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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.

The First Landing

The First Landing

Soon after he had dropped anchor, Cook went on shore with Banks and Solander. Doubtless, Tupaea was also one of the party. Discrepancies appear in the accounts of the landing. Only the pinnace and yawl are mentioned by Cook as having been used. Parkinson, however, says that the longboat was also taken; that it was sent up the river in search of water; and that the water was found to be brackish, “in which we were disappointed.” Banks merely states that the journey was made “in the hopes of finding water.” Then, again, Cook does not say that he took the marines with him, but Banks, Parkinson and the Canberra logbook all agree that the marines left the ship. Cook proceeds:

“We landed abreast of the ship and on the E side of the [Turanganui] River [Boat Harbour] … but, seeing some of the natives on the other side of the river, whom I was desirous of speaking with, and finding we could not ford the River, I ordered the yawl in to carry us over and the pinnace to lay at the Entrance. In the meantime, the Indians made off. However, we went as far as their Hutts, which lay about 2 or 300 yards from the waterside [northern side of Waikanae Creek] leaving 4 boys to take care of the Yawl, which we had no sooner left than 4 Men came out of the Woods on the other [the eastern] side of the River [western slopes of Kaiti Hill] and would certainly have cut her off had not the People in the Pinnace discover'd them and call'd to her to drop down the Stream, which they did, being closely pursued by the Indians….”

It was at this juncture that the first of several unfortunate slayings took place. The coxswain of the pinnace, in an attempt to intimidate the natives, fired twice over their heads. [Parkinson says that the first shot was fired from a musketoon.] The first shot caused the natives to stop and look around, but they took no notice of the second. A third shot was then fired, and it killed one of the natives [Banks says the chief] upon the spot just as he was going to throw his spear at the boat. [The name of the page 23 victim was Te Maro.] The other three stood motionless for a minute or two “wondering (as Cook puts the matter) what it was that had thus killed their Comrade.” As soon as they had recovered their senses, they dragged the body a little way. [Banks says about one hundred yards.]

Upon hearing the reports of the muskets, Cook and his party immediately returned to the yawl. Before leaving for the ship, they viewed the body. Banks says:

“The native was shot through the heart. He was a middling-sized man, tattowed on one cheek only in spiral lines very regularly formed. He was covered with a fine cloth of a manufacture totally new to us. It was tied on exactly as represented in Mr. Dalrymple's book, page 63. His hair was also tied in a knot on the top of his head, but with no feather stuck in it. His complexion was brown, but not very dark.”

The boats returned to the ship at 6 p.m. Parkinson mentions that some members of the party shot some ducks of a very large size, and that Banks and Solander gathered a variety of curious plants in flower. Soon afterwards, they heard the people on shore talking very loudly, “consulting, probably, as to what is to be done on the morrow.” A strict watch was kept all night, “lest they should come off in their canoes and surprise us.”