Historical Records of New Zealand
Memoir of Duaterra
Memoir of Duaterra.
In the year 1805 the “Argo,“ whaler, commanded by a Mr. Baden, put into the Bay of Islands for refreshments. On the vessel leaving the harbour Duaterra embarked on board of her, with two of his countrymen. The “Argo“ remained on the coast for about five months, and then returned into the bay. On the vessel’s final departure from New Zealand for Port Jackson, Duaterra sailed in her and arrived in Sydney Cove. After the “Argo“ was again ready for sea, she went to fish on the coast of New Holland, where she remained about six months, and afterwards put into Port Jackson. During this cruise Duaterra acted in the capacity of a common sailor, and was attached to one of the whale-boats. While the “Argo“ lay in Sydney Cove, Duaterra was discharged from her; but received no remuneration for his services during the twelve months he had been on board.
On his leaving the “Argo“ he entered on board the “Albion,“ whaler (then in the Cove), commanded by Captain Richardson; and was six months on the fishery, in that vessel, off the coast of New Zealand, and when she put into the Bay of Islands Duaterra left her, and returned to his friends. Captain Richardson behaved very kindly to him, and paid him wages (in various European articles) for his services on board the “Albion.“
Duaterra remained in New Zealand six months, when the “Santa Anna,“ whaler, anchored in the Bay of Islands on her way to Bounty Island, whither she was bound for sealskins. Duaterra embarked on board this vessel, commanded by a Mr. Moody. After she had taken in her supplies from New Zealand, she proceeded on her voyage, and arrived at Bounty Island in safety, when Duaterra, with one of his countrymen, two Otaheitans, and ten Europeans were put on shore to kill seals, and the vessel then sailed to New Zealand to procure potatoes, and afterwards to Norfolk Island for pork, leaving the fourteen men whom they had landed with very little water, salt provisions, and bread.
When the “Santa Anna“ arrived off Norfolk Island, the master went on shore, and the vessel was blown off, and did not again make the land for a month.
About five months after the “Santa Anna“ left Bounty Island the “King George“ arrived, commanded by Mr. Chase; but, previous to the arrival of this vessel, the sealing party had been greatly distressed for more than three months, for want of water and provisions. There was no water on the island, nor had they any bread nor meat excepting seals and sea-fowl. Duaterra often spoke of the extreme sufferings which he and the party with him endured from hunger and thirst, as no water page 339 could be obtained except when a shower of rain happened to fall. Two of the Europeans and one Otaheitan died from the hardship.
In a few weeks after the arrival of the “King George,“ the “Santa Anna“ returned, and the sealing party had. during her absence, procured eight thousand skins. After taking the skins on board, the vessel sailed for England, and Duaterra, having long entertained an ardent desire to see King George, embarked on board as a common sailor with the hope of gratifying his wish.
The “Santa Anna“ arrived in the River Thames about July, 1809, and Duaterra then requested that the captain would indulge with a sight of the King, which was the only object that had induced him to leave his native country. But when he made inquiries by what means he could get a sight of the King, he was told sometimes that he could not find the house, and at other times that no one was permitted to see King George. This distressed him exceedingly. He saw little of London, being seldom allowed to go on shore. He told me, about fifteen days after his arrival that the vessel had discharged her cargo, and the captain had informed him that he would be put on board the “Ann,“ which had been taken up by Government to convey convicts to New South Wales, and had then dropped down to Gravesend. Duaterra asked the master of the “Santa Anna“ for some wages and clothing, but these were refused, and he was told that the owners at Port Jackson, on his arrival there, would pay him, in two muskets, for his services; but these he never received. About this time Duaterra, from hardships and disappointments, was seized with a dangerous illness. Thus, friendless, poor, and sick as he was, he was sent down to Gravesend, and put on board the “Ann,“ in which ship I was about to embark on my return with my family to New South Wales. At this time he had been fifteen days in the river, from the first arrival of the “Santa Anna,“ and had never been permitted to spend one night on shore.
Mr. Charles Clarke, the master of the “Ann,“ informed me (after I had recognised Duaterra) that when he was first brought on board the “Ann“ he was so naked and miserable that he (the master) refused to receive him, unless the master of the “Santa Anna“ would supply him with a suit of slops, observing at the same time that he was very sick. I was then in London, but did not know that Duaterra had arrived in the “Santa Anna.“ Shortly after Duaterra had embarked at Gravesend, the “Ann“ sailed for Portsmouth; and when I embarked Duaterra was confined below by sickness, so that I did not see him nor knew that he was there for some time. To my great astonishment, I first observed him on the forecastle. He was wrapped up in an old page 340 great coat, very sick and weak; had a very violent cough, and discharged considerable quantities of blood from his mouth. His mind was also very much cast down, and he appeared as if a few days would terminate his existence. I inquired of the master where he had met with him, and then of himself as to what had brought him from England, and how he came to be so wretched and miserable. He stated, in reply, that the hardships and wrongs which he had endured on board the “Santa Anna“ were exceedingly great, and that the English sailors had beat him very much, which caused him to spit blood, and finally that the master had defrauded him of all his wages, and prevented him from seeing the King. I should have been most happy, if there had been time, to call the master to account for his conduct, but it was too late. I endeavoured to soothe his afflicted mind by assuring him that he would now be protected from insults, and that his wants should be supplied. By the kindness of the surgeon and master, and by administering proper nourishment to him, he began, in a great measure, to recover his strength and spirits, and got quite well before we reached Rio-de-Janeiro. He was ever after truly grateful for the attention that was shewn him. As soon as he was able he did his duty as a common sailor on board the “Ann“ till she arrived at Port Jackson, in which capacity he was considered equal to most of the men on board. He accompanied me to Parramatta (after leaving the ship), and resided with me there till the November following, during which time he applied himself to agriculture.
In October, 1810, the “Frederick,“ whaler, arrived from England, and was bound to fish on the coast of New Zealand. Duaterra having been long absent from his friends, and wishing to return home, requested me to procure a passage for him in the “Frederick.“ One of Tippahee’s sons was at the time living with me, as were also two other New Zealanders, all of whom united in the same request. I applied to the master of the “Frederick“ for their passage, who agreed to take them on condition that they should assist him to procure his cargo of oil, while the vessel remained on the New Zealand coast, and when he finally left it he would land them at the Bay of Islands. They were four very fine young men who had been a good deal at sea, and were therefore a valuable acquisition to the master; and, on his promising to be kind to them, I agreed that he should take them on his own terms. They all left Port Jackson in the “Frederick“ in November, with the gratifying hope of soon seeing their country and friends.
When the ship reached the North Cape of New Zealand, Duaterra went on shore for two days to procure supplies of pork and potatoes, as he was well known, and had many friends page 341 among the natives. As soon as the ship had procured her necessary supplies, she proceeded on her cruise, and, in little more than six months’ time, procured a cargo, and was ready to depart from the coast. Duaterra, finding that the master intended to sail for England, naturally requested that he and his companions might be put on shore, on the specific terms of their engagement with the master, made by me on their behalf. The ship lay (at the time) in the mouth of the Bay of Islands, where the residences of all their relatives then stood, and Duaterra had got everything ready to put into the boat, expecting they would be immediately put on shore. The master, however, on his being urged to land them, said he would do so by-and-by, when they had caught another whale, and the vessel then bore away from the harbour. Duaterra felt great distress on this occasion, as he had been from home about three years, and was most anxious to see his wife and friends. He earnestly solicited the captain to land him on any part of the coast—he cared not on what place—as all he wished was to get put on shore, and he would find his way home. The master was deaf to all his entreaties, and told them he would proceed to Norfolk Island, and from thence direct to Britain, and that he would be landed as they passed New Zealand on their way to England.
When the “Frederick“ arrived off Norfolk Island, Duaterra and his three companions were sent on shore for water, and were all nearly drowned in the surf, having been washed under some hollow rocks (with which that shore abounds) which placed him in such danger of his life, as he emphatically observed to me afterwards, that “on reaching the surface of the water, his head was full of sea.“ It is generally very dangerous for a boat to land at Norfolk Island on account of the great surf among the breakers. When the “Frederick“ was sufficiently supplied with water and wood, &c., so that the master had no further occasion for the services of Duaterra and his countrymen, he had the cruelty to inform them that he would not again touch at New Zealand, but proceed direct on for England. This occasioned great distress to Duaterra, who reminded the captain of his violated promises—the cruel usage to which he had been subjected by not being put on shore while the ship lay at the Bay of Islands (within two miles of his home), and being subsequently-prevented from leaving the vessel when off the North Cape; that it was a great addition to his misery to be left with his companions in a destitute situation on Norfolk Island, after all the assistance they had rendered him (the master) in procuring his cargo. Nothing, however, which Duaterra could urge had any effect on the callous mind of the captain, who proceeded on board his ship, and left the New Zealanders to provide for page 342 themselves as they best could. Duaterra further stated that the master came again on shore (before he left) and took Tippahee’s, on on board with him by force, though the lad wept much and entreated the captain to leave him with his friend Duaterra. (No tidings have been heard of that young man since he was thus forcibly taken from Norfolk Island. The ship was taken by an American while on her passage home, after a severe action in which the captain was mortally wounded, and the chief mate killed.)
Some time after the “Frederick“ had sailed from Norfolk Island, the “Ann,“ whaler, touched there for refreshments (she was then commanded by Mr. Gwynn), and, after procuring supplies, she was to proceed to Port Jackson. Duaterra made early application to the master, who very humanely granted him a passage. On the “Ann’s“ arrival at Port Jackson the captain informed me that he had found Duaterra in a naked and distressed state, at Norfolk Island, where the master of the “Frederick“ had left him and his companions without clothing or provisions. Mr. Gwynn further observed that the legal share of the “Frederick’s“ cargo of oil due to Duaterra and his three countrymen would have come to about £100 each, had they accompanied the ship and got her safe to England; and he considered that they had been very much injured by the master of that vessel. Mr. G. kindly supplied Duaterra with clothing and other necessaries, for which he was exceedingly grateful.
Duaterra was very happy when he got once more to Parramatta. He gave me an affecting account of the distress which he suffered when in sight of his own district, and yet denied the pleasure of seeing his wife and friends, from whom he had been so long separated; and what he felt, also, when the “Frederick“ finally sailed from Norfolk Island, leaving him on the spot, with little prospect of ever returning to his own country. When he left Sydney in the “Frederick“ he was in possession of some seed wheat, agricultural tools, and other useful articles, with which he was supplied, but he was despoiled of these on his voyage, and on his return had nothing left of all he had received. He continued with me at Parramatta till the “Ann,“ whaler, belonging to the house of Alexander Birnie, of London, arrived from England. She was bound for the New Zealand coast, and he requested me to procure him a passage, that he might make another effort to see his country and friends. The captain agreed with me to take him on condition that he would remain on board, and do the duty of a sailor while the ship continued on the coast. Duaterra readily consented to go on these terms, and took with him some seed wheat and tools for agricultural purposes, a second time.page 343
The “Ann“ was about five months on the coast, and Duaterra was ultimately landed in safety at home, to the inexpressible joy of his relations and of himself. During the time he remained with me he laboured early and late to obtain knowledge, and, particularly, to make himself acquainted with practical agriculture. He seemed well aware of the advantages of agriculture, in a national point of view, and was a tolerable judge of the qualities of land. He was anxious that his country should reap the advantages, which he knew it was capable, by the cultivation of the soil, on waste lands, and was fully convinced that the wealth and happiness of a country depended greatly on the produce of its soil.
On his landing from the “Ann,“ he took with him the seed wheat, &c., which he had received at Parramatta, and acquainted his friends and his neighbouring chiefs of its great value, stating that it was from it the Europeans made the biscuit, which they had seen and eaten, on board of ships. He gave a portion of this article to six different chiefs, and some of his own common men, directing them, at the same time, how to sow it; and he reserved, of course, a proper proportion for his own use, and that of his uncle, Shunghee, who is a very great chief, having a domain extending from the east to the west side of the island. The people to whom Duaterra had given seed wheat put it properly into the ground, and it grew well, but before it was ripe many of them became impatient for the produce, and as they expected to find the grain at the root of the stems, like their potato crops, and finding, on examination, that there was no wheat under the surface, they all, with the exception of Shunghee, pulled it up and burnt it. The chiefs ridiculed Duaterra about his wheat speculation very much, telling him that because he had been a great traveller he thought he could easily impose on their credulity by telling them fine stories, &c., nor could anything in his power to urge serve to convince them that wheat would make bread. Shunghee’s crop and his own came in due time to perfection, and were reaped and threshed, which convinced the natives that the grain was produced from the top, and not from the bottom, of the stem, as they had supposed, yet they could not be persuaded that bread could be made from it.
About this time the “Jefferson,“ whaler, commanded by Mr. Thos. Barnes, put into the Bay of Islands; and Duaterra being anxious to remove the prejudices of the chiefs respecting the wheat, and to prove (what he had before asserted) that it could be made into biscuit, requested the loan of a pepper or coffee mill from the master, to grind some of his wheat into flour (if such an instrument could do it) that he might make a cake before them, but the mill was too small, and he did not then page 344 succeed in his design. He sent me word, by a vessel proceeding from New Zealand to Sydney, that he had sown his wheat and it had grown well, but he had not timely thought of a mill to grind it, and requested me to send him some tools of agriculture, which I determined to do, by the first opportunity.
A short time after this the “Queen Charlotte“ cleared out from Port Jackson for the Pearl Islands; and, as this vessel would likely have to pass the North Cape of New Zealand, I thought there was a probability of her touching at the Bay of Islands, and I therefore put some hoes and other agricultural tools, as also a few bags of seed wheat, on board, and requested the Captain (Mr. Wm. Shelley) to deliver them to Duaterra should his ship touch at Bay of Islands. Unfortunately, the “Queen Charlotte“ passed New Zealand without touching anywhere, and was afterwards taken by the natives of Otaheite, and while she was in their possession all the wheat, as well as other things I had put on board, were either stolen or destroyed. When I received information of that calamity I felt much concerned that Duaterra should from time to time meet so many disappointments in his benevolent exertions to improve the condition and to civilize his countrymen. I was fully convinced that nothing could be done effectually for New Zealand without a vessel for the express purpose of keeping up a regular communication between Port Jackson and that island.
When Mr. Kendall, who had been sent out under the patronage of the Church Missionary Society, arrived in the “Earl Spencer“ I soon determined either to take up a vessel or purchase one for the service of New Zealand, and thereby make an attempt to establish a settlement, as had been resolved on by the Society in 1808, and for the purpose of which Messrs. Hall and King, with their families, accompanied me out from England to New South Wales, on my return to that colony. I endeavoured to hire a vessel, but could find none willing to make a voyage under £600, which I considered too much for one voyage to New Zealand.
The brig “Active“ having about this time arrived from the Derwent, the owner proposed to sell her, and I therefore became the purchaser, and ordered the vessel to be got ready for sea, directing Messrs. Hall and Kendall to proceed in her to Bay of Islands.
When the “Active“ sailed, I sent a message to Duaterra, to inform him for what purpose I had sent over Messrs. Kendall and Hall; and invited them to return with them to Port Jackson, and to bring two or three chiefs along with him. I sent him on this occasion a steel mill to grind his wheat, a sieve to clean it, and a few other useful presents. On the arrival of the page 345 brig at her destination the settlers were kindly received by Duaterra and the other chiefs, and every attention was paid to them during the six weeks they remained on the island. Duaterra was greatly rejoiced by the receipt of the mill. He quickly set to work and ground some wheat in the presence of his countrymen, who danced and shouted for joy at seeing the flour. He told me that he made a cake, baked it in a frying-pan, and gave it to the people to eat, which fully satisfied them of the truth of what he had repeatedly told them—namely, that “wheat would make bread.“ The chiefs then begged some more wheat, which they received and sowed, and there can be little doubt but they will soon learn to appreciate the value of wheat.
Previous to the time the “Active“ reached New Zealand Duaterra had resolved to visit Sydney by the first vessel which might sail for Port Jackson, in order to procure a mill, some hoes, and other articles which he much wanted. He therefore greatly rejoiced when the “Active“ anchored in the Bay of Islands, trusting to get a passage in her; but on receiving the mill and wheat, &c., which I sent he altered his mind, observing that he would now apply himself to agriculture for two years, as he had the means of cultivating his land and grinding his wheat. His uncle Shunghee had, at the time, a great desire to visit Port Jackson, and being a powerful chief at home, and having no friend at Port Jackson who could speak English and the New Zealand tongue, Duaterra was induced to accompany him, although his wives, friends, and people earnestly requested him to stay at home. He endeavoured to persuade them that he would return in four moons, but they disbelieved him, under an erroneous idea that the “Active“ would not again return. Their priest told him that his head wife was sure to die, before his return, if he left her. (This very woman hung herself the day after Duaterra died, on account of her tender affection and love for him.) He told the priest he had often returned before, and would soon return again. He accordingly took leave of his relatives and friends, and embarked, with his uncle and a few other natives, for New South Wales. About a month after he once more reached Parramatta in safety.
During his stay at my house I often observed him to be very thoughtful, and I asked him the occasion of his uneasiness. He replied, “I fear my head wife is either dead or very sick.“ What the priest had told him respecting his wife’s dying during his absence evidently made a deep impression on his mind. Though he had been about three years in my family before, and had acted with great propriety all that time, and willingly received religious instructions on all proper occasions, yet the superstitious notions of the religion he had imbibed from his page 346 infancy at New Zealand were deeply rooted in his ideas. He had great confidence in what the native priests asserted, and in the effects of their prayers.
His death has been the subject of much pain and regret to me, and appeared to be a very dark and mysterious dispensation.
During the last ten years of Duaterra’s life he had suffered every danger, privation, and hardship that human nature could well bear; and on my arrival at New Zealand, with him and the settlers before named, he appeared to have accomplished the grand object of all his toils—an object which was the constant topic of his conversation—namely, the means of civilizing his countrymen. He said with joy and triumph in his eyes, “I have now introduced the cultivation of wheat in New Zealand. It will become a great country; for, in two years more, I shall be able to export wheat to Port Jackson, in exchange for hoes, axes, spades, and tea and sugar.“ Under this impression he made arrangements with his people for a very extensive cultivation of the land, and formed a plan for building a new town, with regular streets, after the European mode, to be erected on a beautiful situation, which commanded a view of the harbour’s mouth, and the adjacent country round. We, together, inspected the ground fixed on for the township, and the situation of the intended church. The streets were to have been all marked out before the brig sailed for Port Jackson; but at the very time of these arrangements being made Duaterra was laid on his dying bed. I could not but look on him with wonder and astonishment, as he lay languishing under his affliction, and could scarcely bring myself to believe that the Divine Goodness would remove from the earth a man whose life was of such infinite importance to his country, which was just emerging from barbarism, gross darkness, and superstition. No doubt he had done his work, and finished his appointed course, though I fondly imagined that he had only begun his race.
It may not be uninteresting to some of my readers to subjoin also the memoir of another young chief named Mowhee, who likewise was instrumental in promoting the introduction of the Gospel to New Zealand.
When Mowhee was about eight years old he became desirous of visiting New South Wales, from the accounts he had heard of the Europeans, by Koodoo and Tokee; and to effect his purpose he embarked on board a whaler at the Bay of Islands (the captain of which intending to call at Port Jackson), and on their way the vessel touched at Norfolk Island, when Mr. Drummond (the harbourmaster) went on board and took Mowhee on shore to his own house, and treated him with great kindness, and page 347 promised to keep him as one of his own family if he agreed to remain. Mr. D. then placed him at a day-school, where he learned to read and write.
Some time after Mowhee’s arrival in Norfolk Island Mr. Drummond removed to New South Wales (taking the lad with him) and settled on a farm at Liverpool (a town about seven miles south from Parramatta). I visited Mr. D. shortly after he had settled on his estate, and found Mowhee living with him there, as a servant, or acting rather in the capacity of shepherd. This sort of employment did not seem to suit Mowhee’s turn of mind—he wanted to be placed in a situation where he could see and learn more of civil life. I proposed that he should come and live with me, to which Mr. D. agreed; and he was accordingly removed into my family. By this time he had learned to speak English tolerably well, and could read a little. He possessed an amiable disposition, and seemed anxious to learn all he could. He remained with me till November, 1814; making the period of his stay with Mr. Drummond and me together to be more than eight years. He accompanied me when I sailed to New Zealand in the “Active,“ and possessed, at that time, as clear a knowledge of civil life, and of the Christian religion, as human instructions could well communicate to one just emerging from savage life.
On 23rd December he arrived in the Bay of Islands to the great joy of his friends, and it gave me great pleasure to see with what kindness and affection Mowhee was received by his tribe. Terra, the head chief, said (on my presenting him a few trifling articles) that “he could accept nothing from one who had been so kind to his countryman.“ And while I remained he did all in his power to promote the objects I had in view.
When I returned to New South Wales, Terra’s brother, Tupee, with several other chiefs, accompanied me; and I considered these ample security for the safety of the missionaries and their property after my departure. Mowhee was left, with his relations, at New Zealand, that he might assist the missionaries in their intercourse with the natives, being qualified for that task by his knowledge of the English tongue. About twelve months afterwards Mowhee became anxious to improve his knowledge by a visit to England, having heard much of that kingdom, for which purpose he entered as a common sailor on board the “Jefferson,“ whaler, home bound, and arrived in the River Thames in May, 1816. The captain of the vessel, having then no further occasion for his services, and knowing that he was connected with the missionaries at New Zealand, took him to the Church Missionary Society’s House in Salisbury Square. His case and circumstances were laid before the Committee of that page 348 benevolent institution, which immediately resolved to provide for the friendless stranger. He was taken under the protection of the Society until an opportunity should offer to return h m to his native land. The Rev. Basil Woodd got him under his more immediate care, and provided accommodation for him in a respectable family. He was sent to a charity school belonging to the Bentinck Chapel, and during his attendance on it he was taken ill (on the 25th) and died on the 28th December, 1816. The Rev. B. Woodd published a very interesting memoir of him in the Church Missionary Register for February, 1817, to which I refer the reader.
I shall now proceed with the particulars of my first voyage to New Zealand.
When I was preparing to visit that island, Mr. John Liddiard Nicholas, a gentleman who came out (two years before) to settle in this colony, voluntarily proposed to accompany me. I readily accepted his offer, and we embarked on board the brig “Active“ on Saturday, the 9th November, 1814, and sailed down the harbour early that morning, but were obliged to anchor again near the mouth of the harbour by contrary winds; here we were detained nine days. On Monday the 28th we weighed anchor, and got-out to sea, the number of persons on board (including women and children) were thirty-five. Mr. Hanson, master, his wife and son, Messrs. Kendall, Hall, and King, with their wives and five children, eight New Zealanders, two Otaheitans, and four Europeans belonging to the vessel, besides Mr. Nicholas, myself, two sawyers, one smith, and one runaway convict (as we found him to be afterwards). We had also on board one entire horse, two mares, one bull, and two cows, with a few sheep and poultry of different kinds—intended for the island. The bull and cows had been presented by Governor Macquarie, from His Majesty’s herd. Nothing of consequence happened during our voyage. I suffered much from sea-sickness, and though I have been so frequently at sea I cannot get the better of that unpleasant complaint. I am always sick, and frequently compelled to keep my bed.
On the 16th December we saw the Three Kings, some small islands (thus named) which lie off the north end of New Zealand, about twelve leagues. We sailed close by them in the afternoon; and, as I wished to pass a day at the North Cape, we stood in for it, with a light breeze, in the evening, and saw the land before sunset. We had little wind all night; the next morning at daylight we were nearly four leagues from shore. We stood in till about 8 a.m. I was anxious to have an interview with the chiefs, in order that I might explain to them the object of my voyage, and introduce the settlers to them, and prepare the way for my page 349 future attempts to promote their welfare. After breakfast the ship’s boat was hoisted out, with a view to visit the shore. I directed Duaterra, Shunghee, Koro-koro, Tohee (or Tooi), and Terra, all the chiefs we had on board, to go in her, but no Europeans, so that they might open an intercourse between us and the natives, and bring us some supplies. The boat was well armed, that they might defend themselves, if any attack should be made upon them. Before the boat had reached the land, a canoe came alongside the “Active“ with plenty of fish, and shortly after a chief followed from the shore, who immediately came on board with his son. In his canoe there were some very fine looking men. I asked him if he had seen Duaterra, whom I had sent on shore; he told me he had not, and immediately showed me a pocket-knife, which he had tied to a string round his waist, and which he highly valued, and informed me that it had been given to him by Duaterra a long time before. I was much gratified that we had been so fortunate as to meet with a chief who knew our friend Duaterra, as we were now likely to obtain fully the object of our visit. I told them my name, with which they seemed well acquainted, and immediately enquired after a young man belonging to that place who had lived with me some time previously; his brother was in the canoe, and greatly rejoiced he was to see me; he made the most anxious enquiries after his brother, and I gave him every information I could. We were now quite free from all fear, as the natives seemed desirous to show their attention to us by every possible means in their power. I informed the chief that we wanted some hogs, and potatoes; he requested me to send one of his people on shore in his canoe, and he would send for some immediately. I ordered one of the New Zealanders, belonging to the vessel, into the canoe, as I did not think it prudent to send any European.
The chief and his son remained on board; they seemed very happy, and much gratified with our confidence in them; and I explained to the chief the object of our voyage. In a short time other canoes came to the “Active,“ and brought an abundance of the finest fish I ever saw; our decks were soon covered with them. We had now a number of natives on board and alongside who behaved with the greatest propriety. We traded with them for fishing-lines and other articles of curiosity.
Before Duaterra and the other chiefs returned with the boat a large war-canoe came off to the vessel. She was very full of stout, fine looking men, and sailed very fast, though the sea was rather rough, and we were at some distance from the land. It was pleasing to behold with what ease she topt the rising waves. One of the principal chiefs was in the war-canoe with a number of page 350 his attendants, and a young Otaheitan known to Europeans by the name of Jem, whom I had known some years before, as he had resided a considerable time with Mr. McArthur at Parramatta. This Otaheitan had married the chief’s daughter, and his wife was in the canoe. He was much surprised to see me, and I was no less so to meet him there, so very unexpectedly. He had been in the habit of calling at my house when at Parramatta, and was well acquainted with my situation in New South Wales, and he could speak English exceedingly well. I fully explained to him the object of my coming to New Zealand, and the nature of my intended plans for the future success of the design. He was much pleased at the idea of Europeans residing on the island. This young man, being very intelligent and active, appeared to have obtained the full confidence of his father-in-law, and to have great weight and influence at the North Cape. I made himself, his father-in-law, and the other principal men a few presents, which were gratefully received. After some conversation, I mentioned that the New Zealanders had been guilty of great cruelties towards the Europeans, particularly in the case of the “Boyd“: they replied that Europeans were the first aggressors, by inflicting corporal punishment on their chief. I also told them that Mr. Barnes (the master of the “Jefferson,“ whaler), when at Port Jackson, had informed me that they had acted treacherously towards him, in attempting to cut off two boats belonging to the ship when she was last at the North Cape, in company with the “King George.“ I said I was much concerned to hear these reports, and that, if they continued to act in this manner, no European ships would visit them. In reply to this, the Otaheitean young chief stated that the masters of the “Jefferson“ and “King George“ had in the first instance behaved very ill to them. They had agreed to give 150 baskets of potatoes and eight hogs for one musket. The potatoes and hogs were delivered, and divided between the two vessels, after which the Otaheitean and one of the chiefs went on board the “King George“ for the musket (which was delivered); at the same time the master of the “King George“ demanded more potatoes and hogs. The chief was detained on board, and the Otaheitean sent on shore for the articles demanded. The head chief said he had fulfilled the agreement for the musket by the 150 baskets of potatoes and eight hogs, and he would give no more. The chief that was detained prisoner on board the “King George“ was the head chief’s brother, and was with us at this time on board the “Active.“ The Otaheitean was sent to the “King George“ to inform the master that no more potatoes and hogs would be given, and to request him to relieve (? release) the chief, whom he had unjustly detained. This the master refused to do, and he also kept the Otaheitean a page 351 prisoner. In two or three days they were put on board the “Jefferson,“ and there they remained for some days till they were ransomed, at 170 baskets of potatoes and 5 hogs. The people on shore were greatly enraged all this time, and alarmed for the safety of their chief, the vessels being out of sight. After the potatoes and hogs were delivered, two boats were sent on shore with the Otaheitean and the chief. Great numbers of the natives were assembled on the shore to receive them. They were no sooner landed than the natives fired upon the boats, and I have no doubt but they would have massacred the crews at the moment if they could for the fraud and cruelty before stated. The Otaheitean told me it was not possible to restrain the people from firing upon the boats.
The chief spoke with great warmth and indignation at the treatment he had received. I assured them that both King George and Governor Macquarie would punish any act of fraud or cruelty committed by the Europeans whenever the proper information was given. I then gave them Governor Macquarie’s instructions to masters of vessels, and explained the nature of them, which was clearly understood by the Otaheitean, who explained it to the rest. I told them that the “Active“ would occasionally visit them, and by that means they might easily obtain redress from the Governor of New South Wales, and requested them never to commit any act of violence upon Europeans in future, but refer their complaints to Governor Macquarie. They seemed much pleased, and promised they would not injure the crews of ships that might touch there. I also informed them that the masters of the “King George“ and “Jefferson“ would be called upon to answer for their conduct when they came to Port Jackson, as I should inform Governor Macquarie of what they had done.
While the principal chief and his party remained on board the boat returned with Duaterra and the rest that had gone in her. Duaterra and the principal chief seemed well acquainted and were very polite to each other. The most friendly salutations past between them, and Duaterra, being now comparatively very rich, made several presents to his friends, as did the other chiefs who had come with me from Sydney. Duaterra renewed the conversation relative to the firing upon the “Jefferson’s“ boats, and laid the strongest injunctions on them not to injure the Europeans in future, but to refer their complaints to the Governor of New South Wales. This was one of the most interesting and pleasing days I had ever enjoyed; I was never more amused and gratified than upon this occasion.
Before evening we had an abundant supply of fish, hogs, and potatoes.page 352
I informed the natives we should sail that night for the Bay of Islands. They pressed us much to stop another day, and they would bring us more hogs, potatoes, and fish. I told them we had enough for the present, and that I would call and see them on my return to Port Jackson, and in the meantime, if they would prepare me some flax. I would buy it from them. The chief promised to have some ready. As soon as evening came on they took their leave in a very warm and affectionatc manner, and went into their canoes, to return to shore, apparently much satisfied with the reception they had met with on board the “Active,“ and the information they had received relative to the “Active“ visiting them again, and the Europeans settling on their island. When they had left us we made sail, and proceeded on our voyage with a fair breeze.
During the night the wind died away, and in the morning the little we had was against us, so that our progress along the coast was but slow. The hills and woods appeared very beautiful to the eye, and the fires of the natives smoked in all directions on the main land; the wind continued nearly the same during the day. The next morning we beat up against the wind, and passed the mouth of the Harbour of Whangarooa (the place where the “Boyd“ was cut off), but could not weather the Cavalles, some small inhabited islands a few miles from the main. The natives informed us there was a safe passage between these islands and the main, and we therefore endeavoured to beat through them, but could not, for contrary winds. As we were not far from the Cavalles, I wished to visit the people residing on them, and had the boat hoisted out for that purpose. Messrs. Nicholas and Kendall, with Koro Koro and Tohee, accompanied me on shore.
As soon as we landed, all the natives ran off, and secreted themselves in the bushes, excepting one old man, who, being lame, was not able to make his escape. We walked up to him; he appeared alarmed till he saw Koro Koro. I then made him a present of a few trifles; and in return he offered us a basket of dried fish, which we declined. Koro Koro immediately left us, and went in search of the natives. Mr. Kendall sat down with the old man, who was much fatigued in getting up the hill, from the steepness of the shore. Mr. Nicholas and I went after Koro Koro, but were some time before we could find him; he had gone to inquire after his relations, who lived upon this island. After some time we found Koro Koro, who had met with one of his own men. By this time the natives began to recover from their alarm, and to come out of their hiding places.page 353
While we were talking with Koro Koro and some of the natives, his aunt was seen coming towards us, with some women and children; she had a bough twisted round her head and another in her hand, and a young child on her back. When she came within one hundred yards, she began to make a very mournful lamentation, and hung down her head, as if oppressed by the heaviest grief. She advanced to Koro Koro with a slow pace; Koro Koro appeared much agitated; he stood in deep silence, like a statue, leaning upon his musket; as his aunt advanced she prayed aloud and wept exceedingly; Tohee (Koro Koro’s brother) seemed much affected, and, as if ashamed of his aunt’s conduct, he told us he would not cry. “I will act like an Englishman,“ he said, “I will not cry.“ Koro Koro remained motionless till his aunt came up to him, when they laid their heads together, the woman leaning upon a staff and Koro Koro upon his gun, and in this situation they wept aloud for a long time, and repeated short sentences alternately, which, we understood, were prayers, and continued weeping, the tears rolling down their sable countenances in torrents. It was impossible to see them without being deeply affected. At this time also the daughter of Koro Koro’s aunt sat at her mother’s feet weeping, and all the women joined in their lamentations. We thought this an extraordinary custom amongst them, and a singular mode of manifesting their joy, but we afterwards found that this custom was general in the Island of New Zealand. Many of these poor women cut themselves in their faces, hands, and breasts with sharp shells or flints, till the blood ran down in streams. When their tears and lamentations had subsided I presented the women with a few presents. Tohee had sat all this time labouring to suppress his feelings (having declared he would not cry). In a short time we were joined by several fine young men. Among them there was a youth, the son of a chief on the island. When Tohee saw him coming he could contain his feelings no longer, but instantly ran to him, and they were locked in each other’s arms, weeping aloud. After they had saluted each other, and the women had gone through various ceremonies, we entered into conversation with them. I enquired why they all ran off into the bushes; they told us that they had supposed, when we landed, that we were going to shoot them. These people were greatly rejoiced when they found us to be their friends. They did everything in their power to please and gratify us. After spending a few hours we returned to the place where we left Mr. Kendall talking to the old man. A number of the natives attended us, and we enjoyed a very pleasant day, as every object around us was new and interesting, particularly the inhabitants. From the page 354 top of the Cavalles, the view of the mainland, together with the ocean, and the numerous small islands scattered upon it, is the most delightful I ever saw (at least, I thought so). When we arrived we found Mr. Kendall had been visited by some of the natives, who were still with him, and had much entertained him during our absence. In the evening we returned to the vessel accompanied by the son of the chief and other chiefs from the main, who remained on board all night.
The next morning the wind still continued against us, and we had been labouring more than a day and a night to work the vessel either round the islands or between them and the main to no purpose. I thought it most prudent, as there were good anchorage, to bring the vessel to anchor, and wait for a fair wind. I communicated my wishes to the master accordingly; and we came to anchor between the islands and the main, in 7 fathoms of water. Here we lay about five leagues from Whangarooa Harbour, where the “Boyd“ was cut off, and her crew massacred, and one league from that part of the main which belonged to the chief Shunghee, who came with us from Port Jackson.
Duaterra and Shunghee had often told me of the bloody war which had been carried on between the people of Whangarooa and those of the Bay of Islands from the time the “Boyd“ was destroyed till that period. During the stay of these chiefs in New South Wales they were always apprehensive that the chiefs of Whangarooa would take advantage of their absence to make an attack upon the people at the Bay of Islands. However, we here learned that there had been no disturbance since they had left home. It appeared that after the “Boyd“ had been cut off Tippahee (a chief belonging to the Bay of Islands, and who had visited Port Jackson, where he received great attention) was accused of being concerned in that dreadful massacre, and, in consequence of which, the whalers, who were at that time on the coast, and had come into the Bay of Islands shortly after that affair, united their force, and sent seven armed boats before daybreak to attack the island of Tippahee, where, on their landing, they shot every man, woman, and child that came in their way; in this attack Tippahee received seven wounds, and soon afterwards died. Duaterra and Shunghee always declared that Tippahee was innocent of the crime for which he suffered; and that Tippoohee, of Whangarooa, committed it. Whangarooa is situated about thirty miles nearer the North Cape than the Bay of Islands. Tippahee was in the habit of trading with the people of Whangarooa, and happened to go there with a cargo of fish on the day in which the “Boyd“ was taken, and the whole of her crew massacred. When he page 355 arrived five only of her men were alive and in the rigging, whom he took into his own canoe and landed them, with a view of saving their lives; but, being followed by the people who committed the outrage, these five were forcibly taken from him and instantly put to death.
This is the account given by those natives who had first visited New South Wales. They originally declared that Tippahee was innocent of the destruction of the “Boyd.“ The people at the Bay of Islands, in consequence of the murder of their chief, Tippahee, declared war against the people of Whangarooa. Several desperate battles had been fought, and the war was likely to continue.
I had often told Duaterra and Shunghee that it would be to the interest of all parties to make peace, and that I wished to see it established before I quitted New Zealand. Duaterra expressed his doubts as to the accomplishment of this object. I told him I thought, if I could obtain an interview with the chiefs, I might bring it about, and that it was my determination to visit Whangarooa before my return, to try what could be done.
The wind continued in the same quarter next day, which obliged us to remain at anchor. I again visited the Cavalles, and there learnt that the chiefs of Whangarooa were on the main and all the principal warriors; they had come to the funeral of some great warrior, who had died a few days before, and were then encamped on the shore opposite to our anchorage. At this information I hastened on board and consulted with Duaterra—told him how anxious I was to make peace, now that Europeans were come to settle among them—that this would secure the lives of the Europeans and tend to the general benefit of their country. I expressed my wish to visit the camp of the Whangarooa people, and hear what the chiefs had to say on the subject. As he had never met these people since the loss of the “Boyd,“ except in the field of battle, he hesitated some time. I did all I could to induce him to try the experiment. He was not afraid of himself, but was apprehensive that some accident might happen to me, or to the persons of my party. He at length consented to go on shore with me. Shunghee and Koro Koro agreed to accompany us, and Messrs. Nicholas, Kendall, King, and Hanson volunteered to do the same. We took several loaded muskets in the boats with us. The beach on which we landed belonged to Shanghee and was covered with his people.
On approaching the shore we saw the Whangarooa chiefs, with their warriors, encamped on high sugar loaf hill to our left, with colours flying, &c. The foot of this hill communicated with the sea. As soon as they saw us land, our distance from page 356 them being about half a mile, they took to their spears, struck their colours, and ran off as fast as they could. Duaterra took a brace of large pistols, and desired me to follow him slowly, for he would come up to them at a certain point, where they must speak to him, because they could not escape by any other way. We accordingly followed Duaterra in a body, and were surrounded by a crowd of men, women, and children belonging to Shunghee’s tribe. A few of the principal people ran in different directions to clear the way, and keep the crowd from pressing on us. In a short time Duaterra returned to meet us, and called on me to come forward. We accordingly mended our pace, and soon came in sight of the Whangarooa people, who had stopped to receive us. A line was formed on each side for us to pass through them. An old woman, whom I took to be a priestess, made a very great noise, and waved a flag in her hand as we advanced. The chiefs were all seated on the ground, according to their custom, and their warriors standing up, with their spears fixed in the ground uprightly. These instruments were from 15 ft. to 20 ft. in length. They were also armed with patooes. Duaterra, with a pistol in his hand, stood at some distance from the chiefs, and, on my coming up to them, he fired off the pistol, and directed those who had muskets to do the same. This being done, the Whangarooa party returned the compliment by discharging their firearms, which I considered a favorable omen to the success of my mission. One of the principal chiefs (who had cut off the “Boyd“) had been at Parramatta and knew me; he had also acquired tolerable English from being on board of whalers. He was known to Europeans by the name of George.
I made a few presents to the chiefs, and after some conversation on various subjects, particularly on our visit to New Zealand, I enquired how they came to cut off the “Boyd“ and to murder the crew. Two of them stated that they were at Port Jackson when the “Boyd“ was there, and had been put on board by a Mr. Lord in order to return home—that George (their head chief) had fallen sick while on board, and was unable to do his duty as a common sailor, in consequence of which he was severely punished—was refused provisions, threatened to be thrown overboard, and many other indignities were offered to him, even by the common sailors. He remonstrated with the master, begged that no corporal punishment might be inflicted on him, observing that he was a chief in his own country, which they would ascertain on arrival at New Zealand. He was told he was no chief, with many abusive terms which he mentioned, and which are but too commonly used by British seamen. When he arrived at Whangarooa his back was in a very lacerated state, and his friends and people were determined page 357 to revenge the insult which had been offered to him. He said if he had not been treated with such cruelty the “Boyd“ would never have been touched.
From the accounts which these people and their chiefs gave of the destruction of the “Boyd,“ Tippahee had had no hand in this melancholy affair—it was wholly their own act and deed. This appeared to be strictly true, for I saw no reason to disbelieve their declaration that Tippahee and his people suffered innocently, and that their death was the cause of much bloodshed, for many men since that rash act was committed have been cut off belonging to the Bay of Islands, as well as to the Whangarooa Tribe, with whom the affair originated. I never passed Tippahee’s island without a sigh—it is now desolate, without an inhabitant, and has been so since his death. The ruins of his little cottage, built by the kindness of the late Governor King, still remains, and I hope that those Europeans who were engaged in that fatal transaction were ignorant at the time that they were punishing the innocent. I think it probable that the mistake (if there was one) originated in the affinity between the name of Tippahee and that of the chief of Whangarooa who was principally concerned in the destruction of the “Boyd,“ styled Tippoohee. This chief I saw and conversed with on the subject.
Having fully satisfied myself respecting the loss of the “Boyd,“ and explained to these people the reason of the “Active’s“ coming to New Zealand, I found, as night was coming on, I could not accomplish the grand object I had in view—namely, to establish peace among them—without loss of more time. I therefore resolved to remain in their camp all night. Shunghee had given directions to his people to prepare supper for us nearly a mile from where we then were. I told the chief we would go to visit Shunghee’s people, and when we had taken some refreshment Mr. Nicholas and I would return, and spend the night in their camp, in order that we might have a little more conversation with them. To this they readily consented, and, with a view to show us some marked attention, they entertained us with a sham fight, a war-dance, and a song of victory before we went to Shunghee’s people.
After these ceremonies were over we took our leave, and returned to the place where we had landed, attended by a great number of natives. Shunghee’s servants had got our potatoes and fish prepared. Duaterra and the party who had come with us from the vessel now returned on board, leaving myself, Mr. Nicholas, and Shunghee to spend the night on shore. We sat down to supper on the ground, but were soon almost smothered by the natives, who crowded so close around us that I was compelled to draw a circle, and direct them not to pass it. We page 358 were here much amused by these people, and they appeared equally so with us: they manifested every desire to serve us: and after spending about an hour with them, we returned to the camp of the Whangarooa warriors, who had removed about half a mile from the place where we had the first interview with them, and had taken their station on a level piece of ground, which I estimated to contain about 100 acres.
When we arrived, they received us very cordially. We sat down among them and the chiefs surrounded us. I then renewed our conversation relative to the destruction of the “Boyd,“ with a view of bringing about a reconciliation between them and the inhabitants of the Bay of Islands, as I considered the establishment of peace between these contending parties of great importance to the mission. The chiefs told me the state the wreck of the “Boyd“ was then in, and promised to give me the guns and whatever remained belonging to her if I would go into their harbour. They had got some of the guns on shore, and would get the rest. The chief George told me that his father and five others were blown up in the “Boyd“ when she took fire. His father had got part of the powder on deck with some of the muskets, and was trying one of the flints in a musket lock—whether it would strike fire—when a spark from it caught the powder, and the explosion killed all within its reach. He pressed me much to go into their harbour. I told him I probably might do so before I left New Zealand, provided the wind would permit; but I could not then go, on account of the stock and number of people I had on board the “Active.“ I then addressed them on the subject of peace; pointed out to him how much more it would be for their interest and happiness to turn their attention to agriculture, and the improvement of their country, than continue to fight and murder one another, and particularly now, as the Europeans were about to settle amongst them, through whom they would obtain wheat to sow their land and tools to cultivate it. I assured them that every assistance would be given by the Europeans to promote the improvement of their present situation; and that if they would only attend to the cultivation of their land, and lay aside all sorts of war and murder, they would soon become a great and happy people. George replied that he did not want to fight any more, and was ready to make peace. Much conversation then passed, chiefly respecting New Zealand and Port Jackson, which George had visited. I endeavoured to press upon his mind the great degree of comfort we enjoyed as compared with his countrymen’s enjoyments—our mode of living, houses, &c., which he had seen, and that all these blessings might be obtained by them by cultivating their land and improving themselves page 359 in useful knowledge, which they would now have an opportunity to acquire from the European settlers. He seemed sensible of all these advantages, and expressed a wish to follow my advice. The other chiefs and their people stood around us.
As the evening advanced the people began to retire to rest in different groups. About 11 p.m. Mr. Nicholas and I wrapped ourselves up in our great coats, and prepared for rest also. George directed me to lie by his side; his wife and child lay on one hand, myself on the other, and Mr. Nicholas close by the family. The night was clear, the stars shone brightly, and the sea in our front was smooth. Around us were numerous spears stuck upright in the ground, and groups of natives lying in all directions like a flock of sheep upon the grass, as there were neither tents nor huts to cover them. I viewed our situation with new sensations and feelings that I cannot express—surrounded by cannibals who had massacred and devoured our countrymen, I wondered much at the mysteries of Providence, and how these things could be. Never did I behold the blessed advantages of civilisation in a more grateful light than at that moment. I did not sleep much during the night; my mind was too anxiously occupied by the present scene, and the new and strange ideas it naturally excited. About 3 o’clock in the morning I arose and walked about the camp, surveying the different groups of natives, some of whom put out their heads from under the tops of their “Kakka-haws,“ which are like a beehive, and spoke to me. When the morning light appeared we beheld men, women, and children asleep in all directions, like the beasts of the field.
I had directed the boat to be brought on shore for us at daylight, and soon after Duaterra arrived in the camp. I then invited the chiefs to breakfast on board the “Active,“ which invitation was readily accepted. We immediately went in the boat together, and several canoes put off at the same time for the “Active.“ At first I entertained doubts whether the chiefs would trust themselves to us or not, on account of the “Boyd,“ lest we should detain them while we had them in our power; but they showed no signs of fear, and went on board with apparent confidence. I communicated to Duaterra my intention to make them some presents. He told me whatever article I gave to one, I must give a similar article to another; and each article was to be given separately, and to the eldest chief first. The axes, bill-hooks, prints, &c., &c., which I intended to give them were all got ready after breakfast. The chiefs were seated in the cabin, in great form, to receive the presents. I sat on one side of the table and they on the other. Duaterra stood and handed to me each article separately, that I was to give them. Messrs. page 360 Kendall, Hall, and King, with the master of the “Active“ and his son, were all one after the other introduced to the chiefs; and the chiefs were at the same time informed what duties each of these persons was appointed to do—i.e., Mr. Kendall to instruct their children; Mr. Hall to build houses and boats, &c., &c.; Mr. King to make fishing-lines; and Mr. Hanson to command the “Active,“ which would be employed in bringing axes and such other articles as were wanted from Port Jackson, to enable them to cultivate their land, and improve their country.
When the ceremonies of giving and receiving presents was over, I expressed my hopes that they would have no more wars, but from that time would be reconciled to each other. Duaterra, Shunghee, and Koro Koro all shook hands with the chiefs of Whangarooa, and saluted each other, as a token of reconciliation, by joining their noses together. I was much gratified to see these men at amity once more, and sincerely wished that this peace might never be broken, and I considered the time well employed while we had been detained by adverse winds. The chiefs took their leave, much pleased with our attention to them, and promised never to injure any European in future.
Having nothing more to do, and the wind having become favourable, we weighed anchor in the afternoon, and stood for the Bay of Islands. We reached the mouth of the harbour, and were met by a war-canoe belonging to Koro Koro, who resided on the south side of the harbour. In this canoe were Koro Koro’s son and a number of his servants, who were all greatly rejoiced to see their chief. He left his son on board, and immediately went on shore himself. At 3 p.m. on Thursday, 22nd Dec., we anchored on the north side of the harbour, about seven miles from the Heads, in a cove opposite to the town of Rangheehoo, where Duaterra was wont to reside, to the great joy of his people. The “Active“ was soon surrounded by canoes from all quarters. On going ashore Duaterra and Shunghee found all their friends and relatives well, who wept for joy at their return, and the women cut themselves, in a similar manner to those of the Cavalles, with shells and flints till the blood flowed down. It was in vain to attempt to persuade them not to do this, because they considered it the strongest proof of their affection. The next day we landed the horses and cattle, and fixed upon a place for the present residence of the settlers; and began to clear away the rubbish, and prepare for erecting houses for their reception on a piece of ground adjoining to the native town pitched upon by Duaterra and the other chiefs of the place.
About 8 o’clock on Saturday morning, Koro Koro, who lived about nine miles from the settlers, came to pay his respects to page 361 us. He was attended by ten canoes, full of his warriors, accompanied by some women and children. The canoes came down in a regular line, with colours flying, on observing which we immediately hoisted ours. Some of his officers stood up and regulated all their movements by word of command, and signals made by means of their large patooes (which were ornamented with feathers). Those they held in their hands, and kept in constant motion. Koro Koro was dressed in his native clothing, and his brother Tohee; both were painted with red ocre, and had feathers in their hair. The warriors were likewise painted. The whole presented a grand warlike scene. They advanced with a great speed towards the brig, and kept a regular line, every man striking his paddle at the same instant, so that the whole sounded as one stroke. They sung the war-song as they approached, and performed all their gestures and threats, as if they were determined upon attacking the vessel in earnest. We saluted them with a discharge of thirteen small arms. The song of victory was then sung in the canoes, and their customary rejoicing performed.
After this, Koro Koro, with the chiefs who had accompanied him, came on board, and made us several presents in the most polite manner. A number of chiefs from other districts were also on board; and Koro Koro introduced them all, one by one, to his European friends, commented on the particular attention they had shown to him when at Port Jackson; and lamented that the poverty of the country prevented him from returning their kindness, according to his wishes. He was also very particular in explaining to the other chiefs for what purposes Messrs. Hall and King had come to reside in New Zealand. Duaterra and his friends were present on this occasion and assisted in regulating the necessary ceremonies and forms in which Koro Koro and his party were to be received.
It had been previously arranged between Duaterra and Koro Koro, unknown to us, we were to be entertained with a sham fight. After taking some refreshment, preparations were made to go on shore. Koro Koro was to make an attack upon Duaterra’s people, and take the place by storm. Duaterra then went on shore to prepare for the defence of his place. A number of canoes, full of people, immediately joined us belonging to other chiefs. When Koro Koro left the vessel, accompanied by Mr. Nicholas, the settlers, and I, Duaterra had all his men drawn up in order, armed with their spears and other weapons of war. Koro Koro’s canoes advanced towards the shore in the same order of battle in which they had approached the “Active.“ A chief belonging to Duaterra, quite naked, ran furiously to and fro along the beaoh, making a most horrid page 362 noise, and daring the sham enemy to land. As the canoes came nearer to the shore those in them increased their shouts and furious gestures. At length they all jumped out of the canoes into the water, and in one compact body began the attack. Duaterra’s men all retreated as fast as possible, and the others pursued them a considerable distance, when Duaterra’s men suddenly wheeled round and attacked their pursuers. The battle then became general. A number of women were seen in the heat of the action, among whom were Tippahee’s old widow (apparently about seventy years of age) and Duaterra’s wife, bearing in her hand a patooe about 7 ft. long made of the jawbone of a whale. She brandished this weapon about in the very centre of the mock fight, and went through all the various movements usually performed by the men in advancing and retreating. After both parties had run and struggled together till nearly exhausted (some having been trampled upon and others accidently knocked down), they formed a close body, and united in the shouts of victory and in the war-dance which ended the scene.
Duaterra, during the action, commanded one party and Koro Koro the other. The former passed the remaining part of the day in preparing for the Sabbath. He enclosed about half an acre of ground with a fence, in the centre of which he erected a pulpit and a reading-desk, and covered the whole with either black native-made cloth or some duck which he had brought with him from Port Jackson. He also procured the bottoms of some old canoes, and fixed them up as seats for the Europeans on each side of the pulpit, intending to have Divine service performed next day. These preparations were made of his own accord, and in the evening he first informed me that everything was ready for public worship. I was much pleased with this singular mark of his attention. The readingdesk was about 3 ft. and the pulpit 6 ft. from the ground. The black native cloth covered the top of the pulpit, and hung over the sides. The bottom of the pulpit, as well as the readingdesk, was made of part of a canoe, and the whole was becoming and had a solemn appearance. He had also erected a flagstaff on the highest hill in the village, which had a very commanding view. On Sunday morning, when I went upon deck, I saw the English flag flying, which was a pleasing sight in New Zealand. I considered it the signal for the dawn of civilization, liberty, and religion in that dark and benighted land. I never viewed the British flag with more gratification, and I flattered myself they would never be removed till the natives of that island enjoyed all the happiness of British subjects.page 363
About 10 a.m. we prepared to go on shore to publish the glad tidings of the Gospel of Christ for the first time on this island. I was under no apprehension for the safety of the vessel, and therefore ordered all on board to attend Divine service on shore, except the master and one man. On our landing we found Koro Koro, Duaterra, and Shunghee dressed in regimentals, which had been given them by Governor Macquarie—their men drawn up, ready to march into the enclosure, to attend Divine service. They had their swords by their sides and switches in their hands. We entered the enclosure, and were placed on the seats on each side of the pulpit. Koro Koro marched his men on, and stationed them on my right, and in rear of the Europeans, while Duaterra placed his men on the left of the inhabitants of the village, including women and children, and the other chiefs formed a circle round the whole. A very solemn silence prevailed. The sight was truly impressive. I got up and began the service by singing the old hundredth psalm, and felt my very soul melting within me when I viewed my congregation, and considered the state they were in. After reading the service, during which the natives stood up and sat down at the signal given by the motion of Koro Koro’s switch, which was regulated by the movements of the Europeans, it being Christmas Day I preached from the 2nd chr. St. Luke’s Gospel, v, 10th, “Behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy,“ &c. The natives told Duaterra they could not understand what I meant. He replied they were not to mind that now, for they would understand by-and-by, when he would try to explain the meaning as well as he could. When I had ended the sermon he informed them of what I had described in my discourse. Duaterra was very much pleased that he had been able to make all the necessary preparations for the performance of Divine service in so short a time; and we felt much obliged to him for his attention. He was extremely anxious to convince us that he would do everything for us that lay in his power, and that the good of his country was his principal consideration. In the above manner the Gospel has been introduced into New Zealand, and I fervently pray that the glory of it may never depart from its inhabitants till time shall be no more.
After the service we returned on board, much gratified with the reception we had met with, and we could not but feel the strongest persuasion that the time was at hand when the glory of the Lord would be revealed to these poor benighted heathen, and that those who were to remain on the island had strong reason to believe that their labours would be blessed and crowned with success. In the evening I administered the Holy Sacrement on board the “Active,“ in remembrance of our Saviour’s birth and of what He had done and suffered for us.page 364
On Monday morning, as there were no timber at Rangheehoo fit for erecting the necessary buildings for the settlers, I determined to take the brig to the timber district, which I understood was about twenty miles distant, on the opposite side of the harbour—up a fresh-water river; because this would supply what was wanted at once, and save considerable expense. I therefore ordered all iron and various other articles to be landed and given in charge of Duaterra. The poultry were also sent on shore. The sawyers and smith, with Mr. Hanson, jun., left the vessel likewise. I directed them, with the assistance of the natives, to build a hut 60 ft. by 16 ft., and to thatch it for the immediate accommodation of the settlers and their families.
When we returned from the timber district the natives seemed very willing to assist us as much as they could. I found now I should be much distressed for want of axes, and other articles of trade, as the presents I had made at the North Cape and along the coast had very much reduced my stock. We had also omitted to bring coals with us from Port Jackson; and I hardly knew how to remedy these defects. As nothing could be done in our mechanical operations (nor could we purchase provisions from the natives) without carpenters’ tools, such as axes, &c., I had no alternative but to erect a smith’s shop and burn charcoal, in order that the smith might get to work and make axes, &c., to supply our present wants. I consequently desired that some of the natives might assist the smith in burning charcoal and in erecting a workshop until the “Active“ should return.
Having given such instructions as I deemed necessary and prudent, we sailed for the timber district on Tuesday, taking with us the settlers and their families (this district belonged to a chief named Terra, an old man apparently seventy years of age). Terra was then the head chief on the south side, and possessed considerable influence. I therefore judged it prudent to wait upon him, and to obtain his permission, in the first place, to cut what timber we required, in order to prevent any misunderstanding. Accordingly, when we came opposite to his village I went (accompanied by Messrs. Kendall, Nicholas, and King) to visit him, and took with me a young man about seventeen years of age, who was related to the chief, and who had been almost nine years from New Zealand, the latter part of which period he had lived with me in Parramatta. He had also lived several years with a Dr. Drummond at Norfolk Island, from whom he experienced great kindness. When we landed I found Terra sitting on the beach with some of his subordinate chiefs and people. He received us very cordially, and wept much on account of the young man’s return, as did many others, some of whom wept aloud. I presented him with an axe, an adze, page 365 and two plane irons, with several other trifles. He said he did not want any present from me, but only my company, as he had heard so often of me from his own people and others. I told him that I had waited on him to beg his permission to cut some timber in his district, for building houses to the Europeans at Rangheehoo. He expressed a strong desire that they would come and reside with him. I pointed out to him that they could not well come then, but must settle with Duaterra in consequence of our long acquaintance with him; but that in time some Europeans should come and live with him. He gave his consent for us to have what timber we wanted. He informed me that the wheat which had been given him when the “Active“ was first there was growing. I went to see it, and found it almost ripe. As the vessel had gone on, and I was informed we were several miles from the place at which she would anchor, I wished to take my leave before the night came on us, but the old chief would not consent till we had first taken some refreshment. He therefore ordered his cooks to dress some sweet potatoes as soon as possible (these are with them esteemed a choice food). In a short time a basket full of them were roasted and placed before us. The chief sat by us, as did his wives and a number of men, women, and children. He would not eat with us himself, nor permit any of his people to do so, and when we parted with him he ordered two baskets of sweet potatoes to be put into the boat for our use. I invited him to come on board the “Active,“ which he promised to do, and we took our leave, being much gratified with the attention of this chief and his people.
The next morning we were visited by numbers of the natives from different districts; and I contracted with some of the subordinate chiefs for a cargo of timber. The brig lay about eight miles from the fresh-water river where the pine trees grew, there not being sufficient depth of water to bring her nearer. I went up, accompanied by Messrs. Nicholas and Hall, to see the pines, and we found a considerable village upon the banks of the river, which they called Koua Koua. When our arrival was known we were soon surrounded by numbers of the natives, who vied with each other in their attentions. None of us were under the least apprehension of danger any more than if we had been among our own country folk. In about ten days we had got our cargo, and were ready to return to Rangheehoo.
During the time the natives were getting the timber Mr. Nicholas and I visited different places for several miles round, and passed one night with an old chief, who gave us an account of Captain Cook’s visit and stay at the Bay of Islands. He said that he was then a young man, and shewed us where the page 366 sailors pitched their tents, washed their linen, watered their ships, and cut their wood. He also related several occurrences which took place while the great navigator remained there.
Our cargo being completed on Friday the 6th of January, 1815, we weighed anchor and sailed for Rangheehoo. When we got there the hut which I had directed to be built was almost finished. It was my intention, as soon as the settlers and their luggage were safely landed, to visit either Whangaroa or the River Thames, as the wind at the time might permit. Several of the natives of Whangaroa had visited the “Active“ since the peace had been established between them and the people of the Bay of Islands.
As the hut would not be ready for the reception of the settlers for at least four or five days, I agreed with Shunghee to visit one of his villages twenty-five miles distant in the interim. Mr. Nicholas volunteered to accompany me. Early on Monday morning, the 9th, Shunghee, Duaterra, his wife, and several other chiefs came off to the brig in a war-canoe, in which we were to go up one of the western branches of the harbour, from the head of which we were to walk to a place called “Waimate,“ where the village alluded to was built. After breakfast we left the “Active“ and went into the canoe, which was large and commodious. Sixteen persons could row on each side and we-could sit or lie down at pleasure. These canoes go very quick through the water, and afford the most pleasant conveyance for passengers. Some of them are 80 ft. to 90 ft. in length. A smaller canoe also accompanied us, with some of Shunghee’s common servants.
About 11 o’clock we reached the head of the cove, which we estimated to be about fifteen miles from the “Active.“ Here we landed in a potato garden belonging to Shunghee’s brother named Kangorooa, where we were to take some refreshment before we proceeded on our journey. Duaterra and his wife had already gone to their farm. The servants were all busy, some in digging potatoes, others in making fires to roast them. Hearing the sound of a fall of water at a little distance I went to examine it, while the potatoes were roasting, and found a fresh-water river falling over a bed of locks, which there extend from bank to bank. I estimated the fall to be about 91 ft. perpendicular height. The water is sufficient to turn mills of any kind. A regular bed of solid rock (I think of whin-stone) runs direct across the head of the salt-water cove, and forms a dam similar to many of the artificial dams in England. The water seemed to be supplied from regular springs and heavy rains. The land on both sides of the river appeared very good.page 367
After taking some refreshment, about 10 o’clock we set off for Waimate. For the first three or four miles we passed through a rich uneven country. The land in general was free from timber, and could easily have been plowed. It appeared to me to be good strong wheat land, and was then covered with fern. For the next six miles the land seemed of various qualities, some exceeding good, some of it stony, a part swampy, and the other portions of a gravelly nature. The whole of this tract of country, taken collectively, would form a good agricultural settlement. It is watered by several fine streams running through it, about a mile apart from each other, and it is skirted in various places by lofty pine trees and other timber. When we had walked nearly ten miles we entered a very fine wood in which there were some of the largest pines I had ever seen. One measured more than 30ft. in girth, and probably not less than 100 ft. in height, without a branch. It appeared to be nearly the same thickness at the top as at the bottom. While passing through this wood we met with a chief’s wife, who was overjoyed to see us. Her husband’s name was Terria, a very fine handsome looking man. He had been on board the brig a few days before. He informed me that some time back a boat’s crew belonging to a whaler had entered his potato ground, in the Bay of Islands, to steal his potatoes, and that he had set his father and some of his people to watch them, when the Europeans shot his father dead, and killed another man and a woman. He afterwards watched them himself, and killed three European sailors. I understood that the Europeans belonged to a whaler called the “New Zealanders.“
After meeting Terria’s wife, we came to his village, situated on the banks of a fine run of fresh water, and a deal of rich land around it. We enquired how many wives he had, and were told ten. Terria was from home, but his wives pressed us much to have some refreshment with them. There were a number of servants, both men and women. We accepted the invitation, and Shunghee having shot a wild duck, we had it dressed while Terria’s servants prepared abundance of potatoes for the whole party. We stopped in this village about two hours. They had a number of fine hogs, but no other animal was seen excepting dogs. The New Zealanders are a very cheerful race. We were here entertained with a dance and song, and they continued their mirth during our stay. We took our leave of them a little before the sun went down.
Proceeding on our journey, we arrived at Shunghee’s village just before dark, where we were received with the loudest ac-clamations of his people, several of whom wept for joy. This village contains about two hundred houses, and is situate page 368 on the summit of an almost inaccessible hill, and strongly fortified both by nature and art. Three very deep trenches have been cut round the sides of the hill, one above another, and each trench fenced round with whole and split trees, from 12 ft. to 20 ft. high. We entered this extraordinary fortification through a narrow gateway, when Shunghee shewed us how he defended his place in time of war. He had one small secret corner where he could be concealed and fire upon the enemy. Every little hut in this enclosure is fenced round. Some of the storehouses for the reception of their spears and provisions are about 30ft. long and 20 ft. wide. They are also well built; the roofs are thatched. Some of the eaves extend 3 ft. over the sides in order to carry off the water and keep the building dry. In the centre of the fort, on the very summit of the hill, a stage is crected upon a single pillar, about 20 ft. long and 3 ft. broad, hewn out of a solid log, and elevated about 6 ft, from the ground. Upon this the chief sits, cither for pleasure or business, just as occasions require him, to consult with his people. It commands a most extensive view of the surrounding country in all directions. Near this stage is a little hut about 4 ft. from the ground, 3 ft. long and 2ft. wide, with a little image placed upon the side of the door (which does not exceed 1 ft.); a seat also is placed in front, upon which the chief’s lady sits when she eats her provisions, which are deposited in this little building.
About 9 o’clock we were informed that the room was ready where we were to sleep. Some clean mats had been spread upon the floor for us to lie on. We wrapped ourselves up in our great coats. A number of the natives lay. in different situations, some under cover and some in the open air. We had enjoyed a very pleasant day, and our long walk had prepared us for a sound sleep (though not indulged with feather beds).
Early on Tuesday morning, the 10th, we rose with an intention of visiting a fresh-water lake about five miles distant from the village. We set off attended by Shunghee and several chiefs with a number of servants. Our way lay thro’ a wood composed of various sorts of timber besides the noble pine. We could not but view these wonderful productions of nature with reverence and wonder. On our way to the lake we also passed through some very rich ground, and soon arrived at a small village where Shunghee’s people were at work preparing ground for planting potatoes. There was a very fine crop, nearly ripe, in one part. The land appeared dry and rich, and the potatoes meally. I have never seen better potatoes under the best culture. When we had walked two miles further we came to the lake. It might be about twelve miles in circum-ference, and we were informed that it empties itself into the head page 369 of a river which ran into the ocean on the west side of the island. Its head was about an hour’s walk from the lake. The land appeared good on the north side of it. We amused ourselves about two hours in viewing this lake and the neighbouring grounds; and then returned to the last mentioned village, where we dined on a wild duck and potatoes (aided by the provisions we had brought with us). The duck was shot by Shung-hee. After this we returned to the fort, and slept there for that night.
Shunghee’s people here appeared very industrious. They rose at the dawn of day, both men and women. Some were busy making baskets for potatoes, others dressing flax, or making mats. None remained unemployed.
Shunghee and his brother Kangorroa have a large track (tract) of country similar in extent to one of the counties in England. It extends from the east side to the west side of New Zealand, and is well watered. We saw much land well adapted for cultivation.
Shunghee had near the village we were at one field, which appeared to me to contain forty acres, all fenced in with rails, and upright stakes tied to them to keep out the pigs. The greater part of it was planted with turnips, common and sweet potatoes, which were in high cultivation. They suffer no weeds to grow, but with incredible labour and patience root up everything likely to injure the growing crop. Their tools of agriculture are chiefly made of wood, some formed like a spade and others like a crow-bar, with which they turn up the soil. Axes, hoes, and spades are much wanted. If these could be obtained their country would soon put on a different appearance. No labour of man without iron can clear and subdue uncultivated land to any extent. The New Zealanders seem to do as much in this respect as the strength and wisdom of man in their situation is equal to. Shunghee showed me some fine wheat, the seed of which I had sent him about seven months before. It was nearly ripe, and the ear was full and large. He put a very high value upon it, as he appeared to know its worth from his few months’ residence at Parramatta. I had also sent over a little English flax seed. This also had been sown and it came to great per-fection, far superior to any I had observed in New South Wales.
Shunghee treated us during this visit to his village with all the attention and hospitality his means afforded. He had slain two hogs, and we had what we used of them dressed after our own mode.
Early on Wednesday, the 11th, we took our leave of this extraordinary fortification, and the people who resided in it, intending to breakfast at the village belonging to Terria, about page 370 five miles distant. Shunghee sent his servants with two fine hogs for the use of the vessel. We arrived at Terria’s village a little after 7 a.m., where we were very kindly received. The fires were soon lighted and preparations made for breakfast. Several natives joined us here, whom we had not seen before. Terria was not yet returned.
After Mr. Nicholas and I had breakfasted I had tea made for Terria’s wives and Shunghee’s, who surrounded us. They all refused to take any. Shunghee told me they were all tabooed, and thereby prohibited from taking anything but water. I pressed Shunghee to allow one of his wives (who had a little child about a month old, and who had followed us from the village) to take it. He said she could not drink any, for if she did his child would die. I was fully convinced that their refusing to take the tea was founded upon some superstitious notions. They were all very fond of bread and sugar, and I distributed what remained of these articles among them, while Shunghee and the other chiefs drank the tea.
In about two hours we proceeded to the cove where we had left the war-canoe on Monday morning. The distance we had to walk was about eight miles, and our party consisted of twenty-five persons, all natives of New Zealand except Mr. Nicholas and myself. In about three hours’ time we reached the canoe; here we stopped and took dinner, and afterwards set off for the brig. When we had got within seven miles of the vessel we met Dua-terra in his war-canoe with a supply of provisions, particularly tea, sugar, and bread. He was apprehensive we should want these articles, as we had been absent one day longer than was intended when we left the “Active.“ As Shunghee and Dua-terra approached each other they mutually fired a piece, which is held by them as a mark of respect. The two canoes were nearly matched, and these chiefs were determined to try their strength and skill to see which would go the quickest. Shunghee commanded one and Duaterra the other. They-both ran at so rapid a rate that it was not possible to tell at times which had the advantage. We were much amused with the exact order they struck their paddles and their skill in struggling for the superiority. One man in each canoe gave the signal for every stroke, which changed every few seconds. Sometimes the strokes were long and slow, at others short and quick. In a little time we reached the “Active.“
On Monday morning previous to leaving the vessel I directed that the settlers, their families, and everything belonging to them, should be landed as soon as the building was ready for their reception. On my return I found Mr. Kendall and his family were on shore, and every preparation made for Messrs. Hall and King.page 371
As I intended to sail either for Whangaroa or the River Thames as soon as the brig was cleared, I went on shore to make the necessary arrangements for my departure. On landing I was informed that a chief named Werrie (nephew to the late Tippa-hee) was very much enraged, and had beat his wife, in consequence of finding a nail in her possession. The nail had excited Werrie’s jealousy, which caused him to demand where she had got it. She told him that a man belonging to the “Active“ had given it to her as a present. Werrie could not be persuaded that any man would give his wife so valuable a present as a nail unless her conduct had been improper. I was apprehensive that this unpleasant circumstance might be attended with serious consequences unless the chief’s mind could be satisfied with respect to the chastity of his wife. I sent for Duaterra and consulted with him, when it was agreed that the man who was said to have given Mrs. Werrie the nail should be sent for, and if any improper act could be proved against him he should be confined to the vessel. A public investigation therefore took place, in presence of the chief and many of the inhabitants, held on the open beach, where they dance and exercise. The New Zealand woman and the accused European were brought forward. She defended herself very warmly, but said she could not identify the man who had given her the nail, affirming, however, that she had received it as a present. After a long examination she was acquitted by the unanimous voice of the chiefs, to the satisfaction of all parties. Though I could not but entertain suspicions of the lady’s chastity from her hesitation to point out the person who had given her the nail, I took this opportunity to assure them that if any person belonging to the “Active“ either insulted or injured any of their people he or they should be punished. After this business was settled Mr. and Mrs. Hall were landed with the remainder of the stores.
On the following morning, Friday, the 13th, Mr. and Mrs. King were also landed, and the vessel supplied with water and wood to be in readiness for sea.
About 3 p.m. we weighed and sailed down the harbour. It was my intention if the wind permitted first to sail for Whangorroa, having been invited by several of the inhabitants of that place who had come to Rangheehoo since the peace was established. I had Duaterra and Koro Koro, with twenty-five New Zealanders, as a guard on board. They were very fine young men, and could be depended on. Many of them being the sons of chiefs on both sides of the harbour, I thought it prudent to take a sufficient number of men, in case any difference should happen to arise either at Whangorroa, the River Thames, or at any other part of the coast at which we might touch.page 372
When we got to sea the wind was fair for Whangorroa, and we directed our course thither; but when we came over to the Cavalles the wind suddenly changed, and compelled us to anchor between the Cavalles and the main, about five leagues southward of Whangorroa. Here we remained all night.
Soon after we anchored three canoes came off from the Cavalles and other islands around. Some of the people came on board, and remained till after the sun went down. When they had gone the carpenter missed one of his chisels, with which he had been at work. Duaterra was very angry, as we were convinced that some of the natives had taken it. The boat was immediately manned by Duaterra’s men, well armed, and proceeded to one of the above-mentioned islands. I requested Duaterra, provided he should find the thief, not to injure him, but merely to take the chisel from him. In about an hour’s time they returned without being able to find the thief, having landed on the wrong island (as the night was very dark). The next morning (Saturday the 14th) at break of day a canoe came off to inform us where the thief was, and wanted assistance to take him, but I thought it more prudent to let the matter rest, lest it should detain the vessel too long, as we had then got up the anchor, intending to sail for Whangorroa, a light breeze having sprung up. It, however, soon became calm and obliged us to anchor again.
In the afternoon the wind blew pretty fresh, but directly against us. with a prospect of its continuing in that quarter, which would prevent us from entering the harbour of Whan-gorroa. I therefore determined to proceed for the River Thames, to which we bore away, as soon as the anchor was weighed. On the same evening we passed the mouth of the Bay of Islands, with a gentle breeze which continued all night, and in the morning we were not far from the Poor Knights (some small islands which lie a few leagues from the main).
About 10 a.m. a canoe was observed coming to the brig. Duaterra ordered his men under arms, and directed them to lie down upon the deck, that they might not be seen when the canoe came alongside. The canoe came up. It contained only one old chief, three men, and a woman. A rope was thrown to them to secure the canoe. The old chief got immediately on the side of the vessel, to come on board. He had not observed the New Zealanders, who, just as he was coming over the gangway, sprung up, some presenting their muskets and others their spears, which so alarmed him that he fell back into the canoe, and almost upset it. There he lay some time before he recovered from his fright, the New Zealanders making a most dreadful noise at the same time. The old chief came afterwards on board, and page 373 was much rejoiced to see so many of his friends, and laughed heartily at the trick which had been played on him. After some conversation with him, we understood that he had learned who we were, and the object we had in view. He took his leave with much apparent satisfaction, but they had not gone far before another canoe came off from a different part of the coast with a number of very fine young men in it. They had learned where we were going (as one of them had visited the “Active“ before when she lay at Koua Koua), and requested I would allow him to accompany us to the River Thames, which was granted.
By this time we were near a very high part of the coast called Breamhead by Captain Cook. The chief of that district, with his son, had visited the brig when we lay at Koua Koua. I had made him a present of a few things, and among them a piece of red and white India print, and informed him that I intended to visit the River Thames as soon as we had passed Breamhead. The wind blowing very fresh, and observing two canoes labouring hard to reach the vessel (one of them had a signal flying), I desired the master to bear away for them. When we came up I found that the canoe with the flag contained the son of the above-mentioned chief, and his colours were a part of the piece of print I had given to his father. He pressed us much to go on shore and visit his father, but I told him we could not stop then, as the wind was fair, but would see him on our return. The young man provided us with abundance of bream, and other fine fish, which they had in the canoe.
After we had received this liberal supply of fish we directed our course again towards the River Thames, and the same evening passed Point Rodney (one of the heads of the harbour), and saw Cape Colville, the other head, which is very high land, and not much less than twenty leagues distant from the first.
On Monday the 16th we found ourselves pretty far advanced up the River Thames, in which there are several islands, on the east side and on the west. About 11 a.m. we came opposite the residence of the head chief, Houpa, of whom we had often heard, and from those accounts were taught to believe that he was a man much esteemed as well as feared, and possessed very great power. In a short time we observed a war-canoe full of men advancing towards the vessel. We hove to when they came near. They lay upon their paddles, and viewed the brig, and informed us that Houpa was in the canoe. I requested him to come on board, which he did with one of his sons. Houpa is one of the strongest and best-made men I almost ever beheld. He was greatly surprised to see such a number of New Zealanders on board and so few Europeans.page 374
We had one chief in the “Active“ named Timmaranghee, who was intimate with Houpa, and who had lived on board the brig for some time. He informed Houpa who we were, and that we had come to the River Thames (which they call Showrakee) to see him and his people, and also that some of the Europeans were settled at the Bay of Islands, with a view of instructing the natives. I made him a present of a few things, and in return he directed two fine mats to be presented to me out of his canoe. He expressed a wish for us to come to an anchor near his residence. I told him it was my intention to visit his place when we returned down the river, but as the wind was then favourable we would take advantage of it and proceed. He directed us what course to steer, and told us we should get the vessel aground if we kept too much to the right. After holding conversation with several of the natives on board, he took his leave, expecting to see us again on our return.
We then made sail up the river, and were at the time on the western side, about four leagues from its mouth. We had left Houpa more than an hour before the wind began to blow very fresh, so that the water soon became so rough that we could not perceive the channel when we had got almost to the head of the harbour. It was then high water, and on sounding found that we had only 3 fathoms, and there being no appearance of the gale abating, we were induced to put the vessel about, by which means we got into deeper water before the tide fell too much for the safe riding of the brig. At this time we were on the east shore, not far from land. We worked to windward for several hours, and in the evening came to anchor in 4 fathoms water, where we lay all night, during which it rained and blew very hard. The harbour here is very open. There is no shelter for shipping, which renders it very dangerous.
On Tuesday about 4 o’clock (as the gale increased) we weighed anchor, in order to work the vessel to windward if possible, and to get her under the land, as the place we lay in was not safe should the vessel be driven from her anchor. The sea was so rough and the brig had so much motion that the New Zealanders (who had never been before on board ship at sea) were much alarmed, and imagined they would be lost. About 6 p.m. the gale abated, and we came to anchor again, about two miles from the west shore, opposite a large village. Tho’ the inhabitants had seen us all day, yet they dared not venture out in their canoes on account of the weather.
After we came to anchor the boat was hoisted out, and ten New Zealanders went on shore to open a communication with the natives. Shortly after the boat had reached the beach we heard a great noise. Duaterra was uneasy because the boat page 375 did not return as soon as was expected. He was afraid that some quarrel had taken place between the inhabitants and the people in the boat, and observed that if they had injured any of his men he would immediately declare war against them with all the force he could command. In about an hour after dark the boat returned safe, and they informed us that they had been very kindly received, and that the noise we had heard was only their rejoicings. They told us there were plenty of fine hogs and potatoes on shore, both of which we much wanted, the brig being full of people. This information determined me to visit the village in the morning. However, on the following day a chief named Pethi (nephew to Haupa) came after the “Active,“ He was a very stout handsome man, and in the prime of life, with mild manners, and a countenance both pleasing and interesting. I invited him on board. The chief Timmoranghee was well known to Pethi. After the usual salutations relative to our voyage and all affairs connected with it as far as Timmoranghee knew, I gave him some biscuit (which they are all fond of) and showed him some wheat in the straw which had been grown at New Zealand by Shunghee, informing him that the biscuit was made from wheat, and I gave him some seed. He showed much anxiety to learn the culture of wheat, and enquired how many moons it was from sowing to reaping time, and expressed his determination to try if he could grow some at his settlement. I made him a present of a few articles, and (accompanied by Mr. Nicholas) went on shore, taking twelve New Zealanders with us.
On landing the natives received us with every mark of friendship. The women and children were numerous, but not so the young men. We enquired the reason, and they told us that they (the young men) had gone to war, and that few except old men, and those who had been taken prisoners, remained in the village. At this place we found the New Zealanders sold their prisoners-of-war, or kept them to work as slaves. Several of the natives of the Bay of Islands had brought with them a little trade, some a few nails, others small pieces of iron-hoops, some a few feathers, and some had fishing-hooks, with a variety of articles of no value to Europeans but of much value to themselves. The village was all in motion. They crowded together like a fair from all quarters. Some of the inhabitants brought their mats to sell and various other articles, so that the whole day appeared a busy scene, and many things were bought and sold in their way of trade. When the fair was over the ladies entertained us with several dances and songs. One of them had on a very fine upper garment, which a chief from Rangheehoo (who had come with us) wanted to procure for his wife. He had brought a box page 376 of feathers, neatly dressed, the pithy part of the quill having been all cut off, and only the external part remaining, to which the feather was attached. He made the feather wave gracefully with the smallest breeze when placed in the air. He opened it in presence of the ladies, many of whom wanted these feathers. He on the other hand wanted the fine garment. After placing them very tastefully, two or three feathers in each of the ladies’ hair, she that had got the fine garment beheld how elegantly they appeared on the heads of those who wore them, and became seemingly impatient to possess such an ornament He asked her to sell her garment. She hesitated for some time. At length he laid a certain number down at her feet. This proved a temptation she could not resist, and she instantly threw off the fine garment and delivered it to him for his feathers. The chief intended this article as a present to his wife, and he presented it to her on his return.
After this Mr. Nicholas accompanied me to Houpa’s fortified village. It was situated upon a high hill, nearly a mile from where we then were. It was in many respects similar to that already described belonging to Shunghee. Here we found no men. It was entirely left to the care of some women and one of Houpa’s wives. They told us the men had gone to war. In this place there were some very fat hogs and fine plantations of potatoes. The women afterwards told us they could not sell the hogs, as they belonged to the men who had gone to the war. Houpa’s wife said she had a very large one belonging to herself, which she would make me a present of, if I would stop till it could be brought in, for at that time it was out feeding. She sent the servants to look for the hog, along with one of our people, but they returned without it. I made her a present of some print, and some other trifles. She was very anxious we should wait till the hog could be found, but we could not conveniently stay longer, and therefore left this romantic place. This lady’s face, arms, and breasts were all covered with scars, which had been lately cut in consequence of the death of one of Houpa’s children. She was a very fine tall woman. Houpa did not reside there at the time. I observed that the pillars leading into the fortification were carved with various figures, such as men’s heads, &c., and some of them had round caps on their tops, similar to those on gateways in many parts of England, and were about 14 ft. high.
Shortly after we left Houpa’s lady we received a message from Duaterra to inform us that he was coming on shore for us. We met the boat, and Duaterra landed. Pethi, the chief, came at the same time, and wished us to go to the upper end of the village, where he resided. The distance was about two miles page 377 along the shore. We agreed to visit him, and ordered the boat to follow us. When we arrived we met some of the finest men and women I had yet seen in New Zealand. They were well dressed, and received us very cordially. There were three of Houpa’s nephews and their ladies, who wore fine mats fancifully wrought, which reached from their shoulders to their feet, and had a very graceful appearance. I had taken a few pieces of print, some plane irons, common nails, &c., with me, of which I made the chiefs and their ladies a few presents. We had a few baskets of potatoes dressed. Several songs and dances, in which the chiefs and their ladies took an active part, and exerted all their strength and voice to amuse us.
It was now about 5 p.m. We therefore took our leave, and returned on board to dinner. When we had set down I was informed that two canoes were coming off with the chiefs and their ladies. I went on deck to receive them, and invited them to dine with us, which they readily accepted. I told the chiefs I wanted some potatoes and hogs for the vessel, but as the men had gone to war to whom they belonged, I could not purchase any; and therefore it was my intention to sail that evening for the Bay of Islands. They wanted me much to stay, and told me to take whatever we wanted on shore, regardless of what the people said. I told them I could not steal nor take by force anything from the inhabitants, but I was willing to purchase but would take nothing unless what was legally bought and paid for. They urged me much to stop and get my supplies, which I would have done if I had been sensible; they could be procured without giving offence to the natives, but I was convinced they could not (from what I had been told on shore) unless the male proprietors had been there.
As soon as we had dined, I desired the master to prepare for sea immediately. The anchor was soon weighed, and the vessel put under sail dash, the chiefs and their ladies still remaining, unwilling to leave us. They had several dances on deck. At length I got the ladies into the canoes, but the chiefs showed no inclination to part, and again had another dance, when the ladies once more leapt on board and joined them in the dance and song, which continued till we had sailed a considerable distance, when they were compelled either to leave us or go to sea.
When they had got into the canoes, the twenty-eight natives I had on board began to sing and dance in their turn, to amuse the chiefs and their ladies, who lay upon their paddles all the time. As soon as the dance ended on deck they began again in the canoes, and continued till we could hear them no longer. They then waved their hands and returned to the shore. One of these chiefs promised to visit Port Jackson and to see Duaterra page 378 at the Bay of Islands, from whom they had received and returned presents during our short stay here. These people shewed us the kindest attention, and did all they could to amuse us. I gave several of them wheat, which I hope will prove advantageous to them. I also told them they would be able to procure axes and other tools from the Europeans at Rangheehoo (for they will give anything for axes). Duaterra, with his armed men (having dressed himself in European clothing, with a sword by his side), commanded considerable respect from these chiefs when on shore.
I trust our visit to the River Thames will unite in friendship the leading men of Rangheehoo and those of this part of New Zealand, and that if in future any European settlers should be sent to the River Thames they will be welcomed by the natives. I felt much gratified with the conduct of the people, but sincerely regretted that I could not see Houpa again. The wind was so strong against us we could not make his settlement, and were therefore obliged to stand out to sea. As my stay in New Zealand was limited I could not wait for a change of wind.
The next morning (Tuesday the 19th) we saw Point Rodney about seven leagues off. There being little wind we did not reach it till 12 o’clock, when we entered Bream Cove, and sailing into it we ran along shore a little distance from the land. The ground was, in general, level; and a grove of pines appeared behind the banks of the cove. When we had reached near Breamhead, the natives told us there was an harbour at the head of the cove into which a fresh-water river ran from the interior. We sailed up to the mouth of this harbour, Mr. Hanson (the master of the “Active“) saying it would be a very safe place for a vessel to lay in, as she would be completely sheltered from the sea. We enquired if any ship had ever been in that harbour. The natives told us that the “Venus,“ from Port Jackson, had anchored there a long time ago, and further that she had put in at the North Cape also and had taken two native women, one from the Bay of Islands and one from Bream Cove; that she went from thence to the River Thames, where, her people got Houpa and one of his daughters on board with an intention to take them also away; but when the “Venus“ sailed from the River Thames Houpa’s canoe followed her, and he waited his opportunity to leap overboard, which he effected, and was taken up by his own canoe, but none of the women have ever since returned. The “Venus“ brig belonged to Messieurs Campbell and Co., of Calcutta. She was taken by some convicts, who were on board of her, at Port Dalrymple, and carried off the coast. Such are the horrid crimes which Europeans, who bear the Christian name, commit upon the page 379 savage nations! We lay to all night in the cove, as I wished to see the chief who resided near this place, and whose son supplied us with fish as we passed when bound for the River Thames. We now began to fish, and in a short time got abundance of bream and other sorts of fish. I expected we would have seen the chief, but the vessel had not yet been observed.
The next morning at daylight we sailed, and shortly after passing Bream Head we were seen from the shore, when a canoe put off for the brig. As soon as it came alongside I observed the chief, whom I had wished to see, in it. He told us that he had not seen the vessel the night before, as he and his men had been busy at work on their potato ground, which prevented him from looking out. Mayhanger, a young man who is mentioned in Mr. Savage’s account of New Zealand, and who accompanied that gentleman to England on his return from New South Wales to Europe, was also along with the chief. Mayhanger enquired after many persons he had seen in England, and who had been kind to him. The chief was anxious we should return with him for one day, saying he had abundance of hogs and potatoes and would supply all our wants. I told him I could not detain the vessel if the wind was fair, but must proceed. I gave him a little wheat for seed, some nails, and a cat, with which they returned on shore highly pleased with their visit, and requested only that I could but stop one day for him to make me some return.
Shortly after they were gone the wind changed and continued against us all day. At 6 p.m. we were about two leagues from shore. The sea being smooth, and likely for a fine night, I determined to visit the chief, and had the boat immediately hoisted out. Mr. Nicholas accompanied me. We had none but New Zealanders in the boat. The sun was set before we reached the shore. The natives soon beheld the boat, and one of them stood upon a rock pointing out where we were to land. There is a bar which runs across the mouth of this harbour, and upon it the sea breaks with great violence. As we approached it appeared impossible to us that the boat could pass through the surf, yet two canoes came dashing through the waves (as if they bade defiance to the destructive rocks and foaming billows that rolled over them with a dreadful noise) to direct us where it would be safe for the boat to land. When the boat came near the shore a number of natives rushed through the surf, laid hold of the boat, and conducted us safely in.
The chief’s residence was on the east side of the harbour, but we were compelled to land on the west side, on account of the surf, and had therefore to cross the water in a canoe. The whole place was surrounded with broken rocks, which resembled page 380 more the ruins of old abbeys than anything else. Some formed very large arches, others deep caverns, some were like old steeples, and others like broken massy columns. In short, they represented the most curious group of ruins which time, storms, and seas have made. A numerous crowd of men, women, and children came to meet us. The chief and Mayhanger were overjoyed at our visit. The chief who had been on board was the war commander, or one whom the New Zealanders call “the fighting man.“ Yet we now found there was another higher in authority than our friend, to whom we were conducted. He was seated on the ground, and a clean mat was placed by for Mr. Nicholas and me. The war commander stood all the time with a spear in his hand. The head chief was a very old man, with a long grey beard, and little hair upon his head. He was an exceeding pleasant man. Koro Koro came with us. He related to the chief all the wonders he had seen at Port Jackson, the attention paid to him, the riches of our country, and for what purpose our brig had come to New Zealand. The old chief laughed much, and made many enquiries, and wanted us to stay till next day. He ordered us some pork and gave a few baskets of fish for the people.
We stopt till about 10 o’clock, when we took our leave, having enjoyed a very pleasant evening. They conducted us through the surf and we made for the vessel. She was by this time so far distant that we could not even hear the muskets which were fired as signals, tho’ we could observe the flash of the powder which directed us to the vessel. We got on board, when a breeze sprang up, and we made sail, and the next morning discovered Cape Brett in sight. As we sailed along the coast we were visited by ten canoes, which brought us plenty of fish. About 3 p.m. we anchored in the Harbour of Rangheehoo, and found all on the settlement well, and assuming the pleasing appearance of civilisation from the buildings erected and erecting and from the sawyers, smiths, and others at work.
Having now completed everything relative to the establishment of the mission that appeared to me necessary as far as regarded the intercourse of the settlers with the natives—I had opened a communication nearly two hundred miles along the coast, and the chiefs in all the different districts were acquainted with the object in view, and they all seemed sensible of the benefits which they were likely to derive from the residence of Europeans among them. A more promising prospect could not be looked for than the present for civilizing this interesting people. We had had no differences during the whole time of our stay (and we had no means of protecting ourselves against such numbers as are in these districts), but were wholly in the power of the page 381 natives. I put no restraint upon them, but suffered them to come at any time and in any number to the vessel, Sundays excepted (when we had Divine service). A number of the chiefs lived constantly on board and many of their servants also.
We had only two small thefts committed while the brig lay in this harbour. One of the chiefs detected a common man with about 2 lb. of iron, and brought him to me. He was in a violent rage with him. I ordered the man to be confined in the hold till Terria, the head chief, came on board. When he arrived he was informed of what the man had done. Terria desired the thief to be brought on deck, and on the man’s approach Terria made a blow at him with a billet of wood and would have instantly put him to death if I had not interfered to spare his life by getting him out of the brig into a canoe. The chief then ordered him to quit his dominions and return to them no more. I afterwards lost two razors, and the chiefs were much concerned when informed of the circumstance, saying they hoped I did not suspect either of them, or that they could be guilty of such a crime (as no chief would steal). They said I had been too indulgent in allowing their servants to come on board, who could not all be trusted; and assured me that if ever they found out the thief at any period, however distant, he should be put to death. They also presented me with a very valuable mat, one of the finest I had seen, as a compensation for my loss, observing that while I remained in their districts I should not suffer any loss which they could remedy. They were all much concerned about these thefts. One of them sat upon deck two days and nights, and would not come into the cabin to eat, from vexation, saying he was so much ashamed of such conduct. (Theft and adultery they punish with death.)
On passing up the River Koua Koua I observed upon the summit of a very high hill a Roman cross, and asked the natives what it was for. They told me it was to hang thieves on, whom they first killed and then hung up their dead bodies till time or the vultures destroyed. During our stay at Koua Koua I had many interesting conversations with the chiefs relative to the nature of crimes and punishments, and I pointed out to them that there was no comparison between a man who would steal a potato and another who committed murder. And yet their punishment (in New Zealand) was the same, for they will as soon kill a man for stealing potatoes as for murder. The chief has the power of life and death over his people. They appeared much astonished when I told them that King George had not the power to put any man to death, tho’ a much greater king than any in New Zealand. I explained to them the nature of a British jury—that no man could be put to death in England page 382 unless twelve gentlemen had examined into the case of the accused prisoner on any alleged offence, and if they pronounced him guilty of a crime deserving death then King George could put him to death, but if these twelve gentlemen said he was not guilty King George could not put him to death; and even when a criminal is condemned to die King George has the authority to pardon him if he wishes to do so. They remarked that such a law was very good, and one of them asked what Governor we should send them. I replied that we had no intention of sending them any, but wished them to govern themselves. I mentioned some crimes which were punished with death, and others which we punished with banishment; and observed that punishment should be regulated at all times by the nature of the offence. I told them if a man had two wives in England, tho’ he was a gentleman, yet he would be banished from his country. One of the chiefs said he was of opinion that it was better to have only one wife, for where there are many there will always be quarrelling; others said that their wives made the best overseers, and that they could not get their grounds cultivated if it was not for the industry of their wives; and for that reason only, they thought to have more wives than one was good policy. These conversations sometimes past while the women were present, and they were generally of opinion that a man should have no more than one wife. Some of the chiefs thought there were too many kings in New Zealand, and that if there were fewer they would have fewer wars and be more happy. I told them there was only one king in England; at the same time there were more gentlemen than in New Zealand, but that none of these gentlemen could put a man to death nor dared they go to war with one another. King George would not allow it, and they could not do this without his permission, on which account there was no fighting with nor murdering of one another in England, as there were among them.
I had one young man, a native of New Zealand, belonging to the vessel who had lived some years at Port Jackson, a very good interpreter, who generally attended me, to explain anything which the natives could not clearly understand; and by his assistance I also obtained any information I wished relative to the island and inhabitants of New Zealand, and was enabled to communicate much useful knowledge to them. Our conversation [was] generally touched religion, civil government, agriculture, and commerce. They always shewed an anxiety for information respecting the habits or customs of the people in other parts of the globe.
Shortly after our arrival at Koua Koua, a chief named Weevea came on board the brig to request me to visit his settlement. page 383 I promised I would, as soon as I could conveniently leave the vessel. This village is situated on the banks of a fresh-water river called Wycaddee, about twelve miles from where we lay, at the head of one of the coves. The village takes its name from the river.
Having now completed our cargo I informed Weevea that I would accompany him to see his people. The next morning his canoe was got ready, and being joined by another canoe we set off for Wycaddee. The rain fell very heavy. I was soon wet through my great coat and other clothing. The wind and tide were against us, and the fresh-water river had risen in consequence of the late heavy rain, so that we made but little progress. When we had got about four miles on we came to a little village on the west side of the harbour. The chief came to invite us on shore, but this I declined as I was as wet as if I had been in the river. The chief waded after our canoe, notwithstanding the heavy rain, from a desire to know what was going on, and Weevea had enough to tell him of what he had learned on board the “Active.“ He pressed us much to take some refreshment with him, but I was too cold and wet to leave the canoe. When he had taken his leave, Weevea said to me, “This chief is a great king. Give him a nail.“ I complied with the request by giving him a few nails, and he returned on shore highly delighted with his presents.
We proceeded to Wycaddee, but the higher we got up the river the stronger the stream ran against us; so that at length the men could not stem the current with their paddles, but were compelled to go close in shore and get out of the canoe to drag it along, and with all their exertions they could not reach the village with the canoe. We therefore landed a little after dark, in order to walk up the remaining distance (about one mile) to the place. The rain still continuing, we had to pass thro’ some swampy ground, which was in many places flooded with water. I however followed my guides, sometimes up to my knees in mud and sometimes sunk in deep water-holes, for the night being dark we could not see to pick our way. At length I discovered a light, like the twinkling of a star, appearing and disappearing at short intervals. It was a signal that the village was near. As one light only appeared I enquired where it was, and was informed that it proceeded from the chief’s residence. Weevea was a little behind at this time, and I was walking along with one of his officers.
Before we entered the village the officer who was with me called aloud to the inhabitants and informed them that I was coming. Many of these people had visited the “Active.“ I made for the spot where I had first seen the light (in order page 384 to get in shelter from the rain), and when I came up to this hut I had to creep into it through a small doorway about 2 ft. high and 18 in. broad. A number of women and children and a few of Weevea’s servants composed the inmates. There was about a handful of fire in the centre of the hut (made of a few small sticks), round which were the children, all naked. Sometimes a little fire blazed for a moment and then went out, and the hut was full of smoke (as there was no vent for it to get out except at the small doorway already mentioned). This strange group of natives were all rejoiced to see me. I took off all my clothes, being very wet and cold. The children ran out to collect some firewood. Weevea brought we two clean mats to wrap myself in, as bed-clothes to sleep upon, and a log of wood for a pillow. The women and children were busy in mending the fire and drying my clothes. I found the smoke very offensive, but I thought it more prudent to put up with this inconvenience than run the risk of catching cold by sleeping in a hut where there was no fire. Weevea told me he could not remain in the hut on account of the smoke. As I would not leave it he retired into another by himself and left me with the company before mentioned, who entertained me a great part of the night in talking of their chief and his concerns. The women and children were very kind and attentive, and they did all in their power to make me comfortable.
When they sleep they lie upon the ground, have little covering, and some none at all. A log of wood was laid in the centre of the hut, which ran the whole length, being about 30 ft. long, and the natives lay on each side of the log with their heads reclined on it. At this time I had no Europeans with me, nor any other person except Weevea’s people. My object was to gain as clear a knowledge of the character and habits of these islanders as possible while I was in the country, which could not be acquired without sacrificing for a time the comforts and conveniences of civil life. I was under no apprehension for my personal safety, as I had never met with the smallest insult from one of them.
About midnight Weevea came to the hut and informed me that one of his wives was very ill, and her little child—that he was afraid she would die—and requested I would pray with her in the morning, which I promised to do. He appeared much concerned about this woman. I had heard a person moaning very much for some time, as if very weak and in great pain, and I also heard a child cry occasionally. Early in the morning I rose to see the poor woman, and found her lying with a child about three days old by her side in the open air, sheltered only by a few reeds placed in the direction from which the storm of page 385 wind and rain blew. She had been exposed all night in this manner, notwithstanding the stormy weather, and looked very ghastly, as if death was near. I talked to her for some time. She could scarcely speak, but smiled feebly, and seemed pleased with my attention to her. I knelt down by her side, along with Weevea and some of his people, and offered up my supplications to the Father of Mercies on her behalf. She well understood the meaning of prayer, tho’ not the language in which it was then offered, as the New Zealanders consider that all their afflictions come from some superior Being, whom they are much accustomed to address while in trouble. The poor woman wanted nourishment. I presented her with a piece of biscuit, but she gave me to understand that she was forbidden to eat anything except potatoes. I spoke to Weevea, who told me God would be angry if she ate the biscuit. He took the bread, and, after repeating many petitions over it, placed it under her head and told me the presence of God would be in the biscuit, but his wife must not eat it. I lamented that the poor woman had been in the open air all night, which was enough to occasion her death, and learned that it was the prevailing custom among the New Zealanders when people were sick to carry them out of the huts into the open air lest the huts should be defiled. These people neither eat nor drink in their houses, but always in the open air, for the above reason.
I could not learn that the New Zealanders have any graven images or likenesses of supposed deities, as other heathen nations have; but they consider their god to be an intelligent spirit or shadow, for when I enquired of one of them whan God was like, I was told he was an immortal shadow; yet they suffer much in times of sickness from their superstitions, being compelled to lie in the open air, and to refuse food and water for days together, under an impression that if either be administered to the sick they will surely die. I had often been struck previous to my present visit to Wycaddee with the weakly and aged appearance of young women who had borne children, which I now attribute to the colds and other complaints caught, no doubt, by exposure whilst giving birth to their offspring.
In passing thro’ the village I saw a little naked child lying on the ground in the presence of a number of people. A chief informed me it was his child, and was two days old, and shewed me its mother, who was walking about. She would probably have been lying there too if she had been sick. The child was not very well. I mention this as a proof that both women and children at the critical time of danger are exposed to sufferings unknown to civil society.page 386
At a small distance from where Weevea’s sick were lying there was a little hut and a stage erected in it. Weevea took me to it, and told me his father had been slain in battle, and that his body was wrapped up and placed upon that stage, where it would remain till the bones moulded away. I could not observe any part of the body, as the covering had been drawn up into a round form, and not stretched out like our dead.
The chiefs in New Zealand, when they die, are generally placed on stages in some secret groves, several of which I saw. The natives do not like to visit the places allotted to their departed friends, and there is generally some frightful image erected near the spot to terrify all who approach near the repository of their dead. I was therefore surprised that Weevea had his father’s remains so near his dwelling, and in the centre of the village. This village is situated in the centre of a rich valley, the land good and fit for cultivation. I also observed many noble pine trees.
Weevea was anxious to have some European residents at Wycaddee, and pointed out the spot where their houses might be built, on the rich banks of the river, where the advantages of situation and soil for cultivation (owing to the vicinity of the water, &c.). I told him that in time his wishes might be complied with, but that we must first see how the inhabitants of New Zealand conducted themselves towards the Europeans at Rangheehoo. If they were well treated, more should be sent. He wished then to accompany me to New South Wales. I told him the number I had already agreed to take were as many as the vessel could well accommodate, but I would give directions to secure a passage for him at a future time should he then feel inclined to visit me. With this he was satisfied, and said he would come. I then told him, as the vessel would leave Koua Koua that day, I must request the use of a canoe that I might get on board without delay. He replied that he could not suffer me to go until he had presented me with two or three hogs. He then immediately through [threw] off his clothing, took a boy and a dog to the river, plunged with them into the water, and swarm across, holding them above water with the one hand and swimming with the other. On reaching the other side he ran off into the forest like a lion (the boy following) and in a little time returned with three hogs, which were put into the canoe, and all was got ready for my return. He made me a present of some mats at the same time, and told me he would accompany me to the vessel. When we got to the canoe he put in one of his sons, a fine boy about nine years old. I asked him what he was about to do with his boy. He told me that he intended to take him to Rangheehoo, to live with Mr. Kendall, in order to be instructed. I observed that Mr. Kendall’s house was not yet ready to receive page 387 pupils, but as soon as it was and Mr. K. be able to accommodate him, I would speak to Mr. Kendall, who would then, I had no doubt, receive him. With this he was satisfied.
It may not be improper to notice here a conversation I had with the two chiefs Tupee and Timmoranghee some time after respecting Mr. Kendall’s school. He had already begun to teach the children, and had taken into the school two fine boys, the sons of a common man at Rangheehoo. Those chiefs told me it was of no use to teach the children of the common people—that they had no lands or servants, and could never rise higher in rank than their parents, but that it would be very good to instruct the sons of the chiefs. From which I could learn that there is no middle class of people in New Zealand: they are all either chiefs or (in a certain degree) slaves. At the same time the chiefs do not give their commands to the people indiscriminately as a body with that authority which masters in civil society exercise over their servants; nor do their dependents feel themselves bound to obey such commands. It is true they have the power to put any of their people to death for criminal conduct, but as the chiefs have no means of remunerating the services of their dependents (there being reciprocal contracts between them as master and servant) they cannot command the people as a body to labour on their ground, &c. In time of war or other common danger the chiefs assume sovereign authority, and compel the people to put themselves under their orders, and all subordinate chiefs must also (with their dependents) attend their immediate superiors to the field of action. The chiefs have their domestic servants to cook their provisions, manage their canoes, cultivate their land, or do any menial service required, and these only are wholly under the chief’s authority.
I now took my leave of this people and returned to the brig, which had got under weigh, but was obliged to anchor again, the tide running so strong she could not stem it with the light wind she then had. When I arrived I was informed by some of the chiefs that the “Jefferson,“ whaler, had come on the coast, and was anchored in the cove near Terria’s village, and that their [there] had been a serious difference between the people on board and the chief Terria, whom they had threatened to shoot; further, that if any injury was done to Terria it was designed to cut off the ship and kill her crew, and they therefore requested me to go down and know the cause of the quarrel.
I was much concerned to hear this account, and told them I would go on board the “Jefferson,“ and if any injury had been done to Terria, the party who had done it should be brought on board the “Active“ and taken to Port Jackson, where he page 388 would be punished by Governor Macquarie. I took the largest carpenter’s axe we had in the vessel with me as a present co Terria (knowing that nothing would be more acceptable to him), and set off in a canoe for his village. I found him at home, and, after presenting the axe, I told him what I had heard. He stated that he had been on board the “Jefferson,“ and that a pistol had been pointed at his breast by a person who threatened to shoot him. I desired him to go with me, and point out the person who had thus insulted him. He ordered his canoe, and we proceeded on board, accompained by his canoe, and we proceeded on board, accompanied by his brother and another chief. When we got on board he pointed oout the person who had threatened to shoot him and stated the cause of their difference; but as the matter was at length settled to the satisfaction of the chief and his friends it is not necessary to say more than that it appeared to me that the Europeans were wholly to blame.
I remained on board the “Jefferson“ all night. While walking upon the quarter-deck, in company with the second mate, I saw one of the chiefs in a dreadful rage, and Tupee (Terria’s brother) pointing up to the mast-head, at the same time making signs to some of the natives, as if he wanted to hang, some person up. I immediately went with the mate to know what was the cause of the uproar. The chief, who was too angry, pointed to a young man who had a sword in his hand, and said he had struck his wife several times with the sword, and when he forbade him he had made several stabs at himself. I told him to be quiet, and the man should be punished if he had done wrong. I then turned to the young man who still kept the swoid, and when I spoke to him was very insolent, and used extremely bad language before his officers and me. He refused to be reconciled to the chief, tho’ neither he nor his wife had given the smallest offence. I told the chief I should represent the man’s conduct to Governor Macquarie, and that Mr. Kendall, who was appointed by the Governor to hear their complaints against the Europeans, would be sent for, and he would write them on paper and I would take them with me to Port Jackson, which was done. They attended the examination, when the young man was brought before Mr. Kendall, as a Magistrate, and they were perfectly satisfied with what was done.
I enquired of Tupee what he meant by pointing to the masthead. He said that he was recommending to his countrymen not to injure any person on board but the man who had struck him and his wife with the sword, and to hang him only at the mast-head. Masters of vessels should be very particular and not to place swords in the hands of young thoughtless sailors when they are among savage people. The number of natives then on board and alongside the “Jefferson“ could have taken her in one page 389 moment. The natives should either be prohibited altogether excepting the chief of the district from coming on board, or care should be taken not to insult any of them, to whom this permission may be given.
Previous to this time I had frequent conversations with the chiefs respecting the loss of the “Boyd,“ and pointed oug to them the injustice of putting to death the innocent with the guilty, as the people of Whangoroa had done in that instance. They readily admitted that the guilty only ought to suffer. I was pleased to find that Tupee was strongly impressing upon the minds of the natives the same idea, and instructing them not to injure any person on board the “Jefferson“ except the man who had given the offence.
All differences being now settled, I waited for the arrival of the “Active.“ She soon appeared in sight, and anchored not far from the “Jefferson,“ where we intended to take in our water, and then to proceed to the settlement at Rangheehoo. While the “Active“ was taking in her cargo at Koua Koua a number of native women came on board every day. 1 told them I could not allow any of them to remain on board at night unless their husbands were with them. Accordingly, in the evening the vessel was searched, and if any women were found they were sent on shore (sometimes not very well pleased). During my stay on board the “Jefferson“ I saw many of my old female acquaintances, who laughingly said they were not now on board the “Active,“ and that the “Jefferson“ was not tabooed when the evening came like the “Active“—there was no iriauta (meaning there was no command to be off). I replied that I was angry with the master and crew of the “Jefferson“ for suffering them to remain all night in the vessel, and that these were all very bad men. The women smiled, and expressed their confidence that they would not be molested.
The next day I accompanied Mr. Kendall to Rangheehoo in the “Jefferson’s“ whale-boat, where I found Duaterra dangerously ill. This was a very distressing circumstance to me. I called to see him, but the superstitions of the natives would not permit me for several days to do so. Having at length gained admission. I found Duaterra lying on his back facing the sun, which was exceedingly hot, in a high fever, his tongue very foul. He complained of violent pains in his bowels, and from every appearance he was not likely to survive long. Two of his wives, his father-in-law, the priest, and several attendants were with him. He was much pleased that I had come to see him. I asked him if he had anything to eat or drink. He replied he had not, excepting potatoes and water. I told him whatever he wanted he should have, and ordered him a supply of tea, sugar, rice, and page 390 wine, for which he expressed his gratitude. I had some wine and water got for him as soon as possible, part of which he took. He also eat [ate] some rice, and drank some tea, which revived him a little. It was his intention to have laid out a new town, with regular streets, to be built after the European mode, in which ground was to be set apart for the erection of a church. I had examined the spot, which appeared delightful. The situation is on a rising hill fronting the cove, and commanding a view of the whole harbour, being about eight miles from its mouth. He mentioned his intention to me, and hoped he would recover in time to have the town properly marked out before I sailed. I told him I should be ready to attend him, but hoped to see him better first, and recommended him to take what nourishment he could.
Having obtained permission to see him at all times, I called the next day, and found that he spoke much better, and I entertained hopes of his recovery; but on the following day he appeared worse. He was supplied with all the necessaries he could wish for by Messrs. Kendall, Hall, and King, who willingly did all they could for him.
All the utensils used for conveying meat or drink to the sick chief were detained by his relations, who said if they were removed Duaterra would die, and he was himself of the same opinion ! So strongly rooted is superstition in the human mind when once admitted.
I had hitherto met everything in New Zealand to my full satisfaction, and nothing to give me pain till this unexpected affliction of Duaterra, which was to me very distressing, because upon his wisdom, zeal, industry, and influence I had calculated the production of many advantages to New Zealand. My hopes were now likely to be blighted, as I could entertain little expectation of his being restored. I know Infinite Wisdom cannot err: what the Great Head of the Church ordains to be done will in the end be best; but as David moaned for Abner I shall long moan for Duaterra, now removed by death, for as a great man fell in Israel when Abner was killed so did a great man fall in New Zealand when Duaterra died—so far as natural causes may be considered to operate.
I attributed Duaterra’s sickness to his exertions. He was a man of great bodily strength, and possessed an active and a comprehensive mind, which on his return to New Zealand he exerted to the utmost, day and night, to carry the plans he had formed into execution. His grand object was agriculture. He calculated that in two years he should be able to raise sufficient wheat for all his people to supply other chiefs with seed, and in a short time to export some to Port Jackson in exchange for iron and such other page 391 articles as he might want. With this view he had visited his different lands or farms, some of them forty miles distant from Rangheehoo, laid out the ground he intended to clear and cultivate, and marked out the work for his men, having first onquired of me how much ground a man might break up in a day at Port Jackson. He was seldom at home, but constantly at his farms, excepting when he went with me to the River Thames, and on this account I fear he will be a great loss to his country. He had introduced agriculture, and paved the way for the civilization of his countiymen. When he last came to New South Wales, in August, 1814, he brought his half-brother with him, and left him with me, desiring that the boy might be instructed in useful knowledge. The boy is now about ten years of age, and is a very fine intelligent youth, exceedingly well disposed and industrious. This youth is next in authority, and will succeed Duaterra in his estates. I intend him to remain till he can speak the English language, and gain a knowledge of agriculture. He is every day at work, either as a carpenter or a farmer, and I entertain hopes that should Duaterra be removed by death this young man will soon be able to fill his place. I have a person instructing him also to read a little before he returns to his native home. I trust that in these mysterious dispensations Divine Goodness is preparing a way to bring these poor heathens into the Church of Christ, and that if one instrument fails another will in due time be provided. In the day of trouble we may say with Abraham, “God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.“
On Friday, 24th February, the brig “Active“ was ready for sea, Duaterra still continuing in a dying state, and my time being limited by Governor Macquarie’s order I could not remain to see the result of his sickness. I was happy, however, in the consideration that those I was about to leave behind would cheerfully administer to all his wants, and would do everything in their power to restore him to health, for they were all very kind to him, and anxious for his preservation.
I had given permission for ten New Zealanders to accompany me to Port Jackson, eight of whom were chiefs or sons of chiefs, and two servants. They all embarked on Friday, and their friends assembled from every quarter to take their leave of them and me. Before my final departure from the island I wished to obtain, and as far as possible to secure, a legal claim to the land occupied and required by the Europeans who I was about to leave in the country; and for this purpose application was made to two nephews of the late Tippahee, who were the legal proprietors of the land in question, which adjoined the Village of Rangheehoo. These two chiefs readily consented te sell us the land (they were related to Duaterra). I went with them and the page 392 settlers to ascertain the proper dimensions or boundaries, but we had no instruments to measure the exact quantity, which I took to be about 200 acres. The natural land-marks or boundaries were inserted in the deed of sale made and executed on the Friday (24th February, 1815) in the presence of several chiefs from the several districts around. The land was purchased on behalf of the Church Missionary Society for twelve axes; and the deed of grant or sale contains (by way of seal and signature) all the curves and lines which are tatooed on the chiefs’ faces, which renders it a very singular and curious documen.
I took this opportunity to inform the assembled chiefs that, as the land now belonged to the Europeans, they were all at full liberty to come or send from any part of New Zealand for such things as they might wish to purchase, and that the smith would make them axes, hoes, and other useful tools, but on no account was he to repair fire-arms or make any warlike instruments whatever, not even for the greatest chiefs on the island. Ahoodea O’Gunner (one of the chiefs from whom we purchased the land) declared that the ground was no longer theirs, but wholly and solely the property of the white people, and was tabooed for their use only. The ceremony of executing the deed was performed on the newly purchased land, and a son of Mr. King’s (the first white native of New Zealand, born at Rangheehoo) was publicly baptized on this occasion, which with many other impressive circumstances will render this truly interesting scene a subject of long remembrance to the New Zealanders and of gratitude and praise to the new followers of Jesus then present, who were the humble instruments of the work.
Ahoodea O’Gunner, a sensible man and very partial to the Europeans, is the chief man in Rangheehoo, where the settlers reside. It is the largest and most populous town or village we have seen on the island, and it contains upwards of 200 huts. Mrs. O’Gunner, wife of the chief, was a pleasant woman and had much improved in her appearance and cleanliness before we left. She spent most of her time with the Europeans, assisting the women in anything she could do. Ahoodea O’Gunner requested I would send him a suit of clothes to wear on the Sabbath, as he did not like to attend Divine service in his native dress, which he thought improper, and I promised to attend to his request.
Having finally arranged and settled all matters respecting the establishment of the missionary settlement at Rangheehoo, I embarked in company with Mr. Nicholas, and on Saturday morning, the 26th, we weighed anchor and sailed. Many of the chiefs came on board, and accompanied us down the harbour. There was much weeping and lamentation at the parting scene. Messieurs Kendall, Hall, and King were also on board, and the page 393 chiefs promised very kindly in reference to them, saying that if Duaterra should die they would take care of the missionary settlers—that none should hurt or molest. Many requested to go with me to New South Wales, but I was obliged to refuse them, partly because we had no room in the vessel, and partly on account of the heavy expense necessary to maintain them on the passage and while the vessel might lay at Port Jackson. I told them I would at all opportunities permit a few to have a passage at a time, and that they should come in turn by rotation, and with these prospects they were satisfied. The head chief’s wife wept greatly, and cut her face, arms, and breast with shells, &c., till the blood streamed down her person. She said that she would neither eat not drink during five days and nights, but would sit in her hut and weep and pray for us all that time. She was a very intelligent young woman, could then speak a little English, and was partial to Europeans, and her husband was equally well disposed to them.
Terria was urgent to have one or two Europeans sent to reside in his district, and it was my intention, provided I heard favourable accounts of the settlements, and could meet with suitable persons, to send a man and his wife by the next return of the “Active“ to New Zealand.
We proceeded down the harbour till we neared the Heads, when the canoes returned with our weeping friends. Here we had to anchor till the turning of the tide, and during this interval we were visited by a chief from the River Thames, who had just arrived.
About noon we put out to sea, and bore-away for the North Cape, and came in sight of it about noon next day (Sunday, the 27th). I was determined to put in and spend a day, according to my promise (if the wind would permit). We accordingly steered for it. The wind was not unfavourable during the Sunday night, and on Monday morning we were four or five leagues from the shore with a land breeze. The vessel had passed the north-east point where I had intended to touch, but we could not make it. We endeavoured to work to windward by carrying all the sail we could, and about 10 o’clock a canoe put off for us from a different part of the shore where the chief lived whom I wished to visit. When the natives came on board I was informed that the chief had got a quantity of flax dressed and ready for me, and that Jem, the Otaheitean, was about four miles in the interior. I requested the principal native to send his canoe on shore, to inform Jem of my arrival, but to remain himself on board. This accordingly was done. He, like many others, wished for a passage to Port Jackson, which, for the reasons already assigned, I could not grant.page 394
Shortly after another canoe reached us, in which I went on shore, accompanied by Mr. Nicholas and the chief who had come on board. We landed at a small village near the beach. This surf was high, and the place were we landed appeared to me very rocky and full of danger; but relying on the knowledge and dexterity of the natives in such cases, we ventured thro’ all. and got safely on shore, our only damage being the sprinkling of a little salt water. We here found some pretty little cottages, and their gardens in high cultivation, well laid out and neatly fenced in. The potatoes and yams, &c., were planted in separate beds, and no weeds were to be seen in these plots of ground.
In passing through the village I observed a man’s head stuck on a pole in front of the cottage. The chief stole silently from behind me and took it down, and then carried it into the hut. He was not aware that I had observed it, and by his cautious conduct I concluded he was desirous I should not; on which account I took no further notice, but passed on.
It was from this village a messenger had been sent for Jem, the Otaheitean, who had not yet returned. We walked about two miles into the interior on the path by which Jem was expected to pass, and a number of natives attended us. We saw on our way some beautiful plantations of potatoes and other vegetables. The women appeared as if they were little acquainted with Europeans. Most of them kept at a distance for some time, and always fled when we spoke to them.
Being informed that Jem had taken another road and was gone down to the beach, we returned towards the sea by a different way to that by which we left the village being conducted by the natives. We met the chief’s son dressed in the India print I had given to his father when on my way to Bay of Islands. The edges of his garment were ornamented by a white hog’s skin with the hair on, which looked tolerably handsome; the print being red and white gave it a tasteful effect. He was an exceeding fine youth. He produced the printed orders of Governor Macquarie (given by me to his father); they were wrapped up and covered with great care, in order to keep them clean. At his request I consented to give him a passage to New South Wales. Being informed that his father was waiting to see me at the head of the bay (about three miles off) I set off to visit him, and was met by Jem, who told me the flax was ready.
It being almost dark, and the wind blowing fresh from the land, so that the brig could not get up, I was apprehensive she would be driven out to sea, and therefore thought it prudent to get on board without delay. With this view we returned to the village, and on our way saw two women leaning on a rock weeping and making loud lamentations. I enquired the cause and learnt page 395 that it was on account of their husband (the chief who had applied for a passage), I desired them not to weep, for I could not take their husband with me, because the vessel was full.
When have got to the village I requested a canoe from the native to take us on board; they launch’d one immediately, and filled her with men. The sea was rough, and the brig a considerable distance from shore, and I expected we should meet with some difficulty in getting on board. But as the natives apprehended no danger I endeavoured to persuade myself that my fears were groundless, and therefore entered the canoe, which soon passed over the raging surf, and reached the “Active“ in safety. Some of the canoes are 80 ft. long, and it is astonishing to see with what skill these people manage them in a rough sea.
Previous to leaving the shore, I informed Jem that the brig would lay to all night, if not driven off by the wind, and in the morning we should stand in for the land, in order that I may see his father-in-law before I left, and get the flax he had prepared on board.
As the wind continued the same all night we could not make nearer the land in the morning than in the evening before. Jem came off, however, pretty early with a message from the chief requesting me to go on shore. I desired him to return and tell the chief the sea was so high, and not being accustomed to their canoes I was afraid to venture, and that if he had anything to send the vessel should wait till I heard from him again. At the same time I sent him a present of some edge tools which I had reserved for his use.
In about three hours Jem returned with a quantity of potatoes and about 3 cwt. of flax. He also brought a boy whom the chief wished me to take to Port Jackson, with a request that Jem might accompany him, and return by the “Active“ on her next trip to New Zealand. I was unwilling to disappoint the wishes of this chief who placed such confidence in me, and I therefore gave my consent for them both to remain in the vessel. We then made sail and bore away with a fine breeze for Port Jackson. Jem told me that the chief’s eldest son, whom I had seen on shore, was very anxious to come, but his mother would not consent at this time.
I had now twelve natives as passengers, besides the one employed in the vessel, on board, and it was with the most heartfelt satisfaction that I left New Zealand. I had not met with the slightest accident, provocation, or insult. I had fully accomplished the object of my voyage, and satisfied myself respecting the real character and disposition of these heathens. I had obtained satisfactory evidence that there existed no real obstruction to the introduction of Christianity and civilization among page 396 them, and that nothing more was requisite than common prudence on the part of the persons who might be engaged in this humane and benevolent undertaking.
Nothing material happened during our passage till the 20th of March, when we had a very heavy storm of thunder and lightening from the south-east. It blew a very hard gale, which compelled us to lay to for two days and nights. At this time we were not far off the coast of New South Wales. Some of the New Zealanders were greatly alarmed for their safety, and expected the vessel to be dashed to pieces every moment—particularly the chief Timmeranghee, who wept and said he would never see his wife and children any more, and begged the captain to take all the coats from the masts (meaning the sails) for they would kill the ship. Tupee on the other hand was quite composed during the storm. He said that “neither thunder, lightening, nor wind would destroy the vessel [if] he and I remained in it,“ and exhorted Timmorangha not to be afraid, for he was safe enough. Notwithstanding all that Tupee could say, Timmorangha’s fears continued as long as the gale lasted. He neither rested by night nor by day. Tupee was often accustomed to pray, and sometimes he would have some of his countrymen with him. He had a strong confidence in some supernatural being—the God of New Zealand, as he was wont to call the object of his worship. I was very sick during the storm, and could seldom get out of my cott. Tupee would sit beside me, and put his hand on different parts of my body, and pray to his God. He was a dignified and a superior character, and was always the same-very mild and even tempered. In this gale we were driven more than two hundred miles to the northward of Port Jackson. When the storm abated the wind became favourable to us, and we anchored safely in Sydney Cove on Wednesday, 23rd March, 1815.
I shall conclude this detail of the voyage by observing that the New Zealand chiefs are a warlike race, proud of their rank, and jealous of their dignity. They seemed to be men who never for-get neither a favour nor an injury. They retain a grateful remembrance of those Europeans who have been kind and faithful to them, and a spirit of sovereign contempt and revenge to such as have abused their confidence or otherwise injured them.
The people appear to live in amity and peace among themselves when under the government of one chief. I saw no quarrelling nor domestic broils while I was on the island. They are kind to their women and children. I never observed a mark of violence on any of them, nor did I see a woman struck, and the missionary settlers informed me that they had never seen any difference among the native people of Rangaheehoo during the period they had resided there. I have reason also to hold the same opinion page 397 generally of those of them who inhabit the districts on the south side of the Bay of Islands, especially when connected with each other by the ties of blood or being of the same tribe and belonging to the same village. I was likewise informed that no injury had been done in these parts of the country to any European since the time of Captain Cook’s voyage.
The two brother chiefs Terria and Tupee are exceedingly well disposed men, and have never allowed acts of violence towards Europeans, altho’ often provoked by insults from the latter. They frequently stated to me the nature of the injuries which they and their people have sustained or suffered from English seamen, and that not long ago a master of a vessel had shot two of their men dead; but notwithstanding this outrage they had not retaliated upon the Europeans, and mentioned the circumstance only as a proof how much they wished to cultivate our friendship. They wished me to be under no opprehension for the safety of our brig while on their coast, because she would be protected by the unanimous good will of the people. I said in reply that the vessel was intended to be constantly employed for their benefit and the improvement of their country, and they might therefore consider her as belonging to New Zealand, but it was not intended that she should come to the island under the expectation of making profit, or securing any advantage from them. One of the chiefs observed, in answer, that they were convinced of the latter fact, because they had nothing to give!
I am of opinion that little good can be done among the New Zealanders without the aid of a vessel to ply regularly between that island and New South Wales, which would supply necessaries and secure the lives of the missionary settlers. It would also give opportunities for the native chiefs to visit Port Jackson, where, by seeing the, habits and tasting the comforts of civilized life, they would acquire more useful knowledge in one month than they would in a long time in their own country, even when instructed by Europeans. A single view of our houses and furniture, our public buildings—such as churches, the King’s stores. magazines, and granrries, &c.—and of our arts and method of cultivating the land, would make impressions on their comprehensive minds never to be forgotten, and would therefore materially assist the gradual process of missionary instruction. As an instance of such effects, I may state that when I took Tupee and Timmorangha to see our general hospital in Sydney their minds were greatly excited by surprise and astonishment. They immediately took the dimensions and particulars of it in their own way, in order to be able to describe what they had seen, and they contrasted the work with their own country labour, observing to me that their people were in an page 398 ignorant state—no work was done there! but notwithstanding this remark of Tupee, I believe the natives are an active and industrious race of men.
I think, however, that besides the labours of a few solitary European residents among them they will require to be frequently encouraged by visits and supplies of agricultural tools. Iron is the only article which they at present value (fire-arms excepted). They are bold and daring and will undertake very difficult enterprises, with little apparent means to accomplish them, having scarcely any means to cultivate the land for want of iron, and no grain of any kind (till supplied by the “Active“), nor any sort of commerce with other nations.
The only profession of the chiefs may be said to be solely that of war. It is no uncommon occurrence for the people of the North Cape to travel throughout the country to the East Cape, a distance of two hundred miles, to make war. This is a great undertaking when it is considered that there are no regular roads, no bridges over rivers, and little means of subsistence in an uncultivated country like New Zealand.
Jem, the Otaheitean, told me he had been three times within the last five years at the East Cape to war, accompanied by a thousand men each time. When, with all this travel and toil, they get to the territory of their supposed enemies, the spoils to be gained consist of nothing more than a few mats and the prisoners who may be taken in battle.
While the “Active“ lay in the River Thames we observed a number of canoes on the beach, and were informed that they belonged to warriors who resided on the west side of the island, and that they had brought their canoes overland, and were going to war with some of the tribes at the East Cape. I wished much to visit their camp, and see the men who could undertake such an arduous task as to carry those large heavy canoes over a hilly and an uncleared country. Duaterra, however, recommended me not to visit their camp, as it would not be safe, and I took his advice. The camp appeared to be about three miles from our anchorage.
The New Zealanders are all cannibals, and appear to have no idea that it is an unnatural crime. When I expressed abhorrence at their eating one another they said it had always been customary to eat their enemies. I could not learn, however, that they ever eat human flesh merely to satisfy hunger or from choice, nor in cool blood, but solely from a spirit of retaliation and revenge for injuries sustained, and, as far as I could form an opinion of this horrid custom, I am inclined to believe that these people consider the eating of their enemies in the same light as we do the hanging of a criminal (condemned page 399 by the laws of his country), and that the disgrace reflected on the surviving relations of the victim is nearly the same as that reflected on a family in Europe by the public execution of one of its members. When I informed them that this was a custom unknown in Europe, and considered there as a great disgrace to the nation which practises it, they seemed surprised, and Shunghee, tho’ a man of great authority, has since told me that he thought it was wrong, and that his people would never be guilty of it again. A few others made a similar promise. I took opportunities as occasion offered to convince them of the inhuman nature of this practice by picturing the horror it excited in the bosoms of all good men of other nations, in whose opinion they were disgraced and dreaded on its account.
It may be proper to remark here that altho’ we met a friendly reception on every part of the coast at which we stopt or touched, I should recommend masters of vessels who may visit New Zealand to be very cautious unless they can depend upon the proper bahaviour of their respective crews. The New Zealanders will not be insulted with impunity, nor be treated as men without understanding, but will assuredly resent and revenge an injury as soon as opportunity permits.
At the Bay of Islands I would consider any ship as safe, in the event of a difference between the natives and the crew, as she would be at Port Jackson; but not so in any other port or harbour in the island. When I take an estimate of what I have seen of these islanders, and of what I have learnt from the numerous conversations on various subjects which I have had with them, I am inclined to believe and hope that under the blessing of an Omnipotent and Merciful God they may e’er long rank among the civilized and Christian nations of the earth.
The want of iron is at present, however, a great obstacle to their further improvement, and without it I fear these people could, scarcely rise much above their present situation; but if means be adopted to supply them with that essential article their country will soon produce to them all the necessaries and conveniences enjoyed in civil society, and as such comforts increase to reward their labour so will their wants increase to stimulate them to greater industry, and thus lay a solid foundation for their progressive, social, and mental improvement in the arts of civilization and in that which is the grand and most important object of all, a saving knowledge of Christianity, which is the ultimate and leading feature of all the proceedings contemplated by that benevolent and blessed institution, the Church Missionary Society, and the most hearty wish of all who love the Lord Jesus and sincerely pray for the prosperity of Zion.