Polynesia; A popular description of the physical features, inhabitants, natural history, and productions of the islands of the Pacific. With an account of their discovery, and the progress of civilisation and christianity amongst them.
Chapter VI. — New Zealand.—The Middle Island Provinces; The Chatham and Auckland Islands
New Zealand.—The Middle Island
Provinces; The Chatham and Auckland Islands.
A few miles from Nelson is the Dun Mountain, so celebrated for its mineral treasures. Rich specimens of copper ore crop out on its surface, and a company was formed a few years ago to work it. The completion of the Dun Mountain railway has enabled this company to get down to the port and ship for England large quantities of chrome, besides copper ore.
Inland, the valleys of the Upper Motueka, Motupiko, and Lake Arthur districts, have long been occupied as stock runs; and those of the Buller, the Grey, and the Karamea, on the west coast, offer a larger amount of fertile land than was previously supposed. These valleys are of various widths, piercing the range of bold and lofty mountains, through which these several rivers find an outlet to the sea.
Of the wild mountain region in the south-west portion of the province, Mr. Hursthouse writes, "It is a savage, gloomy country, silent, desolate, and page 120dreary. Here and there, in some secluded nook, a few miserable natives, remnants of early fugitives from the massacres on the eastern side, true 'children of the mist' and 'wild men of the woods,' have raised their little huts to snare the 'kiwi' and the 'weka,' unmolested and unseen. It is a country fresh from Nature's rudest mint, untouched by hand of man—a region where, if anywhere, Audubon would have met the 'mòa' on the mountain top, or Owen stumbled upon the icthyosaurus basking on the banks of the lagoon."
Marlborough, formerly the north-eastern portion of Nelson, has recently been erected into a separate province. Its capital is Picton, finely situated on one of the deep arms of Queen Charlotte's Sound. The south-eastern portion of Marlborough consists mainly of the Wairau plains, one of the richest and first occupied pastoral districts in New Zealand, and the scene of the tragic massacre of Captain Wakefield and his surveying party, many years ago.
The northern extremity of the province, along the shores of Cook's Straits, is a rugged and densely wooded country, indented with numerous harbours, bays, and creeks of every shape and capacity. Queen Charlotte's Sound, the principal one, is twenty-five miles long, with two entrances, forming a gigantic harbour, capable of containing all the navies of the world.
The province of Canterbury occupies the centre of the Middle Island, between the parallels of 43° and 45° south latitude. It is bounded on the north by Nelson, and on the south by Otago, having an page 121extreme length from north to south of about 170 miles, its greatest breadth being nearly the same. Its area is about 12,000,000 acres, of which about 4,000,000 on the eastern side of the dividing range of mountains are available for settlement, consisting of large tracts of open agricultural country, well fitted for the plough.
The province of Canterbury was founded by the Canterbury Association, a body of noblemen, bishops, and other members of the English Church. This body was actuated by a desire of placing colonization upon a more improved footing, in which the educational and religious interests of the settlers, as well as their worldly prosperity, might be better consulted than was possible under ordinary circumstances. The first party of the Canterbury settlers landed in the colony in December, 1850, and were of a much higher social position than the ordinary average of emigrants.
Port Victoria, formerly called Port Cooper, is the harbour of Lyttleton, and is a fine, land-locked inlet.
Lyttleton, the chief port of the province, has a population of about 1200. It is surrounded by a belt of precipitous, grassy hills, from the summits of which are seen the famous Canterbury plains—three millions of acres rolling back in gentle rise for forty miles, to the foot of the dividing range of mountains, watered by numerous rivers, and spreading north and south farther than the eye can reach.
Christchurch, the capital, is about eight miles from Lyttleton, and is pleasantly situated on the page 122River Avon. It contains nearly 2000 inhabitants, and the country around is dotted with corn fields, pastures, orchards, and dairy farms; and the luxuriance of the crops, and the sleek, well-fed appearance of all the domestic animals, which these cultivations exhibit, prove that the tracts of similar soil which surround them need but the magic touch of plough and spade to be clothed with a like mantle of blooming fertility. Small steamers ply from Lyttleton up the river Avon, to within a couple of miles of Christchurch; and a railroad, winding round the hills, and thus completing the communication, is rapidly approaching completion.
The country around Christchurch being very level and denuded of trees, presents somewhat of a monotonous aspect, which, however, will disappear after a few years, when plantations and shrubberies have attained some growth. In the city there are twelve streets running parallel to each other, which are intersected by seven other streets. They are named after the bishop's sees in England, Ireland, and Wales. There are also three squares, two of them named after Latimer and Cranmer, and the third, in the centre of the town, is called Cathedral Square. Christchurch possesses a provincial government building and council-chamber, a college, an excellent grammar, and other schools, a townhall, a mechanics' institute, library, and newsroom, a fine club-house, a hospital and lunatic asylum, and other public buildings. It has five edifices set apart for public worship, two of which belong to the Church of England. Rows of elegant page 123shops are beginning to grace the thoroughfares, and a marked improvement in street architecture has displayed itself during the last two years. Two weekly, and one daily, papers, are printed in Christchurch and Lyttleton; and in 1862 the first telegraph in New Zealand was opened between these two towns.
The principal smaller settlements within the province are, Kaiapoi, a rising village-port on the banks of the Courtenay, ten miles from Christchurch; Timaru, a town situated near the southern boundary of the province, in the midst of a fine pastoral district; and Akaroa, on Banks' Peninsula, where is one of the finest harbours in New Zealand. The latter settlement was originally established by the French, some of whom still remain there. It is a favourite resort of whaling ships that fish off the coast. The climate is milder than that of the plains and the district around is richly wooded. The vine flourishes well, and the gardens of Akaroa are abundantly stocked with fruit.
The country on the west side of the Snowy Mountains has been but very partially explored. Within the last year or so, very rich gold fields have, however, been discovered in that wild alpine region, and the township of Hokitiki is already assuming considerable proportions; all that is wanted being a safe harbour, most of the rivers on the west coast having dangerous bars. As soon as inland communication is rendered more easy, a valuable market will be opened for surplus produce, and the settlement of the remote districts greatly accelerated.page 124
The country on the eastern side of the mountains, with the exception of some swamps near the coast, and of extensive forests on Banks' Peninsula, and small patches of forest here and there on the plains, is an open country, covered with grass, and in its wild state is estimated to he capable of supporting a million sheep and 50,000 head of cattle. A deep fringe of fine cattle-grazing and loamy agricultural land extends along the sea-board of this noble plain. Though it is generally bare of timber, shelter for young stock, for gardens and clearings, is easily obtained, owing to the quick growth of Australian, English, and native trees and shrubs.
Firewood, building-timber, and fencing materials, are close at hand, in the forests of Banks' Peninsula. Cattle stations, sheep farms, settlers' homesteads, with their paddocks and patches of garden and corn fields, are scattered over it in every direction; flocks and herds are spreading from point to point; and it deservedly ranks as the finest pastoral region in the whole of New Zealand.
The province is well watered by numerous rivers, the largest of which have their sources in the Snowy Mountains, and flow across the plains in very wide beds. At ordinary times the water is remarkably transparent and pure, and flows swiftly in several comparatively narrow channels, fordable on horse back, through the bed of gravel or shingle. In the heavy floods, occasioned by the melting of the snow in early summer, the whole river bed is covered by a torrent of muddy water, and is quite impassable. Near the mountains, the channels lie several hundred page 125feet below the level of the plains, and are bounded by a succession of natural terraces, with intervening strips of level ground. As the rivers approach the sea, these terraces gradually subside; and for a few miles before their junction with the ocean, some of them flow gently in one deep channel, and are navigable for small coasting vessels.
The remarkable harbour-stored projection of Banks' Peninsula, jutting out into the sea on the east coast, is an interesting feature of the province of Canterbury. It is densely wooded, and with its hills, forests, and inlets, presents many beautiful landscapes. The vast Canterbury plains have somewhat of a dreary and monotonous appearance; but the want of variety in the foreground is much relieved by the view of the grand mountain range, which bounds the horizon to the westward. This range is distant about forty miles from Christchurch, but, in certain states of the atmosphere, is so clearly visible, that a stranger to the climate would suppose it to be within twenty. From the town, in clear weather, the mountains can be seen over a length of 200 miles, some of the highest peaks in sight being upwards of 9000 feet above the level of the sea. In winter, when the range is clothed with snow from its crest more than half way down, these Southern Alps assume an aspect of grandeur and sublimity which can be equalled in few parts of the world.
The province of Otago, which consists of the southern portion of the Middle Island, is bounded by Canterbury on the north, and by Foveaux page 126Straits on the south, and is the most southern of all the New Zealand colonies. This settlement was first founded, in 1847, by a body of colonists organized in, and proceeding from, Scotland, in connexion with the Free Church. For the endowment of this settlement, and of schools in connexion with it, a portion of the funds arising from the sale of lands was reserved. Recently, the fine pastoral district of Invercargill, having a sea-board on Foveaux Straits, has been separated from Otago, and created the province of Southland.
The total area of the province, including Southland, is about 30,000 square miles, nearly the same size as Scotland, containing upwards of 17,000,000 acres, of which 10,000,000 are estimated as being available for agricultural and pastoral purposes. The great range of the Southern Alps runs through the western portion of the province, which is a wild, rugged, and broken region, some of the mountains almost rivalling those of Switzerland in altitude and grandeur, and presenting even more desolate and barren-looking solitudes. Mount Aspiring forms a magnificent spectacle, not only owing to its great altitude, viz., 9135 feet above the sea, but on account of the remarkable form of its steep cone or spire. The mountains in the vicinity of the lakes, which are themselves 1000 feet or more above the sea, rise to an altitude of over 7000 feet, and are covered with perpetual snow. There are three large lakes in the interior of the province, of which the Hawea and Wanaka are the most remarkable; from these the Clutha, which exceeds in page 127volume any river in the island, takes its immediate source, draining the central basin, and rolling its vast volume of cold, clear, blue water towards the sea, winding its course along one of the largest and most fertile valleys in New Zealand. Several other large rivers flow through the extensive plains, watering tracts of country highly favourable for pasturage, amongst which may be mentioned the Waitangi, which takes its rise in Mount Cook, and, flowing eastward to the Pacific, forms the northern boundary of the province, separating it from that of Canterbury. The Waiou, which falls into the ocean westward of Foveaux Straits; and the New River, having a harbour at its mouth, on which stands Invercargill, the capital of Southland.
The western coast of Otago presents a totally different aspect from the eastern. It abounds in magnificent harbours, capable of holding the largest vessels in the world; but beautiful as these harbours are, they are almost useless from two causes. Many of them are so deep that no ship's cable could touch the bottom, whilst the range of inaccessible moun tains that skirts the heads of these western harbours prevents all access to the interior of the country, as far as is yet known.
The harbour of Otago, from which this province derives its name, is an arm of the sea, fourteen miles long, running inland from the east coast, and presenting scenery of uncommon beauty, not unlike that of the Trosachs in Scotland. The hills that surround it are of every form, densely wooded, and of most luxuriant vegetation.page 128
Dunedin, the capital of the province, stands at the head of Otago Harbour, and is almost embosomed in hills. Previous to the discovery of the gold fields in 1861, the town was making very satisfactory progress; streets were being levelled and metalled, and houses were everywhere springing up with a rapidity only to be seen in the colonies. There is a good jetty, at which vessels lie alongside; and Otago possesses quite a fleet of steamers, and carries on a flourishing trade with other colonial ports in New Zealand and Australia. There are good government offices, churches and chapels, several large hotels, a mechanics' institute, an hospital, and a jail. The houses have hitherto been mostly built of wood, but there are excellent stone quarries within a short distance of the town, and the latter material will no doubt soon supersede the former in the erection of more permanent dwellings.
Dunedin, before the gold discoveries in Otago, was a quiet, unassuming little town; now it is entering upon a fresh phase of its existence. On every side, handsome shops, fine hotels, and substantial stores, are rising, where, only a very few years ago, the flax grew wild. Streets are being cut through hills, cavities filled, pavements laid, new jetties constructed, street lamps erected, and a variety of other improvements taking place, which will go far to make Dunedin more worthy of being the capital of a gold-producing province, and one of the most important cities, eventually, in New Zealand. The present population of Dunedin is estimated at about 18,000 souls.page 129
Port Chalmers is some eleven miles from Dunedin, abreast of the anchorage for large vessels. Steam communication is constantly kept up between the port and Dunedin.
Roads are now being made into the interior in the directions of the various gold fields; and lines of coaches traverse places where, at one time, it was a matter of difficulty for a horseman to pursue his way. The inland navigation of the rivers by means of steamers is also being developed, and agricultural and pastoral pursuits have been greatly stimulated by the augmented population. The principal gold fields are those of Tuapeka, about fifty miles from Dunedin; the Waitahuna, nine miles nearer; the Waipori, the Dunstan, and the Lindis; but the whole country appears to be more or less auriferous. Gold has also been found in Southland, extending almost to the sea coast; and a "rush" has lately been made to the Wakatipu diggings from Invercargill.
The town of Invercargill, the capital of the infant province of Southland, is situated at the head of the estuary of the New River, on Foveaux Straits, and has already made good progress. As the outlet of an extensive pastoral country, it will probably become in time one of the most important towns in the Middle Island. Townships have also been laid out at Jacob's River, Redston, Moeraki, Oamani, and other places; and the younger province bids fair to keep pace with the progress of Otago, with which it must continue to be intimately connected, and dependent in a great measure upon its prosperity.page 130
The government of the entire colony is vested in a governor, appointed by the crown, and a general assembly, consisting of two houses, one elected by the people, the other nominated by the crown for life. Each of the nine provinces has a local government, consisting of a superintendent, and a provincial council, both elected by the people, and which have power to make laws within the province on all subjects except such as are specially reserved for the general assembly.
The European population in 1860 was estimated in the various provinces as follows:—In the North Island: Auckland, 22,159; Taranaki, 1312; Wellington, 13,470; Hawke's Bay, 2037; total, 40,248. In the Middle Island: Nelson, including Marlborough, 10,000; Canterbury, 14,107; Otago, 10,456; total, 34,563. Thus making the grand total 71,456.
The European population of each province, according to the census of 1864, was as follows:—
Auckland 37,008 Taranaki 1,398 Wellington 14,938 Hawke's Bay 4,107 Nelson 11,922 Marlborough 5,349 Canterbury 32,253 Otago 48,998 Southland 8,075 Total 164,048
Showing an increase, since 1860, of 92,592.page 131
The native population, which is almost exclusively confined to the Northern Island (that of the Middle Island altogether not exceeding 2300 in number), does not now probably amount to more than 50,000, although twenty years ago it was estimated by the missionaries as high as 200,000. The continuous decrease of the native or Maori race is borne out by the statements of all those who are capable of forming an opinion; and although to a certain extent an amalgamation has taken place between the two races by marriages of native women with Europeans, there is but little doubt that at no very distant period the New Zealander will have all but disappeared before the Anglo-Saxon.
The climate of New Zealand seems to be well adapted to the English constitution, and is undoubtedly one of the most healthy to be found in any part of the globe. It possesses the best qualities of both the English and the Australian climates, without the disadvantages of either. It has the mild winters, the clear sky, and pure atmosphere of the latter, free from its hot winds and long-continued droughts; whilst it has the temperate summers of the former, without its dreary winters and severe frosts. In the spring and early summer there is much wind; and in the winter very heavy rains, with rough tempestuous weather, occur at times for several days together, especially about Cook's Straits and to the southward. In the North Island snow very rarely falls, except upon the mountains All the grains, vegetables, and plants cultivated in England succeed equally well in New Zealand; page 132whilst in the north some of the productions of warmer and even tropical climates, such as Indian corn or maize, millet, sweet potatoes, tobacco, grapes, bananas, figs, peaches, melons, and cape gooseberries, are raised without difficulty in the open air.
The province of Otago, lying as it does so far to the southward, possesses a much colder and more variable climate than that of the northern provinces, or even of those along the southern shores of Cook's Straits. Though very healthy and exhilarating, it is liable to great extremes, though not so much of temperature. It is either brilliantly fine, wet, or boisterous. When the weather is fine, brighter skies or more glorious sunshine are never to be found in Italy or Greece; but when a wet southwester, or a drivelling south-east wind sets in, nothing can be conceived more dreary and comfortless; and as these are liable to occur at all seasons, summer may be turned into winter in a few hours. On the elevated ranges the cold of winter is very severe, and a fire, even in summer, is often desirable, and always pleasant of an evening.
The existence of gold in New Zealand had been known for some years, and a paying gold field was being worked at Coromandel Harbour, in the North Island, when, in 1861, the discovery of the Otago diggings at Tuapeka, fifty miles inland from the settlement of Dunedin, was announced. In August and September of the same year, 6000 persons were reported to be at work there, and upwards of 25,000 ounces of gold had been realized; and, by the end of September, 10,000 persons had left page 133Melbourne alone for this new El Dorado in the Middle Island.
A mighty change seems to be dawning over the destiny of New Zealand. The sand on its seashore, the rivers flowing through the length and breadth of its land, and the mountain ranges from the north to the south of each island, all seem impregnated with gold to a greater or lesser degree. The Hokitika diggings, since they have been worked, a period of only a few months, have turned out about 700,000l. worth of the precious metal. A correspondent from that locality writes as follows:
"And as to the reality of the ground as a gold field, I think there cannot be much doubt, when, within one month, more than 45,000 ounces of gold were exported, and I doubt not the present month will be far in excess of this. A few days ago I happened to be out riding, and selected the beach north of the town, on which to take exercise, and found the whole beach for miles was being occupied with diggers, who are mining just above high-water mark, and are washing out of the sea-sand sufficient gold to produce from 5l. to 20l. per week per man. In fact, nearly the whole coast from the Grey River down to Bruce Bay is a magnificent gold field; and inland, too, for miles, men are gradually extending the field. During the last fortnight there have been several rushes up to the foot of the snowcapped Southern Alps, where the diggers are finding good, payable gold."
The total value of New Zealand gold exported from the colony, up to the 30th of June, 1865, was page 1347,646,809l, and the number of ounces was 1,974,667. The principal localities from whence the gold has been obtained hitherto have been Otago and Christchurch provinces, but the whole of New Zealand is believed by geologists to be auriferous.
By the last advices from New Zealand (bearing date March 20th, 1866), the yield of gold was still increasing; over 100,000 ounces were procured from the various diggings during the previous month alone. New Zealand presents, besides gold, numerous other indications of mineral wealth. Copper, silver, and iron, with coal, sulphur, and manganese have been discovered. Lead ore, tin ore, and what is supposed to be nickel, have been detected. In the province of Wellington a natural brass, composed of copper and zinc, has been found, but richer in copper than manufactured brass usually is. Limestone, marble, and potter's clay are also abundant in some parts of the country; and fine samples of chrome and plumbago, as well as platinum and titanium have been sent to England recently from the province of Nelson, in the Middle Island.
The history of the New Zealand settlements, although so brief in regard to time, exhibits on the whole, one of the most striking amongst the many triumphs of modern colonization. Enjoying a salubrious and delightful climate, the great prosperity of the colonists was accompanied by a corresponding advance on the part of the aboriginal population. Inspired by the example of the Europeans, the natives tilled the lands bequeathed page 135them by their ancestors, and, in their own vehicles and canoes, as well as in small vessels owned by them, conveyed the produce of their labour to the markets of the colonists. The native and the white population having been alike declared subjects of the crown, had equal rights, civil and political, and the success of the missionaries amongst the former seemed to promise a bright future for New Zealand. But a rude and sudden reverse came over the scene. The outbreak at the Bay of Islands, led by the rebel chief Heki, who cut down the British flagstaff there in 1844, had long ago been subdued, and the matter all but forgotten during the peaceful years that succeeded it, when the beginning of the year 1860 brought threatenings of a native outbreak; and in a few months afterwards a savage and sanguinary warfare was being carried on between the natives and the colonists, in which the barbaric arts of a courageous and sanguinary race, aided by the natural features of their country, have long been opposed in vain by effective arms and disciplined regiments. Although in the following year the natives received a severe defeat from the British troops, and obtained a truce for three days, they rejected the only terms on which the colonial government could treat with them; their white flag was withdrawn, and replaced with the red ensign of war. Since that period a sort of guerilla warfare has been more or less constantly carried on by the rebel tribes against the whites; the natives have defended themselves in strongly fortified and almost inaccessible "pahs;" and during some of the attacks great slaughter has page 136taken place on both sides. Very recently, however, the rebels on the east coast have been defeated with heavy loss, and upwards of 180 of them have surrendered. One hundred and twenty guns, and a large quantity of ammunition have been captured by the British forces, and the rebels at Poverty Bay have evacuated all their fortified strongholds. On the west coast the natives have also been repulsed with great slaughter, so that from the latest accounts the war may be said to be virtually over. A correspondent, writing from Auckland, in January, 1866, says, "Our war may be said to be burning itself out, and leaving only its embers in the shape of debt and ruination to remind us of its once active character. There are, however, a few sparks every now and then emitted, by which we can judge that the fire of the rebellion is still smouldering in the breasts of the rebel Maories, and it requires only a fitting opportunity to display itself against us in a hostile manner. But the rebels now find that their opportunities for doing us any material injury are but few, and during the coming year they will prove, from the measures that are now being taken by the present government, yet more rare, until at last the whole race will arrive at the conviction that it were better for them to live in peace and happiness with their white brethren, than to continue to war against them, and thus accelerate that fate which it appears they are doomed to experience."
The immediate cause of this long and harassing war arose out of the sale of a piece of land by a native chief to the colonial government. The right page 137of this chief to sell the land in question was disputed by another chief of the same tribe, Wiremu Kingi, who, whilst admitting the proprietary rights of the other, yet asserted the tribal power to veto the sale. The government however recognized Te Teira's right to sell, concluded the bargain, and took practical possession by surveying the ground. This procedure caused the opposition of Wiremu Kingi and his party, which soon took the form of warlike hostilities; and the disaffection on the land question, which had long been smouldering, spread itself rapidly amongst other tribes, who rallied to the standard of the rebel chief.
Up to the commencement of the present year the war in New Zealand has cost 764,829l. The imperial troops are now being gradually sent from the colony; and in future the colonists will have to rely chiefly upon their own colonial corps, their brave volunteers, and their now numerous native allies.
The Chatham Islands are situated about 380 miles to the eastward of New Zealand. They were discovered, in 1791, by Lieutenant Broughton in the brig "Chatham" when on a voyage round the world with Vancouver, and were named after that vessel. The largest island (Chatham Island) is nearly ninety miles in circumference, about one third of its surface being productive, and covered with low bush; whilst a considerable tract is described as consisting of peat, in many places fifty feet deep. In several parts of the island this peat has been on fire for years, burning at a considerable depth below the surface. It is well wooded in places, and abounds page 138with the Phormium tenax, or New Zealand flax. The other islands of the group, Pitt Island and Southeast Island, are smaller; the coasts are rocky, and the surface is generally hilly, with swamps and marshes intervening. The productions of the Chatham Islands generally resemble those of New Zealand. These islands are much resorted to by whalers for the purpose of obtaining supplies. The original inhabitants are said to have been a very harmless race; but they were almost annihilated by a tribe of New Zealanders, who invaded Chatham Island about the year 1832, from Cook's Straits. A very interesting notice of these people has been lately given in the Journal of the Linnean Society of London, by Mr. Travers, who visited the Chatham Islands in 1864. He says, "The remnant of the More-ores (the name given to the aboriginal inhabitants), exclusive of the few who are still retained in slavery, is settled at Ohangi, on the south-east side of the island. They do not exceed 200 in number, and are rapidly decreasing. Before the invasion of the New Zealanders, the More-ores were very numerous, numbering little short of 1500 people. They are much shorter, but stouter built than the New Zealanders, and have darker skins, but the same straight, coarse hair; their faces are rounder, and more pleasing in expression; their noses are Roman in shape, resembling those of the Jews. They never tattooed; and although they originally practised cannibalism, they had discontinued it before the arrival of the New Zealanders. They appear to have been a very cheerful people, page 139fond of singing and of telling laughable stories. They built no huts, merely using a few branches of trees stuck into the ground as a shelter from the wind. They had no canoes, there being no timber on the islands sufficiently large for constructing them; but they formed rafts of the flower-stalks of the Phormium tenax, lashed together with supple-jack, and having an upright wooden stem, ingeniously carved. The paddles were shaped like a spade, and were used at the stern of the rafts. They made stone axes similar to those of the New Zealanders; and these, with clubs, &c, formed their weapons. They had no idea of a god, nor, as far as I could learn, of evil spirits. Their mode of disposing of the dead had special reference to the particular fancy or vocation of the living subjects. If the dead person had been a good fisherman, for example, his body was lashed in a sitting posture to a raft, and sent adrift with a baited line in its hand. If he had no particular vocation, he was put, in a sit-ting posture, into an open hole in the ground, usually about eighteen inches deep, with any favourite piece of carved wood stuck up before him. The islands were invaded, in 1832 or 1835, by the New Zealanders, by whom large numbers of the aborigines were killed and eaten. In fact, this expedition may be said to have been undertaken solely for the latter purpose; a New Zealander, who happened to have visited the islands whilst engaged as a seaman in a vessel trading from Sydney, having reported the aborigines as a plump, well-fed race, who would fall easy victims to the prowess of his countrymen. page 140By a refinement of cannibal cruelty, the unfortunate wretches were compelled to carry the wood and prepare the ovens in which they were to be cooked. Such of them as were destined for the nonce to be eaten were then laid in a row upon the ground adjoining the ovens, and were killed by blows from a 'mére' by one of the New Zealand chiefs."
Several European settlers, with their families, at present reside on both Pitt and Chatham Islands; and the entire Maori population, who are now Christianized, and have two places of worship belonging to them, do not exceed from 400 to 450 in number.
About 180 miles to the south of New Zealand, in latitude 50° 40' S., are the Auckland Isles, discovered by Captain Bristow in 1807. The principal island is thirty miles long by fifteen across, with an elevated coast line, and a lofty mountain visible at a distance of fifty miles. The smaller islands are Enderby, Disappointment, and Adam's Islands. They are of volcanic formation, are well covered with vegetation, and the forests contain trees of large size. The forests skirting the shores are composed of dense thickets of stag-headed trees, so gnarled and stunted by the violence of the ocean gales, as to afford an excellent shelter for a luxuriant undergrowth of bright green feathery ferns, and several gay-flowered herbs.
The climate is described as mild, temperate, and salubrious—the mercury never standing lower than 38° in the valleys, even in the middle of winter, and the trees retaining their verdure throughout the page 141year. The only indigenous quadrupeds are rats; but there are many beautiful singing birds, and the coasts abound with fish. Pigs, goats, and rabbits, have been introduced by the whalers. The largest island has three excellent harbours, the entrances to which are from the eastward. It has lately been occupied by the Messrs. Enderby as a central whaling station, they having obtained a grant of it from the British government for that purpose.
Campbell Island lies to the south of the Auckland Islands, and was first seen by Captain Hazelburgh in 1810. It is about thirty miles in circumference. Sir James Ross visited this island in 1840, and found there the remains of some huts, and also the graves of several seamen who had been employed in the South Sea fishery.