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Earle, Augustus / A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827
Produced by Jonathan Ingram and PG Distributed Proofreaders




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




A NARRATIVE

OF A

NINE MONTHS' RESIDENCE

IN

NEW ZEALAND

IN 1827

BY

AUGUSTUS EARLE

DRAUGHTSMAN TO HIS MAJESTY'S SURVEYING SHIP

"THE BEAGLE."

Whitecombe & Tombs Limited

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

Melbourne and London

1909




INTRODUCTION.


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

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




CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

VOYAGE FROM SYDNEY
WRECKS AT HOKIANGA


CHAPTER II.

MAORI WELCOME
NATIVE CHARACTERISTICS
EUROPEANS AT HOKIANGA
CANNIBALISM


CHAPTER III.

A MAORI VILLAGE
THE TAPU ON CROPS
MAORI ART


CHAPTER IV.

HOKIANGA RIVER
MR. HOBBS' MISSION
THE TIMBER INDUSTRY


CHAPTER V.

AN OVERLAND JOURNEY


CHAPTER VI.

THE CHIEF PATUONE


CHAPTER VII.

A PICTURESQUE SCENE


CHAPTER VIII.

IN THE DENSE FOREST


CHAPTER IX.

THE KERIKERI MISSION
INHOSPITABLE RECEPTION


CHAPTER X.

THE BAY OF ISLANDS


CHAPTER XI.

MASSACRE OF THE BOYD


CHAPTER XII.

KORORAREKA
A MIXED COMMUNITY
SHULITEA (KING GEORGE)


CHAPTER XIII.

MAORI CONSERVATISM


CHAPTER XIV.

A MISSION SETTLEMENT
THE MECHANIC MISSIONARY


CHAPTER XV.

VISIT FROM HONGI
HONGI'S COAT OF MAIL


CHAPTER XVI.

INTERVIEW WITH HONGI


CHAPTER XVII.

A MAORI WELCOME


CHAPTER XVIII.

INLAND EXCURSIONS


CHAPTER XIX.

MAORI WOMEN'S CAMP


CHAPTER XX.

LOADING SPARS, HOKIANGA


CHAPTER XXI.

DEATH OF A CHIEF
TRADING WITH MAORIS


CHAPTER XXII.

BRUTAL MURDER OF A WIFE


CHAPTER XXIII.

ANOTHER JOURNEY
INTERIOR OF THE COUNTRY


CHAPTER XXIV.

A WAR PARTY


CHAPTER XXV.

HOSTILE DISPLAY
THE LAW OF MURU


CHAPTER XXVI.

A SEDUCTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES


CHAPTER XXVII.

LAW OF RETALIATION


CHAPTER XXVIII.

A WAR EXPEDITION
CANNIBALISM


CHAPTER XXIX.

MAORI SLAVERY


CHAPTER XXX.

PIRACY BY CONVICTS


CHAPTER XXXI.

N.Z. CLIMATE
THE STARVATION CURE


CHAPTER XXXII.

THE ART OF TATTOOING


CHAPTER XXXIII.

TRIBAL GOVERNMENT
MAORI BELIEFS
THE CUSTOM OF TAPU
SUNDAY OBSERVANCE
MASSACRE OF FRENCH NAVIGATOR MARION AND PARTY


CHAPTER XXXIV.

THE MAORIS' VIEW OF CHRISTIANITY


CHAPTER XXXV.

HONGI'S THREATS
PREPARING FOR WAR


CHAPTER XXXVI.

ARRIVAL OF A WARSHIP


CHAPTER XXXVII.

WHALERS AND MISSIONARIES


CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THREATENED WAR


CHAPTER XXXIX.

CONSTRUCTION OF A PA


CHAPTER XL.

A SHAM FIGHT


CHAPTER XLI.

AN EXCITING INCIDENT
VISIT OF A GREAT TOHUNGA


CHAPTER XLII.

VICTORIOUS WARRIORS
TREATMENT OF PRISONERS
BAKED HEADS


CHAPTER XLIII.

VISITS OF WHALERS


CHAPTER XLIV.

SOUTH SEA ISLANDERS


CHAPTER XLV.

DEATH OF HONGI


CHAPTER XLVI.

A TRIBAL CONFLICT
SHULITEA (KING GEORGE) KILLED


CHAPTER XLVII.

EXCITEMENT AT KORORAREKA


CHAPTER XLVIII.

EARLE'S FAREWELL
MISSIONARIES ALARMED


CHAPTER XLIX.

JOURNEY TO HOKIANGA


CHAPTER L.

EUROPEAN DEFENCES
MR. HOBBS' MESSAGE OF PEACE


CHAPTER LI.

MAORI SOCIAL CUSTOMS
EUROPEAN LIAISONS WITH MAORIS
MAORI MARRIAGES


CHAPTER LII.

A MAORI TANGI


CHAPTER LIII.

MAORI CHARACTERISTICS
ORIGIN OF OUTRAGES
FAMILY AFFECTION


CHAPTER LIV.

TRADE OF HOKIANGA


CHAPTER LV.

A CREW MASSACRED


CHAPTER LVI.

FAREWELL TO NEW ZEALAND
MAORIS IN SYDNEY


APPENDIX I.

MASSACRE OF FURNEAUX'S BOAT'S CREW
CANNIBALISM


APPENDIX II.

A TRIBAL FIGHT




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

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




CHAPTER I.

VOYAGE FROM SYDNEY.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOOTNOTES:

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

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




CHAPTER II.

RECEPTION BY THE NATIVES.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




CHAPTER III.

A RAMBLE ASHORE.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOOTNOTES:

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




CHAPTER IV.

THE HOKIANGA RIVER EIGHTY YEARS AGO.


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

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

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




CHAPTER V.

JOURNEY OVERLAND TO BAY OF ISLANDS.


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

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

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

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

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




CHAPTER VI.

MEETING WITH THE CHIEF PATUONE.


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

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

[Illustration: Patuone, a Notable Hokianga Chief.]

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

Soon after parting with Patuone, we fell in with a most beautiful bull,
cow, and calf.



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