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Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:



This history has now been brought down to a point where dates can be given of the events to follow with tolerable certainty. This is due to the fact that the year 1814 witnessed the first arrival of a class of men possessed of education who became residents in the country, and who recorded the various events as they witnessed them. They Rev. Samuel Marsden, the principal chaplain of New South Wales, had for some years past been in the habit of sheltering various members of the Maori race who found their way to Port Jackson, and these men, whilst at his residence at Parramatta had imbued him with the strong wish both to civilise and Christianise their fellow countrymen. I am not writing the life of Marsden, and, therefore, shall say little of his objects, but as the search for dates and other information has led me to study closely his journals, I may say, that the more I read of his doings the more page 81 impressed have I become with the nobleness of his efforts, and the wonderful success of his dealing with the Maoris.

As the works in which Marsden’s doings are recorded are very scarce in this colony, I shall not hesitate to copy a good many dates of events and other extracts which will prove of use perhaps outside the immediate object of this history. The two works in which the early years of the New Zealand Mission are most fully described are:—“The Missionary Record” and the “Missionary Register,” both of which are full of exceedingly interesting matter relating to the history of this Colony from 1814 onwards.* The good intentions of Mr. Marsden towards the Maoris took practical shape in 1814, when he purchased the brig “Active” to keep up communication with those he proposed to send to New Zealand in order to establish the mission. It was deemed advisable to send the vessel to the Bay of Islands first, to ascertain what chances of success there were for the proposal. The Governor of New South Wales would not allow Mr. Marsden to leave, hence he sent the vessel away under the command of

* I am sincerely grateful to Dr. T. M. Hocken, F.L.S., of Dunedin, for a loan of the latter work. So far as I know there are very few copies in the colony—hence the value of Dr. Hocken’s copy, and his great kindness in lending it. Some of my references were obtained from Dumont D’Urville’s extracts from the “Register” published in the third volume of the “Voyage autour du Monde,” whilst for later years I am indebted to Mr. C. A. Ewen, of Wellington.

page 82 Captain Dillon,* to convey Messrs. Kendall and Hall to the Bay of Islands to make enquiries.

The “Active” anchored off Rangihoua in the Bay on the 10th June, 1814, having on board, besides the Missionaries, “a very fine young chief, about 17 years old, who has been living some time with Mr. Kendall.” This was Tui, or Tommy Tui, or Tupaea, of whom we shall hear more than once later on. He was a younger brother of the celebrated Nga-Puhi chief Korokoro, whose residence was at Paroa, on the south side of the Bay. Mr. Kendall soon got into friendly relations with many of the well-known chiefs of Nga-Puhi, amongst whom were Kowheetee (Kawiti), Duatarra (Ruatara, whose adventures have been written by Marsden), and who, Mr. Kendall says, was chief of 400 fighting men, Way (?Te Whe) had 200 fighting men; Kaingaroa, Hongi-Hika’s elder brother, 300 warriors, and Hongi-Hika, 600 warriors. On the 15th June, Kendall visited Tara, the chief of Kororareka, then about 70 years old. On the 17th June he met Whettohee (Whe-toi, also named Pomare), and Hauraki, a chief of the Kerikeri, afterwards better known as Te-Wera. On the 3rd July, Hongi-Hika, Whetoi, Kaitara and Tupe visited the ship; Tautoro died the same day.

On the 25th July, everything having gone smoothly and all promising well for the estab

* This was the celebrated Chevalier Dillon, who first discovered the fate of La Pérouse. Dillon made several voyages to New Zealand in search of spars, and has published an account of his adventures.

page 83 lishment of the mission, Kendall sailed for Sydney, taking with him the chiefs Hongi-Hika, Ruatara, Korokoro, Tenhahnah (which I take to be intended for Te Nganga, or, perhaps, Te Nana, mentioned later on), Punahou and Ripiro —Hongi’s son, then about 15 years old. They arrived at Sydney 22nd August, 1814.

The voyage having been successful, Marsden decided to establish the mission at once, and with that object he left Sydney in the “Active,” Captain Hansen, with Messrs. Kendall, Hall, and Hongi-Hika, Ruatara, Korokoro, Tui, Maui* and Te Nganga on the 19th November, 1814. They were at the North Cape on December 15th, and anchored off Rangihoua, Bay of Islands, on the 23rd December, and Marsden preached the first sermon ever heard in New Zealand on Christmas Day, surrounded by hundreds of Maori warriors.

From Rangihoua, Marsden visited Waimate, where Hongi-Hika lived, and he passed the night in a strongly-fortified pa, named Okuratope, some five miles west of Waimate, a splendid specimen of the old fortified pa, which has been recommended for preservation under the “Scenery Preservation Act,” but long since deserted. Marsden says it contained about 200 houses, and was situated on top of an almost inaccessible hill surrounded by three deep trenches and three rows of palisades. Tareha was seen on the road.

* See Maui’s life, “Missionary Register,” 1817, p. 71, by Rev. Basil Woodd.