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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 3 (June 1, 1940)

Cook Meets with the Maoris

Cook Meets with the Maoris.

As they returned in the evening, Cook and his companions had a short interview with three of the natives—a man and two women—who appeared on an island which thereupon was named, “Indian Island.”

The man stood—his club in his hand—on the point of a rock, while behind him, at the edge of the wood, were the women, each holding a spear.

As the boat with Cook and his party drew near, the man showed signs of fear, but he stood his ground. At length Cook landed, and embracing the man presented him with such articles as he had about him. This treatment dispelled the man's fears, and for about half an hour they chatted together, though with little understanding on either side.

The following morning, Cook went back to Indian Island, and meeting the natives he gave them various presents, including hatchets and spike-nails, which were the only things they appeared to value.

At this interview the whole family appeared—the man, three women, a boy about fourteen, and three young children. They brought the ship's party to their dwelling—two mean huts made of the bark of trees—a little way within the skirts of the wood. Mr. Hodges—the artist of the expedition—made a drawing of most of these natives, who for this reason gave him the name—Toe-toe. On this occasion, the chief presented Cook with a piece of cloth or garment of their own manufacture, and made it clear that he would like a boat cloak. Subsequently, Cook ordered one to be made for him, of red baize.

When next the natives were paid a visit, they were found at their huts, “all dressed and dressing, in their very best, with their hair, combed and oiled, tied up upon the crowns of their heads, and stuck with white feathers. Some wore a fillet of feathers round their heads, and page break all of them had bunches of white feathers round their heads, and all of them had bunches of white feathers stuck in their ears. Thus dressed, and “all standing,” they received their guests “with great courtesy.” Cook presented the chief with the cloak which had been made for him and so pleased was he, that, taking his Pattapattou from his girdle, he gave it to Cook.

A few days later the natives were seen coming towards the ship. Cook met them, and leaving his boat, got into their canoe; but he could not persuade them to come alongside the ship. At last, however, they put the canoe in a little creek, and sat down on the shore abreast of the ship, but would not come aboard. Cook “caused the bagpipe and fife to play and the drums to beat.” They paid no attention to the music, but showed some interest in the beating of the drum—another instance of the universal appeal of rhythm.