Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:

The “Coquille” at the Bay of Islands. 1824

The “Coquille” at the Bay of Islands. 1824.

In the same year, 3rd April, 1824, there arrived at the Bay of Islands the French frigate “La Coquille,” commanded by Captain Duperry, the history of whose voyage has been written by the celebrated Dr. P. Lesson, the distinguished naturalist, and brother of Dr. A. Lesson, the author of several works on Polynesia. From Lesson’s account we derive a few items bearing on this history. Taiwhanga,* one of Hongi’s celebrated warriors and father of Sydney Taiwhanga, the well-known Member of Parliament in later years, was a passenger in the “Coquille” from Sydney, as well as the missionary, Mr. Clarke, and so soon as they anchored in Paroa Bay they were visited by

* Taiwhanga lived at Kaikohe, on the road from the Bay to Hokianga. He was a great toa, or “brave,” and accompanied Hongi-Hika on many of his expeditions. The Rev. W. R. Wade, in the account of his “Journey in the North Island of New Zealand,” published at Hobart in 1843, says that in January, 1838, he stayed a night at Taiwhanga’s home, Kaikohe. He was baptized by the name of Rawiri or David, and at that time was a consistent Christian, a fact that is also mentioned by Rev. H. Williams. That Taiwhanga in former days “cherished the widow and the orphan,” a quotation from Mr. Wade’s book will show: “He was formerly called Taiwhanga, and used to figure amongst the foremost of the bloodthirsty in their perpetual wars. In one, of his fights he slew a chief, whose widow and three young children he secured as prisoners. Having barbarously killed and eaten the children in the presence of their own mother, he made her his wife!”

page 310 Tui, Korokoro’s brother, who was then chief of the tribe residing at Kaouera (? Kahuwera). On the 5th April they were visited by Hongi-Hika, whom Lesson describes in full. From the fact of Hongi-Hika being at the Bay at this time, and from the events of next year, we must conclude that Polack is wrong in stating that Hongi-Hika left
Black and White photograph of a Beach Site.

Kahuwera pa, Bay of Islands, in 1827.

in this year for the east coast and was away two years. Lesson remarks that Hongi-Hika “had never learnt to speak English, and has not even acquired the famous ‘God-dam,’ the first word in the language according to Beaumarchais.” On the 10th April Lesson notes that Tui had gone to Kororareka to join Pomare, who was about to carry the war “to Iapou at Ox Bay” (Hawke’s Bay), and that they were to start page 311 directly the “Coquille” left.* Lesson gives us a very fair description of the Maoris, and from it we learn that the word pakeha was in use at that time for a European. The “Coquille” left the Bay on the 17th April, 1824, for Rotuma Island.

* “Voyage autour du Monde,” Brussels, 1839. The “Coquille” was subsequently re-named “L’Astrolabe.” This expedition of Pomare’s was to join Te Wera and aid the Urewera in their war on the Wairoa.