
as I like, and please myself. I shall keep to neither rule, rhyme, nor
reason, but just write what comes uppermost to my recollection of the
good old days. Many matters which seemed odd enough to me at first,
have long appeared such mere matters of course, that I am likely to
pass them over without notice. I shall, however, give some of the more
striking features of those delectable days, now, alas! passed and gone.

Some short time after this, news came that a grand war expedition,
which had been absent nearly two years at the South, had returned. This
party were about a thousand strong, being composed of two parties, of
about five hundred men each, from two different tribes, who had joined
their force for the purpose of the expedition. The tribe with which Mr.
---- and myself were staying, had not sent any men on this war party;
but, I suppose to keep their hands in, had attacked one of the two
tribes who had, and who were, consequently, much weakened by the
absence of so many of their best men. It, however, turned out that
after a battle--the ferocity of which has seldom been equalled in any
country but this--our friends were defeated with a dreadful loss,
having inflicted almost as great on the enemy. Peace, however, had
afterwards been formally made; but, nevertheless, the news of the
return of this expedition was not heard without causing a sensation
almost amounting to consternation. The war chief of the party who had
been attacked by our friends during his absence, was now, with all his
men, within an easy day's march. His road lay right through our
village, and it was much to be doubted that he would keep the peace,
being one of the most noted war chiefs of New Zealand, and he and his
men returning from a successful expedition.

All now was uproar and confusion; messengers were running like mad, in
all directions, to call in stragglers; and the women were carrying fuel
and provisions into the pa, or fortress, of the tribe. This pa was a
very well built and strong stockade, composed of three lines of strong
fence and ditch, very ingeniously and artificially planned; and,
indeed, as good a defence as well could be imagined against an enemy
armed only with musketry. All the men were now working like furies,
putting this fort to rights, getting it into fighting order, mending
the fences, clearing out the ditches, knocking down houses inside the
place, clearing away brushwood and fern all around the outside within
musket shot.

I was in the thick of it, and worked all day lashing the fence; the
fence being of course not nailed, but lashed with _toro-toro_, a kind
of tough creeping plant, like a small rope, which was very strong and
well adapted for the purpose. This lashing was about ten or twelve feet
from the ground, and a stage had to be erected for the men to stand on.
To accomplish this lashing or fastening of the fence well and with
expedition required two men, one inside the fence and another outside;
all the men therefore worked in pairs, passing the end of the
_toro-toro_ from one to the other through the fence of large upright
stakes and round a cross piece which went all along the fence, by which
means the whole was connected into one strong wall. I worked away like
fury, just as if I had been born and bred a member of the community;
and moreover, not being in those days very particularly famous for what
is called prudence, I intended also, circumstances permitting, to fight
like fury too, just for the fun of the thing.

About a hundred men were employed in this part of the work, new lashing
the pa. My _vis-à-vis_ in the operation was a respectable old warrior
of great experience and approved valour, whose name being turned into
English meant "The eater of his own relations." This was quite a
different sort of diet from "melons;" and he did not bear his name for
nothing, as I could tell you if I had time; but I am half mad with
haste, lashing the pa. I will only say that my comrade was a most
bloodthirsty, ferocious, athletic savage, and his character was
depicted in every line of his tattooed face. About twenty men had been
sent out to watch the approach of the dreaded visitors. The repairing
of the stockade went on all one day and all one night, by torchlight
and by the light of huge fires lit in the inside. No one thought of
sleep. Dogs barking, men shouting, children crying, women screaming,
pigs squealing, muskets firing (to see if they were fit for active
service and would go off), and above all the doleful _tetere_ sounding.
This was a huge wooden trumpet six feet long, which gave forth a
groaning, moaning sound, like the voice of a dying wild bull. Babel,
with a dash of Pandemonium, will give a faint idea of the uproar.

All preparations having been at last made, and no further tidings of
the enemy, as I may call them, I took a complete survey of the fort; my
friend the "Relation Eater" being my companion and explaining to me the
design of the whole. I learned something that day; and I, though pretty
well "up" in the noble science of fortification, ancient and modern,
was obliged to confess to myself that a savage who could neither read
nor write--who had never heard of Cohorn or Vauban--and who was
moreover avowedly a gobbler up of his own relations, could teach me
certain practical "dodges" in the defensive art quite well worth

A long shed of palm leaves had been also built at a safe and convenient
distance from the fort. This was for the accommodation of the expected
visitors, supposing they came in peaceful guise. A whole herd of pigs
were also collected and tied to stakes driven into the ground in the
rear of the fort. These were intended to feast the coming guests,
according to their behaviour.

Towards evening a messenger from a neighbouring friendly tribe arrived
to say that next day, about noon, the strangers might be expected; and
also that the peace, which had been concluded with their tribe during
their absence, had been ratified and accepted by them. This was
satisfactory intelligence; but, nevertheless, no precaution must be
neglected. To be thrown off guard would invite an attack, and ensure
destruction; everything must be in order: gun cleaning, flint fixing,
cartridge making, was going on in all directions; and the outpost at
the edge of the forest was not called in. All was active preparation.

The path by which these doubtful friends were coming led through a
dense forest, and came out on the clear plain about half a mile from
the pa; which plain continued and extended in every direction around
the fortress to about the same distance, so that none could approach
unperceived. The outpost, of twenty men, was stationed at about a
couple of hundred yards from the point where the path emerged from the
wood; and as the ground sloped considerably from the forest to the
fort, the whole intervening space was clearly visible.

Another night of alarm and sleepless expectation, the melancholy moan
of the _tetere_ still continuing to hint to any lurking enemy that we
were all wide awake; or rather, I should say, to assure him most
positively of it, for who could sleep with that diabolical din in his
ears? Morning came, and an early breakfast was cooked and devoured
hurriedly. Then groups of the younger men might be seen here and there
fully armed, and "getting up steam" by dancing the war-dance, in
anticipation of the grand dance of the whole warrior force of the
tribe, which, as a matter of course, must be performed in honour of the
visitors when they arrived: in honour, but quite as much in
intimidation, or an endeavour at it, though no one said so. Noon
arrived at last.

Anxious glances are turning from all quarters towards the wood, from
which a path is plainly seen winding down the sloping ground towards
the pa. The outpost is on the alert. Straggling scouts are out in every
direction. All is expectation. Now there is a movement at the outpost.
They suddenly spread in an open line, ten yards between each man. One
man comes at full speed, running towards the pa, jumping and bounding
over every impediment. Now something moves in the border of the
forest,--it is a mass of black heads. Now the men are plainly visible.
The whole _taua_ has emerged upon the plain. "Here they come! here they
come!" is heard in all directions. The men of the outpost cross the
line of march in pretended resistance; they present their guns, make
horrid grimaces, dance about like mad baboons, and then fall back with
headlong speed to the next advantageous position for making a stand.
The _taua_ however comes on steadily; they are formed in a solid oblong
mass. The chief at the left of the column leads them on. The men are
all equipped for immediate action; that is to say, quite naked except
their arms and cartridge boxes, which are a warrior's clothes. No one
can possibly tell what this peaceful meeting may end in, so all are
ready for action at a second's notice.

The _taua_ still comes steadily on. As I have said, the men are all
stripped for action, but I also notice that the appearance of nakedness
is completely taken away by the tattooing, the colour of the skin, and
the arms and equipments. The men in fact look much better than when
dressed in their Maori clothing. Every man, almost without exception,
is covered with tattooing from the knees to the waist; the face is also
covered with dark spiral lines. Each man has round his middle a belt,
to which is fastened two cartridge boxes, one behind and one before;
another belt goes over the right shoulder and under the left arm, and
from it hangs, on the left side and rather behind, another cartridge
box, and under the waist-belt is thrust, behind, at the small of the
back, the short-handled tomahawk for close fight and to finish the
wounded. Each cartridge box contains eighteen rounds, and every man has
a musket. Altogether this _taua_ is better and more uniformly armed and
equipped than ordinary; but they have been amongst the first who got
pakehas to trade with them, and are indeed in consequence the terror of
New Zealand.

On they come, a set of tall, athletic, heavy-made men; they would, I am
sure, in the aggregate weigh some tons heavier than the same number of
men taken at random from the streets of one of our manufacturing towns.
They are now half way across the plain; they keep their formation, a
solid oblong, admirably as they advance, but they do not keep step;
this causes a very singular appearance at a distance. Instead of the
regular marching step of civilized soldiers, which may be observed at
any distance, this mass seems to progress towards you with the creeping
motion of some great reptile at a distance, and when coming down a
sloping ground this effect is quite remarkable.

The mimic opposition is now discontinued; the outpost rushes in at full
speed, the men firing their guns in the air as they run. "_Takina!
takina!_" is the cry, and out spring three young men, the best runners
of our tribe, to perform the ceremony of the _taki_. They hold in their
hands some reeds to represent darts or _kokiri_. At this moment a
tremendous fire of _ball_ cartridge opens from the fort; the balls
whistle in every direction, over and around the advancing party, who
steadily and gravely come on, not seeming to know that a gun has been
fired; though they perfectly well understand that this salute is also a
hint of full preparation for any unexpected turn things may take. Now,
from the whole female population arises the shrill "_haere mai! haere
mai!_" Mats are waving, guns firing, dogs barking; the chief roaring to
"fall in," and form for the war dance. He appears half mad with
excitement, anxiety, and something very like apprehension of a sudden
onslaught from his friends.

In the midst of this horrible uproar off dart the three runners. They
are not unexpected. Three young men of the _taua_ are seen to tighten
their waist-belts and hand their muskets to their comrades. On go the
three young men from the fort. They approach the front of the advancing
column; they dance and caper about like mad monkeys, twisting their
faces about in the most extraordinary manner, showing the whites of
their eyes, and lolling out their tongues. At last, after several
feints, they boldly advance within twenty yards of the supposed enemy,
and send the reed darts flying full in their faces: then they turn and
fly as if for life. Instantly, from the stranger ranks, three young men
dart forth in eager pursuit; and behind them comes the solid column,
rushing on at full speed. Run now, O "Sounding Sea," (_Tai Haruru_),
for the "Black Cloud" (_Kapua Mangu_), the swiftest of the Rarawa, is
at your back: run now, for the honour of your tribe and your own name,
run! run! It was an exciting scene.

The two famous runners came on at a tremendous pace, the dark mass of
armed men following close behind at full speed, keeping their formation
admirably, the ground shaking under them as they rushed on. On come the
two runners (the others are left behind and disregarded). The pursuer
gains upon his man; but they are fast nearing the goal, where,
according to Maori custom, the chase must end. Run, "Sounding Sea;"
another effort! your tribe are near in full array, and armed for the
war dance; their friendly ranks are your refuge: run! run! On came the
headlong race. When within about thirty yards of the place where our
tribe was now formed in a solid oblong, each man kneeling on one knee,
with musket held in both hands, butt to ground, and somewhat sloped to
the front, the pursuing native caught at the shoulder of our man,
touched it, but could do no more. Here he must stop; to go farther
would not be "correct." He will, however, boast everywhere that he has
touched the shoulder of the famous "Sounding Sea." Our man has not,
however, been caught, which would have been a bad omen.

At this moment the charging column comes thundering up to where their
man is standing; instantly they all kneel upon one knee, holding their
guns sloped before their faces, in the manner already described. The
_élite_ of the two tribes are now opposite to each other, all armed,
all kneeling, and formed in two solid oblong masses, the narrow end of
the oblong to the front. Only thirty yards divide them; but the front
ranks do not gaze on each other: both parties turn their eyes towards
the ground, and with heads bent downwards, and a little to one side,
appear to listen. All is silence; you might have heard a pin drop. The
uproar has turned to a calm; the men are kneeling statues; the chiefs
have disappeared--they are in the centre of their tribes.

The pakeha is beginning to wonder what will be the end of all this; and
also to speculate on the efficacy of the buck shot with which his gun
is loaded, and wishes it was ball. Two minutes have elapsed in this
solemn silence; the more remarkable as being the first quiet two
minutes for the last two days and nights. Suddenly from the extreme
rear of the strangers' column is heard a scream--a horrid yell. A
savage, of herculean stature, comes, _mere_ in hand, and rushing madly
to the front. He seems hunted by all the furies. Bedlam never produced
so horrid a visage. Thrice, as he advances, he gives that horrid cry;
and thrice the armed tribe give answer with a long-drawn gasping sigh.
He is at the front; he jumps into the air, shaking his stone weapon;
the whites only of his eyes are visible, giving a most hideous
appearance to his face; he shouts the first words of the war song, and
instantly his tribe spring from the ground. It would be hard to
describe the scene which followed. The roaring chorus of the war song;
the horrid grimaces; the eyes all white; the tongues hanging out; the
furious, yet measured, and uniform gesticulation, jumping, and
stamping. I felt the ground plainly trembling.

At last the war dance ended; and then my tribe (I find I am already
beginning to get Maorified), starting from the ground like a single
man, endeavoured to out-do even their amiable friends' exhibition. They
end; then the newcomers perform another demon dance; then my tribe give
another. Silence again prevails, and all sit down. Immediately a man
from the new-arrivals comes to the front of his own party; he runs to
and fro; he speaks for his tribe; these are his words:--"Peace is made!
peace is made! peace is firm! peace is secure! peace! peace! peace!"
This man is not a person of any particular consequence in his tribe,
but his brother was killed by our people in the battle I have
mentioned, and this gives him the right to be the first to proclaim
peace. His speech is ended and he "falls in." Some three or four others
"follow on the same side." Their speeches are short also, and nearly
verbatim what the first was.

Then who, of all the world, starts forth from "ours," to speak on the
side of "law and order," but my diabolical old acquaintance the
"Relation Eater." I had by this time picked up a little Maori, and
could partly understand his speech. "Welcome! welcome! welcome! Peace
is made! not till now has there been true peace! I have seen you, and
peace is made!" Here he broke out into a song, the chorus of which was
taken up by hundreds of voices, and when it ended he made a sudden and
very expressive gesture of scattering something with his hands, which
was a signal to all present that the ceremonial was at an end for the

Our tribe at once disappeared into the pa, and at the same instant the
strangers broke into a scattered mob, and made for the long shed which
had been prepared for their reception, which was quite large enough,
and the floor covered thickly with clean rushes to sleep on. About
fifty or sixty then started for the border of the forest to bring their
clothes and baggage, which had been left there as incumbrances to the
movements of the performers in the ceremonials I have described. Part,
however, of the "_impedimenta_" had already arrived on the backs of
about thirty boys, women, and old slaves; and I noticed amongst other
things some casks of cartridges, which were, as I thought, rather
ostentatiously exposed to view.

I soon found the reason my friend of saturnine propensities had closed
proceedings so abruptly was, that the tribe had many pressing duties of
hospitality to fulfil, and that the heavy talking was to commence next
day. I noticed also that to this time there had been no meeting of the
chiefs, and, moreover, that the two parties had kept strictly separate:
the nearest they had been to each other was thirty yards when the war
dancing was going on, and they seemed quite glad, when the short
speeches were over, to move off to a greater distance from each other.

Soon after the dispersion of the two parties, a firing of muskets was
heard in and at the rear of the fort, accompanied by the squeaking,
squealing, and dying groans of a whole herd of pigs. Directly
afterwards a mob of fellows were seen staggering under the weight of
the dead pigs, and proceeding to the long shed already mentioned, in
front of which they were flung down, _sans ceremonie_, and without a
word spoken. I counted sixty-nine large fat pigs flung in one heap, one
on the top of the other, before that part of the shed where the
principal chief was sitting; twelve, were thrown before the interesting
savage who had "started" the war dance; and several single porkers were
thrown without any remark before certain others of the guests. The
parties, however, to whom this compliment was paid, sat quietly saying
nothing, and hardly appearing to see what was done. Behind the pigs was
placed, by the active exertion of two or three hundred people, a heap
of potatoes and _kumera_, in quantity about ten tons, so there was no
want of the raw material for a feast.

The pigs and potatoes having been deposited, a train of women
appeared--the whole, indeed, of the young and middle-aged women of the
tribe. They advanced with a half-dancing, half-hopping sort of step, to
the time of a wild but not unmusical chant, each woman holding high in
both hands a smoking dish of some kind or other of Maori delicacy, hot
from the oven. The groundwork of this feast appeared to be sweet
potatoes and _taro_, but on the top of each smoking mess was placed
either dried shark, eels, mullet, or pork, all "piping hot." This treat
was intended to stay our guests' stomachs till they could find time to
cook for themselves. The women having placed the dishes, or, to speak
more correctly, baskets, on the ground before the shed, disappeared;
and in a miraculously short time the feast disappeared also, as was
proved by seeing the baskets flung in twos, threes, and tens, empty out
of the shed.

Next day, pretty early in the morning, I saw our chief (as I must call
him for distinction) with a few of the principal men of the tribe,
dressed in their best Maori costume, taking their way towards the shed
of the visitors. When they got pretty near, a cry of _haere mai!_
hailed them. They went on gravely, and observing where the principal
chief was seated, our chief advanced towards him, fell upon his neck,
embracing him in the most affectionate manner, and commenced a _tangi_,
or melancholy sort of ditty, which lasted a full half-hour; during
which, both parties, as in duty bound and in compliance with custom,
shed floods of tears. How they managed to do it is more than I can tell
to this day; except that I suppose you may train a man to do anything.
Right well do I know that either party would have almost given his life
for a chance to exterminate the other with all his tribe; and
twenty-seven years afterwards I saw the two tribes fighting in the very
quarrel which was pretended to have been made up that day. Before this,
however, both these chiefs were dead, and others reigned in their

While the _tangi_ was going on between the two principals, the
companions of our chief each selected one of the visitors, and, rushing
into his arms, went through a similar scene. Old "Relation Eater"
singled out the horrific savage who had begun the war dance, and these
two tenderhearted individuals, for a full half-hour, seated on the
ground, hanging on each other's necks, gave vent to such a chorus of
skilfully modulated howling as would have given Momus the blue devils
to listen to.

After the _tangi_ was ended, the two tribes seated themselves in a
large irregular circle on the plain; into this circle strode an orator,
who, having said his say, was followed by another, and so the greater
part of the day was consumed. No arms were to be seen in the hands of
either party, except the greenstone _mere_ of the principal chiefs; but
I took notice that about thirty of our people never left the nearest
gate of the pa, and that their loaded muskets, although out of sight,
were close at hand, standing against the fence inside the gate: I also
perceived that under their cloaks or mats they wore their cartridge
boxes and tomahawks. This caused me to observe the other party more
closely. They also, I perceived, had some forty men sleeping in the
shed; these fellows had not removed their cartridge boxes either, and
all their companions' arms were carefully ranged behind them in a row,
six or seven deep, against the back wall of the shed.

The speeches of the orators were not very interesting, so I took a
stroll to a little rising ground at about a hundred yards distance,
where a company of natives, better dressed than common, were seated.
They had the best sort of ornamented cloaks, and wore in their heads,
feathers, which I already knew "commoners" could not afford to wear, as
they were only to be procured some hundreds of miles to the south. I
therefore concluded these were magnates or "personages" of some kind or
other, and determined to introduce myself. As I approached, one of
these splendid individuals nodded to me in a very familiar sort of
manner, and I, not to appear rude, returned the salute. I stepped into
the circle formed by my new friends, and had just commenced a _tena
koutou_, when a breeze of wind came sighing along the hill-top; my
friend nodded again, and his cloak blew to one side. What do I see?--or
rather what do I not see? _The head has nobody under it!_ A number of
heads had been stuck on slender rods, a cross stick being tied on to
represent the shoulders, and the cloaks thrown over all in such a
natural manner as to deceive any one at a short distance; but a green
_pakeha_, who was not expecting any such matter, to a certainty.

I fell back a yard or two, so as to take a full view of this silent
circle, and felt that at last I had fallen into strange company. I
began to look more closely at my companions, and to try to fancy what
their characters in life had been. One had undoubtedly been a warrior;
there was something bold and defiant about the look of the head.
Another was the head of a very old man, grey, shrivelled, and wrinkled.
I was going on with my observations when I was saluted by a voice from
behind with, "Looking at the eds, sir?" It was one of the pakehas
formerly mentioned. "Yes," said I, turning round just the least
possible thing quicker than ordinary. "Eds has been a getting scarce,"
says he. "I should think so," says I. "We an't ad a ed this long time,"
says he. "The devil!" says I. "One o' them eds has been hurt bad," says
he. "I should think all were rather so," says I. "Oh, no, only one on
'em," says he; "the skull is split, and it won't fetch nothin'," says
he. "Oh, murder! I see, now," says I. "Eds was _werry_ scarce," says
he, shaking his own "ed." "Ah!" said I. "They had to tattoo a slave a
bit ago," says he, "and the villain ran away, tattooin' and all!" says
he. "What?" said I. "Bolted afore he was fit to kill," says he. "Stole
off with his own head?" says I. "That's just it," says he. "_Capital_
felony!" says I. "You may say that, sir," says he. "Good morning," said
I, and walked away pretty smartly. "Loose notions about heads in this
country," said I to myself; and involuntarily putting up my hand to my
own, I thought somehow the bump of combativeness felt smaller, or
indeed had vanished altogether. "It's all very funny," said I.

I walked down into the plain, and saw in one place a crowd of women,
boys, and others. There was a great noise of lamentation going on. I
went up to the crowd, and there beheld, lying on a clean mat, which was
spread on the ground, another head. A number of women were standing in
a row before it, screaming, wailing and quivering their hands about in
a most extraordinary manner, and cutting themselves dreadfully with
sharp flints and shells. One old woman, in the centre of the group, was
one clot of blood from head to feet, and large clots of coagulated
blood lay on the ground where she stood. The sight was absolutely
horrible, I thought at the time. She was singing or howling a
dirge-like wail. In her right hand she held a piece of _tuhua_, or
volcanic glass, as sharp as a razor: this she placed deliberately to
her left wrist, drawing it slowly upwards to her left shoulder, the
spouting blood following as it went, and from the left shoulder
downwards, across the breast to the short ribs on the right side; she
then shifted the rude but keen knife from the right hand to the left,
placed it to the right wrist, drawing it upwards to the right shoulder,
and so down across the breast to the left side, thus making a bloody
cross on the breast. And so the operation went on all the time I was
there; the old creature all the time howling in time and measure, and
keeping time, also with the knife, which at every cut was shifted from
one hand to the other, as I have described. She had scored her forehead
and cheeks before I came; her face and body were one mass of blood, and
a little stream was dropping from every finger: a more hideous object
could scarcely be conceived. I took notice that the younger women,
though they screamed as loud, did not cut near so deep as the old
woman; especially about the face.

This custom has been falling gradually out of use; and when practised
now, in these degenerate times, the cutting and maiming is a mere form:
slight scratching to draw enough blood to swear by; but, in "the good
old times," the thing used to be done properly. I often, of late years,
have felt quite indignant to see some degenerate hussy making believe
with a piece of flint in her hand, but who had no notion of cutting
herself up properly as she ought to do. It shows a want of natural
affection in the present generation, I think; they refuse to shed tears
of blood for their friends as their mothers used to do.

This head, I found on inquiry, was not the head of an enemy. A small
party of our friends had been surprised, and two brothers were flying
for their lives down a hill-side; a shot broke the leg of one of them
and he fell. The enemy were close at hand; already the exulting cry
"_Na! na! mate rawa!_" was heard; and the wounded man cried to his
brother, "Do not leave my head a plaything for the foe." There was no
time for deliberation. The brother _did not_ deliberate; a few slashes
with the tomahawk saved his brother's head, and he escaped with it in
his hand, dried it, and brought it home. The old woman was the mother,
the young ones were cousins: there was no sister, as I heard, when I
inquired. All the heads on the hill were heads of enemies, and several
of them are now in museums in Europe.

With reference to the knowing remarks of the pakeha who accosted me on
the hill on the state of the head market, I am bound to remark that my
friend Mr. ---- never speculated in this "article;" but the skippers of
many of the colonial trading schooners were always ready to deal with a
man who had "a real good head," and used to commission such men as my
companion of the morning to "pick up heads" for them. It is a positive
fact that some time after this the head of a live man was sold and paid
for beforehand, and afterwards honestly delivered "as per agreement."

The scoundrel slave who had the conscience to run away with his own
head after the trouble and expense had been gone to to tattoo it to
make it more valuable, is no fiction either. Even in "the good old
times" people would sometimes be found to behave in the most dishonest
manner. But there are good and bad to be found in all times and places.

Now if there is one thing I hate more than another it is the
raw-head-and-bloody-bones style of writing, and in these random
reminiscences I shall avoid all particular mention of battles,
massacres, and onslaughts; except there be something particularly
characteristic of my friend the Maori in them. As for mere hacking and
hewing, there has been enough of that to be had in Europe, Asia, and
America of late; and very well described too, by numerous "our
correspondents." If I should have to fight a single combat or two, just
to please the ladies, I shall do my best not to get killed; and I
hereby promise not to kill any one myself, if I possibly can help it.
I, however, hope to be excused for the last two or three pages, as it
was necessary to point out that in the good old times, if one's own
head was not sufficient, it was quite practicable to get another.

I must, however, get rid of our visitors. Next day, at daylight, they
disappeared: canoes from their own tribe had come to meet them (the old
woman with the flint had arrived in these canoes), and they departed
_sans ceremonie_, taking with them all that was left of the pigs and
potatoes which had been given them, and also the "fine lot of eds."
Their departure was felt as a great relief; and though it was
satisfactory to know peace was made, it was even more so to be well rid
of the peacemakers.

Hail, lovely peace, daughter of heaven! meek-eyed inventor of Armstrong
guns and Enfield rifles; you of the liquid-fire-shell, hail! Shooter at
"bulls'-eyes," trainer of battalions, killer of wooden Frenchmen, hail!
(A bit of fine writing does one good.) Nestling under thy wing, I will
scrape sharp the point of my spear with a _pipi_ shell; I will carry
fern-root into my pa; I will _cure_ those heads which I have killed in
war, or they will spoil and "won't fetch nothin'": for these are thy
arts, O peace!


    A little Affair of "Flotsam and Jetsam."--Rebellion crushed in
    the Bud.--A Pakeha's House sacked.--Maori Law.--A Maori Lawsuit.
    --Affair thrown into Chancery.

Pakehas, though precious in the good old times, would sometimes get
into awkward scrapes. Accidents, I have observed, will happen at the
best of times. Some time after the matters I have been recounting
happened, two of the pakehas, who were "knocking about" Mr. ----'s
premises, went fishing. One of them was a very respectable old
man-of-war's man, the other was the connoisseur of heads; who, I may as
well mention, was thought to be one of that class who never could
remember to a nicety how they had come into the country, or where they
came from.

It so happened that on their return, the little boat, not being well
fastened, went adrift in the night, and was cast on shore at about four
miles distance, in the dominions of a petty chief who was a sort of
vassal or retainer of ours. He did not belong to the tribe, and lived
on the land by the permission of our chief as a sort of tenant at will.
Of late an ill-feeling had grown up between him and the principal
chief. The vassal had in fact begun to show some airs of independence,
and had collected more men about him than our chief cared to see; but
up to this time there had been no regular outbreak between them:
possibly because the vassal had not yet sufficient force to declare
independence formally. Our chief was, however, watching for an excuse
to fall out with him before he should grow too strong. As soon as it
was heard where the boat was, the two men went for it as a matter of
course; little thinking that this encroaching vassal would have the
insolence to claim the right of "flotsam and jetsam," which belonged to
the principal chief, and which was always waived in favour of his
pakehas. On arrival, however, at this rebellious chief's dominions,
they were informed that it was his intention to stick to the boat until
he was paid a "stocking of gunpowder"--meaning a quantity as much as a
stocking would hold, which was the regular standard measure in those
days in that locality. A stocking of gunpowder! who ever heard of such
an awful imposition? The demand was enormous in value and rebellious in
principle. The thing must be put an end to at once. The principal chief
did not hesitate: rebellion must be crushed in the bud. He at once
mustered his whole force (he did not approve of "little wars"), and
sent them off under the command of the Relation Eater, who served an
ejectment in regular Maori form, by first plundering the village and
then burning it to ashes; also destroying the cultivation and
provisions, and forcing the vassal to decamp with all his people on
pain of instant massacre--a thing they did not lose a moment in doing;
and I don't think they either ate or slept till they had got fifty
miles off, where a tribe related to them received them and gave them a

Well, about three months after this, about day-light in the morning, I
was aroused by a great uproar of men shouting, doors smashing, and
women screaming. Up I jumped, and pulling on a few clothes in less
time, I am sure, than ever I had done before my in life, out I ran, and
at once perceived that Mr. ----'s premises were being sacked by the
rebellious vassal, who had returned with about fifty men, and was
taking this means of revenging himself for the rough handling he had
received from our chief. Men were rushing in mad haste through the
smashed windows and doors, loaded with anything and everything they
could lay hands on. The chief was stamping against the door of a room
in which he was aware the most valuable goods were kept, and shouting
for help to break it open. A large canoe was floating close to the
house, and was being rapidly filled with plunder. I saw a fat old Maori
woman, who was washerwoman to the establishment, being dragged along
the ground by a huge fellow who was trying to tear from her grasp one
of my shirts, to which she clung with perfect desperation. I perceived
at a glance that the faithful old creature would probably save a
sleeve. A long line of similar articles, my property, which had graced
the _taiepa_ fence the night before, had disappeared.

The old man-of-war's man had placed his back exactly opposite to that
part of the fence where hung a certain striped cotton shirt and
well-scrubbed canvas trowsers, which _could_ belong to no one but
himself. He was "hitting out" lustily right and left. Mr. ---- had been
absent some days on a journey, and the head merchant, as we found after
all was over, was hiding under a bed. When the old sailor saw me, he
"sang out," in a voice clear as a bell, and calculated to be distinctly
heard above the din:--"Hit out, sir, if you please; let's make a fight
of it the best we can; our mob will be here in five minutes; Tahuna has
run to fetch them." While he thus gave both advice and information, he
also set a good example, having delivered just one thump per word, or
thereabouts. The odds were terrible, but the time was short that I was
required to fight; so I at once floored a native who was rushing by me.
He fell like a man shot, and I then perceived he was one of our own
people who had been employed about the place; so, to balance things, I
knocked down another, and then felt myself seized round the waist from
behind, by a fellow who seemed to be about as strong as a horse.

At this moment I cast an anxious glance around the field of battle. The
old Maori woman had, as I expected, saved a good half of my shirt; she
had got on the top of an outhouse, and was waving it in a "Sister Anne"
sort of manner, and calling to an imaginary friendly host which she
pretended to see advancing to the rescue. The old sailor had fallen
under, but not surrendered to, superior force. Three natives had got
him down; but it took all they could do to _keep_ him down: he was
evidently carrying out his original idea of making a fight of it, and
gaining time. The striped shirt and canvas trowsers still hung proudly
on the fence; none of his assailants could spare a second to pull them
down. I was kicking and flinging in the endeavour to extricate myself;
or, at least, to turn round, so as to carry out a "face to face"
policy: which it would be a grand mistake to suppose was not understood
long ago in the good old times.

I had nearly succeeded, and was thinking what particular form of
destruction I should shower on the foe, when a tremendous shout was
heard. It was "our mob" coming to the rescue; and, like heroes of old,
"sending their voice before them." In an instant both myself and the
gallant old tar were released; the enemy dashed on board their canoe,
and in another moment were off, darting away before a gale of wind and
a fair tide at a rate that put half a mile at least between them and us
before our protectors came up. "Load the gun!" cried the sailor--(there
was a nine-pound carronade on the cliff before the house, overlooking
the river). A cartridge was soon found, and a shot, and the gun loaded.
"Slew her a little," cried my now commander; "fetch a fire stick."
"Aye, aye, sir" (from self). "Wait a little; that will do--Fire!"--(in
a voice as if ordering the discharge of the whole broadside of a
three-decker). Bang! The elevation was perfectly correct. The shot
struck the water at exactly the right distance, and only a few feet to
one side. A very few feet more to the right and the shot would have
entered the stern of the canoe, and, as she was end on to us, would
have killed half the people in her. A miss, however, is as good as a
mile off. The canoe disappeared behind a point, and there we were with
an army of armed friends around us, who, by making great expedition,
had managed to come exactly in time to be too late.

This was a _taua muru_ (a robbing expedition) in revenge for the leader
having been cleaned out by our chief, which gave them the right to rob
any one connected with, related to, or under the protection of, our
chief aforesaid, provided always that they were able. We, on the other
hand, had the clear right to kill any of the robbers, which would then
have given them the right to kill us; but until we killed some of them,
it would not have been "correct" for them to have taken life, so they
managed the thing neatly, in order that they should have no occasion to
do so. The whole proceeding was unobjectionable in every respect, and
_tika_ (correct). Had we put in our nine-pound shot at the stern of
their canoe, it would have been correct also; but as we were not able,
we had no right whatever to complain.

The above is good law: and here I may as well inform the New Zealand
public that I am going to write the whole law of this land in a book,
which I shall call "_Ko nga ture_;" and as I intend it for the good of
both races, I shall mix the two languages up in such a way that neither
can understand; but this does not matter, as I shall add a "glossary,"
in Coptic, to make things clear.

Some time after this, a little incident worth noting happened at my
friend Mr. ----'s place. Our chief had, for some time back, a sort of
dispute with another magnate, who lived about ten miles off. I really
cannot say who was in the right: the arguments on both sides were so
nearly balanced, that I should not like to commit myself to a judgment
in the case. The question was at last brought to a fair hearing at my
friend's house. The arguments on both sides were very forcible; so much
so that in the course of the arbitration our chief and thirty of his
principal witnesses were shot dead in a heap before my friend's door,
and sixty others badly wounded, and my friend's house and store blown
up and burnt to ashes.

My friend was all but, or, indeed, quite ruined; but it would not have
been "correct" for him to complain--_his_ loss in goods being far
overbalanced by the loss of the tribe in men. He was, however, consoled
by hundreds of friends who came in large parties to condole and _tangi_
with him, and who, as was quite correct in such cases, shot and ate all
his stock, sheep, pigs, goats, ducks, geese, fowls, &c., all in high
compliment to himself: at which he felt proud, as a well conducted and
conditioned pakeha Maori (as he was) should do. He did not, however,
survive these honours long, poor fellow. He died; and, strange to say,
no one knew exactly what was the matter with him: some said it was the
climate, they thought.

After this, the land about which this little misunderstanding had
arisen, was, so to speak, "thrown into chancery," where it has now
remained about forty years. But I hear that proceedings are to commence
_de novo_ (no allusion to the "new system") next summer, or at farthest
the summer after; and as I witnessed the first proceedings, when the
case comes on again "may I be there to see."


    Every Englishman's House is his Castle.--My Estate and Castle.--
    How I purchased my Estate.--Native Titles to Land, of what Nature.
    --Value of Land in New Zealand.--Land Commissioners.--The Triumphs
    of Eloquence.--Magna Charta.

"Every Englishman's house is his castle," "I scorn the foreign yoke,"
and glory in the name of Briton, and all that. The natural end,
however, of all castles is to be burnt or blown up. In England it is
true you can call the constable, and should any foreign power attack
you with grinding organ and white mice, you may hope for succours from
without; from which cause "castles" in England are more long-lived. In
New Zealand, however, it is different, as, to the present day, the old
system prevails, and castles continue to be disposed of in the natural
way, as has been seen lately at Taranaki.

I now purchased a piece of land and built a "castle" for myself. I
really can't tell to the present day who I purchased the land from, for
there were about fifty different claimants, every one of whom assured
me that the other forty-nine were "humbugs," and had no right whatever.
The nature of the different titles of the different claimants were
various. One man said his ancestors had killed off the first owners;
another declared his ancestors had driven off the second party; another
man, who seemed to be listened to with more respect than ordinary,
declared that his ancestor had been the first possessor of all, and had
never been ousted, and that this ancestor was a huge lizard that lived
in a cave on the land many ages ago: and, sure enough, there was the
cave to prove it.

Besides the principal claims there were an immense number of secondary
ones--a sort of latent equities--which had lain dormant until it was
known the pakeha had his eye on the land. Some of them seemed to me at
the time odd enough. One man required payment because his ancestors, as
he affirmed, had exercised the right of catching rats on it; but which
he (the claimant) had never done, for the best of reasons, _i.e._,
there were no rats to catch: except indeed pakeha rats, which were
plenty enough, but this variety of rodent was not counted as game.
Another claimed because his grandfather had been murdered on the land,
and--as I am a veracious pakeha--another claimed payment because _his_
grandfather had committed the murder! Then half the country claimed
payments of various value, from one fig of tobacco to a musket, on
account of a certain _wahi tapu_, or ancient burying-ground, which was
on the land, and in which every one almost had had relations or rather
ancestors buried, as they could clearly make out, in old times; though
no one had been deposited in it for about two hundred years, and the
bones of the others had been (as they said) removed long ago to a
_torere_ in the mountains.

It seemed an awkward circumstance that there was some difference of
opinion as to where this same _wahi tapu_ was situated, being, and
lying; for in case of my buying the land it was stipulated that I
should fence it round and make no use of it, although I had paid for
it. I, however, have put off fencing till the exact boundaries have
been made out; and indeed I don't think I shall ever be called on to do
so, the fencing proviso having been made, as I now believe, to give a
stronger look of reality to the existence of the sacred spot, it having
been observed that I had some doubts on the subject. No mention was
ever made of it after the payments had been all made, and so I think I
may venture to affirm that the existence of the said _wahi tapu_ is of
very doubtful authenticity, though it certainly cost me a round "lot of
trade." There was one old man who obstinately persisted in declaring
that he, and he alone, was the sole and rightful owner of the land; he
seemed also to have a "fixed idea" about certain barrels of gunpowder;
but as he did not prove his claim to my satisfaction, and as he had no
one to back him, I of course gave him nothing; he nevertheless demanded
the gunpowder about once a month for five-and-twenty years, till at
last he died of old age, and I am now a landed proprietor, clear of all
claims and demands, and have an undeniable right to hold my estate as
long as ever I am able.

It took about three months' negotiation before the purchase of the land
could be made; and, indeed, I at one time gave up the idea, as I found
it quite impossible to decide whom to pay. If I paid one party, the
others vowed I should never have possession, and to pay all seemed
impossible; so at last I let all parties know that I had made up my
mind not to have the land. This, however, turned out to be the first
step I had made in the right direction; for, thereupon, all the
different claimants agreed amongst themselves to demand a certain
quantity of goods, and divide them amongst themselves afterwards. I was
glad of this, for I wished to buy the land, as I thought, in case I
should ever take a trip to the "colonies," it would look well to be
able to talk of "my estate in New Zealand."

The day being now come on which I was to make the payment, and all
parties present, I then and there handed over to the assembled mob the
price of the land, consisting of a great lot of blankets, muskets,
tomahawks, tobacco, spades, axes, &c., &c.; and received in return a
very dirty piece of paper with all their marks on it, I having written
the terms of transfer on it in English to my own perfect satisfaction.
The cost per acre to me was, as near as can be, about five and a half
times what the same quantity of land would have cost me at the same
time in Tasmania. But this was not of much importance, as the value of
land in New Zealand then (and indeed now) being chiefly imaginary, one
could just as easily suppose it to be of a very great value as a very
small one; I therefore did not complain of the cost.

While I am on the subject of land and land titles, I may as well here
mention that many years after the purchase of my land I received notice
to appear before certain persons called "Land Commissioners," who were
part and parcel of the new inventions which had come up soon after the
arrival of the first governor, and which are still a trouble to the
land. I was informed that I must appear and prove my title to the land
I have mentioned, on pain of forfeiture of the same. Now, I could not
see what right any one could have to plague me in this way, and if I
had had no one but the commissioners and two or three hundred men of
their tribe to deal with, I should have put my pa in fighting order,
and told them to "come on;" for before this time I had had occasion to
build a pa, in consequence of a little misunderstanding, and being a
regularly naturalized member of a strong tribe, could raise men to
defend it at the shortest notice.

But somehow these people had cunningly managed to mix up the name of
Queen Victoria, God bless her! (no disparagement to King Potatau) in
the matter; and I, though a pakeha Maori, am a loyal subject of her
Majesty, and will stick up and fight for her as long as ever I can
muster a good imitation of courage, or a leg to stand upon. This being
the case, I made a very unwilling appearance at the court, and
explained and defended my title to the land in an oration of four
hours' and a half duration; and which, though I was much out of
practice, I flatter myself was a good specimen of English rhetoric,
and, for its own merits--as well as for another reason which I was not
aware of at the time--was listened to by the court with the greatest

When I had concluded, and been asked "if I had anything more to say?" I
saw the commissioner beginning to count my words, which had been all
written, I suppose, in short-hand; and having ascertained how many
thousand I had spoken, he handed me a bill, in which I was charged by
the word, for every word I had spoken, at the rate of one farthing and
one twentieth per word. Oh, Cicero! Oh, Demosthenes! Oh, Pitt, Fox,
Burke, Sheridan! Oh, Daniel O'Connell! what would have become of you,
if such a stopper had been clapt on your jawing tackle? Fame would
never have cracked her trumpet, and "Dan" would never have raised the
_rint_. For my part I have never recovered the shock. I have since that
time become taciturn, and have adopted a Spartan brevity when forced to
speak, and I fear I shall never again have the full swing of my mother
tongue. Besides this, I was charged ten shillings each for a little
army of witnesses I had brought, by way of being on the sure side--five
shillings a head for calling them into court, and five more for
"examining" them; said examination consisting of one question each,
after which they were told to "be off." I do believe had I brought up a
whole tribe, as I had thoughts of doing, the commissioners would not
have minded examining them all. They were, I am bound to say, very
civil and polite; one of them told me I was "a damned, infernal, clever
fellow, and he should like to see a good many more like me."

I hope I am not getting tedious; but this business made such an
impression on me, that I can't help being too prolix, perhaps, when
describing it. I have, however, often since that time had my doubts
whether the Queen (God bless her) got the money, or knew half as much
of the affair as they wanted to make out. I _don't_ believe it. Our
noble Queen would be clean above such a proceeding; and I mean to say
it's against Magna Charta, it is! "Justice shall _not be sold_," saith
Magna Charta; and if it's not selling justice to make a loyal pakeha
Maori pay for every word he speaks when defending his rights in a court
of justice, I don't know what is.

Well, to make matters up, they after some time gave me a title for my
land (as if I had not one before); but then, after some years, they
made me give it back again, on purpose, as they said, that they might
give me a better! But since that time several more years have passed,
and I have not got it; so, as these things are now all the fashion, "I
wish I may get it."


    How I kept House.--Maori Freebooters.--An Ugly Customer.--The
    "Suaviter in Modo."--A Single Combat to amuse the Ladies.--The
    true Maori Gentleman.--Character of the Maori People.

I never yet could get the proper knack of telling a story. Here I am
now, a good forty years ahead of where I ought to be, talking of "title
deeds" and "land commissioners," things belonging to the new and
deplorable state of affairs which began when this country became "a
British colony and possession," and also "one of the brightest jewels
in the British crown." I must go back.

Having purchased my "estate," I set up housekeeping. My house was a
good commodious _raupo_ building; and as I had a princely income of a
few hundred a year "in trade," I kept house in a very magnificent and
hospitable style. I kept always eight stout paid Maori retainers; the
pay being one fig of tobacco per week, and their potatoes, which was
about as much more. Their duties were not heavy; being chiefly to amuse
themselves fishing, wrestling, shooting pigeons, or pig-hunting, with
an occasional pull in the boat when I went on a water excursion.
Besides these paid retainers, there was always about a dozen hangers
on, who considered themselves apart of the establishment, and who, no
doubt, managed to live at my expense; but as that expense was merely a
few hundredweight of potatoes a week, and an odd pig now and then, it
was not perceptible in the good old times.

Indeed these hangers on, as I call them, were necessary; for now and
then, in those brave old times, little experiments would be made by
certain Maori gentlemen of freebooting propensities, who were in great
want of "British manufactures," to see what could be got by bullying
"the pakeha," and to whom a good display of physical force was the only
argument worth notice. These gentry generally came from a long
distance, made a sudden appearance, and, thanks to my faithful
retainers--who, as a matter of course, were all bound to fight for me,
though I should have found it hard to get much _work_ out of them--made
as sudden a retreat; though on one or two occasions, when my standing
army were accidentally absent, I had to do battle single-handed.

I think I have promised somewhere that I would perform a single combat
for the amusement of the ladies, and I may as well do it now as at any
other time. I shall, therefore, recount a little affair I had with one
of these gentry; as it is indeed quite necessary I should, if I am to
give any true idea of "the good old times." I must, however, protest
against the misdeeds of a few ruffians--human wolves--being charged
against the whole of their countrymen. At the time I am speaking of,
the only restraint on such people was the fear of retaliation, and the
consequence was, that often a dare-devil savage would run a long career
of murder, robbery, and outrage, before meeting with a check, simply
from the terror he inspired, and the "luck" which often accompanies
outrageous daring. At a time, however, and in a country like New
Zealand, where every man was a fighting man or nothing, these
desperadoes, sooner or later, came to grief; being at last invariably
shot, or run through the body, by some sturdy freeholder, whose rights
they had invaded.

I had two friends staying with me, young men who had come to see me
from the neighbouring colonies, and to take a summer tour in New
Zealand; and it so happened that no less than three times during my
absence from home, and when I had taken almost all my people along with
me, my castle had been invaded by one of the most notorious ruffians
who had ever been an impersonation of, or lived by, the law of force.
This interesting specimen of the _genus homo_ had, on the last of these
visits, demanded that my friends should hand over to him one pair of
blankets; but as the prospectus he produced, with respect to payment,
was not at all satisfactory, my friends declined to enter into the
speculation, the more particularly as the blankets were mine. Our
freebooting acquaintance then, to explain his views more clearly,
knocked both my friends down; threatened to kill them both with his
tomahawk; then rushed into the bedroom, dragged out all the bedclothes,
and burnt them on the kitchen fire.

This last affair was rather displeasing to me. I held to the theory
that every Englishman's house was his castle, and was moreover rather
savage at my guests having been so roughly handled. In fact I began to
feel that, though I had up to this time managed to hold my own pretty
well, I was at last in danger of falling under the imposition of "black
mail," and losing my _status_ as an independent potentate--a
_rangatira_ of the first water. I then and there declared loudly that
it was well for the offender that I had not been at home, and that if
ever he tried his tricks with _me_ he would find out his mistake. These
declarations of war, I perceived, were heard by my men in a sort of
incredulous silence (silence in New Zealand gives _dis_-sent), and
though the fellows were stout chaps who would not mind a row with any
ordinary mortal, I verily believe they would have all run at the first
appearance of this redoubted ruffian. Indeed his antecedents had been
such as might have almost been their excuse.

He had killed several men in fair fight, and had also--as was well
known--committed two most diabolical murders; one of which was on his
own wife, a fine young woman, whose brains he blew out at half a
second's notice for no further provocation than this:--he was sitting
in the verandah of his house, and told her to bring him a light for his
pipe. She, being occupied in domestic affairs, said, "Can't you fetch
it yourself? I am going for water." She had the calibash in her hand
and their infant child on her back. He snatched up his gun and
instantly shot her dead on the spot; and I had heard him afterwards
describing quite coolly the comical way in which her brains had been
knocked out by the shot with which the gun was loaded. He also had, for
some trifling provocation, lopped off the arm of his own brother, or
cousin, I forget which; and was, altogether, from his tremendous bodily
strength and utter insensibility to danger, about as "ugly a customer"
as one would care to meet.

I am now describing a regular Maori ruffian of the good old times; the
natural growth of a state of society wherein might was to a very great
extent right, and where bodily strength and courage were almost the
sole qualities for which a man was respected or valued. He was a
bullet-headed, scowling, bow-legged, broad-shouldered, herculean
savage, and all these qualifications combined made him unquestionably
"a great _rangatira_;" and, as he had never been defeated, his _mana_
was in full force.

A few weeks after the affair of the blankets, as I was sitting all
alone reading a Sydney newspaper (which, being only a year old, was
highly interesting), my friends and all my natives having gone on an
expedition to haul a large fishing-net, whom should I see enter the
room and squat down on the floor, as if taking permanent possession,
but the amiable and highly interesting individual I have taken so much
trouble to describe. He said nothing, but his posture and countenance
spoke whole volumes of defiance and murderous intent. He had heard of
the threats I had made against him, and there he was; let me turn him
out if I dare. That was his meaning,--there was no mistaking it.

I have all my life been an admirer of the _suaviter in modo_; though it
is quite out of place in New Zealand. If you tell a man--a Maori I
mean--in a gentle tone of voice and with a quiet manner that if he
continues a given line of conduct you will begin to commence to knock
him down, he simply disbelieves you, and thereby forces you to do that
which, if you could have persuaded yourself to have spoken very
uncivilly at first, there would have been no occasion for. I have seen
many proofs of this, and though I have done my best for many years to
improve the understanding of my Maori friends in this particular, I
find still there are but very few who can understand at all how it is
possible that the _suaviter in modo_ can be combined with the _fortiter
in re_. They in fact can't understand it, for some reason perfectly
inexplicable to me. It was, however, quite a matter of indifference, I
could perceive, how I should open proceedings with my friend; as he
evidently meant mischief. "Habit is second nature," so I instinctively
took to the _suaviter_.

"Friend," said I, in a very mild tone, and with as amiable a smile as I
could get up, in spite of a certain clenching of the teeth which
somehow came on me at the moment, "my advice to you is to be off." He
seemed to nestle himself firmer in his seat, and made no answer but a
scowl of defiance. "I am thinking, friend, that this is my house," said
I; and springing upon him, I placed my foot to his shoulder and gave a
shove which would have sent most people heels over head. Not so,
however, with my friend. It shook him, certainly, a little; but in an
instant, as quick as lightning, and as it appeared with a single
motion, he bounded from the ground, flung his mat away over his head,
and struck a furious blow at my head with his tomahawk. I escaped
instant death by a quickness equal to or greater than his own. My eye
was quick, and so was my arm: life was at stake. I caught the tomahawk
in full descent: the edge grazed my hand; but my arm, stiffened like a
bar of iron, arrested the blow.

He made one furious, but ineffectual, effort to tear the tomahawk from
my grasp; and then we seized one another round the middle, and
struggled like maniacs in the endeavour to dash each other against the
boarded floor; I holding on for dear life to the tomahawk, and making
desperate efforts to get it from him, but without a chance of success,
as it was fastened to his wrist by a strong thong of leather. He was,
as I soon found, somewhat stronger than me, and heavier; but I was as
active as a cat, and as long-winded as an emu, and very far from weak.
At last he got a _wiri_ round my leg; and had it not been for the table
on which we both fell, and which, in smashing to pieces, broke our
fall, I might have been disabled, and in that case instantly
tomahawked. We now rolled over and over on the floor like two mad
bulldogs; he trying to bite, and I trying to stun him by dashing his
bullet head against the floor. Up again!--still both holding on to the
tomahawk. Another furious struggle, in the course of which both our
heads, and half our bodies, were dashed through the two glass windows
in the room, and every single article of furniture was reduced to
atoms. Down again, rolling like mad, and dancing about amongst the
rubbish--the wreck of the house.

By this time we were both covered with blood from various wounds,
received I don't know how. I had been all this time fighting under a
great disadvantage, for my friend was trying to kill me, and I was only
trying to disarm and tie him up--a much harder thing than to kill. My
reason for going to this trouble was, that as there were no witnesses
to the row, if I killed him, I might have had serious difficulties with
his tribe.

Up again; another terrific tussle for the tomahawk; down again with a
crash: and so this life or death battle went on, down and up, up and
down, for a full hour. At last I perceived that my friend was getting
weaker, and felt that victory was only now a question of time. I, so
far from being fatigued, was even stronger. We had another desperate
wrestling match. I lifted my friend high in my arms, and dashed him,
panting, furious, foaming at the mouth--but _beaten_--against the
ground. There he lies: the worshipper of force. His God has deserted

But no, not yet. He has one more chance; and a fatal one it nearly
proved to me. I began to unfasten the tomahawk from his wrist. An odd
expression came over his countenance. He spoke for the first time.
"Enough! I am beaten; let me rise." Now I had often witnessed the manly
and becoming manner in which some Maoris can take defeat, when they
have been defeated in what they consider fair play. I had also ceased
to fear my friend, and so incautiously let go his left arm. Quick as
lightning, he snatched at a large carving fork, which, unperceived by
me, was lying on the floor amongst the smashed furniture and _débris_
of my household effects; his fingers touched the handle and it rolled
away out of his reach: my life was saved. He then struck me with all
his remaining force on the side of the head, causing the blood to flow
out of my mouth. One more short struggle, and he was conquered.

But now I had at last got angry: the drunkenness, the exhilaration of
fight, which comes on some constitutions, was fairly on me. I had also
a consciousness that now I must kill my man, or, sooner or later, he
would kill me. I thought of the place I would bury him; how I would
stun him first with the back of the tomahawk, to prevent too much blood
being seen; how I would then carry him off (I could carry two such men
now, easy): I would _murder_ him and cover him up. I unwound the
tomahawk from his wrist: he was passive and helpless now. I wished he
was stronger, and told him to get up and "die standing," as his
countrymen say. I clutched the tomahawk for the _coup-de-grace_ (I
can't help it, young ladies, the devil is in me);--at this instant a
thundering sound of feet is heard--a whole tribe are coming!

Now am I either lost or saved!--saved from doing that which I should
afterwards repent, though constrained by necessity to do it. The rush
of charging feet comes closer, and in an instant comes dashing and
smashing through doors and windows, in breathless haste and alarm, a
whole tribe of friends. Small ceremony now with my antagonist. He was
dragged by the heels, stamped on, kicked, and thrown half-dead, or
nearly quite dead, into his canoe.

All the time we had been fighting, a little slave imp of a boy
belonging to my antagonist had been loading the canoe with my goods and
chattels, and had managed to make a very fair plunder of it. These were
all now brought back by my friends, except one cloth jacket, which
happened to be concealed under the _whariki_; and which I only mention
because I remember that the attempt to recover it some time afterwards
cost one of my friends his life. The savage scoundrel, who had so
nearly done for me, broke two of his ribs, and so otherwise injured him
that he never recovered, and died after lingering about a year. My
friends were going on a journey, and had called to see me as they
passed. They saw the slave boy employed as I have stated, and knowing
to whom he belonged had rushed at once to the rescue, little expecting
to find me alive.

I may as well now dispose of this friend of mine, by giving his after
history. He for a long time after our fight went continually armed with
a double gun, and said he would shoot me wherever he met me; he however
had had enough of attacking me in my "castle," and so did not call
there any more. I also went continually armed, and took care also to
have always some of my people at hand. After this, this fellow
committed two more murders, and also killed in fair fight with his own
hand the first man in a native battle, in which the numbers on each
side were about three hundred, and which I witnessed. The man he killed
was a remarkably fine young fellow, a great favourite of mine. At last,
having attacked and attempted to murder another native, he was shot
through the heart by the person he attempted to murder, and fell dead
on the spot, and so there died "a great _rangatira_." His tribe quietly
buried him and said no more about it, which showed their sense of
right. Had he been killed in what they considered an unjust manner,
they would have revenged his death at any cost; but I have no doubt
they themselves were glad to get rid of him, for he was a terror to all
about him. I have been in many a scrape both by sea and land, but I
must confess that I never met a more able hand at an argument than this
Maori _rangatira_.

I have not mentioned my friend's name with whom I had this discussion on
the rights of Englishmen, because he has left a son, who is a great
_rangatira_, and who might feel displeased if I was too particular; and
I am not quite so able now to carry out a "face-to-face" policy as I was
a great many years ago: besides there is a sort of "honour-amongst-thieves"
feeling between myself and my Maori friends on certain matters which we
mutually understand are not for the ears of the "new people."

Now, ladies, I call that a fairish good fight, considering no one is
killed on either side. I promise to be good in future and to keep the
peace, if people will let me; and indeed, I may as well mention, that
from that day to this I have never had occasion to explain again to a
Maori how it is that "every Englishman's house is his castle."

"Fair play is a jewel;" and I will here, as bound in honour to do,
declare that I have met amongst the natives with men who would be a
credit to any nation; men on whom nature had plainly stamped the mark
of "Noble," of the finest bodily form, quick and intelligent in mind,
polite and brave, and capable of the most self-sacrificing acts for the
good of others; patient, forbearing, and affectionate in their
families: in a word, gentlemen. These men were the more remarkable as
they had grown up surrounded by a set of circumstances of the most
unfavourable kind for the development of the qualities of which they
were possessed; and I have often looked on with admiration, when I have
seen them protesting against, and endeavouring to restrain some of, the
dreadful barbarities of their countrymen.

As for the Maori people in general, they are neither so good nor so bad
as their friends and enemies have painted them, and I suspect are
pretty much like what almost any other people would have become, if
subjected for ages to the same external circumstances. For ages they
have struggled against necessity in all its shapes. This has given to
them a remarkable greediness for gain in every visible and immediately
tangible form. It has even left its mark on their language. Without the
aid of iron the most trifling tool or utensil could only be procured by
an enormously disproportionate outlay of labour in its construction,
and, in consequence, it became precious to a degree scarcely
conceivable by people of civilized and wealthy countries. This great
value attached to personal property of all kinds, increased
proportionately the temptation to plunder; and where no law existed, or
could exist, of sufficient force to repress the inclination, every man,
as a natural consequence, became a soldier; if it were only for the
defence of his own property and that of those who were banded with
him--his tribe, or family.

From this state of things regular warfare arose, as a matter of course;
the military art was studied as a science, and brought to great
perfection, as applied to the arms used; and a marked military
character was given to the people. The necessity of labour, the
necessity of warfare, and a temperate climate, gave them strength of
body, accompanied by a perseverance and energy of mind, perfectly
astonishing. With rude and blunt stones they felled the giant
kauri--toughest of pines; and from it, in process of time, at an
expense of labour, perseverance, and ingenuity, perfectly astounding to
those who know what it really was, produced, carved, painted, and
inlaid, a masterpiece of art, and an object of beauty--the war canoe,
capable of carrying a hundred men on a distant expedition, through the
boisterous seas surrounding their island.

As a consequence of their warlike habits and character, they are
self-possessed and confident in themselves and their own powers, and
have much diplomatic finesse and casuistry at command. Their
intelligence causes them theoretically to acknowledge the benefits of
law, which they see established amongst us; but their hatred of
restraint causes them practically to abhor and resist its full
enforcement amongst themselves. Doubting our professions of friendship,
fearing our ultimate designs, led astray by false friends, possessed of
that "little learning" which is, in their case, most emphatically "a
dangerous thing," and divided amongst themselves,--such are the people
with whom we are now in contact--such the people to whom, for our own
safety and their preservation, we must give new laws and institutions,
new habits of life, new ideas, sentiments and information--whom we must
either civilize or, by our mere contact, exterminate. How is this to be
done?[1] Let me see. I think I shall not answer this question until I
am prime minister.

    [1] PRINTER'S DEVIL.--How is _this_ to be done?--_which?_--_civilize_
    or _exterminate_? PAKEHA MAORI.--_Eaha mau._


    Excitement caused by first Contact with Europeans.--The two great
    Institutions of Maori Land.--The Muru.--The Tapu. Instances of
    Legal Robbery.--Descriptions and Examples of the Muru.--Profit and
    Loss.--Explanation of some of the Workings of the Law of Muru.

The natives have been for fifty years or more in a continual state of
excitement on one subject or another: this has had a markedly bad
effect on their character and physical condition, as I shall by-and-by
take occasion to point out. When the first straggling ships came here,
the smallest bit of iron was a prize so inestimable that I might be
thought to exaggerate were I to tell the bare truth on the subject. The
excitement and speculation caused by a ship being seen off the coast
were immense. Where would she anchor? What _iron_ could be got from
her? Would it be possible to seize her? The oracle was consulted,
preparations were made to follow her along the coast, even through an
enemy's country, at all risks; and when she disappeared she was not
forgotten, but would continue long to be the subject of anxious
expectation and speculation.

After this, regular trading began. The great madness then was for
muskets and gunpowder. A furious competition was kept up. Should any
tribe fail to procure a stock of these articles as soon as its
neighbours, extermination was its probable doom. We may then imagine
the excitement, the over-labour, the hardship, the starvation
(occasioned by crops neglected whilst labouring to produce flax or
other commodity demanded in payment)--I say imagine, but I have seen at
least part of it.

After the demand for arms was supplied, came a perfect furor for iron
tools, instruments of husbandry, clothing, and all kinds of pakeha
manufactures. These things having been quite beyond their means while
they were supplying themselves with arms, they were in the most extreme
want of them; particularly iron tools. A few years ago the madness ran
upon horses and cattle; now, young New Zealand believes in nothing but
money, and they are continually tormenting themselves with plans to
acquire it in large sums at once, without the trouble of slow and
saving industry; which, as applied to the accumulation of money, they
neither approve of nor understand: nor will they ever, as a people,
take this mode till convinced that money, like everything else of
value, can only be procured as a rule by giving full value for it,
either in labour or the produce of labour.

Here I am, I find, again before my story. Right down to the present
time, talking of "young New Zealand," and within a hair's-breadth of
settling "the Maori difficulty" without having been paid for it; which
would have been a great oversight, and contrary to the customs of New
Zealand. I must go back.

There were in the old times two great institutions, which ruled with
iron rod in Maori land--the _Tapu_ and the _Muru_. Pakehas who knew no
better called the _muru_ simply "robbery," because the word _muru_, in
its common signification, means to plunder. But I speak of the regular
legalized and established system of plundering, as penalty for
offences; which in a rough way resembled our law by which a man is
obliged to pay "damages." Great abuses had, however, crept into this
system--so great, indeed, as to render the retention of any sort of
movable property almost an impossibility, and in a great measure, too,
discourage the inclination to labour for its acquisition. These great
inconveniences were, however, met, or in some degree softened, by an
expedient of a peculiarly Maori nature, which I shall by-and-by

The offences for which people were plundered were sometimes of a nature
which, to a _mere_ pakeha, would seem curious. A man's child fell in
the fire and was almost burnt to death. The father was immediately
plundered to an extent that almost left him without the means of
subsistence: fishing-nets, canoes, pigs, provisions--all went. His
canoe upset, and he and all his family narrowly escaped drowning--some
were, perhaps, drowned. He was immediately robbed, and well pummelled
with a club into the bargain, if he was not good at the science of
self-defence--the club part of the ceremony being always fairly
administered one against one, and after fair warning given to defend
himself. He might be clearing some land for potatoes, burning off the
fern, and the fire spreads farther than he intended, and gets into a
_wahi tapu_ or burial-ground. No matter whether any one has been buried
in it or no for the last hundred years: he is tremendously robbed. In
fact, for ten thousand different causes a man might be robbed; and I
can really imagine a case in which a man for scratching his own head
might be legally robbed.

Now as the enforcers of this law were also the parties who received the
damages, as well as the judges of the amount--which in many cases (such
as that of the burnt child) would be everything they could by any means
lay hands on--it is easy to perceive that under such a system, personal
property was an evanescent sort of thing altogether. These executions
or distraints were never resisted. Indeed in many cases (as I shall
explain by-and-by), it would have been felt as a slight, and even an
insult, _not_ to be robbed; the sacking of a man's establishment being
often taken as a high compliment, especially if his head was broken
into the bargain: and to resist the execution would not only have been
looked upon as mean and disgraceful in the highest degree, _but it
would have debarred the contemptible individual from the privilege of
robbing his neighbours_; which was the compensating expedient I have
alluded to. All this may seem a waste of words to my pakeha Maori
readers, to whom these things have become such matters of course as to
be no longer remarkable; but I have remembered that there are so many
new people in the country who don't understand the beauty of being
knocked down and robbed, that I shall say a few more words on the

The tract of country inhabited by a single tribe might be, say, from
forty to a hundred miles square, and the different villages of the
different sections of the tribe would be scattered over this area at
different distances from each other. We will by way of illustrating the
working of the _muru_ system, take the case of the burnt child. Soon
after the accident it would be heard of in the neighbouring villages;
the family of the mother are probably the inhabitants of one of them,
and have, according to the law of _muru_, the first and greatest right
to clean out the afflicted father; a child being considered to belong
to the family of the mother more than to that of the father--in fact,
it is their child, which the father has the rearing of. The child was,
moreover, a promising lump of a boy, the makings of a future warrior,
and consequently very valuable to the whole tribe in general; but to
the mother's family in particular. "A pretty thing to let him get
spoiled." Then he is a boy of good family, a _rangatira_ by birth, and
it would never do to let the thing pass without making a noise about
it: that would be an insult to the dignity of the families of both
father and mother. Decidedly, besides being robbed, the father must be
assaulted with a spear. True, he is a famous spearsman, and for his own
credit must "hurt" some one or another if attacked. But this is of no
consequence: a flesh wound more or less deep is to be counted on; and
then think of the plunder! It is against the law of _muru_ that any one
should be killed, and first blood ends the duel. Then the natural
affection of all the child's relations is great. They are all in a
great state of excitement, and trying to remember how many canoes, and
pigs, and other valuable articles, the father has got: for this must be
a clean sweep.

A strong party is now mustered, headed probably by the brother of the
mother of the child. He is a stout chap, and carries a long tough
spear. A messenger is sent to the father, to say that the _taua muru_
is coming, and may be expected tomorrow, or the next day. He asks, "Is
it a great _taua_?" "Yes; it is a very great _taua_ indeed." The victim
smiles, he feels highly complimented; he _is_ then a man of
consequence. His child is also of great consideration; he is thought
worthy of a large force being sent to rob him! Now he sets all in
motion to prepare a huge feast for the friendly robbers, his relations.
He may as well be liberal, for his provisions are sure to go, whether
or no. Pigs are killed and baked whole, potatoes are piled up in great
heaps, all is made ready; he looks out his best spear, and keeps it
always ready in his hand. At last the _taua_ appears on a hill half a
mile off; then the whole fighting men of the section of the tribe of
which he is an important member, collect at his back, all armed with
spear and club, to show that they could resist, if they would: a thing,
however, not to be thought of under the circumstances.

On comes the _taua_. The mother begins to cry in proper form; the tribe
shout the call of welcome to the approaching robbers; and then with a
grand rush, all armed, and looking as if they intended to exterminate
all before them, the _kai muru_ appear on the scene. They dance the war
dance, which the villagers answer with another. Then the chief's
brother-in-law advances, spear in hand, with the most alarming
gestures. "Stand up!--stand up!--I will kill you this day," is his cry.
The defendant is not slow to answer the challenge. A most exciting, and
what to a new pakeha would appear a most desperately dangerous, fencing
bout with spears, instantly commences. The attack and defence are in
the highest degree scientific; the spear shafts keep up a continuous
rattle; the thrust, and parry, and stroke with the spear shaft follow
each other with almost incredible rapidity, and are too rapid to be
followed by an unpractised eye. At last the brother-in-law is slightly
touched; blood also drops from our chief's thigh. The fight instantly
ceases; leaning on their spears, probably a little badinage takes place
between them, and then the brother-in-law roars out, "_Murua! murua!
murua!_" Then the new arrivals commence a regular sack, and the two
principals sit down quietly with a few others for a friendly chat, in
which the child's name is never mentioned, or the inquiry as to whether
he is dead or alive even made.

The case I have just described would, however, be one of more than
ordinary importance; slighter "accidents and offences" would be atoned
for by a milder form of operation. But the general effect was to keep
personal property circulating from hand to hand pretty briskly, or
indeed to convert it into public property; for no man could say who
would be the owner of his canoe, or blanket, in a month's time. Indeed,
in that space of time, I once saw a nice coat, which a native had got
from the captain of a trading schooner, and which was an article much
coveted in those days, pass through the hands, and over the backs, of
six different owners, and return, considerably the worse for wear, to
the original purchaser; and all these transfers had been made by legal
process of _muru_. I have been often myself paid the compliment of
being robbed for little accidents occurring in my family, and have
several times also, from a feeling of politeness, robbed my Maori
friends; though I can't say I was a great gainer by these transactions.

I think the greatest haul I ever made was about half a bag of shot,
which I thought a famous joke, seeing that I had sold it the day before
to the owner for full value. A month after this I was disturbed early
in the morning, by a voice shouting "Get up!--get up! I will kill you
this day. You have roasted my grandfather. Get up!--_stand_ up!" I, of
course, guessed that I had committed some heinous though involuntary
offence, and the "stand up" hinted the immediate probable consequences;
so out I turned, spear in hand, and who should I see, armed with a
bayonet on the end of a long pole, but my friend the late owner of the
bag of shot. He came at me with pretended fury; made some smart bangs
and thrusts, which I parried, and then explained to me that I had
"cooked his grandfather;" and that if I did not come down handsome in
the way of damages, deeply as he might regret the necessity, his own
credit, and the law of _muru_, compelled him either to sack my house,
or die in the attempt. I was glad enough to prevent either event, by
paying him two whole bags of shot, two blankets, divers fish-hooks, and
certain figs of tobacco, which he demanded. I found that I had really
and truly committed a most horrid crime. I had on a journey made my
fire at the foot of a tree, in the top of which the bones of my
friend's grandfather had once been deposited, but from which they had
been removed ten years before. The tree caught fire and had burnt down:
and I, therefore, by a convenient sort of figure of speech, had
"roasted his grandfather," and had to pay the penalty accordingly.

It did not require much financial ability on my part, after a few
experiences of this nature, to perceive that I had better avail myself
of my privileges as a pakeha, and have nothing further to do with the
law of _muru_--a determination I have kept to strictly. If ever I have
unwittingly injured any of my neighbours, I have always made what I
considered just compensation, and resisted the _muru_ altogether: and I
will say this for my friends, that when any of them have done an
accidental piece of mischief, they have, in most cases without being
asked, offered to pay for it.

The above slight sketch of the penal law of New Zealand I present and
dedicate to the Law Lords of England; as it might, perhaps, afford some
hints for a reform in our own. The only remark I shall have to add is,
that if a man killed another, "malice prepense aforethought," the act,
in nineteen cases out of twenty, would be either a very meritorious
one, or of no consequence whatever; in either of which cases the penal
code had, of course, nothing to do in the matter. If, however, a man
killed another by _accident_, in the majority of cases the consequences
would be most serious; and not only the involuntary homicide, but every
one connected with him, would be plundered of everything they possessed
worth taking.

This, however, to an English lawyer, may require some explanation,
which is as follows:--If a man thought fit to kill his own slave, it
was nobody's affair but his own; the law had nothing to do with it. If
he killed a man of another tribe, he had nothing to do but declare it
was in revenge or retaliation for some aggression, either recent or
traditional, by the other tribe; of which examples were never scarce.
In this case, the action became at once highly meritorious, and his
whole tribe would support and defend him to the last extremity. If he,
however, killed a man by accident, the slain man would be, as a matter
of course, in most instances, one of his ordinary companions--_i.e._,
one of his own tribe. The accidental discharge of a gun often caused
death in this way. Then, indeed, the law of _muru_ had full swing, and
the wholesale plunder of the criminal and family was the penalty.
Murder, as the natives understood it: that is to say, the malicious
destruction of a man of _the same tribe_, did not happen so frequently
as might be expected; and when it did, went in most cases unpunished:
the murderer, in general, managed to escape to some other section of
the tribe where he had relations; who, as he fled to them for
protection, were bound to give it, and always ready to do so; or
otherwise he would stand his ground and defy all comers, by means of
the strength of his own family or section, who all would defend him and
protect him as a mere matter of course: and as the law of _utu_ or _lex
talionis_ was the only one which applied in this case, and as, unlike
the law of _muru_, nothing was to be got by enforcing it but hard
blows, murder in most cases went unpunished.


    The Muru falling into Disuse.--Why.--Examples of the Tapu.--The
    Personal Tapu.--Evading the Tapu.--The Undertaker's Tapu.--How I
    got Tabooed.--Frightful Difficulties.--How I got out of them.--The
    War Tapu.--Maori War Customs.

The law of _muru_ is now but little used, and only on a small scale.
The degenerate men of the present day in general content themselves
with asking "payment," and, after some cavilling as to the amount, it
is generally given; but if refused, the case is brought before a native
magistrate: the pleadings on both sides are often such as would astound
our barristers, and the decisions of a nature to throw those famous
ones by Sancho Panza and Walter the Doubter for ever into the shade.

I think the reason that the _muru_ is so much less practised than
formerly, is the fact that the natives are now far better supplied with
the necessaries and comforts of life than they were many years ago;
especially iron tools and utensils, and in consequence the temptation
to plunder is proportionately decreased. Money would still be a
temptation; but it is so easily concealed, and in general they have so
little of it, that other means are adopted for its acquisition. When I
first saw the natives, the chance of getting an axe or a spade by the
summary process of _muru_, or--at a still more remote period--a few
wooden implements, or a canoe, was so great a temptation, that the
lucky possessor was continually watched by many eager and observant
eyes, in hopes to pick a hole in his coat, by which the _muru_ might be
legally brought to bear upon him. I say legally, for the natives always
tried to have a sufficient excuse: and I absolutely declare, odd as it
may seem, that actual, unauthorized, and inexcusable robbery or theft
was less frequent than in any country I ever have been in, though the
temptation to steal was a thousandfold greater.

The natives of the present day are, however, improving in this respect,
and, amongst other arts of civilization, are beginning to have very
pretty notions of housebreaking; they have even tried highway robbery,
though in a bungling way. The fact is they are just now between two
tides. The old institutions which, barbarous and rude as they were,
were respected and in some degree useful, are wearing out, and have
lost all beneficial effect, and at the same time the laws and usages of
civilization have not acquired any sufficient force. This state of
things is very unfavourable to the _morale_ of Young New Zealand; but
it is likely to change for the better, for it is a maxim of mine that
"laws, if not _made_, will _grow_."

I must now take some little notice of the other great institution, the
_tapu_. The limits of these flying sketches of the good old times will
not allow of more than a partial notice of the all-pervading _tapu_.
Earth, air, fire, water, goods and chattels, growing crops, men, women,
and children,--everything, absolutely, was subject to its influence;
and a more perplexing puzzle to new pakehas, who were continually from
ignorance infringing some of its rules, could not be well imagined. The
natives, however, made considerable allowance for this ignorance; as
well they might, seeing that they themselves, though from infancy to
old age enveloped in a cloud of _tapu_, would sometimes fall into
similar scrapes.

The original object of the ordinary _tapu_ seems to have been the
preservation of property. Of this nature in a great degree was the
ordinary personal _tapu_. This form of the _tapu_ was permanent, and
consisted in a certain sacred character which attached to the person of
a chief, and never left him. It was his birthright: a part, in fact, of
himself, of which he could not be divested; and it was well understood
and recognized at all times, as a matter of course. The fighting men
and petty chiefs, and every one, indeed, who could by any means claim
the title of _rangatira_--which, in the sense I now use it, means
gentleman--were all in some degree more or less possessed of this
mysterious quality. It extended or was communicated to all their
movable property; especially to their clothes, weapons, ornaments, and
tools, and to everything, in fact, which they touched. This prevented
their chattels from being stolen or mislaid, or spoiled by children, or
used or handled in any way by others. And as in the old times, as I
have before stated, every kind of property of this kind was precious,
in consequence of the great labour and time necessarily, for want of
iron tools, expended in the manufacture, this form of the _tapu_ was of
great real service. An infringement of it subjected the offender to
various dreadful imaginary punishments; of which deadly sickness was
one, as well as to the operation of the law of _muru_ already
mentioned. If the transgression was involuntary, the chief, or a
priest, or _tohunga_, could, by a certain mystical ceremony, prevent or
remit the doleful and mysterious part of the punishment, if he chose;
but the civil action, or the robbery by law of _muru_, would most
likely have to take its course, though possibly in a mitigated form,
according to the circumstances.

I have stated that the worst part of the punishment of an offence
against this form of the _tapu_ was imaginary; but in truth, though
imaginary, it was not the less a severe punishment. "Conscience makes
cowards of us all," and there was scarcely a man in a thousand, _if_
one, who had sufficient resolution to dare the shadowy terrors of the
_tapu_. I actually have seen an instance where the offender, though an
involuntary one, was killed stone dead in six hours, by what I
considered the effects of his own terrified imagination; but what all
the natives at the time believed to be the work of the terrible avenger
of the _tapu_. The case I may as well describe, as it was a strong one,
and shows how, when falsehoods are once believed, they will meet with
apparent proof from accidental circumstances.

A chief of very high rank, standing, and _mana_, was on a war
expedition; with him were about five hundred men. His own personal
_tapu_ was increased twofold, as was that of all the warriors who were
with him, by the _war tapu_. The _taua_ being on a very dangerous
expedition, they were, over and above the ordinary personal _tapu_,
made sacred in the highest degree, and were obliged to observe strictly
several mysterious and sacred customs; some of which I may have to
explain by-and-by. They were, in fact, as irreverent pakehas used to
say, "tabooed an inch thick;" and as for the head chief, he was
perfectly unapproachable. The expedition halted to dine. The portion of
food set apart for the chief, in a neat _paro_ or shallow basket of
green flax leaves, was, of course, enough for two or three men, and
consequently the greater part remained unconsumed. The party, having
dined, moved on; and soon after a party of slaves and others, who had
been some mile or two in the rear, came up, carrying ammunition and
baggage. One of the slaves, a stout hungry fellow, seeing the chief's
unfinished dinner, ate it up before asking any questions. He had hardly
finished, when he was informed by a horror-stricken individual--another
slave who had remained behind when the _taua_ had moved on--of the
fatal act he had committed. I knew the unfortunate delinquent well: he
was remarkable for courage, and had signalized himself in the wars of
the tribe. (The able-bodied slaves are always expected to fight in the
quarrels of their masters; to do which they are nothing loth.) No
sooner did he hear the fatal news than he was seized with the most
extraordinary convulsions and cramps in the stomach, which never ceased
till he died, about sundown the same day. He was a strong man, in the
prime of life; and if any pakeha free-thinker should have said he was
not killed by the _tapu_ of the chief, which had been communicated to
the food by contact, he would have been listened to with feelings of
contempt for his ignorance and inability to understand plain and direct

It will be seen at once that this form of the _tapu_ was a great
preserver of property. The most valuable articles might, in ordinary
circumstances, be left to its protection, in the absence of the owners,
for any length of time. It also prevented borrowing and lending in a
very great degree; and though much laughed at and grumbled at by
unthinking pakehas--who would be always trying to get the natives to
give it up, without offering them anything equally effective in its
place, or indeed knowing its real object or uses--it held its ground in
full force for many years; and, in a certain but not so very observable
a form, it exists still. This form of the _tapu_, though latent in
young folks of _rangatira_ rank, was not supposed to develope itself
fully till they had arrived at mature age, and set up house on their
own account. The lads and boys "knocked about" amongst the slaves and
lower orders, carried fuel or provisions on their backs, and did all
those duties which this personal _tapu_ prevented the elders from
doing; and which restraint was sometimes very troublesome and

A man of any standing could not carry provisions of any kind on his
back; or if he did they were rendered _tapu_, and in consequence
useless to any one but himself. If he went into the shed used as a
kitchen (a thing, however, he would never think of doing except on some
great emergency), all the pots, ovens, food, &c., would be at once
rendered useless: none of the cooks or inferior people could make use
of them, or partake of anything which had been cooked in them. He might
certainly light a little fire in his own house; not for cooking, as
that never by any chance could be done in his house, but for warmth:
but that, or any other fire, if he should have blown upon it with his
breath in lighting it, became at once _tapu_, and could be used for no
common or culinary purpose. Even to light a pipe at it would subject
any inferior person (and in many instances an equal) to a terrible
attack of the _tapu morbus_; besides being a slight or affront to the
dignity of the person himself.

I have seen two or three young men when on a journey fairly wearing
themselves out on a wet day and with bad apparatus, trying to make fire
to cook with, by rubbing two sticks together; when at the same time
there was a roaring fire close at hand at which several _rangatira_ and
myself were warming ourselves: but it was _tapu_, sacred fire--one of
the _rangatira_ had made it from his own tinder box, and blown upon it
in lighting it, and as there was not another tinder box amongst us,
fast we must, though hungry as sharks, till common culinary fire could
be obtained. A native whose personal _tapu_ was perhaps of the
strongest, might, when at the house of a pakeha, ask for a drink of
water; and the pakeha, being green, would hand him some water in a
glass, or, in those days, more probably in a tea-cup; the native would
drink the water, and then gravely and quietly break the cup to pieces,
or otherwise he would appropriate it by causing it to vanish under his
mat. The new pakeha would immediately fly into a passion, to the great
astonishment of the native; who considered as a matter of course, that
the cup or glass was, in the estimation of the pakeha, a very worthless
article, or he would not have given it into his hand and allowed him to
put it to his head, the part most strongly infected by the _tapu_. Both
parties would be surprised and displeased; the native wondering what
could have put the pakeha into such a taking, and the pakeha "wondering
at the rascal's impudence, and what he meant by it?"

The proper line of conduct for the pakeha in the above case made and
provided, supposing him to be of a hospitable and obliging disposition,
would be to lay hold of some vessel containing about two gallons of
water (to allow for waste), and hold it up before the native's face;
the native would then stoop down and put his hand, bent into the shape
of a funnel or conductor for the water, to his mouth; then, from the
height of a foot or so, the pakeha would send a cataract of water into
the said funnel, and continue the shower till the native gave a slight
upward nod of the head, which meant "enough:" by which time, from the
awkwardness of the pakeha, the two gallons of water would be about
expended, half, at least, on the top of the native's head; but he would
not, however, appear to notice the circumstance, and would appreciate
the civility of his pakeha friend. I have often drunk in this way in
the old times: asking for a drink of water at a native village, a
native would gravely approach with a calabash, and hold it up before me
ready to pour forth its contents; when I, of course, cocked my hand and
lip in the most knowing manner. If I had laid hold of the calabash and
drunk in the ordinary way, as practised by pakehas, I should have at
once fallen in the estimation of all by-standers, and been set down as
a _tutua_, a nobody, who had no _tapu_ or _mana_ about him--a mere
scrub of a pakeha, whom any one might eat or drink after without the
slightest danger of being poisoned.

These things are all changed now; and though I have often, in the good
old times, been tabooed in the most diabolical and dignified manner,
there are only a few old men left now who, by little unmistakable
signs, I perceive consider it would be very uncivil to act in any way
which would suppose my _tapu_ to have disappeared before the influx of
new-fangled pakeha notions. Indeed I feel myself sometimes as if I had
somehow insensibly become partially civilized. What it will all end in,
I don't know.

This same personal _tapu_ would even hold its own in some cases against
the _muru_; though not in a sufficiently general manner to seriously
affect the operation of that well-enforced law. Its inconveniences
were, on the other hand, many, and the expedients resorted to to avoid
them were sometimes comical enough. I was once going on an excursion
with a number of natives; we had two canoes, and one of them started a
little before the other. I was with the canoe which had been left
behind, and just as we were setting off it was discovered that amongst
twenty stout fellows my companions there was no one who had a back!--as
they expressed it: consequently there was no one to carry our
provisions into the canoe. All the lads, women, and slaves had gone off
in the other canoe,--all those who had backs,--and so there we were
left, a very disconsolate lot of _rangatira_, who could not carry their
own provisions into the canoe, and who at the same time could not go
without them. The provisions consisted of several heavy baskets of
potatoes, some dried sharks, and a large pig baked whole. What was to
be done? We were all brought to a full stop, though in a great hurry to
go on. We were beginning to think we must give up the expedition
altogether, and were very much disappointed accordingly, when a clever
fellow--who, had he been bred a lawyer, would have made nothing of
driving a mail coach through an act of parliament--set us all to rights
in a moment. "I'll tell you what we must do," said he, "we will not
carry (_pikau_) the provisions, we will _hiki_ them." (_Hiki_ is the
word in Maori which describes the act of carrying an infant in the
arms.) This was a great discovery! A huge handsome fellow seized on the
baked pig and dandled it, or _hiki'd_ it, in his arms like an infant;
another laid hold of a shark, others took baskets of potatoes, and
carrying them in this way deposited them in the canoe. And so, having
thus evaded the law, we started on our expedition.

I remember another amusing instance in which the inconvenience arising
from the _tapu_ was evaded. I must, however, notice that these
instances were only evasions of the ordinary kind of _tapu_,--what I
have called the personal _tapu_; not the more dangerous and dreadful
kind connected with the mystic doings of the _tohunga_, or that other
form of _tapu_ connected with the handling of the dead. Indeed, my
companions in the instance I have mentioned, though all _rangatira_,
were young men on whom the personal _tapu_ had not arrived at the
fullest perfection: it seemed, indeed, sometimes to sit very lightly on
them, and I doubt very much if the play upon the words _hiki_ and
_pikau_ would have reconciled any of the elders of the tribe to
carrying a roasted pig in their arms; or, if they did do so, I feel
quite certain that no amount of argument would have persuaded the
younger men to eat it: as for slaves or women, to _look_ at it would
almost be dangerous to them.

The other instance of dodging the law was as follows. I was the first
pakeha who had ever arrived at a certain populous inland village. The
whole of the inhabitants were in a great state of commotion and
curiosity, for many of them had never seen a pakeha before. As I
advanced, the whole juvenile population ran before me at a safe
distance of about a hundred yards, eyeing me, as I perceived, with
great terror and distrust. At last I suddenly made a charge at them,
rolling my eyes and showing my teeth; and to see the small savages
tumbling over one another and running for their lives was something
curious: and though my "demonstration" did not continue more than
twenty yards, I am sure some of the little villains ran a mile before
looking behind to see whether the ferocious monster called a pakeha was
gaining on them. They did run! I arrived at the centre of the village
and was conducted to a large house or shed, which had been constructed
as a place of reception for visitors, and as a general lounging place
for all the inhabitants. It was a _whare noa_, a house to which, from
its general and temporary uses, the _tapu_ was not supposed to attach:
I mean, of course, the ordinary personal _tapu_ or _tapu rangatira_.
Any person, however, _infected_ with any of the more serious or
extraordinary forms of the _tapu_ entering it, would at once render it
uninhabitable. I took my seat. The house was full, and nearly the whole
of the rest of the population were blocking up the open front of the
large shed; all striving to see the pakeha, and passing to the rear
from man to man every word he happened to speak. I could hear them say
to the people behind, "The pakeha has stood up!" "Now he has sat down
again!" "He has said, how do you all do?" "He has said, this is a nice
place of yours!" &c. &c.

Now there happened to be at a distance, an old gentleman engaged in
clearing the weeds from a _kumera_ or sweet potato field, and as the
kumera in the old times was the crop on which the natives depended
chiefly for support, like all valuable things it was _tapu_, and the
parties who entered the field to remove the weeds were _tapu pro tem._
also. One of the effects of this temporary extra _tapu_ was that the
parties could not enter any regular dwelling-house, or, indeed, any
house used by others. The breach of this rule would not be dangerous in
a personal sense, but the effect would be that the crop of sweet
potatoes would fail. The industrious individual I have alluded to,
hearing the cry of "A pakeha! a pakeha!" from many voices, and having
never had an opportunity to examine that variety of the species, or
_genus homo_, flung down his wooden _kaheru_ or weed exterminator, and
rushed towards the town house before mentioned. What could he do? The
_tapu_ forbade his entrance, and the front was so completely blocked up
by his admiring neighbours that he could not get sight of the wonderful
guest. In these desperate circumstances a bright thought struck him: he
would, by a bold and ingenious device, give the _tapu_ the slip. He ran
to the back of the house, made with some difficulty a hole in the
padded _raupo_ wall, and squeezed his head through it. The elastic wall
of _raupo_ closed again around his neck; and the _tapu_ was fairly
beaten! No one could say he was _in_ the house. He was certainly more
out than in; and there, seemingly hanging from, or stuck against the
wall, remained for hours, with open mouth and wondering eyes, this
brazen head; till at last, the shades of night obstructing its vision,
a rustling noise in the wall of flags and reeds announced the departure
of my ingenious admirer.

Some of the forms of the _tapu_, however, were not to be trifled with,
and were of a most virulent kind. Of this kind was the _tapu_ of those
who handled the dead, or conveyed the body to its last resting-place.
This _tapu_ was, in fact, the uncleanness of the old Jewish law; it
lasted about the same time, and was removed in almost the same way. It
was a most serious affair. The person who came under this form of the
_tapu_ was cut off from all contact, and almost all communication, with
the human race. He could not enter any house, or come in contact with
any person or thing, without utterly defiling them. He could not even
touch food with his hands; which had become so frightfully _tapu_, or
unclean, as to be quite useless. Food would be placed for him on the
ground, and he would then sit or kneel down, and, with his hands
carefully held behind his back, would gnaw it in the best way he could.
In some cases he would be fed by another person, who, with
out-stretched arm, would manage to do it without touching the _tapu'd_
individual; but this feeder was subjected to many and severe
restrictions, not much less onerous than those to which the other was

In almost every populous native village there was a person
who--probably for the sake of immunity from labour, or from being good
for nothing else--took up the undertaking business as a regular
profession, and, in consequence, was never for a moment, for years
together, clear of the horrid inconveniences of the _tapu_, as well as
its dangers. One of these people might be easily recognized, after a
little experience, even by a pakeha. Old, withered, haggard, clothed in
the most miserable rags, and daubed all over from head to foot with red
paint (the native funereal colour), made of stinking shark oil and red
ochre mixed, keeping always at a distance, silent and solitary, often
half insane, he might be seen sitting motionless all day at forty or
fifty yards distance from the common path or thoroughfare of the
village. There, under the "lee" of a bush, or tuft of flax, he gazed
silently, and with "lacklustre eye," on the busy doings of the Maori
world, of which he was hardly to be called a member. Twice a day some
food would be thrown on the ground before him, to gnaw as best he
might, without the use of hands; and at night, tightening his greasy
rags around him, he would crawl into some miserable lair of leaves and
rubbish; there, cold, half starved, miserable, and dirty, to pass, in
fitful ghost-haunted slumbers, a wretched night, as prelude to another
wretched day. It requires, they say, all sorts of people to make a
world; and I have often thought, in observing one of these miserable
objects, that his, or hers, was the very lowest ebb to which a human
being's prospects in life could be brought by adverse fate. When I met,
or rather saw, a female practitioner, I fairly ran for it; and,
believing my readers to be equally tender-hearted, I shall not venture
on any more description, but merely say that the male undertaker, such
as I have described him, would be an Apollo, in comparison with one of
these hags.

What will my kind reader say when I tell him that I myself once got
_tapu'd_ with this same horrible, most horrible, style of _tapu_? I
hold it to be a fact that there is not one man in New Zealand but
myself who has a clear understanding of what the word "excommunication"
means: indeed I did not understand what it meant till I got _tapu'd_. I
was returning with about sixty men from a journey along the west coast,
and was a short distance in advance of the party, when I came to where
the side of a hill had fallen down on to the beach and exposed a number
of human bones. There was a large skull rolling about in the water, and
I took up this skull without consideration, carried it to the side of
the hill, scraped a hole, and covered it up. Just as I had finished
burying it up came my friends, and I saw at once, by the astonishment
and dismay depicted on their countenances, that I had committed some
most unfortunate act. They soon let me know that the hill had been a
burial-place of their tribe, and jumped at once to the conclusion that
the skull was the skull of one of their most famous chiefs; whose name
they told me. They informed me also that I was no longer fit company
for human beings, and begged me to fall to the rear and keep my
distance. They told me all this from a very respectful distance, and if
I made a step towards them, they all ran as if I had been infected by
the plague. This was an awkward state of things, but as it could not be
helped, I voted myself _tapu_, and kept clear of my friends till night.

At night when they camped, I was obliged to take my solitary abode at a
distance under shelter of a rock. When the evening meal was cooked,
they brought me a fair allowance, and set it down at a respectful
distance from where I sat; fully expecting, I suppose, that I should
bob at it as Maori _kai tango atua_, or undertakers, are wont to do. I
had, however, no idea of any such proceeding; and, pulling out my
knife, proceeded to operate in the usual manner. I was checked by an
exclamation of horror and surprise from the whole band--"Oh, what are
you about? You are not going to touch food with your _hands_!" "Indeed,
but I am," said I, and stretched out my hand. Here another scream--"You
must not do that: it's the worst of all things. One of us will feed
you: it's wrong, wrong, very wrong!" "Oh, bother," said I, and fell too
at once. I declare, positively, I had no sooner done so than I felt
sorry. The expression of horror, contempt, and pity, observable in
their faces, convinced me that I had not only offended and hurt their
feelings, but that I had lowered myself greatly in their estimation.
Certainly I was a pakeha, and pakehas will do most unaccountable
things, and may be, in ordinary cases, excused; but this, I saw at
once, was an act which, to my friends, seemed the _ne plus ultra_ of
abomination. I now can well understand that, while sitting there eating
my potatoes, I must have appeared to them a ghoul, a vampire; worse
than even one of their own dreadful _atua_, who, at the command of a
witch, or to avenge some breach of the _tapu_, enters into a man's body
and slowly eats away his vitals. I can see it now, and understand what
a frightful object I must have appeared.

My friends broke up their camp at once, not feeling sure, after what I
had done, but I might walk in amongst them, in the night, when they
were asleep, and bedevil them all. They marched all night, and in the
morning came to my house, where they spread consternation and dismay
amongst my household by telling them in what a condition I was coming
home. The whole of my establishment at this time being natives, ran off
at once; and when I got home next evening, hungry and vexed, there was
not a soul to be seen. The house and kitchen were shut up, fires out,
and, as I fancied, everything looked dreary and uncomfortable. If only
a dog had come and wagged his tail in welcome, it would have been
something; but even my dog was gone. Certainly there was an old tom
cat; but I hate cats: there is no sincerity in them, and so I had
kicked this old tom, on principle, whenever he came in my way, and now,
when he saw me, he ran for his life into the bush.

The instinct of a hungry man sent me into the kitchen; there was
nothing eatable to be seen but a raw leg of pork, and the fire was out.
I now began to suspect that this attempt of mine to look down the
_tapu_ would fail, and that I should remain excommunicated for some
frightfully indefinite period. I began to think of Robinson Crusoe, and
to wonder if I could hold out as well as he did. Then I looked hard at
the leg of pork. The idea that I must cook it for myself, brought home
to me the fact more forcibly than anything else how I had "fallen from
my high estate"--cooking being the very last thing a _rangatira_ can
turn his hand to. But why should I have anything more to do with
cooking?--was I not cast off and repudiated by the human race? (A
horrible misanthropy was fast taking hold of me.) Why should I not tear
my leg of pork raw, like a wolf? "I will run a-muck!"--suddenly said I.
"I wonder how many I can kill before they 'bag' me? But--I must have
some supper."

I soon made a fire, and, after a little rummaging, found the _matériel_
for a good meal. My cooking was not so bad either, I thought; but
certainly hunger is not hard to please in this respect, and I had eaten
nothing since the diabolical meal of the preceding evening, and had
travelled more than twenty miles. I washed my hands six or seven times,
scrubbing away and muttering with an intonation that would have been a
fortune to a tragic actor, "Out, damned spot;" and so, after having
washed and dried my hands, looked at them, returned, and washed again,
again washed, and so on, several times, I sat down and demolished two
days' allowance. After which, reclining before the fire with my pipe,
and a blanket over my shoulders, a more kindly feeling towards my
fellow-men stole gradually upon me. "I wonder," said I to myself, "how
long this devilish _tapu_ will last! I wonder if there is to be any end
at all to it! I won't run a-muck for a week, at all events, till I see
what may turn up. Confounded plague though to have to cook!" Having
resolved as above, not to take any one's life for a week, I felt more

Four days passed, somehow or another, and on the morning of the fifth,
to my extreme delight, I saw a small canoe, pulled by one man, landing
on the beach before the house. He fastened his canoe and advanced
towards the kitchen, which was detached from the house, and, in the
late deplorable state of affairs, had become my regular residence. I
sat in the doorway, and soon perceived that my visitor was a famous
_tohunga_, or priest, and who also had the reputation of being a witch
of no ordinary dimensions. He was an old, grave, stolid-looking savage,
with one eye; the other had been knocked out long ago in a fight,
before he turned parson. On he came, with a slow, measured step,
slightly gesticulating with one hand, and holding in the other a very
small basket, not more than nine or ten inches long. He came on,
mumbling and grumbling a perfectly unintelligible _karakia_ or
incantation. I guessed at once he was coming to disenchant me, and
prepared my mind to submit to any conditions or ceremonial he should
think fit to impose. My old friend came gravely up, and putting his
hand into the little basket pulled out a baked _kumera_, saying, "_He
kai mau._" I of course accepted the offered food, took a bite, and as I
ate he mumbled his incantation over me.

I remember I felt a curious sensation at the time, like what I fancied
a man must feel who had just sold himself, body and bones, to the
devil. For a moment I asked myself the question whether I was not
actually being then and there handed over to the powers of darkness.
The thought startled me. There was I, an unworthy but believing member
of the Church of England as by Parliament established, "knuckling down"
abjectly to the ministration of a ferocious old cannibal, wizard,
sorcerer, high priest,--or, as it appeared very probable,--to Satan
himself. "Blacken his remaining eye! knock him over and run the
country!" whispered quite plainly in my ear my guardian angel, or else
a little impulsive sprite who often made suggestions to me in those
days. For a couple of seconds the sorcerer's eye was in desperate
danger; but just in those moments the ceremony, or at least this most
objectionable part of it, came to an end.

The _tohunga_ stood back and said, "Have you been in the house?"
Fortunately I had presence of mind enough to _forget_ that I had, and
said, "No." "Throw out all those pots and kettles." I saw it was no use
to resist, so out they went. "Fling out those dishes" was the next
command. "The dishes?--they will break." "I am going to break them
all." Capital fun this. Out go the dishes; "and may the ----." I fear I
was about to say something bad. "Fling out those knives, and those
things with sharp points"--(the old villain did not know what to call
the forks!)--"and those shells with handles to them"--(spoons!)--"out
with everything." The last sweeping order is obeyed, and the kitchen is
fairly empty. The worst is over now at last, thank goodness, said I to
myself. "Strip off all your clothes." "What?--strip naked!--you
desperate old thief--mind your eye." Human patience could bear no more.
Out I jumped. I did "strip." Off came my jacket. "How would you prefer
being killed, old ruffian?--can you do anything in this way?" (Here a
pugilistic demonstration.) "Strip!--he doesn't mean to give me five
dozen, does he?" said I, rather bewildered, and looking sharp to see if
he had anything like an instrument of flagellation in his possession.
"Come on!--what are you waiting for?" said I.

In those days, when labouring under what Dickens calls the "description
of temporary insanity which arises from a sense of injury," I always
involuntarily fell back upon my mother tongue; which in this case was
perhaps fortunate, as my necromantic old friend did not appreciate the
full force of my eloquence. He could not, however, mistake my warlike
and rebellious attitude, and could see clearly I was going into one of
those most unaccountable rages that pakehas were liable to fly into,
without any imaginable cause. "Boy," said he, gravely and quietly, and
without seeming to notice my very noticeable declaration of war and
independence, "don't act foolishly; don't go mad. No one will ever come
near you while you have those clothes. You will be miserable here by
yourself. And what is the use of being angry?--what will _anger_ do for
you?" The perfect coolness of my old friend, the complete disregard he
paid to my explosion of wrath, as well as his reasoning, began to make
me feel a little disconcerted. He evidently had come with the purpose
and intention to get me out of a very awkward scrape, and I began also
to feel that, looking at the affair from his point of view, I was just
possibly not making a very respectable figure: then, if I understood
him rightly, there would be no _flogging_. "Well," said I, at last,
"Fate compels: to fate, and not old Hurlo-thrumbo there, I yield--so
here goes." Let me not dwell upon the humiliating concession to the
powers of _tapu_. Suffice it to say, I disrobed, and received
permission to enter my own house in search of other garments.

When I came out again, my old friend was sitting down with a stone in
his hand, battering the last pot to pieces, and looking as if he was
performing a very meritorious action. He carried away all the smashed
kitchen utensils and my clothes in baskets, and deposited them in a
thicket at a considerable distance from the house. (I stole the knives,
forks, and spoons back again some time after, as he had not broken
them.) He then bid me good-by; and the same evening all my household
came flocking back: but years passed before any one but myself would go
into the kitchen, and I had to build another. And for several years
also I could observe, by the respectable distance kept by young natives
and servants, and the nervous manner with which they avoided my pipe in
particular, that they considered I had not been as completely purified
from the _tapu tango atua_ as I might have been. I now am aware, that
in consideration of my being a pakeha--and also, perhaps, lest, driven
to desperation, I should run away entirely, which would have been
looked upon as a great misfortune to the tribe--I was let off very
easy, and might therefore be supposed to retain some tinge of the
dreadful infection.

Besides these descriptions of _tapu_, there were many other. There was
the _war tapu_, which in itself included fifty different "sacred
customs," one of which was this. Often when the fighting men left the
pa or camp, they being themselves made _tapu_--or sacred, as in this
particular case the word means--all those who remained behind, old men,
women, slaves, and all non-combatants, were obliged strictly to fast
while the warriors were fighting; and, indeed, from the time they left
the camp till their return, even to smoke a pipe would be a breach of
this rule. These war customs, as well as other forms of the _tapu_, are
evidently derived from a very ancient religion, and did not take their
rise in this country. I shall, probably, some of these days, treat of
them at more length, and endeavour to trace them to their source.

Sacrifices were often made to the war demon, and I know of one instance
in which, when a tribe were surrounded by an overwhelming force of
their enemies, and had nothing but extermination--immediate and
unrelenting--before them, the war chief cut out the heart of his own
son as an offering for victory; and then he and his tribe, with the
fury of despair and the courage of fanatics, rushed upon the foe,
defeated them with terrific slaughter, and the war demon had much
praise, and many men were eaten.

The warriors, when on a dangerous expedition, also observed strictly
the custom to which allusion is made in 1st Samuel, xxi. 4, 5.


    The Tapu Tohunga.--The Maori Oracle.--Responses of the

Then came the _tapu tohunga_, or priest's _tapu_, a quite different
kind or form of _tapu_ from those which I have spoken of. These
_tohunga_ presided over all those ceremonies and customs which had
something approaching to a religious character. They also pretended to
the power--by means of certain familiar spirits--to foretell future
events, and even in some cases to control them. The belief in the power
of these _tohunga_ to foretell events was very strong, and the
incredulous pakeha who laughed at them was thought a person quite
incapable of understanding plain evidence. I must allow that some of
their predictions were of a most daring nature, and, happening to turn
out perfectly successful, there may be some excuse for an ignorant
people believing in them. Most of these predictions were, however,
given--like the oracles of old--in terms which would admit a double
meaning and secure the character of the soothsayer, no matter how the
event turned out.

It is also remarkable that these _tohunga_ did not pretend to divine
future events by any knowledge or power existing in themselves; they
pretended to be for the time inspired by the familiar spirit, and
passive in his hands. This spirit "entered into" them, and, on being
questioned, gave a response in a sort of half-whistling half-articulate
voice, supposed to be the proper language of spirits; and I have known
a _tohunga_ who, having made a false prediction, laid the blame on the
"tricksy spirit," who he said had purposely spoken false, for certain
good and sufficient spiritual reasons which he then explained. Amongst
the fading customs and beliefs of the good old times the _tohunga_
still holds his ground, and the oracle is as often consulted (though
not so openly) as it was a hundred years ago, and is as firmly believed
in; and this by natives who are professed Christians: the inquiries are
often on subjects of the most vital importance to the welfare of the
colony. A certain _tohunga_ has even quite lately, to my certain
knowledge, been paid a large sum of money to do a miracle! I saw the
money paid, and I saw the miracle. And the miracle was a good enough
sort of miracle, as miracles go in these times. The natives know we
laugh at their belief in these things, and they would much rather we
were angry, for then they would defy us; but as we simply laugh at
their credulity, they do all they can to conceal it from us: but
nevertheless the chiefs, on all matters of importance, continue to
consult the Maori oracle.

I shall give two instances of predictions which came under my own
observation, and which will show how much the same priestcraft has been
in all times.

A man--a petty chief--had a serious quarrel with his relations, left
his tribe, and went to a distant part of the country, saying that he
cast them off and would never return. After a time the relations became
both uneasy at his absence and sorry for the disagreement. The presence
of the head of the family was also of consequence to them. They
therefore inquired of the oracle if he would return. At night the
_tohunga_ invoked the familiar spirit, he became inspired, and in a
sort of hollow whistle came the words of fate:--"He will return; but
yet not return." This response was given several times, and then the
spirit departed, leaving the priest or _tohunga_ to the guidance of his
own unaided wits. No one could understand the meaning of the response:
the priest himself said he could make nothing of it. The spirit of
course knew his own meaning; but all agreed that, whatever that meaning
was, it would turn out true. Now the conclusion of this story is rather
extraordinary. Some time after this, several of the chief's relations
went to offer reconciliation and to endeavour to persuade him to return
home. Six months afterwards they returned, bringing him along with them
_a corpse_: they had found him dying, and carried his body home. Now
all knew the meaning of the words of the oracle, "He will return, but
yet not return."

Another instance, which I witnessed myself, was as follows:--A captain
of a large ship had run away with a Maori girl--or a Maori girl had run
away with a ship captain; I should not like to swear which is the
proper form of expression--and the relations, as in such cases happens
in most countries, thought it incumbent on them to get into a great
taking, and make as much noise as possible about the matter. Off they
set to the _tohunga_. I happened to be at his place at the time, and
saw and heard all I am about to recount. The relations of the girl did
not merely confine themselves to asking questions, they demanded active
assistance. The ship had gone to sea loaded for a long voyage; the
fugitives had fairly escaped; and what the relations wanted was that
the _atua_, or familiar spirit of the _tohunga_, should bring the ship
back into port, so that they might have an opportunity to recover the
lost ornament of the family. I heard the whole.

The priest hummed and hawed. "He did not know; could not say. We should
hear what the 'boy' would say. He would do as he liked. Could not
compel him;" and so forth. At night all assembled in the house where
the priest usually performed. All was expectation. I saw I was _de
trop_, in the opinion of our soothsayer: in fact, I had got the name of
an infidel (which I have since taken care to get rid of), and the
spirit was unwilling to enter where there was an unbeliever. My friend
the priest hinted to me politely that a nice bed had been made for me
in the next house. I thanked him in the most approved Maori fashion,
but said I was "very comfortable where I was;" and, suiting the action
to the word, rolled my cloak about me, and lay down on the rushes, with
which the floor was covered.

About midnight I heard the spirit saluting the guests, and them
saluting him; and I also noticed they hailed him as "relation," and
then gravely preferred the request that he would "drive back the ship
which had stolen his cousin." The response, after a short time, came in
the hollow mysterious whistling voice,--"The ship's nose I will batter
out on the great sea." This answer was repeated several times, and then
the spirit departed, and would not be recalled. The rest of the night
was spent in conjecturing what could be the meaning of these words. All
agreed that there must be more in them than met the ear; but no one
could say it was a clear concession of the request made. As for the
priest, he said he could not understand it, and that "the spirit was a
great rogue"--a _koroke hangareka_. He, however, kept throwing out
hints now and then that something more than common was meant, and
talked generally in the "we shall see" style.

Now here comes the end of the affair. About ten days after this in
comes the ship. She had been "battered" with a vengeance. She had been
met by a terrible gale when a couple of hundred miles off the land, and
had sprung a leak in the bow. The bow in Maori is called the "nose"
(_ihu_). The vessel had been in great danger, and had been actually
forced to run for the nearest port; which happened to be the one she
had left. Now, after such a coincidence as this, I can hardly blame the
ignorant natives for believing in the oracle, for I actually caught
myself quoting, "Can the devil speak truth?" Indeed I have in the good
old times known several pakehas who "thought there was something in
it," and two who formally and believingly consulted the oracle, and
paid a high _douceur_ to the priest.

I shall give one more instance of the response of the Maori oracle. A
certain northern tribe, noted for their valour, but not very numerous,
sent the whole of their best men on a war expedition to the south. This
happened about forty years ago. Before the _taua_ started, the oracle
was consulted, and the answer to the question, "Shall this expedition
be successful?" came. "A desolate country!--a desolate country!--a
desolate country!" This the eager warriors accepted as a most
favourable response: they said the enemy's country would be desolated.
It, however, so turned out that they were all exterminated to a man;
and the miserable remnant of their tribe, weakened and rendered
helpless by their loss, became a prey to their more immediate
neighbours, lost their lands, and have ceased from that day to be heard
of as an independent tribe. So, in fact, it was the country of the
eager inquirers which was laid "desolate." Every one praised the
oracle, and its character was held higher than ever.


    The Priest evokes a Spirit.--The Consequences.--A Maori
    Tragedy.--The "Tohunga" again.

These priests or _tohunga_ would, and do to this hour, undertake to
call up the spirit of any dead person, if paid for the same. I have
seen many of these exhibitions, but one instance will suffice as an

A young chief, who had been very popular and greatly respected in his
tribe, had been killed in battle; and, at the request of several of his
nearest friends, the _tohunga_ had promised on a certain night to call
up his spirit to speak to them, and answer certain questions they
wished to put. The priest was to come to the village of the relations,
and the interview was to take place in a large house common to all the
population. This young man had been a great friend of mine; and so, the
day before the event, I was sent to by his relations, and told that an
opportunity offered of conversing with my friend once more. I was not
much inclined to bear a part in such outrageous mummery, but curiosity
caused me to go. It is necessary to remark that this young chief was a
man in advance of his times and people in many respects. He was the
first of his tribe who could read and write; and, amongst other unusual
things for a native to do, he kept a register of deaths and births, and
a journal of any remarkable events which happened in the tribe. Now
this book was lost: no one could find it; although his friends had
searched unceasingly for it, as it contained many matters of interest,
and they wished to preserve it for his sake. I also wished to get it,
and had often inquired if it had been found, but had always been
answered in the negative.

The appointed time came, and at night we all met the priest in the
large house I have mentioned. Fires were lit, which gave an uncertain
flickering light, and the priest retired to the darkest corner. All was
expectation, and the silence was only broken by the sobbing of the
sister, and other female relations of the dead man: they seemed to be,
and indeed were, in an agony of excitement, agitation, and grief. This
state of things continued for a long time, and I began to feel in a way
surprising to myself, as if there was something real in the matter. The
heartbreaking sobs of the women, and the grave and solemn silence of
the men, convinced me, that to them at least, this was a serious
matter: I saw the brother of the dead man now and then silently wiping
the tears from his eyes. I wished I had not come, for I felt that any
unintentional symptom of incredulity on my part would shock and hurt
the feelings of my friends extremely; and yet, whilst feeling thus, I
felt myself more and more near to believing in the deception about to
be practised: the real grief, and also the general undoubting faith, in
all around me, had this effect.

We were all seated on the rush-strewn floor; about thirty persons. The
door was shut; the fire had burnt down, leaving nothing but glowing
charcoal, and the room was oppressively hot. The light was little
better than darkness; and the part of the room in which the _tohunga_
sat was now in perfect darkness. Suddenly, without the slightest
warning, a voice came out of the darkness. "Salutation!--salutation to
you all!--salutation!--salutation to you, my tribe!--family, I salute
you!--friends, I salute you!--friend, my pakeha friend, I salute you."
The high-handed daring imposture was successful: our feelings were
taken by storm. A cry expressive of affection and despair, such as was
not good to hear, came from the sister of the dead chief, a fine,
stately and really handsome woman of about five-and-twenty. She was
rushing, with both arms extended, into the dark, in the direction from
whence the voice came; but was instantly seized round the waist and
restrained by her brother by main force, till, moaning and fainting,
she lay still on the ground. At the same instant another female voice
was heard from a young girl, who was held by the wrists by two young
men, her brothers. "Is it you?--is it you?--_truly_ is it you?--_aue!
aue!_ they hold me, they restrain me: wonder not that I have not
followed you; they restrain me, they watch me; but I go to you. The sun
shall not rise, the sun shall not rise, _aue! aue!_" Here she fell
insensible on the rush floor, and with the sister was carried out. The
remaining women were all weeping and exclaiming, but were silenced by
the men, who were themselves nearly as much excited, though not so
clamorous. I, however, did notice two old men, who sat close to me,
were not in the slightest degree moved in any way, though they did not
seem at all incredulous, but quite the contrary.

The spirit spoke again. "Speak to me, the tribe!--speak to me, the
family!--speak to me, the pakeha!" The "pakeha," however, was not at
the moment inclined for conversation. The deep distress of the two
women, the evident belief of all around him of the presence of the
spirit, the "darkness visible," and the novelty of the scene, gave rise
to a state of feeling not favourable to the conversational powers.
Besides, I felt reluctant to give too much apparent credence to an
imposture, which at the very same time, by some strange impulse, I felt
half ready to give way to.

At last the brother spoke, and asked, "How is it with you?--is it well
with you in _that_ country?" The answer came--(the voice all through,
it is to be remembered, was not the voice of the _tohunga_, but a
strange melancholy sound, like the sound of the wind blowing into a
hollow vessel,)--"It is well with me: my place is a good place." The
brother spoke again--"Have you seen ----, and ----, and ----?" (I
forget the names mentioned.) "Yes, they are all with me." A woman's
voice now from another part of the room anxiously cried out--"Have you
seen my sister?" "Yes, I have seen her." "Tell her my love is great
towards her and never will cease." "Yes, I will tell." Here the woman
burst into tears, and the pakeha felt a strange swelling of the chest,
which he could in no way account for.

The spirit spoke again. "Give my large tame pig to the priest," (the
pakeha was disenchanted at once,) "and my double-gun." Here the brother
interrupted--"Your gun is a _manatunga_; I shall keep it." He is also
disenchanted, thought I, but I was mistaken; he believed, but wished to
keep the gun his brother had carried so long.

An idea now struck me that I could expose the imposture without showing
palpable disbelief. "We cannot find your book," said I, "where have you
concealed it?" The answer instantly came, "I concealed it between the
_tahuhu_ of my house and the thatch, straight over you as you go in at
the door." Here the brother rushed out; all was silence till his
return. In five minutes he came back _with the book in his hand_! I was
beaten, but made another effort.--"What have you written in that book?"
said I. "A great many things." "Tell me some of them." "Which of them?"
"Any of them." "You are seeking for some information, what do you want
to know? I will tell you." Then suddenly--"Farewell, O tribe! farewell,
my family, I go!" Here a general and impressive cry of "farewell" arose
from every one in the house. "Farewell," again cried the spirit, _from
deep beneath the ground_! "Farewell," again from _high in air_!
"Farewell," again came moaning through the distant darkness of the
night. "Farewell!" I was for a moment stunned. The deception was
perfect. There was a dead silence--at last. "A ventriloquist," said
I--"or--or--_perhaps_ the devil."

I was fagged and confused. It was past mid-night; the company broke up,
and I went to a house where a bed had been prepared for me. I wished to
be quiet and alone; but it was fated there should be little quiet that
night. I was just falling asleep, after having thought for some time on
the extraordinary scenes I had witnessed, when I heard the report of a
musket at some little distance, followed by the shouting of men and the
screams of women. Out I rushed. I had a presentiment of some horrible
catastrophe. Men were running by, hastily armed. I could get no
information, so went with the stream. There was a bright flame
beginning to spring up at a short distance, and every one appeared
going in that direction: I was soon there.

A house had been set on fire to make a light. Before another house,
close at hand, a dense circle of human beings was formed. I pushed my
way through, and then saw, by the bright light of the flaming house, a
scene which is still fresh before me: there, in the verandah of the
house, was an old grey-bearded man; he knelt upon one knee, and on the
other he supported the dead body of the young girl who had said she
would follow the spirit to spirit land. The delicate-looking body from
the waist upwards was bare and bloody; the old man's right arm was
under the neck, the lower part of his long grey beard was dabbled with
blood, his left hand was twisting his matted hair; he did not weep, he
_howled_, and the sound was that of a heathen despair, knowing no hope.
The young girl had secretly procured a loaded musket, tied to the
trigger a loop for her foot, placed the muzzle to her tender breast,
and blown herself to shatters. And the old man was her father, and a
_tohunga_. A calm low voice now spoke close beside me, "She has
followed her _rangatira_," it said. I looked round, and saw the famous
_tohunga_ of the night.

Now, young ladies, I have promised not to frighten you with
raw-head-and-bloody-bones stories; a sort of thing I detest, but which
has been too much the fashion with folks who write of matters Maori. I
have vowed not to draw a drop of blood except in a characteristic
manner. But this story is tragedy, or I don't know what tragedy is; and
the more tragic because, in every particular, literally true: and so,
if you cannot find some pity for the poor Maori girl who "followed her
lord to spirit land," I shall make it my business not to fall in love
with any of you any more for I won't say how long.


    The Local Tapu.--The Taniwha.--The Battle on Motiti.--The Death
    of Tiki Whenua.--Reflections.--Brutus, Marcus Antonius, and Tiki

A story-teller, like a poet or a pugilist, must be _born_, and not
_made_, and I begin to fancy I have not been born under a story-telling
planet, for by no effort that I can make can I hold on to the thread of
my story, and I am conscious the whole affair is fast becoming one
great parenthesis. If I could only get clear of this _tapu_ I would
"try back." I believe I ought to be just now completing the purchase of
my estate. I am sure I have been keeping house a long time before it is
built, which is I believe clear against the rules; so I must get rid of
this talk about the _tapu_ the best way I can, after which I will start
fair and try not to get before my story.

Besides these different forms of the _tapu_ which I have mentioned,
there were endless others; but the temporary local _tapus_ were the
most tormenting to a pakeha: as well they might, seeing that even a
native could not steer clear of them always. A place not _tapu_
yesterday might be most horribly _tapu_ to-day, and the consequences of
trespassing thereon proportionately troublesome.

Thus, sailing along a coast or a river bank, the most inviting
landing-place would be almost to a certainty the freehold property of
the Taniwha, a terrific sea monster, who would to a certainty, if his
landed property was trespassed on, upset the canoe of the trespassers
and devour them all the very next time they put to sea. The place was
_tapu_, and let the weather be as bad as it might, it was better to
keep to sea at all risks than to land there. Even pakeha, though in
some cases invulnerable, could not escape the fangs of the terrible
Taniwha. "Was not little Jackey-_poto_, the sailor, drowned by the
Taniwha? He _would_ go on shore, in spite of every warning, to get some
water to mix with his _waipiro_; and was not his canoe found next day
floating about with his paddle and two empty case-bottles in it?--a
sure sign that the Taniwha had lifted him out bodily. And was not the
body of the said Jackey found some days after with the Taniwha's mark
on it,--one eye taken out?"

These Taniwha would, however, sometimes attach themselves to a chief or
warrior, and in the shape of a huge sea monster, a bird, or a fish,
gambol round his canoe, and by their motions give presage of good or
evil fortune.

When the Ngati Kuri sailed on their last and fated expedition to the
south, a huge Taniwha attached to the famous warrior, Tiki Whenua,
accompanied the expedition, playing about continually amongst the
canoes; often coming close to the canoe of Tiki Whenua, so that the
warrior could reach to pat him approvingly with his paddle, at which he
seemed much pleased; and when they came in sight of the island of
Tuhua, this Taniwha chief called up the legions of the deep! The sea
was blackened by an army of monsters, who, with uncouth and awful
floundering and wallowing, performed before the chief and his
companions a hideous _tu ngarahu_, and then disappeared. The Ngati
Kuri, elated, and accepting this as a presage of victory, landed on
Tuhua, stormed the pa, and massacred its defenders.

But they had mistaken the meaning of the monster review of the Taniwha.
It was a leave-taking of his favourite warrior; for the Ngati Kuri were
fated to die to a man on the next land they trod. A hundred and fifty
men were they--the pick and prime of their tribe. All _rangatira_, all
warriors of name, few in number, but desperately resolute, they thought
it little to defeat the thousands of the south, and take the women and
children as a prey! Having feasted and rejoiced at Tuhua, they sail for
Motiti. This world was too small for them. They were impatient for
battle. They thought to make the name of Kuri strike against the skies;
but in the morning the sea is covered with war canoes. The thousands of
the south are upon them! Ngati Awa, with many an allied band, mad for
revenge, come on. Fight now, O Ngati Kuri!--not for _victory_, no, nor
for _life_. Think only now of _utu_!--for your time is come. That which
you have dealt to many, you shall now receive. Fight!--fight! Your
tribe shall be exterminated, but you must leave a name! Now came the
tug of war on "bare Motiti." From early morning till the sun had well
declined, that ruthless battle raged. Twice their own number had the
Ngati Kuri slain; and then Tiki Whenua, still living, saw around him
his dead and dying tribe. A handful of bleeding warriors still
resisted--a last and momentary struggle. He thought of the _utu_; it
was great. He thought of the ruined remnant of the tribe at home, and
then he remembered--horrid thought--that ere next day's setting sun, he
and all the warriors of his tribe would be baked and eaten. (Tiki, my
friend, thou art in trouble.) A cannon was close at hand--a nine-pound
carronade. They had brought it in the canoes. Hurriedly he filled it
half full of powder, seized a long firebrand, placed his breast to the
cannon's mouth, and fired it with his own hand. Tiki Whenua,

Now I wonder if Brutus had had such a thing as a nine-pounder about him
at Philippi, whether he would have thought of using it in this way. I
really don't think he would. I have never looked upon Brutus as
anything of an original genius; but Tiki Whenua most certainly was. I
don't think there is another instance of a man blowing himself from a
gun. Of course there are many examples of people blowing others from
cannon; but that is quite a different thing; any blockhead can do that.
But the _exit_ of Tiki Whenua has a smack of originality about it which
I like, and so I have mentioned it here.

But all this is digression on digression: however, I suppose the reader
is getting used to it, and I cannot help it. Besides, I wanted to show
them how poor Tiki "took arms against a sea of troubles," and for the
want of a "bare bodkin" made shift with a carronade. I shall never
cease to lament those nice lads who met with that little accident (poor
fellows!) on Motiti. A fine, strapping, stalwart set of fellows, who
believed in force. We don't see many such men now-a-days. The present
generation of Maori are a stunted, tobacco-smoking, grog-drinking,
psalm-singing, special-pleading, shilling-hunting set of wretches: not
above one in a dozen of them would know how to cut up a man _secundum
artem_. 'Pshaw! I am ashamed of them.

I am getting tired of this _tapu_, so will give only one or two more
instances of the local temporary _tapu_. In the autumn, when the great
crop of _kumera_ was gathered, all the paths leading to the village and
cultivated lands were made _tapu_, and any one coming along them would
have notice of this by finding a rope stretched across the road about
breast-high; when he saw this, his business must be very urgent indeed
or he would go back: indeed, it would have been taken as a very serious
affront, even in a near relation, supposing his ordinary residence was
not in the village, to disregard the hint given by the rope,--that for
the present there was "no thoroughfare."

Now, the reason of this blockade of the roads was this. The report of
an unusually fine crop of _kumera_ had often cost its cultivators and
the whole tribe their lives. The news would spread about that Ngati
so-and-so, living at so-and-so, had housed so many thousands of baskets
of _kumera_. Exaggeration would multiply the truth by ten, the fertile
land would be coveted, and very probably its owners, or rather its
_holders_, would have to fight both for it and for their lives before
the year was out. For this reason strangers were not welcome at the
Maori harvest home. The _kumera_ were dug hurriedly by the whole
strength of the working hands, thrown in scattered heaps, and concealed
from the casual observation of strangers by being covered over with the
leaves of the plants: when all were dug, then all hands set to work, at
night, to fill the baskets and carry off the crop to the storehouse or
_rua_; and every effort was made to get all stored and out of sight
before daylight, lest any one should be able to form any idea of the
extent of the crop. When the digging of one field was completed another
would be done in the same manner, and so on till the whole crop was
housed in this stealthy manner. I have been at several of these
midnight labours, and have admired the immense amount of work one
family would do in a single night; working as it were for life and
death. In consequence of this mode of proceeding, even the families
inhabiting the same village did not know what sort of a crop their
neighbours had, and if a question was asked (to do which was thought
impertinent and very improper), the invariable answer was "Nothing at
all; barely got back the seed: hardly that; we shall be starved; we
shall have to eat fern root this year," &c. The last time I observed
this custom was about twenty-seven years ago, and even then it was
nearly discontinued and no longer general.

Talking of bygone habits and customs of the natives, I remember I have
mentioned two cases of suicide. I shall, therefore, now take occasion
to state that no more marked alteration in the habits of the natives
has taken place than in the great decrease of cases of suicide. In the
first years of my residence in the country, it was of almost daily
occurrence. When a man died, it was almost a matter of course that his
wife, or wives, hung themselves. When the wife died, the man very
commonly shot himself. I have known young men, often on the most
trifling affront or vexation, shoot themselves; and I was acquainted
with a man who, having been for two days plagued with the toothache,
cut his throat with a very blunt razor, without a handle: which
certainly was a radical cure. I do not believe that one case of suicide
occurs now, for twenty when I first came into the country. Indeed, the
last case I have heard of in a populous district, occurred several
years ago. It was rather a remarkable one. A native owed another a few
shillings; the creditor kept continually asking for it; but the debtor,
somehow or other, never could raise the cash. At last being out of
patience, and not knowing anything of the Insolvent Court, he loaded
his gun, went to the creditor's house, and called him out. Out came the
creditor and his wife. The debtor then placed the gun to his own
breast, and saying, "Here is your payment," pulled the trigger with his
foot, and fell dead before them. I think the reason suicide has become
so comparatively unfrequent is, that the minds of the natives are now
filled and agitated by a flood of new ideas, new wants and ambitions,
which they knew not formerly, and which prevents them, from one single
loss or disappointment, feeling as if there was nothing more to live


    The Tapa.--Instances of.--The Storming of Mokoia.--Pomare.--Hongi
    Ika.--Tareha.--Honour amongst Thieves.

There was a kind of variation on the _tapu_, called _tapa_, of this
nature. For instance, if a chief said, "That axe is my head," the axe
became his to all intents and purposes; except, indeed, the owner of
the axe was able to break his "head," in which case, I have reason to
believe, the _tapa_ would fall to the ground. It was, however, in a
certain degree necessary to have some legal reason, or excuse, for
making the _tapa_; but to give some idea of what constituted the
circumstances under which a man could fairly _tapa_ anything, I must
needs quote a case in point.

When the Ngapuhi attacked the tribe of Ngati Wakawe, at Rotorua, the
Ngati Wakawe retired to the island of Mokoia in the lake of Rotorua,
which they fortified; thinking that, as the Ngapuhi canoes could not
come nearer than Kaituna on the east coast, about thirty miles distant,
that they in their island position would be safe. But in this they were
fatally deceived, for the Ngapuhi dragged a whole fleet of war canoes
over land. When, however, the advanced division of the Ngapuhi arrived
at Rotorua, and encamped on the shore of the lake, the Ngati Wakawe
were not aware that the canoes of the enemy were coming, so every
morning they manned their large canoes, and leaving the island fort,
would come dashing along the shore deriding the Ngapuhi, and crying,
"_Ma wai koe e kawe mai ki Rangitiki?_"--"Who shall bring you, or how
shall you arrive, at Rangitiki?" Rangitiki was the name of one of their
hill forts.

The canoes were fine large ornamented _totara_ canoes, very valuable,
capable of carrying from fifty to seventy men each, and much coveted by
the Ngapuhi. The Ngapuhi of course considered all these canoes as their
own already; but the different chiefs and leaders, anxious to secure
one or more of these fine canoes for themselves and people, and not
knowing who might be the first to lay hands on them in the confusion of
the storming of Mokoia, which would take place when their own canoes
arrived, each _tapa'd_ one or more for himself, or--as the native
expression is--_to_ himself. Up jumped Pomare, and standing on the lake
shore in front of the encampment of the division of which he was
leader, he shouts--pointing at the same time to a particular canoe at
the time carrying about sixty men--"That canoe is my back-bone." Then
Tareha, in bulk like a sea elephant, and sinking to the ankles in the
shore of the lake, with a hoarse croaking voice roars out, "That canoe!
my scull shall be the bailer to bail it out." This was a horribly
strong _tapa_. Then the soft voice of the famous Hongi Ika, surnamed
"The eater of men," of _Hongi kai tangata_, was heard, "Those two
canoes are my two thighs." And so the whole flotilla was appropriated
by the different chiefs.

Now it followed from this, that in the storming and plunder of Mokoia,
when a warrior clapped his hand on a canoe and shouted, "This canoe is
mine," the seizure would not stand good, if it was one of the canoes
which were _tapa-tapa_; for it would be a frightful insult to Pomare to
claim to be the owner of his "back-bone," or to Tareha to go on board a
canoe which had been made sacred by the bare supposition that his
"scull" should be a vessel to bail it with. Of course the first man
laying his hand on any other canoe and claiming it secured it for
himself and tribe; always provided that the number of men there present
representing his tribe or _hapu_ were sufficient to back his claim and
render it dangerous to dispossess him. I have seen men shamefully
robbed, for want of sufficient support, of their honest lawful gains;
after all the trouble and risk they had gone to in killing the owners,
of their plunder. But dishonest people are to be found almost
everywhere; and I will say this, that my friends the Maoris seldom act
against law, and always try to be able to say that what they do is

This _tapu_ is a bore, even to write about, and I fear the reader is
beginning to think it a bore to read about. It began long before the
time of Moses, and I think that steam navigation will be the death of
it; but lest it should kill my reader I will have done with it for the
present, and "try back," for I have left my story behind completely.


    "My Rangatira."--The respective Duties of the Pakeha and his
    Rangatira.--Public Opinion.--A "Pakeha Kino."--Description of
    my Rangatira.--His Exploits and Misadventures.--His Moral
    Principles.--Decline in the Number of the Natives.--Proofs of
    former large Population.--Ancient Forts.--Causes of Decrease.

When I purchased my land, the payment was made on the ground, and
immediately divided and subdivided amongst the different sellers. Some
of them who, according to their own representations formerly made to
me, were the sole and only owners of the land, received for their share
about the value of one shilling, and moreover, as I also observed, did
not appear at all disappointed.

One old _rangatira_, before whom a considerable portion of the payment
had been laid as his share of the spoil, gave it a slight shove with
his foot, expressive of refusal, and said, "I will not accept any of
the payment; I will have the pakeha." I saw some of the magnates
present seemed greatly disappointed at this, for I dare say they had
expected to have the pakeha _as well_ as the payment. But the old
gentleman had regularly check-mated them by refusing to accept any
payment; and being also a person of great respectability, _i.e._, a
good fighting man, with twenty more at his back, he was allowed to have
his way: thereby, in the opinion of all the natives present, making a
far better thing of the land sale than any of them, though he had
received no part of the payment.

I consequently was therefore a part, and by no means an inconsiderable
one, of the payment for my own land; but though now part and parcel of
the property of the old _rangatira_ aforementioned, a good deal of
liberty was allowed me. The fact of my having become his pakeha made
our respective relations and duties to each other about as follows--

Firstly.--At all times, places, and companies, my owner had the right
to call me "his pakeha."

Secondly.--He had the general privilege of "pot-luck" whenever he chose
to honour my establishment with a visit: said pot-luck to be tumbled
out to him on the ground before the house; he being far too great a man
to eat out of plates or dishes, or any degenerate invention of that
nature; as, if he did, they would all become _tapu_ and of no use to
any one but himself: nor indeed to himself either, as he did not see
the use of them.

Thirdly.--It was well understood that to avoid the unpleasant
appearance of paying "black mail," and to keep up general kindly
relations, my owner should from time to time make me small presents,
and that in return I should make him presents of five or six times the
value: all this to be done as if arising from mutual love and kindness,
and not the slightest allusion to be ever made to the relative value of
the gifts on either side. (An important article.)

Fourthly.--It was to be a _sine quâ non_ that I must purchase
everything the chief or his family had to sell, whether I wanted them
or not, and give the highest market price, or rather more. (Another
very important article.)

Fifthly.--The chief's own particular pipe was never to be allowed to
become extinguished for want of the needful supply of tobacco.

Sixthly.--All desirable jobs of work, and all advantages of all kinds,
to be offered first to the family of my _rangatira_, before letting any
one else have them; payment for same to be about 25 per cent. more than
to any one else, exclusive of a _douceur_ to the chief himself, because
he did not work.

In return for these duties and customs, well and truly performed on my
part, the chief was understood to--

Firstly.--Stick up for me in a general way, and not let me be bullied
or imposed upon by any one but himself, so far as he was able to
prevent it.

Secondly.--In case of me being plundered or maltreated by any powerful
marauder, it was the duty of my chief to come in hot haste, with all
his family, armed to the teeth, to my rescue--after all was over, and
when it was too late to be of any service. He was also bound on such
occasions to make a great noise, dance the war dance, and fire muskets
(I finding the powder), and to declare loudly what he would have done
had he only been in time. I, of course, on such occasions, for my own
dignity, and in consideration of the spirited conduct of my friends,
was bound to order two or three fat pigs to be killed, and lots of
potatoes to be served out to the "army;" who were always expected to be
starving, as a general rule. A distribution of tobacco, in the way of
largess, was also a necessity of the case.

Thirdly.--In case of my losing anything of consequence by theft--a
thing which, as a veracious pakeha, I am bound to say, seldom happened:
the natives in those days being, as I have already mentioned, a very
law observing people (of the law of _muru_), had, indeed, little
occasion to steal; the above-named law answering their purposes in a
general way much better, and helping them pretty certainly to any
little matter they coveted: yet, as there are exceptions to all rules,
theft would sometimes be committed--and then, as I was saying, it
became the bounden duty of my _rangatira_ to get the stolen article
back, if he was able, and keep it for himself for his trouble, unless I
gave him something of more value in lieu thereof.

Under the above regulations, things went on pleasantly enough: the
chief being restrained, by public opinion and the danger of the pakeha
running away, from pushing his prerogative to the utmost limit; and the
pakeha, on the other hand, making the commonalty pay for the indirect
taxation he was subjected to; so that in general, after ten or fifteen
years' residence, he would not be much poorer than when he arrived:
unless, indeed, some unlucky accident happened, such as pakehas were
liable to sometimes in the good old times.

Mentioning "public opinion" as a restraint on the chiefs'
acquisitiveness, I must explain that a chief possessing a pakeha was
much envied by his neighbours, who, in consequence, took every
opportunity of scandalizing him, and blaming him for any rough plucking
process he might subject the said pakeha to; and should he, by any
awkward handling of this sort, cause the pakeha at last to run for it,
the chief would never hear the end of it from his own family and
connections: pakehas being, in those glorious old times, considered to
be geese who laid golden eggs, and it was held to be the very extreme
of foolishness and bad policy either to kill them, or, by too rough
handling, to cause them to fly away.

On the other hand, should the pakeha fail in a culpable manner in the
performance of his duties--though he would not, as a rule, be subjected
to any stated punishment--he would soon begin to find a most
unaccountable train of accidents and all sorts of unpleasant
occurrences happening; enough, in the aggregate, to drive Job himself
out of his wits: and, moreover, he would _get a bad name_, which,
though he removed, would follow him from one end of the island to the
other, and effectually prevent him having the slightest chance of doing
any good,--that is, holding his own in the country; as the natives,
wherever he went, would consider him a person out of whom the most was
to be made at once, since he was not to be depended on as a source of
permanent revenue. I have known several industrious, active, and sober
pakehas who never could do any good, and whose lives, for a long series
of years, were a mere train of mishaps, till at last they were reduced
to extreme poverty; merely from having, in their first dealings with
the natives, got a bad name, in consequence of not having been able to
understand clearly the beauty of the set of regulations I have just
mentioned, and from an inability to make them work smoothly. The bad
name I have mentioned was short and expressive: wherever they went,
there would be sure to be some one who would introduce them to their
new acquaintances as "a pakeha _pakeke_,"--a hard pakeha; "a pakeha
_taehae_"--a miser; or, to sum up all, "a pakeha _kino_."

The chief who claimed me was a good specimen of the Maori _rangatira_.
He was a very old man, and had fought the French when Marion, the
French circumnavigator, was killed. He had killed a Frenchman himself,
and carried his thighs and legs many miles as a _bonne bouche_ for his
friends at home at the pa. This old gentleman was not head of his
tribe; but he was a man of good family, related to several high chiefs.
He was head of a strong family, or _hapu_, which mustered a
considerable number of fighting men; all his near relations. He had
been himself a most celebrated fighting man, and a war chief; and was
altogether a highly respectable person, and of great weight in the
councils of the tribe. I may say I was fortunate in having been
appropriated by this old patrician.

He gave me very little trouble; did not press his rights and privileges
too forcibly on my notice; and, in fact behaved in all respects towards
me in so liberal and friendly a manner, that before long I began to
have a very sincere regard for him, and he to take a sort of paternal
interest in me; this was both gratifying to observe, and also extremely
comical sometimes, when he, out of real anxiety to see me a perfectly
accomplished _rangatira_, would lecture on good manners, etiquette, and
the use of the spear. He was, indeed, a model of a _rangatira_, and
well worth being described.

He was a little man, with a high massive head, and remarkably high
square forehead, on which the tattooer had exhausted his art. Though,
as I have said, of a great age, he was still nimble and active: he had
evidently been one of those tough active men, who though small in
stature, are a match for any one. There was in my old friend's eyes a
sort of dull fiery appearance, which, when anything excited him, or
when he recounted some of those numerous battles, onslaughts,
massacres, or stormings, in which all the active part of his life had
been spent, actually seemed to blaze up and give forth real fire. His
breast was covered with spear wounds, and he also had two very severe
spear wounds on his head; but he boasted that no single man had ever
been able to touch him with the point of a spear. It was in grand
_mélées_, where he would have sometimes six or eight antagonists, that
he had received these wounds. He was a great general, and I have heard
him criticise closely the order and conduct of every battle of
consequence which had been fought for fifty years before my arrival in
the country. On these occasions the old "martialist" would draw on the
sand the plan of the battle he was criticising and describing; and, in
the course of time I began to perceive that, before the introduction of
the musket, the art of war had been brought to great perfection by the
natives: when large numbers were engaged in a pitched battle, the order
of battle resembled, in a most striking manner, some of the most
approved orders of battle of the ancients. Since the introduction of
fire-arms the natives have entirely altered their tactics, and adopted
a system better adapted to the new weapon and the nature of the

My old friend had a great hatred for the musket. He said that in
battles fought with the musket there were never so many men killed as
when, in his young days, men fought hand to hand with the spear: then a
good warrior would kill six, eight, ten, or even twenty men in a single
fight. For when once the enemy broke and commenced to run, the
combatants being so close together, a fast runner would knock a dozen
on the head in a short time; and the great aim of these fast-running
warriors, of whom my old friend had been one, was to chase straight on
and never stop, only striking one blow at one man, so as to cripple
him, in order that those behind should be sure to overtake and finish
him. It was not uncommon for one man, strong and swift of foot, when
the enemy were fairly routed, to stab with a light spear ten or a dozen
men, in such a way as to ensure their being overtaken and killed. On
one occasion of this kind my old tutor had the misfortune to stab a
running man in the back: he did it of course scientifically, so as to
stop his running; and as he passed him by he perceived it was his
wife's brother, who was finished immediately by the men close behind. I
should have said that the man was a brother of one of my friend's four
wives; which being the case, I dare say he had a sufficient number of
brothers-in-law to afford to kill one now and then.

A worse mishap, however, occurred to him on another occasion. He was
returning from a successful expedition from the south (in the course of
which, by-the-by, he and his men killed and cooked in Shortland-crescent,
several men of the enemy, and forced three others to jump over a cliff
which is, I think, now called Soldier's-point), when off the Mahurangi
a smoke was seen rising from amongst the trees near the beach. They at
once concluded that it came from the fires of people belonging to that
part of the country, and who they considered as game; they therefore
waited till night, concealing their canoes behind some rocks, and when
it became dark, landed; they then divided into two parties, took the
supposed enemy completely by surprise, and attacked, rushing upon them
from two opposite directions at once. My _rangatira_, dashing furiously
among them, and--as I can well suppose--those eyes of his flashing
fire, had the happiness of once again killing the first man, and being
authorized to shout "_Ki au te mataika!_" A few more blows, and the
parties recognize each other: they are friends!--men of the same tribe!
Who is the last _mataika_ slain by this famous warrior? Quick, bring a
flaming brand--here he lies dead! Ha! It is his father!

Now an ancient knight of romance, under similar awkward circumstances,
would probably have retired from public life, sought out some forest
cave, where he would have hung up his armour, let his beard grow,
flogged himself twice a day "regular," and lived on "pulse"--which I
suppose means pea-soup--for the rest of his life. But my old
_rangatira_ and his companions had not a morsel of that sort of romance
about them. The killing of my friend's father was looked upon as a very
clever exploit in itself; though a very unlucky one. So after having
scolded one another for some time--one party telling the other they
were served right for not keeping a better look out, and the other
answering that they should have been sure who they were going to attack
before making the onset--they all held a _tangi_ or lamentation for the
old warrior who had just received his _mittimus_; and then killing a
prisoner, whom they had brought in the canoes for fresh provisions,
they had a good feast; after which they returned all together to their
own country, taking the body of their lamented relative along with
them. This happened many years before I came to the country, and when
my _rangatira_ was one of the most famous fighting-men in his tribe.

This Maori _rangatira_ I am describing had passed his whole life, with
but little intermission, in scenes of battle, murder, and bloodthirsty
atrocities of the most terrific description; mixed with actions of the
most heroic courage, self-sacrifice, and chivalric daring, as leaves
one perfectly astounded to find them the deeds of one and the same
people: one day doing acts which, had they been performed in ancient
Greece, would have immortalized the actors, and the next committing
barbarities too horrible for relation, and almost incredible.

The effect of a life of this kind was observable plainly enough, in my
friend. He was utterly devoid of what weak mortals call "compassion."
He seemed to have no more feeling for the pain, tortures, or death of
others than a stone. Should one of his family be dying or wounded, he
merely felt it as the loss of one fighting man. As for the death of a
woman, or any non-combatant, he did not feel it at all; though the
person might have suffered horrid tortures: indeed I have seen him
scolding severely a fine young man, his near relative, when actually
expiring, for being such a fool as to blow himself up by accident, and
deprive his family of a fighting man. The last words the dying man
heard were these:--"It serves you right. There you are, looking very
like a burnt stick! It serves you right--a burnt stick! Serves you
right!" It really _was_ vexatious. A fine stout young fellow to be
wasted in that way.

As for fear, I saw one or two instances to prove he knew very little
about it: indeed, to be killed in battle seemed to him a natural death.
He was always grumbling that the young men thought of nothing but
trading; and whenever he proposed to them to take him where he might
have a final battle (_he riri wakamutunga_), where he might escape
dying of old age, they always kept saying, "Wait till we get more
muskets," or "more gunpowder," or more something or another: "as if men
could not be killed without muskets!" He was not cruel either; he was
only unfeeling. He had been guilty, it is true, in his time, of what we
should call terrific atrocities to his prisoners; which he calmly and
calculatingly perpetrated as _utu_, or retaliation for similar
barbarities committed by them or their tribe.

And here I must retract the word guilty, which I see I have written
inadvertently; for--according to the morals and principles of the
people of whom he was one, and of the time to which he belonged, and
the training he had received--so far from being guilty, he did a
praiseworthy, glorious, and public-spirited action when he opened the
jugular vein of a bound captive and sucked huge draughts of his blood.

To say the truth, he was a very nice old man, and I liked him very
much. It would not, however, be advisable to put him in a passion; not
much good would be likely to arise from it: as, indeed, I could show by
one or two very striking instances which came under my notice; though,
to say the truth, he was not easily put out of temper. He had one great
moral rule,--it was, indeed, his rule of life: he held that every man
had a right to do everything and anything he chose, provided he was
able and willing to stand the consequences; though he thought some men
fools for trying to do things which they could not carry out
pleasantly, and which ended in getting them baked.

I once hinted to him that, should every one reduce these principles to
practice, he himself might find it awkward; particularly as he had so
many mortal enemies. To which he replied, with a look which seemed to
pity my ignorance, that every one _did_ practise this rule to the best
of their abilities, but that some were not so able as others; and that
as for his enemies, he should take care they never surprised _him_: a
surprise being, indeed, the only thing he seemed to have any fear at
all of. In truth, he had occasion to look out sharp. He never was known
to sleep more than three or four nights in the same place, and often,
when there were ill omens, he would not sleep in a house at all, or two
nights following in one place, for a month together. I never saw him
without both spear and tomahawk, and ready to defend himself at a
second's notice: a state of preparation perfectly necessary, for though
in his own country and surrounded by his tribe, his death would have
been such a triumph for hundreds, not of distant enemies, but of people
within a day's journey, that none could tell at what moment some stout
young fellow in search of _utu_ and a "_ingoa toa_" (a warlike
reputation) might rush upon him, determined to have his head or leave
his own.

The old buck himself had, indeed, performed several exploits of this
nature; the last of which occurred just at the time I came into the
country, but before I had the advantage of his acquaintance. His tribe
were at war with some people at the distance of about a day's journey.
One of their villages was on the border of a dense forest. My
_rangatira_, then a very old man, started off alone, and without saying
a word to any one, took his way through the forest, which extended the
whole way between his village and the enemy, crept like a lizard into
the enemy's village, and then, shouting his war cry, dashed amongst a
number of people he saw sitting together on the ground, and who little
expected such a salute. In a minute he had run three men and one woman
through the body, received five dangerous spear-wounds himself, and
escaped to the forest; and finally he got safe home to his own country
and people. Truly my old _rangatira_ was a man of a thousand,--a model
_rangatira_. This exploit, if possible, added to his reputation, and
every one said his _mana_ would never decline. The enemy had been panic
stricken, thinking a whole tribe were upon them, and fled like a flock
of sheep: except the three men who were killed. They all attacked my
old chief at once, and were all disposed of in less than a minute,
after, as I have said, giving him five desperate wounds. The woman was
just "stuck," as a matter of course, as she came in his way.

The natives are unanimous in affirming that they were much more
numerous in former times than they are now, and I am convinced that
such was the case, for the following reasons. The old hill forts are
many of them so large that an amount of labour must have been expended
in trenching, terracing, and fencing them--and all without iron tools,
which increased the difficulty a hundred-fold--that must have required
a vastly greater population to accomplish than can be now found in the
surrounding districts. These forts were also of such an extent that,
taking into consideration the system of attack and defence used
necessarily in those times, they would have been utterly untenable
unless held by at least ten times the number of men the whole
surrounding districts, for two or three days' journey, can produce. And
yet, when we remember that in those times of constant war--being the
two centuries preceding the arrival of the Europeans--the natives
always, as a rule, slept in these hill forts with closed gates, bridges
over trenches removed, and ladders of terraces drawn up, we must come
to the conclusion that the inhabitants of the fort, though so numerous,
were merely the population of the country in the close vicinity.

Now from the top of one of these pointed, trenched, and terraced hills,
I have counted twenty others, all of equally large dimensions, and all
within a distance, in every direction, of fifteen to twenty miles; and
native tradition affirms that each of these hills was the stronghold of
a separate _hapu_ or clan, bearing its distinctive name. There is also
the most unmistakable evidence that vast tracts of country, which have
lain wild time out of mind, were once fully cultivated. The ditches for
draining the land are still traceable, and large pits are to be seen in
hundreds, on the tops of the dry hills, all over the northern part of
the North Island, in which the _kumera_ were once stored; and these
pits are, in the greatest number, found in the centre of great open
tracts of uncultivated country, where a rat in the present day would
hardly find subsistence. The old drains, and the peculiar growth of the
timber, mark clearly the extent of these ancient cultivations. It is
also very observable that large tracts of very inferior land have been
in cultivation; which would lead to the inference that either the
population was pretty nearly proportioned to the extent of available
land, or that the tracts of inferior land were cultivated merely
because they were not too far removed from the fort: for the shape of
the hill, and its capability of defence and facility of fortification,
was of more consequence than the fertility of the surrounding country.

These _kumera_ pits, being dug generally in the stiff clay on the hill
tops, have, in most cases, retained their shape perfectly; and many
seem as fresh and new as if they had been dug but a few years. They are
oblong in shape, with the sides regularly sloped. Many collections of
these provision stores have outlived Maori tradition, and the natives
can only conjecture to whom they belonged. Out of the centre of one of
them which I have seen, there is now growing a kauri tree one hundred
and twenty feet high, and out of another a large totara. The outline of
these pits is as perfect as the day they were dug, and the sides have
not fallen in in the slightest degree; from which perhaps they have
been preserved by the absence of frost, as well as by a beautiful
coating of moss, by which they are everywhere covered. The pit in which
the kauri grew, had been partially filled up by the scaling off of the
bark of the tree; which, falling off in patches, as it is constantly
doing, had raised a mound of decaying bark round the root of the tree.

Another evidence of a very large number of people having once inhabited
these hill forts is the number of houses they contained. Every native
house, it appears, in former times, as in the present, had a fire-place
composed of four flat stones or flags sunk on their edges into the
ground, so as to form an oblong case or trunk, in which at night a fire
to heat the house was made. Now, in two of the largest hill forts I
have examined (though for ages no vestige of a house had been seen)
there remained the fire-places--the four stones projecting like an
oblong box slightly over the ground; and their position and number
denoted clearly that, large as the circumference of the huge volcanic
hill was which formed the fortress, the number of families inhabiting
it necessitated the strictest economy of room. The houses had been
arranged in streets, or double rows, with a path between them; except
in places where there had been only room on a terrace for a single row.
The distances between the fire-places proved that the houses in the
rows must have been as close together as it was possible to build them;
and every spot, from the foot to the hill-top, not required and
specially planned for defensive purposes, had been built on in this
regular manner. Even the small flat top, sixty yards long by forty
wide,--the citadel,--on which the greatest care and labour had been
bestowed to render it difficult of access, had been as full of houses
as it could hold; leaving only a small space all round the precipitous
bank for the defenders to stand on.

These little fire-places, and the scarped and terraced conical hills,
are the only mark the Maori of ancient times have left of their
existence. And I have reasons for believing that this country has been
inhabited from a more remote period by far than is generally supposed.
These reasons I found upon the dialect of the Maori language spoken by
the Maori of New Zealand, as well as on many other circumstances.

We may easily imagine that a hill of this kind, covered from bottom to
top with houses thatched and built of reeds, rushes, and raupo, would
be a mere mass of combustible matter; and such indeed was the case.
When an enemy attacked one of these places, a common practice was to
shower into the place, from slings, red-hot stones, which, sinking into
the dry thatch of the houses, would cause a general conflagration.
Should this once occur the place was sure to be taken. This mode of
attack was consequently much feared; all hands not engaged at the outer
defences, and all women and non-combatants, being employed guarding
against this danger, by pouring water out of calabashes on every smoke
that appeared. The natives also practised both mining and escalade in
attacking a hill fort.

The natives attribute their decrease in numbers, before the arrival of
the Europeans, to war and sickness; disease possibly arising from the
destruction of food and the forced neglect of cultivation caused by the
constant and furious wars which devastated the country for a long
period before the arrival of the Europeans: and to such an extent that
the natives at last believed a constant state of warfare to be the
natural condition of life, and their sentiments, feelings, and maxims
became gradually formed on this belief. Nothing was so valuable or
respectable as strength and courage, and to acquire property by war and
plunder was more honourable and also more desirable than by labour.
Cannibalism was glorious. In a word, the island was a pandemonium.

      A rugged wight, the worst of brutes, was man;
        On his own wretched kind he ruthless prey'd.
      The strongest then the weakest overran,
        In every country mighty robbers sway'd,
    And guile and ruffian force was all their trade.

Since the arrival of the Europeans the decrease of the natives has also
been rapid. In that part of the country where I have had means of
accurate observation, they have decreased in number since my arrival
rather more than one-third. I have, however, observed that this
decrease has for the last ten years been very considerably checked;
though I do not believe this improvement is general through the
country, or even permanent where I have observed it.

The first grand cause of the decrease of the natives since the arrival
of the Europeans is the musket. The nature of the ancient Maori weapons
prompted them to seek out vantage ground, and to take up positions on
precipitous hill-tops, and make those high, dry, airy situations their
regular fixed residences. Their ordinary course of life, when not
engaged in warfare, was regular, and not necessarily unhealthy; their
labour, though constant in one shape or other, and compelled by
necessity, was not too heavy. In the morning, but not early, they
descended from the hill pa to the cultivations in the low ground; they
went in a body, armed like men going to battle, the spear or club in
one hand, and the agricultural instrument in the other. The women
followed. Long before night (it was counted unlucky to work till dark)
they returned to the hill in a reversed order; the women, slaves, and
lads, bearing fuel and water for the night, in front: these also bore
probably heavy loads of _kumera_ or other provisions. In the time of
year when the crops, being planted and growing, did not call for their
attention, the whole tribe would remove to some fortified hill, at the
side of some river, or on the coast, where they would pass months in
fishing and making nets, clubs, spears, and implements of various
descriptions; the women, in all spare time, making mats for clothing,
or baskets to carry the crop of _kumera_ in, when fit to dig. There was
very little idleness; and to be called "lazy" was a great reproach. It
is to be observed that for several months the crops could be left thus
unguarded with perfect safety, for the Maori, as a general rule, never
destroyed growing crops, or attacked their owners in a regular manner
until the crops were nearly at full perfection, so that they might
afford subsistence to the invaders; and consequently the end of the
summer all over the country was a time of universal preparation for
battle, either offensive or defensive, the crops then being near

Now when the natives became generally armed with the musket they at
once abandoned the hills, and, to save themselves the great labour and
inconvenience occasioned by the necessity of continually carrying
provisions, fuel, and water to these precipitous hill-castles--which
would be also, as a matter of necessity, at some inconvenient distance
from at least some part of the extensive cultivations--descended to the
low lands, and there, in the centre of the cultivations, erected a new
kind of fortification adapted to the capabilities of the new weapon.
_This_ was their destruction. For they built their oven-like houses in
mere swamps, where the water, even in summer, sprang with the pressure
of the foot, and where in winter the houses were often completely
flooded. There, lying on the spongy soil, on beds of rushes which
rotted under them--in little low dens of houses, or kennels, heated
like ovens at night and dripping with damp in the day--full of noxious
exhalations from the damp soil, and impossible to ventilate--they were
cut off by disease in a manner absolutely frightful. No advice would
they take: they could not _see_ the enemy which killed them, and
therefore could not believe the Europeans who pointed out the cause of
their destruction.

This change of residence was universal, and everywhere followed by the
same consequences, more or less marked: the strongest men were cut off
and but few children were reared. And even now, after the dreadful
experience they have had, and all the continual remonstrances of their
pakeha friends, they take but very little more precaution in choosing
sites for their houses than at first; and when a native village or a
native house happens to be in a dry healthy situation, it is often more
the effect of accident than design.

Twenty years ago a _hapu_, in number just forty persons, removed their
_kainga_ from a dry healthy position to the edge of a _raupo_ swamp. I
happened to be at the place a short time after the removal, and with me
there was a medical gentleman who was travelling through the country.
In creeping into one of the houses (the chief's) through the low door,
I was obliged to put both my hands to the ground; they both sank into
the swampy soil, making holes which immediately filled with water. The
chief and his family were lying on the ground on rushes, and a fire was
burning, which made the little den, not in the highest place more than
five feet high, feel like an oven. I called the attention of my friend
to the state of this place called a "house." He merely said, "_men_
cannot live here." Eight years from that day the whole _hapu_ were
extinct; but, as I remember, two persons were shot for bewitching them
and causing their deaths.

Many other causes combined at the same time to work the destruction of
the natives. Besides the change of residence from the high and healthy
hill forts to the low grounds, there were the hardship, over-labour,
exposure, and half-starvation, to which they submitted themselves--firstly,
to procure these very muskets which enabled them to make the fatal
change of residence and afterwards to procure the highly and justly
valued iron implements of the Europeans. When we reflect that a ton of
cleaned flax was the price paid for two muskets, and at an earlier date
for one musket, we can see at once the amount of exertion necessary to
obtain it. But supposing a man to get a musket for half a ton of flax,
another half-ton would be required for ammunition; and in consequence,
as every man in a native _hapu_ of, say a hundred men, was absolutely
forced on pain of death to procure a musket and ammunition at any cost,
and at the earliest possible moment (for, if they did not procure them,
extermination was their doom by the hands of those of their country-men
who had), the effect was that this small _hapu_, or clan, had to
manufacture, spurred by the penalty of death, in the shortest possible
time, one hundred tons of flax, scraped by hand with a shell, bit by
bit, morsel by morsel, half-a-quarter of an ounce at a time.

Now as the natives, when undisturbed and labouring regularly at their
cultivations, were never far removed from necessity or scarcity of
food, we may easily imagine the distress and hardship caused by this
enormous imposition of extra labour. They were obliged to neglect their
crops in a very serious degree, and for many months in the year were in
a half-starving condition; working hard all the time in the flax
swamps. The insufficient food, over-exertion, and unwholesome locality,
killed them fast. As for the young children, they almost all died; and
this state of things continued for many years: for it was long after
being supplied with arms and ammunition before the natives could
purchase, by similar exertion, the various agricultural implements, and
other iron tools so necessary to them; and it must always be
remembered, if we wish to understand the difficulties and over-labour
the natives were subjected to, that while undergoing this immense extra
toil, they were at the same time obliged to maintain themselves by
cultivating the ground with sharpened sticks, not being able to afford
to purchase iron implements in any useful quantity, till first the
great, pressing, paramount want of muskets and gunpowder had been
supplied. Thus continual excitement, over-work, and insufficient food,
exposure, and unhealthy places of residence, together with a general
breaking up of old habits of life, thinned their numbers: European
diseases also assisted, but not to any very serious extent.

In the part of the country in which I have had means of observing with
exactitude, the natives have decreased in numbers over one-third since
I first saw them. That this rapid decrease has been checked in some
districts, I am sure, and the cause is not a mystery. The influx of
Europeans has caused a competition in trading, which enables them to
get the highest value for the produce of their labour, and at the same
time has opened to them a hundred new lines of industry, and afforded
them other opportunities of becoming possessed of property. They have
not at all improved these advantages as they might have done; but are,
nevertheless, as it were in spite of themselves, on the whole,
richer--_i.e._, better clothed, fed, and in some degree lodged, than in
past years; and I see the plough now running where I once saw the rude
pointed stick poking the ground. I do not, however, believe that this
improvement exists in more than one or two districts in any remarkable
degree, nor do I think it will be permanent where it does exist;
insomuch as I have said that the improvement is not the result of
providence, economy, or industry, but of a train of temporary
circumstances favourable to the natives: and which, if unimproved, as
they most probably will be, will end in no permanent good result.


    Trading in the Old Times.--The Native Difficulty.--Virtue its own
    Reward.--Rule, Britannia.--Death of my Chief.--His Dying Speech.
    --Rescue.--How the World goes round.

From the years 1822 to 1826, the vessels trading for flax had, when at
anchor, boarding nettings up to the tops; all the crew were armed, and,
as a standing rule, not more than five natives, on any pretence,
allowed on board at one time. Trading for flax in those days was to be
undertaken by a man who had his wits about him; and an old flax trader
of those days, with his 150 ton schooner "out of Sydney," cruising all
round the coast of New Zealand, picking up his five tons at one port,
ten at another, twenty at another, and so on, had questions, commercial,
diplomatic, and military, to solve every day, that would drive all
the "native department," with the minister at their head, clean out of
their senses.

Talk to me of the "native difficulty"--pooh! I think it was in 1822
that an old friend of mine bought, at Kawhia, a woman who was just
going to be baked. He gave a cartridge-box full of cartridges for her;
which was a great deal more than she was really worth: but humanity
does not stick at trifles. He took her back to her friends at Taranaki,
whence she had been taken, and her friends there gave him at once two
tons of flax and eighteen pigs, and asked him to remain a few days
longer till they should collect a still larger present in return for
his kindness; but, as he found out their intention was to take the
schooner, and knock himself and crew on the head, he made off in the
night. Yet he maintains, to this day, that "virtue is its own reward:"
"at least 'tis so at Taranaki." Virtue, however, must have been on a
visit to some other country (she _does_ go out sometimes), when I saw
and heard a British subject, a slave to some natives on the West Coast,
begging hard for somebody to buy him. The price asked was one musket;
but the only person on board the vessel possessing those articles,
preferred to invest in a different commodity. The consequence was, that
the above-mentioned unit of the great British nation lived, and ("Rule,
Britannia" to the contrary notwithstanding) died a slave: but whether
he was buried, deponent sayeth not.

My old _rangatira_ at last began to show signs that his time to leave
this world of care was approaching. He had arrived at a great age, and
a rapid and general breaking up of his strength became plainly
observable. He often grumbled that men should grow old, and oftener
that no great war broke out in which he might make a final display, and
die with _éclat_. The last two years of his life were spent almost
entirely at my house; which, however, he never entered. He would sit
whole days on a fallen puriri near the house, with his spear sticking
up beside him, and speaking to no one, but sometimes humming in a low
droning tone some old ditty which no one knew the meaning of but
himself, and at night he would disappear to some of the numerous nests,
or little sheds, he had around the place. In summer, he would roll
himself in his blanket and sleep anywhere; but no one could tell
exactly where.

In the hot days of summer, when his blood, I suppose, got a little
warm, he would sometimes become talkative, and recount the exploits of
his youth. As he warmed to the subject, he would seize his spear and go
through all the incidents of some famous combat, repeating every
thrust, blow, and parry, as they actually occurred, and going through
as much exertion as if he was really and truly fighting for his life.
He used to go through these pantomimic labours as a duty whenever he
had an assemblage of the young men of the tribe around him; to whom, as
well as to myself, he was most anxious to communicate that which he
considered the most valuable of all knowledge, a correct idea of the
uses of the spear, a weapon he really used in a most graceful and
scientific manner; but he would ignore the fact that "Young New
Zealand" had laid down the weapon for ever, and already matured a new
system of warfare adapted to their new weapons, and only listened to
his lectures out of respect to himself, and not for his science.

At last this old lion was taken seriously ill, and removed permanently
to the village; and one evening a smart, handsome lad, of about twelve
years of age, came to tell me that his _tupuna_ was dying, and had said
he would "go" to-morrow, and had sent for me to see him before he died.
The boy also added that the tribe were _ka poto_, or assembled, to the
last man, around the dying chief. I must here mention that, though this
old _rangatira_ was not the head of his tribe, he had been for about
half a century the recognized war chief of almost all the sections, or
_hapu_, of a very numerous and warlike _iwi_, or tribe, who had now
assembled from all their distant villages and pas to see him die. I
could not, of course, neglect the invitation, so at daylight next
morning I started on foot for the native village. On my arrival about
mid-day, I found it crowded by a great assemblage of natives. I was
saluted by the usual _haere mai!_ and a volley of musketry. I at once
perceived that, out of respect to my old owner, the whole tribe from
far and near, hundreds of whom I had never seen, considered it
necessary to make much of me,--at least for that day,--and I found
myself consequently at once in the position of a "personage." "Here
comes the pakeha!--_his_ pakeha!--make way for the pakeha!--kill those
dogs that are barking at the pakeha!" Bang! bang! Here a double barrel
nearly blew my cap off, by way of salute: I did for a moment think my
head was off. However, being quite _au fait_ in Maori etiquette by this
time, thanks to the instructions and example of my old friend, I fixed
my eyes with a vacant expression, looking only straight before me,
recognized nobody, and took notice of nothing; not even the muskets
fired under my nose or close to my back at every step, and each, from
having four or five charges of powder, making a report like a cannon.
On I stalked, looking neither to the right or the left, with my spear
walking-staff in my hand, to where I saw a great crowd, and where I of
course knew the dying man was. I walked straight on, not even
pretending to see the crowd: as was "correct" under the circumstances;
I being supposed to be entranced by the one absorbing thought of seeing
"mataora," or once more in life my _rangatira_.

The crowd divided as I came up, and closed again behind me as I stood
in the front rank before the old chief, motionless; and, as in duty
bound, trying to look the image of mute despair: which I flatter myself
I did, to the satisfaction of all parties. The old man I saw at once
was at his last hour. He had dwindled to a mere skeleton. No food of
any kind had been prepared for or offered to him for three days: as he
was dying it was of course considered unnecessary. At his right side
lay his spear, tomahawk, and musket. (I never saw him with the musket
in his hand all the time I knew him.) Over him was hanging his
greenstone _mere_, and at his left side, close, and touching him, sat a
stout, athletic savage, with a countenance disgustingly expressive of
cunning and ferocity; and who, as he stealthily marked me from the
corner of his eye, I recognized as one of those limbs of Satan, a Maori
_tohunga_. The old man was propped up in a reclining position, his face
towards the assembled tribe, who were all there waiting to catch his
last words. I stood before him and I thought I perceived he recognized
me. Still all was silence, and for a full half hour we all stood there,
waiting patiently for the closing scene. Once or twice the _tohunga_
said to him in a very loud voice, "The tribe are assembled, you won't
die silent?"

At last, after about half an hour, he became restless, his eyes rolled
from side to side, and he tried to speak; but failed. The circle of men
closed nearer, and there was evidence of anxiety and expectation
amongst them; but a dead silence was maintained. Then suddenly, without
any apparent effort, and in a manner which startled me, the old man
spoke clearly out, in the ringing metallic tone of voice for which he
had been formerly so remarkable, particularly when excited. He spoke.
"Hide my bones quickly where the enemy may not find them: hide them at
once." He spoke again--"Oh my tribe, be brave! be brave that you may
live. Listen to the words of my pakeha; he will unfold the designs of
his tribe." This was in allusion to a very general belief amongst the
natives at the time, that the Europeans designed sooner or later to
exterminate them and take the country; a thing the old fellow had
cross-questioned me about a thousand times: and the only way I could
find to ease his mind was to tell him that if ever I heard any such
proposal I would let him know, protesting at the same time that no such
intention existed. This notion of the natives has since that time done
much harm, and will do more, for it is not yet quite given up.

He continued--"I give my _mere_ to my pakeha,"--"my two old wives will
hang themselves,"--(here a howl of assent from the two old women in the
rear rank)--"I am going; be brave after I am gone." Here he began to
rave; he fancied himself in some desperate battle, for he began to call
to celebrated comrades who had been dead forty or fifty years. I
remember every word--"Charge!" shouted he--"Charge! _Wata_, charge!
_Tara_, charge! charge!" Then after a short pause--"Rescue! rescue! to
my rescue! _ahau! ahau! rescue!_" The last cry for "rescue" was in such
a piercing tone of anguish and utter desperation, that involuntarily I
advanced a foot and hand, as if starting to his assistance; a movement,
as I found afterwards, not unnoticed by the superstitious tribe. At the
same instant that he gave the last despairing and most agonizing cry
for "rescue," I saw his eyes actually blaze, his square jaw locked, he
set his teeth, and rose nearly to a sitting position, and then fell
back dying. He only murmured--"How sweet is man's flesh," and then the
gasping breath and upturned eye announced the last moment.

The _tohunga_ now, bending close to the dying man's ear, roared out,
"_Kia kotahi ki te ao! Kia kotahi ki te ao! Kia kotahi ki te po!_" The
poor savage was now, as I believe, past hearing, and gasping his last
"_Kia kotahi ki te ao!_"--shouted the devil priest again in his ear,
and shaking his shoulder roughly with his hand--"_Kia kotahi ki te
ao!--Kia kotahi ki te po!_" Then giving a significant look to the
surrounding hundreds of natives, a roar of musketry burst forth. _Kia
kotahi ki te ao!_ Thus in a din like pandemonium, guns firing, women
screaming, and the accursed _tohunga_ shouting in his ear, died "Lizard
Skin," as good a fighting man as ever worshipped force or trusted in
the spear. His death on the whole was thought happy; for his last words
were full of good omen:--"How sweet is man's flesh."

Next morning the body had disappeared. This was contrary to ordinary
custom, but in accordance with the request of the old warrior. No one,
even of his own tribe, knows where his body is concealed, but the two
men who carried it off in the night. All I know is that it lies in a
cave, with the spear and tomahawk beside it.

The two old wives were hanging by the neck from a scaffold at a short
distance, which had been made to place potatoes on out of the reach of
rats. The shrivelled old creatures were quite dead. I was for a moment
forgetful of the "correct" thing, and called to an old chief, who was
near, to cut them down. He said, in answer to my hurried call,
"By-and-by; it is too soon yet: _they might recover_." "Oh," said I, at
once recalled to my sense of propriety, "I thought they had been
hanging all night," and thus escaped the great risk of being thought a
mere meddling pakeha. I now perceived the old chief was employed making
a stretcher, or _kauhoa_, to carry the bodies on. At a short distance
also were five old creatures of women sitting in a row, crying, with
their eyes fixed on the hanging objects, and everything was evidently
going on _selon les règles_. I walked on. "_E tika ana_," said I, to
myself. "It's all right, I dare say."

The two young wives had also made a desperate attempt in the night to
hang themselves, but had been prevented by two young men, who, by some
unaccountable accident, had come upon them just as they were stringing
themselves up; and who, seeing that they were not actually "ordered for
execution," by great exertion, and with the assistance of several
female relations, whom they called to their assistance, prevented them
from killing themselves out of respect for their old lord. Perhaps it
was to revenge themselves for this meddling interference that these two
young women married the two young men before the year was out; in
consequence of which, and as a matter of course, the husbands were
robbed by the tribe of everything they had in the world (which was not
much), except their arms. They also had to fight some half-dozen duels
each with spears; in which, however, no one was killed, and no more
blood drawn than could be well spared. All this they went through with
commendable resignation; and so, due respect having been paid to the
memory of the old chief, and the appropriators of his widows duly
punished according to law, farther proceedings were stayed, and
everything went on comfortably. And so the world goes round.


    Mana.--Young New Zealand.--The Law of England.--"Pop goes the
    Weasel."--Right if we have Might.--God save the Queen.--Good

In the afternoon I went home musing on what I had heard and seen.
"Surely," thought I, "if one half of the world does not know how the
other half live, neither do they know how they die."

Some days after this a deputation arrived to deliver up my old friend's
_mere_. It was a weapon of great _mana_, and was delivered with some
little ceremony. I perceive now that I have written this word _mana_
several times, and think I may as well explain what it means. This is
the more necessary, as the word has been bandied about a good deal of
late years, and meanings have been often attached to it by Europeans
which are incorrect, but which the natives sometimes accept because it
suits their purpose. This same word _mana_ has several different
meanings; the difference between these diverse meanings is sometimes
very great, and sometimes only a mere shade of meaning, though one very
necessary to observe; and it is, therefore, quite impossible to find
any one single word in English, or in any other language that I have
any acquaintance with, which will give the full and precise meaning of
_mana_. Moreover, though I myself do know all the meanings and
different shades of meaning, properly belonging to the word, I find a
great difficulty in explaining them; but as I have begun, the thing
must be done. It will also be a tough word disposed of to my hand, when
I come to write my Maori dictionary, in a hundred volumes; which, if I
begin soon, I hope to have finished before the Maori is a dead

Now then for _mana_. _Virtus_, _prestige_, authority, good fortune,
influence, sanctity, luck, are all words which, under certain
conditions, give something near the meaning of _mana_, though not one
of them gives it exactly: but before I have done, the reader shall have
a reasonable notion (for a pakeha) of what it is.

_Mana_ sometimes means a more than natural virtue or power attaching to
some person or thing, different from and independent of the ordinary
natural conditions of either, and capable of either increase or
diminution, both from known and unknown causes. The _mana_ of a priest
or _tohunga_ is proved by the truth of his predictions, as well as the
success of his incantations; _which same incantations, performed by
another person of inferior mana, would have no effect_. Consequently,
this description of _mana_ is a virtue, or more than natural or
ordinary condition attaching to the priest himself; and which he may
become possessed of and also lose without any volition of his own. When

              Apollo from his shrine,
              No longer could divine,
    The hollow steep of Delphos sadly leaving,--

_then_ the oracle had lost its _mana_.

Then there is the doctors' _mana_. The Maori doctors in the old times
did not deal much in "simples," but they administered large doses of
_mana_. Now when most of a doctor's patients recovered, his _mana_ was
supposed to be in full feather; but if, as will happen sometimes to the
best practitioners, a number of patients should slip through his
fingers _seriatim_, then his _mana_ was suspected to be getting weak,
and he would not be liable to be "knocked up" so frequently as

_Mana_ in another sense is the accompaniment of power, but not the
power itself: nor is it even in this sense exactly "authority,"
according to the strict meaning of that word, though it comes very near
it. This is the chiefs _mana_. Let him lose the power, and the _mana_
is gone. But mind you do not translate _mana_ as power; that won't do:
they are two different things entirely. Of this nature also is the
_mana_ of a tribe; but this is not considered to be the supernatural
kind of _mana_.

Then comes the _mana_ of a warrior. Uninterrupted success in war proves
it. It has a _slight_ touch of the supernatural, but not much. Good
fortune comes near the meaning, but is just a little too weak. The
warrior's _mana_ is just a little something more than bare good
fortune; a severe defeat would shake it terribly; two or three in
succession would show that it was gone: but before leaving him, some
supernaturally ominous occurrence might be expected to take place, such
as are said to have happened before the deaths of Julius Cæsar, Marcus
Antonius, or Brutus. Let not any one smile at my comparing, even in the
most distant way, the old Maori warriors with these illustrious Romans;
for if they do, I shall answer that some of the old Maori _Toa_ were
thought as much of in _their_ world, as any Greek or Roman of old was
in his: and, moreover, it is my private opinion, that if the best of
them could only have met my friend "Lizard Skin," in his best days, and
would have taken off his armour and fought fair, that the aforesaid
"Lizard Skin" would have tickled him to his heart's content with the
point of his spear.

A fortress often assailed but never taken has a _mana_, and one of a
high description too. The name of the fortress becomes a _pepeha_, a
war boast or motto, and a war cry of encouragement or defiance; like
the _slogan_ of the ancient Highlanders in Scotland.

A spear, a club, or a _mere_, may have a _mana_; which in most cases
means that it is a lucky weapon which good fortune attends, if the
bearer minds what he is about: but some weapons of the old times had a
stronger _mana_ than this, like the _mana_ of the enchanted weapons we
read of in old romances or fairy tales. Let any one who likes give an
English word for this kind of _mana_. I have done with it.

I had once a tame pig, which, before heavy rain, would always cut
extraordinary capers and squeak like mad. Every pakeha said he was
"weather-wise;" but all the Maori said it was a "_poaka whai mana_," a
pig possessed of _mana_; _for it had more than natural powers_, and
could foretell rain.

If ever this talk about the good old times be printed and published,
and every one should buy it, and read it, and quote it, and believe
every word in it--as they ought, seeing that every word is true--then
it will be a _puka puka whai mana_, a book of _mana_; and I shall have
a high opinion of the good sense and good taste of the New Zealand

When the law of England is the law of New Zealand, and the Queen's writ
will run, then both the Queen and the law will have great _mana_: but I
don't think either will ever happen, and so neither will have any
_mana_ of consequence.

If the reader has not some faint notion of _mana_ by this time, I can't
help it: I can't do any better for him. I must confess I have not
pleased myself. Any European language can be translated easily enough
into any other; but to translate Maori into English is much harder to
do than is supposed by those who do it every day with ease; but who do
not know their own language, or any other but Maori, perfectly.

I am always blowing up "Young New Zealand," and calling them "reading,
riting, rethmatiking" vagabonds, who will never equal their fathers;
but I mean it all for their good--(poor things!)--like a father
scolding his children. But one _does_ get vexed sometimes. Their
grandfathers, if they had "no backs," had at least good legs; but the
grandsons can't walk a day's journey to save their lives: _they_ must
_ride_. The other day I saw a young Maori chap on a good horse; he wore
a black hat and polished Wellingtons, his hat was cocked knowingly to
one side, and he was jogging along with one hand jingling the money in
his pocket; and may I never see another war dance, if the hardened
villain was not whistling "Pop goes the weasel!" What will all this end

My only hope is in a handy way (to give them their due) which they have
with a _tupara_; and this is why I don't think the law will have much
_mana_ here in my time: I mean the _pakeha_ law; for, to say the worst
of them, they are not yet so far demoralized as to stand any nonsense
of that kind; which is a comfort to think of. I am a loyal subject to
Queen Victoria, but I am also a member of a Maori tribe; and I hope I
may never see this country so enslaved and tamed that a single rascally
policeman, with nothing but a bit of paper in his hand, can come and
take a _rangatira_ away from the middle of his _hapu_, and have him
hanged for something of no consequence at all, except that it is
against the law. What would old "Lizard Skin" say to it? His grandson
certainly is now a magistrate, and if anything is stolen from a pakeha,
he will get it back, _if he can_, and won't stick to it, because he
gets a salary in lieu thereof; but he has told me certain matters in
confidence, and which I therefore cannot disclose. I can only hint
there was something said about "the Law," and "driving the pakeha into
the sea."

I must not trust myself to write on these matters. I get so confused,
that I feel just as if I was two different persons at the same time.
Sometimes I find myself thinking on the Maori side, and then just
afterwards wondering if "we" can lick the Maori, and set the law upon
its legs; which is the only way to do it. I therefore hope the reader
will make allowance for any little apparent inconsistency in my ideas,
as I really cannot help it.

I belong to both parties, and I don't care a straw which wins; but I am
sure we shall have fighting. Men _must_ fight; or else what are they
made for? Twenty years ago, when I heard military men talking of
"marching through New Zealand with fifty men," I was called a fool
because I said they could not do it with five hundred. Now I am also
thought foolish by civilians, because I say we can conquer New Zealand
with our present available means, if we set the right way about it
(which we won't). So hurrah again for the Maori! We shall drive the
pakeha into the sea, and send the Law after them! If we can do it, we
are right; and if the pakeha beat us, _they_ will be right too. God
save the Queen!

So now, my Maori tribe, and also my pakeha countrymen, I shall conclude
this book with good advice; and be sure you take notice: it is given to
both parties. It is a sentence from the last speech of old "Lizard
Skin." It is to you both. "Be brave, that you may live."



_A pakeha tutua_--A mean, _poor_ European.--p. 18.

_Bare Motiti_--The Island of Motiti is often called "_Motiti wahie
kore_," as descriptive of the want of timber, or bareness of the
island. A more fiercely contested battle, perhaps, was never fought
than that on Motiti, in which the Ngati Kuri were destroyed.--p. 153.

_E aha te pai?_--What is the good (or use) of him? Said in
contempt.--p. 18.

_Haere mai! &c._--Sufficiently explained as the native call of welcome.
It is literally an invitation to advance.--p. 14.

_Hahunga_--A _hahunga_ was a funeral ceremony, at which the natives
usually assembled in great numbers, and during which "baked meats" were
disposed of with far less economy than Hamlet gives us to suppose was
observed "in Denmark."--p. 13.

_Jacky-poto_--Short Jack; or stumpy Jack.--p. 152.

_Kainga_--A native town, or village: their principal headquarters.--p.

_Kia kotahi ki te ao! Kia kotahi ki te po!_--A close translation would
not give the meaning to the English reader. By these words the dying
person is conjured to cling to life, but as they are never spoken until
the person to whom they are addressed is actually expiring, they seemed
to me to contain a horrid mockery, though to the native they no doubt
appear the promptings of an affectionate and anxious solicitude. They
are also supposed to contain a certain mystical meaning.--p. 200.

_Ki au te mataika_--I have the _mataika_. The first man killed in a
battle was called the _mataika_. To kill the _mataika_. To kill the
_mataika_, or first man, was counted a very high honour, and the most
extraordinary exertions were made to obtain it. The writer once saw a
young warrior, when rushing with his tribe against the enemy, rendered
almost frantic by perceiving that another section of the tribe would,
in spite of all his efforts, be engaged first, and gain the honour of
killing the _mataika_. In this emergency he, as he rushed on, cut down
with a furious blow of his tomahawk, a sapling which stood in his way,
and gave the cry which claims the _mataika_. After the battle the
circumstances of this question in Maori chivalry having been fully
considered by the elder warriors, it was decided that the sapling tree
should, in this case, be held to be the true _mataika_, and that the
young man who cut it down should always claim, without question, to
have killed, or, as the natives say, "caught," the _mataika_ of that
battle.--p. 174.

_Mana_--As the meaning of this word is explained in the course of the
narrative, it is only necessary to say that in the sense in which it is
used here, it means dominion or authority.--p. 3.

_Mere ponamu_--A native weapon made of a rare green stone, and much
valued by the natives.--p. 24.

_Na! Na! mate rawa!_--This is the battle cry by which a warrior
proclaims, exultingly and tauntingly, the death of one of the
enemy.--p. 58.

_No hea_--Literally, from whence? Often used as a negative answer to an
inquiry, in which case the words mean that the thing inquired for is
not, or in fact is nowhere.--p. 2.

_Pakeha_--An Englishman; a foreigner.--p. 3.

_Rangatira_--A chief, a gentleman, a warrior. _Rangatira pakeha_--A
foreigner who is a gentleman (not a _tutua_, or nobody, as described
above), a _rich_ foreigner.--p. 20.

_Tangi_--A dirge, or song of lamentation for the dead. It was the
custom for the mourners, when singing the _tangi_, to cut themselves
severely on the face, breast, and arms, with sharp flints and shells,
in token of their grief. This custom is still practised, though in a
mitigated form. In past times, the mourners cut themselves dreadfully,
and covered themselves with blood from head to feet. See a description
of a _tangi_ further on.--p. 3.

_Taniwha_--A sea monster: more fully described further on.--p. 30.

_Taonga_--Goods; property.--p. 20.

_Taua_--A war party; or war expedition.--p. 42.

_Tena koutou_; _or Tenara ko koutou_--The Maori form of salutation,
equivalent to our "How do you do?"--p. 54.

_Tino tangata_--A "good man," in the language of the prize-ring; a
warrior; or literally, a very, or perfect man.--p. 30.

_Toa_--A warrior of pre-eminent courage; a hero.--p. 179.

_Torere_--An unfathomable cave, or pit, in the rocky mountains, where
the bones of the dead, after remaining a certain time in the first
burying place, are removed to and thrown in, and so finally disposed
of.--p. 72.

_Tu ngarahu_--This is a muster, or review, made to ascertain the
numbers and condition of a native force; generally made before the
starting of an expedition. It is, also, often held as a military
spectacle, or exhibition, of the force of a tribe when they happen to
be visited by strangers of importance: the war dance is gone through on
these occasions, and speeches declaratory of war, or welcome, as the
case may be, made to the visitors. The "review of the Taniwha,"
witnessed by the Ngati Kuri, was possibly a herd of sea-lions, or
sea-elephants; animals scarcely ever seen on the coast of that part of
New Zealand, and, therefore, from their strange and hideous appearance,
at once set down as an army of Taniwha. One man only was, at the defeat
of the Ngati Kuri, on Motiti, rescued to tell the tale.--p. 153.

_Tupara_--A double gun; an article, in the old times, valued by the
natives above all other earthly riches.--p. 12.

_Tutua_--A low, worthless, and, above all, a _poor_, fellow--a
"nobody."--p. 18.

_Utu_--Revenge, or satisfaction; also payment.--p. 26.


London: SMITH, ELDER and Co., Little Green Arbour Court, Old Bailey,

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