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


An Ancient Native Prophecy—Brief Call at Beautiful Anaura—Earlier Misidentification as Tokomaru Bay—“Young Women as Skittish as Unbroken Fillies.”

It was a common belief among the Ngati-Porou people in the early days that one of their ancestors had prophesied that the Maoris would not always hold undisputed possession of New Zealand. During his visit to Sydney in 1874, Major Ropata, in a letter to his folk in the Waiapu district (published in Te Waka Maori-o-Niu-Tireni) reminded them of the prophecy:

“The divination and prophetical knowledge of our ancestors,” he wrote, “have passed away to other strange races. While Captain Cook was yet in his own distant country, the Rangitauatia (our ancestor) said that, when the roots of the slow-growing hinahina tree had spread over his grave, he would hear the clattering of a foreign tongue and the noise of numbers. And so it is. We now have the clatter of a foreign tongue and ‘many run to and fro and knowledge is increased.’ Now, ye descendants of that ancestor, behold! The knowledge of which he prophesied is in the possession of a strange people. With them are wisdom, knowledge, prosperity, greatness, power, truth, advancement and all excellent things. My friends: make all haste to acquire knowledge!”

Early on the night of Friday, 20 October, 1769 (civil date), when the Endeavour was just to the north of Gable End Foreland, three canoes came off to her. Only one native ventured on board; he was given a few trifles and sent away. The ship then stood off and on until daylight, when it was decided to put into a bay, which was afterwards named “Tolaga,” but, as it was found impossible to do so then, she went on. Opposite Anaura Bay, some natives came out to greet the voyagers and pointed to a spot where, they said, there was plenty of fresh water. As they appeared to be very peaceably disposed, their canoe was followed into Anaura Bay, which Cook called “Tegadoo.”

Some historians came to the mistaken conclusion that it was Tokomaru Bay that was entered. In Tasman to Marsden, 1914 ed., p. 22, McNab states:

“When opposite Tokomaru Bay on the 21st [October], Cook made another attempt to secure water and brought his ship to an anchor in the Bay.” [McNab then proceeds to narrate what occurred when Cook was, in point of fact, at Anaura Bay.]

Colenso fell into a like error:

“Te Ariuru, a large village in Tokomaru Bay, will always be interesting to naturalists,” he remarks, “on account of its having been page 47 the place where Dr. Solander and Sir Joseph Banks first became acquainted with the natural history of this country.” [In addition to mistaking Tokomaru Bay for Anaura Bay, Colenso also overlooked the fact that some botanical specimens had previously been collected by the celebrated botanists at Poverty Bay.]

In Brett's Early History of New Zealand, at p. 19, Anaura Bay is misidentified as Tokomaru Bay, and on p. 20 there is a full plate woodcut bearing the inscription: “Te Ariuru (Tokomaru) Where Cook Landed.” No such sketch appears in the records of the voyage.

Native tradition, which is to the effect that Cook landed at, and procured water at, Anaura Bay before he entered Tolaga Bay, is supported by the records of the voyage. Not only is the description of Tegadoo that of Anaura Bay, but its latitude, as stated by Cook, corresponds approximately. In Cook's chart, an anchormark (anchorage) is shown at Anaura Bay, but none at Tokomaru Bay. Cook describes his anchorage at Tegadoo as follows: “The N point bore N.E. ½ N. distant 2 miles and the S point S.E. by E., distant 1 mile.” A width of about three miles would apply in the case of Anaura Bay but, at Tokomaru Bay, the distance from Kotunui Point to Mawhai Point is four miles.

Parkinson also makes it quite plain that Anaura Bay was the halting-place. He shows the ship's track, which runs between Motu-o-Roi and Anaura and refers “to the island on our left hand, which somewhat sheltered us” [after they had anchored]. This island is named “Parkinson's Islet” on his chart. Becket's anonymous narrative also mentions the island and agrees that the ship sailed into Tegadoo between the island and the main.