History of New Zealand
Chapter iii. — Traffic with Maoris
Traffic with Maoris.
Though cannibalism had given a bad odour to the Maori name, roving Englishmen were not repelled from the islands. In 1792, Mr. Raven, sailing in the ‘Britannia’ from Sydney, in quest of live stock and provisions, left at Dusky Bay his second mate, Mr. Leith, with some men, to occupy themselves in sealing, while he went to the coast of Brazil and thence to the Cape of Good Hope before returning to Sydney in 1793. It was not until October, 1793, that Raven went to look for Leith and his companions. They had procured 4500 seal-skins, but had been chiefly engaged in building a vessel of New Zealand pine to aid their escape in case of need. The vessel was of sixty-five tons burden. The natives had not molested, but avoided them. Presents which were left for the Maoris were left untouched. The English had procured abundance of fish and game. The vessel they had built was left in the bay.
More than two years afterwards, Mr. Bampton, in the ‘Endeavour,’ found his ship dangerously leaky, and by common consent of all on board ran her on shore at Dusky Bay. The small vessel built by Mr. Leith and his carpenter was found in good order, launched, and named the ‘Providence.’ All whom she could contain went in her; others remained to sail in a vessel which one Hatherleigh, a carpenter's mate, volunteered to construct out of the long-boat of the abandoned ‘Endeavour.’ The new vessel was called ‘The Assistance,’ and in a few months she carried to Sydney as many passengers as could be supplied with food, leaving others for a future opportunity.
At Dusky Bay there were few Maoris, and visitors were in no danger. But Mr. Dell, the commander of the “snow”‘Fancy,’ page 95 adopted a more daring plan. Keeping his destination secret, though it was suspected, in September 1794 he sailed from Sydney to the Frith of Thames. The “snow”was armed,1 was of about 170 tons burden,' had a strong crew, a guard of Sepoys, and a commission from the Bombay, Marine Department.
In three months Mr. Dell cut down more than 200 fine trees, for the uses of the East India Company. He bartered bits of iron for flax. He was compelled to fire on the natives, he said, because some axes were stolen. Two Maori men and one woman were killed.
Such was the commencement of the unlicensed traffic which was to make the north-east coast of New Zealand a disgrace to the European name. From this period many Maoris went in European ships to various countries; and, after a time, runaway convicts and reckless adventurers found their way to New Zealand.
In 1800 the Rev. T. Fyshe Palmer (one of the “Scotch martyrs”convicted of seditious practices), the term of his banishment having expired, chartered a vessel, with which he went to New Zealand for timber. Such an adventure was not always profitable. Mr. Palmer was twenty-six weeks at the islands, consumed all his stores, and was compelled to go to Tongataboo to refit. Whalers resorted to New Zealand, and the Maoris, who were daring harpooners, went to sea to earn money and buy guns.
A story is told of one who, when scorned for missing one whale, sprung on the body of the next that appeared, and having struck home, vanished in a whirlpool of blood and foam, emerging coolly with his hand on the gunwale; and being hauled on board as the boat was dragged into speed by the wounded whale.
The Vikings from Hawaii scattered themselves freely amongst the crews of foreign ships. One or two went to England. Some were anxious to see the king of the nation which carried thunder and lightning, and blew its foes to atoms. They were disappointed when they found he was not a great warrior and was an old man. One who vainly sought to see the king saw, without seeking him, the future apostle of the Maori race.
1 Collins' ‘New South Wales,’ p. 390.
The Maoris could not gauge the relative importance of Europeans, and appear to have supposed that the commander of a ship was a leader of men who could easily introduce his friends to the king of England. Unscrupulous rogues took advantage of this credulity and inveigled many Maoris to enter upon such vain voyages. Ruatara was one such chief. A casual meeting with him1 in England was to colour the future fortunes of the Maoris, and render Marsden famous.
Ruatara's story may serve as a type of the Maori sea-rover. He, was nephew of the great warrior-murderer Hongi, the Ngapuhi conqueror, the introducer of fire-arms on a large scale. The nobility of Ruatara was unquestionable. He could trace his pedigree to the chieftains who led the people from Hawaii. He was a relative of King's friend Ti-pa-he.
In 1805 he embarked in a whaler, the ‘Argo,’ at the Bay of Islands. He worked on board as a sailor, fond of the life of adventure, and stipulating that he should be landed at Sydney. The master of the ship cheated him of his earnings and abandoned him there. Another captain (of the whaler ‘Albion’), Richardson by name, treated him honourably, paid him his earnings during a six months' cruise, and landed him at the Bay of Islands.
The spirit of a rover was upon him, and again he shipped with others in a vessel, the ‘Santa Anna,’ cruising for seal-skins in the Pacific. At the head of a sealing party put on shore upon an island while their vessel returned to New Zealand for pork and potatoes, he underwent much privation. Three of the sailors died. Ruatara was fired with a desire to see King George, and the captain took him to England in 1809, promising to gratify him. In London he was ill-used. He did not see the king, was hardly allowed to go on shore, and in extreme illness, without wages and in rags, was put on board the ‘Ann,’ a convict transport bound for Sydney.
1 The name has been spelt in many ways, such as Duaterra, &c. I use the spelling adopted by the first Bishop of Waiapu (William Williams). The name of Hongi, sometimes called Shonghi, has been similarly treated. Vide ‘Christianity amonng the New Zealanders,’ by Right Rev. W. Williams D.C.L., Bishop of Waiapu. London, 1867.
Kindly treated, he recovered, and on reaching Sydney found a home and a friend in the house of Marsden. After staying some months with his teacher he sailed for his native country, was again deceived by the captain, and was defrauded and landed at Norfolk Island, after passing within a few miles of the home in New Zealand whither the captain had pledged himself to sail. A whaling vessel found him at Norfolk Island and took him to Sydney. The guest of Marsden for a time, he took ship again for New Zealand, and was safely landed among his friends.
His travels and narrative made him the first missionary to his countrymen. The web of European life was not all bad. Some good was mingled with it. The examples of Governor King and of Marsden could more than outweigh the conduct of brutal and fraudulent captains. It was good that in establishing relations with a fearless and intelligent but bloodthirsty race, there was a messenger like Ruatara, who could tell the tale of Marsden's kindness. But he himself was no common man. He had carried some seed wheat with him on last leaving Marsden. The growth of the new crop was watched with curiosity by Ruatara's countrymen, who were loth to believe that it could produce the flour of the Europeans. It was garnered, and a new difficulty presented itself. Ruatara had no mill. His boasted importation was flouted.
But at this juncture Marsden had matured his plans with certain lay missionaries—Hall, King, and Kendall. He had long yearned to evangelize and civilize the Maoris, and the providential encounter with Ruatara in the convict ship seemed to open the way. Hall and King had accompanied Marsden from England. They would have gone at once with Ruatara to New Zealand if tidings had not been received at Sydney, in page 98 August, 1810, of the massacre of the crew of the ship ‘Boyd’ at Whangaroa.
While Marsden strove to lay the foundation for a good understanding between the two races, another European caused a catastrophe which was to exasperate them and sacrifice not only the friendly chief Ti-pa-he, but almost all his ‘hapu,’ or sub-tribe. One Thompson, master of the ‘Boyd,’ going to New Zealand for timber, had engaged some Maoris in Sydney. One of them was a chief, Tarra, known as George. He was, or feigned to be, too ill to work. Thompson tied him to the gangway and flogged him twice, telling him that he was no chief. The sullen victim answered: “When you arrive in my country you will find that I am a chief.”
He dissembled afterwards, and persuaded Thompson to enter the harbour of Whangaroa, his native place. There he showed his stripes to his friends. The back of a chief is peculiarly sacred in Maori belief. Vengeance was vowed. The captain and several of the crew went on shore to select timber. They were all murdered. Dressing themselves in their victims' clothes, the triumphant savages at dusk went to the ship, scaled its side, and slaughtered all they could seize except one woman and two children, and a boy, who, having shown some kindness to George on the voyage, was spared. Others who appealed to George for mercy were brained by his club. Five sailors had fled to the rigging, where they remained all night. Ti-pa-he, in the morning, being on a visit to Whangaroa to trade for dried fish, saw their situation and invited them into his canoe. He landed them safely, but the Whangaroans pursued and killed them.
The vessel was plundered and burnt. Gloating over the firearms, the father of George snapped a musket over an opened cask of gunpowder,1 and was, with a dozen followers, blown into the air.
1 ‘The New Zealanders.’ Library of Entertaining Knowledge, 1830.
Five whaling ships met soon afterwards at the Bay of Islands. Believing or presuming that Ti-pa-he was an accomplice in the destruction of the ‘Boyd,’ the captains attacked his village by night, slew nearly all the inmates, and burned the village and the growing crops. Ti-pa-he escaped, wounded, but was soon afterwards killed by the men of Whangaroa, who were incensed with him for endeavouring to save the lives of the sailors who had taken refuge in the rigging of the ‘Boyd.’
The consequences which Ti-pa-he had predicted to Governor King fell upon himself and his tribe through the act of the brutal Thompson. Some of his countrymen, soon after the destruction of Ti-pa-he's village, murdered and ate three sailors belonging to a whaling ship. Though anxious to intervene, Marsden was restrained by Governor Macquarie, who for some time interdicted him from going to New Zealand.
The circumstances of the massacre of Thompson and his crew were revolting in themselves, and distorted in narration. It was not until after many years that collation of evidence enabled Englishmen to form a correct judgment.
Justice requires that it should be recorded that Macquarie afterwards endeavoured to stay the horrors which were rife. He and others had learned that breach of the tapu would be followed by vengeance in order to satisfy an offended God, or a superstition exercising unquestioned control over Polynesians. In 1813 he proclaimed that ill-usage of the natives at New Zealand, Tahiti, and other islands, caused danger of retaliation. He extorted bonds for a thousand pounds from every vessel clearing from the territory of New South Wales. All on board were to behave well to the natives. There was to be no trespass on their lands or burial-grounds. No natives were to be shipped without their free consent and that of their friends, and no female native was to be shipped without written permission of the Governor of New South Wales.page 100
This Proclamation seems to have been fruitless; for in 1814 Macquarie found it necessary to issue another denouncing the insulting and injurious practice of carrying off New Zealanders, male and female, by commanders and sailors. Many a Maori Helen was the cause of deeds of blood, and coarse abductions by violence were followed by revenge. Macquarie now invested Ruatara (Marsden's friend), Hongi, and Koro Koro, with power to give or withhold permission to white men to remove natives from New Zealand, which permission was to be “certified under the hand of Mr. Kendall the resident magistrate, or of the magistrate for the time being.”Offenders would be prosecuted with the utmost rigour.
The zeal of Marsden was not unsupported in Sydney. In 1813, D'Arcy Wentworth, the father of the statesman, with others, caused a meeting to be held in Sydney to consider measures for promoting the welfare of South Sea Islanders visiting Port Jackson. Marsden meanwhile represented to the Missionary Societies in England the desperate condition in wich the Maoris were plunged by shameful contact with the scum of civilization. When he was in England, in 1809, he had appealed to the London Missionary Society and the Church Missionary Society. They found no clergyman fitted for the task, but two lay missionaries, Hall and King, were selected to aid him. At last he obtained leave to charter a vessel, if a captain could be found daring enough to go, and was promised that if she returned safely Marsden might then follow. After many difficulties (Marsden says): “Finding that the Societies in London could not make up their minds, neither as a body nor as individuals, to send out a vessel, I at last determined to purchase one for the purpose on my own account. The various expenses attending it have created me some little pecuniary difficulties, but they are only known to myself, and not such as will be attended with any serious consequence. I hope in a little time I shall be able to surmount them; whether I shall keep the vessel in my own hands or not, I am not certain as yet. I cannot do it without some assistance at the first; if I could, I certainly would not trouble any of my friends.”His plan was to encourage commerce, and make the vessel, the ‘Active,’ yield some returns. “You page 101 cannot”(he said) “form a nation without commerce and the civil arts.”
Messrs. Hall and Kendall sailed in the ‘Active,’ carrying a message from Marsden requesting Ruatara's kind offices, and asking him to return with two or three chiefs. They took with them a timely present. Marsden sent a hand-mill for grinding corn. Anxious eyes watched the experiment upon Ruatara's useless grain. Bread was made, doubters were convinced, Ruatara and the missionaries were in high favour. The great warrior Hongi, his nephew Ruatara, and other chiefs were passengers in the ‘Active’ to Sydney in October, 1814. All were Mr. Marsden's guests.
He wrote to England: “They are as noble a race of men as are to be met with in any part of the world. I trust I shall be able in some measure to put a stop to those dreadful murders which have been committed upon the island for some years past both by the Europeans and the natives. They are a much-injured people notwithstanding all that has been advanced against them.”
In November, 1814, Marsden sailed in the ‘Active’ for the Bay of Islands, accompanied by Messrs. Kendall, Hall, and King, and their families. Eight New Zealanders and two Tahitians were with him, and he took three horses as well as a bull and two cows, presents from the Governor. A Mr. Nicholas went also as a friend. Marsden's reputation ensured his favourable reception; but he asked for something more. He wished to establish peace among the natives. A war was then raging. The massacre of the company of the ‘Boyd, and the subsequent slaughter of Ti-pa-he's people, had left unsatiated lust for revenge. Battles had been fought, and at Paramatfa Ruatara and Hongi had told Marsden of the quarrel. (Marsden ascertained also that Ti-pa-he had no hand in the ‘Boyd’ massacre.) These quarrels Marsden set his heart upon terminating. But how was he, the guest of Hongi, to approach Hongi's enemies; and how was he, the countryman of Ti-pa-he's assailants, to approach the kindred or friends of Ti-pa-he's decimated tribe? He whose life was marked as “the first to be taken”in the Irish rebellion in 1804 in New South Wales, who had carried it in his hand for years before that period, was page 102 deterred by no personal apprehensions now. With Mr. Nicholas he passed over from the camp of Hongi to that of the Whangaroans and was cordially received. “We sat down amongst them and the chiefs surrounded us.”
There was amongst the Whangaroans a chief who had sailed in an English ship. He interpreted. Marsden explained the object of the mission, and dwelt on the blessings of peace. The tribe retired to rest by degrees, Marsden and Nicholas being directed by the interpreting chief to remain near him.
“The night was clear, the stars shone bright, and the sea in our front was smooth. Around us were innumerable spears stuck upright in the ground, and groups of natives lying in all directions, like a flock of sheep upon the grass, as there were neither tents nor huts to cover them. I viewed our present situation with sensations and feelings that I cannot express, surrounded by cannibals who had massacred and devoured our countrymen. I wondered much at the mysteries of Providence, and ho these things could be. Never did I behold the blessed advantage of civilization in a more grateful light than now.”
In the morning Marsden invited the chiefs on board the ‘Active.’ The boat arrived, and Ruatara also. “At first I entertained doubts whether the chiefs would trust themselves with us or not, on account of the ‘Boyd,’ lest we should detain them when we had them in our power; but they showed no signs of fear, and went on board with apparent confidence.”
After breakfast the chiefs sat in the cabin to receive presents which Marsden distributed, Ruatara handing to him axes, billhooks, prints, &c. Marsden introduced the missionaries. Mr. Kendall was to teach the children; Mr. Hall to build houses, boats, &c.; Mr. King to make fishing-lines; Mr. Hanson to command the ‘Active,’ which would procure supplies as required. And then came a request that the contending tribes would be reconciled. “Ruatara, Hongi, and Koro Koro shook hands with the chiefs of Whangaroa and saluted each other as a token of reconciliation by joining their noses together. I was much gratified to see these men at amity once more.”
The chiefs promised in future to protect the missionaries and European traders. The horses and cattle excited the wonder of the natives, and one of the chiefs in turn excited page 103 that of Marsden. On Saturday Ruatara enclosed half an acre of ground; placed in it a pulpit and a reading-desk (which were covered with black cloth), fixed seats (for the Europeans), made (like the pulpit) of portions of old canoes; erected a flagstaff on the highest hill in the village; and in the evening informed Marsden that everything was ready for Divine Service on the following day.
On that memorable Sunday, 25th December, 1814, the English flag was hoisted, to Marsden's intense gratification.
“About ten o'clock we prepared to go ashore, to publish for the first time the glad tidings of the gospel. I was under no apprehension for the safety of the vessel, and therefore ordered all on board to go on shore to attend Divine Service, except the master and one man. When we landed, we found Koro Koro, Ruatara, and Hongi dressed in regimentals which Governor Macquarie had given them, with their men drawn up, ready to be marched into the enclosure to attend Divine Service. They had their swords by their sides and switches in their hands. We entered the enclosure, and were placed on the seats on each side of the pulpit. Koro Koro marched his men and placed them on my right hand in the rear of the Europeans, and Ruatara placed his men on the left. The inhabitants of the town, with the women and children, and a number of other chiefs, formed a circle round the whole. A very solemn silence prevailed— the sight was truly impressive. I rose up and began the service by singing the Old Hundreth Psalm, and felt my very soul melt within me when I viewed my congregation, and considered the state they were in. After reading the service,—during which the natives stood up and sat down at the signals given by Koro Koro's switch, which was regulated by the movements of the Europeans,—it being Christmas Day, I preached from the 2nd chapter of St. Luke's Gospel, ver. 10: ‘Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy,’ &c. The natives told Ruatara that they could not understand what I meant. He replied that they were not to mind that now, for they would understand by-and-by; and that he would explain my meaning as far as he could. When I had done preaching he informed them what I had been talking about… . In this manner the gospel has been introduced into New Zealand; and I fervently pray page 104 that the glory of it may never depart from its inhabitants till time shall be no more.”
Ruatara was as proud as Marsden was pleased, at this formal reception of his countrymen into the Christian fold.
A coasting voyage was undertaken. Twenty-eight armed New Zealanders went in the ‘Active,’ manned by only seven Europeans. Mr. Nicholas wrote: “I do not believe that a similar instance can be shown of such unlimited confidence placed in a race of savages known to be cannibals. We are wholly in their power, and what is there to hinder them from abusing it? Next to the over-ruling providence of God, there is nothing but the character of the ship, which seems to have something almost sacred in their eyes, and the influence of Mr. Marsden's name, which acts as a talisman amongst them. They feel convinced that he is sacrificing his own ease and comfort to promote their welfare.”
One thing Marsden would not do for them. He would supply them with no weapons for war. The smith was forbidden to repair them. Axes, hoes, or agricultural implements he was to make and mend, but implements of war he was on no account to touch. Theft and lying were denounced as deadly, and Ruatara gave manly aid in discouraging them.
Marsden's leave of absence was short, and in February, 1815, he sailed to Sydney, having first bought with twelve axes from “Anodee O Gunna, king of Rangheehoo,”about two hundred acres of land for the Church Missionary Society. The land was in “the district of Hoohee, bounded on the south side by the Bay of Lippoona and the town of Rangheehoo, on the north by a creek of fresh water, and on the west by a public road into the interior.”Mr. Nicholas and Mr. Kendall signed their names to the deed, which made the land “free from all taxes, charges, impositions, and contributions whatsoever for ever.”The “amoco,”or tattooing in the face of Gunna, was drawn by Hongi in the deed, and Gunna placed his mark by it. The sagacious Marsden had taken with him a form of conveyance prepared by lawyers in Sydney.
Thus was New Zealand first drawn within the vortex of wholesome Western influence. Well would it have been if all Marsden's countrymen had been imbued with his spirit!page 105
This narrative cannot embrace the minute details of later occurrences. But Marsden's singular encounter with Ruatara; his daring confidence at Whangaroa; the scene, worthy of a national picture, of the celebration of Divine Service under the guidance of the chiefs; and the rapidity with which Marsden's mission of peace was accomplished, throw a singular air of romance about this portion of New Zealand story.
Marsden's safe return with his companions to Sydney was unexpected, and Macquarie congratulated them upon it. The little colony at Rangheehoo (or Rangihoua) numbered twenty-five Europeans.
Ruatara died soon after the ‘Active’ sailed. He had said with triumph to Marsden: “I have now introduced the cultivation of wheat into New Zealand. New Zealand will become a great country. In two years more I shall be able to export wheat to Port Jackson, in exchange for hoes, axes, spades, tea and sugar.”Maori honours were paid to Ruatara. Hongi wept like a child. Rahu, the widow, violently took away her own life in order to rejoin her husband in the land of spirits. The priests had surrounded him during his illness. Anxious to introduce Christianity among his countrymen, Ruatara had not been formally received into the Christian Church.
The English Government, stimulated by reports from Governor Macquarie, and the representations made by the missionaries and their friends, took occasion to pass an Act (57 Geo. III. cap. 53; 27 June, 1817), for the more effectual punishment of murders and manslaughters not committed within His Majesty's dominions.
The preamble declared that murders at Honduras, “and like offences committed… as well on the high seas as on land, in the islands of New Zealand and Otah eite, and in other places . . not within His Majesty's dominions, by the masters and crews of British ships and other persons,”necessitated the enactment. It was provided that all such crimes “committed, or that shall be committed, in the said islands of New Zealand and Otaheite… not within His Majesty's dominions… shall and may be tried, adjudged, and punished in any of His Majesty's islands, plantations, colonies, by virtue of the King's Commission… page 106 in the same manner as if such offences had been committed on the high seas.”1
The death of Ruatara did not abate Marsden's zeal. He sent two New Zealand youths, “not to be idle,”but to aid in preparing a vocabulary. If they could not be useful in that way he asked that they might be “put into a rope-walk and be kept to close labour while they remain in England.”They returned safely, and accompanied Marsden to their native land in 1819.
It is needless to narrate his proceedings in detail. They were like his past doings. He commanded the respect and enjoyed the affection of all.
His congregation assembled on the beach, there being “no place sufficiently spacious to hold the people.”He saw one of the New Zealanders to whom Governor King had been kind, and who now spoke gratefully of King.
Hongi was still ferocious to his enemies and faithful to his friends. Marsden was able to dissuade him from a warlike expedition when the warriors were gathered together, and the war-canoes ready. But Hongi bided his time. He revolted against Marsden's prohibition of fire-arms, and devised subtle schemes to defeat it.
In 1820 Marsden went again to New Zealand in H.M.S. ‘Dromedary,’ though leave was reluctantly given to him.
The natives had determined to do no work, and exchange no article, except for muskets and powder.
Marsden addressed the settlers, the missionaries, and the natives, in turn. To the Church Missionary Society he wrote:
“I think it much more to the honour of religion and the good of New Zealand, even to give up the mission for the present than to trade with the natives on these terms.”
1 This Act was afterwards supplemented by Acts to provide for “the better administration of justice in New South Wales,”&c. Section iii. of 4 Geo. IV. cap. 96, gave power to the Supreme Courts of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land to inquire, hear, and determine all treasons… piracies, felonies, murders on the sea or in the islands of New Zealand, Otaheite, or any other place “in the Indian or Pacific Oceans, and not subject to His Majesty,”and to punish the criminals, “any law, statute, or usage to the contrary notwithstanding.”Section iv. of 9 Geo. IV. cap. 83 (25th July, 1828), made similar provisions.
The small body of settlers collected at the Bay of Islands received casual accessions of a more or less equivocal nature, and Kororarika through their means was soon to obtain unenviable notoriety, as the gathering-ground of the reckless, the debauched, and the murderous.
It was bootless for Marsden to protest against the callousness with which the ruffians amongst them supplied fire-arms to the Maoris. An early instance of the efficacy of fire-arms in Maori hands, which occurred at Tauranga, was more potent with Hongi than any eloquence.
Temorenga, a Ngapuhi chief, to avenge the death of a niece (who after being carried away by a Sydney vessel had been landed at Mercury Bay, treated as a slave, and finally killed and eaten by Te Waru, a Tauranga chief), went with many men in war-canoes to Tauranga about 1818. He had thirty-five muskets. Te Waru had none. Hundreds of the Tauranga men were slain. The great pah at Maunganui was taken. In a second battle two hundred and sixty men were made prisoners. The astonished Te Waru fled to the woods. One day Te Whareumu, a Ngapuhi chief, was pounced upon not far from Temorenga's camp. “Who are you?”said the assailant. The prisoner equivocated. “I must know your name. I will not kill you. I am Te Waru, and I wish for peace.”Te Whareumu gave his name. Finding the importance of his captive, Te Waru gave him a mat and said: “Lead me to Temorenga.”Temorenga's people would have slain Te Waru on the spot, but Whareumu motioned them away and told the story of his own capture by the self-risking chief. Peace was made. Te Waru declared he could not have conceived that muskets would prove so deadly. He asked for his wife and children, and Temorenga released them. He sorely lamented his slain father. Temorenga gave him a musket to console him; and he departed. Three days the victors remained to feast upon the slain, and then took away their prisoners and a fleet of captured canoes.
Hongi saw his way to bad eminence. He would better the example of Temorenga. “There is but one king in England,”he said, “and there shall be but one in New Zealand.”page 108
He had been in Sydney. He resolved to go to England. He went there with another chief Waikato, in company with the lay-missionary Kendall, in 1820; leaving Marsden in New Zealand in the ship ‘Dromedary,’ labouring for the peace of the Maoris. The services of Hongi and his companion were availed of by Professor Lee and Mr. Kendall in the arrangement of a Maori vocabulary and grammar at Cambridge.
Kendall had previously compiled and Marsden had caused to be printed in Sydney an elementary Grammar, which formed the basis of Professor Lee's new Grammar and Vocabulary. This was subsequently revised and largely amended by labours of missionaries in New Zealand, and it may be well to record some of their names here. Mr. Shepherd in 1824 translated the Gospel of St. John. The Rev. William Williams, an Oxford graduate (afterwards Bishop of Waiapu), in 1826 had translated some portion of the book of Genesis.
In 1832 the Rev. W. Yate went to Sydney to superintend editions of two Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, Epistles, and part of the Book of Common Prayer.
In 1833 William Williams translated the Gospel of St. Luke.
In 1834 the Church Mission Society sent a printing-press to New Zealand, under charge of Mr. W. Colenso, destined to be celebrated for knowledge of Maori lore.
In 1835 the Rev. Robert Maunsell carried his zeal and devotion to the islands, and his ripe scholarship was of infinite advantage; as was the example he set as a noble Christian in every hour of trial.
In 1844 Bishop Selwyn procured the appointment of William Williams, Maunsell,1 and Puckey, to revise the Maori Prayer Book. In the same year William Williams published the first edition of a Maori Dictionary.
1 In 1843, Mr. Maunsell's house was burnt, and his MS. Dictionary, Translations, and Notes were lost. Nothing daunted, before his hands were healed from scorches he was at work again, and efforts of friends supplied him with books to replace his library.
In 1867 William Williams, his son Leonard, and Maunsell, again revised the New Testament. Mrs. Colenso, an excellent Maori scholar (a daughter of Mr. Fairburn, missionary catechist), prepared the last revision by writing the corrections on a printed copy, and the final work, promulgated under the sanction of Bishop Selwyn, justified its claim to be called, in the words applied to an earlier edition by Dr. Broughton, the Bishop of Australia—“a monument of well-directed piety.”
Although Hongi in 1820 condescended to assist Professor Lee, his own affections were riveted to muntions of war. The soldiers, the arms in the Tower of London, were ever in his mind. The king presented him with a suit of armour. Loaded with presents he returned to Sydney; and there converted his treasures into weapons of war, with which to destroy his countrymen and demoralize himself. He saw Marsden at Paramatta. Four chiefs from the Thames district were there desirous to go to England and do as Hongi had done. Marsden tried to dissuade them. Hongi concurred with Marsden, and told them that the English climate had injured his own health. Tidings reached him while yet he was Marsden's guest that his son-in-law had fallen in battle at the Thames.
He said to Hinaki, one of his fellow-guests at Marsden's table, “Hasten home, and prepare for war. I shall soon attack you.”He sold in Sydney all ordinary presents and gathered together about three hundred stand of fire-arms. With a great fleet of war-canoes he descended upon the gulf of Hauraki. Hinaki had taken warning, and the Ngatimaru were in force in their pah Tωtără near the mouth of the Thames. The works were so extensive that even Hongi's impatience condescended to resort to guile. Barter was put forward as the object of the Ngapuhi, and many of them were received in Tωtără. An old chief, thus hospitably entertained, struck with compunction, or prompted by Maori chivalry, lingered behind his fellows and said “Kia tupato”— be cautious. His warning was vain. In the night Tωtără was surprised and a thousand Ngatimaru were destroyed.
Hongi's dreams were realized. None could stand before him. page 110 The unhappy Ngatimaru, scattered before his guns, had to meet on the sources of their rivers the savage Te Waharoa. Many were killed and eaten, but hundreds were made captives. The refugees will be encountered hereafter at Horotiu, the Waikato river; where their fortress Haowhenua was to become notable.
When Hongi's conquering canoes returned the missionaries were witnesses of the slaughter of several of the captives by the widows of Ngapuhi chiefs who had been killed by the Ngatimaru. They retreated horror-struck, but were afterwards told that the savage Hongi himself slew five victims with his own hand. The brave Hinaki was amongst those who were eaten. More slaughters occurred before Hongi fitted out in 1822 another expedition. It was asserted that some Waikato people had been in alliance with the Ngatimaru, and Hongi went to punis them. He sailed into the Tamaki;1 and, where the suburb of Panmure now stands, carried by assault two notable pahs, Mauinaina and Makoia, which had been built not far from a vast Maori fort of olden time, which stood upon Mount Wellington in the eighteenth century in the days of Nga Iwi or “the Tribes.”
Again the deadly fire-arms destroyed the owners of wooden weapons; and again the cannibal conquerors glutted themselves on the bodies of the slain Ngatipaoa.
1 The narrative in the text is compiled from various statements, in ‘The Story of Te Waharoa,’ by J. A. Wilson; in Mr. Taylor's various works; in a Judgment of the Native Lands Court in the Orākei case, and other books, as well as from conversation with Maori chiefs. I have endeavoured to embody the facts upon which all the statements agree. There are discrepancies as to many dates or in various versions. Tribal disputes as to land-titles caused the creation of a Commission in 1881, which investigated some of the facts; vide N. Z. P. P., 1861. G. 2 A.
On a narrow neck of land, with precipitous banks on each side, under which the rivers ran, the pah was raised. A deep ditch and an enormous bank formed the inland barrier, and ran from the top of one river-bank to the other. Two other banks and ditches within the pah crossed the neck of land; and, where the high land terminated suddenly, leaving a low tongue between the angle of the meeting rivers, the final fortification was made steep as a cliff, at the foot of which was a deep ditch, on the outer side of which was a large glacis sloping downwards to the low tongue of land between the converging rivers. The Maori palisades were of vast strength. The portion of the pah nearest the river junction was held by the men of Waikato.1 The inland division, several hundred yards wide and about as long, was held by the allied tribes which had fled for shelter to the stronghold. Some of them had perhaps seen the effects of fire-arms at Tωtără and at Mauinaina.
Hongi landed at the point of low land. The Waikato warriors dashed forward to dispute his landing. Long afterwards they told how one daring warrior slew four of the Ngapuhi before he was shot. But valour was vain. Two hundred muskets mowed down the Waikati, and the terrified survivors fled. Their steep glacis, ditch, and earth cliff, impeded their escape. Their narrow gateway was choked by the fliers. They were shot and slaughtered like sheep. They clambered round the bank in hopeless confusion. A panic seized the inmates of the pah. The inland gateway for egress was too narrow for the crowd of men, women, and children. They rolled in heaps into the deep ditch, and were suffocated before the Ngapuhi men arrived to deal death to the strugglers.
1 The name of this pah had been Taurakohea originally. The inland part was called Mangapiko. The whole was spoken of as Matakitaki Some confusion has been caused by reference to the different names.
More than a thousand had been killed. Hongi revelled in his ferocity, and boasted that he had slaughtered fifteen hundred fellow-creatures at Matakitaki.
The dispersion of the tribes from the Thames to the Waipa seemed complete. Men, women, and children, enslaved by hundreds, were carried to the Bay of Islands. The missionaries thought all their past efforts had been annihilated by Hongi's fell designs. It is one proof of the sagacity of Rauparaha that at this period he had though with difficulty, persuaded his tribe to abandon their homes at Kawhia and seek other lands, under his guidance, at the south.
But Hongi was still unsatiated. In 1823 he took his warcanoes down the east coast and sacked the Arawa stronghold at Maketu. Ascending a stream as far as the depth of water permitted, he dragged his canoes along a road which he made to Lake Rotoiti. The lake tribes were gathered in their pah on the island of Mokoia in Lake Rotorua. Their canoes were all carefully kept at the island, and they had laughed to scorn the idea that Hongi could assail them. Bringing canoes from the coast to their stronghold had seemed impossible. But the fleet entered Rotorua from Rotoiti, and made straight for Mokoia.
The pah was on a plateau overlooking the lake, on the south side of the hill which forms the island. Higher ground in the centre of the island overlooked it. The Arawa rushed to the water's edge to confront the enemy with spears and stones. They fell in heaps before the Ngapuhi fire-arms. Some fled over the spur of the hill to the pah. The pursuing Hongi, from the height above the pah, poured a murderous fire on the defenders. The pah was quickly stormed, and again a thousand Maoris were slaughtered by their countrymen. The miserable survivors escaped in canoes. This was the last of Hongi's great successes, but he never ceased to war upon the weak or the strong.
Another war-party of Ngapuhi, led by Tareha, besieged Waharoa at Matamata; but that wily chief, having stores of food, kept within his fort, until, when the Ngapuhi became page 113 over-confident, he dashed upon them, slew several in close combat, and crucified several prisoners on the posts of his pah beneath the grinning heads which disfigured rather than adorned the posts. Then he sent a challenge to the gigantic Tareha:—“I hear you fight with the long-handled tomahawk. So do I. Meet me.”But Tareha and his men withdrew.
The dragon's teeth of civilization had been sown, and the Maoris had reaped the consequences. Ere long the fiery and astute Waharoa was known to be plotting to drive the weakened Ngatimaru from their settlements on the upper part of the Thames valley. The land seemed given up to slaughter. Rauparaha had escaped the evil at Kawhia but he had carried it southwards. From Cook's Strait to Waitemata there was wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The missionaries were almost in despair. Their previous labours had not produced much apparent effect, and it seemed that all their efforts had been neutralized. If Marsden could have prevailed upon the Government to prevent rather than assist Hongi's baleful plans the result might have been otherwise. But with the guns obtained in England, and under the eyes of Governor Macquarie in Sydney, he had stalked through the land, and did not conceal his contempt for the persuaders of peace. But Marsden was as militant for good as Hongi was for evil.
In 1823 he took another Christian soldier into the field. Henry Williams, born in 1792, had entered the navy in 1806. Serving gallantly at Copenhagen and elsewhere (being on board of the ‘Endymion’ when she captured the ‘President’), he had retired on half-pay. A relative, the Rev. E. G. Marsh, was an active member of the Church Missionary Society. In 1819 Williams was preparing himself for mission work in New Zealand. In 1822 he was ordained, and when the deeds of Hongi struck the Society with horror, a change of field was offered to him, but he persevered in his plans. In 1823, with his wife and three children, he was at Marsden's home, assisting in parochial work. Marsden had not lost courage, for Williams wrote to Marsh, “He is in great spirits at present about the mission.”Two Maori chiefs assisted Williams, at Paramatta, in learning their language.page 114
In August, 1823, Marsden landed at the Bay of Islands with his new friend, who, like himself, knew the dangers of the task before them, but had courage for them all. Paihia, on the opposite shore to Kororarika, was chosen as the scene of Williams' labours. Whether from old association or from compunction, the powerful Hongi still condescended to patronize the missionaries, although he never professed Christianity. His reputation was a partial protection for them from meaner people.
When Williams arrived the war-party of 1823 was absent on the east coast. Not long afterwards peace was made between the Waikato and Ngapuhi tribes. Te Kati and other chiefs visited the ferocious Hongi at the Bay of Islands. A chief woman of the Ngapuhi was given in marriage to Te Kati, who was brother of Te Whero Whero, and Rewa and sixty Ngapuhi chiefs accompanied the bride, Matire Toha, to her new home. There they tarried two years amongst those whom they had so murderously treated at Matakitaki, and they formally restored them to their lands to which Hongi's conquests had acquired presumptive titles for the Ngapuhi.
The reconciliation of the great tribes of Waikato and of the Bay of Islands removed one stumbling-block from the path of the missionaries, who then dwelt at the Bay of Islands, and relieved the isthmus of Auckland from some of the horrors which had converted a pleasant land into a waste, where, in the language of a Maori witness (Warena Hengia, in 1869), “all the men were wandering about the face of the earth.”“All that men then thought of”(said Hori Tauroa) “was to save their lives and to get guns.”The procurement of guns was the one thing in which the missionaries would not assist. But without stern efforts on the part of the British Government no check could be imposed. Marsden and his friends did what they could. They offended many chiefs by resolute resistance to the importation of fire-arms. But hoes, spades, and axes he distributed largely. “They”(he said) “are silent but sure missionaries.… The natives have made considerable advances in civilization.”One missionary had lent himself to the introduction of fire-arms. He was dismissed, and Marsden had to argue much before he could convince the chiefs that the page 115 dismissal was just, and that no missionary could be allowed to sell muskets and powder. They admitted at last that if the man had disobeyed positive orders he was rightly discharged.
It was perhaps fortunate that the wreck of Marsden's vessel detained him two months at the Bay of Islands, and enabled him to acquire “great confidence”in Henry Williams, and commend him successfully to the Maoris.
Mrs. Williams required heroic virtues for her post as wife of a missionary. She gratefully saw the loving estimation in which Marsden was held. When Marsden's vessel struck as he was sailing away the chiefs prevented plunder. All property was saved from the wreck. When Mrs. Williams landed at Paihia the natives crowded round to shake hands, exclaiming with glee, “The wife (Te Wahine): Tena ra ko koe, Homai mai te ringaringa,—How do you do? give me your hand.”The bold apostle and his wife soon found themselves “comfortable, nay, never more happy”than in their noble task.
Occasional outbreaks marred their peace. It was Maori law that if a man were hurt, or lost anything, he might make reprisals against any of the tribe of him who robbed or injured in the first instance. A rude chief determined to take something by force, leaped the fence of the mission-house, and, with all the savageness of his race, demanded payment for an injury done to his foot against the fence. For more than two days he indulged in frantic exhibitions, threatening to burn the house. He was quiet while the family were at prayers. Mrs. Wiliiams sent him some tea in the morning, and “hoped it might prove a quieting draught, but before long he was again prancing about in the yard with others, hideous figures armed with spears and hatchets, and some few with muskets.”
Notwithstanding these freaks the worthy Christians (said the Bishop of Waiapu, W. Williams, the brother of Henry) “were able to lie down in peace every night, without fear of molestation, the windows not secured, and in a raupo (rush) hut, which would burn to the ground in less than ten minutes.”They trusted in God and were instant in prayer.
The first-fruits which they had reason to believe had been yielded to their Master were shown by a chief, who had been Marsden's guest at Paramatta. Whatu had then heard but not page 116 understood. Now he came with more willing mind, and there was hope that he was comforted by Christian faith.
In 1824 Rangi, a chief from Bream Bay, went with his people to live near Paihia. He was an ally of Hongi, but retired from Bream Bay to avoid surprise in case the incensed natives of the Thames should plan a murderous revenge on Hongi's friends. He inclined seriously to hear the Gospel. He induced his followers to respect the Sunday. He became a true disciple, humble, yet hopeful. Before his death in 1825 he said: “I have prayed to God and to Jesus Christ, and my heart feels full of light.”He had been steady in his conduct for many months, and Mr. Williams baptized him. “This,”says the Bishop of Waiapu, “was the first Christian baptism, the earnest of a large harvest, which, in God's appointed time, was to be gathered in. Whatu and one or two others may have gone before, but now was Christ acknowledged in a more open manner.”
Reflecting that angels rejoice over the repentant, Marsden and his devoted assistants took comfort, and were cheered by Rangi's example, although the family of the chief did not seem inclined to follow it. Ten years of mission labour had been undergone before the first-fruits of the harvest gave cause for rejoicing. Hongi meantime pursued his deadly course, and perished by it.
1 Some accounts place this battle in 1826, but if Rutherford escaped (as he said) in January, 1826, the battle must have been fought as early as 1825. He was not intelligent, and cannot, I think, be relied upon, though his narrative is interesting, and probably written in good faith.
1 “They have at this time many thousand stand of arms among them, both in the Bay and at the river Thames.”Davis, missionary (‘Missionary Register,’ 1827).
Such was Rutherford's narrative, which is partially confirmed by other accounts. But whether the sequel was known to him or not, it was fatal to his friends. Hongi speedily avenged the temporary defeat of his forces, and drove the Ngatiwhatua and their remaining friends to Waikato.
There are conflicting accounts of subsequent events, but it is said by the Ngapuhi, that Hongi with a small but daring band traversed Waikato in pursuit of the flying Ngatiwhatua, and finally wreaked his wrath by slaughtering the fugitives at a pah in the Waikato district, after warning the Ngatipaoa hosts of the Ngatiwhatua not to interfere between him and his prey. It is stated that in storming the pah Hongi was aided by Waharoa's tribe the Ngatihaua.
This was the culmination of his successful ferocity. His countrymen, goaded by fear and revenge, imitated his example. When soon afterwards a Ngapuhi war-party led by Pomare invaded Waikato they found fire-arms arrayed against them. Not stupefied as at Matakitaki, but artful as their foes, the Waikato warriors surprised the invaders at Te Rore, and hardly a man returned to tell the tale. Hongi's brutal schemes recoiled upon himself. Fire-arms in other hands were destructive as in his. He fell eventually in domestic strife. Matuku, his nephew, intrigued with one of Hongi's wives, and on the fact becoming known shot himself.
Hongi, to vent his spleen or satisfy his lust for blood, attacked his own friends at Whangaroa in January, 1827, and while pursuing was wounded by a bullet which pierced his lungs. His death was expected, and as he had been in his peculiar manner a patron of the missionaries, they might, by Maori usage, be pillaged by any of the tribe. Even his wound would justify such conduct. In effect a marauding band plundered and burnt, on the 9th January, 1827, the Wesleyan Mission station at Whangaroa. The Maori servants had fled beforehand. No life was taken, but the missionaries and their families went forth terrified and destitute to seek Kerikeri, the Church of England station twenty miles distant.
At that station, and at Paihia, another trouble was at the page 119 moment rife. A brig, the ‘Wellington,’ carrying convicts to Norfolk Island, had been seized by the prisoners and taken to the Bay of Islands on the 5th January.1 On Sunday, the 7th, while a gale prevented egress from the harbour, two whaling captains of the ‘Harriet’ and the ‘Sisters,’ fired upon the ‘Wellington.’ The convicts capitulated on condition of being allowed to land. As they landed the Maoris captured them. “Tapsell,”a Pakeha-Maori, was then chief mate of the ‘Sisters.’ The Maoris guarded the convicts at Kororarika, but they were a source of terror to the missionaries when on the 10th they heard of the destruction of the Wesleyan Mission station at Whangaroa. Henry Williams and Mr. Davis nevertheless started with sixteen Maoris to the relief of the homeless Wesleyans. William Williams and Mr. Fairburn mounted guard at Paihia. Apprehensive of a plundering party the Maori domestics had fled from the missionaries at Kerikeri. On the 11th Henry Williams took the houseless wanderers to his wife's care at Paihia. The ‘Sisters’ after a few days sailed to Sydney, with most of the run-away convicts, and with the Wesleyans. The Maoris demanded and obtained a musket and gunpowder for securing each convict.
Mrs. Henry Williams wrote in her Diary on the 19th January: “All the tribes are rising there (at the north); some to avenge Hongi's supposed death; some to oppose his avengers.”
Hongi's wound embittered his wrath. He captured a pah, and ordered indiscriminate slaughter of man, woman, and child. Only slaves were to be spared. He sent for William Williams, who found him encamped in a pah he had captured. He was dejected only lest his wound should incapacitate him for further conquests. He was courteous to Williams, and a few weeks afterwards visited Paihia with a hope to benefit his health. Returning to Whangaroa while he brooded over future wars as ‘utu,’ or satisfaction for his wound, he died on the 6th March, 1828, exhorting his followers to be bold in resisting any force, however great.
1 Recently, 1880, under the title ‘Scenes from the Life of John Marmon’ —an erroneous version of the capture of the Wellington, as of many other events, has been published.
Though he never professed Christianity, he sent his children to mission schools, and he would not permit the priests to perform the Maori incantations before his death. He commanded that no slaves should be sacrificed upon his grave; and he urged his followers to be kind to the missionaries, who were “doers of good.”
Had he died soon after his wound it seemed almost certain that the Church of England Mission stations would have been destroyed like the Wesleyan, but Hongi's transfer of his residence from Kerikeri to Whangaroa contributed to a different result. Because his immediate connection with the missionaries had been for a time broken, it was by Maori custom less incumbent upon Maoris to rob his friends.
Thus the Church of England Mission stations were saved, when the great Hongi died as he had lived—in blood. His deeds can best explain his character. Though he was of the class “conqueror”there is no reason to suppose that he was as corrupt as Julius Cæsar. He bribed no Curio, but he would have been proud to eat Pompey.
On the other hand, he was no lawgiver. He sent his children to school because, like many Maoris, he valued mental training.
1 “Utu”was a comprehensive word. It might mean a return, a payment, a ransom, satisfaction for injury, a compensation: and was so closely allied to “utu”or revenge, that the satisfaction for injury was almost synonymous with the hatred which demanded it.
Hongi's plans diminished the value of a common Pakeha as the possessor of fire-arms, but the white man of intelligence and education was valued as the channel for trade, and the purveyor of luxuries; the greatest of which was a gun. Not Hongi alone, but the wily Rauparaha at Cook's Straits accumulated ammunition and supplies.
One craving passion ruled the Maori mind. Power to conquer, power to defend, could only be found in fire-arms. The quantity obtainable for a given amount of native products depended on the intelligence and honesty of the Pakeha friend.
Many Europeans had been treated as slaves before Hongi's campaigns. Afterwards, the Pakeha Maoris increased twenty-fold. In 1840 there were said to be 150 of them. In that year the establishment of English settlements at Wellington, and in the north, palsied their importance, and their number rapidly dwindled away.
One English witness saw on the Upper Wanganui river, a ‘Shakspeare’ and a ‘Classical Dictionary,’ which the Rangatira said had belonged to his deceased Pakeha Maori. The wit and wisdom which might belong to such a man were shown in the celebrated F. E. Maning, whose name has been already quoted in these pages, and will be found again.
Shrewdness and honour induced respect for some of the Pakeha Maoris, but as a rule they exercised no wholesome influence, and rather injured than promoted the aims of Marsden to humanize the war-loving Maori. One, whose life was prolonged until 1880, was so firmly believed to have partaken in feasts on human flesh that for years he was called by an appropriate name.1
There was one of them who had no choice when he was adopted.
1 “Cannibal Jack.”Born of convict blood he was himself a criminal. His ‘Reminiscences’ were published in 1880 as those of “John Marmon.”
On the following day six more white men were killed and eaten, after being cooked in Maori ovens before the eyes of Rutherford and the survivors. Atrocious as were these deeds, the surprise in England was qualified by the fact that, within a few years, at least a hundred Maoris were murdered by Europeans at the Bay of Islands.1
Loaded with plunder the natives took Rutherford and his remaining comrades to the interior. The captives were stripped and held on the ground for four hours while they were tattooed. Nearly the whole of Rutherford's face, the lower part of his arms, his breast, and part of his body, were deeply scarred and coloured with dark pigment. For three days the victims were in a state of “tapu,”and not allowed to touch food with their hands, but were fed by women who treated them kindly.
1 ‘Proceedings of Church Missionary Society,’ vol. v., p. 465.
The old woman's doctor strode up and down within the circle and explained the course of her illness to the questioning chiefs. Rutherford and his companion understood the dialogue. The doctor retired, and a chief of importance, adorned with the feathers of the “huia,”and striding up and down in the circle, declared that in his opinion the woman's death was caused by eating potatoes peeled by a white man's knife after it was used for cutting rushes to repair a house. The man to whom the knife belonged ought therefore to be killed in honour of the old woman.
The proposition was favourably accepted, and Rutherford went into the circle to argue against it; pleading that even if the act of his comrade was wrong, ignorance of their customs might excuse it. He besought Aimy to spare his friend, but Aimy sat motionless mourning for his mother, and while Rutherford was yet speaking the chief with the huia feathers smote the white man dead with a mĕrĕ. Aimy did not allow the man's body to be eaten, and Rutherford caused it to be buried.
Some time afterwards Aimy, commending Rutherford's activity in shooting and fishing, proposed to make him a chief. Rutherford consented. His hair was cut in front with an oyster shell. Mats were presented to him, and a green-stone mĕrĕ. Having to choose wives he took Aimy's two daughters. In Rutherford's wanderings with the tribe he met an Englishman in like circumstances to his own, but not, like him, desirous to escape. In 1825 or 1826 he was with his tribe at Kaipara and saw Hongi's temporary defeat, as already described.
He had not long returned to the east coast when signal fires announced that a vessel had arrived at Tokomaru. Preparations were made to capture her, and Rutherford was deputed to decoy her people. With the son of a chief and four slaves he went in chiefs attire in a canoe to the ship, not yet at anchor.
The ship was American. Rutherford warned the captain of the plot. The chief's son was flogged upon a charge of stealing, and put back into the canoe, and Rutherford was carried away and landed at Tahiti.
He worked there as a labourer for the British Consul, went page 124 to Sydney in 1827, found his way to Rio Janeiro, and obtained a passage to England in the frigate ‘Blanche,’ in 1828. He gained money by exhibiting his tattooed body, and his adventures were published. His new life had no charms for him. He wished to return to Tahiti, and thought that if he could go to Tokomaru with “a blacksmith and plenty of iron,”his Maori friends would receive him gladly (on the supposition that he had been forcibly kidnapped when he escaped), and that he would be able to make much money by trade.1
As a record of New Zealand after the introduction of firearms his personal observations deserve mention.
Local differences in New South Wales had deprived Marsden of active co-operation on the part of Governor Macquarie in evangelizing New Zealand. Marsden was one of those who successfully resisted the endeavour of the Governor to force emancipated convicts into society. They were found at Government House, but not at the private houses of the colonists.
These differences somewhat marred missionary labours in New Zealand, where Macquarie exercised a quasi authority, and whither Marsden could not go without leave. Sir T. Brisbane, who became Governor in 1821, sympathized with the chaplain. But it was difficult to ward off the importation of fire-arms amongst a race so greedy to obtain them.
The influence which Marsden had obtained, not only as evangelizer but as introducer of arts and promoter of agriculture, had waned under Hongi's baleful star. His own conduct had been impugned by the chiefs when a trading missionary had been dismissed. Nor could Marsden resent inquiry into it.
1 A detailed account of Rutherford is to be found in ‘The New Zealanders,’ published in the Library of Entertaining Knowledge, in 1830.
Marsden had the good sense to make allowance for the faults of his disciples. Writing to England after he had left Henry Williams at Paihia, he said that “agriculture had increased twenty-fold since the New Zealanders had got hoes;”that able missionaries were required; that the natives were “a wise and understanding people. Their study is human nature in all its bearings; they talk more of the heart of man than we do, and of the evil that is lodged there.… Cannibalism is interwoven through the whole of their religious system. They offer up human sacrifices as sin-offerings.… Their eating human flesh has its origin in superstition.… As for their wars, these will not be prevented until an object can be found that will employ their active minds.… Agriculture and commerce are the only means that promise to remedy their civil wars.… To bring this noble race of human beings to the knowledge of the only true God and Jesus Christ is an attempt worthy of the Christian world.”
On one point only did Marsden differ from Henry Williams. Marsden ever contended that civilization must pave the way for the conversion of the heathen. Williams urged that first of all “the seed of eternal life should be sown.”The labours of both were strenuous, and were not clogged by any theoretical differences.
But war still raged, and when in 1827 the Wesleyan Mission premises at Whangaroa were destroyed and Marsden's own friends were in danger he hastened to them. The storm had passed away and he remained but a few days at the Bay of Islands. Soon afterwards he circulated translations of portions of the Bible into the Maori tongue; but much as he hoped for from the Sacred Word he was constrained to admit that the tide of events necessitated some European (therefore some English) interference.page 126
Weakened by wars, the tribes, nevertheless, would not or could not unite under an Egbert. Hongi had failed in his subjugation schemes and was dead. It was surmised, though doubtless with exaggeration, that fire-arms and new diseases had, in twenty years, swept away one hundred thousand natives.
Kororarika had become the gathering-ground of scoundrels of every dye. Beyond the control of law, their orgies were such as would defile the page of history.
Marsden reluctantly came to the conclusion that even for the sake of the Maoris British authority ought to be asserted. A brief experiment was actually made, in 1825, to form an orderly settlement, by purchase of land at Hokianga and elsewhere in the North Island. Lord Durham (then Mr. Lambton) was one of the promoters; but the project wanted the vigour which Gibbon Wakefield was afterwards to infuse, and the scheme of 1825 was abortive.
In 1826 some of the company's emigrants actually reached New Zealand, intending to take up lands on the Thames and at Hokianga. They did not remain long in the land. It was said that what they saw of a war-dance, and what they heard of cannibalism, cured them of their colonization scheme.
The agent, one Captain Herd, professed to buy land on behalf of the company, and without doubt some Maoris were willing to sell and to adhere to their bargains. The titles, such as they were, were bought up by the more important New Zealand Company, formed in 1839, of which Lord Durham was called the Governor, and amongst the directors of which were other names included in the unprosperous company of 1825.
One of the settlers who remained at Hokianga lived to a green old age.
A singular attempt to form a colony, French or English, or to found a sovereignty in his own name, was made by one Baron de Thierry in 1822. The son of French parents, he had been partly educated in England. He had held a minor diplomatic appointment, and had been in an English regiment. He appeared to think that, if the English Government were slow to recognize him, he would cast off his English skin and become a Frenchman whom France was bound to support. He had seen Hongi and Waikato with Mr. Kendall at Cambridge in page 127 1820. His soul was fired with ideas of sovereignty. He invited Kendall's co-operation.1 He declared afterwards that Kendall promised to buy for him all the land from Auckland to the North Cape. But as Kendall had been many years in New Zealand, and knew something of Maori customs, it is impossible to believe De Thierry's statement.
Kendall did something for him. He bought, through three chiefs, about 200 acres of land at Hokianga for a few axes. Waka Nene, and his brother Patuone, were among the contracting Maoris, and their version of the sale is more worthy of credence than De Thierry's.
He bemoaned his hard fate in obtaining what he chose to call 40,000 acres for 36 axes, but recorded in his Diary a regret that his payment was so small.
Kendall could only say, “I have done as well as I could for you.”The result was 200 acres, bought for less than 30 axes. But the purchaser determined to erect a sovereignty on such a foundation. He applied at once to Earl Bathurst for recognition. The Under-Secretary, Wilmot Horton, replied (Dec. 1823), that New Zealand was “not a possession of the Crown.”He applied to the French Government without success. He endeavoured to “assemble a colony”in London. He failed. He rushed to France to plead his rights in person. He found his countrymen offended because he had in the first instance applied to England.
In 1826 he opened an office in London and received applications from intending colonists who might have been impressed by Falstaff.
To add bitterness to failure, he saw what he called a “rival scheme,”Lord Durham's Company, send out their expedition under Herd. In due time he learned the failure of his rivals.
1 I have used in this sketch a MS. autograph, by De Thierry, with the necessary precaution where corroborating evidence is required.
The failure of the English Company in 1826, and the frustration of De Thierry's early schemes, left the missionaries to fight the battle as they best might against the evil passions of the Maoris and the lawlessness of the abandoned Europeans.
They did, after Hongi's death, prevail upon offended tribes to lower their weapons. A Bay of Islands chief had been shot in a quarrel. A Ngapuhi chief Whareumu went with an armed band to examine the case. There had been much discussion, and peace seemed assured, when excitable spirits brought on a battle. Whareumu was killed and his friends were driven off. Maori law demanded revenge for Whareumu's death. Maori armies were gathering in March, 1828, to extort it, although the injured and the injurers were in many cases close blood-relations. Some Ngapuhi chiefs, already influenced by Christian teaching or example, invited the missionaries to accompany their war-party and strive for peace. Henry Williams, Clarke, Davis, and Kemp accompanied the Ngapuhi chief Rewa, to Hokianga.
After several days, during which Sunday (as “ra tapu”or sacred day) intervened peacefully, the tribes separated without fighting. On the Sunday a congregation of 500 listened attentively to Divine Service. Seven hundred men, the greater part armed with muskets, paraded on the 24th March, danced in their savage manner, and by mutual arrangement fired volleys in the air. Then Rewa spoke for the Bay of Islands tribe in favour of peace. Patuone followed on the part of the men of Hokianga, and the missionaries were escorted to the Hokianga pah. Bullets, not intended to do harm, but as ebullitions of joy, were flying about in all directions until the missionaries entered the pah, when the chiefs succeeded in checking the demonstrations of their people. Thus, for the first time, the gospel of peace prevailed in the mouths of the grateful missionaries.
Having once acted as peace-makers they used their vantage-ground on other occasions.
In the end of 1828 they ventured to hold at Paihia a public page 129 examination of their three schools situate at Rangihoua, Kerikeri and Paihia.
The proceedings were opened with the Church of England Liturgy in the Maori tongue, and greatly gratified the relatives of the 170 pupils assembled.
An examination was held in 1829 at Kerikeri with similar results. Early in 1830 Taiwhanga, a great warrior in Hongi's wars, was publicly baptized, and the missionaries entertained hopes of other conversions.
Mrs. Henry Williams wrote (Feb. 1830): “When I saw Taiwhanga advance from the other end of our crowded chapel with firm step and subdued countenance, an object of interest to every native as well as to every English eye, and meekly kneel, where, six months before, we had, at his own request, stood sponsors for his four little children, I deeply felt that it was the Lord's own doing.”
The conduct of a master of a whaler dashed the high hopes of the missionaries. He had cohabited with a Maori woman of Kawa Kawa, and had abandoned her for a daughter of a chief at Kerikeri. Maori law demanded reparation. The friends of the injured woman determined to avenge her wrongs. The tribes mustered. Eight hundred men opposed six hundred. Vainly the missionaries raised their voices on the field of battle. Henry Williams looked in vain for a chief of importance as he stood between the armies, concealed from one another by fences and leafy screens, and distant but few yards apart.
When a conference was at last brought about, it was rendered null by a casual shot, and in the consequent resumption of battle (6th March) the fall of a great chief, Hengi, who had rushed between the combatants to stay them, seemed to make peace impossible. A hundred lives were lost. The native houses at Kororarika were in flames. The deck of a vessel in the harbour was covered with the wounded Kororarika warriors. The enemy, from Whangaroa, had withdrawn but a short space from the field of battle.
At this juncture Samuel Marsden appeared upon the scene (on the 8th March, 1830). His arrival was opportune. Two thousand armed men were ready to renew the fray of which the battle of Kororarika was but the beginning. In each camp page 130 were near relatives to many in the other. Fathers had fought against sons, brothers against brothers. During the truce they mingled freely with the ranks against which they had fought and were about to fight again. It was rumoured that all the men of Hokianga were about to march to take one side or the other. A “tremendous shout”announced (Mrs. Williams wrote) “a ship, Mr. Marsden!”It was echoed on the shore, and the old man landed with his daughter. The mission was in danger, as were the whaling vessels anchored in the Bay.
Marsden visited the victors, and was well received. He turned to the worsted, and found them thirsting for revenge. “The war had been caused by an Englishman; what satisfaction could Marsden give for the lives lost?”Marsden could give no satisfaction, but would write to England to prevent the shipmaster's return. The natives begged him to do nothing of the kind: they longed for the man's return, that they might take their revenge. A whole day was spent in parleying. In the morning it was decided that Marsden and his companion missionary, Henry Williams, should, with two commissioners from each camp, arrange a peace.
On the following day, Sunday, Marsden preached, contrasting doubtless, in his sermon as in his journal, the two shores of the Bay. Decently clad natives reading the Litany in their own language on one side; on the other, wrath, and preparation for war.
The peace was unconcluded. On Tuesday thirty-six war-canoes came upon the scene. The women were left behind. None but fighting men were on board. Marsden hastened to intercede. The native commissioners told him that if peace should not be concluded he must die like the rest.
“The whole day was spent in deliberation: at night, after a long oration, the great chief on one side clove a stick in two to signify that his anger was broken. The terms of peace were ratified, and both sides joined in a hideous war-dance together, repeatedly firing their muskets. We then took our departure from these savage scenes with much satisfaction, as we had attained the object we were labouring for.”1
1 The sons of the slain Hengi, dissatisfied with the peace, but prevented by tribal honour from breaking it, led a war-party to the south to avenge by the spilling of blood the death of their father. They slew many Maoris with whom they had no quarrel, and sowed the seeds of a long war with the men of Tauranga.
Other and less discouraging scenes followed. He married some converts, and at an earnest service, at which the widow of the great Hongi was present, she could but ejaculate “Astonishing!”as she saw the fervour of her country-folk.
In the end of 1830, the tribes which had been recently arrayed against one another in war were represented by peaceful delegates to the Maori school examination at Paihia. Two hundred pupils were collected.
Early in 1831 the sons of Hengi having feasted on the slain in the south at Mayor and Motiti islands, in revenge for their father's death elsewhere, were themselves surprised and slaughtered by the enraged enemies, and a general war to avenge so much noble blood seemed impending.
The missionaries devised an embassy to the south, whence an ambassador from Rotorua had already been sent to ask for a missionary. When at Paihia, in 1828, the Rotorua chief, Pango, had been saved by Mr. Williams. A plot had been laid to massacre Pango and his friends. Williams took them on board ship, and sailed away with them in the night. Hence the embassy from Rotorua in 1831. The Rev. H. Williams and Mr. Chapman went to Ohinemutu at Rotorua, preached, conversed, and prayed.
The Maoris were greedy to learn letters, and to read and write the language of their forefathers. In half-an-hour one young man had learned the alphabet and was teaching it to his eager comrades.
The efforts of the missionaries to restrain the Ngapuhi from avenging the sons of Hengi were not successful. The future Bishop of Waiapu, William Williams, in vain aided his brother. The Ngapuhi led a war-party to the Bay of Plenty; and though the missionaries were allowed to cross from camp to camp in peace, neither the Ngatiawa nor the Ngapuhi would accept their counsel.
In 1833 the Rarawa from the north plunged into the fray, and the missionaries, in despair, left the murderous work which they were unable to arrest.page 132
An event occurred at the same period which led to important results. A whale-ship becalmed at the East Cape received on board twelve Ngatiporou. As they slept on board, a breeze carried the vessel northwards. The master, whether ignorant or reckless of Maori usage, landed his unwilling guests at the Bay of Islands. The Ngapuhi distributed them amongst their chiefs as slaves. The missionaries pleaded against the injustice of enslaving those who had been brought against their will to the place, and a sense of right induced the chiefs to consent that the Ngatiporou should reside at the mission station until they could be returned to their homes in the mission schooner. After eight months they went home with the future Bishop of Waiapu. Other Maoris, released from slavery, swelled the number of returned exiles to thirty, who were returned to their friends in January, 1834.
Nothing had been heard of them by those friends since their departure. Their joy was unbounded. Their gratitude to William Williams was wild. They had been assembled for war when the schooner arrived, but they said: “Give us missionaries to teach us and we will cease to war. We like what you tell us; but when you are gone who shall teach us?”
He preached to five hundred of them on the site of his future bishopric, and fixed upon it in his own mind as a mission station. He saw the ruins of pahs, sacked by the Ngapuhi in years bygone, and extending his researches to Table Cape, he heard that thither had been gathered the Maoris, hunted by Rauparaha from Wairarapa, near Cook's Straits. They were protected by Te Wera, a Ngapuhi chief, who, having under Hongi's banner conquered and enslaved at Table Cape, after a time enfranchised his prisoners, went with them to their home, and was received as their own chief. With him Rauparaha had no desire to be at feud, and under his Ngapuhi “mana”the land had rest. The long strife between the Ngapuhi and the men of Tauranga also came to an end without signal defeat of either party, the wearied invaders finally abandoning the feud which the sons of Hengi had so wantonly originated.
Shocked at one form of atrocity which was encouraged by Europeans, Governor Darling, in 1831, made it known that the English Government reprobated and would punish it. The heads page 133 of slain Maoris, dried by their slayers, had become the object of a brutal traffic. In ancient days the conqueror kept his enemy's head as an enduring trophy. But curators of European museums, careless as to causes of death, set a high value upon heads thus cunningly preserved. A trade grew up. At first hardly secret, it soon became shamefully open, although it was known that, in their desperate strife for fire-arms, Maoris, to procure guns slaughtered their slaves in order to exchange heads for guns.1
Brutal traders added heads to their ordinary exports. One of their transactions aroused the wrath of Darling, and relegated the trade to secrecy, if it did not destroy it. In one of the Ngapuhi raids upon the Ngatirangi at Tauranga in 1830 some of their men were killed, and the heads were prepared for sale. A debauched ruffian named Jack, the master of a schooner (the ‘Prince of Denmark’), bought them. Touching at Kororarika on his way to Sydney, while many of the Ngapuhi had boarded his vessel, the brutal trader brought upon deck a sack from which he rolled out a number of heads which the Ngapuhi recognized as those of their lost friends. Terror, weeping, and rage broke forth, and the Maoris fled to the shore. The trader, alarmed lest they should return in vengeance, fled to sea. Rumour accompanied him. When he arrived in Sydney Governor Darling promptly proclaimed that such atrocities would be severely punished. He demanded the restoration of the heads to the friends of those “to whom they belonged.”He imposed a fine of forty pounds for each infringement of his order, and determined to publish as marks for detestation the names of all engaged in the inhuman traffic. It was, he said, his “imperative duty to take strong measures for totally suppressing the inhuman traffic which the masters and crews of vessels trading between New South Wales and New Zealand”were pursuing.
1 The Pakeha Maori (‘Old New Zealand’) tells of an instance in which a fine head was coveted, and its owner was killed to gratify this horrid lust of the trader—for the usual consideration.
But the career of Waharoa the Ngatihaua for many years had boded ill for missionary influence. As ferocious as Hongi, he was more astute, and knew how to obtain power without the crushing superiority of weapons possessed by the Ngapuhi chief.
The Ngatimaru held Matamata while Waharoa was young. He had expelled them from it. His own stronghold had been Maungakawa, near the sources of the Piako. Between Maun-gakawa and Tauranga, Matamata was held by the Ngatimaru, whose territory also extended by way of the Piako swamp to the Waikato river, where Cambridge and Hamilton are now situated. Much of this territory they appear to have occupied peacefully after their flight from Hongi, but in process of time strife arose between them and the Ngatihaua. Until 1825 the Ngatimaru leader, Takurua, maintained his ground, although his tribe had been much weakened by the massacre at the Totara pah at the Thames. Waharoa proposed terms of friendship and joint occupation at Matamata. They were accepted. For two years the tribes lived like Romans and Sabines—geminata urbe. Then the Maori Romulus profited by the murder of his rival which he was thought to have contrived. He was on a journey to Tauranga when at midnight the Ngatihaua treacherously rose and murdered the Ngatimaru Tatius and most of his people at Matamata.
Thus Waharoa secured control of the upper Waiho, or Thames. He was nevertheless grieved to see the Ngatimaru assembled at many strong pahs, especially Haowhenua1 on the Horotiu or Waikato river (near Cambridge). There were assembled many who had fled from the shambles of Mauinaina and Makoia. Moreover, Waharoa in 1828 lost the support which he might have expected from the Ngatiraukawa. In that year they yielded to Rauparaha's solicitations, and large numbers migrated to share his fortunes in the south.
1 The name “Hao”gathering as in a net, “whenua “the land, challenged the suspicion and animosity of the Ngatihaua.
In 1871, when English rule had been set up in the land, and Judges of the Native Lands Court pronounced upon Maori titles, the Pakeha Maori, Judge F. E. Maning, with Judge Monro, delivered a decision upon tribal titles, accruing from the battle of Taumatawiwi, the retreat of the Ngatimaru (called in the judgment Maru-tuahu), and the extent to which the claims of the Ngatihaua encroached upon the former domain of their enemies.
1 Vide ‘Story of Te Waharoa,’ by John A. Wilson. Auckland, 1866. The tradition is in keeping with the facts elicited forty years after the event. The spirit is the same, though the mode in which the wounded warrior sounded the enemy was not identical with the details of the evidence, nor was the evacuation of Haowhenua proved to have been effected with the dramatic rapidity implied in the popular belief. This is an illustration of the growth of a myth founded on truth and heightened in poetic effect, rather than perverted, while crystallized in oral tradition.
The Ngatihaua asserted a right to the Aroha, a tract of land on both sides of the Waihou river, where the Aroha mountain stood pre-eminent as an object of beauty seen from far and near, and was sometimes confronted and sometimes apparently left behind by voyagers towards it on the sinuous waters of the river. The tract in dispute was about two hundred thousand acres. The Ngatihaua claimed it by conquest, and the terms of the evacuation of Haowhenua, followed by sufficient occupation to establish a right.
The Ngatimaru denied the defeat of their forefathers, and declared that the terms of the evacuation gave no title to the Aroha, which had been in their possession subsequently. For both claims there was colourable evidence, for after the expulsion of the Ngatimaru from Haowhenua the Aroha was comparatively tenantless.
Witnesses on both sides admitted that the space which intervened between the abodes of the hostile tribes was unsafe, and that the Aroha was more often traversed by war-parties than occupied in peace.
Waharoa himself was said to have gone in person to take formal possession of Aroha, and allotted, with his chiefs, the eelweirs and the lands to their people. If he had devoted his attention to the north it was thought that he would have put the matter beyond doubt; but war with the Arawa in the south engrossed him. As it was, he left a law-suit to his descendants.
When the Court sat in 1871, Ngatihaua chiefs who fought at Taumatawiwi gave evidence. At night, they said, Waharoa burned his own dead to prevent their bodies from falling into the hands of enemies, and was proceeding to attack Haowhenua in the morning when a humble deputation of unarmed Ngatimaru besought an audience. Among them were Taharoku and Tupua, of high rank.
“If you had beaten me,”said Waharoa, “you would have taken my land. As you are beaten, my land returns to me, and you must go back to the Thames.”
“How (said Taharoku) am I to get away?”1
1 The laconic question was understood on both sides. How could hundreds of women and children pass safely through a hostile country? One witness said that Tuhua, who was distantly related to Waharoa, seeing the burning bodies of the Ngatihaua (which if he had been a conqueror Tuhua would have joined in eating), gruffly said to Waharoa, “Why do you spoil my provisions?”
“You shall be led out,”was the brief reply.
Peace was agreed upon. By the Ngatimaru account they retired within three months. The Ngatihaua witnesses said the evacuation was completed within three weeks. A Ngatihaua chief, Pakeraheke, and two chief women accompanied their enemies. Good faith was kept, and in three separate bands, by the Waikato, the Waihou, and the Piako rivers, the Ngatimaru retired without molestation. The death of Hongi, who had slaughtered the Ngatimaru at Totara, relieved them from fear of the Ngapuhi, amongst whom the missionaries were already obtaining much influence.
Amidst the conflicting evidence as to the Aroha land the Court determined that the Ngatimaru were never dispossessed to such an extent, and the Ngatihaua never occupied in such a manner, as to give the latter a good claim. On the contrary, it was held that the Ngatimaru had for twelve years after the battle of Taumatawiwi made incursions into Ngatihaua territory, and thus rendered it impossible for the Ngatihaua to occupy permanently the disputed land. The diversion of the savage abilities of Waharoa to his southern wars saved the Aroha district for one or two generations of the Ngatimaru. The death of Hongi had relieved them from fear of the Ngapuhi. But decimation as rapid as that of the tomahawk or the musket was to follow the advent of new enemies. Ten years after the battle of Taumatawiwi the sovereignty of the Queen was proclaimed. Though justice was the object of England, the destruction of the tribes has been more rapid under her sway than under the internecine strife of former years. In 1880 the coveted Aroha block was parcelled out for sale to English settlers.
It may be well to describe the condition of Waharoa's allies, the Waikato people, after the battle of Taumatawiwi in 1830.
After the crushing defeat at Matakitaki, which did not affect Waharoa, there were raids in which the Ngatipaoa, claiming the same ancestor as the Ngatimaru, carried war into Ngapuhi territory.page 138
But the land of the Ngatiwhatua, about Auckland, had become a waste. The solitude which the Romans called peace, prevailed where, once, every hill had swarmed with men. It has been seen that in 1826 the Ngatiwhatua, after their defeat by Hongi, fled for aid to the Waikato, with whom Hongi had already concluded peace; and there, according to Maori tradition, Hongi entered into friendly relations with Waharoa, in order more completely to destroy the Ngatiwhatua, after their Ngatipaoa hosts had been induced to abandon their cause.
It is difficult to trace the fortunes of each hunted tribe. It is clear that peace was established between Te Whero Whero, the Waikato chief, and Hongi, a few years after the great slaughter at Matakitaki. The marriage of a Ngapuhi chieftainess to Te Kati, and the visit of Rewa1 to the Waikato tribes, were sufficient pledges of friendship—for a time.
But the pestilent lust for blood worked in the minds of the Waikato tribes. Before returning to the hereditary domain restored to his tribe, and taking up his abode near Auckland, Te Whero Whero, who so narrowly escaped death at Matakitaki, resolved to prove his title to the lurid honours of a Maori conqueror. The redoubted Hongi was dead. The last expedition of the Ngapuhi against Waikato had been annihilated at Te Rore, and Te Whero Whero could safely make an excursion.
The Ngatiawa of the west coast, weakened by the loss of the band which in hundreds had, in 1827, followed Rauparaha to southern territories at Waikanae and Cook's Straits, were the unhappy victims.
At Pukerangiora, on an abrupt promontory, steeply scarped on the bank of the Waitara river, stood the Ngatiawa stronghold, in which the bulk of their people were collected. Towards the shore they looked upon their rich cultivations. Inland was a dense forest, and Mount Egmont reared its snowy cone in the south-east.
1 The man who had the moral courage to assist the missionaries in averting war at Hokianga in 1828.
In December, 1831, an immense war-party, under Te Whero Whero, invaded the land, and slew all they could capture. Terror seized the tribes, who fled to Pukerangiora, without delaying to lay in provisions. During twelve days they strove with their enemies—slaughter and famine. The killing of many besiegers whetted the revenge of the others. At last the starving people, rushing to escape, were pursued and captured. Then mothers, dreading worse horrors, threw their children over the precipice, and plunged after them into the yawning river below. How many were slain no man can tell. Two hundred were said to have been slaughtered on the following morning, many of them by the hand of Te Whero Whero.
Human flesh was feasted upon; and, not yet satiated, the inhuman horde passed on to Ngamotu. There three hundred and fifty Ngatiawa, aided by their Pakehas and carronades, were prepared to receive them. The carronades were respected, and a parley ensued. Skirmishes were followed by persuasion. The Waikato were willing to embrace as friends; but all the Europeans and many Maoris would not trust them.
More fighting ensued. Firebrands were thrown into the pah, but active exertions prevented conflagration. The invaders, confronted for the first time by cannon, speedily invented a method to avoid the effects, and approached the pah by sap. A schooner from Sydney arrived during the siege and supplied provisions to Ngamotu. The master had a conference with the Maori leader, but distrusted his promises. At intervals communication between besieged and besiegers took place; and the European defenders were permitted to buy ammunition from the enemy.
At last the Waikato army, in want of food, sent word that on the following morning they would storm Ngamotu. At dawn of day a storming party cut through the palisading, and fighting was carried on within the entrenchments. The Ngatiawa fought with desperation. The carronades hurled a hail of stones among the invaders. At last they gave up their task. The native garrison dashed out to wreak their savage page 140 wrath on the wounded, whom the retreating foe was compelled to leave on the field.
Ngamotu was saved. The Waikato did not repeat their attack on any important scale, nor consummate their conquest by occupation. But, apprehensive of invasion, many of the Ngatiawa followed their countryman, Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake, who had previously joined Rauparaha at Waikanae, and only a few remained at Ngamotu or sheltered in the forest on the flanks of Mount Egmont. As a last resort they had recourse to the largest of the Sugar-loaf Islands, Moturoa, whenever, between intervals of truce, they had reason to dread a fresh invasion. There they collected fuel and provisions and built houses on every plateau, so that they might guard their island rock. The works of Ngamotu were abandoned, and the guns which had preserved it were spiked. Richard Barrett, one of the English defenders in 1840, showed the place to the colonists of the New Plymouth Company. Amongst the other Pakeha combatants were men named Love, Oliver, and Wright. All of them after the siege found their way to Cook's Straits, then frequented by whaling ships. The name of the Ngatiawa chief who commanded at Ngamotu is said to have been Warepori.
Murderous as had been the Waikato war-party many Ngatiawa and Taranaki captives were nevertheless carried away, and (as in the case of the victims of Hongi), some of them were permitted to live as servants in the mission houses. There they were brought under immediate Christian influence. The seed sown in reflective minds brought forth fruit. The fleeting nature of earthly success lost its charm in the eyes of men so lately fast-bound in misery and iron. The zeal and kindness of the missionaries prompted inquiry as to the probable cause of a demeanour which appeared more than human. Yearnings for something better and more enduring were created and strengthened.
Released by the missionaries and conveyed to their former homes, the enfranchised victims of war carried back a knowledge of the Gospel, and taught their countrymen what they had learned of letters and of religion. In time the conquering chiefs themselves followed the missionary example, and manumitted not only their captives but their hereditary slavespage 141
Thus the droves of victims, whose sad fate had appalled the missionaries when they saw them dragged to death or slavery by ruthless masters, supplied active agents in humanizing their far-off countrymen, and William Williams took comfort1 when he saw that the dark cloud had yet a silver lining, and that from the atrocious deeds of the past a salutary future was wrested by Divine permission.
The application of the chief Pango for a missionary at Rotorua induced others to follow his example. A trader in flax named Tapsell, a Pakeha Maori, residing at Maketu, had previously resisted rather than assisted the missionaries in their efforts to make peace, although he had been personally hospitable.
In 1833 he had changed his mind. He wrote to Henry Williams: “My people (Maoris) bid me write to you to send them a missionary. If you should approve of that I hope you will send one to Tauranga, Whakatane, and the river Thames, as it would be the means of keeping peace among them.”
In November, 1833, Henry Williams and others endeavoured to satisfy the petitions made to the missionaries.
At the Thames the natives received them cordially near the picturesque but ill-fated site of the Totara pah, destroyed by Hongi. There “human bones lay scattered about in all directions,”the remains of Hongi's repulsive feast.
Ascending the river to Turua, the missionaries held Divine Service there. To their amazement the hymns and responses were correctly and musically uttered by a congregation of more than 150 Maoris. Three boys educated at Paihia had been the teachers, but the people prayed that a missionary might be sent to them.
The missionaries went on to Matamata and saw the dreaded Waharoa, the foe of the men of Turua. He “was sitting in state in the midst of his nobles,”and “welcomed the travellers graciously.”The wily savage was probably intent on obtaining material wealth and the means of procuring fire-arms. But whatever their motives were, he and his chiefs “pleaded hard for a missionary.”
The old man's petition could not then be complied with, but a mission station under the care of Messrs. Wilson and Fairburn was formed at Puriri. At this time missionaries could pass freely everywhere.
Although there was feud between the natives at the Lower Thames and those of the Waikato, William Williams (who with the Rev. R. Maunsell did so much towards framing the Maori Bible) with Messrs. Morgan and Slack journeyed from Puriri to the Waikato, to Matamata, and to Tauranga. Te Kati, the brother of Te Whero Whero, had been visiting the Bay of Islands with his Ngapuhi wife, and accompanied the missionaries, who, dreading an attack, recommended Te Kati to go home by another route rather than visit the Thames. He declined to do so, and under an armed escort of friends the party walked safely to the Maramarua where Te Kati was free from danger.
The Waikato river was ascended; Matakitaki and Te Rore were seen; the events of former time were described, and a site for a mission station was chosen at Mangapouri.
The young chief, Awarahi, who had authority there, said: “If you wish to remain I will have your house built for you; but for me, I am a man of war, and must be at war directly. Perhaps you may find one little boy to believe you now, and by and by we may all believe.”
Williams selected a site, and in five minutes forty men were employed in clearing it for the erection of a mission-house.
1 Waharoa's deeds soon afterwards belied his gentle appearance. As to his ability, his biographer Mr. Wilson (‘The Story of Te Waharoa’) says it was well that he departed as he did in 1839. “Well for us also; for if he had led his tribes, in 1863, we probably should not have forgotten Te Waharoa.”Mr. Hugh Carleton (‘Life of Henry Williams’) agreed with Mr. Wilson: adding “He was not only a consummate tactician, but a desperate fighter besides, and in single combat was never worsted.”But Te Waharoa would have been eighty-eight years old if he had lived till 1863.
The missionary gave him hopes, and saw the old man go to his potato fields where a hundred young men were at work. When food was served, five hundred and fifty men, women, and children partook of the hospitality of the Maori baron.
Williams went to Tauranga, and on his return was again entreated by Waharoa to send missionaries to Matamata.
In April, 1835, the Rev. Mr. Brown arrived there and encountered various difficulties from the quarrelsome dispositions of his pupils.
Waharoa had procured ammunition by barter for flax, which was manufactured in large quantities by his people. He threatened to fire upon a party of Waikato people who were supposed to be about to interfere with his traffic at Tauranga; and did not conceal his disgust when, after an interview with Mr. Brown, the intruding traffickers by turning homewards deprived him of the pleasure of waylaying them.
In the same year the missionaries, Wilson and Fairburn, performed an act of heroism only to be appreciated by those whe knew the revengeful lust of the Maori.
A party of Waikato people were flax-scraping, while a larger party of their countrymen had proceeded in formal manner to discuss terms of peace between the Ngatimaru and their own people. An unreconciled section of the Ngatimaru fitted out page 144 a war-party to destroy the unsuspecting flax-scrapers. Wilson and Fairburn, taking a few Christian disciples as guides, started in a stormy night from Puriri, descended the Thames, crossed its Frith, ascended the Piako, walked through mire across the ranges, and before night succeeded in anticipating by a few minutes the arrival of the war-party. The flax-scrapers had barely time to glide away on the stream of the Maramarua before Koinaki, the leader of the Ngatimaru, with characteristic gesture, dashed into the deserted whare.
He did not enter in straight manner, but, tomahawk in hand, leapt obliquely through the doorway, making a defensive ward as he sprung. Finding no prey, he emerged, and met Mr. Wilson, who confronted his passionate gaze with calmness.
The disappointed warriors kept sullen silence for two hours. Sheltered from the rain under the same roof with the missionary party, they neither ate nor spoke. Silence was broken by prayers commencing with a Maori hymn:
“E! Ihu homai e koe
He ngakau houi ki au.”1
The stern features relented. When the service was ended the thwarted war-party became courteous. All wended their way homewards on the morrow, Mr. Fairburn from exhaustion and excitement fainting repeatedly by the way.
Koinaki, struck by the manner in which the Christians had risked their lives for peace' sake, said, “If Waharoa will cease fighting, so will I.”He kept his word. But Waharoa's thoughts were in the end of the year diverted to troubles at Rotorua, where already a missionary, Mr. Chapman, was placed.
The cause of war illustrated the condition of the Maori mind under the influence of greed.
About the same date, war between the Waikato tribes and those of the Thames was averted by the efforts of the Rev. H. Williams and his brethren. It will not be needful to dwell upon details. It will suffice to say that in February, 1835 (after seeing Waharoa at Matamata), H. Williams passed across to the Waikato river where tribal war had broken out.
1 “O Jesus! give to me a heart made new by Thee.”
He noticed a field of more than a hundred acres of corn. He descended the river from Mangapouri, saw Matakitaki near the noble mountain Pirongia, and at Horo reached the seat of war. The numerous Maoris whom he passed recognized him as an ambassador of peace. But a skirmishing party (19th March, 1835) brought back dead and wounded to the camp at Horo. His efforts resulted in a truce for a few months, after which he was to return to make permanent peace. At Ngaruawahia he saw for the first time Te Whero Whero, the future Maori king. Everywhere Williams had large audiences when he preached. He returned with the good Robert Maunsell in December, and after much negotiation, when neither side would cede to the other the land in dispute, both sides agreed to cede their claims to Williams himself. To avoid imputation of personal aims, he transferred the bone of contention to Mr. Fairburn the catechist, and the land had peace. Between the natives of the Thames and the Waikato no ground for quarrel was left. He went in January, 1836, with his well-earned reputation as peace-maker, to see Waharoa. The chief was not at Matamata. Williams heard there of the murder of Waharoa's relative at Rotorua, and travelled to Tupuna, at Tauranga. He found Waharoa there, but could make no good impression upon him. He passed on to Rotorua to try his powers upon the Arawa. All were civil. The missionaries, Messrs. Chapman, Pilley, and Knight, were well treated at their Rotorua abode. Williams reprehended the Maoris for having permitted so foul a deed to occur amongst them. They seemed to admit their fault, but to be careless about the future, though professing no desire for war. Williams returned sadly to his home at the Bay of Islands. The foul deed done at Rotorua was one of the worst type of Maori ferocity.
Tapsell, the trader at Maketu, had allotted various merchandise amongst the Arawa (then generally called Ngatikakauwe) chiefs, in payment for flax contracted for. One Huka, an inferior chief, labouring under some slight at the time, received no payment from Tapsell, to whom he complained. Tapsell had paid all he had promised, and would give no more. Enraged with his own relatives, who had pocketed all the payment, Huka resolved to plunge them into war.page 146
At Rotorua lived Hunga, a cousin of Te Waharoa the Ngatihaua. On Christmas day, 1835, Huka paddled across the lake with a few companions, and was well received by Hunga at his abode. In the act of salutation Hunga was killed by a coward blow on the back of the head.
The Arawa people did not think of appeasing Te Waharoa by punishing Huka, and apologizing for his act. The criminal had known that Maori usage neither admitted of apology by his tribe, nor acceptance of apology by Te Waharoa. War and the shedding of blood were the necessary ‘utu,’ or payment. The Arawa hacked the body of Hunga into pieces, which were sent to their various tribesmen to show the new phase of politics upon which they had entered by reason of the act of the wretched Huka.
Mr. Chapman, the missionary at Rotorua, obtained the sacred (tapu) head of the murdered man, and gave it to his relatives. Te Waharoa sent him word that he would burn his house down. To the Arawa he sent no message. At that time the Rev. Mr. Maunsell had joined Mr. Brown at Matamata. All knew that Waharoa would avenge himself, but he deceived both enemies and missionaries as to the manner. Affecting consideration for Mr. Brown he refused to let him visit Mr. Chapman at Rotorua. He told him to go to Maketu and invite Mr. Chapman thither. Many Maoris would go there also, so that Waharoa might only have the guilty to deal with at Rotorua.
In March, 1836, with a thousand men, Ngatihaua, Ngatimaniapoto, and others, he had passed Tauranga on his way to Maketu. A few Arawa were waylaid, slain, and eaten in spite of the entreaties of the Tauranga missionaries, Messrs. Wilson and Slade. When Mr. Wilson, upbraiding Waharoa (27th March), reminded him that he might not return from the war, and how would “he meet his offended God?”the superstitious chief, passive till then, fiercely shouted, “Stop, say not that. If I am killed what matter? If I return, will it not be well?”Putting his warriors in motion he vanished like Richard III., not brooking reproof from those on whom he would not lay his hand.
It was a lurking belief among the Maoris that the Atua, or God of the white man, was mysteriously connected with the page 147 missionaries, and to avoid ill omen (aitua) the savage checked Mr. Wilson's words with flourish of his departure, “with an order and regularity (Wilson wrote) I had little expected to see.”
On the 29th March, the pah at Maketu was stormed. Tapsell the trader (who had no less than four stations, three on the coast, and one at Matamata) was not killed, but his dwelling was burned with more than a hundred tons of flax.
At the intercession of the missionaries, Tapsell and his Maori wife were permitted by Te Waharoa to depart in safety.1 The missionaries Maunsell and Brown had wished to go to Tauranga before Waharoa's army left Matamata; but the wary commander would not permit them to do so. They met him on his return.
The fiendish conquerors, drunk with blood, scorned the remonstrances of the missionaries. Te Waharoa, who as usual had led the storming party, and had first cut the palisadelashings, went home triumphant, and savagely retorted to Mr. Brown, “If you are angry with me I will kill and eat all the missionaries.”
The Arawa retaliated a few weeks afterwards by storming, though with much loss, the Tumu pah (near Maketu), occupied by Waharoa's allies the Ngaiterangi.
In the disastrous flight of those who broke through their beleaguerers when the pah was stormed many were slaughtered. Where an old chief fell, and a savage foe tore out his liver, and ate it reeking hot, in revenge for the death of a grandfather, the future boundary between the tribes of the pursuers and the fugitives was made.
Despair for a time overwhelmed the missionaries, so lately grateful for the extension of their sphere to places which had now become human shambles.
From Rotorua and Matamata Mr. Chapman, Mr. Brown, and others withdrew. War-parties were prowling everywhere. A young girl, Tarore,—the child of Ngakuku, a Ngatihaua chief travelling to Tauranga with his daughter, whom he had committed to Mrs. Brown's care,—was murdered by a band of Arawa, who had been guided to the father's camp by the light of a fire incautiously made.
Yet again did sparks from heaven light up the darkness around Tarore's fate.
She had the Maori Gospel of St. Luke with her. Her murderers carried it off, and used part of it for cartridge paper.
Amongst the Ngapuhi some years before had been a boy slave, Ripahau,2 or Matahau, who, when at Paihia, had shared in the instruction given. About 1833 he had been permitted by his Ngapuhi master to accompany one of the expeditions against the Tauranga natives, and to travel onwards to visit relations in the interior and at Otaki. There, under Rauparaha's rule, with a slate and a few scraps of paper, he unfolded the mysteries of letters to his countrymen. A few Rotorua men travelling to Otaki carried fragments of books, amongst which was the Gospel torn from Tarore. From it Matahau taught the son and nephew of Rauparaha and others. With it he went to Waikanae and taught there, in return for the eager kindness of Wiremu Kingi te Rangitake, until induced to return to Otaki.
Rauparaha's son was sent by his father with a cousin to implore that a missionary might be sent to Otaki.
2 He was called Matahau at Otaki, and as he signed his name thus to the Treaty of Waitangi, it is well to retain it.
The close of Te Waharoa's career may fitly follow his last war. Four months after he had led the storming party at Maketu, though more than sixty years old, he was with a select band of warriors at Patatere, and in August, 1836, appeared before the great pah at Ohinemutu, Lake Rotorua.
It was not the size but the valour of Waharoa's army that made the Arawa take shelter in their fort, which was on the south shore of the lake, by means of which provisions could be brought from the island Mokoia or elsewhere.
Waharoa resorted to stratagem. He sent a chosen few to make a feigned attack. The beguiled Arawa rushed in pursuit of the fliers, who, unalarmed, enticed them to an ambuscade. Breathless, they encountered fresh men, and would have been utterly destroyed in their own retreat, if the leading chief, concealed on one side while Waharoa was hidden on the other, had not committed a blunder which would have made Waharoa's two bands pour their fire upon each other.
The Arawa availed themselves of the blunder, but many were laid low by the tomahawk as they fled into their pah, and closed the gate upon their following foes.
Mr. Chapman's mission-station (from which he was absent) was outside of the pah, and was ruthlessly plundered.
Mr. Knight, who lived there, went to Waharoa's camp to complain. The successful warriors had just returned laden with their booty, and with sixty bodies for their feast. But for the humane intervention of Waharoa's son, Tarapipipi (afterwards Wiremu Tamihana Te Waharoa), it was believed by some that Mr. Knight would have been added to the disgusting repast.
When the Ngatihaua had robbed the mission-station, the Arawa completed the destruction by burning the buildings.
Waharoa was so enraged at the partial failure of his stratagem that he challenged his blundering lieutenant. The fight with long tomahawks had been commenced, when the surrounding chiefs burst in between the combatants.page 150
After the usual feasting of several days, Waharoa returned with the preserved heads of his victims.
Messrs. Chapman and Wilson visited the deserted camp in the end of the month, and described it as “a valley of bones, the bones of men still green with flesh, hideous to look upon.”
Fighting was afterwards carried on between the tribes, but the conversion of some of the people to Christianity retarded the war. At Tauranga Waharoa was seized with erysipelas. The missionaries, Wilson and Brown, visited him and found him still implacable. He was carried to Matamata, and died there in 1839.
It was palpable that in asking for missionaries, the bloodthirsty Waharoa had in view the material advantages which might follow education.1 Perhaps also, as the Maori was superstitious, he thought it prudent to patronize the Christians, lest their Atua or God should be hostile. But there were other Maoris in whom higher influences were at work. Three lads persuaded the natives of the Thames to adopt Christian rites. The slave-boy, Matahau, had no politic motives, and had set a pattern to his European teachers. Ngakuku resisted the promptings of revenge even when his child was murdered.
1 The Rev. Henry Williams found reason to qualify his first impressions about the old man. He saw him for the second time in March, 1835, and said: “He is a fine old man, and has been a terrible warrior.… He had much to say of his own goodness, and the evil of his neighbours—a failing not confined to New Zealanders.”Again at Matamata, in January, 1836, Williams heard of the murder of Hunga at Rotorua, and found Waharoa near Tauranga, but could not ascertain his intentions. “Poor old man! he is very active in temporals, but has no desire for things eternal.”Williams went to Rotorua to labour for peace, in February. When Waharoa had carried war to Maketu and Rotorua, and the missionaries were in danger, Williams (in November, 1836) again saw him at Maungatapu (Tauranga); and found “his speech ‘maro tonu’ (very stiff). Determined to return, and hold on here as well as can be done. Gloomy, very gloomy.”
Before these events occurred the first apostle of the Maoris had passed away.
In 1837 Samuel Marsden, having passed the three-score years and ten which usually limit the span of life, bowed in frame and torn by internal pain, paid his last visit to his beloved Maoris. Again his daughter tended him.
The captain of the ship which landed him at Hokianga recorded, in a letter which has been made public, the calm cheerfulness with which he bore intense suffering and displayed unabated “pious zeal in his Master's cause.”
The Maoris thronged around him with fervent affection. At Waimate a thousand were gathered together. One chief was rebuked by a bystander for his persistent and fixed gaze upon the old man's face. “Suffer me,”he said. “Let me take a last look. I shall never see him again.”
He could no longer ride on horseback, and the Maoris, proud of their office, bore him long distances in a litter. When he would have striven to ride a horse prepared for him, Waka Nene opposed the idea, declaring that he would leave the party unless Marsden would consent to be carried by the Maoris.
Again with Henry Williams he laboured for peace.
Titore was making war upon Pomare, who was entrenched in a strong pah. Eight hundred men attacked it, but in vain. The Pakeha Maori was to be found in each camp. A rabble of page 152 white men hung on to each force. One hundred and thirty were in Pomare's camp. Marsden wrote to the Church Mission Society: “These are generally men of the most infamous character—runaway convicts, and sailors and publicans, who have opened grog-shops in the pahs, where riot, drunkenness, and prostitution are carried on daily…. Some civilized government must take New Zealand under its protection, or the most dreadful evils will be committed by runaway convicts, sailors, and publicans.”
But within the mission sphere (Mrs. Williams wrote in her Diary) “the dear old gentleman was delighted”with what he saw.
Captain Hobson, of H.M.S. ‘Rattlesnake,’ calling at Kororarika, gave him a passage in his ship, and he left some days before Williams succeeded in making the peace of which the tidings reached him in Sydney. Soon afterwards he passed away, in his seventy-fourth year, amidst the veneration of all who knew him, and was buried at Paramatta, a place familiar to the many Maoris who at various times had been his guests.
The Church Missionary Society recorded their “deep respect for his personal character, and gratitude to the great Head of the Church who raised, and who so long preserved, this distinguished man for the good of his own and of future generations. … While he omitted no duty of his proper ministerial calling, his comprehensive mind quickly embraced the vast spiritual interests, till then well-nigh entirely unheeded, of the innumerable islands of the Pacific Ocean…. It is to his visits to New Zealand, begun twenty-five years ago and often since repeated, and to his earnest appeals on behalf of that people, that the commencement and consolidation of the Society's missions in the Northern Island are to be attributed.”
Such was the witness borne to the character of the “good and faithful servant,”the apostle of New Zealand.1
1 Among other tributes to his memory, a few Maoris, who had never seen Marsden, subscribed for a marble tablet in the church at Paramatta, in which he was called the founder of the New Zealand Mission. Taylor's ‘New Zealand,’ p. 601.
The differences of opinion between Marsden and the resident missionaries have been mentioned cursorily. He thought it essential to introduce the arts of civilization in order to pave the way for the reception of Christianity. Wheat-growing was with him a prime object. Trades were to assist by their utility in weaning the Maori from the customs with which he allied the maintenance of hereditary superstition. He thought it unwise to assume that they were “already prepared to receive the blessings of Divine revelation.”
Henry Williams, though a devoted admirer of Marsden, advocated, as a first step, the reaching of the heart, “seeking first the spiritual good”of the people, and then, “as opportunity offered,”embracing Marsden's “views of planting wheat, shoemaking, blacksmithing, and carpentering.”1
Each had reason on his side, but not all reason. Both were constrained to acknowledge the marvellous manner in which distant communities had been drawn to Christianity by the labours of the boy-slave, Matahau, the once unconsidered pupil at Paihia.
The condition of a married missionary may be gathered from the foregoing pages. He had gone without scrip or purse to cast his lot amongst his hoped-for pupils.
Savage as were the Maoris in some respects, there was yet a nobility amongst them less corrupting than the vices of the abandoned white men gathered at Kororarika.
The children of a missionary, if they were to be brought up with a view to intellectual culture, would need provision. The Society, to avert absolute want, contributed the sum of £10 a year with food for each child until the age of fifteen years, when a final gift of £50 was to determine the obligation.
The missionaries proposed that the Society should, to secure for each child the means of living, purchase for it two hundred acres. In 1830 the Society resolved to do so on condition that if the beneficiary child should die without attaining the age of twenty-five years the land should revert to the Society, but otherwise be the absolute property of the child.
The missionaries shrunk from the risk. Labour on land liable to forfeiture might be the ploughing of sand. The sweat of their children might fertilize the field of the stranger. They preferred to buy from their own resources on behalf of their children, and to place them on the land as they became capable of using it.
The Society did not discountenance the proceeding, and between the years 1833 and 1837, Henry Williams, who had several children, made considerable purchases, which were not objected to at the time, but became, long after the assumption of sovereignty by the Queen in 1840, the subject of bitter controversy.
The sagacious Bishop of Australia, Dr. Broughton, warned the missionaries, at the time, of the necessity for caution in their procedure. He did not condemn the acquisition of land for their children. “It was not only a natural feeling, but your bounden duty to provide for them as the country itself should enable you. This was a part of that support which the foresight and goodness of God had placed within your reach, and a man who did not avail himself of it fairly and to a reasonable extent page 155 would have denied the faith, and would have been worse than an infidel. It is my earnest prayer that God may have given to you all the grace of forbearance, that you have not been betrayed into covetousness or an inordinate love of the world, and the things of the world, and that He may make your righteousness as clear as the light, and your just dealing as the noonday.”Later in the year (September, 1840), he more pointedly marked out the path. “You are bound to provide for your own. Do so, then, and may they enjoy the blessing and support of their Father which is in heaven. But I say again, and emphatically, reserve no lands for your own personal property and advantage; so shall you vindicate yourselves and the cause from the aspersions cast upon it.”
1 An exception may perhaps be made with regard to Dr. J. D. Lang, whose assertions are never to be believed because he makes them. Sailing to England he touched at New Zealand in January, 1839. Arriving in England he found the New Zealand Land Company actively at work. The ‘Tory’ had sailed with the first expeditionary band. Lang addressed four letters to Lord Durham as Chairman of the Company. He urged that the Company ought to make way for a national Colony. He animadverted upon Marsden's plan of civilizing before evangelizing; and upon the “inefficiency and moral worthlessness”of the mission. He declared that the Church missionaries had actually been the “principals in the grand conspiracy of the European inhabitants to rob and plunder the natives of their land,”and that their abuse of their position constituted “one of the grossest breaches of trust witnessed for a century past.”The letters were published by Lang in London. Henry Williams saw them in 1840, and wrote thus to England: “I hope the nerves of the members of the Church Mission Society will not be disturbed by such a wicked production. I have taken upon myself to give some reply to it, which I have forwarded to Sydney. These observations of this wretched man have only excited our pity. His motives are evident, his ignorance profound, and his impudence unbounded. … To me his letters carry their own condemnation.”
One singular fact Williams could not be aware of in 1840. Dr. Lang, in his second letter (to prove his moral worth to Lord Durham) said of himself: “I deemed it my bounden duty as a minister of the Gospel, whose own hands must be clean in bearing the vessels of the Lord, never to become the owner of a single head”of sheep or cattle.
It became public in 1841 that some time previously the Presbyterian body desired to effect an exchange of land with Sir John Jamison in Sydney; Jamison agreed. Lang succeeded in getting the conveyance made, not to the church of which he was the minister and trustee, but to himself. He obtained loans of public money for building a college, and erected the buildings on the land thus wrongfully conveyed to himself. He was living in 1841 in one of the houses built on the land. This transaction by one who told Lord Durham in 1839 that he knew it was his duty to keep his own hands clean was brought to light by a Select Committee of the New South Wales Legislative Council in 1841. It is amusing to observe that he volunteered an opinion that if New Zealand were colonized “there would be no necessity for a body of troops to protect the colonists.”Ungenerous himself, he was unable to see why the lives of the missionaries were safe in New Zealand.
Two large claims excited much unfavourable comment. The Rev. R. Taylor asserted that he had, in order to put an end to tribal war, purchased, for £681, fifty thousand acres at the North Cape. In 1843, on inquiry, two English Commissioners awarded him only two thousand seven hundred and twenty-six acres, with certain reservations in the reduced area. Mr. Fairburn claimed forty thousand acres at Tamaki for a payment of £923. His claim was cut down to three thousand six hundred and ninety-five acres by a similar award.
This exceptional purchase was made in 1836, when Henry Williams made peace between the Thames and Waikato.
Having consulted Patuone, the Ngapuhi chief, he and Mr. Fairburn made overtures to the men of Waikato. After interviews with the great Te Whero Whero and others, long discussions terminated in a remission of the matter to the missionaries. A boundary was fixed on the 8th January, 1836. The Thames natives alleged (according to the evidence of Williams and Fairburn) that there would be future fighting unless the missionaries would buy land adjoining the boundary. Henry Williams wrote (1839), that to set the question at rest he announced he would take the land— “to which all gave consent. Of course it was understood that payment should be page 157 made, and I had no desire for the land myself, but felt that it was needful that it should be purchased. I therefore proposed to Mr. Fairburn to take it, which he accordingly did; and since that period there has been no word of dispute between the natives of Waikato and the Thames upon the subject.”
The magnitude of the purchase was pointed at as proving the mercenary character of the missionaries, but the man who made the bargain derived no profit from it. When it was impugned Fairburn offered to retain a third of the land, and give the other two-thirds in equal portions to the Church Missionary Society, and in trust for Maori purposes. The Government declined the offer. They held that the land did not belong to the Maoris, who had sold it; and that it could not remain with the buyer except upon such terms as the Government thought fit to impose. Commissioners cut the claim down to less than four thousand acres, and the Government, without payment, appropriated the remainder. The other claims were not put forward as made upon necessity to prevent war, and were for the most part made for children of missionaries; but they were impugned and defended in a manner hereafter to be told.
When Dr. Broughton, Bishop of Australia visited New Zealand in 1838, in H.M.S. ‘Pelorus,’ he was accompanied by Octavius Hadfield, then in deacon's orders, who had been driven from Oxford by ill-health. Fired by zeal in his Master's service, the young man, when he heard of the application from Rauparaha for a missionary at Otaki, said: “I will go; I know I shall not live long, I may as well die there as here.”Overcoming remonstrances he went there with Henry Williams in 1839, just at the time when Colonel Wakefield had arrived at Cook's Straits in the ship ‘Tory,’ to form settlements for the New Zealand Company, and a few months before an English colony was established in the name of the Queen at the Bay of Islands.
Before describing those important events it will be well to state briefly the condition of the missions of the Church of England and other bodies.
The Wesleyans, having been driven from Whangaroa in 1827, soon afterwards formed a station at Hokianga. There was no antagonism between them and Marsden. On the contrary, he page 158 assisted them.1 They gradually occupied other stations and laboured with their customary zeal.
In 1838, the arrival of a Roman Catholic Bishop, Dr. Pompallier, fluttered the Protestant bodies, who saw in the invocations and images of the Romish Church a dangerous similarity to the Maori cult of various deities and the venerated heitiki or green-stone image which was worn on the breast or suspended on the carved ancestors of the Maoris in their tribal “whārĕs”or great houses.
Moreover, he followed closely on the heels of De Thierry, who was believed to have designs of establishing a French settlement; and as all Pompallier's aiding priests were French the suspicion increased on his arrival.
The Frenchmen also hotly plunged into polemics. They denounced the English missionaries as wolves, and adulterers (because they had wives); and confident in their logical adroitness invited open discussion, from which, when they encountered Henry Williams at the Bay of Islands, they derived no success in the eyes of the Maoris, in whose language it was conducted, while an English magistrate presided.
A summary of the results of the English missions is to be found in words addressed to the Church Mission Society in 1841, by Henry Williams. “The natives assembling every Lord's Day under our missionaries and native teachers are not fewer than thirty-five or forty thousand.”
William Williams, writing from Turanga, was able to say that the idols were cast away, swords converted into ploughshares, animosities between distant tribes abandoned, and local quarrels settled by arbitration.
Mr. Hadfield, on the west coast, reported in 1840 that on the field of Matahau's labour if he had five thousand Maori Testaments he could not keep one of them a fortnight.
1 The kindly feeling was reciprocal. When Marsden died at Paramatta, the following notice was read in the Wesleyan Church there: “Next Sunday morning we intend to close this place of worship, and as a mark of respect to our late venerable friend go to the English church to hear his funeral sermon.”(‘Forty Years in New Zealand,’ by Rev. J. Buller, p. 274.) London, 1878.
Here also may be stated conspicuously that the manumission of slaves, at first special, soon became general; and all the chiefs of the land left themselves shorn of that forced labour by which their forefathers had cultivated it.
Unlike the abolition of slavery in England and America, where slave-owners lost by compulsion all property in their fellowcreatures, the emancipation of Maoria was voluntary on the part of every hereditary master. Such an act of self-sacrifice may be almost called sublime, and will perhaps outweigh in the judgment of the All-wise the memory of many Maori sins to which a fellow-creature would refuse forgiveness. It was an act fruitful in effects upon the emancipated, for by Maori law, as by the Roman jus postliminium, he who returned, by whatsoever manner, to his former home was invested with all his former rights.