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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.

Their Villages

Their Villages.

Everything goes to show that these people are warlike. The position of their villages is always carefully chosen. When building their villages they select steep hills, or easily accessible islands. It is quite astonishing to what point of perfection they have arrived in their entrenchments and fortifications. I have seen villages whose approach was defended by moats of 20 ft. in width by 10 ft. in depth, and in which there were double and triple palisades, and, in between, a species of raised platform from which spears could be thrown with great effect.

There is usually in every fortified village a storehouse for the fern-root and sweet potatoes; their huts are solidly built, but very low, and the door, which provides the only opening, is at most 2 ½ ft. in height. They never make fires in their habitations: a shed outside is used to prepare their food in. Their only furniture consists of a plank covered with leaves, which serves them for a bed; a few calabashes with funnels made of wood, to keep water in; and a framework upon which to make their paddles. Besides these articles the chiefs have a species of box, which is very handsomely carved, and which is used to keep the plumes of white feathers which they alone have a right to wear.