mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Sport 26: Autumn 2001

Anna Livesey — South Seas Analecta

page 3

Anna Livesey

South Seas Analecta

I 20,000 Fish Hooks

The Iron Age
took a long time to develop in Europe.In the Pacific
it came almost overnight: iron hoop, axes,
knives and firearms.

Birds of passage

Thus we called them, the traders,
flitting from rock to rock in that vast

When the first ships came they were full of men.
We imagined them sailing with only each other for love.

Our old people didn't believe it—
touched them to see if any hid breasts
under those strange wraps.

They turned their noses up, though, at our sons and marvelled
at the discovery of women, our daughters.

100 doz. tomahawks—commencing No. 1c, 3 (common).
20 doz. tomahawks. Bright without handles.
page 4 100 doz. felling axes (common).
10 doz. clearing axes (good for use).
50 doz. Adzes (common).
5 cwt. glass beads assorted sizes and colours.
20 doz. common small scissors.
20 doz. sailors' knives.
12 pieces bright cold scarlet coarse fabric, broad.
10 dozen drawing knives.
10 dozen butcher's knives.
20,000 fish hooks assorted.
20 dozen saw files X cut & hand saw.
20 dozen Musket flints.
20 dozen Pistol flints.
5 dozen good adzes for use.

Other items in request
were tomahawks, axes
adzes, cloth, fish
hooks, knives and beads—large blue glass beads
were most in demand.

For bringing a log
weighing 20 to 80 pounds
from the bush to the shore, a man received
a piece of iron hoop
about five inches long.

For example, at the Isle of Pines, Captain Cheyne reported:
The natives could form no idea as to the use
we made of the Sandal Wood.

After seeing biscuit
they came at last to the conclusion that we ground it into Powder
and ate it.

page 5

II An Account of the Invasion of the South Pacific

Influenza broke out among the natives
and they were very much alarmed, never
having had any disease like it before.
On 8 October 1843 the death toll was 20—the next day
a large canoe full of young men approached the ship.

When Captain Cook
entered the Pacific in 1769

it was a virgin ocean,
pristine and savage.

Its inhabitants lived a life
of primeval innocence.

Seventy years later firearms,
alcohol and disease

had hammered away at this life
until it crumbled before them.

page 6

III Naming

They were bemused as to what sex the strangers were.
Finally, one of the sailors dropped his pants to reveal his manhood—
a cry of recognition—

In Sydney the Gamaraigal's anger increased
when they realised the British were here to stay.

Their Ngooraialum neighbours had all got
white names, so
they took the matter up.
Several came to me daily.

In the course of a week
or two, I
christened the whole tribe, men,
women and children: Plato,
Jolly Chops, Tallyho. They
repeated their names
until they were sure of them.

The disease
was of a very virulent type and
after a week or so they were
unable to bury the dead.

By day and by day kept moving onwards,
leaving their dead behind them.

page 7

IV What Are We Here For?

Europeans say of themselves
that they came to do business: to trade,
to collect produce, solicit island labour.
What are we to make of the vision of a ship that stays beyond the reef,
shoots to kill,
and leaves?

Bêche-de-mer and copra, we push
our lips around new tongues—did we expect this place

to lay itself inside our mouths, so that we may never
be rid of the taste of it?

V First of All the Nature of Racism Must be Understood

There seems to be a certain incompatibility
between the tastes of the savage
and the pursuits of the civilised man.

This, by a process more easily marked than explained,
leads itself to the extinction of the former;
nowhere has this shown itself more visibly than in Polynesia.

They die when our diseases touch them—
as if superior germs reside within our stalwart skins.
Our vices, too, they cannot contain—
alcohol, women, the pipe.

page 8

VI We Start With the Fullest Belief

One day the Christians will come
with crucifix in one hand
and dagger in the other
to cut your throats;
one day under their rule
you will be almost as unhappy as they are.

We start with the fullest belief in the capacity of these races;
and with the strongest conviction. We
must prevent them acquiescing in the idea
of their inferiority, inability to help themselves, etc…
We aim at the practical teaching of the truth.

‘God hath made of one blood, etc.’

We don't aim at making Melanesians Englishmen, but
Christians; and we try to think out the meaning and attitude of the
Melanesian mind and character—
not to suppress it but to educate it.

My father
was a very wicked old man. As I grew up
it seemed to be my very trade
to lie and steal; and the Sabbath I generally spent
in hunting wild pigs.

I was sick and became a Christian.

Instead of going to war I got up,
put on a decent cloth and joined a party of steady people
who were going off to remonstrate.

page 9

I am greatly delighted to add
my old erring father
seems now to be turning to the saviour too.

VII Compliant Earth

The casual poor: traits of
brutality, mis-
and alienation.

They learned
to share their families; death
took half
before five years.

Europe looked to emigration
to resolve its strains, sending its unwanted children
to the four corners of the compliant earth.


Steeped in the humanitarian and revolutionary ideals
brewing in his native Russia, he considered himself
a champion of islanders.

He collected tooth and nose size, recorded
the colour of vaginas.

Once he cut out the tongue of a servant,
cut out his tongue and larynx.

page 10

VIII The Undisturbed Ownership

The tiers were piled with food—potatoes, dried
shark, eels, pork, oxen, pumpkin
and kumara.

Fine mats were displayed in piles, pound notes pinned
to pieces of string. A man
could stand between the tiers—the feast platform
was seven men tall.

The posts bore labels: Hamene—mutterings
that the feast was overdue. Takariri—we are angry
we have not provided enough.

Afterwards the tower was cut down for firewood,
and the site was never touched.

and rafters
painted in red
and white. The rafters
carved at the ends.

The roof raupo, the walls
totara bark
tied with flax.
The door at the centre and at each end
a large window.

page 11

The island of Kapiti
was claimed by five different parties—
each declaring they had purchased it, but each
naming a different price.

In much the same way
the district of Porirua
was claimed by eight separate parties,
each claiming Te Rauparaha had sold it to them,
each claiming the chief had offered the undisturbed ownership of
these lands
to him

A Mr Webster, an
American, claims to have purchased
40 miles of frontage
on the west side of the River Piako;
a Mr Painham claims nearly the whole
of the north coast
of the Northern Island;
a Mr Wentworth, of
New South Wales, asserts his right to 20,100,000 acres
in the Middle Island;

Catlin & Co. to 7,000,000;
Weller & Co. to 3,557,000;
Jones & Co. to 1,930,000;
Peacock & Co. to 1,450,000;
Green & Co. to 1,377,000;
Guard & Co. to 1,200,00;
and the New Zealand Company, 20,000,000.

page 12

IX In the Far-Off Places

The missionaries have been successful, but
at present they are cultivating their land.

To use the words of Rev.
Henry Williams
they are just holding on for their children, seeing
no better prospect.

They cannot send them home to England—
it is too expensive.

New South Wales would not be desirable for them,
and this
is their only chance—

There is only one thing
which keeps husband and wife together
in the far-off places:
only one lack that separates them—

and the want of it.

page 13

X Bait

As usual with functions where Britons are concerned
the event concluded with a feast.

The Europeans were regaled with a cold luncheon
at Mr Busby's house.

The Maoris, on the lawn,
had pork, potatoes and Kororiroi:

a mixture of flour, water and sugar
of which they are immensely fond.

These delicacies they devoured
sans knives, sans forks.

Blankets were brought by Mr Williams.
These I call the bait.

The fish did not know
there was a hook within.
He took the bait and was caught.

When he came to a chief, Mr Williams presented his hook,
and drew out a subject for the Queen.

page 14

XI Sugars, Cinnamons and Sweets

Europeans were expensive to maintain
at the princely level
to which they were accustomed.

They were notoriously susceptible
to disease
& alcoholism
& allergic to hard work.

If the Quashee refuses to do what work the maker intended:
bringing out these various sugars, cinnamons, and sweets
of the West-Indian Islands
for the benefit of all mankind, well then,
neither will the Powers permit Quashee
to continue growing pumpkins there
for his own lazy benefit.

XII These Alsatian Days

as the history of New Zealand was
during these Alsatian days,
there is no chapter
quite so dark
as the story of the seagoing natives:
page 15 taken
from these sunny shores, abandoned
in foreign countries, driven
at the end of the lash
to tasks beyond their strength.

The result:
many died, but undying
was the hate of the poisoned
souls of the survivors

the Maori
were a numerous, virile
and warlike race,
capable of deeds
of blackest barbarism,
but equally adaptable
to the softening influences
of Christianity
& Civilisation.

All Transylvanians are lazy, all
Calathumpians unintelligent or
all Pantagonians violent.

So we are freed
from the tedious need
to make individual judgements.

page 16

XIII The Roaring of the Sea

O Potatau
you will be a father to us,
will you not?
A great cheering and
a salute was fired.

The noise was like the roaring of the sea.

We saw that the elder brother
was quarrelling with the younger;
so one man was appointed
to suppress the fighting and stop the blood.

He is Te Wherowhero:
Potatau, King.

XIV This is Our Thought

We heard that Taranaki was destroyed.
Afterwards came news about Ngatiruanui;
here we were perplexed.

We had not heard there was fighting
until the soldiers had gone aboard the ships;
then we heard.

page 17

Now this offence was from the Pakeha:
hence, we said,
we are strangers to one another.

This is our thought;
we are divided,
you on one side,
we on the other.

This is another thing, about the roads.

The roads are not simply for fetching food
from a man's farm;
throughout the island, it is this
that creates fear.

At Taranaki, the road being there,
your guns reached the pa.

I have not heard that the roads
are stopped up;
the great road of the Waikato
is not stopped, the road
of the Waipa river
is not stopped. The Pakehas
and the Maoris
are travelling upon them;

the road of the Union Jack
alone is closed.

page 18

XV Argonauts of the Western Pacific

Noa Noa

I was sad; shall I manage to recover
any trace of the past, so remote, so

The present has nothing to say to me:
to get back to the ancient hearth, to revive the fire
in the midst of all these ashes.

Ethnology is in a sadly
ludicrous, not to say tragic,
position. At the very moment
when it begins to put its workshop in order,
to forge its proper tools,
to start, ready for work,
on its appointed task,
the material of its study
melts away.

Just now, when
the aims and methods
of the scientific field
have taken shape,
when men
fully trained for the work
have begun to travel
into savage countries
and study their inhabitants—these die away
under our very eyes.

page 19

after the fall, still able to walk naked without shame,
preserving her animal beauty
as at the first day.

Like Eve's her body is still that of an animal—
but her head has progressed, her mind developed subtlety; love
has imprinted an ironical smile upon her lips.

XVI Cane

I saw Wallace
hit Berracone with hand
on face and nose—
blood run out.

There was fire on the floor—
Wallace put Berracone foot in fire
and fire burn Berracone.

Berracone, he sick man then.

In their huts men from Malaita, Makira,
men whose homes are Vanuatu,
Guadalcanal, men
are sleeping.

They are the black
of a Queensland night.

page 20

In their huts, their noises of sleep
are the whine of a mosquito,
the sweet
of sugar cane.

What did they come for,
to this land of sugar
and flour?

The days are long—long
as the light lasts. The cane
rises and falls with the years.

In the black of their huts
they grease firearms, test
the edge to a knife.

Hungary killed himself in 1877,
having been observed attempting to starve himself.

He had been depressed and fretted.
His two brothers, engaged with him,
had both died.

Jack hanged himself at his place of abode.
Jack had been sullen for some time.
He said the men from the village of his enemies
chaffed him.

The manager of Richmond Plantation at Mackay
discovered the body of Nungarooarlu
hanging by a fishing line on an acacia tree.

page 21

Semen, a servant at Innisfail,
attempted to kill himself while incarcerated,
but only succeeded in self-

Remember Queensland—
remember Kalah?

Kalah of Api Island
was murdered with an axe
by two men from Santo.

He returns to the bay he came from.

From the back his buttocks
kiss the ship goodbye.

On his shoulder his breech-
loading rifle, on
his face—
on his face, from here,
who can say?

page 22

XVII An Act to Make Provision

How is it possible
to make a man go into the box
and admit he is the father
of a half-caste child?

I do not think that is a nice, or proper, or fair
thing to do.

A half-caste may belong to a syndicate
and it is hard to tell who the father is.

The size of the head
and its bumps
represent the shape
and size
of the brain within.

Aboriginal skulls reveal deficiencies in
moral and intellectual organs
and excesses in the passions, aggression
and the observational instinct.

If Australia is to be a country
fit for our children and their children to live in, we must

The half-caste inherits the vices of both
and the virtues of neither.

page 23

Do you want Australia
to be a community of mongrels?

William Lane would rather see
his daughter dead than kissing a black man

or nursing a little coffee-coloured brat
she was mother to.

Master and Servants Act 1861
Industrial and Reformatory Schools Act 1865
Polynesian Labourers Act 1868
Pacific Islanders Protection Act 1872
Pacific Islanders Protection Act 1875
Pacific Island Labourers Act 1880
Pearl-Shell and Bêche-de-mer Fishery Act 1881
Native Labourers Protection Act 1884
Oaths Act Amendment Act 1884
Elections Act 1850
Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897
Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901
Post and Telegraph Act 1901
Immigration Restriction Act 1901
Sugar Bounty Act 1903
Aborigines Act 1905
Bounties Act 1907
Northern Territory Aboriginals Act 1910
Aborigines Act 1911
White Women's Protection Ordinance 1926
Commonwealth Electoral Act 1962
Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody 1991
Native Title Act 1993

page 24

XVIII She Is Not

She is not an
while so employed.

whenever any such half-caste
returns to her people
and resides with them,
she becomes an
within the meaning of the Act.

Upon report by the Protector
that venereal or contagious
or infectious diseases
prevail among the aboriginals
of any locality,
the Commissioner of Police
may cause all affected
to be mustered
and removed

to some island or other place appointed for the purpose
to be there detained until cured

Well Mither…all black-fellow gone!
All this my country!
Little Pickaninny, I
run about here.
Corroboree: great fight;
page 25 all canoe about. Only
me now Mither.

All this
my country.

to search Aborigines
their dwellings and belongs at any time
to confiscate Aboriginal property
read Aboriginal mail
confine Aboriginal children
expel Aborigines
far from their families
order medical inspections
and prohibit dancing

XIX Notes By A Papuan Judge

Murder in their eyes
is not a crime at all; sometimes
it is a duty, sometimes
a social etiquette, sometimes
a relaxation.

You think how many kanakas
learned good agricultural practice
from planters, how many
got seed coconuts
from us if they wanted them.

page 26

And you think
how many were taught things—driving trucks
and cars, mechanics' jobs,
carpentry, plumbing.

On a Monday morning,
we all woke up
to servantless houses.

The man from the German club
was so obese
he was unable to put his own shoes on.

He stood in the road,
waving his shoes
and pleading with passers-by
to help him.

The strikers
moved through the town—
to the Anglican
or to the Catholic church.

The strike leaders were beaten
for confessions; kept below decks
in a sweltering hulk.

They were made to stand on deck
until they collapsed,
their skins

page 27

XX Masai Ariana

Murray, 1861-1940

However, I do not suppose
it matters much—
the Japanese will have not only Papua
and New Guinea, but
Australia and New Zealand
in another fifty

Thank God, I
shall be dead.

Aristocratic, autocratic, Labor-
inclined, witty,
intellectual & athletic,
married &
alone, kind
& responsive
to the Papuan people,
elderly &
attractive to women. A
in his own society, he
found his kingdom
in someone

page 28

For forty days and nights
watch fires burnt
on the hills around the town.

On the forty-first day
thousands of Papuans arrived in Hanuabada
for the death feast.

They lined the hills.

They sat in silence;
the only sound the tapping
of a thousand native drums.

3 February 1942

The first bombs fell
on Moresby.

Fires, fires
and fires on the hills.

Look Murray,
the Japanese.