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A Compendium of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs in the South Island. Volume Two.

[No. 1. — Copy of report from E. Shortland, Esq., Sub-Protector of Aborigines, to the Chief Protector]

No. 1.

Copy of report from E. Shortland, Esq., Sub-Protector of Aborigines, to the Chief Protector.

Auckland, March 18th 1844.


The Natives of the Middle Island, from Kaikoura to Rakiura (Stewart's Island), are now known by the general name of Kaitahu.

The first settlement on the south side of Cook's Strait, according to Native tradition, were formed partly by a branch of Ngapuhi, under a chief Te Puhirere, and partly by tribes whose ancestors had previously found their way from Rotorua, and settled at Wanganui and its neighbourhood. These latter, under the name of Ngatimamoe, spread themselves southward, and crossed over to Rakiura. After them, war parties came from Turanga (Poverty Bay), under Inoki, Turakautahi, and others, who drove Ngatimamoe beyond Taumutu, and took possession of the country, killing or keeping as slaves all that fell into their hands.

In time, however, peace was made, intermarriage took place between the two tribes, and their interest became one. In this condition they were when European sealers first began to frequent the coast; in their intercourse with these, frequent disputes arose relative to women or thefts, and blood page 124was at time shed; the Europeans adopting the Native mode of obtaining satisfaction, by killing the next party they met with. By degrees, however, a more friendly relation was established, for it was perceived that much benefit resulted from their intercourse with the foreigners. A small island on the north-west of Rakiura (now called Cod Fish), was given up as a residence for white people, where they built houses, and cultivated the land, assisted by Native women, who lived with them as their wives; there is now a large population of half-caste children in this district.

In 1829, the first black whale fishery was formed at Preservation Inlet, and in the ten following years they had increased to twelve in number between that place and Hakaroa. From the multiplication of these establishments, individuals found it necessary to purchase exclusive rights of fishing along an extent of coast, and hence the vast tracts of land claimed in this island by Europeans.

Having visited most of these fisheries, I have been able to collect statistical information relative to them, which is exhibited in the accompanying tables.* Meanwhile, the desire of Natives for European property increased; they gave in exchange their labour, pigs and potatoes, and latterly, land. Many visited Sydney in the whaling vessels, and returned loaded with presents, as the price of lands, which were eagerly purchased by the merchants of that place. The result of their intercourse with Europeans is now very apparent; they have acquired considerable knowledge of English; whaling and sealing boats have superseded canoes, in the management of which they show great skill and boldness; they have become expert whalers, and obtain employment at the fisheries often on the same terms as Europeans. Their houses, too, have generally doors and chimneys, and within, a platform is raised two or three feet above the ground for a bed place.

Tuhawaike, their most influential chief, who has unfairly acquired the name of "Bloody Jack," is perhaps one of the most intelligent Natives in New Zealand; his character for honesty is such, that he has frequently obtained on credit, slops, flour and rum in large quantities, which latter he retails to whalers at advanced prices; he has a good weather boarded house at Ruapuke, and has recently partly purchased a small schooner, which he navigates with a Native crew and one European sailor. In this vessel the Bishop of New Zealand lately visited Foveaux Strait, and returned thence to Hakaroa.

In May, 1840, Mr. Jones, a merchant of Sydney, made an arrangement with the Wesleyan Society, by which one of their members, Mr. Watkins, was sent to reside at Waikouaiti, a whaling station with a small Native population, but now increased to about 100 souls.

Native Missionaries, also, who had received instruction in the Northern Island, arrived from time to time, and being readily listened to wherever they went, became the medium of spreading rapidly (though often mixed with error), the doctrines of Christianity. Very lately, young men better instructed have been sent by the Rev. O. Hadfield, and by Mr. Ironside, to visit this tribe; they have, however, busied themselves in making proselytes, with more of the native than christian, spirit, and have caused a schism between the inhabitants of almost every settlement, one party styling themselves children of Wesley, the other the Church of Paihia. The distraction of their minds thus caused, has essentially interfered with their happiness, by producing ill feeling and separation between members of the same family. This would seem to suggest the expediency of not sending missionaries of different creeds among the same tribe at least, as they must neutralize each others labours, and may possibly cause an uncertainty of belief in the minds of the Natives, ultimately destructive of the cause they seek to promote.

A few Natives only in the neighbourhood of the French settlements profess themselves to be Roman Catholics, but they have at present no priest to instruct them.

Grave crimes are sometimes committed by Natives against Natives, which must ere long require the interference of Government in those districts where a more intimate connection with Europeans exists. Child murder, as far as I can learn, is not so common as in the Northern Island; petty thefts are rare, the persons and property of Europeans are more often in danger from each other, than from the Natives.

At the wreck of the brig "Luna," lately in Foveaux Strait, the former were accused of being more active robbers than the Natives. The supercargo employed the latter to convey the property to Ruapuke for safety.

At Port Levy, I found that the Natives had adopted the practice of plundering all runaway sailors, excusing themselves on the grounds, that if they took them to the police magistrate or to their ships, they would receive a payment; this evil will always. I believe, be likely to arise from employing Natives as constables, or otherwise, for the apprehension of Europeans; and hence, too, the growth of animosities between the two races.

Taking into consideration the absence of all efficient authority, except at Hakaroa, it is a matter of surprise that so few serious disturbances occur; those which do take place being almost entirely confined to Europeans at the whaling stations.

The visiting of those stations twice yearly, by a magistrate in a small armed vessel, in; order to enforce obedience to his decisions, would, I believe, ensure a greater respect for the law than will be yielded to that officer if stationery, and would, at the same time, lead to more orderly conduct and consequent success of the fisheries. For the amount of population, both Native and European, and other general statistics, I have the honour to refer you to the accompanying tables. A deficiency page 125will be observed in the columns relating to half-caste children, but from the data given, I think they may safely be estimated at 75 or 80 south of Hakaroa, and perhaps the addition of 20 will include all as far as Cook's Strait.

The oldest Settlers agree that the Native population was formerly much larger, and attribute its decrease principally to the introduction of measles, which cut off great numbers about six years ago, and to the wars carried on with Te Rauparaha. "There are, however, other constant causes still in action, such as the sale of their young women to European settlers, thereby leaving an inadequate number for their young men; the prostitution of women for hire to the crews of ships frequenting the coast; the inordinate use of rum, brought about by those employed at whaling stations being encouraged to drink the same allowance as Europeans, this habit is happily falling into disrepute.

Nor should we overlook the alternate adopting and throwing off European clothing, which must tend to develop disease of the lungs, so prevalent among them.

Their food differs from that of the Natives of the North Island in three or four principal articles of consumption.

Indian corn will not thrive in the climate, and the cultivation of the kumera, which has never been attempted south of Taumutu, has long since been abandoned. They have, however, a favourite but unwholesome food in the mutton bird, "titi," of which great numbers are caught every year on some small islands on the east side of Rakiura, about the latter end of March and in April. The young bird, which alone is taken, is very fat, and when cooked is preserved in its grease in bags of kelp, bound round with totara bark. A very nutritious food, kaura, is obtained by baking the young "ti" or "whanake" in a Native oven, in which state it contains a large quantity of saccharine matter.

This plant abounds at Taiari and Te Waiteruati, where its preparation gives employment to nearly their whole population, during the months of December, January, and February. This, the "titi," the pounamu, the feathers of the Kotuku, a white crane, and a strong scented oil, procured by holding the branches of the taramea over the fire till it exudes, have always been articles of barter with the Natives of Cook's Strait, and the Ngatikahunu, for which, preserved kumera, mats, and canoes are received in return.

In travelling through this island, you are surprised to find wide plains covered with coarse grass, with very little fern except in sheltered places; the base of the mountains being in many places, apparently, more than 30 miles from the coast.

Streams and rivers traverse these, but they present a general barrenness of appearance, from the total absence of forest, except in very few small patches.

The rivers which communicate with the lakes and snowy mountains of the interior are (in all, cases I have seen), remarkably rapid, and differ from the other rivers in being generally fordable in the winter, but flooded in the summer, particularly after a north-west wind, which is strangely hot and oppressive; this is not the, character of the same wind in the North Island, and must, therefore, depend on local causes, perhaps from having parted with its moisture by condensation in blowing over the mountains. It produces the same sensation on the skin as heated air would. I had no opportunity of ascertaining the actual temperature at these times.

Specimens of iron and copper ore have been found on the East Coast. Coal has been discovered not far from Moeraki, and is commonly used by the smith at the whaling station; he complains, however, that it contains a great quantity of sulphur, and as the place where it is found can only be approached in boats in fine weather, it seems probable that its removal will not be profitable.

The pounamu (greenstone) is found in detached blocks and pebbles in mountain torrents, on the West Coast, at Piopiotahi, Arahura, and Wakatipu, a lake in the interior. A Company was lately formed, by a mercantile house at Manilla, to procure this stone for the Chinese market. One small vessel has been freighted at Piopiotahi, and several tons now lie ready to export, but no tidings of the success of the scheme have arrived; the workmen, having received no pay for a length of time, have scattered themselves among the small settlements about Foveaux Strait.

In search of this, the Natives have been in the habit of making long sea voyages, or of journeying by land from the East to the West Coast. When procured it is fashioned and polished by rubbing down with sandstone; a work of much labour; in which every old man in a pah spends several hours of the day.

Much has been said about the difference of the language of this tribe, and of those of the Northern Island. It is rather seeming than real, and presents not half so many difficulties as a west of England man would encounter on visiting one of the northern counties. The principal variation is the substitution of K for ng, and the use of words nearly out of use in the north, but the meaning of which is known there, and, vice versa.

In their right of tapu, likewise, is some variation, many words being commonly employed by them which would be highly offensive to a northern Native. Such an expression as, "He mea ki tou upoko," would be used by Kaitahu without hesitation.

The word "papa" would indifferently denote "bread," or "father." In the north, such expressions would be considered an "apiti," or "kanga" (curse, or insult.)

I have, &c.,

Edward Shortland,
Protector of Aborigines.

The Chief Protector of Aborigines, Auckland.

* Not printed.

page 126

Enclosure in No. 1.

Name of Place. Principal Chiris. Connection. Adults. Children Total. Remarks.
Male. Female.
Rarotoka Tapui Derive their origin both from Ngatimamoe and Kaitahu 180
Wakaputaputa, and Aparima Tuhawaiki
Ruapuke Tuhawaiki Ngatiruahikihiki, name of hapu 350
Awarua Patuki
Rakiura and Islands adjacent Tuhawaiki 85
Tautuku Patuki 5 7 12
Matau 23
Taiari Pokene and Te Kai Kaituahuiriri 4 6 9 19
Otakoa Kaituahikihiki
Pokene Katimoki 160
Taiaroa Kaitikahukura
Karetai Kaituahuriri
Purakaunui Kaituahuriri hapu 10 9 13 32
Waikouaiti Koroko Tupepe-Te Wakaemi Katihuriapa 41 32 28 101
Moeraki and Onekakara Tuhawaiki Kaituahuriri 200
Tiramorehu Ngatihuirapa
Banks of the Waitaki Huruhuru
Hawea take in Te Kapa Katihuirapa 9 10 20 39
Te Raki 1 2 2 5 Information obtained from Hakituri he Tamaiti Na te Raki.
Te Waitemati Te Reke Ngatihuirapa 21 22 Children of both sexes included in these numbers. 43 The names of each hapu were written separately, and beneath each the names of all contained in it, family by family; it may, therefore, be depended on as correct, making allowance for the omission of slaves whom they object to have recorded
Arowhenua Teratahi Katiraki 6 6 12
Katuihaea 7 9 16
Katikahukura 6 8 14
Katihinekato 5 4 9
Taumutu Tiaki Kai Katimahaki 18 16 34
Wairewa Mapo Katiruahikihiki 10 10 20
Te Ikewera Kaituahuriri 5 5 10
Hakaroa Te Rauparae
Tauwau, &c. Ngatiruahikihiki 43 41 84
Waikaoroi, Pigeon Bay &c. Iwakau, Katata, Kaitahu 11 9 20
Kokourararata Iwikau Ditto 450
Kaikoura Ditto Ditto 5
Total 1,923