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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.

Depositions of J. Swan

Depositions of J. Swan.

John Swan, being sworn, on his oath saith.

I am a carpenter on board the Brig Elizabeth, Stewart, Master. I shipped on board her at the London Docks, 22 February, 1830. I have been on board ever since. I was on board of her at New Zealand. I was at Entry Island about the month of September last in the Elizabeth. We staid there about three weeks. We took on board there some natives about 100 men. They had muskets and tomahawks. There were chiefs on board. We went afterwards with them to Banks, where, in two or three days after our arrival, the crew were called out, and the skiff and whaleboat were manned with part of the ship's crew, and the natives of Entry were landed on each side of the Harbour, with their arms. This was between 1 and 2 in the morning. On the day before that the Captain was on shore with his boat, and on his return he had a native chief of Banks named Mara Nui with him. Mara Nui came on board and either was invited, or of his own accord went down below in the cabin. The Captain, Richardson, and George Brown were in the boat when the Chief came on deck first. Mr. Clementson was on the deck. I saw him (the Chief) afterwards. He was kept in the fore cabin. He was in irons. His wife was with him, and a little girl, his daughter, that came on board with him. His wife came on board afterwards, on page 587 the same afternoon that he came on board. The natives of Entry who had landed came again on board the following night, and they brought baskets with them, but I do not know of my own knowledge that any human flesh was in them. I saw a human hand after our arrival at Entry. It was brought up out of the hold. Mr. Cowell (the trading master) was on board the boat which brought Mara Nui on board. After the landing of the Entry Island natives I saw the smoke of a fire in the village ashore, and that morning before breakfast I saw the Captain return on board, and after that (after breakfast) a boat from the ship go ashore with two of the Entry Island chiefs, Mr. Cowell and Wm. Brown. The boat's crew had arms in their hands. After Mara Nui was brought on board, two canoes of Banks came on board with six or seven persons, who were seized by the natives of Entry and taken down into the hold. The canoes were kept, and went ashore with the general landing of the Entry Island people. The skiff and whaleboat accompanied. When the natives of Entry returned on board, they brought with them about twenty prisoners who were put down in the hold. I went on shore with the boat after breakfast. On the morning at the general landing, two chiefs, one of them called Rapaura, Richardson, William Brown, George Wall, and Mr. Cowell were in the boat. We were armed with swords and pistols, and we all landed on one side of the harbour. The Chiefs joined some of the natives of Entry Island. There were lying on the ground fifteen or sixteen dead bodies of men, women and children. I saw some of the Entry Island natives, and the two chiefs, cut up some of the bodies and make a fire. In about two hours the Chiefs came to the boat, and we returned on board the Elizabeth. We remained at Banks altogether about five or six days. The vessel then returned to Entry Is and with the natives and their prisoners. The prisoners all landed there except the little girl, the daughter of Mara Nui, who, I heard, was strangled on board by her parents. The irons that were put on Mara Nui were put on by the Chief Mate. I was desired by the Captain to go down with two others to assist him. He made no resistance, but spoke, and seemed, much agitated. On our return all the prisoners were kept down in the hold. The Entry Island natives were down in the hold. The prisoners were landed there. Mara Nui's wife was first landed, and two or three days after, Raparau, the Chief of Entry Island, took Mara Nui away. Francis Richardson brought him up from the fore cabin. Captain Stewart was on board, but I can't say if he was on deck or not. Raparau took away the Chief, Mara Nui, in a canoe manned with natives, and I heard that he was afterwards killed. I heard that the page 588 ship was to have a cargo of flax for the service. We were to have a preference in the trade to any other vessels that might come in. We received there about 16 or 18 tons of flax. We were about six weeks taking it in. It had to be made. At Banks the assistance given by the ship was towing the skiff full of men (natives) on shore. On the return of the Entry Island natives on board after the fight, the guns were fired, with powder only.

John Swan.

Sworn the 7th February, 1831

F. Rossi J.P.

P. Superintendent of Police.

Fredk. A. Hely J.P.