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Moko; or Maori Tattooing

Chapter VII — Mokoed Europeans and Mokoed Visitors to Europe

page 102

Chapter VII
Mokoed Europeans and Mokoed Visitors to Europe

Rutherford was himself a remarkable instance of moko and has also so much to say on the subject that I think my readers will be sufficiently interested to hear the conclusion of his history. He was married to the two daughters of his chief, but escaped in 1826 (January 9th), after nearly ten years' captivity. He had been sent off by the natives on the mission of decoying an American brig nearer to the shore. As soon as the captain of the vessel saw him he exclaimed, “Here is a white New Zealander,” and on hearing his story took him off.

After his return to England he occasionally maintained himself by accompanying a travelling caravan of wonders, showing his tattooing and telling portions of his extraordinary adventures. In 1829 he was exhibited in London. The publication of his adventures gave him much gratification, as did the painting of his portrait, though he suffered much inconvenience from sitting to the artist in frosty weather with the upper part of his body undraped. He disliked being “shown” for money, but submitted to it in order that with the sum he obtained for his manuscript he might page 103 return to Otaheite. His journal of his ten years' imprisonment in New Zealand tells us of the five other fellow prisoners, who were tattooed with him in 1816. They were separated; he saw one of them fall a victim owing to ignorance of native customs. Rutherford records a meeting with a well-tattooed Englishman, who had been
Fig. 112.— Portrait of John Rutherford. (From an original drawing taken in 1828.)

Fig. 112.— Portrait of John Rutherford.
(From an original drawing taken in 1828.)

about eight years in the country, twenty-four years of age, and enjoying the rank of a chief. Rutherford kept his intention of looking out for a ship to escape a secret from this man, for he was too much attached to the natives to be trusted.

Rutherford and his companions are by no means the only white men who have been mokoed. George Bruce, the first of the page 104 early Europeans so treated in New Zealand, about the year 1806, acquired a good knowledge of the language and customs. He became a chief, married the daughter of a chief Te Pahi, and resided near the Bay of Islands. He exercised a good influence on the people. Later he was badly treated by an unprincipled skipper, who got him and his wife on board ship, landed him at Malacca, and sold the wife to another captain at Penang. Through the influence of the Governor of Penang his wife was restored; but neither were heard of after a stay in Bengal, and they never returned to the Bay of Islands.

In 1807 a vessel called the Sydney Cove landed in New Zealand a gang of men for the seal-fishery in the South. All were killed and eaten, except a lad, James Caddell, who in the massacre touched the mat of a chief Tako, and was preserved by reason of its sanctity. Caddell gradually adopted the manners and customs of the tribe. The Sydney Gazette for April 3rd, 1823, states that nine years before he was married to a chief's daughter, the sister of a chief. Caddell soon became transformed from the English sailor boy to the terrifying New Zealand chief; he was tattooed and became a noble. After much persuasion he was induced to visit New South Wales, and even then he would not go without his partner, to whom he was tenderly attached. He was about thirty, and for some days they paraded the streets of Sydney in Maori costume. They returned by the first opportunity.

Earle, too, mentions some runaway convicts, who became slaves in New Zealand, and who were tattooed. He says that in 1827 the brig Wellington was seized by convicts en route to page 105 Norfolk Island. At the Bay of Islands the outlaws who landed at Kororarika were seized by the natives and put on board ships with the exception of six. Earle says he saw them in the suite of one of the chiefs: “I chanced to be in the house alone, and was amazed by seeing an Englishman enter the hut with his face tattooed all over. Not being aware he was one of the runaways from the Wellington, I spoke to him. He slunk into our cooking-house on pretence of lighting his pipe, and before ten minutes had elapsed the house was in flames.”

Thomson says one unemployed white man (Pakeha Maori), who was tattooed, visited England and acted the part of a New Zealand savage in several provincial theatres. He married an Englishwoman, who accompanied him to New Zealand; but she eloped with a Yankee sailor, because the tattooed actor's former Maori wife met him and obtained over him an influence the white woman could not combat. Lieutenant-Colonel Munday (1847) mentions some smacks belonging to the Maoris. In one little cutter the master was an aboriginal, and the crew of one man was a Pakeha Maori or “white man blackwashed.” Lieutenant-Colonel Munday adds that he was informed the man was tattooed and married to a Maori woman.

Sydney, New South Wales, was the scene of the earliest mokoed visitors from New Zealand. The first in England was one Moyhanger in 1805, a native, who arrived with Mr. Savage, author of Some Account of New Zealand, published in London, 1807. In 1807 Matara (by name) arrived; and in 1809 in the whaler Argo came Ruatara, aged 18, with two others all tattooed. Ruatara was son of the chief who was father-in- page 106 law to Bruce, the mokoed white man. As the Maoris made good sailors many worked well on ships; others travelled with missionaries. In 1818 the chiefs Te Teri and Tui, who had but little moko, were in England; and many others since.

In 1820 came the cruel Hongi, eater of men, with another
Fig. 113.—A bust of himself in wood by Hongi. "Missionary Register." 1816. P. 525. 1815. p.198.

Fig. 113.—A bust of himself in wood by Hongi.
"Missionary Register." 1816. [unclear: P]. 52[unclear: 5]. 1815. p.198.

chief Waikato. They were spoken of in England as Christian converts. Their visit to Cambridge led to the translation of the Bible into the Maori language. From their pronunciation Professor Lee reduced their language into a written one, and composed a grammar and dictionary; and this afforded a means of translating the Bible and Prayer-book into their native page 107 language; and the demand for these books gradually increased. Of course many words had to be coined into the native pronunciation, and manufactured words were introduced into this hybrid language. Coined words had to be written according to the Maori pronunciation that most nearly approached the words. Thus, Scriptures became Karipitura, Bible Paipera, Pharisee Parihi, Israel Iharaira, Sabbath Hapati, Phylacteries Pairakere, and so on.

Of course “tattooing” still remained moko. It is narrated that much public interest was aroused in these chiefs, and their finely tattooed faces excited general attention. George IV. gave them an audience. Hongi's bearing was dignified when treated as a great man, but when regarded merely as an object of curiosity he never failed to show his disgust and even indignation. On this subject the Rev. Mr. Taylor gives the following narration: “A striking instance of this occurred in a gentleman's house, where a large party had been invited to meet the chief; Hongi had assumed all the airs of a superior, and acted the prince which he knew well how to do; until he observed some ladies evidently tracing the lines on his tattooed face, whilst a smile played on their own, which he thought implied a feeling of pity towards himself; immediately he rose in a state of great excitement, threw himself across three chairs, and covering his face with his hands, remained in that position until the company left.”

These two chiefs had no sooner returned to New Zealand with Missionary Kendal, than Hongi armed his whole tribe and its allies with the muskets obtained in England; and throwing aside the mask of religion (not that of moko, of course) he page 108 pursued the career of a bloodthirsty warrior. Owing to him the whole population of the North Island was thinned and scattered, and that of the Middle Island almost destroyed. In 1826 the
Fig. 114.—Portrait of Te Pehi Kupe. (From a sketch by Mr. J. Sylvester, of Liverpool.)

Fig. 114.—Portrait of Te Pehi Kupe.
(From a sketch by Mr. J. Sylvester, of Liverpool.)

Southern Chief Pehi (mentioned before) resolved to emulate Hongi and visit England with a view to procuring arms wherewith to revenge himself. A whaling vessel came into Cook's Straits. Pehi immediately went on board, bidding his followers paddle back to shore and leave him on the ship. His visit to England, which has been recounted in another chapter, was unsuccessful so far as obtaining arms was concerned. The crowds who page 109 followed Te Pehi in the streets of Liverpool led an English showman to bring two tattooed New Zealanders to England as a commercial speculation. In 1830 they were exhibited in different parts of the country. Both acknowledged they had partaken of human flesh. The elder of the two had a small part of his left cheek untouched with tattooing. They were at Derby in March 1830, fell ill of measles, and were abandoned; they were however maintained by a gentleman of that town until they recovered.

A chief, whose moko signature appears in this book, É Gnoni, was also in this country.

A partly tattooed Maori sailor died, 1849, at Guy's Hospital.

Fig. 115.—É Gnoni a chief of Mukou (Lat. 38 deg. S). Once resident in London. Drawn by himself on the wood. (Tracing by the Author.) Hongi Ika

Fig. 115.—É Gnoni a chief of Mukou (Lat. 38 deg. S). Once resident in London. Drawn by himself on the wood.
(Tracing by the Author.)
Hongi Ika

In 1855, the Chief John Williams Hipango, from the Wanganui district, reached London viâ Sydney. During his stay a vessel arrived in port which had been recovered from its page 110 mutinous crew by eight New Zealand sailors who were on board. These natives were sent to the Sailors' Home, and heard in chapel the first service ever given in the Maori language in

[Note added by NZETC as annotator:]

Description: Fig. 116.—Wax model of a Maori who died in Guy's Hospital, London. (From a sketch by the Author.)

This image is not available for public viewing as it depicts either mokamokai (preserved heads) or human remains. The reasons for non-display are detailed in the policy regarding display of images of mokamokai. If you would like to comment on this decision you can contact NZETC.

London. Hipango visited his countrymen, of whom several were baptised. He was received in a private audience by Her Majesty and H.R.H. The Prince Consort on the occasion of delivering presents sent from New Zealand.

Dr. Karl Scherzer's narrative of the voyage of the Austrian frigate Novara in 1859 mentions that two mokoed Waikatos, named Wiremu Toetoe and Hemara Rerehau Paraone, joined the page 111 ship's company of their own will. When the ship left Auckland somewhat later a boat with several natives came alongside; and the Vicar-General, anxious that Protestant natives should not alone be shipped to Europe, was found to have brought some wonderfully tattooed Roman Catholic natives to accompany the vessel. But it was too late, for she was already in motion; and the Vicar-General, a warm-hearted Irishman, had to return with his protégés, his praiseworthy object being unaccomplished. At Vienna the two natives visited their Majesties at the Imperial Palace. After some stay, they were presented (on the recommendation of the Director of the State Printing Office) with some implements that they might avail themselves at home of the knowledge they had acquired. In 1860 they came viá Germany to England, and were presented to the Queen; and ultimately returned to Auckland. In his native land Toetoe issued from the press too stirring publications.

In 1884 the great Ariki, or Chief of Chiefs—namely, King Tawhiao, a pensioner of the New Zealand Government—came to England. His object was to see the Queen, but this was not permitted. He stayed with his suite at Montague Place. Attracted to Mr. Cutter's, in Great Russell Street, by a collection of New Zealand arms, he left this printed visiting card. The author has their signatures in fair writing.

King Tawhiao.
Major Wiremu Te Wheoro
Topia Turoa
Hori Ropihana
Patora Te Tuhi

page 112

The major, who was a member of the House of Representatives, was not tattooed.

The white hat Tawhiao often wore in London was a contrast to
Fig. 117.—King Tawhiao, died August 27, 1894. or 26th (From a photograph.)

Fig. 117.—King Tawhiao, died August 27, 1894. or 26th
(From a photograph.)

his darkened visage, but not in accord with his mokoed face. His body was covered with carving. He said for a fortnight when his lips were being done he had to be fed most tenderly. At the Crystal Palace on the occasion of his visit, there was a page 113 special display of fireworks, which included a pyrotechnical representation of his face. Messrs. Brock and Co. used blue lights to represent the tattooing marks, and it was reserved for that celebrated firm of fireworkers to achieve the apotheosis of moko.