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From Tasman To Marsden.



On 28th March the Scorpion came into Port Jackson from a whaling trip to the New Zealand coast, and reported page 101 a successful cruise of 600 to 700 barrels for some four months work. She left at the Fishery

Harriet 227 Thad. Coffin 8 23
Ann 288 Jas. Gwynn 0 22
Elizabeth and Mary 235 Jno. Kingston 10 24
John Sebastian Smith
Adonis 290 R. Turnbull 0 24
Britannia Quested
Hannah and Eliza

Of these whalers the Harriet (full), the Ann, and the Elizabeth and Mary called in at Sydney, on 25th April, 16th May, and 28th September, respectively. The Britannia sailed direct for Europe on 3rd May. The Ann, and the Hannah and Eliza were both New Bedford vessels.

Although the whalers were making good use of Sydney as a port to obtain refreshments for their men, it was not the only place where they called. We have Governor King's authority for the statement that the whaling masters who had visited New Zealand during the preceding four years found that the Natives had turned to such profitable account the seeds and other articles which he had given them in 1793, that they were able to supply the shipping with potatoes and other foodstuffs. In addition to supplying food, the Natives themselves went on board the whalers and assisted in procuring their cargoes of oil, and though many vessels had put into the Bay of Islands there had not, so far, been any altercation with the Natives. King was so delighted with the success which had attended the gifts he had made in 1793, that he now directed the Commandant at Norfolk Island to send a number of pigs and other stock, at intervals, to the Bay of Islands, by any whaling captain he could trust, to be delivered to the most powerful chief at the Bay, or distributed among the various tribes.

With the great number of whalers from New Zealand which frequented Sydney, numbers of the Natives who had volunteered for service were left stranded at Port Jackson, page 102 and were often taken from there by unscrupulous persons and shipped to places other than their homes, as, for instance, to catch seals in Bass Strait. To such an extent was this carried on that Governor King determined to put the recruiting of New Zealanders under strict control, and accordingly issued an Order forbidding the sending of them from Sydney to any island on the Australian coast, or eastward of Cape Horn, and requiring the Governor's permission before the Natives were removed. Provision was also made for their care and good treatment while in Sydney. This Order was dated 26th May.

The Order was followed up by a personal examination by King into the conditions of the Islanders in Sydney. On 5th July he had the various Natives, including the New Zealanders, assembled at Government House, where he interrogated them about their treatment and assured them of redress against any improper treatment which might be meted out to them. He offered to send home any who desired it, or to have trades taught to any who might be disposed to receive instruction. All seemed satisfied with their lot, and retired, pleased with the interest the Governor had manifested in them.

On 8th September, the Ferrett, a whaler owned by D. Bennett of London, and commanded by Captain Skelton, sailed from Sydney for New Zealand. She sighted the North Cape on the eighteenth, and cast anchor in the Bay of Islands on the twentieth. Everywhere were to be seen evidences of trade with Europeans. Potatoes were cultivated in immense quantities to supply the whaling ships. The Natives themselves used them but sparingly, saving them up to secure the iron which they so much desired for axes, adzes, and small hatchets. In trading they were sold in small flax baskets which contained from eight to thirty pounds weight apiece. At the time of the Ferrett's visit there resided at the Bay a white man who shunned all intercourse with his countrymen, and retired to the interior whenever a vessel arrived. His Native wife and his half-caste child were seen, but the description given of the latter is not complimentary to the fusion of the two races.

page 103

The particulars of the visit of the Ferrett are given to us by Mr. John Savage, who, with his wife, was a passenger on board the whaler. Savage had been assistant surgeon at Parramatta and had got into bad favour with the principal surgeon for refusing to attend on the settlers, free people, and others who asked for his services. His neglect finally culminated in the death of a woman whom he declined to attend while she was on child-bed. He was courtmartialled and the evidence was sent to Earl Cambden, Secretary of State. Savage went to England to plead his own case. On his arrival in England he wrote an account of his visit to New Zealand which appeared in 1807, and is the first published book dealing solely with New Zealand.

When leaving the Bay of Islands Savage took with him a New Zealander, Mohanga. He was probably the first Native of New Zealand to visit England, and his surprise and astonishment on coming in contact with civilisation, both at St. Helena and in London, can well be imagined. While in London Savage took him to the home of Earl Fitzwilliam, where he met the Earl and Countess, and, among others, Lord Milton, who took a great interest in him and supplied him with tools to take back to New Zealand. The Ferrett did not remain long in the Thames, and Savage sent Mohanga back in her to New Zealand under the personal supervision of Captain Skelton. When on the ship the New Zealander's powers of sight and hearing were far superior to those of any member of the crew.

Other whalers known to be on the New Zealand coast about this time were the American whaler Brothers, and the London whalers Richard and Mary and Elizabeth and Mary, belonging to Spencer & Co.

Towards the end of the year, the Ocean, commanded by Bristow, reached Norfolk Island from Adventure Bay, with 60 tons of oil, en route for the sperm whaling at New Zealand. This is the first mention of a vessel being engaged in the pursuit of both kinds of whales—the right, and the sperm. She had evidently been at Adventure Bay when the “black" or “right" whales were in the Bay, and, the season for that page 104 whaling being completed, she was proceeding to hunt the sperm off the coast of New Zealand. It was 25 years after this before whalers started to do the same thing in the New Zealand bays.

In compliance with Governor King's instructions to Captain Piper, Commandant at Norfolk Island, the following live stock were sent to Te Pahi, one of the Bay of Islands chiefs.

By the Adonis, Captain Turnbull, 18 sows, 2 boars.

By the Venus, Captain Stewart, 2 sows, 2 she-goats.

By the Argo, Captain Bader, 6 sows, 2 boars.

Te Pahi, whose son had already been at Sydney and had enjoyed the hospitality of Governor King, on receipt of this valuable gift of breeding stock, decided to pay a visit to the donor, and so, accompanied by four of his sons, he set out on board the Venus for Norfolk Island. On arrival there trouble arose with Captain Stewart who wanted to detain the youngest son as payment for the passage money, but the interference of Captain Piper restored the son to his father. Stewart, the captain of the Venus—if it was Stewart who acted as captain on the voyage—is the man after whom Stewart Island is named, and, though King condemned him for his action in demanding payment for his services, considering that the goodwill of Te Pahi at the Bay of Islands was the best reward the Venus could get, it is difficult to see why the captain of the Venus should have to remain out of his money and be satisfied for payment with a certificate of exemption from the fate of Marion, while lying at the Bay. Te Pahi described the captain who had dared to ask for payment for his services as an emoki, or man belonging to the lower order.

Some time after reaching Norfolk Island Te Pahi and his four sons were received by Captain Houston on board H.M.S. Buffalo, which sailed on 16th October for the Derwent, where the Chief met Collins, at that time Lieutenant Governor there. The Buffalo had intended also to visit Port Dalrymple, but was prevented by bad weather, and had to sail for Sydney.

page 105

Shortly after his vessel arrived at Port Jackson, Captain Houston waited on Governor King, to whom he introduced the Maori Chief and his sons. Te Pahi first presented some mats and patoo-patoos to King, and then explained that this visit had originated through the reports of the two Natives who had been to Norfolk Island in 1793, the request of his father, and the prospect of securing other benefits for the country, such as had eventuated from the introduction of the potatoes by Tuki and Huru. The chief placed himself entirely under King's protection, and would return, go on to Europe, or stay, as he thought best. His whole demeanour appeared so satisfactory to King that arrangements were made for him and his oldest son to stay with the Governor, and, in the case of the Chief and one of his sons, to sit at the Governor's table.

Following out a policy of educating the New Zealanders to the benefits of civilisation, King sent Te Pahi, about a week after he landed, to visit McArthur, the wool king of that period. Three days were spent at Parramatta, and the process of working wool and making cloth was fully explained to the party. A further development of his education brought the Chief to the Criminal Court, where he saw men sentenced to death for stealing pork. This put him into a very excited state and he even went so far as to try and get the condemned men shipped away to New Zealand “where taking provisions was not accounted a crime." Ultimately two of the culprits were forgiven and a decision come to that “neither of the others would be executed at Sydney." On this being told him, Te Pahi gradually grew calmer.

Speaking of the Chief's condemnation of the death penalty for stealing food, King says “he would never be reconciled to the idea of men suffering death for taking wherewithal to eat—a natural reasoning for one who inhabits a country where everything is common, and where their other wants are but few." As if it was not a natural reasoning for every human being whatever country he lived in! In this dispute between British Governor and Cannibal Chief posterity easily awards the palm to the unsophisticated New Zealander.

page 106

During his stay Te Pahi came a good deal in contact with the aboriginal Australian, and formed as great a contempt for that individual as did that individual form of respect and fear for him. On one occasion when present at an aboriginal fight, following a funeral of one of them, Te Pahi had an opportunity of witnessing their method of warfare. The shield he condemned, but the throwing stick he applauded; the pace he considered too slow, and, when something happened which he strongly disapproved of, was with difficulty restrained from taking part in the fight himself. So great was the terror of the New Zealander in the minds of the Australians, that, when one of Te Pahi's sons lifted up one of their spears, every man, woman, and child fled.