Historical Records of New Zealand
(Supplement to the Calcutta Gazette, 21st March, 1811.)
The following address has been circulated on the subject of the late massacres by the cannibals, natives in that quarter:—
All masters of ships frequenting New Zealand are directed to be careful in not admitting many natives on board, as they may be cut off in a moment by surprise
These are to certify, that during our stay in this harbour we had frequent reports of a ship being taken by the natives in the neighbouring harbour of Wanganoas, and that the crew were killed and eaten.page 311
In order to ascertain the truth of this report, as well as to rescue a few people who were said to be spared in the general massacre, Mr. Berry, accompanied by Mr. Russell, and Metangangoa, a principal chief of the Bay of Islands, who volunteered his services, set out for Wanganoa, in three armed boats, on Saturday the 31st December, 1809, and upon their arrival they found the miserable remains of the ship Boyd, Capt. John Thompson, which the natives, after stripping of every thing of value, had burnt down to the water’s edge. From the handsome conduct of Metangangoa, they were able to rescue a boy, a woman, and two children, the only survivors of this shocking event, which, according to satisfactory information, was perpetrated entirely under the direction of that old rascal Tippahee, who has been undeservedly caressed at Port Jackson.
This unfortunate vessel intended to load masts, &c., she had been there three days: after her arrival, the natives informed the master that in two days they would shew the spars; next day, in the morning, Tippahee came from Tippusia, and went on board; he staid only a few minutes, and went into his canoe, and remained alongside the vessel, which was surrounded with a considerable number of canoes, which soon collected for the purpose of trading, and a considerable number of natives gradually intruded into the ship, and sat down upon the deck. After breakfast the master left the ship, to look out for spars, with two boats. Tippahee, after waiting a convenient time, now gave the signal for massacre—in an instant the savages, who appeared peaceable upon deck, now rushed upon the unarmed crew, who were variously employed about the ship—the greater part were massacred in an instant, and were no sooner knocked down than they were cut to pieces, still alive. Five or six of the men escaped up the rigging. Tippahee now having possession of the ship, hailed them with a speaking trumpet, and ordered them to unbend the sails, and cut away the rigging, and they should not be hurt; they complied with his commands, and afterwards came down upon deck; he then took them ashore in a canoe, and immediately killed them. The master went ashore without arms, and of course was easily dispatched.
The names of the survivors are Mrs. Nancy Morley and child, Miss Betsey Broughton, and Thomas Davison (boy). The natives of the spar district in this harbour have behaved well even beyond expectation, and seem much concerned on account of the unfortunate event, and dreading the displeasure of King George, have requested a certificate of their good conduct, in order to exempt them from his vengeance; but let no man, after this, trust a New Zealander.page 312
We further certify that we have given Tarra, the bearer of this, a small flat-bottomed boat, as a reward for his good conduct, and the assistance he afforded in getting us a cargo of spars.
Given on board the City of Edinburgh, Captain Simon Pattison, at the Bay of Islands, January 6, 1810.
I hereby certify that the above is an exact copy, taken from the certificate in the possession of Tarra, a chief of New Zealand, by me. Given under my hand the 11th day of July, 1810.—William Swaine, Master of the Ship Cumberland.
The boy Davison, mentioned above, owed the preservation of his life to his being club-footted, the natives taking him for a son of the devil!