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Historical Records of New Zealand

Whalers To Governor Macquarie

Whalers To Governor Macquarie.

Bay of Islands, 10th April, 1810.


In consequence of the destruction of the Boyd, Capt. Thompson, with the inhuman massacre of the passengers and page 300 crew of that ship, and from the information of Captain Pattison, of the ship City of Edinburgh, and the different natives of this place, having every reason to believe that Tippahae was the chief perpetrator of the horrid transaction,—on the 26th March, 1810, we, the undersigned, with our respective boats’ crews, determined to ascertain if any person had been so fortunate as to escape the general massacre and confined on Tippahee’s Island, as well as to rescue them and recover the arms, ammunition, and other warlike stores from the hands of the savages. On landing at Tippoonah and proceeding to the top of the island, the residence of Tippahee, we found the natives in a hostile disposition, and after a short interval they set up a general cry, and immediately discharged a volley of musquetry and spears at us. Our retreat was impracticable without certain loss, when we proceeded and took possession of the island by force of arms. The natives, with Tippahee, escaped to the main, either taking away or destroying their musquets by throwing them into the sea.*

We found the Boyd’s long boat and some papers, which we send by the Perseverance to Port Jackson, and earnestly caution all commanders coming to this place to be constantly on their guard, the natives appearing determined and fully adequate to carry any single ship.

John Kingston,


John Walker,


William Parker,


Josh. Morris,


Fredk. Hasselberg,


* J. L. Nicholas, who visited this part of New Zealand in company with the Rev. Samuel Marsden in the year 1814, gives the following account of this event:–“Four or five of our whalers happening to enter the Bay of Islands shortly after the cutting off of the Boyd, Ianded their crews on a small island, where Tippahee and his tribe resided, being previously informed by Tarra that to them alone was the massacre to be attributed; and, fired with impatience for revenge, they commenced an indiscriminate slaughter of the guiltless inhabitants, sparing neither age nor sex, burning their houses and destroying their plantations. Tippahee escaped with his life, after having received some severe wounds; but the havoc made among his people must be truly afflicting to the friends of innocence and humanity. ″–Narrative of a Voyage to New Zealand, vol. i, p. 229. Marsden shared Nicholas’s belief in the innocence of Tippahee; but it must be borne in mind that they, apparently, formed their conclusions from the accounts of the Maoris themselves, given some time after the event. Alexander Berry, on the other hand, visited the spot a few days after the seizure, and had the additional evidence of the survivors, two of whom were old enough to be able to give an account of the circumstances. He appears to have had no doubt as to the complicity of Tippahee.