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The Diary of James Brogden, August 1871 – December 1872

13 February 1872

13 February 1872

We afterwards bought our horses. I got and agreed to take the guide “Moon” who had come thro’ from Cambridge. The rest of the day was occupied in buying saddles, provisions &c. and preparation for our next page 58 days start. We saw a lot of natives in attendance at the Land Court, administered by Mr Clarke, son of the Rev. Geo Clarke, Waimate Bay of Islands. By means of “beer” we got them to give us a “hucca” Song, which they did in style. A curious and most impressive performance they make of this, - working their eyes, arms, heads and bodies altogether, pulling horrible faces, and making a sort of deep breathing sound, then finishing their song in a high key, and finally bursting into roars of laughter. How these Maoris seem to enjoy life! They appear perfectly happy if they get enough to eat and drink. During the Wars in the vicinity of Poverty Bay they declined to stop the provisions in transit for our troops, preferring as they said, to fight well-fed warriors, and not famished Pakehas. (Who can tell if they had a lurking suspicion that the Pakeha would eat better if well fed?)