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Early Wellington

Presentation to Te Puni

Presentation to Te Puni.

The “New Zealand Journal,” of January 15th, 1848, contains, amongst other interesting items, an account of an episode occuring at Pito-one, and the following letter, addressed to Te Puni:—

“Friend E' Puni,—Great is my love to you on account of your benignity to the men of my tribe. Therefore I have sent a silver cup to our friend Wide-awake (Colonel Wakefield), as a free gift from me to you. For you, then, is this cup.

“Lo! If perhaps you should die hereafter; the words outside it shall live forever to commemorate your children your chieftain like attitude and as a call to your children and grand children that they should do likewise to the white men.

However, long may this cup remain with you. But if hereafter your death should be near, lo! give it your eldest son as an heir-loom; tell him also, as a sacred commandment that he and his commandment to his son be the same.

“Wide-awake constantly praises the straightness of your mind.

“Here, indeed, Wide-awake and all the white men who have seen you, praise you. Remain now your place.

“Concluding is the speech of your loving loving friend,

Alexander Currie,
New Zealand House,
November 30th, 1846.

“To E' Puni, the Chief of Pito-one, Wellington, New Zealand.”

“A number of persons met at Pito-one upon the occasion of the presentation to the Chief E' Puni, of a silver cup, the gift of Alexander Currie, Esq., of London, in commemoration of the services rendered by him in assembling his people in defence of the Hutt District in 1846. After M. Le Compte, the Catholic Minister, had read the letter to E' Puni in the midst of his people, the Hon. Mrs. Petre presented the cup to him with a recommendation to receive it as a mark of approbation of his conduct on the occasion referred to and of his uniform, upright conduct towards the Colonials since the establishment of the settlement.”

“The old gentleman expressed his gratification with the present and a perfect appreciation of its object.

The native people then regaled themselves with a copious repast provided for them on the occasion.

“The translation of the inscription on the cup (now in Mary Te Puni's possession) is as follows:—

“To E. Puni. Chief of the Ngatiawa Tribe of New Zealanders, his loving friend Alexander Currie has given this cup* in order to commemorate, with kind esteem, thee greatness of his constant excellent doing to the men of England, from their first arrival at Petone in January, 1840, down to the present time.

“In order to commemorate his magnanimous behaviour in May, 1846, when he assembled his children in arms as a safeguard for the bodies and property of his white friends.

“London, November, 1846.”

* (See Fig. 57, p. 175.)