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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.

Depositions of W. Brown

Depositions of W. Brown.

William Brown, being sworn, on his oath saith.

I am a seaman on board the Elizabeth, Stewart, Master. I shipped in England 14 months ago. I have been employed on board the said ship ever since. I was at New Zealand. We first touched at Whangaroa and afterwards at Entry Island. When at the latter place we took on board a number of Natives, I should think about 100. They were armed with muskets and native arms. They came on board in their own canoes and brought their own provisions along with them to Bank's Peninsula. We kept them on board three or four days after our arrival there. They were kept down below, but a number of them appeared on deck. They went ashore in the ship's boats in the evening. They took their arms with them. They went away some few miles from where the ship lay. The next morning they returned on board the Elizabeth in canoes. There was a native woman on board; she was the wife af a chief named Mara Nui. Three or four days after our arrival and before the landing of the natives, the Captain and the Trading Master (Mr. Cowell) went on shore in the boat to shoot. There were four or five men of the ship in the boat unarmed, and on our return we met a canoe with a chief in it; he hailed us, and we pulled slowly till he came up with us; he was very glad to see us; Mr. Cowell spoke to him in the native language, and afterwards the chief came on board the ship—very gladly as it appeared to me. A little girl about 11 years of age, and three or four natives, were with him. The little girl and the chief came on board our boat, and the other boat rowed away. The Chief and the little girl went down into the cabin and they were kept there. The same evening the natives of Entry Island page 585 went ashore, as I have before related. When the Chief was aboard, 2 or 3 canoes came on board and were seized by the natives of Entry Island, and the men put below. The Entry Island natives took the canoes and went on shore with them and a skiff and a whale boat belonging to the ship. In a day or two after, we returned to Entry Island, and all the natives went ashore. I heard that Mara Nui and his wife strangled the little girl. All the men seized at Banks Peninsula and the Chief, Mara Nui, were taken ashore at Entry Island. They went ashore in the native canoes. On our return from Banks Peninsula I picked up two human hands and some other bones which were flung overboard. The natives of Entry Island brought on board at Banks Peninsula several baskets of flesh which they afterwards cooked, and we judged that it was human flesh Mara Nui, when he came on board, was invited, I think, by the Chief Mate to go down below. The Captain was at this time in the boat. The Chief was the first to go out of the boat into the Elizabeth. The Chief Mara Nui, was in irons—leg irons—all the time he was on board. The Chief Mate supplied the irons. The wife of Mara Nui was put in irons after they strangled the child. The Chief, Mara Nui, and his wife were taken on shore at Entry Island. I heard that the ship was to be filled with flax for the service of taking the Entry Island people to Banks Peninsula. That was the general report on board the ship. As soon as the Entry Island people returned on board from Banks Peninsula the Captain desired 10 of the ships guns to be fired. There was no shot in the guns. We heard that the Entry Island people killed a good many people and burned a village while they were ashore. I went ashore with the Captain and Trading Master on the morning after the Entry Island people had landed and four or five of the ship's crew all armed with small arms and swords by order of the Captain. I saw the bodies of 6 or 7 people that had been killed the preceding night, and the village was still in flames. The bodies consisted of men, women, and children. About a dozen of the Entry Island natives were there when we landed. In about half an hour after that we returned on board the Elizabeth. Mr. Cowell, I believe, spoke to the Entry Island natives. One of the females of Banks Peninsula I saw come out of a house which had been set fire to, and she was covered with blood as if wounded. The natives at Entry Island pushed her down the hill and killed her by throwing spears at her. The First Mate, Mr. Clementson, was at this time on board the Elizabeth to take care of Mara Nui. Francis Richardson and George Brown were in the boats. We heard from the Europeans on the main that Mara Nui and his wife were killed. Hacho and page 586 Roberry were names of two of the chiefs of Entry Island that we took in the Elizabeth to Banks Peninsula. Roberry and another great chief landed with us in the ship's boat the morning after the general landing of the Entry Island people. The Chiefs Hacho and Roberry remained on shore. The ship's boat went again in the afternoon and Mr. Cowell or Mr. Richardson had the command. We then landed on the other side of the harbour and saw the natives of Entry cutting up the bodies of persons killed, belonging to the Banks Peninsula. We brought up nine natives of New Zealand to Sydney. One of these is a native of Banks Peninsula. He is now on board. Seven of the natives have run away since our arrival at Sydney.

The mark of

William Brown.

Sworn the 7th February, 1831

F. Rossi J.P.

P. Superintendent of Police.

Fredk. A. Hely J.P.