The New Zealand journal, 1842-1844 of John B. Williams of Salem, Massachussetts
The native population in this district of Hokianga is about 2,000 and the European about 600. The face of the country is not unlike that at the Bay of Islands. It abounds in Valleys, Bays and Swamps of mangroves. The tide in the river runs rapidly in and out, in consequence of so many small branches intersecting the main river. At spring tides the water runs with great rapidity, so much so that 2 men in a boat cannot pull against its rippling waters. It is one of the most extensive timber districts in New Zealand. Sailing directions and signals to approach and take the bar, Viz, If the bar is not fit to take a Blue Peter is hoisted on the flagstaff. Signal to keep to sea. Red flag for a vessel to take the bar. There is [then] no danger. Blue flag with a white cross denotes the ebb tide, and the bar is not fit to take. White flag denotes the first quarter flood tide. And it is requisite that every vessel should answer these flags. When vessels are too far to the Southward for entering, the flagstaff will droop to the Northward, and if too far to the North will droop to the South. Whatever way the signal staff droops that way the vessel must direct her course. And by [no] means to take the bar until the flag staff at the Seamphorick Station bears E one quarter N by Compass. High water at the bar, full and change of the moon half past 9 am. The river is navigable for ships of 1000 tons or more. Many branches intersect it capable of admitting vessels of 200 tons, up to several miles. Any quantity of timber can be supplied from this place for a subsequent period yet to come. Both large & small vessels have been built at Hokianga. One of about 400 tons.
The natives have been far more kind to Europeans than at other parts of the Island. And a much greater number have embraced Christianity, joining the Weslyan persuasion, being almost daily converted, others holding to their original superstitions and mode of living, but the day is not far distant when they also will be converted to Christ. The Weslyan Mis-page 48sion have accomplished much good, having been very active, since their establishment many years since. And having been a close observer of their good works, I cannot find words to express the credit and high respect due to them. Having had frequent interviews with them, I have much pleasure in imparting (although stigmatized) to the world their just dues. Men of unimpeachable characters, the effects of their communications with the (Mauries) natives, I do most heartily bear testimony of their labours in civilizing them, is as beyond calculation and cannot be estimated only by those that have visited them. The advantages the Europeans receive through the instrumentalitty of the Weslyan Missionaries and those of the Church of England are as beyond calculation; an adequate idea cannot be formed only by those acquainted with their arduous labours to overcome all obstacles their good effects of civilization and Christianity.
But these remarks cannot apply with equal effect to those of the Church of Rome. Many of their Priests are as lawless as the nefarious banditti of Europeans that infested this island in gone by days. But those urbane Gents, of the Weslyan & Church of England, their memories will long be cherished in the bosoms of their multitudinous hosts of friends. As respects the Weslyans I must give them the preference over all others for Brotherly love and charity. The poor and needy instead of hearing as they do from another party 'bear up for a Pippy Bed [clam bed] and sail large for no man need starve in New Zealand.' Such Charity is like sounding brass and a tinkling symbol. But how stands the case with the Weslyans? We hear their hospitality is in danger by the provisions made for the poor and destitute. Such objects are not a few in New Zealand. Many, very many, Europeans families have but a scant existence on potatoes. And many others wandering to & fro, hither and thither seeking employment, finding none, half starved and macilent until the generous hearted native (once a cannibal) relieves the pangs of hunger. Should England continue to send her poor and need[y] without land or as the parlance is "without money or marbles" New Zealand would soon become the poorhouse of Great Britain. Many a poor European feamale undergoes the pains of accouchment in miserable huts, half sheltered from the weather, without page 49either Phiscians or attendants. Many, very many, of them with scarcely food enough to sustain life, or clothing to keep themselfs or their children comfortable. Merciful Heavens where are the Sons & Daughters of Humanity. Although I cannot depict in living colors the true and Godlike character of Mrs. James Clendon (whose Consort is a member of the Council) I will briefly state that she has the Christians heart; humane, benevolent and charitable to all, wandered away from her mansion at night to relieve the needy and distressed. Last not least Mrs. R. Burrows and Mrs. J. Busby. Heavens choicest blessings will descend and rest upon them. But to return to the poor mother, whilst the Queen of England is accouched in her princely Palace, her babe rocked in a golden cradle, these poor beings are suffering from the pangs of misery. Is she composed of any better materials than those poor creatures. Alas! She is only an Imperial pauper herself, although well provided for. New Zealand requires a small European population with Capital, not poverty.
To proceed south from Hokianga River, we come [to] Kaipara. This great river has been unknown to Europeans until within a few years. Its suitable for ships of any size, the entrance being about 3½ miles wide. And outside are three large Sand Banks with very little water on them. The narrowest passage is ¾ of a mile wide, has no less than 7 faths water, a ship may work in and out safely in fine weather. The tide runs strong; the rise and fall of the water is great, from 16 to 18 feet and in winter months said to rise and fall 20 feet. The principal objection to ships hauling in to load there, is no bays where she may lay out the strength of the tide, but must always lay in the strength of the current, which exposes her to danger and losing much Timber. The lands are not good until about 35 miles up the river being very swampy and without much timber, but after getting that distance may be seen beautiful flats suitable for farms, the land being good. The natives are not numerous and much scattered. About 185 miles from the entrance 550 to 700 natives live on the banks of the river. Their houses (if they may have that appellation) are said to be different from any others of the natives. The frames are covered with bark of Tatare [Totara] Tree, which is said to give them a more sightly appearance, making them very page 50comfortable. The huts about the Bay of Islands is said to be no comparison to them. This I should think quite likely, for the huts at the Bay of Islands are not fit for a dog to live in.
Next we come to Manoukau [Manukau]. It has no bar, but a good entrance, having an Island in the centre. Vessels steer for the Island and when near it an opening is seen to the right. The natives are said to be very industrious cleaning Flax and carrying [it] over to Touranga on the East Coast. They are very numerous and have often been involved with those of the River Thames. Vessels of 300 and 350 tons can take this place with safety. The next small harbour along the West Coast sailing south worth naming [is] Kaweer [Kawhia]. This is barred, also, with only 15 and one half feet of water in it. Lays just in from Gannet Island sheltering it from SW winds. Few if any vessels visit this place. Some flax can be had, Pork also at a very low rate in great quantities. Sailing southerly on the West Coast many other small harbours are visible, but only suitable for small craft. There are no two tribes of natives that speak the same dialect; if they are not 50 miles apart the language varies; not differing so materially but that they can be understood and understand each other. In their primitive simplicity they are poor innocent children, yet cunning, artful and of quick discernment; by the alphabet they alone can learn to read and write. Many of them in writing turn the paper from the top, and write from the bottom to the top then vice verse read from the top of the page to the bottom. Of a very recent date in one of their wars at the south at Port Nicholson an English officer observed to a Chief the Queen will give you protection; Said the Chief, 'You cannot give your own Subjects protection, much less the Natives.'
"New Zealand War Speech" by Augustus Earle. Williams wrote of the Maoris, "They are by nature as eloquent in their aboriginal style as Demosthenes or Cicero."
Courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library.
Many who would not sell the Country of their Fathers for a plug of tobacco or a leaf of the obnoxious weed, to use the common parlance "sell their birthright for a mess of pottage" did not sign the treaty. Was it indeed that they expected to pour in a flood of emmigrants, and sweep the aborigines from their beloved country. Sweep them of[f] by death, or other causes to depopulate them. I am not aware whether, the scourge of all the earth, Rum was poured in amongst them to make its deadly ravages through their members. It appears sometimes in surveying this part of the earths surface that the most settled moral principals were failing fast; and to think of a vast portentous system ordained for their destruction. Other natural calamities came upon them by means that were indirect and unforeseen and very often irresistible. They are a race of poor innocent children. How was this matter explained? Instead of giving them an insight into the Treaty they stole upon the path of their ignorance, indolence and simplicity, overwhelming the victim of indulgence by their fair promises (afterward willfully broken) in their unguarded home of pleasure.
New Zealand although, nevertheless, a limited country, its boundaries are not indefinite as on a marked and circumscribed continent. The nature page 52of the surface of this country is such, that it may be safely avered, that on the whole not more than one acre in 7 or 8 can be brought under cultivation by any method at present known. I speak of the whole of New Zealand, on an average, the lands that are fit in point of cultivation for the plough are not in quality of the best soil; while the richer lands cannot be cultivated except by the spade. They consist of steep hills, lofty and pointed ridges, and deep valleys without any level at bottom, excepting in form of an undrainable Swamp. This is the case for the most part the whole country over, with a very few exceptions. But that which makes the most difficult feature of the whole is that in consequence it would seem impossible ever to make roads to interior farms for the conveyance of produce between the Bay of Islands and Auckland. The Mauries never travel in a direct line; the only practicable course they know being by Raparro [Kaipara?] which gives the distance of about 200 miles for about 80 and of this 130 by water. This is a specimen. A road in any direction would be one continued line of bridges and tunnels, an altogether quite impossible thing. Hence the interior of this country never can supply locations for capitalistic farmers. The only agricultural district being but a very short distance from the coast. The population of the aborigine being about 140,000.
The same inducements that led Capt. Hobson of the Royal Navy (the late Governor) to commit the first act of fraud (already antecedently mentioned) (for I can call it by no other name than fraud) in taking possession of New Zealand led to a perpetual succession of unjust measures to sustain the principals adopted. The great act of wrong after a part of the Chiefs had signed away their Sovereignty, and the Treaty ratified, and the Proclamation made, was the passing of an act at Sydney, by which the aboriginal right in land was set aside. Were they conscientiously right in doing so in the eyes of Nations. In this instance they have swerved from all uprightness and generosity. With this people man must do more than attain to punctilious honesty in his actions; but he must train his judgment, his sentiment and his affections to uprightness, candour and good will.
Looking to the case of the protector of the aborigines, there is no check to prevent them from abusing their power, and using his influence just as he may deem his interest may require. Hitherto he has acted as Govern-page 53ment Agent for the purchase of land from the natives, and as their protector in the selfsame bargain. His salary is about £1000 sterling equals $5000. Their is no philanthropy in such matters; it can attain to no moral end with this people, for these innocent children, the aborigines begin to discern that the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked, for its not the part of rational beings to give more for less, for man doing business must receive the equivalent of what he pays away. No man can serve two masters, but this protector of aborigines must as a matter of course, for while he is doing a justice to one he is doing a very great injustice to another; whilst at the same time the Government holds in subjection common honesty and a wise philosophy. In the words of an able writer 'Mans mind he must use, for he has nothing else to go by.' He may use it unjustly to the heinous injury of his weaker neighbor; but still he must use it. I have here reveled [revealed] a few facts to show the reader the chicanery used by the English Government to treat with those poor innocent natives. It is positively a disgrace to England, perhaps not unlike the gross impositions practised at the founding of the American Colonies.
Not more than half of New Zealand to this day has been ceded to Great Britain by treaty proclaimed to be a dependence to the British Crown on the 30th of Jany 1840 and subsequently assuming authority over the Northern Island, in virtue of a treaty of cession from the natives of Waitangi; and over the South Isld by right of discovery. What right of discovery pray? A right to rob a nation of its lands, its rights and titles! What but fashionable robbery, winked at (if I may be so allowed to express it). Suppose a vessel under the New Zealand flag (for such an occurrence might not have been impossible) had sailed round Cape Horn and sighted the small Island of Great Britain, and issued a proclamation asserting the authority of New Zealand over Great Britain. How preposterous it would seem to England's Queen? Parliament would have issued a decree, commanding her ships of war to cause the pealed thunders of their artilery to be heard on the shores of New Zealand, her cannon to look into every harbour, its echoe to reach every mountain, and rolling thunders say England is here. To the reflecting, thinking mind of the native their is meaning in that roar of artillery. It awakens their fears, there's no contending with that power, page 54against usurpation. In the face of all this how stands the case of Robulla [Te Rauparaha], a noted chief in Cook's Straits. It arouses him to arms to contend for his just rights, treating those who insist upon their lands, they never purchased by giving (the inhabitants in the neighbourhood of Port Nicholson) fare warning if they did not quit their grounds they would starve all to death and this order was faithfully executed and I think 16 Englishmen fell in the combat, amongst them the Police Magistrate of that place. They were literally cut to pieces. Were the poor savages at fault for this? I answer in the negative! It was the desired wish of the natives to have dealt honorably with them; they did not solicit more than rightly belonged to them. Says the Native you come here to our lands making haste to be rich. That her Majesty insists upon our lands. The rejoinder to this by the Maurie—Who is your queen more than any other woman (or wihene). In an emphatick tone the Chief replies, if you take this land, your blood shall liquidate the debt. Enraged at the justice of the natives Englishmen with one voice exclaimed, Gurde on your arms to battle, and sweep the Savages from the land. They met and it was finished. A deadly massacre was written upon its walls.
Now take a view of the honor of the natives. Before fighting they took down the house the white men had built; but not before remonstrating with the English to move them off. They even took Boards, Shingles & Timbers that the house were built of, together with the Nails separately, back to the owner of it, Saying they would not have it on their lands. Sufficient warning for what might ensue, and what dreadful catastrophe did take place. The natives were naturally honest in the most minute transactions, often putting the European to the blush! An example worthy to be followed by the white men. But says the European—revenge—revenge. But what saith Him that moveth the Universe 'Vengeance belongeth to me, I will repay!' Well the news reached the Metropolis and loud is the cry for blood, by some of the inhabitants; others less violent, thought it hard, while others took the part of the innocent native (and very just that they should). Despatches were forwarded by his Excellency the acting Govr. (ex Colonial Secretary Willoughby Shortland) to New S. Wales for assistance from a Ship of War then lying there. Previously to the ships ar-page 55riving at Auckland mad schemes were proposed. Some 10 or 12 Soldiers were spoken of by the then acting Govr. to fight about 1000 natives. Had they carried this mad scheme into effect, it would have kindled a blaze that would have destroyed every white man, woman, & child in the country, before any succour or assistance could have arrived. This threat was not infrequently made by the aborigines.
Well the ship of war is despatched from Sydney, she arrives at Auckland ordered for Port Nicholson, with troops, Sir Everett Home Commander. She proceeds to the scene of destruction. To his surprise he finds matters quite to the contrary of representations. Does he commence warfare in order to exterminate them from their own soil of right and inheritance? Not so! All their (the white inhabitants) entreaties cannot set (in this case) common honesty and morality at defiance. Again the Ship of War returned to Auckland; they find that moral force is all that is required. Protection is offered to the natives, but what says the Chief! Her Majesty cannot protect her own Subjects, much less the Mauries. Subsequently some jealousy arose between [the] Touranga and Mukatu tribes, the former had ceded their part of the island; creating the displeasure of those of Mukatu, and insist on fighting, (I suppose for the purpose of getting their lands to themselfs). Government interfered preventing a war taking place by moral persuasion. And by moral persuasion they relinquish war, and cease wrong hostilities. Almost invariably moral force will effectually accomplish all the good that may be required. The natives committed atrocious deeds on the innocent as well as the guilty, considering the whites all of the same family. I refer now to a skirmish the natives had where many of the Mauries were killed and eaten. The whites for supplying the enemy & interfering were robbed and plundered to a very great extent (serving them perfectly right, strictly in accordance with privateering amongst Christians in time of war). I deem it an act of duty incumbant on me, and in justice to the Mauries (now New Zealanders) to say that they would put to the blush and shame many, very many Europeans, citizens, and Govt officers in New Zealand. Every thinking man who has visited N Zd. will coincide with me in my remarks that New Zd (attaching all blame to Europeans) has been a brothel—Yes! a heinious house of prostitution, humanity sick-page 56ens at the appalling sight—when it is made the object of so base and designing men.
And who will challenge the respect (naturally) of the natives when justice is done them. New Zealand is the Couch of their repose and rolling Chariot. The magnificent mountains and lofty peaked hills, their drapery hung round their abode, with only the Heavens for a covering, here at Antipodes.
The Antiquarian has a spacious field for researches, the Geologist to examine the nature of the soil, whilst the mineralist is searching the bowels of the Islands discovering its precious metals which are reported in great abundance. And I ask are they disturbed? No! The New Zealander delights in their labour, the worlds great ordinance.
To the naturalist New Zealand produces the wonders of nature, as wonderful in its formation as the buried cities of Mexico, as singular in its formation as the Castles, Towers, and Temples of Europe or the Pyramids of Egypt.
But to return to the natives, I would not be misunderstood as exonerating the natives in every instance, for in many they offend wilfully, but physical force is not necessary. Moral suasion is quite sufficient for an entire reformation. I found it worked well at the Bay of Islands. Perhaps a more perfect description of the surrounding country at the Bay of Isld might not be uninteresting. In treating on New Zealand the sphere for investigation is so extensive & I might almost add infinite, that I hardly know where to begin.
I well remember the first time I saw this land heaving up out of the sea, one of the finest islands in the Pacific Ocean. It had the appearance of a mass of rocks divested of all vegetation, [rather] than a fruitful and abundant island, but on approaching nearer you behold the central eminences distinguished by a softer outline and clothed in verdure and towering to the clouds. I think it would be difficult in any country (although unfavorable [in] appearance at first distant view coming from seaward) to meet with a more pleasing prospect than at the Bay of Islands. The Towns or villages are situated in beautiful bays, the entrance is on the northwest. A more spacious and convenient situation for a naval depot could not be found page 57in the Pacific. The whole English Navy could lay moored in perfect safety, and secured from all winds. The anchorage from 8 to 16 faths of water. Goods can be landed at any hour of the day. In viewing the Towns from the Anchorage in the Bay the prospect is delightful. New Zealand is a very extensive mineral country. The mountains & hills abound in Copper, Coal, Iron, Manganese etc. but Iron not in abundance with Copper.
The native Flax (the Phormium tenax) which grows here in abundance on the highest mountains and in the valleys might be constituted an extensive and lucrative business. Grazing to a great extent might be propagated, no climate could be more favorable to cattle. Nearly all tropical and temperate vegetation thrive remarkably. Figs and vines, in fact everything which can facilitate or afford gratification to the human family. The temperature and exilubrity of New Zealand is I believe not exceeded in any part of the world. The Thermometer in the Bay of Islands seldom rises above 88° or sinks below 45°, it is always fand by a breeze. It is gifted with attractions both local and natural. Many people have been at much pains to represent New Zealand as a barren mass of rocks, although they know that 1 acre in 7 or 8 is fit for cultivation with excellent soil of unusual depth. Two crops can always be obtained from the same soil and sometimes three. In comparing New Zealand with most of the South Sea Islands I consider it infinitely superior in capabilities.
For the first mile or two the traveller observes little else than sterility; but his curiosity is soon gratified by the prospect of verdure, the beautiful and romantic scenery, lofty, which is here from almost every mountain and hill. There is a peculiar wildness all over the Island, in the surrounding scenery surpassing anything I have recognized before. All the surrounding hills, precipices are strangely fashioned and fantastically mixed and blended together. They resemble more the Ariel shape which we see among the clouds than anything composed of a denser material.
New Zealand has excited much attention and many superficial opinions have arose concerning its present form; we have daily proofs of the mountains which are elevated by the agency of volcanoes, in the South Seas and in many parts of South America. The decomposition of animal and vegetable matter contribute largely to the mass, the exuvial of shells and coral page 58animals is perpetually adding to the formation and laying the bases for new and extensive Islands. Many of the South Sea Islds are altogether the production of the Madrepora Lubricate. In so great abundance is calcareous matter elaborated by these worms that many have supposed that the South Sea Islands are their productions. Mr. Cuvier is inclined to ascribe all the calcareous rocks that enter the solid crust of the earth to an animal origin.3
New Zealand has and is continually undergoing changes, the influence of the atmosphere, heat acts decidedly upon the surface and renders it more accessible to moisture as it enters into its texture which causes a disunion of the concerned bodies and cooperates with the fluid which alternately forms, and unforms, which creates and regenerates all nature. The action of rains contributes largely to depress the mountains, but the material which composes them resists in proportion to their hardness. And hence I have not been surprised meeting with peaks and lofty columns which have stood firm amid the decomposition of there surronding particles, and still remain to attest the original level of the mountains which have disappeared in many parts of the colony. The traveller is often delighted with the torrents that flow down the sides of the mountains, which hollows out channels in proportion to the rapidity and in proportion to the hardness of the soil which it passes over. I have many times been struck with admiration in viewing the torrents running in silent grandeur through an aggregate composition of rock and limestone.
New Zealand has assumed another aspect within a few years. It has emerged from Cannibalism and savage despotism to a practical state of liberty and freedom. And the traveller landing on the shores of New Zealand would continually have been subject to danger and death. A renovation has chiefly been effected through the persevering efforts of the Mission, whom I have already previously eulogized, in praises they richly & righteously merit. Their labours in civilising (more especially the Weslyans) is as beyound calculation and cannot be estimated.
New Zealand as a colony offers every inducement for speedy colonization; but the unfavorable position of the Colonial Govt. at present, disheartens the emmigrant from making purchases of the lands. Many tracts page 59of the country treated or bargained for, the natives will not now admit; they have been so dishonorably and shamelessly dealt with by the Colonists & Colonial Govt. Notwithstand[ing] their high sense of honor they are fast learning their intriguing and dishonest actions in trade.
New Zealand wants the spirit of energy to diffuse its magic influence over the colony, [with it, it] would be the most important of the South Sea Islands. It is surrounded by a healthy and salubrious atmosphere, a rich and productive soil, extensive for the researches of the Mineralist and the Geologist. A climate favorable to the growth and propagation of tropical and temperate vegetation, in fact everything which afford[s] gratification or facilitate[s] the heart of man. It is possessed of most excellent harbours, the Bay of Islands in particular as I have previously described. Auckland has been very difficult of landing, except in fine weather. At low tide goods are landed nearly a half mile from the wharf, and then transported through the mud knee deep. The Bay of Islands is generally known, a knowledge of its superior facilities being diffused all over the world, in consequence of whalemen from almost every nation that are employed in that business. Admirably situated for a naval depot and at a subsequent period will probably be constituted as such. American Ships of War seldom visit these islands for protection & propugnation of American Commerce which is very extensive among these Islands, perhaps more so than any other nation on the Earth's surface.
The United States could not bestow a more liberal act on their people in the South Seas than the frequent visits of Ships of War among the Islands, more especially the Feejee Islands & the Groups East and West of them, for the protection of our Commerce and Flag which is not infrequently prostituted by unprincipled foreigners, as well as the most unprincipled part of our own citizens to cover heineous offenses, a wicked and immoral trade mercinarily, strictly forbidden by the principles of philanthropy. Our vessels are not infrequently beholden to the naval vessels of other nations on those stations for propugnation and shield whilst crusing and trading among those obdurate and androphagus people. Unprincipled Europeans & I regret to add some of my own countrymen adequate in their vicious propensities, sowing seeds of discord amongst the natives thereby imped-page 60ing our commerce in their progress of trade with them. Complaints were not infrequently made to me. The natives in their primitive simplicity are easily seduced.
To return to New Zealand. The depression, commercial and political, that at present pervades the settlements colonized by the English Govt and the New Zealand Company is without a parallel. The causes are various that have led to this disasterous result, but principally occasioned by the prostrated state of the adjacent British Colonies, and the want of a commanding export. New Zealand like all other colonies is possessed of sympathy, and is more or less affected by the present pressure of the Mother Country, that New Zealand may become an important colony in these seas at an earlier day than anticipated, not from her commanding position, climate and soil alone, but from the determination of the British Government to extend an active colonisation immediately, and the persevering efforts of the New Zealand Company to make their settlement progress. The present unsettled negociations of individual land claims, which has been carried on for two years or more; likewise the enormous price levied on the Govt. lands has tended to dishearten the settler; and has reflected a shade of darkness over one of the finest and most exhilirating, healthy and serene climates in nature, blessed with a luxurient and lasting soil favorable for the propagation of nearly every tropical fruit (as already stated), situated in the highway of all nations, abundant in minerals, in fact every facility that can enrich a country. The elevation and broken surface of New Zealand has exerted the reflection of the philosopher, elevated the immaginations of the admirer of nature, caused deep reflection in the thinking man, & is likely to originate much more, as some have conjectured that its broken elevation has altogether arose from animal origin is hardly conclusive. The most rational conclusion that I have been able to arrive at is that its foundation has previously been the production of Coroline Animals, which through accumulated ages has progressively arose, until from external pressure and by the introduction of oxigin and many other causes has hastened ignition which has caused eruptions and elevated the surface, and presented to the eye of man a broken and mountainous Island. New Zealand may well be called a beautiful island, as lovely in its details as it is page 61wonderful in its formation. The atmosphere which encircles it, the health (if I may so express it) which it pants forth into the blue sky is a beautiful creation in itself, full of change and mystery, rich in sublime and impressive scenery presenting us with problems of the most difficult investigation.
It is difficult to meet with a more pleasing prospect than at the Bay of Islands. The hills back of the town rise to an elevation much greater than the spot on which the town stands, the infinite diversity of tint which over rugged mass[es] of rocks, divested of trees, shrubs and herbage, on nearer approach brings in view the central eminences distinguished by a softer outline clothed in verdure & towering to the clouds.
Since the foundation of the Colony the English Govt, has had a tendency to dishearten both the native and the settler. Many treaties which were thought to have been firm have proved ineffectual; which has been in consequence of the unfavorable position taken by the Govt, and unless a different system is adopted, the English Government will be unable to purchase lands from the natives at any price. The Bay of Islands (now the Port of Russell) has within the last 2 years undergone a material Change, particularly in Maratime Affairs. The whale Ships have mostly left and resort elsewhere for supplies. The Colony at present is assuming an unfavorable aspect. The nonadvancement of New Zealand from local mismanagement wholly prevents penning its statistics. Flax, the indigenous Phormium tenax is in its primitive state. Flax is to this colony what the timber of Canada has been to that country, though the colony is at present confined to agricultural produce in a small variety—such as Wheat, Oafs, Barley, Hops and leguminous produce together with (Kaurie Spars and Timber).
The most populous settlement is at Port Nicholson, at the town of Wellington in Cooks Straits but ill chosen as the site of a large settlement, being very tempestuous in that part. The population about 5500. Nelson is on the North side of the middle Island, the Second New Zealand Companies station, population about 2000. Their attention is turned to agricultural pursuits, raising Barley and Oats. Swampy lands abound in the vicinity. New Plymouth or Taranaki, nearer to the Govt. Settlement, about 1000, has no port and an iron bound coast, quite open to prevailing gales from SW to NW. Their attention also is turned to agriculture, having page 62little or no sale for their produce at present. Akaroa was formerly settled by the French, is a station near the centre of Middle island, at Banks Peninsula, population about 150. The North & Middle from the South & Stewarts Isld is seperated by Foveaux Straits.
Auckland the seat of Government sittuated on the Waitamatee [Waitemata] River; The River Thames lays to the South and East, nearly 200 miles from the North Cape of New Zealand. Population 2500 about. The harbour is difficult to a stranger. Recently wars have ceased with the natives in the neighbourhood of Auckland. It has often been remarked that a people after having long given way to their passions, when they do change pass to the other extreme. Thus it is here, morality is fast gaining ground amongst the natives. Churches are built & well attended by the natives. But the Europeans are not a churchgoing people. Perhaps owing to the antipathy they have to the missionaries, whom they reproach with the vilest slanders. With them, the more righteous, the more vilified, but the reproach of such a people is more honor than its praise. By the moral influence and improvement originating with the Mission, many mariners have been repressed in their vices, but have not reported in the most favorable terms respecting the beneficial results of the Missionaries. No one can form an adequate conception of the immense good they have accomplished, save the unprejudiced observer.
New Zealand as previously remarked is wonderful in its formation. The health which it pants [sic] forth into the blue sky (if I may so express it) is a beautiful creation in itself, full of change and mystery, rich in sublime and impressive scenery, presenting us with problems of the highest interest, and most difficult investigation, and furnishing us with innumerable themes for vast and sublime speculation, while other sciences can only be pursued under peculiar circumstances. While the Botanist meets with many a desolate track, which will add no unknown blossom to his herbarium, the Geologist may pass over a vast district which presents many points of interest to his eye. Meteorologist wherever he travels has a seperate creation to explore, every passing breeze presents him with some interesting phenomena, every rising & setting sun presents new wonders. The sun hardly set[s] beneath the western horizon ere it's dark, scarcely a moments page 63twilight the refraction is so great. The same coincidence applies to South Australia, doubtless caused by refraction and partly by reflection of the suns rays through the atmosphere. This faint light I have often gazed on before and after the appearance of the sun, is heavenly. The Suns apparent daily course is more oblique to the horizon in some places than at others, and at one season of the year, than at others at the same place. This of course makes a great difference of time. Twilight is more perceptible on wide and extended plaines, and on lofty and elevated spots, than in valleys. And in a broken and hilly country this may have a tendency to suppress, with other causes, the diffusion of twilight in some parts of New Zealand. On the mountains when sheets of descending clouds so frequently conceal the sceanery with an impenetrable veil, this interest, which in many countries and Islds is entirely destroyed, is only lit upon New Zealand. The peculiar lofty peaks and mountains in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Islands and other parts of the Isld being under the influence of accidental circumstances, perpetually changing, are full of beautiful effects of occult causes which render them exceedingly interesting for the eye of an attentive observer. I have not infrequently been early in the morning before sun rise on the top of one of the highest hills or mountains behind the town. I could not help admiring the sky with its silver white, streaked along the verge of the horizon, showing by the intensity of the blue not only that its beholder was at a considerable elevation, but also that there was but little onerous vapour held in suspension in the atmosphere, and consequently in all probability the day will continue clear. It is no uncommon circumstance in New Zealand to see flying clouds start suddenly into existence out of its serenity, almost in fact like a puff of smoke and then as suddenly disappear, so that the spectator is almost inclined to doubt his vision or the clearness of it at least, when having swept with his eye along the sky and congratulated himself on its utter cloudlessness, his glance the next moment falls on clouds rapidly increasing, and apparently low clouds big with rain. When after the lapse of another minute or so, it appears deeply blue and vapourless as ever, and the heavens lit up with a clear blue sky.
Port Nicholson is surrounded by lofty and sublime columns, mountains towering to the sky, resembling the hills about the Bay of Islds, mountains page 64reaching to the clouds that has stood the changes of 4 score years and upwards. I know of no prettier sight than the lofty evergreens on the mountains, continually expanding its delicious fragrance to the atmosphere, absorbing the offensive and nausious particles of nature and substituting equal quantities of oxygen or the vital parts of nature in return. The perspective scenery which surrounds New Zealand is hardly surpassed in any part of the Globe. The first appearance to me in the distant horizon was unfavorable, I disliked its looks, its high & apparently barren hills, but on a nearer approach aroused the languid spirits, presenting to view a sight which gratifies the heart of man. The whole line of the eastern coast is accommodated with spacious & fine harbours which afford shelter and refuge from the storm. Nature appears not to have been mindful of the extent of her gifts on New Zealand. From its constitutional position it is destined, and at an early subsequent period to become the most important commercial island within the Pacifick. Its localities must and will constitute it as such. The Bay of Islands presents a most spacious artificial naval retreat; wherein their whole fleet could repose in perfect security, on a magnificent sheet of water. It may be possible that there are other retreats adequate to this yet undiscovered, for in such abundance is Calcareous Matter elaborated by Coroline Animals through the Pacifick. Calcareous rocks which are uniting so extensively that at no distant period, from these unions & larger Islands uniting, a new continent will necessarily appear. That the sea, as some have supposed has retired and left its present form divested of water is hardly conclusive from its present appearance. Although through successive ages many causes may have contributed to effect a change vegetation contributes much to elevate the surface in some places, while in others it is depressed by the action of the atmosphere. Yet without the aid of central fire or volcanic eruptions (in these seas) its hardly conclusive to suppose that its present broken forms could have arose. I have here given an unpremeditated account ascending uncontested in opposition to others that are wafting their aerial flights to the consecrate grounds of the pilgrims.
I have already described the scenery at the Bay of Islands. Now look on page 65this deplorable picture that I shall depict in living colors. Her Majesties (Queen Victoria) Officers at the Bay have their hours for business, 10AM to 2PM, in this small place of about 205 inhabitants. The intervening time is to[o] much taken up with lewd Maurie women more especially the Sub- Collector J. Guise Mitford, living licentiously with lewd Mauries, and a seducer of innocent young native girls, in their primitive simplicity, to their utter shame and disgrace be it known, regardless of decency and respect, living like brutes fastidious without much labour, toiling hard for this worlds pleasure which the wind bloweth whither it listeth. Toiling like the Atheist, they seldom apparently seek the Bread of Life, as if this probationary existence were all. Setting at defiance morality and religion, bringing upon themselfs the fastidiousness [sic] of their countrymen and women. Such their conduct, palpably an outrage on humanity, a disgrace to the Government of Queen Victoria. Through the influence of Bishop Selwyn orders were decreed, that all military officers must dispense with their young miss's (aborigines, Mauries so-called) young girls from the age of 12 years to 20 years in their primitive simplicity. Their parents deeming it an honor for them to submit their maiden person to Europeans. (Not unlike Mohamedans) Some with their 6 or 8 wives during their pleasure, and perhaps to the utter dislike, displeasure and a deep sense of shame in the female, compelled to submit her person lasciviously to her ruin and their mercenary gratification. Humanity groans and sickens when it is made the instrument of so base indulgence. The spirit of the just and the honorable sighs in secret over the sordid pollution of so designing a mass of beings. Such splendid sin (if I may so express it) cannot elude that eye that never slumbers or sleeps, With all its pride and vanity will sink before the eyes of the Eternal Judge. Happy would it be if the Bishops influence would extend throughout the Bay.
The village of Wahapu, especially deeply require[s] the influence of some good man. Here common honesty and moral justice [are] despised. Conscience (if they have any is set aside) principle is entirely out of the question. The gates of trade with them are not the entrance to the Sanctuary of Conscience & Principle for they have none. The presence of God are no page 66contemplation of theirs; eagerness to acquire a fortune in a moment will ultimately be their ruin, there is there a general pusilaminity of moral cowardice of loosing a manly independence of character.
Here humanity is degenerated into a weak sensibility, here are the scoffers of Christianity, here through fascination they entrap their friends and foes dishonestly, plunder, crush and destroy them; they rob the merchant and swindle commerce. I cannot say there are no gaming houses (for there might be scores of them) but they have houses yet darker, reflecting a dark shade over humanity, darker than hell! Houses of ignominy and ill fame, houses of prostitution to all intents and purposes, Maurie girls penned in, escaping from the attacks, running hither and thither, to & fro, Merciful Heaven how mankind will prostrate themselfs below the brute Creation.
These lumber yards [sic] are open? when the ships arrive, and a clear passage to the vessel, and her decks almost instantly alive with native women, a floating castle of prostitution. How can it be otherwise when the Master and Officers set the example; they draw no veil to hide them from the public eye. And all to entice custom to the shore where the ships recruit.
'A Dying Chief" by George Angas. Williams was interested in Maori rites and described their lamentations for the dead.
Courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library.
With respect to the New Zealanders at the present day; for the most part they indulge in the luxuries of European dress in the villages and towns. Amongst the tribes many of them at this late day are stark naked 'as our common mother & first parents in the garden of Eden,' perhaps not so much abashed as Eve, and ashamed as Adam when they discerned as the New Zealander that they were naked & exposed, and had nothing but the heavens to cover them. But for the most part the New Zealanders are now clad. In Morrocco the Mohamedans are married legally to a number of wives, and the Emperor has as many as he chooses, perhaps hundreds, for it is estimated that he has 500 children, (said to be sons), goodly number to be sure, that ought to be enough at least to crown him. And all this is conducted with the utmost decorum, although I myself am decidedly opposed to enslaving the fair sex (the females) in such a manner. Now look on this picture, this deplorable picture at the Bay of Islands. Is it conducted in the least degree with as much propriety as amongst the Maroqueens [Morrocans], decidedly much lower than the brute creation, and that openly to the gaze of the world. Society at the Bay of Islands, there is none; nor can there be whilst such a state of anarchy, profligacy & prostitution exists.
In tracing over these grounds and watching the profluence of the chaste and moral man struggling by such enormities with undaunted spirits not page 68with [standing] their filthy slanders and abuse, with cowardly and unmanly stratagems behind walls of ignominy. Honor to those moral men for beautiful offices of humanity; to the manly and independent toil, and the consorts task. But these thrones of destruction will one day be shaken to their base. In ancient days a Luther broke up the despotism of years, and a second Hampdens Arm will be clothed by the Arm of God with conquering might and battle down the Rampire and Bastions of Anarchy, vice, prostitution, ignominy & shame, causing a general reformation in this lovely spot. Yet another melancholy Sin with which this Bay is cursed with, is rapidly sinking under its weight, inebriation (in other words drunkenness) and debauchery, dreadful in the extreme, not wholly confined to its inhabitants, notwithstanding equally guilty with the whole. The reader will bear in mind I refer to Europeans. For I myself never witnessed one of the aborigines intoxicated, and I believe instances are very rare of their drunkenness, but this will not strictly apply to all natives of the Pacific where rum has been introduced. It bears upon the crews of whalers and other shipping resorting to this locality. It matters not much that sailors belong to temperance ships, when they get on shore are enticed into drunkenness and vices and then dragged away by violence (like a taskmaster gording his oxen) to the lockup for the night, thence to a shanty 'so called Police Court,' mulcted by imprisoning or fine, the moiety of the latter goes to the Constable who is quite as bad, if not worse, than those he takes into custody. The authorities sell licenses for the sale of ardent spirits for a good round sum; and in some instances furnish those who get them. The deplorable state of these men are worse than the first. Sailors are brought into such a state of disorder, are often tempted and not infrequently break their contract, the Ships Articles, and in this state desert from onboard their ships. In this way ships have been detained for a crew, leaving the ship in a distressed state. Masters and officers, also, loosing their self respect, and they too fall victims to this Satanical propensity, and become beastly, intemperate and disorderly. Snares are set and traps are laid in regular train to the Police Office. Regulations are carefully attended to, faults are then and there visited with the extremest vigor of the local law. Instances of this kind in the Bay of Islands are not a few. The Police Magis-page 69trate is requested to lend his aid to reclaim deserters a warrant is issued. Accordingly the constables are despatched in pursuit of the seamen; in most cases a mere matter of form, for many of the police have been known to harbour them, or wait for a reward to be offered, having a knowledge of where they are secreted. If £ 3 sterling $ 15 per head is offered for them they will soon be forthcoming. The police have a knowledge of them through their kin, transmitted in a regular train from one to the other, through the instrumentality of the Grog Shops, these lowest depths of hell! Seemingly to the keen observer, to use the common parlance, all tarred with the same brush, void of principle (if they ever had any).
From the Police Office to the dealers in liquid fire, 'inmates of the abysmal depths of purgatory' where they are not only pugnacious, but deal out blows with sticks, clubs, deadly weapons, gouging out each others eyes, literally tearing their flesh to pieces, perniciously and willfully shouting, 'Im a man! Im an Englishman! I'll tear your bloody guts out! I'll drink your hearts blood,' pronouncing the most obscene, filthy, blasphemous language, that no words I can express can depict in living colors the most arrant oaths that ever could be uttered by mortal man. I might say with propriety that six eighths of all the European houses are nothing more than grogeries. Here are in capital letters over the door 'Tap.' One in particular so-called Hotel, a man and his family the only occupants, over the door a large sign one third as large as the front, with bold letters 'Victoria Hotel.' Her Majesty must feel proud to have her name in blazon letters embellishing a house, where all kinds of satanical devices are practiced with impunity. Passing along the beach of Kororareka we come to Mr. Adaman's store, a Gent whose kingdom is not of this world, although in the midst of vagabonds, living isolated from the people. But [how] stands the case with his next door neighbour, when he is Gibson. Still water swimming deep, breathing out slander against the honorable man, the Christian and the philanthropist, devising mischief, plundering, seeking whom he may devour, enticing their friends through King Alcohol, kept for use and abuse.
We now come to the Duke of Marlborough, with a sign large enough to cover half the front of the house, owned by a profligate man (if my informant was correct), the owner a convict from New S Wales. I speak with-page 70in bounds when I say 3-4 of the population were convicts from New S Wales, doubtless many of them were deserters. Well here in a juxtaposition are the Queen & the Duke, two buildings incontestably worse than the most ignominious house in England. Loyal subjects to Her Most Gracious Majesty both faithful and tenacious, and yet desecrate their names, for acts of kindness shown, sending them from their country for their country's good.4
I will now refer to the Sailors Magazine to a letter written onboard the US Ship Vincennes, Bay of Islands, Nov. 28th 1840 Subscribed by John Dyes in which he writes: 'In New Zealand at the Bay of Islands intemperance was raging with all its fury, principally confined to foreigners who were located at Kororareka.' (He might have included the Wahapu also, equally as bad & perhaps worse, is omitted by the writer.) 'There were 2 or 300 white men, principally deserted convicts from Sydney. This village is situated directly opposite the missionary station Parihia (Pihea) and these foreigners let loose with all the vice of their own country, and in one where their is no restraint, and with the means to gratify themselfs, to any extent their vicious propensities may desire have been the means of immense evil to the natives. The principal chief of the Par (Pa) by the name of Pomare, as well as the greater part of his tribe are confirmed drunkards. (I must beg to differ from the writer in the last sentence 'all confirmed drunkards,' he was misinformed for it is not the case.) I perfectly coincide with & heartily bear testimony to all the letter with this exception.
'This Bay has within a few years become the rendezvous of whale ships. I saw fifty or sixty sailors when I was their on shore, from the whalers then in port indulging in all manner of dissipation on shore' (the writer might have added attracted by the keepers of Abyses dealing out fire). 'The ships filled with nativewomen dancing all day Sunday. The American ships are just as bad as English and French, that were in port, and in many cases out-stript them in some of their vices afloat in the harbour.' Here then is a faint description of a few days. Reflect then on the scene for weeks, months and years under my cognizance.
Now had this Gent, remained in the Bay for only a short period longer page 71he would have been convinced that not only the Ships Companies but that a major part of the inhabitants (Europeans) [in] their demeanor was wholly unbecoming civilized people. Their abortive example to an androphagus people was heart rending, positively a sink of infamy and disgrace, for as to remaining here, for any honorable or respectable person is almost impossible, clearly out of the question. Of all places under the Sun I have not a little reason to say it is among the very worst. During my residence here I have had every opportunity of witnessing and that very clearly all the proceedings of the places, the Wahapu being among the most predominant. Not only in Commerce, but in trade, in political and civil affairs; it has never been my lot to see so perfect a picture of moral depravity, combined with everything disorderly, vicious, illegal, unjust and impolitic. Their qualities have been exemplified in everything which in this place it has been my lot to become acquainted with. Our Flag has been prostituted by foreigners as well as our own countrymen, to cover a wicked and immoral trade sordidly, and mercineraly, strictly forbidden by the principles of philanthropy. On the article of morals let it be observed that their is almost no trade whatever but that of keeping grog shop, hence drunkenness and debauchery are dreadful. This state of things bears upon seven eights of the whole people. The laws of this Country are so brought to bear as to oppress and destroy everything which is honest and honorable and to cherish and even generate perjury without end, Graft, Fraud and every evil principle. The Officers in the Bay, more especially the SubCollector J. Guise Mitford are an intolerable disgrace to the British name.
The Police Court are scenes of iniquity. The very Magistrate avows his ignorance of law and reproaches some persons brought before him for their better knowledge. No decision ever seems come at on a simple case, but there invariably appears to be some reason of policy guiding the decision. The prostitution of oaths are most awful to hear, and the most arrant false swearing is ever [un]rebuked & unpunished, much of this in one important case I have heard. A half bred petty fogging lawyer at the Wahapu passing by the appellation of White Washed Yankee, a bookkeeper in an American house, of highly respectable parentage in England, from his loqua-page 72ciousness one would naturally draw the inference that he, too, Chs. Benj. Waitford had been a convict. His prostitution and demoralizing conduct has become [so] proverbial, that virtue shrinks from all association with him. In his fascinating and profligate course many, very many American Shipmasters are seduced by his wicked, winning and enticing manner of expression. Common honesty and veracity are strangers to him. Attractions thrown by this evil minded man cause the independent, ignorant and innocent Shipmasters and officers to congregate into a vast companionship of evil often irrepleviably plundering his employer prodigiously, hiden from the merchant, isolated by a wide expanse of waters. But to the thinking man of observation, known by the appelation of Grog Vendors, Spongers, finished sharpers, thieves, gamblers, combined with the lowest of Gods Creation, (pimps and prostitutes). While on the other hand men of integrity, urbanity of manners and excellent character, conscientiously mindful of their duties are saluted with coldness and indifference. It was often observed that he was a dangerous man to make an enemy of: the reproach of such characters is more honor than its praise. The community seemingly stand [in] fear of him for his nocuous loquacity, and recondite, rancorous rapacity, discerning him sangfroid in his ruthlessness. Stand aghast! With fear they shrink from his abused talents, as if from Contagion. Such men war against the great claims of humanity, by respecting reconditely this man. Humanity groans and sighs when its made the instrument of so base indulgence; the spirit of the just sight over the sordid pollution of so designing a man & men. How long will such Splendid Sin go unpunished amid such a state of things already mentioned. Can Commerce flourish? Can trade revive? Can the Bay of Islds be otherwise than politically and civilly ruined? Fortunately their is no society; if there were could they be happy, orderly, united, contented? How can it be so when everyones hand or tongue is against his neighbour, oppressing him in public or stabg him in secret. The purest here have the heaviest odium to bear. The more righteous, the more vilified. No one can conceive what it is but one who has lived at the Bay of Isld! As for religion, it must, of course, be far removed. Where there is no brotherly [love] there can be no pity. There is however every reason to apprehend that the places will cease to exist for God is page 73visiting the sins of the people to the utmost. The Bay of Islands is depopulating very fast from about 3000 inhabitants now to the smaller number of about 250 persons in Kororareka, now the port of Russell.
However adverse in sentiment I may be to some of these men, one in particular Chas. Benj. Waitford, in scenes of desolation and havoc; and however much I may prefer the placid calm and even tenor of peace to the most splendid and successful career in mischief. However highly I value talents not abused, and ameliorate the character of man, over those that desolate, diminish and ruin the honor and character of his moral nature, I should feel myself unworthy the name of an native American were I to remain mute and silent to this worst and most degraded people under the sun. I well remember the unprincipled remarks of Chs. B. Waitford at the Wahapu. In addressing another party, says he, what do you expect to find, honesty or virtue here? That is not to be found in this place (Bay of Islds). Reader, I leave you to judge whether he is a fit associate for any society. He is beneath the savage's notice. For as much as I deplore his or their condition, it would be a blessing even to the Maurie, if they would depart from whence they came, carrying with them their nefarious examples which to a very great extent has poisened the natives minds. Much renovation is necessary in order to eradicate the disease. Then would the disesteemed man be disespoused; his name would remain a blot; his memory would be hurried into oblivion by the New Zealander, who by nature are as eloquent in their aboriginal style, as Demosthenes or Cicero, their grand eloquence attracting crowds of admirers as the pages of Homer or Shakespeare. Chieftan Warriors, not one in the train of Cesar or Napoleon were more famed, notwithstanding their names have echoed through ages. Roubolla the chief is a terror to all European Settlers. It was this warrior that contended so bravely against European aggressions to the natives at the South, fearlessly obtaining his rights, putting to the tomahawk the Police Magistrate & 15 other Englishmen, foolishly in the wrong. Twas a scene of awful bloodshed, and the whole entire population of Port Nicholson as it were struck dumb with fright, fearing their end was full nigh.
Sir Evered Home, in the Ship of War 'North Star' arrives at the place of disturbance. He does not storm or bombard the place nor does their Can-page 74non echo in yonder hills. They solicit aid, his reply! I can give you no assistance in this case, you being the aggressors. He sails hence for Sydney via Auckland. The expedition is tended with serious results to the European settler. It had been better for them if the ship had kept away. Now it shows their weak side. They think they are now at the mercy of the Savage, whose tomahawk glitters and scalping knife is wet with the blood of their companions. They shudder at the very thought of declaring war upon the natives; it would be absurd; it would be insane. If they move either to the right or left death and destruction stares them full in the face, amazed at the natives system of warfare. The presumtion of the New Zealander is that both the Ship of War and the people stand in awe of them. Terrified and confounded when they see [them] fortifying their places, building ramparts to propugnate their country & soil from invasion, against the peals of artillery well shotted, against their bastions, against a race of innocent children of the wilds whom a moral force will conquer much easier.
Should war ensue death will stand unveiled, and destruction will have no covering. Whilst the Europeans shoot and kill by science, the aborignes will move in solid phalanx to crush, slay & devour, spreading havoc amongst them, leaving broken fragments of a raging war. Now view it on the other hand. The Maurie does not cry for blood as in bygone days seeking whom they may devour. Time has altered their views respecting the cold man cooked. As Cannibals its quite extinct, wars had begun to cease. Now driving them to warfare again, respect would be paid to none, for the old men weapt for their country, neither for youth or the tears of beauty. Children would be torn from their Mothers brest and murdered by brutes of Soldiers, groans unpitied, and their crying brings no aid. Humanity is made sick at the foster thought that the aged and the honorable are trampled under foot by lawless Soldiers. I turn from the contemplations for the heart sickens. Once more the Maurie does not solicit war or its devastations and ravages. They require not physical, but moral force to keep them in subjection and make them good citizens. Only 2 years gone by they were addicted to the heart rending practice of devouring each other. I mention two instances at that specified time, 2 women were killed and their hearts taken out and eaten. The Christian and the philanthropist page 75shrinks from the thought. The Maurie men were the Lords of the Soil, and the Maurie women complete slaves to them. But how stands the case now, the cannibal of New Zealand at this period has become nominally a Christian. Few, if any, are addicted to this cursed direful practice. Reformation has succeeded reformation, much good has been effected and this too, through the persevering efforts of the Missionaries. A glorious Spectacle is here exhibited in the athletic & strong nerved New Zealander, well proportioned, handsome forms, having high cheek bones, of a copper color, with here and there sweet and inteligent expressions. A noble race of men, a people reformed, regenerated, improved and refined efficiently by very simple means, by the persevering efforts of the Weslyan & Episcopal Missionaries, a happy race of beings fond of education and learning, aspiring for books, anxious to acquire a store of knowledge. Many there are, anxious to be instructed, that they, too, may bear the Cross of Christ to their fellow Countrymen, worthy the example of Europeans.
Of the latter a sad and gloomy picture, while gluttony & drunkenness are the inmates of the palace, the haunts of vice. The native fails not in his duty to solicit them to a thorough reformation. How great the contrast, whilst many of the Europeans are as regardless as the Atheist, the New Zealander stands as a Son of the great family awaiting their Fathers call. I will here happily remark that I never witnessed but one or 2 instance[s] of drunkenness in all the Natives of New Zealand I have seen (of those not a few). The 2 exceptions are Pomare & his fighting Capt. Mayflower at the Pa which is about 11 miles up from the entrance of the Bay of Islands. They are an extraordinarily temperate people, you will coincide with me when I say that much greater numbers than every other door is either a Grog Shop, Tap or Bar Room. The Bar Room, Tap or Grog Shop is not a place of resort of the New Zealanders. I have often witnessed them as they have passed one of these Ins, where liquid fire is vended, and turn suddenly from the scene as if horror struck, apparently disgusted with the foreigners (Pakehas). Here is the masters & officers & crews of many ships participating in these scenes of pollution; day and mid-night revels. What an example to these poor innocent natives. It reminds me of a paragraph from Dean Swift where he says 'in colonizing the French commence with a Fort, page 76the Spaniards with a Church, the English with a Grog Shop.' The latter is as seriously true as the rising and the setting sun. So this beautiful place is completely inundated & turned up side down.
I should do injustice were I to pass this sink of iniquity by in silence. They may be considered dreams of a visionary; I wish I could depict them in living colors. I well remember the remarks of a seaman standing on these shores. Says he to his shipmate, 'See the temperate Maurie (native) and then look at the beastly drunken foreigner. Says he I am ashamed of my countrymen; it wants an Earthquake or the Cholera to sweep the Europeans from the Earth.' Naturally truth, justice & virtue stands prominently among the Mauries. The world stands challenged to produce a people, either ancient or modern, in their primitive simplicity diked [sic] as they are with liquor. Temptation has succeeded temptation; but we find the Maurie seldom if ever intoxicated. A temperate people, singularly so. Whether it is innate instinctively, I am unable to decide. I cannot close my remarks without happily expressing that temperance with them in the history of mankind stands unparalelled. Notwithstanding the appellation of cannibal the scales are ballanced in their favor. The facility so great for obtaining, and a berry native to the soil which makes a wine stronger than Rum (which I shall hereafter describe) with such facilities they stand unparagoned.
I have often been amused to see the New Zealanders meet after an absence, whether longer or shorter, both Sexes receiving each other affectionately, some with open arms touching noses together, others adopting the European mode of a hearty shake of hands, and affectionately and loquaciously going long distances to greet their friends, after holding an interview, sit mute in one end of a canoe, or on the beach, apparently in deep thought. Their Pas are invariably enclosed by a very high fence 15 to 20 feet many of them yet standing, with awkward heads, breasts and arms to imitate the bust of a man cut on the tops, after their former superstitious notions, now quite extinct. The posts are about two feet apart, the size of a Ships topmast and fenced in strong. Many canoes are yet standing one half in the ground on the end. Natives after demise has been placed there erect, until fallen to ashes, dust has returned to its dust again. I should think that page 77there towns fenced in so strongly would not be easily battered down or entered. A sharp cannonading might send the splinters flying and open a passage for the enemy. But an aboriginal force would not be so easily effected. To bombard would make a replete concision & the huts interspersed indiscriminately. Upon an average the huts are from 8 to 10 feet wide, and 4 to 6 feet high and about 10 feet long. Some much larger while others are smaller. Whether they offered paens of praise to their stationary Gods I was unable to learn. Kororareka has the appearance of desolation, it might be compared to ancient Carthage, in some respects and in some places the walls are demolished. In some parts it resembles a bombardment & the people having fled from the city in the utmost confusion. Parts of the ruins remain as monuments to direct the stranger, if chance should meet his eye, to the once felicitous homes of many families of New Zealanders, Children of innocence. Now only one Pa is visible at Kororareka whose ruins remind the observer of some ancient place whose inhabitants have been dispersed ages since. Perhaps not unlike ancient Tangiers once partly built, but from superstitious motives it was agreed upon to build the town on the opposite locality; some of the architecture that once partly was, remains as monuments for the eye of the thinking man in after time. The contrast is great as respects the architecture, colors and beauty, one of mosaick work, the other of bull rushes and the ruff timber of the forest. The New Zealander is seemingly weary of the European population now urisated [sic] with the homes of their fathers, partly settled by the Pakehas (or foreigners), once the abode of the cannibals, their paternal and maternal progenitors moving away to the valleys, to the sides of the lofty peaked hills, the wilds of the interior. Since civilization has made such rapid strides amongst their tribes they much prefer locating at the base of the romantic hills on the flat lands. Torrents of water rushing down the sides of the mountains where the richest soil is found.
How lamentable is the fact then that by fair speeches and fair words they have been deceived. The European has deceived the heart of these poor beings, and through all the changes they have undergone, influenced by bad characters and unprincipled men, have been seduced, robd of their honor, their virtue, their vestals, passing the vestibule of their walls, emula-page 78tive, clambering with dissimulation and wantonness. Often is the European put to the blush by these children of nature. Humanity, Humanity, art thou lost to all shame and contempt. Many of these unblushing Europeans, nominally Christians, men & women, are unique in their marriages. What better are some of these vile persons, concupiscent and licentious, married today legitimately, ere the sun sets at the expiration of one week they seperate, married to another and yet to another, both man and woman. These nuptials are continually going on. Yes, hebdomadal and oftener if lascivious lust require it, changing their natural use to another unnatural change, given up to their vile affections and a reprobate mind, both European men & women. Their situation is dreadful indeed. To quote the remarks of Wm. M——w [Mayhew?] at the Wahapu addressing his conversation says 'A man to remain but a short time among these Europeans would become quite as bad, and as great a rogue as any of them, men and women, and he would have pleasure in them that are such.' They are a covetous and malicious people, malignant whisperers, full of envy and every evil thing, and take delight in them that do them. It is not the desire of the aboriginal fair sex to become fornicatrices but ravished & forrayed by brutes of Europeans. Such Satanical work in a civilized land would be visited with extreme rigours, scourging and the utmost penalty of the law.
They seek earnestly for truth, mortality, reality of religion; having strong claims on Europeans for truthfulness, morality, fidelity in all their exhibitions of the religion they profess. Those exhibitions are most impressive that are made by their examples. But if their examples are radically corrupt and apostate, they doubtless hold up to them a false specimen of the Christian religion, or of sound principles of them nominally Christians (I have no reference to the Mission but to nominal Christians).
I have frequently been amused to see the multitudinous host of Mauries collect together on the beach to receive their friends after an absence, or some stranger to visit them. Some giving them a hearty reception while others are building fires in the ground to cook for them. Their Copper Mauries (so called) are holes dug in the ground about 2½ feet deep, the bottom covered with red hot stones, then a covering of green leaves, then food laid on, then leaves to cover the food, a layer of red hot stones covered page 79with leaves and the whole covered with earth. Food cooked in this way is delicious for it retains all the juices. I myself have often made a luscious meal of food cooked in this way. In fact prefer it to European mode of cookery. But to return to the natives, the strangers or friends amusing themselfs by dancing round the fire; although not Quadrilles, yet quite as pleasing to the eye, the girls graceful in their gestures, others singing all night long until morning, and of them, songs quite original, made up as they go along, upon any being, subject or matter, and that with loud voices, quite musical. Church musick cannot be in more harmonious notes, or more gratifying to the heart of man. No instructor can beat time with more regularity or precision, seemingly offering paens of praise to the God of nature, voluptuously fond of such devotion. I witnessed in one instance in the midst of their amusements, a drunken Seamen reeld to and fro; interrupted in their songs of devotion, they (the Mauries) look upon him with Sighs of emotion, upon so miserable and degraded an object.
I had on more than one occasion heard them making a long speech to their friends, others settling some quarrel, their speech, their manner, their gestures, their language and their delivery, perhaps adequate to the most eloquent statesman. In their arguments hammering it out link by link, in a strain of natural eloquence drawing forth the attention of the thinking mind, some of the hearers (Mauries) will reply to parts of their speech, either assenting or refuting, the orator will remain silent for a moment or two; if their views were consistent with the views of the Speaker he would seem highly gratified, but if not in accordance with his sentiments, he would again hammer it out link by link in strains that would rend the air to the gratification of the philanthropist. Thus the warmth of resentment makes them more enthusiastic and grandeloquent, sometimes roused to applause, at other parts roused to indignation, he still persists in his message to them with undaunted spirits; the voice of truth keeps them silent, and good order and decorum is observed until he has finally end[ed] his speech or argument, when another replies with as much force in return, and so on to the argument in return, to the end of their chapter. Perhaps another circle will be formed for the purpose of singing which is extempore. They sing of persons and things around them, and of the beautiful works page 80of creation, seemingly not wishing to be understood by any but those around them, with careful attention it can scarcely be detected. If at work for anyone they sing of the person who employs them. Thus they sing of every stranger that comes in the place, without premeditation, causing laughter and merriment among them. The New Zealanders are complete mimicks, and have replete powers of ridicule, and astonishing quick discernment, discovering the peculiarities of foreigners long before we our-selfs see them. Seemingly a happy race of beings.
When the New Zealander retires to his hut, the hogs, dogs, and cats retire with them also, making a part of the family, fostered with quite as much care as one of the children, all laying heads to points in the Raupu hut. And when they rise, feed them by their side, when they eat themselfs. Their feeling for the brute creation is far more sensitive than the European. The cats are valuable; without them they could scarcely live for rats, for they are overrun with them; they are so bold and fearless as to eat their toes, feet and sometimes their body. When retiring to repose for the night, a fire is kindled in the center of the hut, and all lay round, rolled up in their Blankets, feet to the blaze, the fire to look out for itself whilst they slumber and sleep; hogs, dogs and cats interspersed among them. Foreigners are quite as much annoyed by the rats, [in] many instances these little brutes (by the way not very small either) have literally torn their feet to pieces, and have been known to eat of other parts of their body. These little Cannibals are very bold and annoying.
When the New Zealander is taunted as a man eater, his interrogation almost immediately—New Zealand man no eat man now. They do not differ materially from the Sandwich and Society Islanders. And it is astonishing to see with what avidity the vile wretches of Europeans avocate these poor children from the good principles instilled into them by their instructors. Nothing would please these vile men more than to see the New Zealanders retrograding; it would cause them the utmost felicity to cause a retroduction of their tribes to the manners, habits and customs of their ancestors. The natives themselves are chagrined at such conduct. They show forth in a striking manner their descent by the changes that have taken place in their feelings towards those unprincipled men, but the rev-page 81erential regard for the white mans laws partially has ceased to exist. And no wonder that it should be so, surronded as they are by such examples. A long time must elapse before a wholesome fear [with] which it was received can restore that balm to a healthy action again. The tragedy of Robulla, seemingly, confirms this.
But a short time since I heard of an instance of an Englishman killing a natives pig at Mukatu. Other natives of the tribe took the law into their own hands, notwithstanding a Magistrate was their. The offender was not brought before him as they had hitherto done on similar occasions. The Ordinances that the English had made they set at defiance, through the nefarious and malicious conduct of unprincipled Europeans. They threatened the mans life unless he paid down $50. £ 10 Sterling. To allay and pacify the natives and to prevent further sacrifice of life, a few respectable merchants compromised by pay [ing] £7 Sterling $35 every farthing the man possessed. The punishment was light compared with the crime. We see the English set them the example, and we see the natives follow in their footsteps. These, ungrateful, complain of injustice, violation of the laws of an English colony (But why an English colony? This part of the Isld has never been ceded to Great Britain; under British law taken by force). The Savages with arms appear in the presence of the magistrate and threaten to take the lives of Englishmen unless they comply with their demands. The English are now reaping a noble harvest from the direful seeds sown amongst [them]. The aspect is serious indeed. A second Wairoo [Wairau] Massacre is staring them in the face. Fruits of their pernicious examples. They say to each other its high time we knew whose subjects we are, and if Queen Victoria reigns in these Islands, or the new holy alliance, and bloody Jack. Say they, we have not the protection of English laws; our taxation is nothing less than robbery. For the local mismanagement of the English government, I do not attach the slightest degree of censure to the natives. On the contrary I laud them for the bold and undaunted stand they have taken.
Forasmuch as they have been robd of their country they seemingly come to the conclusion that they will bear with no further insults from the English. I do most heartily bear evidence of the New Zealanders, that with a page 82good Government, governed by men of principle agreeably to the dictates of justice, and harmony and reciprocation for the (Natives) high sense of honor, for they have no desire to feud, but rather in this enlightened age to live in peace. Pure principles must be adhered to or an explosion will soon take place with the combustible matter that surrounds them; which will shake the English Colonists to their centre. If the Europeans do not regard the laws, why should the New Zealander be scourged for not obeying what he does not rightly understand. The English had better burn their miserable patchwork manuscript of laws, and renovate the whole system at once, for the whole fabrick is shaken. Another blasting mildew with fair words rob[s] the fair sex of their chastity. New Zealand may well be called a house of prostitution, many pretensions to marry and giving in marriage, a fashionable lasciviousness, pollution and defilement, Englishmen vaunting their supremacy of the land under ensconce of Christianity.
John B. Williams's consular uniform now in the Peabody Museum of Salem. It was patterned after that of a captain in the U. S. Navy. Thus dressed he appeared at Governor FitzRoy's dinner in Auckland in June 1846.
On a lofty eminence on the larboard hand going into the Bay of Islands, a little inside of Tapaku [Tapeka] Point on its summit is a Semaphorick Station, for the purpose of telegraphing every vessel that enters the bay, whether large or small. A Sail in sight at the South, a ball is hoisted to the South yard arm. To the North, a ball is hoisted to the north yard arm. And flags hoisted to denote the various nations, a vessel inside of Tapaku, the flags are held to half mast etc.
The view from the Station presents to the eye of the beholder sublime and picturesque scenery. At the base of the hill is the town of Kororareka, on the opposite base through a well wooded valley, is the farm of Mr. Stevenson, at Tapaku, and a delightful situation it is. But for the beauty of natural Scenery it is not so lovely a spot as Mr. Busby's place directly opposite Kororareka, the ex-British Resident a worthy and urbane Gent. A more delightful and romantic spot it would be difficult to find in the Bay. That part most level was laid out for a township. It faces the Ocean to the page 84north and the town of Kororareka to the East, named Victoria, an extensive grounds capable of accommodating 1,500,000 souls. Constantinople in all its beauty arrayed is not so heavenly a sight for a township. To the eastd the water shoals to a mile or more; therefore no vessel can lay on that side in safety. But on the north good anchorage, more especially to the south, that part forming the creek adjoining Pihea [Paihia]. Ships might lay at anchor in perfect security; no harbour could be better, none could present greater facilities for wharfs, and shore houses along its banks. Shelterd from every wind, of a good holding ground, and perfectly smooth even in a gale. Lovely in its details, and in no part of New Zealand could a more delightful site have been found for a Government Settlement. Enter the bay and from every quarter of the compass I no of no city in the known world that could have exceld it in beauty and grandeur, having back country capable of excellent farms, and not far inland on the banks of the Witangi [Waitangi] and Kawa Kawa rivers are two sublime waterfalls, capable of carrying all the mills that might be required for all purposes at present in New Zealand. The farmers have now no means of grinding his wheat, or other grains, either by water, wind or steam power. Nature has here provided every means with this exception.
Mr. Busby has displayed great taste about those parts of the grounds he improves, doubtless Mrs. Busby must share in this credit, his worthy spouse. This most excellent lady is secluded from all society, I might almost say from the world. And Oh! what deprivations this graceful lady must have undergone in by gone days at Antipodes. Through polite invitations from them, I had much pleasure in partaking of their hospitality. Mr. Busby was the first of the Diplomatic Corps ever accredited to New Zealand, he having received his Commission from the British government. I well remember the first call that I made at their pretty neat, and hospitable Mansion embodied in a grove of trees and shrubs, with flowers sending forth a rich fragrance. On entering the house, Mrs. Busby advanced with a graceful step and with great civility to meet me. There was no affectation in her speech, Her ladyship perhaps never before having seen an official from the UStates in a Court dress.5 I thoroughly excited her curiosity a little; however we were very soon in a very agreeable conversation, on vari-page 85ous topicks; of the most engrossing were the manners and customs of the UStates and England, Her Ladyship being desirous to inform herself with respect to her sister fair sex, the ladies of the UStates. I thought I should very little satisfy her curiosity. I was extremely pleased with her making these interrogatories, and not a little flattered by the uncommon questions put to me. My interrogations bestowed the high honor and respect due to the American ladies, as far as I was capable of answering. It is not to be wondered at that in this quarter so much ignorance exists with respect to a knowledge of America or American Ladies, when we see so many ignorant whaling masters demeaning themselves in a manner unbecoming a civilized or rational being, there being few if any, but such characters visiting the place formerly. No wonder at their extravagant ideas of both sexes in the UStates. Ignorance and inebriation, hence arises so great losses to underwriters and shipowners. I would not be understood that all Whaling Masters were of that class. On the contrary it would afford me very much pleasure to enumerate many, very worthy, urbane and intelligent whaling masters, none can be more so. Very much of the misconduct of the former class of masters has come under Mr. Busby's cognizance. Few, if any, but whale ships have formerly visited this port. Hence the opinion formed of the American people, more especially of the ladies. This is judging of a nation and a kindred, not unlike Dickens dashing along in Rail Cars.6 But the mistaken ideas received by Mr. & Mrs. Busby were easily rectified, they forming quite another opinion of a people second to no nation, ranking among the first.
Mr. Busby has quite a large farm under cultivation, and a fine grapery propagating fast. Waitameta [Waimate North?] is situated about 9 or 12 miles inland up the small River that passes Mr. B.'s land, the residence of the English Bishop and the location of their college. It is a fine agricultural district and a delightful spot, a neat pretty village whose church can be discerned from the opposite side, at the Semaphorick Station. On the Waitangi river is the sublime Waitangi Falls, whose waters are constantly running in silent grandeur into the abyss below; having a plunge over the verge from 12 to 15 feet with a noise of distant thunder. Its foaming sprays rolling up majestically from beneath, it whelms from the gulph below page 86heaving and edeing [eddying] and awaking its echoes revibrating to view its level river, and its hurrying waters to the cataract by the light of the sun and the moon. Its ceaseless noise, although not a distant fall beneath into the rapids, is great.
The country in that part is represented to be much finer, and its climate is much more congenial than farther South. In crossing over the creek to the South of Mr. Busbys location adjoining is the Episcopal mission station at Pihea, lovely in its scenery. It's ill sited as a settlement, exposed as it is to the open sea, the ocean billows rolling and dashing furiously on its smooth and hard beach, making it difficult to land even in a placid sea, owing to the undertow rolling in from seaward. The little village is heavenly and singularly beautiful on a level spot at the base of its romantick hills in the rear clothed in fern, their towering mountains overlooking each other, clothed in a soft and pleasing outline. The wonderful works of nature to gratify the heart of man. Pihea on the South Side of the Bay presents an imposing sight on entering; its neat little white houses a few yards from the beach, a few rods from the base of the hills, its neat white, but not gaudy, little church, its printing office and few other mansions presents to the eye of the beholder much taste and beauty displayed, with here and there a shrub, but scarcely the vestige of a tree is visible to the admirer of nature on this pleasing beautiful spot. This I think was the Second Mission Station located in New Zealand in years long since past and gone, with years before the flood. After a heavy shower of rain and a hot pelting sun its rays thrown over the village and hills presents a most perfect view. Moving farther up the beach to the point of rocks adjoining (the only landing place for those up the Bay to land, attending Church) over this ledge stands the hill from whose summit the Panorama of the Bay of Islands was taken. A more correct representation of the Bay of Islands could not be prefigured. In turning this point to clear the Islands that shuts the opposite shore from view, we pass this material terreous curtain opening to the distant shores, presenting to the eye of man the splendid works of nature. Here the true American character was not known, and not much to be wondered at from the Americans located there, and those that have visited them transitorily. I excited their wonder and curiosity not a little, until more familiar-page 87ly acquainted, when they began to learn the true character of the people of the UStates. Previously we were deemed a brave but ignorant & ill mannerly people—Yankees. Frequently in my interviews with them I expressed myself frankly, priding myself with the appellation of Yankee, I was extremely happy in the name.
The Natives curiosity is not to be astonished at. Dickens would figure largely in New Zealand, a wide field for him to investigate his own countrymen. Human nature here to his hearts content, the farmer, mechanic & shoemaker, for his criticism. The half educated merchant, and the blanket peddlers to be weilded by his pen as targets of criticism. Here he might write with vivacity and a surprising temper. Although but few inhabitants on the banks of the upper harbour (by far the most heavenly scenery in the whole bay) he would have a larger field for operation. Here the late Governor chose Clendons point, as a site for Government township, accordingly purchased the place of Mr. Clendon for £30,000 Sterling $150,000. The house was already built, the residence of Mr. C, when purchased occupied by his Excellency Governor Hobson. The harbour surronding it is one of the best in the known world; none could be better. A natural quay is there, and with little expense a large levy might be built capable with depth of water to accommodate Ships of the Line. The demeanour of the inhabitants was so grossly vile and abusive that no honourable or respectable man could live amongst them, the Governor leaving them in disgust, abandoning the settlement, choosing as the next site Auckland, the present Seat of Government. Were Mr. Pringle the harbour master to attend to his duties properly ships would [not] be carrying away their spars by falling afoul, drifting on the mud flats, the channel in this part being quite narrow. He is a better pilot in a Grog Shop or a Gin Palace; he can moor there safe enough with the Brandy bottle, never mind his duties, never mind the shipping, liquid fire puts him all right. His brother officer John Guise Mitford, a proud assuming upstart of about the age of 25 years, about a 6th rate man, a lecher of Mauries, half educated upstart of a boy, made choice of by the English Government as Queen Victoria's Sub Collector of Customs, passing [by] an old settler, a worthy man, a man of urbanity Capt. Bowditch (he never left his country for his country's good).page 88
Mair's Island [Motu Maire?] sepperates the harbour of the Wahapu from that of Kororareka. The Isld is isolated from the main by a narrow neck of land, of sand & pebbles of a few yards only, dry at low tide, accessible to the Island, which was chosen by the Govt as a site for a fortress. It has a commanding position of all parts of the bay, impregnable, The Gibralter of the Bay of Islands. The narrow neck mentioned resembles Pipe Clay and calcareous matter, approximate to a resemblance to flinty rock. The mercantile house (so called) at the Wahapu, I can say nothing in its favor. The brand mark of reprobation is written on its walls. That house must soon be among the number that once was. It will remain, a blot, a by word, a reproach. On the landing at the Wahapu headed by one of the most unprincipled rakes (Waitford) open to the gaze of the world, are New Zealand men, either giving their daughters, or bringing other virtuous Maurie Girls compelled to sacrifice their all, penned in like cattle, to attract custom, supplying the shipping. Last but not least, their diabolical prostitution on shore. It is unsafe for a European lady to pass this outrageous scene of action without being insulted. At meal times here comes a drove of New Zealand Girls receiving from the store, flour and sugar, this boiled together in a large pot over a fire they kindle on the landing; when cooked they all mess together in front of their doors, a mess not unlike paste, others cooking clams. A clerk stands by to throw a large rock into the pot, whilst cooking—sporting on their misery.
The hill in the rear was named by them Mt. Washington; beneath it is this sad picture, this sorry sale. A more appropriate appellation would be Mt. Hell. The view from the cottage house on the hill is magnificent, beautiful in the extreme. Standing in the Piazza a view is presented to the admirer of nature, hills and dales wonderfully fashioned and fantastickally blended, hills rising on hills, strangely fashioned with their ferny capped tops, clothed in verdure, well wooded, with a very thick underbrush. At the mouth of the creeks are mangrove swamps, not very well wooded. This part of the Bay is gifted with attractions, both natural and local, but few yards of flat land; and this at the base of these abrupt and steep hills, but not more so than Gibralter. Well may it be called a beautiful spot as lovely in its details as it is wonderful in its formation. Notwithstanding the soil page 89is poor, all kinds of fruit, flowers, and vegetables propagate luxuriently. No Country could be more favorable to the vine or the fig tree.
The botanist will add no occult to his herbarium, the florist would have many a desolate track. All flowers are an importation from other countries. The geranium and the rose have been introduced (but from what country I am not aware); they propagate most luxuriantly. The exuberiance of the geranium is beyond description, perhaps not more so than the rose. Whilst reviewing the Wahapu it is due to Wm. Mayhew, that I should say of him, when in my presence [he acted] with that civility and respect due to me in the station that I filled, that of US Consul. I am desirous of recording the deep regret for the depravity of his house; but the truth will out. This rake of a Waitford (employed by him as a bookkeeper); this servile and egregious person, holding oligarchy over Mr. Mayhew & his house. Leading to ruin a young man, a brother clerk, and when can he be found not inebriating with liquor. Nothing short of death will ever stop his venemous tongue of slander. A voice from the grave of a poor innocent Maurie girl must cry out against him. This house must be likened unto 'one built upon the sands,' it must fall, and great will be the fall thereof. When that mans days and nights on earth are finished and ended, his lips cold in death and his body interd in the silent grave, dust unto dust as it was, his name will end a blot, buried in its Mother Earth and pass into oblivion. Sad indeed is the condition of that man.
Before leaving the Wahapu, I strolled along the flat land at the base of the hills to Doc. F's new cottage, just out of the hands of the carpenters, some parts of the interior as rough as the inside of a barn, without paint or white-wash, a Jack Straw house, seemingly neither wind nor water tight. The parlour as comfortable as the situation of the house will admit of, a complete shell. Here sits Mrs. F the Quixotick lady, reading Mrs. Trollopes works on the U States, highly delighted with it.7 Addressing herself to a shipmaster (who had merely called to pay his respects to her), Says 'I understand that the ladies of the U States were wild? No says Capt. G——r I have always found them quite docile and tame.' And so on to the end of the chapter, putting some of the most obscure questions imaginable. Soon after in passing along, I called & knocked at the door. The servant came, I page 90asked if Mrs. F was at home, Yes Sir, was the reply, walk in please, passing the vestibule through the entry to the parlour. She advanced to meet me, giving me a most gracious salutation. However much she may have quizzed others, she greeted me with no such obscure remarks. I found her to be a lady of talents, pleasing and agreeable in her conversation. Although winning in her ways, yet not prepossessing in her expression. Her sister, is Mrs. Burrows of Kororareka, a perfect lady, a lady highly inteligent, a lovely Seraph, an example worthy of imitation. His house stands on the declivity of a hill descending gradually in the rear of Kororareka, a neat pretty cottage, the most delightful and picturesque situation in Kororareka, overlooking a part of the beautiful bay. Little to the north on the same declivity is a huge pile of timber consecrated to the Catholic faith.
I should be doing Mrs. F——d very great injustice were I not to say, connected as she is with the hospital, she is kind and affectionate to the sick, lame, halt and blind. Though a stranger she watches over them with a maternal care; none could do more so. Last not least, I must observe again that Mrs. Clendon is blessed with the Christians Spirit. She visits the widow & the orphan, the sick, the poor and needy, though a stranger she takes them in. Her hospitality is their charitable object; it matters not how far distant by day or the shades of night. She is ready at the soliciting Call of Charity. In her domestic affairs she can be surpassed by none. She is a Pattern, a Model, a blessing in her day and generation. At length she is stricken down away from home, grieving at the supposed loss of her husband, he having been called away to meet with the Governor and Council left in a cutter for Auckland. A story was adduced by the contemptable Waitford that the Cutter was lost and Clendon drowned. Thus began the inchoation of a diabolical work, to satisfy his hellish propensities (Oh! thou impious man. God will smite thee also). Imagine the feelings of an affectionate wife and fond mother. Suddenly frighted, weeping, refused to be comforted; seeks information but finds none. She is confined with a child away from home. It is still born, perhaps otherwise. She lays at the point of death, prostrated at deaths door. The vital spark is almost extinguished; the Surgeon is by the bedside night and day, while the Angel of Death is hovering over her with his fatal shaft ready to number and page 91finish her days in this probationary existence. Calmly resigning herself to an Over Ruling Providence, at length the noon day sun has set, and the evening shades darken around. Hope, the blossom of happiness, is not disappointed; the danger is past; the hour of grief is soothed.
By many this deplorable man is taken by the hand, and I unfeignedly regret by some of my country, whether from fear of him or not I cannot say. And there stands his friend Gibson by his side of few words (but still water swims deep) little or no choice between them; both tard with the same brush. At the extreme end of the bay above the Wahapu stands a small building 10 by 12 feet and 10 feet high, the exterior a neat little shanty, the solitary abode of one family. A veil is drawn before them obstructing a few [view] of the harbour. Yet a much larger flat and prettier locality for the village. I cannot conceive. What should induce a mechanic to locate in so lonely & solitary a place, away from every one, not even the sound of a native, naught but the bird of the forest is heard. Life, what is life in so lonely an existence? Wending my way back I called at Mrs. F——d, gossiping. 'Well says Mrs. F——d I never [have] known so much of the Americans and American character as I now do says she. They are affectionate, hospitable, naturally brave and undaunted, having some of the most eminent Statesmen of the Age, fond of literature and science, full of refinement, and where you see an American Gent., you see a generous hearted friend. These qualities are natural to the people.' Well this is an interesting Chapter and as Paul wisely observed 'All things to all men.' At length I reach my boat and sail up the river as far as Greenaways beautiful place. He together with most of the other old settlers are ruined.
This lovely place is proximate to Pomare Pa, on a bluff of some eminence, his tribe in that enclosure, living in their native huts. It is an imposing sight, more especially for one, that never before has seen a tribe of natives in their Pas where nature has formed a complete bastion for them. Here the rivers branch of[f] to the right and the left. That on the left the Wicadi [Waikare?], that on the right——. A most sublime sheet of water of more than 9 miles in extent down the bay presenting a heavenly spectacle (if I may use the expression). To the admirer of nature it is lovely in detail. For grandeur of scenery along its banks and the surrounding hills can be page 92surpassed in beauty by no part of the earth's surface. Moving over its ripless Waters I arrive at my residence.
The inhabitants at the Wahapu, follow Waitford on the lead, are at Sword points with the residents of Kororareka. Birds all of the same plumage, jealous for fear the latter will obtain the advantage over them in Shipping. This infamous fellow is noted for his great swelling words of vanity, alluring those that had clean escaped from him. Many a ship masters conscience smarts under the lash of iniquity. 'Vengeance belongeth to me, I will repay saith the Lord.' Ere long I fear it will be said of these places; they are fallen, God hath avenged the wrongs of a good and innocent people. European Children in the Bay for the most part are brought up in ignorance, dirty, filthy and ragged. One morning about half past 5 oclock as I was walking in the piazza, I beheld European white children, rushing out of two different houses, as naked as they were born, and I might say beastly dirty (now there is no excuse for this, where there is so much water, and that immediately at hand). A more disgusting sight I have not witnessed for many a day, and this, too, is a daily occurrence.
Now (for the so called) ladies. Stopping on the beach in front of Grog Shops and Gin Palaces, perhaps not immediately in front, morning and evening, gossiping; holding forth with whoever may be the passerby. It might be the Police Magistrate, it might be the Postmaster, perchance the Harbourmaster, if he can see straight, or a hole through a ten foot ladder. (The Sub Collector is to[o] insignificant, perhaps preferring his Maurie Girl, peradventure a white European girl, most likely a little Maurie girl robbed of their virtue, honor, chastity, their all. Perchance she may gossip with some other passer; he may be a temperate or he may be an inebriate, just out of the devils den (the grog shop or Gin Palace), perhaps just recovered from a fit of 'delireum tremens,' just escaped the jaws of death, having a long confab, doubtless an agreeable conversation. It may be that her husband is away and this may be an introduction for a call in the evening; or it might lead to a visit through the day. The Husband may be at home; he slips out of the door (as the Gent. so called) enters within the walls of her domicile. What a mixture of nations. They may be mongrel, page 93they may be creole, they may be bronze, they may be black or they may perchance be white. What a diversity of colors in their frail compositions. All these colored skins. It may be well proportioned or it may be deformed. Dickens would have materials enough for a half dozen books, what a host of events would be laid before him. The Young Gallant puffing at his Cegar, promenading along the beach with a married lady, (for single one's are few and far between). 'Madam says the Gent. I hope Tobacco is not offensive to you, at the same time a Cloud of Smoke from the pipe or Cegar fills her eyes, nose and mouth. Oh! no says the lady I am very fond of the flavour of tobacco. And as they dance along the beach, rubbing side and side, they are met by other young men moving hither and thither, exchanging the usual salutations, bowing and scraping affectedly. If she escapes almost suffocation from the fumes of smoke, she [is] more fortunate than many of her sex. Their voices and exclamations, echoing from one end of the beach to the other, by no means particularly refined in conversation, not infrequently intermingled with vulgarity, conversation that would [put] an American lady to the blush, veiling her face. Moving on with a slow pace she arrives at her domicile. If they do not stop by the way it is not her fault. Well they are comfortably seated in the parlour. Next the old English custom: Brandy, Gin, Rum, Wine, Porter & Ale is brought in, either one or the other. She is fatigued after her walk, throws herself on to the lounge, what a merry time they have, how loving. (The little daughter comes in, but who is the father). Ma says she I am going [to] Uncle D——. Well my dear, go! Seemingly it matters not how many husbands they have. The nuptials or weddings of the inhabitants of the Bay, for the most part are a burlesque, a mockery, a Curse to Society under its present form. They marry & remarry at pleasure, only another signification for harlots. Their ceremonies in this is (anything but a legal marriage) extremely ridiculous. Everything that will make a noise is brought in requisition, even fish horns, tin pots and tin pans. Rocks thrown against the side of the house breaking the panes of glass. This will raise a glass of liquor for them. The ensuing week she is married to another party (or in other words plays the harlot with another man) and the same music, the same page 94scenes, the same noise is kept up, only much worse, disgraceful indeed! Such is the State of Society in the Bay of Islands such their ways, [it] is their ruin.
The hills of New Zealand, from one extremity to the other is covered with fern, the valleys mostly with. I have many times been struck with admiration on viewing the torrents of water that flow down the sides of the mountains which hollow out channels in proportion to the rapidity of the streams and in proportion to the hardness of the soil which it passes. I have often been delighted in viewing the torrents running in silent grandeur through an aggregate composition of rock & lime stone. The climate as I have previously remarked is fine and temperate. The summer is the most delightful season, commencing in December. Notwithstanding so much humidity in the atmosphere, it is one of the most delightful seasons imaginable. The trees of the Wood never change their leaves or foliage. The production of the soil in general is Wheat, Barley. Oats, English Grass, Beans, Peas, Cabbages and other indigenous plants, Apples, pears, Peaches, plums, cherries, apricots, Figs, Grapes, strawberries, Cape Gooseberry and every kind of fruit propagates luxuriantly. Peaches are delicious and in abundance, as also the Grapes.
The minerals that have been discovered are, Copper Ore in abundance, Iron, Lead, Coals, some specimens of Crystal have been found, Corneleon [carnelian], Iron pirites, flint, a few fossils, petrifactions.
The aborigines of New Zealand previously named are a fine race of men; in general [they] are the best form[ed], but not so fine a race as the North American Indians. The men are the Lazy Lords of the Soil, while the women do all the drudgery and are complete slaves. They think little or nothing of them, treated and used worse than brutes.
The women make Flax mats, plat baskets and foot mats, cook, till the ground and reap, servants indeed, not withstanding they have Slaves. The men the lazy lords only do the superior work, such as make war implements, fish, catch birds, make canoes and houses (or rather huts). They are what the English term clever, quick to imitate and learn, fond of books to read, anxious to acquire knowledge, but when they cannot attain it in print, desirous of having it written, the former preferable, highly delighted with page 95pictures, look them over for days and weeks, then laid away carefully for safekeeping. With their own weapons of warfare they were a brave people, but with firearms not so daring a race, as the North American Indians, but by no means cowardly, as many have taken great pains to represent them. It is true they will seldom attack an equal force, if one tribe has firearms to a man, and the other only in part, they will not engage them. It is said they will never massacre anyone that they think will resist them face to face, and always strike on the back of the head. I myself should be very loth to try them; for in many instances I know it to be quite the contrary. Instances of the kind may happen; but since the introduction of Muskets and Gunpowder wars have been less frequent, and attended with much less loss of life than formerly when using their native weapons of warfare. Only in few parts of New Zealand are they still cannibals, and think it no sin to doom their unhappy prisoners, but seldom eat their own slaves now. Their bodies are sometimes tattooed complete from head to foot which takes many years; it is not so painful an operation as supposed to be; it is mostly done in the following manner: by taking a human bone and sharpening it, but not infrequently a Sea Gull's beak; the lines are then drawn on the skin, and an incision made on the mark, the color is then rubd in, and a leaf laid over the part until healed; which if done unskilfully is a considerable time sore.
The New Zealanders are a superstitious people and many amongst them (Tohungas) or wise men can foretell events, dream dreams, can also cause to die or live whoever they please, and a poor dying native is not unfrequently drawn into the open air, to [be] karakiaed or prayed for by the priest, and if they die it is always attributed to some cause or defect in the prayers. They believe when a chief loses a near relative he possesses power over the Taniwha, a kind of Shark (doubtless the Shark) a definite description of which has not been given. If they are taken in any great difficulty at sea, and a large shark appears, they will immediately remain terror struck, and make no exertions but abandon themselfs to the mercy of the waves. If taken sick they frequently, if of a nervous temperament, declare it impossible that they can survive, that no remedies will recover them, and no alternative but the fatal shaft of death; for they make no effort to rally page 96when once sick, give themselfs up entirely and declare their intention of dying. An instance of this came under my cognizance when an aged Chief Woman had fallen sick. She gave herself up saying she was to die, and sure enough in a few weeks afterwards I saw her again; she was a perfect living skeleton; I shook hands with her but it was like taking a piece of ice in ones hand. She was of the royal family from Mukatu.
Through them I was known over the length and breadth of New Zealand. I had frequent invitations to visit the various tribes round the Island. They carry news from one part to the other and from one tribe to the other with the rapidity of the Rail Cars, by steam, as it were by magick, for the natives are constantly on the move. Another Chief died in the same manner as I have already described, and although recovering refused to take his food, and improving every opportunity of increasing the disease; death, of course, very soon ensued. When taken ill they pronounce them Mate-mate, adequate to death. They are (as I have previously observed) very subject to colds, coughs, consumptions and swellings. They keep the parts of natives tied up in scented moss and flax and wear it round the neck. When any relative dies [they] howl most awfully, and cut long gashes in their flesh with a piece of flint substance of a jet black color [obsidian]; this painful operation is practiced every time the bones are removed to a sacred place near the sea, scraping them and then dressing them with feathers. The person[s] who perform this operation are considered (Tapu) sacred, for sometime afterward and never eat or drink unless except fed by other persons or slaves. They will not touch fire and no person must touch, handle, or use anything that they have used. They encase their dead in a canoe and place them on stilts, or in trees and they are never approached; dogs and pigs are killed for going near them. Nothing can offend them more or offer a greater insult to them than to have a white man touching, enquiring or even going near them (the Dead). And nothing can prevent them from taking life for it. The general payment is of taking everything the person possesses, and sometimes burning their houses down, doubtless a much more salutary satisfaction as they thereby become much more enriched; they mostly prefer that payment to life.page 97
Tapatapa designates but the appellation of swearing instead of profanity. They say your head resembles a pigs head, or an iron pot, or dish or plate or any cooking vessel upon the head, or say to each other eat your head, hand or foot. These expressions made use of, towards a chief, a payment is required, similar to that of approaching their sacred places. Such is the mode [of] blasphemy. Such their bombast.
New Zealanders are poetical in their songs, for instance in speaking they commonly say Nga weke, mentioning in their songs nga weke annamuma, ohe rugi (the lights of the sky) or nga weke a kenapa marko te maramu othe rangi, the stars that shining bright illuminate the heaven. Of their musical ideas or taste nothing more can be said than that they are singularly and curiously inteligent, until their wonder is satisfied; they wonder at and admire the most beautiful instruments; so with their musick, when they hear the sound of a piano or an organ for a few moments they pull and handle it all over, listen for a few moments and immediately become enraptured with its sounds, and readily imagine a disagreeable sound, comparing it with their shrill notes blown through a piece of hollow tube, perhaps as pleasant and musical to them. They have sweet voices and I was highly gratified to hear their songs and paens of praise to the God of Nature. More especially the women, for many of them have musical voices. I have not infrequently watched them for hours, to witness the gestures of the men and women, to see them play and to hear them sing. They have three remarkable ceremonies; the first is called (Iure) baptism; formerly when a child was eight days old, it was sprinkled with water with the branch of a tree, the name of which I cannot rightly understand. Many people have thought this doubtless one of the many customs they possessed which indicated their descent being from the Jews. The second ceremony is when a young man is full grown and considered competent for a warrior; before he attempts to face the dangers of battle he must undergo this ceremony. He is placed with his companions (if there be any) in water up to their waist. The priest then descends and leaves him in the water much over his head; he then repeats a benediction, and some superstitious nonsense, probably an introduction to the Gods which the warrior responds to. This page 98ends the ceremony. In both these ceremonies the priest requests three things: To be healthy, eat plentifully and be strong. To be vigorous and brave in battle. What the third is I have never been able to learn.
The third ceremony is after the warriors first field, he passes an examination, the priest puts these interrogatories to him; have you killed a man? with what weapon did you commit the act? The weapons are immediately confiscated and the priest does what seemeth him best with it. It is considered a recompense for the first mans life he has taken, and after which obligation he is quite at liberty to kill any one he likes. While this ceremony is proceeding, and when concluded, the priest fasts until a piece of his meat, (a piece of the body of the man killed) is carried to the next priest, no matter how far distant, and after his brother has partaken of the delicate morsal, he is at liberty to eat, and he satisfies his enormous appetite, doubtless by that time quite hungry enough for any meal; but perhaps the fellow priest will contrive to be not far distant.
But since the promulgation of the Christian religion amongst them, these ceremonies are fast passing away to the shades of darkness, their superstition and idolatry also, with the foolishness of man in bygone days before the flood. The good effects arising from it is indescribable, many of their slaves have been liberated, while others more or less leaving their masters, and those who remain only obey at pleasure, knowing as they do that the chiefs have relinquished the sovereignty of the country for the most part, lose in a great measure the arbitrary and despotic command over them, and in many instances the chiefs are reduced to the position of slaves, losing their dignity, feeding their pigs, and providing food for themselfs, and posses some influence, not power. But those few chiefs who have not given up the Sovereignty of their Country, to the command of others, (or rather sold their birthrights, to degenerate themselves beneath the beast of the field) are now fast rising to a superiority above their brother Chiefs, and by them alone can the white man receive redress for wrongs done them by the natives.
"The Warrior Chieftans of New Zealand" by Joseph J. Merritt. Williams was accused of aiding and abetting Hone Heke in his rebellion in 1844; fortunately he could establish that he was on leave in the United States at the time. The figures are those of Hariata (Heke's wife), Heke, and Kawiti.
Courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library.
New Zealand presents to the beholder a variety of wood. Amongst the most remarkable Trees is the Teehokee [Titoki] whose berry is of a dark black substance, resembling jet, set in and surrounded by a red pulp, said to be of a pleasing flavour, the leaves of a light green, forked and glossy. This beautiful tree is said to be venerated by the New Zealanders (an ancient practice) for a very fine oil obtained from the berry, or rather made from the nut incased in the pulp, and which is extracted in the following manner. The berrys are collected by the native women slaves which occupies them about 2 days, a mat of muka flax is then made about 18 inches wide and 3 feet long, which is doubled together and drawn together on the three sides (or rather sewed) leaving one side open which they afterwards draw up (or sew). It is then filled with berries and is placed in a hangi (oven) underground on heated stones for the space of 2 hours. They are then page 100taken out, well bruised by pounding the mat until it becomes moist and soft; again it is placed in the oven for sometime longer, and when taken out a stick is run through each end of the mat by the women slaves, by which process they obtain a rich oil run into calabashes which are placed underneath to receive it. After all the oil has been extracted the slaves rub themselfs all over with the greasy mat and berries, which operation is much coveted by the other slaves, considered by them as a very great luxury and a rare enjoyment. When the oil is cooled it is turned into the chief's calabash and carried to him. The slaves then anoint the Chiefs body commencing with the hands, and after him sometimes his wives and daughters, completely. It is then carefully corked up to keep it from vermin and rats, which are avoriciously fond of it: it is laid away in a safe place for singular occasions, such as funerals, marriages, feasts, and singularly in the time of battle it is an indispensable cloak, or rather appendage of the Chief, A toilet to grease his body, his head, and particularly his face, which is made to shine; then his battle axe receives a smearing. Dead bodies are also anointed with this antecedently to their burial, or being entombed.
The tree bears numerous small flowers in clusters on the stem, which hang mostly pendent on the tree. It propagates much faster in a warm sheltered situation near the seashore, and if propagating in an open locality, is said not infrequently to omit bearing flowers, or fruit for several seasons. At the present day in consequence of large quantities of oil and slush that can be bought very cheap from whalers, this excellent oil is out of repute, and scarcely known amongst, and very little used by the natives.
The Romoko or Romokomopo [Poroporo?] is a very beautiful tree said not to grow very large, or I should say not gigantick, big or bulky, bears a thin forked leaf of a pale green and pendent, which gives to the tree a very sumptuous appearance. Its flower is represented to be of a delicate white color resembling that of the plum in shape, blows in clusters and flowers successively from the bottom of the cluster and said still to retain most of the first flower, when its uppermost buds are all blown. Its berries are said to be pretty and make an excellent purple ink; it grows generally near swamps, on the banks of rivers, bears transplanting when young, and flowers in March and April.page 101
The Karaka this fine splendid tree is said to be very well known in New Zealand, said to bear small clusters of green blossoms in no wise remarkable; the fruit is of a bright yellow or rather red color, said to be a little larger than a pigeons egg: it is merely a thin covering of pulp over a soft kernal or nut which is said to be not unpleasant to the taste when ripe, but if eaten to excess produces headache. The natives are said to eat of it and to reserve the nut inside which is baked in an oven (such as they use) and when done it is thrown into a running stream and remains until perfectly saturated with cold water; it is then avoriciously eaten as a luxury by them. If eaten before being soaked in water it produces the most violent convulsive fits, and completely destroys the human constitution, in many instances deforming the limbs or body, contracting the sinews and turning the joints around, thus deforming and giving them the most awful appearance to the expression of the countenance, rendering almost every limb quite useless; it varies in violence of its attacks, and its victim is said never to recover til death closes the scene of his probationary existence. A gentleman with whom I was very familiar represented to me several instances of this awful and dreadful visitation, he remarked that most of the persons effected were at times insane, and said to have no remedy but the shaft of death, he further observed the tree with ripe fruit on it was a most magnificent sight, the leaf being of an oval shape, thick and of a rich dark green, and the fruit being of a yellow and red.
It grows mostly plain in the stock, large in the bottom, and branches of[f] and gradually diminishes toward the top until it becomes quite a peak; its leaf has a glossy appearance, it may be transplanted, but unfortunately it cakes and commences the blight so destructive to the American trees. Notwithstanding I have frequently heard it stated, it was a matter of dispute whether it communicates its blight at all. It is said that smooth leafed trees blight in New Zealand, but not rough ones. It appears to me that it might be easily trimmed and propagated to the dwarf or gigantick shape and size; it would be a desireable additional shrubbery as it never loses its leaf which is also excellent food for cattle who seek ardently after it, and when accustomed to it have been known to follow after a branch of the tree that an individual might have pendent on his shoulder for some page 102distance; it is a food that increases their milk. Its wood is white and soon decays, of little or no value, being very sappy. The Perriri [Puriri], this valuable wood combines two essential qualities, the ornamental and useful; it seldoms grows straight enough and abundant to saw it into timber or boards, and is generally perforated with worm holes, but it is observed when the grain is followed round the tree it makes good split rails for fencing, makes excellent posts, very durable more especially if charred, stands sound for more than 40 years, being very heavy and hard to saw, grows very large having an expanding or bright green leaf beautifully ribbed or fluted across. The blossom is red and its berry is red and round while ripe, when it becomes black. About the size of a small cherry, it is in perpetual blossom, and its bright red berries interspersed among the green fluted leafs, look sumptuously beautiful; and in the old trees a few weatherbeaten old white branches adds greatly to its splendour and beauty; it is also an evergreen, many in every wood lot, and affords food for wild pigeons during the winter season.
The Pohutukawa trees not unsimilar in shape to some apple trees is sublimely elegant and most strikingly beautiful tree more especially its flower and leaf, the latter being of a very dark green; its flower is a small cup with six or seven crimson stamen[s] of a stammel color, of about one and a half inches long encircling the pistil, and at a short distance this magnificently beautiful tree presents to the eye of the botanist a field of wonder, picturesque and sublime, gratifying the heart of man, and one of the most heavenly and beautiful sights that the human mind is capable of imagining; it is a delightful and pleasing sight to the beholder before the buds are opened or expanded, and the silver buds, green leafs, and crimson flowers marks a most elegant contrast. When the flowers are all disclosed the tree assumes one entire massive body of crimson all over, and when in full bloom of a warm day in December it is alive with birds (a black bird with a white collar and bands perches himself upon its branches and the green Koukaato fluttering among its blossoms, singing its lively and melodious notes, feasting with all the birds of that tribe upon the delicious honey it contains secreted in the cup, which is said to be most plentiful at high tide, which is easily accounted for, as the tree most generally grows page 103on the banks of the bays over the beach and sometimes stands on the perpendicular cliffs hanging over the salt water, for no shrub or tree could absorb more moisture nourishment when damped with the tide. In walking under the Pohutukawa tree in a windy day you may catch many drops of honey, as each flower contains one large drop in the nectary; it begins to flow about its tenth [year?] and is a very long lived tree. It is a very hard durable wood though not large enough to saw into boards, but makes good ship timbers, and as its branches grow into round elbows, there is little difficulty in cutting them to the shape required on which account it is valuable and for which it is of much esteem. It grows abundantly in every bay and forms a striking contrast to the romantic and uncouth columns, its wild and rocky fern clad hills; it is said that it never flowers when removed far inland from the sea shore (I think this proves the fact as respects the high tides and moisture.) It grows best from the seed.
The Kaurie is a noble, majestick and stately tree, universally allowed to be the Queen of the forest; its noble looking head is seen towering above all the other trees of the forest, and it is easily distinguished from them by its bright green and [is] generally pointed towards the top; its leaf is oval and it bears an extremely rich and beautiful [cone] in which the seed is contained under the scales. This valuable tree makes the best timber and boards in New Zealand. It saws easily and is a handsome wood lasting for some years, with the exception of knots it is not unlike the American hard pine, of a little different colour, shrinks in length, width and thickness; when exposed to the sun or heat warps very badly. I have frequently seen it warp one side, and when exposed to the opposite, twist and warp badly. Most of the dwelling houses being built in New Zealand are built of it, used for building boats also; in fact applied to almost every work. I cannot say I prefer it, as a wood for building, [but] for spars none can be better. It is not adequate to the American soft pine. Great quantities of sawn timber (boards) are sawed annually in New Zealand, and many cargoes have been exported to New S. Wales, and cargoes of spars to South America and England; they are very round in the barrel and very straight and long lengths. Lower masts for a Line of Battle Ship might be had. It grows plentifully and is one of the staple productions of New Zealand. The soil in page 104which these trees grow [is] said to be worthless for the propagation of vegetation. A Gum issues from this tree running down the branches & trunk, and fallen of[f] in large lumps imbeds itself in the earth, which makes quite good varnish. Some of the Gum is quite as transparent as Zanzibar Copal; some of it is opaque, caused by the length of time in the ground. Quantities is found where the trees once stood, [a] little under the surface of the earth, [in] districts from Auckland to the North Cape almost any quantity could be obtained with but little trouble.
The superb grandeur of the Rata tree is beyond description; and as I observed the Kaurie was the Queen of the forest, so is this elegant tree the Empress, it resembles the pohutukawa as to appearance but the flowers are smaller and finer; it is said to be a grand and magnificent sight in the month of November and the beginning of Decr, when in full bloom, more especially in a windy day to see its bright crimson branches wafting to the breeze, waving over smaller trees, a rich treat to the botanist, courting every admired eye. This is a durable hard wood though not used for boards; it is mostly perforated with holes said to be occasioned by the hote [awheto] a very singular caterpillar or worm. These trees are not very plentiful, though two or three is seen in every valley or forest. They seldom grow near the sea-side as the pohutukawa, mostly up the valleys in the interior.
The Reuru is another splendid tree when young, but its beauty and splendour grow dim and fade when growing old; when about twenty feet it presents to the eye of the beholder a most pleasing and sumptuous appearance, it grows perfectly straight and tapering, its leafs are long with four rows of very small fibre which hangs perpendicular to the tree which assumes a drooping appearance, but when the tree becomes old these splendid leafs become smaller and grow in tufts on long branches giving it the appearance of being dead, or 'covered with the old Mauries beards' rather than natural leafs.10 It bears a pretty red berry eaten by the wild pigeons; it is a hard durable wood difficult to saw, but lasting for building much longer than that of the kaurie.
The Kahikatea somewhat resembles the kaurie when young, but not so ornamental when full grown, it is used for boards, timber &c. and makes a page 105fair lining for wooden houses, though not so lasting as the kaurie, which is always the highest price on the timber market.
The Taraire is a very common tree sometimes used for fencing, splits fairly, but soon decays, it bears a large blue plum, apparently wholesome, but of an exceedingly unpleasant flavour when tasted, this also is eaten by the pigeons; its leaf is very dark, round, and flushed.
The Toro, this tree grows naturally into a perfect oval, and the leafs at the extremity of each branch are pink, the others quite green and pointed. It seldom grows larger than 40 feet and its flower has a pleasing and odoriferous smell.
The Kohekoke is a fine tree, grows plentifully, bears a large pale green leaf, which is said to make a very good substitute for hops, having a bitter flavoured juice.
The Tohara [totara] is handsome, with small sharp leafs of a dark green color, its wood makes fair oars for boats though not pliant, but a very good substitute in the absence of American ash; it is used by the New Zealanders for canoes. It is singularly ornamental when young.
The Rewarewa Tree is not much used not being large enough for boards and soon rots, it has a handsome grain and contains a great quantity of gum, may be easily bent when steamed over hot water; through which process it passes when used for boats gunwales, it is a light wood with a red grain running across, other slanting obliquely, its leafs are pointed with a tooth edge and of a dark green color, but it is not a tree of much beauty or an embellished nature.
The Miro is a beautiful tree of a small light green leaf, bears a bright red berry, and this also a favorite food of the wild pigeon; it bears about Febr. or March during which time the pigeons improve greatly. When the berries ripen, the Natives then commence their game upon this fine docile pigeon feeding on the tree, which are easily shot by standing under its branches; of a fine day many of them are taken.
The Hinau is also a handsome tree, the bark is of a bright purple, it dyes a beautiful permanent black; it is used by the natives to dye their mats. But I have never learned the process by which it is done; but I think it is page 106cut up fine, soaked & boiled, the flax is, I believe, then steeped in (or, in other words a strong decoction.) Doubtless this will lead to important discoverys in dyes.
We now come to another elegant and ornamental tree, the Rowai (or Rowly) [Kowhai] which is found by the sea side or by the swamps, or along round leaf, which gives the tree a handsome appearance; the blossoms are water cresses, the bark is whitish and the stem purple, bearing a minute a long bright yellow bell which hangs pendant, and when in full bloom it forms an elegant appendage to the shrubbery. Its seed is a long pod, it is hardy, propagates fast and bears transplanting.
The Towai is not remarkable for a tree, makes fair fencing.
The Tipau, although not remarkable yet a stately tree.
The Kumarahou is a common tree and bears a small berry and a white flower which is very fragrant and handsome and not unpleasant to the taste.
The Tawa is rather a pretty tree, grows mostly straight with its branches expanding, its leafs are long, thin, and pointed, of a very pale green and jutting over; it bears a blue plum which the pigeons feed on; the centre of this apparently nice fruit is a kernel resembling that of the Taraire something in appearance which is sometimes eaten by the natives. It grows generally on the banks of rivers and creeks, and looks handsome, sometimes bending its branches 'not unlike the weeping willow' over the streams with the leafs dropping into the still waters; of a moonlight [night] its reflection & shadow on the waters is heavenly.
The Kahikatoa, of this there are several kinds, the dwarf which never reaches the size of a tree, the Manuka or fine leaf, and the gigantick which grows into ordinary Size trees. The dwarf Kahikatoa bears a blossom and the Manuka or fine leaf bears a small flower and leaf with a smelling odour. The superior grows to[o] high up to observe its flower, or enhail its perfume. It is asserted to bloom, but when pointed out to me I could not see any blo[o]ms, 'it may be it is to[o] high to discern.' Such might be the case. The tree is a hard red lasting wood, splits freely and makes excellent rails for fencing, and fire wood, burning well and giving great heat, grows abundantly in every part of New Zealand, but not a handsome tree.
The Pau [Whau] is rather a graceful tree, does not grow high, bears a page 107large leaf similar to the grape, the white clustering flowers and the seed contained in a pericarp, resembling the Castor oil.
The Pate tree is by no means handsome as a tree or shrub, having nothing remarkable, only that its wood when decayed produce[s] fire by rubbing or friction, if rubbed by a harder piece of wood, which is the case with many other trees, producing the same kind of wood.
The Tupakihi Tree [Tutu], troublesome, yet [a] useful one, abounds all over the Island, it bears a long string or vine round the tree [on] which clusters little blackberries. The seed is contained in the top of the berry and resembles somewhat a flower. The New Zealanders squeeze the juice out in the following manner which is said to be a pleasing drink, and if boiled makes a delicious cordial. They first gather quantities of the berries on the string, they next plat a small basket in this form, [illustrated] pointed, in which they put grass, and sometimes the bulrush, which acts as a sieve; this basket is placed on the top of a calabash, in its opening as many strings as convenient. They work in their hands and squeeze the purple juice into the Patutu or basket, which runs through into the calabash leaving the seeds in the basket, but should a person unacquainted with these berries, harmless as they seem, take a few strings to bite, he will be sadly disappointed for the berries are not so innocent & harmless as they seem to be, they will throw him into violent convulsion fits, the number and force of these fits will vary according to the number of berries he has taken, and if the person eat sufficient of the seed they will have the same effect, and inspire him with a fearful disgust and terror during his lifetime. They will have precisely the same effect on cattle or on any creature that eats of it (the seed), and sometimes poisens its victims to death, 'to use the common parlance uses them up.' The Cattle are very fond of it, and its yearly shoots, more so after rain when it partakes more freely of the poisonous matter of the first, will sometimes occasion the same convulsions; destroying the stomach and causing immediate rush of blood to the head when the animal soon expires. The natives are dotingly fond of its juice which they call Tapu, doubtless for its mischievous qualities of inebriation. Their appellation for mischief is Tabu [Tapu] differing only in accent. They soak their fern root in the juice, and Koru if made into wine should be well boiled with the page 108sugar, and slightly diluted with water and a little Brandy, and improves and ripens the longer it is kept, partaking of the nature of French Wines. (To quote the words of the Mauries, [']if you keep him 7 years very good, and suppose you keep him 14 years more better.')
The Nikau is to appearance most likely a bastard, or in other words an illigitimate Cocoa Nut tree, for when in full growth resembles a cocoa nut tree, the leafs hang or rather stand out, each side of a long branch or rib; it bears a very handsome flower, 'this of course differing from the cocoa nut,' of a bright pink color, the flower stands below the leafs, and shaded by them; it is composed of many minute and slender flowers in the stem thus [indicated by a sketch] and when in seed before ripe have much the appearance of a green lizard on the tree; they are protected being encased in a leaf which encircles the tree 'almost fac-simile to the cocoa nut' (of which when taken from the cocoa nut is made by the natives into koia) until full blown, when it bursts off and exposes the flower and a new leaf above it encases the next flower; many are formed under the leafs in rotation varying in size until they become very small, but quite perfect, of a white color, at the bottom of the leafs, a fruit or white substance is found, out of which grows the leafs. This substance is called by the natives Pito' (pronounced Peetow [Pitau]). The middle is in seperate fluted layers called 'Muka' from its resemblance to the flax, eaten by the natives, said to be not unpleasant notwithstanding little or no flavour; the leafs of this plant is used by the natives for building the inside or the first covering of the roof of their house or hut pla[t]ted together and has a handsome appearance.
Having given a description, although not so perfect as I should have wished, but imperfect and concise as they are, they may not be uninteresting to the reader.
The Hotte a decided Caterpillar or worm, is found growing at the foot of the Rata tree with a plant growing out of its head; some have said that this peculiar and singular insect travels up the tree, both the rata & perriri [puriri] trees, and entering into the top burrows or eats its way through the trunk of the tree until it reaches the root; it then comes out of the root and dies or remains dormant and the plant propagates out of its head, the body remains perfect and entire of a harder substance than when page 109alive; there are many accounts of this singular and most extraordinary insect, but the above description appears conclusive to my mind to be the most correct, as the perriri tree is mostly perforated with holes, from which an inference is conclusively drawn, that this worm or insect has bored through and traveld. From this insect the natives make the coloring for tattooing in the following manner; they make two ovens underground, on one they place fire, they then make a tube or passage in the second from the first through which passage the steam passes from the fired oven through the tube into the other, and chars the other until it becomes a dark blue which is then inpected in the 'Wakau' or Tu the tattoo.
There are many different and remarkable species of the fern, most of them seed in leaf. The most remarkable one is Koraie which grows from ten to fifteen feet high. The stem and stalk are dark or black, the branches commence about two feet from the ground, and rise rounding from the tree, the main stem of the leaf bearing many smaller ones in succession branching out from it, on which the leafs grow straight, but which hang beautifully bowing towards the ground and have a rich handsome appearance. This tree grows in a complete circle, the branches growing out at equal distances from the stem of the tree; from the centre grows a beautiful head out, or rather up, the top turning round inward down towards the tree thus [illustrated by sketch] covered with very fine glossy hair, leafs, which rubs off with the slightest touch, it is therefore difficult for pressing, the substance of the head being soft vegetable. The root of which contains in the trunk or stem of the tree, the natives eat, being very palatable when roasted, it is a pale or dirty yellow and some brownish color, and not an unpleasant flavor, something in taste like pumpkins, it is frequently baked for a whole day in a New Zealand oven, being full of wood grains which run through the size of a cod line, which if taken out, the outside which is of vegetable is much pleasant to the taste. It changes its lower leafs annually.
The Ponga fern is perhaps the male tree, as it grows frequently near the Korau, and is like it in leaf, with the exception of growing taller, and the stalk bare, the leafs growing out straight from the head of the tree quite flat except at the extremity which droops a little thus [illustrated by sketch] page 110it gives the tree the resemblance to an umbrella, and adds much to the beauty of the forest; they bear no curly head like the Roraie 'said to be the female.' They change their leafs also annually and may be transplanted if placed in a shady spot, sheltered by trees, to keep the intense heat from them, and they propagate by being littered round about the root on the surface with dry leafs; their natural soil in the wood being formed by the dead leafs, which fall from the adjacent tree. Consequently they require a loose soil and sheltered situation.
The Puritan (Fern) grows and is raised with but little moisture.
Mokimoki a species of fern grows profusely on trees, near streams or moist places, it is a pretty little fern.
Piupiu, species of fern grows very ornamental.
Uruuruwhenua a handsome species of fern and not so abundant as other kinds.
Raharahu [Rauaruhe] this common fern covers the hills of New Zealand from one extremity to the other, but by no means ornamental; yet is said perhaps the most useful of any in New Zealand. The natives eat the root of this fern, first roasting it, then scraping it with a shell which takes of[f] the burnt part, and afterwards pounding it on a large stone until it becomes a soft ball. Many think it a poor repast at any time (I myself have thought from what I have eaten that it was much better food than it is represented to be) it is said the natives only use it at extreme times, when no other food can be had, they no want roast beef as doeth the Englishman. For about one month in the winter they use fern root for food; it is said they are obliged to use it for they can get no other; this decidedly is not the case, for with little exertion they can have fish, pork or vegetables, at any season of the year. After the fern is rooted up the soil becomes fit for planting. The cattle are very fond of the young fern, the sheep eat it also.
The next species of fern is indeed very handsome. It grows on moist grounds and amongst wet stones, it certainly grows pretty, about four inches above the ground.
Another kind grows abundantly in the woods. I think the appellation for it is No, and flowers round the leaf.