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The Long White Cloud by William Pember Reeves

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ribaldry, or, in later days, might be sold to the _Pakeha_ and carried
away to be stared at as oddities. Their bones might be used for flutes
and fishing-hooks, for no fisherman was so lucky as he whose hook was
thus made; their souls were doomed to successive stages of deepening
darkness below, and at length, after reaching the lowest gulf, passed
as earth-worms to annihilation.


Chapter IV


"A ship is floating on the harbour now,
A wind is hovering o'er the mountain's brow.
There is a path on the sea's azure floor,
No keel hath ever ploughed that path before."

Nearly at the end of 1642, Tasman, a sea captain in the service of the
Dutch East India Company, sighted the western ranges of the Southern
Alps. He was four months out from Java, investigating the extent of
New Holland, and in particular its possible continuation southward as
a great Antarctic continent. He had just discovered Tasmania, and was
destined, ere returning home, to light upon Fiji and the Friendly
Islands. So true is it that the most striking discoveries are made by
men who are searching for what they never find. In clear weather the
coast of Westland is a grand spectacle, and even through the dry,
matter-of-fact entries of Tasman's log we can see that it impressed
him. He notes that the mountains seemed lifted aloft in the air. With
his two ships, the small _Heemskirk_ and tiny _Zeehan_, he began to
coast cautiously northward, looking for an opening eastward, and
noting the high, cloud-clapped, double range of mountains, and the
emptiness of the steep desolate coast, where neither smoke nor men,
ships nor boats, were to be seen. He could not guess that hidden in
this wilderness was a wealth of coal and gold as valuable as the
riches of Java. He seems to have regarded New Zealand simply as a
lofty barrier across his path, to be passed at the first chance.
Groping along, he actually turned into the wide opening which,
narrowing further east into Cook's Strait, divides the North and South
Islands. He anchored in Golden Bay; but luck was against him. First of
all the natives of the bay paddled out to view his ships, and, falling
on a boat's crew, clubbed four out of seven of the men. Tasman's
account--which I take leave to doubt--makes the attack senselessly
wanton and unprovoked.

He tells how a fleet of canoes, each carrying from thirteen to
seventeen men, hung about his vessels, and how the strongly-built,
gruff-voiced natives, with yellowish-brown skins, and with white
feathers stuck in their clubbed hair, refused all offers of
intercourse. Their attack on his boat as it was being pulled from the
_Zeehan_ to the _Heemskirk_ was furious and sudden, and the crew
seem to have been either unarmed or too panic-stricken to use their
weapons. Both ships at once opened a hot fire on the canoes, but hit
nobody. It was not until next day, when twenty-two canoes put out to
attack them, that the Dutch marksmen after much more firing succeeded
in hitting a native. On his fall the canoes retired. Satisfied with
this Tasman took no vengeance and sailed away further into the strait.
Fierce north-westerly gales checked for days his northward progress.
The strait, it may be mentioned, is still playfully termed "the
windpipe of the Pacific." One night Tasman held a council on board the
_Heemskirk_, and suggested to the officers that the tide showed that
an opening must exist to the east, for which they had better search.
But he did not persevere. When next evening the north wind died away
there came an easterly breeze, followed by a stiff southerly gale,
which made him change his mind again. So are discoveries missed.

He ran on northward, merely catching glimpses, through scud and cloud,
of the North Island. Finally, at what is now North Cape, he discerned
to his joy a free passage to the east. He made one attempt to land, in
search of water, on a little group of islands hard by, which, as it
was Epiphany, he called Three Kings, after Caspar, Melchior, and
Balthasar. But the surf was rough and a throng of natives, striding
along, shaking spears and shouting with hoarse voices, terrified his
boat's crew. He gave up the attempt and sailed away, glad, no doubt,
to leave this vague realm of storm and savages. It says something
for his judgment that amid such surroundings he saw and noted in his
log-book that the country was good. He had called it Staaten Land, on
the wild guess that it extended to the island of that name off the
coast of Terra del Fuego. Afterwards he altered the name to New
Zealand. The secretive commercial policy of the Dutch authorities
made them shroud Tasman's discoveries in mystery. It is said that his
discoveries were engraved on the map of the world which in 1648 was
cut on the stone floor of the Amsterdam Town Hall. The full text of
his log has only been quite recently published. His curt entries
dealing with the appearance of the New Zealand coast and its natives
seem usually truthful enough. The tribe which attacked his boat was
afterwards nearly exterminated by invaders from the North Island.
This would account for the almost utter absence among the Maoris of
tradition concerning his visit. It is noteworthy that he describes
the natives of Golden--or, as he named it, Murderers'--Bay as having
double-canoes. When the country was annexed, two hundred years
afterwards, the New Zealanders had forgotten how to build them.

The Dutch made no use of their Australian discoveries. They were
repelled by the heat, the drought, and the barrenness of the
north-western coasts of New Holland. For a century and a quarter after
Tasman's flying visit, New Zealand remained virtually unknown. Then
the veil was lifted once and for all. Captain James Cook, in the
_Endeavour_, sighted New Zealand in 1769. He had the time to study the
country, and the ability too. On his first voyage alone nearly six
months were devoted to it. In five visits he surveyed the coast,
described the aspect and products of the islands, and noted down a
mass of invaluable details concerning the native tribes. Every one may
not be able to perceive the literary charm which certain eulogists
have been privileged to find in Cook's admirable record of interesting
facts. But he may well seem great enough as a discoverer and observer,
to be easily able to survive a worse style--say Hawkesworth's. He
found New Zealand a line on the map, and left it an Archipelago, a
feat which many generations of her colonists will value above the
shaping of sentences. The feature of his experiences which most
strikes the reader now, is the extraordinary courage and pugnacity of
the natives. They took the _Endeavour_ for a gigantic white-winged
sea-bird, and her pinnace for a young bird. They thought the sailors
gods, and the discharge of their muskets divine thunderbolts. Yet,
when Cook and a boat's crew landed, a defiant war-chief at once
threatened the boat, and persisted until he was shot dead. Almost all
Cook's attempts to trade and converse with the Maoris ended in the
same way--a scuffle and a musket-shot. Yet the savages were never
cowed, and came again. They were shot for the smallest thefts. Once
Cook fired on the crew of a canoe merely for refusing to stop and
answer questions about their habits and customs, and killed four of
them--an act of which he calmly notes that he himself could not, on
reflection, approve. On the other hand he insisted on discipline, and
flogged his sailors for robbing native plantations. For that age he
was singularly humane, and so prudent that he did not lose a man on
his first and most troubled visit to New Zealand. During this voyage
he killed ten Maoris. Later intercourse was much more peaceful, though
Captain Furneaux, of Cook's consort, the _Adventure_, less lucky, or
less cautious, lost an entire boat's crew, killed and eaten.

Cook himself was always able to get wood and water for his ships, and
to carry on his surveys with such accuracy and deliberation that they
remained the standard authority on the outlines of the islands for
some seventy years. He took possession of the country in the name of
George the Third. Some of its coast-names still recall incidents of
his patient voyaging. "Young Nick's Head" is the point which the boy
Nicholas Young sighted on the 6th of October, 1769--the first bit of
New Zealand seen by English eyes. At Cape Runaway the Maoris, after
threatening an attack, ran away from a discharge of firearms. At Cape
Kidnappers they tried to carry off Cook's Tahitian boy in one of
their canoes. A volley, which killed a Maori, made them let go their
captive, who dived into the sea and swam back to the _Endeavour_ half
crazed with excitement at his narrow escape from a New Zealand oven.
The odd name of the very fertile district of Poverty Bay reminds us
that Cook failed to get there the supplies he obtained at the Bay of
Plenty. At Goose Cove he turned five geese ashore; at Mercury Bay he
did astronomical work. On the other hand, Capes North, South, East,
and West, and Capes Brett, Saunders, Stephens, and Jackson, Rock's
Point, and Black Head are neither quaint nor romantic names. Cascade
Point and the Bay of Islands justify themselves, and Banks' Peninsula
may be accepted for Sir Joseph's sake. But it could be wished that
the great sailor had spared a certain charming haven from the name of
Hicks's Bay, and had not rechristened the majestic cone of Taranaki as
a compliment to the Earl of Egmont.

He gave the natives seed potatoes and the seeds of cabbages and
turnips. The potatoes were cultivated with care and success. One tribe
had sufficient self-control not to eat any for three years; then they
had abundance. Gradually the potato superseded amongst them the taro
and fern-root, and even to some extent the kumara. The cabbages and
turnips were allowed to run wild, and in that state were still found
flourishing fifty years afterwards. The Maoris of Poverty Bay had a
story that Cook gave to one of their chiefs a musket with a supply of
powder and lead. The fate of the musket was that the first man to fire
it was so frightened by the report and recoil that he flung it away
into the sea. The powder the natives sowed in the ground believing it
to be cabbage seed. Of the lead they made an axe, and when the axe
bent at the first blow they put it in the fire to harden it. When it
then ran about like water they tried to guide it out of the fire with
sticks. But it broke in pieces, and they gave up the attempt. With
better results Cook turned fowls and pigs loose to furnish the
islanders with flesh-meat. To this day the wild pigs which the
settlers shoot and spear in the forests and mountain valleys, are
called after Captain Cook, and furnish many a solitary shepherd and
farmer with a much more wholesome meal than they would get from "tame"
pork. The Maoris who boarded Cook's ships thought at first that pork
was whale's flesh. They said the salt meat nipped their throats,
which need not surprise us when we remember what the salt junk of
an eighteenth century man-of-war was like. They ate ship's biscuit
greedily, though at first sight they took it for an uncanny kind of
pumice-stone. But in those days they turned with loathing from wine
and spirits--as least Crozet says so.

What Captain Cook thought of the Maori is a common-place of New
Zealand literature. Every maker of books gives a version of his notes.
What the Maori thought of Captain Cook is not so widely known. Yet it
is just as interesting, and happily the picture of the great navigator
as he appeared to the savages has been preserved for us. Among the
tribe living at Mercury Bay when the _Endeavour_ put in there was a
boy--a little fellow of about eight years old, but possessing the
name of Horeta Taniwha (Red-smeared Dragon)--no less. The child lived
through all the changes and chances of Maori life and warfare to more
than ninety years of age. In his extreme old age he would still tell
of how he saw Kapene Kuku--Captain Cook. Once he told his story to
Governor Wynyard, who had it promptly taken down. Another version is
also printed in one of Mr. John White's volumes.[1] The two do not
differ in any important particular. The amazing apparition of the huge
white-winged ship with its crew of goblins, and what they said, and
what they did, and how they looked, had remained clearly photographed
upon the retina of Taniwha's mind's-eye for three-quarters of a
century. From his youth up he had, of course, proudly repeated the
story. A more delightful child's narrative it would be hard to find.

[Footnote 1: _Ancient History of the Maori_, vol. v., p. 128.]

The people at Mercury Bay knew at once, says Taniwha, that the English
were goblins, because a boat's crew pulled ashore, rowing with their
backs to the land. Only goblins have eyes in the backs of their heads.
When these creatures stepped on to the beach all the natives retreated
and the children ran into the bush. But seeing that the wondrous
beings walked peaceably about picking up stones and grasses and
finally eating oysters, they said to each other, "Perhaps these
goblins are not like our Maori goblins," and, taking courage, offered
them sweet potatoes, and even lit a fire and roasted cockles for them.
When one of the strangers pointed a walking-staff he had in his hand
at a cormorant sitting on a dead tree, and there was a flash of
lightning and a clap of thunder, followed by the cormorant's fall
there was another stampede into the bush. But the goblins laughed so
good-humouredly that the children took heart to return and look at the
fallen bird. Yes, it was dead; but what had killed it? and still the
wonder grew!

The _Endeavour_ lay in the bay for some time, and a brisk trade grew
up between ship and shore. On one great, never-to-be-forgotten day
little Taniwha and some of his play-fellows were taken out in a canoe
and went on board the magic ship. Wrapped in their flax cloaks they
sat close together on the deck, not daring to move about for fear they
might be bewitched in some dark corner, and so might never be able
to go away and get home again. But their sharp brown eyes noted
everything. They easily made out the leader of the goblins. He was a
_tino tangata_ (a very man--emphatically a man). Grave and dignified,
he walked about saying few words, while the other goblins chatted
freely. Presently the goblin-captain came up to the boys and, after
patting their heads and stroking their cloaks, produced a large nail
and held it up before them temptingly. The other youngsters sat
motionless, awe-struck. But the bolder Taniwha laughed cheerfully and
was at once presented with the prize. The children forthwith agreed
amongst themselves that Cook was not only a _tino tangata_, but
a _tino rangatira_--a combination of a great chief and a perfect
gentleman. How otherwise could he be so kind to them, and so fond of
children, argued these youthful sages?

Then they saw the captain draw black marks on the quarter-deck and
make a speech to the natives, pointing towards the coast. "The goblins
want to know the shape of the country," said a quick-witted old chief,
and, rising up, he drew with charcoal a map of The Fish of Maui, from
the Glittering Lake at the extreme south to Land's End in the far
north. Then, seeing that the goblins did not understand that the
Land's End was the spot from which the spirits of the dead slid down
to the shades below, the old chief laid himself down stiffly on the
deck and closed his eyes. But still the goblins did not comprehend;
they only looked at each other and spoke in their hard, hissing
speech. After this little Taniwha went on shore, bearing with him his
precious nail. He kept it for years, using it in turns as a spear-head
and an auger, or carrying it slung round his neck as a sacred
charm.[1] But one day, when out in a canoe, he was capsized in the
breakers off a certain islet and, to use his own words, "my god was
lost to me, though I dived for it."

[Footnote 1: _Heitiki_.]

Taniwha describes how a thief was shot by Lieutenant Gore for stealing
a piece of calico. The thief offered to sell a dog-skin cloak, but
when the calico was handed down over the bulwarks into his canoe which
was alongside the _Endeavour_, he simply took it, gave nothing in
return, and told his comrades to paddle to land.

"They paddled away. The goblin went down into the hold of
the ship, but soon came up with a walking-stick in his hand, and
pointed it at the canoe. Thunder pealed and lightning flashed,
but those in the canoe paddled on. Then they landed; eight rose
to leave the canoe, but the thief sat still with his dog-skin mat and
the goblin's garment under his feet. His companions called him,
but he did not answer. One of them shook him and the thief fell
back into the hold of the canoe, and blood was seen on his clothing
and a hole in his back."

What followed was a capital example of the Maori doctrine of _utu_,
or compensation, the cause of so many wars and vendettas. The tribe
decided that as the thief had stolen the calico, his death ought not
to be avenged, but that as he had paid for it with his life _he_
should keep it. So it was buried with him.

The French were but a few months behind the English in the discovery
of New Zealand. The ship of their captain, De Surville, just
missed meeting Cook at the Bay of Islands. There the French made a
fortnight's stay, and were well treated by the chief, Kinui, who acted
with particular kindness to certain sick sailors put on shore to
recover. Unfortunately one of De Surville's boats was stolen, and in
return he not only burnt the nearest village and a number of canoes,
but kidnapped the innocent Kinui, who pined away on shipboard and died
off the South American coast a few days before De Surville himself was
drowned in the surf in trying to land at Callao.

For this rough-handed and unjust act certain of De Surville's
countrymen were destined to pay dearly. Between two and three years
afterwards, two French exploring vessels under the command of Marion
du Fresne entered the Bay of Islands. They were in want of masts and
spars, of wood and water, and had many men down with sickness.
The expedition was on the look-out for that dream of so many
geographers--the great south continent. Marion was a tried seaman, a
man of wealth and education, and of an adventurous spirit. It is to
Crozet, one of his officers, that we owe the story of his fate. Thanks
probably to the Abbe Rochon, who edited Crozet's papers, the narrative
is clear, pithy, and business-like: an agreeable contrast to the
Hawkesworth-Cook-Banks motley, so much more familiar to most of us.

For nearly five weeks after Marion's ships anchored in the bay all
went merry as a marriage bell, though the relations of the French tars
with the Maori _wahine_ were not in the strict sense matrimonial. The
Maoris, at first cautious, soon became the best of friends with the
sailors, conveying shooting parties about the country, supplying
the ships with fish, and showing themselves expert traders, keenly
appreciative of the value of the smallest scrap of iron, to say
nothing of tools. Through all their friendly intercourse, however,
it was ominous that they breathed no word of Cook or De Surville.
Moreover, a day came on which one of them stole Marion's sword. Crozet
goes out of his way to describe how the kindly captain refused to put
the thief in irons, though the man's own chief asked that it should be
done. But it leaks out--from the statement of another officer--that
the thief was put in irons. We may believe that he was flogged also.

[Illustration: STERN OF CANOE]

Crozet marked the physical strength of the Maori, and was particularly
struck with the lightness of the complexions of some, and the European
cast of their features. One young man and a young girl were as white
as the French themselves. Others were nearly black, with frizzled
hair, and showed, he thought, Papuan blood. To the Frenchman's eye the
women seemed coarse and clumsy beside the men. He was acute enough to
notice that the whole population seemed to be found by the sea-shore;
though he often looked from high hill-tops he saw no villages in the
interior. Children seemed few in number, the cultivations small, and
the whole race plainly lived in an incessant state of war. He admired
the skilful construction of the stockades, the cleanliness of the
_pas_, the orderly magazines of food and fishing gear, and the
armouries where the weapons of stone and wood were ranged in precise
order. He praises the canoes and carving--save the hideous attempts
at copying the human form. In short he gives one of the most valuable
pictures of Maori life in its entirely primitive stage.

A camp on shore was established for the invalids and another for the
party engaged in cutting down the tall kauri pines for masts. Crozet
calls the kauri trees cedars, and is full of praises of their size and
quality. He was the officer in charge of the woodcutters. On the 13th
June he saw marching towards his camp a detachment from the ship fully
armed and with the sun flashing on their fixed bayonets. At once it
occurred to him that something must be amiss--otherwise why fixed
bayonets? Going forward, Crozet bade the detachment halt, and quietly
asked what was the matter. The news was indeed grave. On the day
before M. Marion with a party of officers and men, seventeen strong,
had gone on shore and had not been seen since. No anxiety was felt
about them until morning; the French had often spent the night at
one or other of the _pas_. But in the morning a terrible thing had
happened. A long-boat had been sent ashore at 7 a.m. for wood and
water. Two hours later a solitary sailor with two spear-wounds in his
side swam back to his ship. Though badly hurt he was able to tell
his story. The Maoris on the beach had welcomed the boat's crew as
usual--even carrying them pick-a-back through the surf. No sooner were
they ashore and separated than each was surrounded and speared or
tomahawked. Eleven were thus killed and savagely hacked to pieces. The
sole survivor had fought his way into the scrub and escaped unnoticed.

Crozet promptly dismantled his station, burying and burning all that
could not be carried away, and marched his men to the boats. The
natives met them on the way, yelling, dancing, and shouting that their
chief had killed Marion. Arrived at the boats, Crozet says that he
drew a line along the sand and called to a chief that any native who
crossed it would be shot. The chief, he declares, quietly told the
mob, who at once, to the number of a thousand, sat down on the ground
and watched the French embark. No sooner had the boats pushed out than
the natives in an access of fury began to hurl javelins and stones
and rushed after them into the water. Pausing within easy range, the
French opened fire with deadly effect and continued to kill till
Crozet, wearying of the slaughter, told the oarsmen to pull on. He
asks us to believe that the Maoris did not understand the effect of
musketry, and yet stood obstinately to be butchered, crying out and
wondering over the bodies of their fallen.

The French next set to work to bring off their sick shipmates from
their camp. Strange to say they had not been attacked, though the
natives had been prowling round them.

Thereafter a village on an islet close by the ship's anchorage was
stormed with much slaughter of the inhabitants. Fifty were slain and
the bodies buried with one hand sticking out of the ground to show
that the French did not eat enemies. Next the ship's guns were tried
on canoes in the bay. One was cut in two by a round shot and several
of her paddle-men killed.

A day or two later the officers recovered sufficient confidence to
send a party to attack the village where their captain had presumably
been murdered. The Maoris fled. But Marion's boat-cloak was seen
on the shoulders of their chief, and in the huts were found more
clothing--blood-stained--and fragments of human flesh.

The ships were hurriedly got ready for sea. The beautiful "cedar"
masts were abandoned, and jury-masts set up instead. Wood and water
were taken in, and the expedition sailed for Manila, turning its back
upon the quest of the great southern continent. Meanwhile the Maoris
had taken refuge in the hills, whence the cries of their sentinels
could be heard by day and their signal fires be descried by night.

Crozet moralizes on the malignant and unprovoked treachery of these
savages. He pours out his contempt on the Parisian _philosophes_ who
idealized primitive man and natural virtue. For his part he would
rather meet a lion or a tiger, for then he would know what to do! But
there is another side to the story. The memory of the _Wi-Wi_,[1] "the
bloody tribe of Marion," lingered long in the Bay of Islands. Fifty
years after Captain Cruise was told by the Maoris how Marion had
been killed for burning their villages. Thirty years later still,
Surgeon-Major Thomson heard natives relating round a fire how the
French had broken into their _tapu_ sanctuaries and put their chiefs
in irons. And then there were the deeds of De Surville. Apart from
certain odd features in Crozet's narrative, it may be remarked that he
errs in making the Maoris act quite causelessly. The Maori code was
strange and fantastic, but a tribal vendetta always had a reason.

[Footnote 1: _Out-Out_.]

Thus did the Dutch, English, and French in succession discover New
Zealand, and forthwith come into conflict with its dauntless and
ferocious natives. The skill and moderation of Cook may be judged by
comparing his success with the episodes of De Surville's roughness and
the troubles which befel Tasman, Furneaux, and Marion du Fresne. Or we
may please ourselves by contrasting English persistency and harsh
but not unjust dealing, with Dutch over-cautiousness and French
carelessness and cruelty. One after the other the Navigators revealed
the islands to the world, and began at the same time that series
of deeds of blood and reprisal which made the name of New Zealand
notorious for generations, and only ended with the massacre of Poverty
Bay a long century afterwards.


Chapter V


"The wild justice of revenge."

The Maoris told Cook that, years before the _Endeavour_ first entered
Poverty Bay, a ship had visited the northern side of Cook's Strait and
stayed there some time, and that a half-caste son of the captain was
still living. In one of his later voyages, the navigator was informed
that a European vessel had lately been wrecked near the same part of
the country, and that the crew, who reached the shore, had all been
clubbed after a desperate resistance. It is likely enough that many a
roving mariner who touched at the islands never informed the world of
his doings, and had, indeed, sometimes excellent reasons for secrecy.
Still, for many years after the misadventure of Marion du Fresne, the
more prudent Pacific skippers gave New Zealand a wide berth. When
D'Entrecasteaux, the French explorer, in his voyage in search of the
ill-fated _La Perouse_, lay off the coast in 1793, he would not even
let a naturalist, who was on one of his frigates, land to have a
glimpse of the novel flora of the wild and unknown land. Captain
Vancouver, in 1791, took shelter in Dusky Bay, in the sounds of
the South Island. Cook had named an unsurveyed part of that region
Nobody-Knows-What. Vancouver surveyed it and gave it its present name,
Somebody-Knows-What. But the chief act for which his name is noted in
New Zealand history is his connection with the carrying off of two
young Maoris--a chief and a priest--to teach the convicts of the
Norfolk Island penal settlement how to dress flax. Vancouver had been
asked by the Lieutenant-Governor of Norfolk Island to induce two
Maoris to make the voyage. He therefore sent an officer in a
Government storeship to New Zealand, whose notion of inducement was to
seize the first Maoris he could lay hands on. The two captives, it
may be mentioned, scornfully refused to admit any knowledge of the
"woman's work" of flax-dressing. Soothed by Lieutenant-Governor King,
they were safely restored by him to their people loaded with presents.
When in Norfolk Island, one of them, at King's request, drew a map of
New Zealand, which is of interest as showing how very little of his
country a Maori of average intelligence then knew. Of even more
interest to us is it to remember that the kindly Lieutenant-Governor's
superior officer censured him for wasting time--ten whole days--in
taking two savages back to their homes.

For two generations after Cook the English Government paid no
attention to the new-found land. What with losing America, and
fighting the French, it had its hands full. It colonized Australia
with convicts--and found it a costly and dubious experiment. The
Government was well satisfied to ignore New Zealand. But adventurous
English spirits were not The islands ceased to be inaccessible when
Sydney became an English port, from which ships could with a fair wind
make the Bay of Islands in eight or ten days. In the seas round New
Zealand were found the whale and the fur-seal. The Maoris might be
cannibals, but they were eager to trade. In their forests grew trees
capable of supplying first-class masts and spars. Strange weapons,
ornaments, and cloaks, were offered by the savages, as well as food
and the dressed fibre of the native flax. An axe worth ten shillings
would buy three spars worth ten pounds in Sydney. A tenpenny nail
would purchase a large fish. A musket and a little powder and lead
were worth a ton of scraped flax. Baskets of potatoes would be brought
down and ranged on the sea-beach three deep. The white trader would
then stretch out enough calico to cover them. The strip was their
price. The Maoris loved the higgling of the market, and would enjoy
nothing better than to spend half a day over bartering away a single
pig. Moreover, a peculiar and profitable, if ghastly, trade sprang up
in tattooed heads. A well-preserved specimen fetched as much as twenty
pounds, and a man "with a good head on his shoulders" was consequently
worth that sum to any one who could kill him. Contracts for the sale
of heads of men still living are said to have been entered into
between chiefs and traders, and the heads to have been duly delivered
"as per agreement." Hitherto hung up as trophies of victory in the
_pas_, these relics of battle were quickly turned to account, at first
for iron, then for muskets, powder, and lead. When the natural supply
of heads of slain enemies ran short, slaves, who had hitherto never
been allowed the aristocratic privilege and dignity of being tattooed,
had their faces prepared for the market. Sometimes, it is recorded, a
slave, after months of painful preparation, had the audacity to run
away with his own head before the day of sale and decapitation. Astute
vendors occasionally tried the more merciful plan of tattooing "plain"
heads after death in ordinary course of battle. But this was a species
of fraud, as the lines soon became indistinct. Such heads have often
been indignantly pointed at by enthusiastic connoisseurs. Head-sellers
at times would come forward in the most unlikely places. Commodore
Wilkes, when exploring in the American _Vincennes_, bought two heads
from the steward of a missionary brig. It was missionary effort,
however, which at length killed the traffic, and the art of tattooing
along with it. Moved thereby, Governor Darling issued at Sydney, in
1831, proclamations imposing a fine of forty pounds upon any one
convicted of head-trading, coupled with the exposure of the offender's
name. Moreover, he took active steps to enforce the prohibition. When
Charles Darwin visited the mission station near the Bay of Islands
in 1835, the missionaries confessed to him that they had grown so
accustomed to associate tattooing with rank and dignity--had so
absorbed the Maori social code relating thereto--that an unmarked face
seemed to them vulgar and mean. Nevertheless, their influence led the
way in discountenancing the art, and it has so entirely died out that
there is probably not a completely tattooed Maori head on living
shoulders to-day.

Cook had found the Maoris still in the Stone Age. They were far too
intelligent to stay there a day after the use of metals had been
demonstrated to them. Wits much less acute than a Maori's would
appreciate the difference between hacking at hardwood trees with a
jade tomahawk, and cutting them down with a European axe. So New
Zealand's shores became, very early in this century, the favourite
haunt of whalers, sealers, and nondescript trading schooners.
Deserters and ship-wrecked seamen were adopted by the tribes. An
occasional runaway convict from Australia added spice to the mixture.

The lot of these unacknowledged and unofficial pioneers of our race
was chequered. Some castaways were promptly knocked on the head and
eaten. Some suffered in slavery. In 1815 two pale, wretched-looking
men, naked, save for flax mats tied round their waists threw
themselves on the protection of the captain of the _Active_, then
lying in the Bay of Islands. It appeared that both had been convicts
who had got away from Sydney as stowaways in a ship bound for New
Zealand, the captain of which, on arrival, had handed them over to the
missionaries to be returned to New South Wales. The men, however, ran
away into the country, believing that the natives would reverence them
as superior beings and maintain them in comfortable idleness. They
were at once made slaves of. Had they been strong, handy agricultural
labourers, their lot would have been easy enough. Unfortunately for
them, one had been a London tailor, the other a shoemaker, and the
luckless pair of feeble Cockneys could be of little use to their
taskmasters. These led them such a life that they tried running away
once more, and lived for a time in a cave, subsisting chiefly on
fern-root. A period of this diet, joined to their ever-present fear
of being found out and killed, drove them back to Maori slavery. From
this they finally escaped to the _Active_--more like walking spectres
than men, says an eye-witness--and resigned, if needs must, to endure
once more the tender mercies of convict life in Botany Bay.

More valuable whites were admitted into the tribes, and married to
one, sometimes two or three, wives. The relatives of these last
occasionally resorted to an effectual method of securing their
fidelity by tattooing them. One of them, John Rutherford, survived and
describes the process. But as he claims to have had his face and part
of his body thoroughly tattooed in four hours, his story is but one
proof amongst a multitude that veracity was not a needful part of the
equipment of the New Zealand adventurer of the Alsatian epoch. Once
enlisted, the _Pakehas_ were expected to distinguish themselves in the
incessant tribal wars. Most of them took their share of fighting with
gusto. As trade between whites and Maoris grew, each tribe made a
point of having a white agent-general, called their _Pakeha_ Maori
(Foreigner Maorified), to conduct their trade and business with his
fellows. He was the tribe's vassal, whom they petted and plundered as
the mood led them, but whom they protected against outsiders. These
gentry were for the most part admirably qualified to spread the vices
of civilization and discredit its precepts. But, illiterate ruffians
as most of them were, they had their uses in aiding peaceful
intercourse between the races. Some, too, were not illiterate. A
Shakespeare and a Lempriere were once found in the possession of a
chief in the wildest part of the interior. They had belonged to his
_Pakeha_ long since dead. Elsewhere a tattered prayer-book was shown
as the only relic of another. One of the kind, Maning by name, who
lived with a tribe on the beautiful inlet of Hokianga, will always be
known as _the_ Pakeha Maori. He was an Irish adventurer, possessed not
only of uncommon courage and acuteness, but of real literary talent
and a genial and charming humour. He lived to see savagery replaced by
colonization, and to become a judicial officer in the service of the
Queen's Government. Some of his reminiscences, embodied in a volume
entitled _Old New Zealand_, still form the best book which the Colony
has been able to produce. Nowhere have the comedy and childishness of
savage life been so delightfully portrayed. Nowhere else do we get
such an insight into that strange medley of contradictions and
caprices, the Maori's mind.

We have already seen that a lieutenant in Her Majesty's service
thought it no crime in 1793 to kidnap two chiefs in order to save a
little trouble. We have seen how Cook shot natives for refusing to
answer questions, and how De Surville could seize and sail away with a
friendly chief because some one else had stolen his boat. When in
1794 that high and distinguished body, the East India Company, sent
a well-armed "snow" to the Hauraki gulf for kauri spars she did not
leave until her captain had killed his quota of natives,--two men and
a woman,--shot, because, forsooth, some axes had been stolen. If such
were the doings of officials, it came as a matter of course that the
hard-handed merchant-skippers who in brigs and schooners hung round
the coasts of the Islands thought little of carrying off men or women.
They would turn their victims adrift in Australia or on some South Sea
islet, as their humour moved them. With even more cruel callousness,
they would sometimes put Maoris carried off from one tribe on shore
amongst another and maybe hostile tribe. Slavery was the best fate
such unfortunates could expect. On one occasion the missionaries in
the Bay of Islands rescued from bondage twelve who had in this fashion
been thrown amongst their sworn enemies. Their only offence was that
they had happened to be trading on board a brig in their own port when
a fair wind sprang up. The rascal in command carried them off rather
than waste any of the wind by sending them on shore.

An even more heartless piece of brutality was the conduct of a certain
captain from Sydney, who took away with him the niece of a Bay of
Islands chief, and after living with her for months abandoned her on
shore in the Bay of Plenty, where she was first enslaved and finally
killed and eaten by the local chief. The result was a bitter tribal
war in which she was amply avenged.

Another skipper, after picking up a number of freshly-cured tattooed
heads, the fruit of a recent tribal battle, put into the bay of the
very tribe which had been beaten in the fighting. When a number of
natives came on board to trade, he thought it a capital joke--after
business was over--to roll out on the deck a sackful of the heads of
their slain kinsfolk. Recognising the features, the insulted Maoris
sprang overboard with tears and cries of rage.

[Illustration: MAORI WAHINE


A third worthy, whilst trading in the Bay of Islands, missed some
articles on board his schooner. He at once had the chief Koro Koro,
who happened to be on board, seized and bound hand and foot in the
cabin. Koro Koro, who was noted both for strength and hot temper,P
Land. They were varied by tragedies on a larger scale. In 1809 the
_Boyd_, a ship of 500 tons--John Thompson, master--had discharged a
shipload of English convicts in Sydney. The captain decided to take in
a cargo of timber in New Zealand, and accordingly sailed to Whangaroa,
a romantic inlet to the north of the Bay of Islands. Amongst the crew
were several Maoris. One of these, known as George, was a young chief,
though serving before the mast. During the voyage he was twice flogged
for refusing to work on the plea of illness. The captain added insult
to the stripes by the words, "You are no chief!" The sting of this lay
in the sacredness attached by Maori custom to a chief's person, which
was _tapu_--_i.e._ a thing not to be touched. George--according to his
own account[1]--merely replied that when they reached New Zealand the
captain would see that he was a chief. But he vowed vengeance, and on
reaching Whangaroa showed his stripes to his kinsfolk, as Boadicea
hers to the Britons of old. The tribesmen, with the craft of which the
apparently frank and cheerful Maori has so ample a share, quietly laid
their plans. The captain was welcomed. To divide their foes, the Maori
beguiled him and a party of sailors into the forest, where they killed
them all. Then, dressing themselves in the clothes of the dead, the
slayers made off to the _Boyd_. Easily coming alongside in their
disguises, they leaped on the decks and massacred crew and passengers
without pity. George himself clubbed half a dozen, who threw
themselves at his feet begging for mercy. Yet even in his fury he
spared a ship's boy who had been kind to him, and who ran to him
for protection, and a woman and two girl-children. All four were
afterwards rescued by Mr. Berry, of Sydney, and took refuge with a
friendly neighbouring chief, Te Pehi. Meanwhile, the _Boyd_ had been
stripped and burned. In the orgie that followed George's father
snapped a flint-lock musket over a barrel of gunpowder, and, with the
followers round him, was blown to pieces. Nigh seventy lives were lost
in the _Boyd_ massacre. Of course the slain were eaten.

[Footnote 1: As given by him to J.L. Nicholas five years afterwards.
See Nicholas' _Voyage to New Zealand_, vol. i., page 145. There are
those who believe the story of the flogging to be an invention of
George. Their authority is Mr. White, a Wesleyan missionary who lived
at Whangaroa from 1823 to 1827, and to whom the natives are said to
have admitted this. But that must have been, at least, fourteen years
after the massacre, and George was by that time at odds with many of
his own people. He died in 1825. His last hours were disturbed by
remorse arising from an incident in the _Boyd_ affair. He had not, he
thought, properly avenged the death of his father--blown up by the
powder-barrel. Such was the Maori conscience.]

Then ensued a tragedy of errors. The captains of certain whalers lying
in the Bay of Islands, hearing that the survivors of the _Boyd_ were
at Te Pehi's village, concluded that that kindly chief was a partner
in the massacre. Organizing a night attack, the whalers destroyed
the village and its guiltless owners. The unlucky Te Pehi, fleeing
wounded, fell into the hands of some of George's people, who,
regarding him as a sympathiser with the whites, made an end of him.
Finally, to avenge him, some of the survivors of his tribe afterwards
killed and ate three seamen who had had nothing to do with any stage
of the miserable drama.

Less well known than the fate of the _Boyd_ is the cutting-off of the
brig _Hawes_ in the Bay of Plenty in 1829. It is worth relating, if
only because it shows that the Maoris were not always the provoked
party in these affairs, and that, moreover, vengeance, even in No
Man's Land, did not always fall only on the guiltless. In exchange for
fire-arms and gunpowder the captain had filled his brig with flax and
pigs. He had sailed out to Whale Island in the Bay, and by a boiling
spring on the islet's beach was engaged with some of his men in
killing and scalding the pigs and converting them into salt pork.
Suddenly the amazed trader saw the canoes of his friendly customers
of the week before, headed by their chief "Lizard," sweep round and
attack the _Hawes_. The seamen, still on board, ran up the rigging,
where they were shot. The captain, with those on the islet, rowed away
for their lives. The brig was gutted and burnt. The Maoris, perplexed
by finding a number of bags of the unknown substance flour, emptied
the contents into the sea, keeping the bags.[1]

[Footnote 1: Judge Wilson's _Story of Te Waharoa_.]

Certain white traders in the Bay of Islands resolved to bring "Lizard"
to justice, in other words to shoot him. They commissioned a schooner,
the _New Zealander_, to go down to the scene of the outrage. A
friendly Bay of Islands chief offered to do the rest. He went with the
schooner. On its arrival the unsuspecting "Lizard" came off to trade.
At the end of a friendly visit he was stepping into his canoe when his
unofficially appointed executioner stepped quietly forward, levelled
his double-barrelled gun, and shot "Lizard" dead.

As a matter of course the affair did not end there: "Lizard's" tribe
were bound in honour to retaliate. But upon whom? The _Pakehas_ who
had caused their chiefs death were far out of reach in the north.
Still they were not the only _Pakehas_ in the land. In quite a
different direction, in the harbour which Captain Cook had dubbed
Hicks's Bay, lived two inoffensive Whites who had not even heard of
"Lizard's" death. What of that? They were Whites, and therefore of the
same tribe as the _Pakehas_ concerned! So the village in which they
lived was stormed, one White killed at once, the other captured.
As the latter stood awaiting execution and consumption, by an
extraordinary stroke of fortune a whaling ship ran into the bay.
The adroit captive offered, if his life were spared, to decoy his
countrymen on shore, so that they could be massacred. The bargain was
cheerfully struck; and when an armed boat's crew came rowing to land,
the _Pakeha_, escorted to the seaside by a murderous and expectant
throng, stood on a rock and addressed the seamen in English. What
he told them to do, however, was to get ready and shoot his captors
directly he dived from the rock into the water. Accordingly his plunge
was followed by a volley. The survivors of the outwitted Maoris turned
and fled, and the clever _Pakeha_ was picked up and carried safely on

At that time there was living among "Lizard's" people a certain Maori
from the Bay of Islands. This man, a greedy and mischievous fellow,
had instigated "Lizard" to cut off the _Hawes_. This became known, and
Waka Nene, a Bay of Islands chief, destined to become famous in New
Zealand history, punished his rascally fellow-tribesman in a very
gallant way. On a visit to the Bay of Plenty he bearded the man
sitting unsuspecting among his partners in the piracy, and, after
fiercely upbraiding him, shot him dead. Nor did any present venture to
touch Waka Nene.

The South Island had its share of outrages. On December 12, 1817, the
brig _Sophia_ anchored in Otago Harbour. Kelly, her captain, was a man
of strength and courage, who had gained some note by sailing round
Tasmania in an open boat. He now had use for these qualities. The day
after arrival he rowed with six men to a small native village outside
the harbour heads, at a spot still called Murdering Beach. Landing
there, he began to bargain with the Maoris for a supply of potatoes. A
Lascar sailor, who was living with the savages, acted as interpreter.
The natives thronged round the seamen. Suddenly there was a yell, and
they rushed upon the whites, of whom two were killed at once. Kelly,
cutting his way through with a bill-hook he had in his hand, reached
the boat and pushed out from the beach. Looking back, he saw one of
his men (his brother-in-law, Tucker) struggling with the mob. The
unhappy man had but time to cry, "Captain Kelly, for God's sake don't
leave me!" when he was knocked down in the surf, and hacked to death.
Another seaman was reeling in the boat desperately wounded. Kelly
himself was speared through one hand.

The survivors regained their ship. She was swarming with natives, who
soon learned what had happened and became wildly excited. Kelly drew
his men aft and formed them into a solid body. When the Maoris, headed
by their chief Karaka--Kelly spells it Corockar--rushed at them, the
seamen beat them off, using their large sealing-knives with such
effect that they killed sixteen, and cleared the decks. The remaining
natives jumped overboard. A number were swept away by the ebb-tide and
drowned. Next day the crew, now only fourteen in number, repulsed an
attempt made in canoes to take the vessel by boarding, and killed
Karaka. Emboldened by this, they afterwards made an expedition to the
shore and cut up or stove in all their enemies' canoes lying on the
beach. This was on Christmas Eve. On Boxing Day they landed and burnt
the principal native village, which Kelly calls the "beautiful city of
Otago of about six hundred fine houses"--not the only bit of patent
exaggeration in his story. Then they sailed away.[1]

[Footnote 1: _Transactions New Zealand Institute_, vol. xxviii.]

What prompted the attack at Murdering Beach is uncertain--like so much
that used to happen in No Man's Land. It is said that Tucker had been
to Otago some years previously and had stolen a baked head from the
Maoris. It is hinted that an encounter had taken place on the coast
not long before in which natives had been shot and a boat's crew cut
off. As of most occurrences of the time, we can only suspect that
lesser crimes which remained hidden led to the greater, which are more
or less truthfully recorded.


Chapter VI


"Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy."--_Text of Samuel
Marsden's first sermon at the Bay of Islands, Christmas Day_, 1814.

Maoris, shipping before the mast on board whalers and traders, made
some of the best seamen on the Pacific. They visited Sydney and
other civilized ports, where their fine physique, bold bearing, and
strangely tattooed faces, heightened the interest felt in them as
specimens of their ferocious and dreaded race. Stories of the Maoris
went far and wide--of their fierce fights, their cannibal orgies,
their grotesque ornaments and customs, their lonely, fertile, and
little-known country. Humane men conceived the wish to civilize and
Christianize this people. Benjamin Franklin had planned something of
the kind when the news of Cook's discovery first reached England.
Thirty years later, Samuel Marsden, a New South Wales chaplain,
resolved to be the Gregory or Augustine of this Britain of the South.
The wish became the master-passion of his life, and he lived to fulfil
it. How this resolve was carried out makes one of the pleasantest
pages of New Zealand history. The first step was his rescue of
Ruatara. In 1809 a roaming Maori sailor had worked his passage to
London, in the hope of seeing the great city and--greatest sight of
all--King George III. The sailor was Ruatara, a Bay of Islands chief.
Adventurous and inquiring as he was intelligent and good-natured,
Ruatara spent nearly nine years of his life away from his native land.
At London his captain refused to pay him his wages or to help him to
see King George, and solitary, defrauded, and disappointed, the young
wanderer fell sick nigh unto death. All the captain would do for him
was to transfer him to the _Ann_, a convict ship bound for Sydney.
Fortunately Marsden was among her passengers. The chaplain's heart
was touched at the sight of the wan, wasted Maori sitting dull-eyed,
wrapped in his blanket, coughing and spitting blood. His kindness
drew back Ruatara from the grave's brink and made him a grateful and
attached pupil. Together they talked of the savage islands, which one
longed to see and the other to regain. Nor did their friendship end
with the voyage. More adventures and disappointments awaited Ruatara
before he at last reached home. Once in a whale ship he actually
sighted the well-beloved headlands of the Bay of Islands, and brought
up all his goods and precious presents ready to go on shore. But the
sulky captain broke his promise and sailed past the Bay. Why trouble
to land a Maori? Ruatara had to choose between landing at Norfolk
Island or another voyage to England. Cheated of his earnings and
half-drowned in the surf, he struggled ashore on the convict island,
whence he made his way to Sydney and to Marsden's kindly roof. The
whaling captain went on towards England. But Justice caught him on the
way. He and his ship were taken by an American privateer.

Ruatara gained his home at the next attempt. There he laboured to
civilize his countrymen, planted and harvested wheat, and kept in
touch with Marsden across the Tasman Sea. Meanwhile the latter's
official superiors discountenanced his venturesome New Zealand
project. It was not until 1814 that the Governor of New South Wales at
last gave way to the chaplain's persistent enthusiasm, and allowed him
to send the brig _Active_ to the Bay of Islands with Messrs. Hall and
Kendall, lay missionaries, as the advance party of an experimental
mission station. Ruatara received them with open arms, and they
returned to Sydney after a peaceful visit, bringing with them not only
their enthusiastic host, but two other chiefs--Koro Koro and Hongi,
the last-named fated to become the scourge and destroyer of his race.

At last Marsden was permitted to sail to New Zealand. With Kendall,
Hall, and King, the three friendly chiefs, and some "assigned"
convict servants, he reached New Zealand in December, 1814. With
characteristic courage he landed at Whangaroa, among the tribe who had
massacred the crew of the unhappy _Boyd_. Going on shore there, he met
the notorious George, who stood to greet the strangers, surrounded by
a circle of seated tribesmen, whose spears were erect in the ground.
But George, despite a swaggering and offensive manner, seems to have
been amicable enough. He rubbed noses with Hongi and Ruatara, and
shook hands with Marsden, who passed on unharmed to the Bay of
Islands. There, by Ruatara's good offices, he was enabled to preach
to the assembled natives on the Sunday after arrival, being Christmas
Day, from the text printed at the head of this chapter. The Maoris
heard him quietly. Koro Koro walked up and down among the rows of
listeners keeping order with his chief's staff. When the service
ended, the congregation danced a war dance as a mark of attention to
the strangers.

Marsden settled his missionaries at Rangihu, where for twelve axes he
bought two hundred acres of land from a young _rangatira_ named Turi.
The land was conveyed to the Church Missionary Society by a deed of
sale. As Turi could not write, Hongi made the ingenious suggestion
that his _moko_, or face-tattoo, should be copied on the deed. This
was done by a native artist. The document began as follows:

"Know all men to whom these presents shall come, That I, Ahoodee O
Gunna, King of Rangee Hoo, in the Island of New Zealand, have, in
consideration of twelve axes to me in hand now paid by the Rev. Samuel
Marsden, of Paramatta, in the territory of New South Wales, given,
granted, bargained and sold, and by this present instrument do give,
grant, bargain and sell," etc., etc.

The deed is not only the first New Zealand conveyance, but has an
interest beyond that. It is evidence that, at any rate in 1815, a
single Maori, a chief, but of inferior rank, could sell a piece of
land without the specific concurrence of his fellow-tribesmen, or of
the tribe's head chief. Five and forty years later a somewhat similar
sale plunged New Zealand into long years of war.

After this Marsden returned to Sydney. The _Active_ took back spars
and dressed flax to the value of L450. The flax was sold at L110 a
ton. Kauri timber brought half a crown a foot, and the duty charged on
it at the Sydney customs house was a shilling a foot. The day of Free
Trade there was not yet. One cloud was hanging over the mission when
Marsden sailed. Ruatara lay dying. He had been seized with a fever,
and the natives, believing him to be attacked by a devouring demon,
placed him under _tapu_, and kept food, medicine, and his white
friends from him. When Marsden, by threatening to bombard the village
obtained access to the sick man, it was too late; he found his friend
past hope. Thus was the life of this staunch ally--a life which might
have been of the first value to the Maori race--thrown away. Though
the missionary's friend, Ruatara died a heathen, and his head wife
hung herself in customary Maori form.

Such was the setting up of the first mission station. Its founders
were sterling men. Kendall had been a London schoolmaster in good
circumstances. King, a master carpenter, had given up L400 a year to
labour among the savages. Marsden, though he made seven more voyages
to the country, the last after he had reached threescore years and
ten, never settled there. Henry Williams, however, coming on the
scene in 1823, became his chief lieutenant. Williams had been a naval
officer, had fought at Copenhagen, and had in him the stuff of which
Nelson's sailors were made. Wesleyan missionaries, following in the
footsteps of Marsden's pioneers, established themselves in 1822, and
chose for the place of their labours the scene of the _Boyd_ disaster.
Roman Catholic activity began in 1838.

It took ten years to make one convert, and up to 1830 the baptisms
were very few. After that the work began to tell and the patient
labourers to reap their harvest. By 1838 a fourth of the natives
had been baptized. But this was far from representing the whole
achievement of the missionaries. Many thousands who never formally
became Christians felt their influence, marked their example, profited
by their schools. They fought against war, discredited cannibalism,
abolished slavery. From the first Marsden had a sound belief in the
uses of trade and of teaching savages the decencies and handicrafts
of civilized life. He looked upon such knowledge as the best path to
religious belief. Almost alone amongst his class, he was far-sighted
enough to perceive, at any rate in the latter years of his life, that
the only hope of New Zealand lay in annexation, and that any dream
of a Protestant Paraguay was Utopian. Quite naturally, but most
unfortunately, most missionaries thought otherwise, and were at the
outset of colonization placed in antagonism to the pioneers. Meanwhile
they taught the elements of a rough-and-ready civilization, which the
chiefs were acute enough to value. But the courage and singleness of
purpose of many of them gave them a higher claim to respect. To do the
Maoris justice, they recognised it, and the long journeys which the
preachers of peace were able to make from tribe to tribe of cannibals
and warriors say something for the generosity of the latter as well as
for the devotion of the travellers. For fifty years after Marsden's
landing no white missionary lost his life by Maori hands. Almost
every less serious injury had to be endured. In the face of hardship,
insult, and plunder, the work went on. A schooner, the _Herald_, was
built in the Bay of Islands to act as messenger and carrier between
the missionary stations, which--pleasant oases in the desert of
barbarism--began to dot the North Island from Whangaroa as far south
as Rotorua among the Hot Lakes. By 1838 there were thirteen of them.
The ruins of some are still to be seen, surrounded by straggling plots
run to waste, "where once a garden smiled." When Charles Darwin,
during the voyage of the _Beagle_, visited the Bay of Islands, the
missionary station at Waimate struck him as the one bright spot in
a gloomy and ill-ordered land. Darwin, by the way, was singularly
despondent in his estimate both of Australia and New Zealand. Colonial
evolution was clearly not amongst his studies.


_From a Sketch by_ GENERAL ROBLEY.]

Colonists as a rule shrug their shoulders when questioned as to the
depth of Maori religious feeling. It is enough to point out that a
Christianity which induced barbarian masters to release their slaves
without payment or condition must have had a reality in it at which
the kindred of Anglo-Saxon sugar-planters have no right to sneer. Odd
were the absurdities of Maori lay preachers, and knavery was
sometimes added to absurdity. Yet these dark-skinned teachers carried
Christianity into a hundred nooks and corners. Most of them were
honest enthusiasts. Two faced certain death in the endeavour to carry
the Gospel to the Taupo heathen, and met their fate with cheerful
courage. Comic as Maori sectarianism became, it was not more
ridiculous than British. It is true that rival tribes gloried in
belonging to different denominations, and in slighting converts
belonging to other churches. On one occasion, a white wayfarer, when
asking shelter for the night at a _pa_, was gravely asked to name his
church. He recognised that his night's shelter was at stake, and had
no notion what was the reigning sect of the village. Sharpened by
hunger, his wit was equal to the emergency, and his answer, "the true
church," gained him supper and a bed. Too much stress has been laid on
the spectacle of missionaries engaging in public controversies, and
of semi-savage converts wrangling over rites and ceremonies and
discussing points of theology which might well puzzle a Greek
metaphysician. Such incidents were but an efflorescence on the surface
of what for a number of years was a true and general earnestness.

The missionaries, aided by Professor Lee, of Cambridge, gave the Maori
a written language. Into this the Scriptures were translated, chiefly
by William Williams, who became Bishop of Waiapu, and by Archdeacon
Maunsell. Many years of toil went to the work, and it was not
completed until 1853. In 1834 a printing press was set up by the
Church Mission Society at the Bay of Islands, in charge of Mr. William
Colenso. Neither few nor small were the difficulties which beset this
missionary printer. At the outset he got his press successfully from
ship to shore by lashing two canoes together and laying planks across
them. Though the chiefs surveyed the type with greedy eyes and hinted
that it would make good musket-balls, they did not carry it off. But
on unpacking his equipment Colenso found he had not been supplied
with an inking-table, composing-sticks, leads, galleys, cases,
imposing-stone, or printing-paper. A clever catechist made him an
imposing-stone out of two boulders of basalt found in a river-bed hard
by. Leads he contrived by pasting bits of paper together, and with the
help of various make-shifts, printed on February 21, 1835 the first
tract published in New Zealand. It consisted of the Epistles to the
Ephesians and Philippians in Maori, printed on sixteen pages of
writing-paper and issued in wrappers of pink blotting-paper. Much the
most capable helpers whom the lonely printer had in his first years
were two one-time compositors who had turned sailors and who, tiring
of foc'sle life under Yankee captains, made up their minds to resume
the stick and apron in the cannibal islands. Impish Maori boys made
not inappropriate "devils." With such assistants Colenso, working
on, had by New Year's Day, 1838, completed the New Testament and was
distributing bound copies to the eager Maoris, who sent messengers for
them from far and near. Pigs, potatoes, flax were offered for copies
of the precious volume, in one case even that rarest of curiosities in
No Man's Land--a golden sovereign.

Not the least debt, which any one having to do with New Zealand owes
the missionaries and Professor Lee, is a scholarly method of writing
Maori. In their hands the spelling of the language became simple,
systematic, and pleasant to the eye. What it has done to save the
names of the country's places and persons from taking fantastic and
ridiculous shapes, a few examples will show. For sixty years after
Cook's discovery every traveller spelt these names as seemed good to
him. The books of the time offer us such things of beauty as Muckeytoo
(Maketu), Kiddy-Kiddy (Keri-Keri), Wye-mattee (Waimate), Keggerigoo
(Kekerangu), Boo Marray and Bowmurry (Pomare), Shunghee and E'Ongi
(Hongi), Corroradickee (Kororareka). The haven of Hokianga figures
alternately as Showkianga, Sukyanna, Jokeeangar and Chokahanga. Almost
more laughable are Towackey (Tawhaki), Wycaddie (Waikare), Crackee
(Karakia), Wedder-Wedder (Wera-Wera), and Rawmatty (Raumati).

These, however, are thrown into the shade by some of the courageous
attempts of the two Forsters, Cook's naturalists, at the names of
native birds. It must have taken some imaginative power to turn
pi-waka-waka into "diggowaghwagh," and kereru into "haggarreroo,"
but they achieved these triumphs. Their _chef-d'oeuvre_ is perhaps
"pooadugghiedugghie," which is their version of putangi-tangi, the
paradise-duck. After that it is not so easy to smile at the first
sentences of an official statement drawn up by Governor King, of New
South Wales, relative to the carrying off to Norfolk Island of the two
New Zealanders before mentioned, which begins:

"Hoodoo-Cockoty-Towamahowey is about twenty-four years
of age, five feet eight inches high, of an athletic make, and very
interesting. He is of the district of Teerawittee ... Toogee
Teterrenue Warripedo is of the same age as Hoodoo, but about
three inches shorter."

Poor Huru, poor Tuki!

While the missionaries were slowly winning their way through respect
to influence in the northern quarter of the country, and were giving
the Maori a written language and the Bible, very different agents were
working for civilization further south. From the last decade of
the eighteenth century onwards the islands were often sought by
whaling-ships. Gradually these came in greater numbers, and, until
about the year 1845, were constantly to be seen in and about certain
harbours--notably the Bay of Islands. But not by the utmost stretch of
charity could their crews be called civilizing agencies. To another
class of whalers, however, that title may not unfairly be given. These
were the men who settled at various points on the coast, chiefly from
Cook's Straits southward to Foveaux Straits, and engaged in what
is known as shore-whaling. In schooners, or in their fast-sailing,
seaworthy whale boats, they put out from land in chase of the whales
which for so many years frequented the New Zealand shores in shoals.
Remarkable were some of the catches they made. At Jacob's River eleven
whales were once taken in seventeen days. For a generation this
shore-whaling was a regular and very profitable industry. Only the
senseless slaughter of the "cows" and their "calves" ruined it.

Carried on at first independently by little bands of adventurers, it
in time fell into the hands of Sydney merchants, who found the capital
and controlled and organized whaling-stations. At these they erected
boiling-down works, shears for hoisting the huge whales' carcasses out
of the water, stores, and jetties. As late as 1843 men were busy at
more than thirty of these stations. More than five hundred men were
employed, and the oil and whalebone they sent away in the year were
worth at least L50,000. Sometimes the profits were considerable. A
certain merchant, who bought the plant of a bankrupt station for L225
at a Sydney auction, took away therefrom L1,500 worth of oil in the
next season. But then he was an uncommon merchant. He had been a
sealer himself, and finally abandoned mercantile life in Sydney to
return to his old haunts, where he managed his own establishment,
joined farming to whaling, endowed a mission station,[1] and amazed
the land by importing a black-coated tutor and a piano for his
children. Moreover, the harpooners and oarsmen were not paid wages or
paid in cash, but merely had a percentage of the value of a catch, and
were given that chiefly in goods and rum. For this their employers
charged them, perhaps, five times the prices current in Sydney, and
Sydney prices in convict times were not low. Under this truck system
the employers made profits both ways. The so-called rum was often
inferior arrack--deadliest of spirits--with which the Sydney of those
days poisoned the Pacific. The men usually began each season with a
debauch and ended it with another. A cask's head would be knocked out
on the beach, and all invited to dip a can into the liquor. They were
commonly in debt and occasionally in delirium. Yet they deserved to
work under a better system, for they were often fine fellows, daring,
active, and skilful. Theirs was no fair-weather trade. Their working
season was in the winter. Sharp winds and rough seas had to be faced,
and when these were contrary it required no small strength to pull
their heavy boats against them hour after hour, and mile after mile,
to say nothing of the management of the cumbrous steering-oar,
twenty-seven feet in length, to handle which the steersman had to
stand upright in the stern sheets.

[Footnote 1: John Jones, of Waikouaiti. His first missionary found
two years at a whaling-station quite enough, if we may judge from his
greeting to his successor, which was "Welcome to Purgatory, Brother
Creed!" Brother Creed's response is not recorded.]

The harpooning and lancing of the whale were wild work; and when bones
were broken, a surgeon's aid was not always to be had. The life,
however, could give change, excitement, the chance of profit, and long
intervals of comparative freedom. To share these, seamen deserted
their vessels, and free Australians--nicknamed currency lads--would
ship at Sydney for New Zealand. Ex-convicts, of course, swelled their
ranks, and were not always and altogether bad, despite the convict
system. The discipline in the boats was as strict as on a man-of-war.
On shore, when "trying down" the blubber, the men had to work long and
hard. "Sunday don't come into this bay!" was the gruff answer once
given to a traveller who asked whether the Sabbath was kept. Otherwise
they might lead easy lives. Each had his hut and his Maori wife, to
whom he was sometimes legally married. Many had gardens, and families
of half-caste children, whose strength and beauty were noted by all
who saw them. The whaler's helpmate had to keep herself and children
clean, and the home tidy. Cleanliness and neatness were insisted on
by her master, partly through the seaman's instinct for tidiness and
partly out of a pride and desire to show a contrast to the reeking
hovels of the Maori. As a rule she did her best to keep her man sober.
Her cottage, thatched with reeds, was perhaps whitewashed with lime
made by burning the sea-shells. With its clay floor and huge open
fireplace, with its walls lined with curtained sleeping bunks, and its
rafters loaded with harpoons, sharp oval-headed lances, coils of
rope, flitches of bacon or bags of flour, it showed a picture of rude

[Footnote 1: Wakefield, _Adventures in New Zealand_; Shortland,
_Southern Districts of New Zealand_; S. Thomson, _Story of New
Zealand_: Sir W.T. Power, _Sketches in New Zealand_; G.F. Angas,
_Savage Scenes_.]

If the seats were the joints of a whale's backbone, there was always
food in plenty, washed down with grog or tea made from manuka sprigs.
Whale's heart was a delicacy set before guests, who found it rather
like beef. Maoris, sharks, and clouds of sea-gulls shared much of the
flesh of the captured whales' carcasses.

Maori relatives learned to envy and, to some extent, to copy what they
saw. They took service as oarsmen, and even bought and equipped boats
for themselves. They learned to be ashamed of some of their more
odious habits, and to respect the pluck and sense of fair play shown
by their whaling neighbours. As a rule, each station was held by
license from the chief of the proprietary tribe. He and tenants would
stand shoulder to shoulder to resist incursions by other natives.
Dicky Barrett, head-man of the Taranaki whaling-station, helped
the Ngatiawa to repulse a noteworthy raid by the Waikato tribe.
Afterwards, when the Ngatiawa decided to abandon their much-harried
land, Barrett moved with them to Cook's Straits, where, in 1839, the
Wakefields found him looking jovial, round, and ruddy, dressed in a
straw hat, white jacket, and blue dungaree trousers, and married to a
chief's daughter--a handsome and stately woman. It was Dicky Barrett
who directed Colonel Wakefield to what is now Wellington, and who,
in consequence, may be recorded as the guide who pointed out to the
pioneer of the New Zealand Company the future capital of the colony.

Nor was Barrett the only specimen of this rough race whom New
Zealanders may remember with interest. There was Stewart, ex-Jacobite,
sealer, and pilot, whose name still conceals Rakiura, and whose
Highland pride made him wear the royal tartan to the last as he sat
in Maori villages smoking among the blanketed savages. There was the
half-caste Chaseland, whose mother was an Australian "gin," and who
was acknowledged to be the most dexterous and best-tempered steersman
in New Zealand--when sober. He needed his skill when he steered an
open boat from the Chathams to Otago across five hundred miles of
wind-vexed sea. Chaseland's mighty thews and sinews were rivalled by
those of Spencer, whose claim to have fought at Waterloo was regarded
as doubtful, but whose possession of two wives and of much money made
by rum-selling was not doubtful. Another notable steersman was Black
Murray, who once made his boatmen row across Cook's Straits at night
and in a gale because they were drunk, and only by making them put out
to sea could he prevent them from becoming more drunk. A congener of
his, Evans--"Old Man Evans"--boasted of a boat which was as spick and
span as a post-captain's gig, and of a crew who wore uniform. Nor must
the best of Maori whalers be forgotten--the chief Tuhawaiki--brave in
war, shrewd and businesslike in peace, who could sail a schooner as
cleverly as any white skipper, and who has been most unfairly damned
to everlasting fame--local fame--by his whaler's nickname of "Bloody
Jack!" These, and the "hands" whom they ordered about, knocked down,
caroused with, and steered, were the men who, between 1810 and 1845,
taught the outside world to take its way along the hitherto dreaded
shores of New Zealand as a matter of course and of business. Half
heroes, half ruffians, they did their work, and unconsciously brought
the islands a stage nearer civilization. Odd precursors of English
law, nineteenth-century culture, and the peace of our lady the Queen,
were these knights of the harpoon and companions of the rum-barrel.
But the isolated coasts and savage men among whom their lot was cast
did not as yet call for refinement and reflection. Such as their time
wanted, such they were. They played a part and fulfilled a purpose,
and then moved off the stage. It so happened that within a few years
after the advent of the regular colonists whaling ceased to pay,
and the rough crew who followed it, and their coarse, manly life,
disappeared together.

Chapter VII


"He sang of battles, and the breath
Of stormy war and violent death."

Marsden's notes help us to picture his first night in New Zealand. The
son of the Yorkshire blacksmith, the voyager in convict-ships, the
chaplain of New South Wales in the days of rum and chain-gangs, was
not the man to be troubled by nerves. But even Marsden was wakeful on
that night. Thinking of many things--thoughts not to be expressed--the
missionary paced up and down on the sea beach by which a tribe was
encamped. The air was pleasant, the stars shone brightly, in front of
him the sea spread smoothly, peacefully folded among the wooded hills.
At the head of the harbour the ripple tapped lightly upon the charred
timbers of the _Boyd_. Around lay the Maori warriors sleeping, wrapped
in their dyed mantles and with their spears stuck upright in the
ground. It was a quiet scene. Most of the scenes of that time which
have come down to us were not of quietness. Some of them have been
sketched in the last two chapters, and are examples of the condition
of things which the missionaries landed to confront, and amidst which
they worked. More have now to be described, if only to show things as
they were before annexation, and the miseries which the country, and
the Maori along with it, suffered before the influences of White
adventurers and their fatal gifts were tempered by a civilized

From 1818 to 1838 was a time of war far surpassing in bloodshed and
ruin anything witnessed in the Islands before or since. For the
first time the Maoris used firearms. Probably a fourth of their race
perished in this ill-starred epoch. Hongi, the chief of the Ngapuhi
tribe, before referred to, is usually spoken of as the first to
introduce the musket into the tribal wars. This was not so. His tribe,
as the owners of the Bay of Islands and other ports frequented by
traders, were able to forestall their fellow-Maoris in getting
firearms. A war-party of the Ngapuhi, only one hundred and forty
strong, is said to have gone through the length and breadth of the
North Island putting all they met to flight with the discharge of
two old flint-lock guns. The cunning warriors always followed up the
awe-inspiring fire with a prompt charge in which spear and tomahawk
did the work for which panic had prepared the way. Another Ngapuhi
chief, the leader of an attack on the men of Tauranga, managed to
arm his men with thirty-five muskets, which they used with crushing
effect. This was in 1818. Hongi saw the bravest warriors run before
the new and terrible weapon. He never forgot the sight. To go to
England and get guns became the dream of his life. A hopeful pupil of
Marsden, in Sydney, he knew the ways of the white men. In 1820, he and
a brother chief were taken to England by Kendall to help Professor Lee
with his grammar and dictionary. The pair were lionized, and on all
sides presents were made to them. They were presented to King George
IV., who gave Hongi a suit of armour. On his return this grammarian's
assistant heard at Sydney that his tribe was at war with the natives
of the Hauraki or Thames district, and that one of his relatives had
been killed. Now was his time. He at once sold all his presents,
except the suit of armour, and bought three hundred muskets and a
supply of powder and bullets.

The Sydney Government did not prevent him. At Marsden's table, at
Parramatta, Hongi met a chief of the offending tribe. Grimly he warned
his fellow-guest to take himself home, make ready for war, and prepare
to be killed--and eaten. Landing in New Zealand, he determined to
imitate Napoleon. Allowing for the enormous difference in his arena,
he managed to be nearly as mischievous.

His luckless enemies, armed only with spears, tomahawks, stones and
clubs, were shot and enslaved by thousands and eaten by hundreds. Wide
districts were swept bare of people. No man cared for anything except
to procure a gun and thereby have a chance to save his life. A musket
was, indeed, a pearl of great price. It has been pleaded for Hongi
that he protected the missionaries, and that by forcing his race to
get guns at any price he unwittingly developed trade. It is indeed
true that in their desperate straits the tribes sold flax, timber,
potatoes, mats, tattooed heads, pigs--even their precious land--for
firearms. Without them their lives were not worth a month's purchase.
Men and women toiled almost frantically at growing and preparing flax
or providing anything exchangeable for muskets, powder and lead. An
old Brown Bess was worth three tons of scraped flax. Undoubtedly
whites were welcomed, both as traders and fighters, with a readiness
unknown before. In 1835, New Zealand exports to Sydney alone were
valued at L113,000, her imports at L31,000. It was a poor set-off
against an era of butchery.

Determined to carry out the threats he had made in Sydney, Hongi began
his campaigns by sailing southward with a great fleet of war-canoes.
Passing to the head of the Hauraki Gulf he sat down before the _pa_ of
Totara, the chief fortress of the Thames tribes--the men whom he had
doomed in Sydney. The place was well garrisoned, and commanded by the
head chief, Trembling-Leaf. Even the three hundred musketeers found
the _pa_ too strong for open assault, though those inside had but
one gun and no ammunition. Hongi fell back upon fraud and offered
honourable peace, if a certain sacred greenstone _mere_ were handed
to him as a trophy. It was solemnly handed over, and the principal
invaders were feasted in the _pa_. One of them, ashamed of the
intended treachery, whispered to an acquaintance in the garrison,
"Beware!" In vain. That night, as Hongi's victims were sleeping
securely, the Ngapuhi rushed the stockade and all within were killed
or taken. The dead were variously reckoned at from two hundred to a
thousand. One division of the Ngapuhi were sufficiently disgusted at
Hongi's deceit to refuse to join in the surprise, and Waikato, the
powerful chief who had accompanied him to England, declared he would
go afield with him no more. Even his own special clan, though they had
yielded to the furious exhortations of his blind wife Kiri, an Amazon
who followed him in all his fights, urged him to spare some of the
captives of rank. The pitiless victor spared none. Five he killed with
his own spear. The death songs of two have been preserved and are
quoted as choice specimens of Maori poetry.

Between 1821 and 1827 Hongi carried fire and sword into almost every
corner of what is now the Province of Auckland. At first none could
stand before him. He assailed in 1822 two large _pas_ near where the
suburbs of Auckland city now spread. In vain the terrified inmates
tried to buy off the savage with presents. Nearly all were slaughtered
or taken, and Hongi left naught in their villages but bones, with such
flesh on them "as even his dogs had not required." He invaded the
Waikato and penetrated to a famous _pa_--a triple stockade at
Mataki-taki (Look-out). To get there he dragged his war-canoes
overland across the Auckland isthmus, straightened winding creeks for
their passage, and, when the Waikatos felled large trees across one
channel, patiently spent two months in cutting through the trunks.
At length the Look-out fortress was stormed with horrible slaughter.
Defended on one side by a creek, on another by the Waipa river,
elsewhere by deep ditches and banks that were almost cliffs, the lofty
stronghold was as difficult to escape from as to enter. It was crowded
with women and children: ten thousand people were in it, says one
account. When the spear-men broke before the terrible musket-fire, the
mass of the despairing on-lookers choked the ways of escape. In their
mad panic hundreds of the flying Waikatos were forced headlong over
a cliff by the rush of their fellow-fugitives. Hundreds more were
smothered in one of the deep ditches of the defences, or were shot
by the merciless Ngapuhi, who fired down upon the writhing mass till
tired of reloading. It was the greatest of Hongi's victories, though
not bloodless for the conquerors, like that of Totara, where only one
Ngapuhi had been killed. Famous fighting men, the Waikato chiefs had
died bravely, despite the amazement caused by the mystery of firearms.
One had killed four Ngapuhi before he was shot.

Another of Hongi's triumphs was at Rotorua in the Hot Lakes
district--the land of the Arawa tribe. He began by defeating them on
the Bay of Plenty, and thence turning inland found the tribe gathered
in strength on the green island-hill of Mokoia, encircled by the
Rotorua lake. Hongi's war-canoes were twenty-five miles away on the
sea-beach, and the Mokoians ridiculed him as he lay encamped by the
edge of their lake, unable to get at them. Day after day they paddled
to within hailing distance and insulted him with yells and gestures.
But the Ngapuhi general was not to be stopped. Like Mahomet the
second, he made his slaves drag their craft overland, and the
astonished islanders saw his flotilla sweep across Rotorua bearing the
irresistible musketeers. On their exposed strand they were easily mown
down. Flying they were followed by the Ngapuhi, and few indeed were
the survivors of the day. Hongi's ravages reached far to the south and
east. Even the Ngatiporou, who dwelt between Cape Runaway and Poverty
Bay, felt his hand. Their _pas_ fell one after the other, and only
those were not slaughtered who fled to the mountains.

For a while it seemed as though Hongi's dream might come true, and all
New Zealand hail him as sole king. His race trembled at his name. But
his cruelty deprived him of allies, and the scanty numbers of his
army gave breathing time to his foes. He wisely made peace with the
Waikatos, who, under Te Whero Whero, had rallied and cut off more than
one Ngapuhi war-party. In the Hauraki country he could neither
crush nor entrap the chief Te Waharoa, as cunning a captain and as
bloodthirsty a savage as himself. His enemies, indeed, getting muskets
and gaining courage, came once far north of the Auckland isthmus to
meet him; and though he beat them there in a pitched battle, it cost
him the life of his eldest son. He became involved in feuds with
his northern neighbours, and finally marched to attack our old
acquaintances the Whangaroans of _Boyd_ notoriety. In a bush-fight
with them he neglected to wear the suit of chain armour, the gift of
George IV., which had saved his life more than once. A shot fired by
one of his own men struck him in the back and passed through a lung.
He did not die of the wound for fifteen months. It is said that he
used to entertain select friends by letting the wind whistle through
the bullet-hole in his body. Mr. Polack, who was the author of the
tale, was not always implicitly believed by those who knew him; but as
Surgeon-Major Thomson embodies the story in his book, perhaps a writer
who is not a surgeon ought not to doubt it.

Of Hongi's antagonists none were more stubborn or successful than Te
Waharoa, a fighting chief whose long life of warfare contains in it
many stirring episodes of his times. Born in 1773 in a village near
the upper Thames, he owed his life, when two years old, to a spasm
of pity in the heart of a victorious chief from the Hot Lakes. This
warrior and his tribe sacked the _pa_ of Te Waharoa's father, and
killed nearly all therein. The conqueror saw a pretty boy crying among
the ashes of his mother's hut, and struck with the child's face, took
him up and carried him on his back home to Lake Rotorua. "Oh! that
I had not saved him!" groaned the old chief, when, nearly two
generations later, Te Waharoa exacted ample vengeance from the Rotorua
people. After twenty years of a slave's life, Te Waharoa was allowed
to go back to his people. Though, in spite of the brand of slavery,
his craft and courage carried him on till he became their head, he was
even then but the leader of a poor three hundred fighting men.

To the north of him lay the Thames tribe, then the terror of half New
Zealand; to the south, his old enemies the Arawas of the Hot Lakes.
To the west the main body of the Waikatos were overwhelmingly his
superiors in numbers. Eastward the Tauranga tribe--destined in
aftertimes to defeat the Queen's troops at the Gate _Pa_--could in
those days muster two thousand five hundred braves, and point to a
thousand canoes lying on their beaches. But Te Waharoa was something
more than an able guerilla chief. He was an acute diplomatist. Always
keeping on good terms with the Waikatos, he made firm allies of the
men of Tauranga. Protected, indeed helped, thus on both flanks, he
devoted his life to harassing the dwellers by the lower Thames and the
Hauraki Gulf. One great victory he won over them with the aid of his
Waikato allies. Their chief _pa_, Mata-mata, he seized by a piece of
callous bad faith and murder. After being admitted there by treaty to
dwell as friends and fellow-citizens, his warriors rose one night and
massacred their hosts without compunction. Harried from the north by
Hongi, the wretched people of the Thames were between the hammer
and the anvil. When at last their persecutors--the Ngapuhi and Te
Waharoa--met over their bodies, Te Waharoa's astuteness and nerve were
a match for the invaders from the north. In vain the Ngapuhi besiegers
tried to lure him out from behind the massive palisades of Mata-mata,
where, well-provisioned, he lay sheltered from their bullets. When he
did make a sally it was to catch half a dozen stragglers, whom,
in mortal defiance, he crucified in front of his gateway. Then he
challenged the Ngapuhi captain to single combat with long-handled
tomahawks. The Northerners broke up their camp, and went home; they
had found a man whom even muskets could not terrify.

Te Waharoa's final lesson to the Ngapuhi was administered in 1831,
and effectually stopped them from making raids on their southern
neighbours. A war-party from the Bay of Islands, in which were two of
Hongi's sons, ventured, though only 140 strong, to sail down the Bay
of Plenty, slaying and plundering as they went. Twice they landed,
and when they had slain and eaten more than their own number the more
prudent would have turned back. But a blind wizard, a prophet of
prodigious repute, who was with them, predicted victory and speedy
reinforcement, and urged them to hold on their way. Disembarking on
an islet in the bay, the inhabitants of which had fled, they encamped
among the deserted gardens. Looking out next morning, they saw the
sea blackened with war-canoes. Believing these to be the prophesied
reinforcement, they rushed down to welcome their friends. Cruelly were
they undeceived as the canoes of Te Waharoa and his Tauranga allies
shot on to the beach. Short was the struggle. Only two of the Ngapuhi
were spared, and as the blind soothsayer's blood was too sacred to be
shed, the victors pounded him to death with their fists. Never again
did the Ngapuhi come southwards. So for the remaining years of his
life Waharoa was free to turn upon the Arawas, the men who had slain
his father and mother. From one raid on Rotorua his men came back
with the bodies of sixty enemies--cut off in an ambush. Not once did
Waharoa meet defeat; and when, in 1839, he died, he was as full of
fame as of years. Long afterwards his _mana_ was still a halo round
the head of his son Wiremu Tamihana, whom we shall meet in due time as
William Thompson the king-maker, best of his race.

Hongi once dead and the Ngapuhi beaten off, the always formidable
Waikato tribes began in turn to play the part of raiders. At their
head was Te Whero Whero, whom in the rout at Mataki-taki a friendly
hand had dragged out of the suffocating ditch of death. Without the
skill of Hongi, or the craft of Te Waharoa, he was a keen and active
fighter. More than once before Hongi's day he had invaded the Taranaki
country, and had only been forced back by the superior generalship of
the famous Rauparaha, of whom more anon. In 1831 Rauparaha could no
longer protect Taranaki. He had migrated to Cook's Strait, and was
warring far away in the South Island. Therefore it was without much
doubt that, followed by some three thousand men, Te Whero Whero set
his face towards Mount Egmont, and swept all before him. Only at a
strong hill-_pa_ looking down upon the Waitara river, did his enemies
venture to make a stand. They easily repulsed his first assaults, but
hundreds of women and children were among the refugees, and as was the
wont of the Maoris, no proper stock of provisions had been laid in.
On the thirteenth day, therefore, the defenders, weakened and half
starved, had to make a frantic attempt to break through the Waikatos.
Part managed to get away; most were either killed at once, or hunted
down and taken. Many women threw themselves with their children over
the cliff into the Waitara. Next day the captives were brought before
Te Whero Whero. Those with the best tattooed faces were carefully
beheaded that their heads might be sold unmarred to the White traders.
The skulls of the less valuable were cleft with tomahawk or _mere_.
Te Whero Whero himself slew many scores with a favourite greenstone
weapon. A miserable train of slaves were spared to labour in the
villages of the Waikato.


Photo by I.A. MARTIN, Wanganui]

Ahead of the victorious chieftain lay yet another _pa_. It was near
those quaint conical hills--the Sugar-Loaves--which, rising in and
near the sea, are as striking a feature as anything can be in the
landscape where Egmont's white peak dwarfs all else. Compared to
the force in the Waitara _pa_ the garrison of this last refuge was
small--only three hundred and fifty, including women and children. But
among them were eleven Whites. Some of these may have been what Mr.
Rusden acidly styles them all--"dissipated Pakeha-Maoris living with
Maori Delilahs." But they were Englishmen, and had four old ship's
guns. They decided to make a fight of it for their women and children
and their trade. They got their carronades ready, and laboured to
infuse a little order and system into the excitable mob around them.
So when the alarm-cry, _E! Taua! Taua!_ rang out from the watchmen of
the _pa_, the inmates were found resolute and even prepared. In vain
the invaders tried all their wiles. Their rushes were repulsed, the
firebrands they showered over the palisades were met by wet clay
banking, and their treacherous offers of peace and good-will declined.
Though one of the carronades burst, the others did good execution, and
when shot and scrap-iron failed, the artillerymen used pebbles. Dicky
Barrett, already mentioned, was the life and soul of the defence. The
master of a schooner which came upon the coast in the midst of the
siege tried to mediate, and stipulated for a free exit for the Whites.
Te Whero Whero haughtily refused; he would spare their lives, but
would certainly make slaves of them. He had better have made a bridge
for their escape. The siege dragged on. The childish chivalry of the
Maoris amazed the English. Waikato messengers were allowed to enter
the _pa_ and examine the guns and defences. On the other hand, when
the besiegers resolved on a last and grand assault they sent notice
thereof the day before to the garrison. Yet, after that, the latter
lay down like tired animals to sleep the night through, while Barrett
and his comrades watched and waited anxiously. The stormers came with
the dawn, and were over the stockade before the Whites could rouse the
sleepers. Then, however, after a desperate tussle--one of those sturdy
hand-to-hand combats in which the Maori fighter shone--the assailants
were cut down or driven headlong out. With heavy loss the astonished
Waikatos recoiled in disgust, and their retreat did not cease till
they reached their own country.

Even this victory could not save Taranaki. With the fear of fresh
raids in their mind the survivors of its people, together with their
White allies, elected to follow where so many of their tribes had
already gone--to Cook's Straits, in the footsteps of Rauparaha.
So they, too, chanted their farewells to their home, and turning
southward, marched away. When the Waikatos had once more swept down
the coast, and had finally withdrawn, it was left empty and desolate.
A remnant, a little handful, built themselves a _pa_ on one of the
Sugar-Loaves. A few more lurked in the recesses of Mount Egmont.
Otherwise the fertile land was a desert. A man might toil along the
harbourless beaches for days with naught for company but the sea-gulls
and the thunder of the surf; while inland,--save for a few birds,--the
rush of streams and pattering of mountain-showers on the leaves were
all that broke the silence of lifeless forests.

To the three warrior chiefs, whose feuds and fights have now been
outlined, must be added a fourth and even more interesting figure.
Rauparaha, fierce among the fierce, cunning among the cunning, was
not only perhaps the most skilful captain of his time, not only a
devastator second only to Hongi, but was fated to live on into
another era and to come into sharp and fatal collision with the early
colonists. One result among others is that we have several portraits
of him with both pen and pencil. Like Waharoa and Hongi he was small,
spare and sinewy; an active man even after three-score years and ten.
In repose his aquiline features were placid and his manners dignified.
But in excitement, his small, keen, deep-sunken eyes glared like a
wild beast's, and an overhanging upper lip curled back over long teeth
which suggested to colonists--his enemies--the fangs of a wolf. Born
near the picturesque inlet of Kawhia, he first won fame as a youth
by laying a clever ambuscade for a Waikato war-party. When later the
chief of his tribe was dying and asked doubt-fully of his councillors
who there was to take his place, Rauparaha calmly stepped forward and
announced himself as the man for the office. His daring seemed an
omen, and he was chosen. In 1819 he did a remarkable thing. He had
been on a raid to Cook's Straits, and when there had been struck with
the strategic value of the island of Kapiti--steep, secure from land
attacks, not infertile, and handy to the shore. It was the resort,
moreover, of the _Pakehas_ trading-ships. Like Hongi, Rauparaha saw
that the man with the most muskets must carry all before him in New
Zealand. Out of the way and overshadowed by the Waikato his small
tribe were badly placed at Kawhia. But if he could bring them and
allies along with them to Kapiti and seize it, he could dominate
central New Zealand.

He persuaded his people to migrate. Their farewell to their old
dwellings is still a well-known Maori poem. Joined by a strong
contingent of Waitara men under Wi Kingi--to be heard of again as late
as 1860--they won their way after many fights, adventures and escapes
to their goal at Kapiti. There Rauparaha obtained the coveted muskets.
Not only did he trade with the visiting ships but he protected a
settlement of whalers on his island who did business with him, and
whose respect for the craft and subtlety of "Rowbulla" was always
great. Rauparaha set out for Kapiti a year before Hongi sailed for
England on his fatal quest. From his sea-fortress he kept both coasts
in fear and turmoil for twenty years. More than once he was defeated,
and once his much-provoked foes attacked Kapiti with a united
flotilla. But though they "covered the sea with their canoes," they
parleyed after landing when they should have fought. By a union of
astuteness and hard fighting Rauparaha's people won, and signal was
the revenge taken on his assailants. Previous to this he had almost
exterminated one neighbour-tribe whose villages were built on small
half-artificial islets in a forest-girt lake. In canoes and by
swimming his warriors reached the islets, and not many of the lake
people were left alive.

More than one story is preserved of Rauparaha's resource and
ruthlessness. One night, when retreating with a weak force, he had the
Waikatos at his heels. He held them back by lighting enough
watchfires for a large host, and by arming and dressing his women as
fighting-men. Again, when he was duck-hunting near the coast of the
South Island, his enemies, led by the much-libelled "Bloody Jack,"
made a bold attempt to surround his party. Most of his men were cut
off. Rauparaha, lowered down a sea-cliff, hid among the kelp by the
rocks beneath. A canoe was found and brought, and he put to sea. It
was over-loaded with fugitives, and their chief therefore ordered half
to jump overboard that the rest might be saved. The lightened canoe
then carried him to a place of safety. Yet, after the capture of
Kaiapoi he showed generosity. Amongst the prisoners, who were lying
bound hand and foot waiting for the oven, was a young brave who had
killed one of Rauparaha's chiefs in a daring sortie. Him now the
conqueror sought out, spared his life, cut his bonds, and took him
into service and favour.

The most famous and far-reaching of Rauparaha's raids were among the
Ngaitahu, whose scattered bands were masters of nearly all the wide
half-empty spaces of the South Island. In one of their districts was
found the famous greenstone. On no better provocation than a report
which came to his ears of an insulting speech by a braggart southern
chief, Rauparaha, early in 1829, manned his canoes, and sailed down
the east coast to attack the boastful one's _pa_. The unsuspecting
natives thronged down to the beach to meet the raiders with shouts of
welcome, and on hospitable thoughts intent. Springing on to land, the
invaders ran amongst the bewildered crowd, and slew or captured all
they could lay hands on. Then they burned the village. Further south
lay a larger _pa_, that of Kaiapoi. Here the inhabitants, warned
by fugitives from the north, were on their guard. Surprise being
impossible, Rauparaha tried guile, and by assurances of friendship
worked upon the Kaiapois to allow his chiefs to go in and out of their
_pa_, buying greenstone and exchanging hospitalities. But for once he
met his match. The Kaiapois waited until they had eight of the chiefs
inside their stockades, and then killed them all. Amongst the dead was
Te Pehi, Rauparaha's uncle and adviser, who three years before had
visited England. Powerless for the moment, Rauparaha could but go
home, vow vengeance, and wait his opportunity. After two years it

Pre-eminent in infamy amongst the ruffianly traders of the time was
a certain Stewart. At the end of 1830, he was hanging about Cook's
Straits in the brig _Elizabeth_. There he agreed to become Rauparaha's
instrument to carry out one of the most diabolical acts of vengeance
in even Maori annals. The appearance of Stewart, ripe for any
villainy, gave the Kapiti chief the chance he was waiting for. For
thirty tons of flax the _Elizabeth_ was hired to take Rauparaha and a
war-party, not to Kaiapoi, but to Akaroa, a beautiful harbour amongst
the hills of the peninsula called after Sir Joseph Banks. It lay many
miles away from Kaiapoi, but was inhabited by natives of the same
tribe. There, moreover, was living Tamai-hara-nui (Son-of-much-evil),
best-born and most revered chief in all the South Island. Him
Rauparaha determined to catch, for no one less august could be payment
for Te Pehi. Arrived at Akaroa, Rauparaha and his men hid below, and
waited patiently for three days until their victim came. Stewart, by
swearing that he had no Maoris in the brig, but merely came to
trade, tempted the chief and his friends on board. The unhappy
Son-of-much-evil was invited into the cabin below. There he stepped
into the presence of Rauparaha and Te Pehi's son. The three stared at
each other in silence. Then Te Pehi's son with his fingers pushed open
the lips of the Akaroa chief, saying, "These are the teeth which ate
my father." Forthwith the common people were killed, and the chief and
his wife and daughter bound. Rauparaha landed, fired the village, and
killed all he could catch. Coming on board again, the victors feasted
on the slain, Stewart looking on. Human flesh was cooked in the brig's
coppers. The entrapped chief was put in irons--lent by Stewart. Though
manacled, he signed to his wife, whose hands were free, to kill their
young daughter, a girl whose ominous name was Roimata (Tear-drops).
The woman did so, thus saving the child from a worse fate. Returning
to Cook's Straits, Rauparaha and comrades went on shore. A Sydney
merchant, Mr. Montefiore, came on board the _Elizabeth_ at Kapiti and
saw the chief lying in irons. As these had caused mortification to
set in, Montefiore persuaded Stewart to have them taken off, but the
unhappy captive was still held as a pledge until the flax was paid
over. It was paid over. Then this British sea-captain gave up his
security, who with his wife was tortured and killed, enduring his
torments with the stoicism of a North American Indian. The instrument
of his death was a red-hot ramrod.

The _Elizabeth_, with thirty tons of flax in her hold, sailed to
Sydney. But Stewart's exploit had been a little too outrageous, even
for the South Pacific of those days. He was arrested and tried by
order of Governor Darling, who, it is only fair to say, did his best
to have him hanged. But, incredible as it seems, public sympathy
was on the side of this pander to savages, this pimp to cannibals.
Witnesses were spirited away, and at length the prosecution was
abandoned. Soon after Stewart died at sea off Cape Horn. One authority
says that he dropped dead on the deck of the _Elizabeth_, and that his
carcass, reeking with rum, was pitched overboard without ceremony.
Another writes that he was washed overboard by a breaking sea. Either
way the Akaroa chief had not so easy a death.

Next year, Rauparaha, whose revenge was nothing if not deliberate,
organized a strong attack on Kaiapoi. With complete secrecy he brought
down his men from Cook's Straits, and surprised his enemies peacefully
digging in the potato grounds outside their stockade. A wild rush took
place. Most of the Kaiapois escaped into the _pa_, shut the gate and
repulsed a hasty assault. Others fled southward, and skulking amid
swamps and sand-hills got clear away, and roused their distant
fellow-tribesmen. A strong relieving force was got together, and
marching to the beleaguered _pa_, slipped past Rauparaha and entered
it at night, bending and creeping cautiously through flax and rushes
as they waved in a violent wind. But sorties were repulsed, and the
garrison had to stand on the defensive. Unlike most _pas_, theirs was
well supplied with food and water, and was covered on three sides by
swamps and a lagoon. A gallant attempt made on a dark night to burn
the besiegers' canoes on the sea-beach was foiled by heavy rain. At
last Rauparaha, reaching the stockade by skilful sapping, piled up
brushwood against it, albeit many of his men were shot in the process.
For weeks the wind blew the wrong way for the besiegers and they
could only watch their piles--could not fire them. All the while the
soothsayers in the beleaguered fort perseveringly chanted incantations
and prayed to the wind-god that the breeze might not change. At length
one morning the north-west wind blew so furiously away from the walls
that the besieged boldly set alight to the brushwood from their side.
But the wilder the north-west wind of New Zealand, the more sudden and
complete may be the change to the south-west. Such a shifting came
about, and in a moment the flames enveloped the walls. Shouting in
triumph, Rauparaha's men mustered in array and danced their frenzied
war-dance, leaping high in air, and tossing and catching their muskets
with fierce yells. "The earth," says an eye-witness, "shook beneath
their stamping." Then they charged through the burning breach, and the
defenders fell in heaps or fled before them. The lagoon was black with
the heads of men swimming for life. Through the dense drifting smoke
many reached the swamps and escaped. Hundreds were killed or taken,
and piles of human bones were witnesses many years after to the
massacre and feast which followed the fall of Kaiapoi.

Nearly seventy years have passed since these deeds were done. The
name Kaiapoi belongs to a pretty little country town, noted for its
woollen-mill, about the most flourishing of the colony. Kapiti,
Rauparaha's stronghold, is just being reserved by the Government as an
asylum for certain native birds, which stoats and weasels threaten
to extirpate in the North Island. Over the English grasses which now
cover the hills round Akaroa sheep and cattle roam in peace, and
standing by the green bays of the harbour you will probably hear
nothing louder than a cow-bell, the crack of a whip, or the creaking
wheels of some passing dray. Then it is pleasant to remember that
Rauparaha's son became a missionary amongst the tribes which his
father had harried, and that it is now nearly a generation since Maori
blood was shed in conflict on New Zealand soil.

Chapter VIII


"Under his office treason was no crime;
The sons of Belial had a glorious time."

Between 1830 and 1840, then, New Zealand had drifted into a new phase
of existence. Instead of being an unknown land, peopled by ferocious
cannibals, to whose shores ship-captains gave as wide a berth as
possible, she was now a country with a white element and a constant
trade. Missionaries were labouring, not only along the coasts, but in
many districts of the interior, and, as the decade neared its end, a
large minority of the natives were being brought under the influence
of Christianity. The tribal wars were dying down. Partly, this was a
peace of exhaustion, in some districts of solitude; partly, it was
the outcome of the havoc wrought by the musket, and the growing fear
thereof. Nearly all the tribes had now obtained firearms. A war had
ceased to be an agreeable shooting-party for some one chief with an
unfair advantage over his rivals. A balance of power, or at any
rate an equality of risk, made for peace. But it would be unjust
to overlook the missionaries' share in bringing about comparative
tranquillity. Throughout all the wars of the musket, and the dread
slaughter and confusion they brought about, most of the teachers held
on. They laboured for peace, and at length those to whom they spoke
began to cease to make themselves ready unto the battle. In the worst
of times no missionary's life was taken. The Wesleyans at Whangaroa
did indeed, in 1827, lose all but life. But the sack of their station
was but an instance of the law of _Muru_. Missionaries were then
regarded as Hongi's dependants. When he was wounded they were
plundered, as he himself was more than once when misfortune befel
him. In the wars of Te Waharoa, the mission-stations of Rotorua and
Matamata were stripped, but no blood was shed. The Wesleyans set up
again at Hokianga. Everywhere the teachers were allowed to preach, to
intercede, to protest. At last, in 1838, the extraordinary spectacle
was seen of Rauparaha's son going from Kapiti to the Bay of Islands to
beg that a teacher might come to his father's tribe; and accordingly,
in 1839, Octavius Hadfield, afterwards primate, took his life in his
hand and his post at a spot on the mainland opposite to the elder
Rauparaha's island den of rapine. By 1840 the Maoris, if they had
not beaten their spears into pruning hooks, had more than one old
gun-barrel hung up at the gable-end of a meeting-house to serve when
beaten upon as a gong for church-goers.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Taylor's _New Zealand, Past and Present_.]

By this time there were in the islands perhaps two thousand Whites,
made up of four classes--first, the missionaries; second, the _Pakeha_
Maoris; third, the whalers and sealers chiefly found in the South
Island; and fourth, the traders and nondescripts settled in the Bay
of Islands. Of the last-named beautiful haven it was truly said that
every prospect pleased, that only man was vile, and that he was
very vile indeed. On one of its beaches, Kororareka--now called
Russell--formed a sort of Alsatia. As many as a thousand Whites lived
there at times. On one occasion thirty-five large whaling ships were
counted as they lay off its beach in the bay. The crews of these found
among the rum-shops and Maori houris of Kororareka a veritable South
Sea Island paradise. The Maori chiefs of the neighbourhood shared
their orgies, pandered to their vices, and grew rich thereby. An
occasional murder reminded the Whites that Maori forbearance was

But even Kororareka drew the line. In 1827 a brig, the _Wellington_,
arrived in the bay in the hands of a gang of convicts, who had
preferred the chances of mutiny to the certainties of Norfolk Island.
Forthwith Alsatia was up in arms for society and a triple alliance
of missionaries, whalers, and cannibals combined to intercept the
runaways. The ship's guns of the whalers drove the convicts to take
refuge on shore, where the Maoris promptly secured them. The captives
were duly sent to their fate in Sydney, and the services of the New
Zealanders gratefully requited by a payment at the rate of a musket
per convict.

Alsatia had its civil wars. In 1831 a whaling-captain deserted the
daughter of a chief in the neighbourhood in order to take to himself
another chief's daughter, also of a tribe by the Bay. The tribe of the
deserted woman attacked that of the favoured damsel. A village was
burnt, a benevolent mediator shot, and a hundred lives lost. Only the
arrival on the scene of Marsden, on one of his visits to the country,
restored peace. So outrageous were the scenes in the Bay that its own
people had to organize some sort of government. This took the form of
a vigilance committee, each member of which came to its meetings armed
with musket and cutlass. Their tribunal was, of course, that of Judge
Lynch. They arrested certain of the most unbearable offenders, tarred
and feathered them, and drummed them out of the township. When
feathers were lacking for the decoration, the white fluff of the
native bullrush made a handy substitute. In the absence of a gaol, the
Vigilants were known to keep a culprit in duress by shutting him up
for the night in a sea-chest, ventilated by means of gimlet-holes.

They were not, however, the only representatives of law and order in
New Zealand. The British authorities in New South Wales had all along,
perforce, been keeping their eye on this troublesome archipelago in
the south-east. In 1813 Governor Macquarie made Sydney shipmasters
sailing for the country give bonds for a thousand pounds not to kidnap
Maori men, take the women on board their vessels, or meddle with
burying grounds. In 1814 he appointed the chiefs Hongi and Koro Koro,
and the missionary Kendall, to act as magistrates in the Bay of
Islands. Possibly the two first-named magistrates were thus honoured
to induce them not to eat the third. No other advantage was gained
by the step. A statute was passed in England in 1817 authorizing the
trial and punishment of persons guilty of murder and other crimes in
certain savage and disturbed countries, amongst which were specified
New Zealand, Otaheite, and Honduras. Two others, in 1823 and 1828,
gave the Australian courts jurisdiction over Whites in New Zealand.
One White ruffian was actually arrested in New Zealand, taken back to
Sydney, and executed. But this act of vigour did not come till the end
of 1837. Then the crime punished was not one of the atrocities which
for thirty years had made New Zealand a by-word. The criminal, Edward
Doyle, paid the extreme penalty of the law for stealing in a dwelling
in the Bay of Islands and "putting John Wright in bodily fear."
Governor Bourke issued a special proclamation expressing hope that
Doyle's punishment would be a warning to evil-doers in New Zealand.
Governor Darling, as already mentioned, prohibited the inhuman traffic
in preserved and tattooed heads by attaching thereto a penalty of L40,
coupled with exposure of the trader's name.

In England more than one influential believer in colonies had long
been watching New Zealand. As early as 1825, a company was formed to
purchase land and settle colonists in the North Island. This company's
agent, Captain Herd, went so far as to buy land on the Hokianga
Estuary, and conduct thither a party of settlers. One of the first
experiences of the new-comers was, however, the sight of a native
war-dance, the terrifying effects of which, added to more practical
difficulties, caused most of them to fold their tents and depart to
Australia. Thus for the first time did an English company lose L20,000
in a New Zealand venture. The statesmen of the period were against any
such schemes. A deputation of the Friends of Colonization waited upon
the Duke of Wellington to urge that New Zealand should be acquired and
settled. The Duke, under the advice of the Church Missionary Society,
flatly refused to think of such a thing. It was then that he made the
historically noteworthy observation that, even supposing New Zealand
were as valuable as the deputation made out, Great Britain had already
colonies enough. When one reflects what the British Colonial Empire
was then, and what it has since become, the remark is a memorable
example of the absence of the imaginative quality in statesmen. But
the Duke of Wellington was not by any means alone in a reluctance
to annex New Zealand. In 1831 thirteen Maori chiefs, advised by
missionaries, had petitioned for British protection, which had not
been granted. The truth is, not only that the Empire seemed large
enough to others besides the Duke, but that the missionaries stood
in the way. As representing the most respectable and the only
self-sacrificing element amongst those interested in the islands, they
were listened to. It would have been strange had it been otherwise.
Nevertheless, the growing trade and the increasing number of
unauthorized white settlers made it necessary that something should be
done. Consequently, in 1832, Lord Goderich sent to the Bay of Islands
Mr. James Busby to reside there as British resident. He was paid a
salary, and provided with L200 a year to distribute in presents to the
native chiefs. He entered on his duties in 1833. He had no authority,
and was not backed by any force. He was aptly nicknamed "a man-of-war
without guns." He presented the local chiefs with a national flag.
Stars and stripes appeared in the design which the chiefs selected,
thanks, says tradition, to the sinister suggestion of a Yankee
whaling-skipper. H.M.S. _Alligator_ signalised the hoisting of the
ensign with a salute of twenty-one guns. After this impressive
solemnity, Mr. Busby lived at the bay for six years. His career was a
prolonged burlesque--a farce without laughter, played by a dull
actor in serious earnest. Personally he went through as strange an
experience as has often fallen to the lot of a British official. A man
of genius might possibly have managed the inhabitants of his Alsatia.
But governments have no right to expect genius in unsupported
officials--even when they pay them L300 a year. Mr. Busby was a
well-meaning, small-minded person, anxious to justify his appointment.
His Alsatians did not like him, and complained that his manners were
exclusive and his wit caustic. Probably this meant nothing more than
that he declined to join in their drinking-bouts. His life, however,
had its own excitements. A chief whom he had offended tried to shoot
him. Crouching one night in the verandah of the resident's cottage,
he fired at the shadow of Mr. Busby's head as it appeared on the
window-blind. As he merely hit the shadow, not the substance, the
would-be assassin was not punished, but the better disposed Maoris
gave a piece of land as compensation--not to the injured Busby, but to
his Government.

It has been well said of Mr. Busby that "his office resembled a
didactic dispatch; it sounded well, and it did nothing else."
Nevertheless, New Zealand was in a state such that, from time to time,
even the English Government had to do something, so urgent was the
need for action. After despatching their man-of-war without guns, they
next year sent a man-of-war with guns. Nor did the captain of the
_Alligator_ confine himself to the harmless nonsense of saluting
national flags. In 1834 the brig _Harriet_ was wrecked on the coast of
Taranaki. Her master, Guard, an ex-convict, made his way to Sydney,
asserting that the Maoris had flocked down after the wreck, and
attacked and plundered the crew; had killed some, and held Guard's
wife and children in captivity. As a matter of fact, it was the
misconduct of his own men which had brought on the fighting, and even
to his Sydney hearers it was obvious that his tale was not wholly
true. But the main facts were correct. There had been a wreck and
plunder; there were captives. The _Alligator_ was at once sent with
soldiers to the scene of the disaster to effect the rescue of the
prisoners by friendly and pacific means. Arrived on the scene, the
captain sent his only two interpreters on shore to negotiate. They
were Guard himself and a lying billiard-marker from Kororareka. They
promised the natives ransom--a keg of gunpowder--if the captives were
released; an offer which was at once accepted. They did not tell the
captain of their promise, and he, most unwisely, refused to give the
natives anything. All the captives were at once given up except the
woman and the children, who were withheld, but kindly treated, while
the natives awaited the promised payment. A chief who came down to the
shore to negotiate with a boat's crew was seized, dragged on board,
and so savagely mishandled that the ship's surgeon found ten wounds
upon him. Yet he lived, and to get him back his tribe gave up Mrs.
Guard and a child. The other child was withheld by another chief.
Again a strong armed party was landed and was peacefully met by the
natives, who brought the child down, but still asked, naturally, for
the stipulated ransom. The sailors and soldiers settled the matter by
shooting down a chief, on whose shoulders the child was sitting, and
firing right and left before the officers in charge could stop them.
Next day these men made a football of the chief's head. Before
departing the _Alligator_ bombarded _pas_, and her crew burnt villages
and destroyed canoes and cultivations. If the man-of-war without guns
was a figure of fun, the man-of-war with guns excited disgust by these
doings even as far away as England. The whole proceeding was clumsy,
cruel, and needless. A trifling ransom would have saved it all. The
Maori tribal law under which wrecks were confiscated and castaways
plundered was, of course, intolerable. Whites again and again suffered
severely by it. But blundering and undisciplined violence and broken
promises were not the arguments to employ against it. So long as
England deliberately chose to leave the country in the hands of
barbarians, barbaric customs had to be reckoned with.

From this discreditable business it is a relief to turn to Mr. Busby's
bloodless puerilities. In 1835 he drew up a federal constitution for
the Maori tribes, and induced thirty-five of the northern chiefs
to accept it. This comical scheme would have provided a congress,
legislation, magistrates, and other machinery of civilization for
a race of savages still plunged in bloodshed and cut asunder by
innumerable feuds and tribal divisions. A severe snubbing from Mr.
Busby's official superiors in Australia was the only consequence of

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