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A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827 by Augustus Earle

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sacrificing every one of us. George again remonstrated with us, assuring
us it was his sacred duty to destroy this man, now he was in his
territory; a duty which, he said, he owed to the memory of his murdered
relations, and which must be performed, even though he should sacrifice
his "good English friends." He cautioned us not to stand between him and
his enemy, who must die before the sun set, pointing, at the same time,
to that luminary, and ordering his slaves to kindle a large fire to roast
him on. Finally, he and his friends planted themselves all round the
house to prevent the escape of their victim. Thus were we environed with
fifty or sixty well armed and exasperated savages.

Our imprudence had given us no other alternative than either to give up
the man, who had put himself under our protection, or still to defend him
at the risk of our own lives: we instantly adopted the latter course.
Fortunately for us, a whaler was lying in the harbour, and a party of her
men were then on shore in the neighbourhood procuring water. We had sent
to them to explain the nature of our situation, and we saw them coming to
our assistance, though the numbers of natives at this time assembled
totally precluded all chance of our getting off by force; and a variety
of schemes were suggested as to how we should save the man's life, and
get clear of this difficulty, without sacrificing the good opinion we
were held in by the natives.

We were well aware of the great importance it was to George to continue
on friendly terms with the English vessels touching here, as they not
only afforded him various sources of considerable profit, but the
intercourse gave him great importance in the eyes of his countrymen; and
we determined to make this circumstance a means of saving the man's life,
as we suspected that a threat of removing the seat of trade would soon
make him compromise his revenge for his interest.

We therefore sent him a formal message, that, if he was resolved to kill
his enemy in our house, we had determined not to prevent him, but that we
would not stay to witness such a cruelty; and that we should immediately
remove every thing we possessed on board ship, leave the Bay of Islands,
and seek the protection and shelter of some other chief; and, if he
compelled us to do so, no other British ship would ever be seen at

We accordingly ordered the ship's boats ashore, and our things were
quickly conveyed into them. I trembled when I looked on the natives, and
saw the rage depicted on their countenances; and I, trusting in
Providence to avert from me the dreadful death with which I saw myself
threatened, prepared myself for some fatal catastrophe. Tumultuous
discussions ensued, and it at length became difficult for the elders to
restrain the impetuosity of the younger chiefs. Fortunately for us, their
vehement speeches soon produced a violent feud amongst themselves. Mutual
upbraidings took place: each accused the other of being the cause of
quarrel, and the consequent loss of the white men. This was precisely the
state of things we wished for; and, while we were waiting the return of
the last boat, a messenger came from the elder chiefs, to propose an
amicable adjustment of the affair. The chiefs promised that, if we would
reland our goods and remain with them, the man we protected should go
without molestation on board the brig; but, if we persevered in leaving
them, the man should be killed before our eyes. This was what we
expected; and though I really now wished to leave them, being quite tired
of these perpetual broils, we assented, in order that the man's life
might be spared When they found we agreed to their proposal, they
retreated out of sight, thereby carefully avoiding polluting their eyes
by looking upon their enemy.

No sooner had they disappeared than I visited the poor fellow who had
been the cause of all this disturbance: he seemed half dead with anxiety;
but I soon revived him with the information that all was settled
amicably; and we lost no time in getting him off, which we safely
accomplished, though, as the boat which conveyed him left the shore, a
bullet whizzed close by me, aimed, no doubt, by some young fiery chief,
who had concealed himself in the bushes for that purpose.

During this transaction I witnessed the natural kindness of heart and
disinterested tenderness of the female sex: no matter how distressing the
circumstance or appalling the danger, they are, in all countries, the
last to forsake man. While the enraged chiefs were yelling outside our
house, and all our exertions could scarcely prevent them from making a
forcible entry, all the women were sitting with, and trying to comfort
the unhappy cause of this calamity. They had cooked for him a delicate
dinner, brought him fruit, and were using every means by which they could
keep up his spirits and buoy up his hopes, confidently assuring him the
white men would not yield him up to his ferocious foes. Notwithstanding
all their exertions, he was miserable, till informed by me of his safety;
and I received the warmest thanks, and even blessings, from his "fair"
friends, as if I had conferred upon each a personal favour.

The man being now in safety, we determined to demand satisfaction for the
affront which had been put upon us, and we sent George word we could not
again receive him into our house unless he made an ample apology for his
behaviour, painting in strong colours how deeply our feelings had been
wounded, and how much this indignity had lowered us in the esteem of all
our acquaintances.

After some consultation among their leading men upon the subject of our
message, King George presented himself at the door of our hut, and, in
the most humble manner, surrendered his musket; and shortly after his
brother Kiney Kiney did the same. Thus we gained our point, and received
both payment and apologies for their violent behaviour. Friendship being
thus restored, we soon gave them back their muskets, to their infinite
surprise and satisfaction.

On reflection, I felt quite convinced that the natives liked us the
better for what we had done: it afforded them also a lesson of humanity,
for they all well knew we had no other object in view when we stood
forward to defend the poor fellow, who had relied upon our promise of
protecting him. Several chiefs told us that they greatly admired our
principles, and should always feel themselves quite safe with men like
us, who would risk their own lives rather than break their word, or
desert a friend in the hour of danger.

At the close of this eventful day we received another token of peace,
which was in its manner simple and affecting, and not such as could have
been expected from a nation of savages. A procession of young girls
approached our door, each bearing a basket: some were filled with nicely
cooked potatoes, others with various fruits and flowers, which they set
down before us, chanting, in a low voice, a song in praise of our recent
exploit; a man bearing a very large fish closed the procession; he
repeated the song also. We were informed that these presents had been
sent by King George as a ratification of friendship, for the New
Zealanders never think a reconciliation perfected till you have again
eaten and drank with them.

Two important conclusions may be drawn from the termination of this
affair: first, that if a spirited interference takes place on the part of
the Europeans, murder may be at times prevented, as we actually rescued
a mortal foe from the vengeance of an exasperated enemy; and, secondly,
their efforts to restore amity proves their extreme desire to have white
people settle amongst them.

About a week after this event we witnessed a most extraordinary ceremony,
which partook more of the ludicrous than the horrible, though I have no
doubt it was regarded by the natives as a most solemn affair. For some
days we had been honoured by the presence of a great priest, or one of
their chief tabooers; he came for the purpose of discussing with the
chiefs the affairs of the nation, particularly the approaching war with
the tribe of the Thames; and the day set apart for the discussion of the
principal points was ushered in by a rich feast, not of pork nor fish,
nor even the kumara, but of two old, sturdy, large dogs!

I was much surprised on rising one morning to see Kiney Kiney, with
several chiefs of the highest rank, stripped, and performing the offices
of the meanest slave (the washing the feet of the pilgrims by cardinals
and persons of rank in Rome came instantly to my remembrance). These
chiefs were making a fire and cooking. I was still more astonished, on
approaching them, to find the nature of the food they were singeing and
scraping. This bow-wow meat they were preparing after the fashion of
pork: pigs being the only quadruped they have ever seen cooked, they of
course are not acquainted with any other way of dressing the animal
creation, and a sad bungling job they made of it; for the dogs were old
and tough, and the hair adhered most pertinaciously to the skin, and in
many places would not come off.

There were only five persons allowed to partake of this delicious meal,
which was, as well as the five partakers, strictly taboo'd for the whole
of that day: and we strongly recommended them to hold a similar feast
every day, until they had cleared the country of these canine nuisances,
the dogs being the greatest pests they have.



One morning I was roused out of a sound sleep by continued discharges of
musketry from a number of war canoes. I jumped up instantly in alarm; but
I soon discovered them to be Atoi and his party, who had been absent
about two months on a war-like expedition to the Thames, and they were now
returning successful.

I had witnessed the departure of this expedition, and considered it in
the light of a reconnoitring party. I could not make out what the real
object was they had been in search of; but, wherever they had been, they
had been victorious, for they now returned with quantities of plunder,
human heads, human flesh, and many prisoners! After the dance and sham
fight had been duly gone through, they proceeded to land their cargo of
spoil. First came a group of miserable creatures, women and children,
torn by violence from their native homes, henceforth to be the slaves of
their conquerors; some were miserably wounded and lacerated, others
looked half-starved, but all seemed wretched and dejected.

The women of Kororarika, with their usual humanity, instantly surrounded
them, and endeavoured to console them, and then shed abundance of tears
over them. I enquired of one of the warriors what they had done with the
male prisoners: he coolly replied, they had all been eaten, except some
"titbits," which had been packed up in the baskets and brought on shore,
in order to regale particular friends and favourites!

They had also brought with them several heads, which they have the art of
preparing in their native ovens, so as not to disfigure the countenance
nor injure the figure tatoo'd upon them. One of these, the skull of a
distinguished chief, seemed to afford them amazing delight. Most of our
people had known him well, and several of his near relations were
present: but cruel war seemed to have eradicated every feeling of
humanity; for all appeared to contemplate this ghastly object with great
satisfaction. These heads were decorated profusely with yellow and red
ribbons, and with white feathers: they were then stuck upon short poles,
and placed, with great ceremony, in front of the old Queen Turero's
house; who, sitting at the door, received this token of respect with
approval and condescension.

The group altogether formed an interesting picture of savage manners, in
which ferocity was strongly blended with humanity, for their respect and
devotion to the old sybil was manifested as feelingly as their hatred
towards those whom they call their enemies: in fact, the young warrior
chiefs presenting to her (as was the case with several) their first
spoils of conquest, reminded me of young lions bringing part of the
spoils of the chase to their aged dam.

In this affray only a few of Atoi's party had been wounded, and
twenty-five of the enemy had been killed. It was a fortunate circumstance
for the wretched prisoners that none of the conquering party had been
killed; for, if that had been the case, there would have been a dreadful
slaughter of the captives on their arrival at the village, an act of
cruelty never dispensed with. This sight I dreaded I should encounter
when I went to witness the disembarkation; but, hoping that my presence
might be some restraint upon their barbarities, I awaited the result with
as much firmness as I was master of.

[Illustration: Old Pa and Whalers at Bay of Islands.]



Two South Sea whalers were at this time lying in the bay: the Anne, from
London, a full ship; and the Lynx, from Sydney. Since I have been living
here, five vessels of this description have visited us; and many others
would have touched here but for the want of proper regulations, and a
dread of the dispositions of the natives. There being here no
representatives of the British Government, the crews of whalers are often
involved in disputes with the natives. This want of Government support
has also frightened other vessels away; their commanders preferring going
on to Port Jackson, where they half ruin themselves by the unavoidable
expenses they incur. Even when their vessels have anchored here, the
thoughtlessness and eccentricity of this class of men, when they are
under no restraint or control, has sometimes not only led to disputes
with the natives, but with each other, which eventually have proved
equally detrimental. In short, New Zealand is a place of such vast
importance to so many lucrative branches of British trade, that it must
be well worthy the speedy attention of our Government at home.

We spoke frequently to our friend George, as well as to several other of
their powerful chiefs, respecting the erection of a small fort with a
British garrison, and of permanently hoisting the English flag. They
always expressed the utmost delight at the idea; and, from all I have
seen of them, I feel convinced it would prove a most politic measure.
George (who had visited Port Jackson) said: "This country is finer than
Port Jackson; yet the English go and settle there. Our people are much
better than the black natives of New South Wales, and yet you English
live amongst them in preference to us."

The ship Anne, Captain Gray, was out three years, and during that period
she never entered a civilised port. She had touched twice at this bay,
and had cruised four months on the coast of Japan, off Timor, through the
Sandwich and Friendly Islands, and passed several times over the Pacific
Ocean, in order to obtain a cargo of sperm oil, which she at length
accomplished; and was at this time here to refit for her voyage home to
England round Cape Horn, having picked up most of her cargo off this

For twelve years past, notwithstanding all the disadvantages, this has
been the favourite resort for ships in the above-mentioned trade. Here,
surrounded with savages and cannibals, they heave down their vessels,
land the cargoes and stores, and carry on work, both on board and on
shore, in tolerable security. The safety of the harbour, the facility of
wooding and watering, the supplies of pigs and potatoes, tempt them to
run the risk of placing themselves in the power of capricious and
barbarous people.

It has been imagined that the residence of missionaries would have the
effect of civilising the natives, and adding to the safety of ships
touching here; but experience fully proves the fallacy of such an
expectation. These people, abstracted by their own gloomy reflections,
look with contempt on all who are in the pursuit of "worldly wealth"; and
regard the arrival of a whaler as an enemy coming to interfere with the
spiritual interests of "their flock," as they term the inhabitants,
though I never yet saw one proselyte of their converting.

They never visit a whaler except on a Sunday, and then it is to beg for
the benefit of their society. It cannot, therefore, be expected that much
sympathy can exist between parties, where the cold formality of one
excites the contempt and disgust of the other.

The ship Anne, of which I have formerly spoken, arrived here lately from
Wahoo, one of the Sandwich Islands, which possesses the advantage of a
British consul. The pacific disposition and orderly government of the
natives do not require a British garrison, or any war-like force; and of
the excellent effects produced by this representation of our Government
Captain Gray speaks with admiration and enthusiasm. The harbours were
crowded with shipping; houses, nay, even streets, were beginning to
appear; the savage character of the people was gradually subsiding into
industrious and peaceful occupations; and comfort and prosperity were
spreading their benign influence over the whole island: yet Wahoo is not
nearly so well situated as a rendezvous for South Sea whalers as New
Zealand; at least so I have been informed by all the captains of those
ships who have conversed with me on the subject.

It is rather a remarkable and novel circumstance that the natives, who
have been now for fourteen or fifteen years in close intercourse and
carrying on traffic with Europeans, should not, in the course of that
period, understand the nature and value of money; a laughable instance of
which occurred to us a few days since. A native came to our house with a
serious countenance and business-like manner, and said he wished to
purchase a musket: we asked to see what he had brought in exchange for
one, when, with great ceremony, he produced a copper penny piece in the
way of payment. The poor fellow had, doubtless, seen some one pass a
doubloon, and had mistaken his penny for one; as a doubloon is about the
price given for a musket in our regulated list of charges. We, of course,
refrained from laughter; but he was quite astonished and mortified when
he was made to understand we could not trade with him. He took a stroll
round the beach, offering his penny, by way of barter, to every white man
he met, but everywhere with equally bad success.



When our brig left Tucopea she brought away two natives of that island,
who had most earnestly entreated the captain to take them off, and leave
them upon any other land he pleased, as, according to their statement,
Tucopea was so overstocked with inhabitants that it was scarcely possible
to find subsistence; and the scarcity of food had become so general, that
parents destroyed their children rather than witness their sufferings
from famine. Captain Kent, therefore, from motives of compassion,
received them on board his ship; and, not having touched at any inhabited
spot, brought them with him here. Their extraordinary appearance excited
a great deal of surprise, both among Europeans and New Zealanders. They
appeared simple, timid creatures, though stout and comely, but their hair
was unlike anything I had before beheld, as in length it reached below
the waist, and was so abundantly thick as completely to conceal their
faces. By some curious chemical process which the natives of Tucopea have
discovered, they render their hair a bright sulphur colour; and, as this
mass of yellow hangs over their faces and shoulders, they bear the most
striking resemblance to the lion monkeys of the Brazils.

These poor creatures, upon landing, shook with fear, and trembled greatly
when they beheld the New Zealanders, whose character for cannibalism had
reached even their remote island: when our friend George went up to them,
and lifted up (in order to examine closely) the curious mass of hair in
which they were enveloped, they burst into a passionate fit of tears, and
ran up to us for protection. The New Zealanders, with characteristic
cunning, perceiving the horror they had created, tormented them still
more cruelly, by making grotesque signs, as if they were about to
commence devouring them; and, at the same time (like most savages),
evincing the most sovereign contempt for them, from their apparent

After they had been some days on shore, we had a very diverting scene
with them, which exhibited strongly the great difference there is in the
nature of the two classes of savages we now had such opportunities of
observing. I had brought my violin from Sydney, on which I used to play
occasionally. The New Zealanders generally expressed the greatest dislike
to it; and my companions used to rally me much on the subject, saying it
was not that the savages did not like music, but it was my discordant
playing that frightened them away, which might be true. It was, however,
a useful discovery for us all, as I often took that method of civilly
driving them out of our house when we grew tired of their company. But
when I began to play before the Tucopeans, the effect it had instantly
upon them was ludicrous in the extreme. They sprang up, and began dancing
most furiously; at the same time, so waving their heads about as to keep
their long hair extended at its fullest length: as I played faster, they
quickened their pace. A lively Scotch reel seemed to render them nearly
frantic; and when I ceased playing, they threw themselves down on the
floor quite exhausted, and unable to articulate a word. I have observed
(generally speaking) that savages are not much affected by music; but
these two Tucopeans were excited to a most extraordinary degree.



We at length received authentic intelligence of the death of the
celebrated Hongi. Finding his dissolution fast approaching, he convened a
meeting of all the neighbouring chiefs; and as many as could reach the
spot in time attended. The wounded warrior expired, surrounded by the men
he had so frequently led to battle and conquest. After the numerous and
desperate risks he had run, the many encounters he had sustained with
various enemies, it appeared extraordinary to us Europeans that he should
die quietly in his hut. It is the custom to keep a guarded and mysterious
silence relating to the subjects which are spoken of by a dying chief. I
questioned several who had attended Hongi: all spoke with the greatest
solemnity of his last moments. One sentence (uttered by him) was all I
could obtain after much manoeuvring, and that was spoken but a few
minutes before he breathed his last, which was, that "Shulitea (viz., our
friend George) would not live one week longer than himself"; but, as our
patron was in perfect health at the time, and all seemed peaceful around
him, I only laughed at the improbability of the prophecy being fulfilled.

The natives of New Zealand pay the greatest respect to courage and
war-like talents: these were the only distinguishing characteristics of
Hongi; yet, by possessing these, he was more feared, and had a greater
number of followers, than any other chief in the island. His hereditary
possessions were but small, and his name was little known; yet his
undaunted courage, his skill, and success in many sanguinary battles,
made him, at length, a most powerful chief, and obtained for him that
which is considered wealth in this country, namely, an immense number of
slaves. In his last moments he was attended by more men of rank than had
ever before assembled to witness the dissolution of a warrior, and this
is considered the greatest proof of attention and respect one chieftain
can show towards another.



Our brig now sailed for Hokianga to take in a cargo of planks; and my
friend, Mr. Shand, being tired of wandering, accompanied her; but I,
being still anxious to procure more sketches of this interesting country,
determined to remain as long as possible, and to take one more walk
across the island, and join the brig by the time she was loaded. I was
preparing to start on my last pedestrian tour, when a chain of events
occurred which threw all the tribes into confusion. Bloodshed and
devastation stared me in the face from all quarters; and from the state
of security I had imagined myself to be in, I was roused to behold myself
beset with difficulties; to crown which, our brig, which would have been
a place of safety and refuge, was now on the opposite side of the island.

Arising from a trifling circumstance, which was partly caused by us,
though innocently, Pomare's only son had lost his life; and, as is usual
among savage tribes, the severest retaliation soon took place.

By relating the particulars, the reader will perceive how easily the
war-cry is raised among these turbulent savages.

Pomare's only surviving son. Tiki, was a very finely-formed, handsome
young man, of twenty years of age, and he had made an arrangement with a
captain of a ship here to supply him with a certain number of hogs.
Accordingly, accompanied by a party of his friends, he started into the
interior for the purpose of collecting them. In making his selection, he
not only proceeded to drive off some of his own, but actually laid claim
to, and began marching away with, some belonging to his neighbours. The
right owners remonstrated with him in vain. He, being an insolent,
over-bearing young fellow, persisted in his unjust claims, and set them
all at defiance. They were compelled to yield up their property, as his
tribe was a most powerful one; and Tiki was driving away the stolen hogs
in triumph, when a sudden stop was put to his predatory career. Finding
words were of no avail to induce the young man to restore the swine, one
of the injured party had recourse to a musket. A bullet, aimed from
behind a tree, killed Tiki on the spot; but from whose hand it came could
only be conjectured. The greatest confusion instantly took place. His
companions, being well armed, the war-cry was immediately raised; and the
fray becoming general, seven more lives were lost.

When the account of this melancholy affair reached our beach, everyone
flew to arms, even all the women, for the young man was a general
favourite. The war-cry spread in every direction. "Here," they exclaimed,
"is the last of the Pomare family killed treacherously, a warrior related
to and connected with every chief of consequence in the country, and a
nephew of the great Shulitea." The cry for blood and revenge was
universal. I must confess that, added to the danger it placed me in, I
was much shocked when I heard of the fate of poor Tiki, for he was one of
our particular friends, and had passed many an evening in our hut. I had
taken leave of him only the day before, when he had set out, full of
health and spirits, on this hog expedition, which had terminated thus

The death of this young man excited the highest indignation in the minds
of his countrymen, as well as in those of his numerous intimate friends
and relations; for a report was industriously circulated that he had
fallen by the hands of a slave. This was considered by his tribe as a
degradation infinitely worse than the murder itself. The offended chiefs
assembled on our beach, with all their followers, armed: and none
appeared more indignant at the transaction than our friend George, who,
with his brother Kiney Kiney, placed themselves at the head of the party,
to revenge the insult which had been offered them.

The night before they started on this expedition, George spent the
evening with us. He was in particularly low spirits, and said he did not
at all like the business he was going upon: but, as he was the nearest
relation of the deceased, and the eldest of the tribe, he went in hopes
of being able to prevent a great effusion of blood, and also to restrain
the impetuosity of the young men. Little did we then think he would be
the first victim; although his unusual depression of mind brought to my
remembrance the prophecy of Hongi, and, spite of my endeavours to banish
my forebodings, I felt convinced that the prediction would in all
probability be fulfilled.

Three days had elapsed from the time the avenging party had gone on their
mission, when, at midnight, a messenger, faint and nearly exhausted,
arrived on our beach with the following dreadful intelligence; and that
night no other sounds were heard than those of agony and woe, the yelling
of women, and the shrieks of slaves.

The substance of the man's information was, that George and the offending
party had met; but, as several days had passed since the murder of their
friend, their feelings were in some degree appeased, and they had
contented themselves with a general plunder of whatever property their
enemies possessed. They had spared their lives, and the outrage was
considered as atoned for. The chiefs were on their return home, laden
with spoil, when, like other coalesced armies, disagreements began to
take place among themselves, and discord long smothered, broke out in
every quarter of the camp.

George, the principal person of their party, was the one marked to be
dissatisfied with. All were jealous of him, in consequence of his
possessions at Kororarika giving him such a decided advantage over every
other tribe, by his trade and intercourse with Europeans. It is probable,
also, that as the other tribes went forth with an intention to fight,
they were resolved not to be disappointed, and therefore determined to
create a feud among themselves, rather than return home devoid of the
pleasures or the trophies of a combat.

Some irritating language had been uttered by both sides, when an accident
of a fatal nature took place, which produced an instantaneous and general
appeal to arms. At the close of the day a halt was made, as usual, and
each party began erecting their temporary huts to pass the night in. One
of George's wives, assisted by a little boy, his nephew, was busily
engaged in constructing one; arms and baggage of every description being
strewed about in all directions. At this period a lad took up one of
George's muskets, and began to play with it; but not understanding the
management of it, he, by his injudicious handling, accidentally
discharged the piece, and killed both the wife and nephew, the ball
passing through both their bodies.

The sensation produced by this unfortunate accident may readily be
conceived. As the woman who was killed was related to the tribe who had
been disputing with George all day, her death furnished an ostensible
motive for open war; and before the real cause of the accident could be
explained, another shot was fired, which wounded a chief of the name of
Moo-de-wy in the thigh. This proved the signal for a general fight: each
party ran to their arms, ranged themselves under their different leaders,
and a general discharge of muskets immediately took place.

Almost at the beginning of the combat George received a shot, which broke
both his legs: his brother and friends endeavoured to support him in
their arms. It being then nearly dark, added much to the confusion, as it
was difficult to distinguish friend from foe; indeed, so sudden had been
the onset, that many could scarcely have been aware of the cause of the
contest. But our unhappy friend, who seemed particularly marked out in
this unfortunate affray, soon after received another bullet, which struck
him on the throat, and terminated his existence; thus dying before a week
had passed since the death of his rival Hongi. I heard from one of his
friends who supported him in his last moments, that he died like a hero:
finding both his legs were broken, and that consequently he was totally
unable to move, he begged those friends who were about him to leave him
to his fate, and either again enter the fight, or make their escape
while they yet had time. He then gave his musket to one, took off his
mantle to present to another, and while thus in the act of exhorting his
friends and distributing amongst them his tokens of regard, he received
his death-wound, and expired without a groan. When George fell, a general
flight took place; and though the engagement had lasted but a short time,
great numbers had fallen on both sides.



This news caused mourning and lamentation along our beach, and filled all
the Europeans with dismay. We could not calculate the extent of the
injury we might receive, but felt certain we should be considerable
sufferers in some way or other. The light of day seemed to add to, rather
than to diminish, the moans of George's faithful subjects. The violent
sobbings from every dwelling were most dismal. Groups were scattered
about, forming small crying parties, and cutting their skins deeply with
knives and pieces of broken glass; in short, nothing was heard but
yelling and groaning, and nothing was seen but streams of blood!

But however shocked I might feel by the train of accidents and deaths
which had made such cruel havoc amongst my friends, and notwithstanding
my sincere grief and regret for the fate of poor George, who was a most
humane and intelligent chief, and particularly kind to all the English;
the predicament in which I was now placed demanded all my energies, for I
felt that I stood in a situation of great danger.

I have before noticed their barbarous custom, on the death of a chief, of
plundering his family and friends. As we had always been considered as a
part of George's family, living under his protection, adopted by him,
and admitted into his tribe, I entertained great suspicions that we also
should be sufferers by the general plunder about to take place: besides,
I was so circumstanced as to be obliged to cross the country with all my
goods, and my route lay through the territories of all those chiefs who
had been fighting against George; and I was at no loss to guess in what
light they would regard me. Depending, too securely, on the general
tranquility, I had not sent my luggage by sea, as I might have done, and
which would have saved me great anxiety, as I should have ventured alone
without fear, but could not manage to carry what I possessed; and to
engage any to convey them was an impossibility, for the moment I made the
proposition to any (even the meanest of the slaves) to accompany me, they
ran off into the bush, nor could any entreaty, presents, or threats
induce them to venture with me; so, for security, I removed all the
property I had, and went with it on board the Marianne, whaler.

For three days after the death of George, all gave themselves up to
grief; no work was done, and not an individual was to be seen but in an
agony of tears. I began to feel strangely affected with melancholy
myself, when, on the fourth morning, a scene of bustle took place, and
low spirits were banished by tumult, noise, and confusion.

At six o'clock on that morning we discovered upwards of twenty sail of
war canoes, crowded with armed warriors, coming into the bay. What their
intentions were we could not imagine; but for fear of the worst, the
ships in the harbour shotted their guns, and when the canoes were abreast
of us, we fired a blank one over their heads. On this they all stopped,
and we saw some stir amongst them: at length a very small canoe left the
main body, and pulled directly towards us; it contained the chief persons
of the expedition: they came on board, and assured us they meant no harm
to any persons; they were merely some of the late George's friends, who
were going to pay a visit of condolence to his relations; and, after
making a most hearty breakfast with us, they went on shore, and we
accompanied them.

Whether the account they gave of themselves was correct, or the reverse,
we knew not at the time; but we felt assured their intentions were not
hostile towards us Europeans, and their quarrels with each other we were
determined not to interfere in. We soon discovered their falsehood, for
George's eldest daughter informed me that amongst the chiefs who landed
with us were several of the most inveterate foes of her father, and that
they were only restrained from committing the most dreadful outrages, and
carrying off all her relations as slaves, by witnessing the many friends
of George by whom they were surrounded. The day was spent in savage
dancing, yelling, making speeches, and debating as to who the proper
person was to succeed George in his dignities: several times I thought
the affair would end in blows. George's relation, Rivers, made great
exertions "to keep the peace," and finally, by force of argument,
succeeded. It was at length unanimously agreed that Kiney Kiney was to
succeed his brother, and that Rivers should take the command until the
time of Kiney Kiney's mourning for the loss of George should be



After these important matters were amicably disposed of, I made a sign to
Rivers, and, separating him from the crowd, I explained to him the nature
of my situation, and asked his assistance in getting me safely over to
Hokianga. He replied, there would certainly be great danger in attempting
it; but I soon discovered that he magnified the difficulties in order to
increase his demand for payment, for even the greatest chiefs have here
their price. He said (and I had every reason to think he was correct)
that I ran no risk of being molested by any chiefs, like himself, who
would always protect rather than molest every European; but that the
country being in such a state of commotion, in consequence of the late
events, it was full of runaway slaves, who always took advantage of such
times to make their escape; and if I chanced to fall in with any of them,
I should be exposed to great peril: "However (he added), keep up your
spirits; I have two confidential slaves, who shall conduct you over, and
carry your luggage, if you will make me a present of a stocking full of
powder, a bag of small shot, and a powder-horn." He also proposed, as he
himself was going to the Kirikiri, and thence to a village in the
interior, to meet a large assemblage of chiefs, in order to talk over the
late tragical events, that I should journey the first part of my way
with him, in his own canoe.

Accordingly, after having made preparations for my departure, I took
leave of all my friends at the Bay of Islands, both civilised and savage.
I must say I felt considerable regret when I found myself really going to
take final leave of several native families, with whom I had been on
terms of intimacy since my residence here, from whom I had received many
proofs of personal regard, and whom, I felt convinced, I should never
meet or hear of more; none I regretted parting with more than the family
of poor Shulitea; the mere sight of me seemed to rekindle all their grief
for the loss of their kinsman, and to remind them more forcibly than ever
of his tragical fate. His mother, old Turero, in point of grief, had
rivalled Niobe; she had never ceased weeping and lamenting from the time
she heard of her son's death, and had twice attempted to strangle
herself. But even in the midst of her passionate sorrow, I could scarcely
refrain from laughing, while observing her care and anxiety to get all
she could from me. After deploring the sad fate of her dear son, "You
know," she continued, "you promised him that you would send him a
handsome new musket from Sydney; and now, poor fellow, he is dead; and
cannot shoot with it; but then you must remember that his brother Kiney
Kiney is still alive, and he can shoot with it; and poor George would
wish that his brother should have his new musket." This speech I felt
quite irresistible; therefore, in order to comfort the old queen, I
promised that I would send the musket for her second son; which
declaration seemed to afford her great consolation, and considerably
abated the violence of her grief.

Just at the dawn of morning we started from the bay in Rivers' canoe,
accompanied by his wife, one child, and the two stout slaves he had
mentioned to me. My luggage, which consisted of one leathern portmanteau
and my bed, was placed in the centre. I had also provided myself with a
small basket of cooked meat, with bread, and a small bottle of brandy,
which was given me by the captain of one of the whalers. The day broke
around us with more than usual brightness; the dewy mists of night were
just rising from the waters, and the huge and abrupt forms of the
mountains were beginning to develop themselves; flights of wild ducks and
stray birds skimmed rapidly by us. The thoughts that crowded my mind were
strange and varied, while contemplating scenes of such tranquil beauty as
were now presented, glowing with the tints of the rising sun. I
contrasted these with the difficulties and dangers I might have to
encounter from hordes of ferocious savages, who, now flushed with
conquest, were plotting murder and destruction against each other: even a
glance at my companions banished all peaceful illusions. While the wife,
son, and slaves were using the paddles with the greatest exertions,
Rivers was carefully examining his weapons. The beauty of the morning and
the romantic scenery was unnoticed: his thoughts were directed solely to
contemplating the depth and the width of my stocking of powder, which
seemed to afford him infinite satisfaction. He had with him a beautiful
double-barrelled gun, and a very good Tower musket; and seeing so many
wild ducks fly past, he drew the bullet out of one of the barrels of the
former, and, with some of my stock of small shot, fired occasionally
amongst them.

At about eight o'clock a light sea breeze sprang up: they then set their
sail, and all went to sleep, excepting one slave, who was employed to
steer the canoe; so that I had ample time to ruminate upon my solitary
and perilous situation. The tide failed us at twelve o'clock, and we then
went on shore, kindled a fire, and soon collected such a supply of
shell-fish as furnished us a splendid repast. Here we remained till the
flood-tide set in strong, when, again hoisting our sail, we arrived at
the Kirikiri about sunset.

I here found the missionaries in the greatest consternation and dismay,
and learned that it was one of the chiefs of Hokianga who had shot
George, and they dreaded lest the result of that deed should be that the
whole of the savage tribes on that part of the island would be opposed to
each other; that combats would ensue; and which side soever might be
victorious, it would prove equally injurious to them, as they had
settlements on both sides of the island. But their greatest alarm was
occasioned by their possessions at Hokianga, as the most violent
depredations were there being committed; and as this was the very point
of my destination, the news was not very consolatory to me. "So anxious,"
said one of "the brethren" to me, "were we to inform our Christian
brethren of our danger, that we actually gave a _warm piece_ to a native
to carry a letter over to you, although that is strictly contrary to our
orders." I expressed a desire to know what he meant by a _warm piece_; he
kicked his foot against the stock of a gun I had at the time in my hand;
and, looking at me with an expression of the greatest contempt, said, "It
is what _you worldly_ folks call a musket!"

They were making considerable preparations to repair to the great meeting
of the chiefs, to which Rivers was journeying. This was a wise and
politic measure for them to pursue; and they were highly delighted to
have such an addition to their party as this well-known chief; and though
they would not acknowledge it, their satisfaction was very visible. I
earnestly requested them to inform me candidly, from all they had heard,
whether they thought I might, with safety, venture across the country;
but I could get nothing from them but vague and mysterious answers: one
thing, however, they made me very clearly understand; which was, that
they neither cared for me nor for my drawings; that their own safety
engrossed all their thoughts; and that a worldly-minded, misguided
creature like me was but as dust in the balance, compared to such godly
people as themselves, who were now placed in jeopardy. They, without
scruple, applied quotations from the Scriptures to themselves, such as,
"Why do the heathen so furiously rage," etc., etc.

My necessities compelled me to request a favour from them, which was,
that they would allow one of their boys, who could speak English, to
accompany me, as our loads were heavy; and his being known to belong to
their establishment I thought might be some protection; but the short
answer of the monosyllable "_No_" soon made me repent having asked it. I
spread my bed in one of their empty rooms; and started at daybreak next
morning, with my two native slaves. I could not banish from my
remembrance the inhospitable conduct of these missionaries; they never
even inquired whether I had any provision for a journey they themselves
would not have dared to undertake, which was evident by their giving a
native a _warm piece_ for merely taking a letter for them. As my shoes
were nearly worn out, and I had a long distance to go, over execrable
roads, I had intended asking them for a new pair, as they had abundance
of everything of the kind sent to them from England, to distribute to the
needy (and I fully came under that description of character); but finding
them so selfish and cold-hearted, and meeting with one refusal, I
refrained, and set off, literally almost barefooted.



We journeyed on all day by a road I had never been before, my attendants
evidently taking by-paths to avoid meeting stragglers or runaways. I was
well laden, having to carry my musket and my basket of provisions; and
each of my men, in addition to the loads I had placed on his shoulders,
bore a basket of potatoes. Once or twice, during our route, we saw some
persons at a distance, and I was sorry to notice the great alarm it
occasioned to my companions, as I now had every reason to apprehend,
that, in case of danger, they would slip off their burdens, make their
escape, and leave me and my baggage to my fate, which the missionaries
had told me they considered a thing very likely to happen. Once we heard
a great firing of muskets, which I afterwards ascertained to be the _feu
de joie_ fired at the first meeting of the chiefs, at their grand
assembling in the neutral village.

At night, we arrived safe at Patuone's Village, where I had slept on my
first journey across the island; but it now presented a very different
appearance to what it had done then; instead of the tumult I had formerly
heard, all was silence; the numerous families then there, all fully
occupied, were exchanged for a few old surly-looking slaves, and the
huts were all deserted. The inhabitants, in consequence of the rumour of
approaching war, having betaken themselves to one of their fortified pas,
I had no alternative but to pass the night with these suspicious-looking
creatures, who, feeling themselves beyond the control of their cruel
masters, soon gave way to their own vile passions, and became most
impertinent and intrusive--taking every advantage of my loneliness to
indulge their curiosity and familiarity.

On my arrival, I had deposited my things in one of the empty huts, and
spread my bed, hoping to enjoy the luxury of a few hours' repose after
the fatigue and great anxieties of the day; but these fellows would force
themselves into the hut I had chosen, where they lighted a fire, and sat
chattering around it all the night long. Finding that I did not appear
alarmed at their intrusion or noise, they kept doing everything they
could think of to rouse my fears. They threatened to break open my
portmanteau; and one old wretch sharpened his knife, and made motions as
though he were going to cut my throat and eat me. I knew my only chance
of safety was not to betray any sign of apprehension; so I forced a
laugh, and made them believe I considered their tricks an excellent joke.
I gave them all my tobacco to keep them in good humour; but I passed a
most miserable night, nearly suffocated with smoke, distracted with their
noise, and annoyed by vermin of every description.

I was most happy when daybreak gave me an excuse for leaving these brutal
savages, and resuming my journey. Every step I took brought before me
proofs of the horrors of war: villages which had been crowded, were now
entirely desolate, and, in many instances, burned to the ground. On that
spot where I had left a party of enterprising Scotchmen busily employed
in sawing timber, with crowds of natives assisting them, all was quiet
and totally deserted, with the exception of a few nearly starved,
wretched-looking dogs, who, hearing someone approach, came out, and tried
to bark at us, but were too weak to utter a sound.



Our march along the banks of the river was through a most beautiful
country; but all the inhabitants had fled; their plantations were in a
most luxuriant state; fields which I had left bare and uncultivated were
now covered with Indian corn standing higher than my head, the ripe ears
hanging fantastically in all directions, and none to gather in the
harvest; the crops of kumara and potatoes were equally abundant. I could
not help thinking that, if they expected an invasion of their enemies,
they had left an ample supply of forage for their use. In the evening I
arrived at Horeke, or Deptford Dock-yard (of which I made mention in my
first journey). I here found my countrymen in a state of considerable
embarrassment. The various chiefs of that district had encamped all round
them; so near to them had they taken up their position, that, whatever
might be the result of their battles, the European settlement would be in
danger. The settlers had fortified their place of refuge in the best
manner they could; and all were determined to defend themselves and
property to the last. They had four nine-pounders mounted on a hill, and
a tolerable battery made of three-inch pine stuff.

Before the English erected their fortifications, there was a great
difference of opinion amongst them as to the propriety and utility of
adopting so strong a measure, and the affair was finally put to the vote,
when the majority proved to be in favour of a strong resistance. I
opposed the measure all I could, for I felt convinced that in the event
of our allies being worsted we all should be involved in one common
massacre; whereas, if no resistance was made, plunder alone would have
been the extent of the injury we should suffer; and even of that taking
place I had strong doubts. However, as my opinion was overruled, I had to
submit, which I did unhesitatingly; and, like a good soldier, I held
myself in readiness in case of an attack.

The proprietor and manager of the Dock-yard possessed certainly a
"satisfying reason" for striving to defend himself at all hazards. The
vessel I had left here, on my former visit, in frame, was now nearly
completed, and a most beautiful one she was. He told me he would much
rather part with life than see her destroyed; and I confess I could fully
enter into his feelings on the subject; but as I had no such object at
stake, and was not quite enthusiastic enough to fight for a vessel I had
no share in, I felt very much inclined to let the natives war among
themselves without interference; but as we Europeans had agreed to assist
each other, I would not be behind-hand.

I discharged Rivers' two slaves, and rewarded them liberally for
conducting me with safety through such a wild and perilous country; they
departed (after expressing the heartiest wishes for my reaching my own
home in safety, and thanks for my generosity) to join their master at the
great meeting of the chiefs in the interior. These men, while assisting
me, were performing a great service to their master, by acting as spies.
When we started from the Kirikiri each was armed with a musket; but when
we had accomplished about half the journey, they concealed these in a
hollow tree, under pretence of extreme fatigue. I felt convinced at the
time that was not their real reason for so doing; and afterwards I
learned the true motive. Had they been found armed when returning to
their master (who was hostile to those assembled round the Dock-yard),
they would have been detained; but, by their coming unarmed amongst us,
they were suffered to depart; and I have no doubt the information they
carried back to Rivers was very important. I did not mention to anyone
the hiding of these muskets in the woods, though, according to "The
Articles of War," I ought to have done so, as getting possession of them
would have added two more to our strength, and lessened that of our
enemy; my silence arose from a repugnance I felt to betray these poor
creatures, who had behaved so well to me.

Although prepared for war, we were very well pleased to find no attack
was made upon us. Indeed, from the first, it had been my decided opinion,
that unless we interfered, and made ourselves by that means obnoxious,
they had too much respect for us, and were too anxious to retain our
kindly feelings towards them, to molest us; at the same time, I felt that
it might be a very politic measure to show them what powerful resistance
we could make, if driven to extremities.

After passing a week of the greatest anxiety, on account of our expected
invasion, it afforded us the utmost satisfaction to receive a visit from
Mr. Hobbs, the Wesleyan missionary, one of the persons who had visited
the war-camp of the assembled chiefs, who were convened, on the death of
our lamented friend George, to debate and decide upon the momentous
question of peace or war.

The subject (our informant stated) had been gone into at great length,
and stormy and fierce had been the discussion. Finally, the good sense of
the elder and more experienced chiefs prevailed over the fiercer passions
of the younger, and peace was decided upon. This event forms a new era in
"The Political History of the Few Zealanders," it being the first time so
great an assemblage had met to discuss openly a national question, or in
which they had allowed cool reasoning and good sense to prevail over
their habitual ferocity. As may naturally be supposed, where such various
interests were at stake, this pacific measure was not effected without
considerable opposition from the young and furious chiefs. The
provocations given by them to the elders, whose voices were for peace,
were considerable. They did not confine themselves to abuse, but fired
several muskets during debate, in hopes that one shot out of the many
might prove fatal; which, if it had, and any distinguished chief had been
killed, or even wounded, it would have immediately thrown all into
confusion. Even when pacific measures were decided upon by a very large
majority, and the chiefs were about to separate, a bullet was fired from
the pa, which had evidently been aimed at a chief, a well-known ally of
the late Shulitea, as it fell at his feet, and the earth it threw up fell
upon him. For a few seconds surprise kept all silent; but, as the angry
chief rose up, and was about to address the crowd, his friends eagerly
surrounded him, and hurried him away.

This was the first instance on record, in which these people had laid a
statement of their private wrongs before a public assembly consisting of
deputies from every part of the island, and abided by the decision of the
majority; and it was the only instance of a chief being killed in battle,
and his decease not having been followed up by the plundering and
destruction of his whole family or tribe.

This had been a question of peculiar interest to us Europeans, as several
of their great men had fallen in a skirmish (whether an accidental one or
a decided combat made not the slightest difference). We knew their
barbarous custom; and, consequently, we were preparing for scenes of
deadly revenge and insatiable fury to be acted by both parties, and which
must have involved all settled here in destruction. Our feelings may
therefore be imagined, when we were informed that a parliament had been
convened, and all the parties interested were present by invitation, and
took part in the debate. A central spot was fixed on to accommodate the
various chieftains. The causes of the accident were then explained; they
wept and lamented the fallen chiefs, and finally retired satisfied to
their several homes. Surely everyone who is interested in tracing our own
form of government, from the present time up to its first rude outline,
will perceive the similarity of causes and events, and will anticipate
the glorious prospect of beholding a clever, brave, and, I may add, noble
race of men, like the New Zealanders, rescued from barbarism. This
pacific and rational discussion among the chiefs seems, in reality, to
give promise of the germ of a regular reform. Should a few more such
meetings take place, and terminate in the same amicable manner (and I
think it very probable), some clever individual may rise up amongst them,
take the reins in his own hands, and establish something like a regular
form of government.



Feeling that I was not likely now to be called upon to act offensively, I
considered myself at liberty to make numerous excursions round our
fortress, not only to admire this fertile and beautiful country, but to
visit some of my old friends. I was very much astonished and shocked at
seeing several very beautiful young women, whom I left only a few months
back in perfect health and strength, now reduced to mere "living
skeletons," and also to hear of the death of others by consumption. This
disease seems to be the scourge of the young; and when they are once
seized with its symptoms, they are very speedily brought to the grave.
The natives say, "It is Atua, the Great Spirit, coming into them, and
eating up their inside; for the patient can feel those parts gradually go
away, and then they become weaker and weaker till no more is left; after
which the Spirit sends them to the happy island." They never attempt any
means of curing or of alleviating the pains caused by this cruel
complaint; and all those under its influence are tabooed. I procured from
the brig all my remaining stores of tapioca, sago, arrowroot, and sugar,
and distributed them in the best way I could amongst my sick friends.
They were anxious for wine; but that portion of my sea-stock, as well as
spirits, had been long since expended.

It seems unaccountable that the natives of an atmosphere so dry as this
is--a country in which there are no marshy bogs, and where, though there
is an abundance of water, it is generally seen in clear and sparkling
rills rushing down from the mountains into the rivers--should be subject
to so fatal a disease as galloping consumption. The only cause to which I
can attribute such an affliction is, their indifference to lying out all
night exposed to every change of weather--to cold and rain--which, in
young and tender constitutions, must produce the most pernicious
consequences. If some few are rendered hardy and robust by this process,
many, no doubt, are killed by it. I endeavoured to impress on the minds
of all my female friends the great danger of thus exposing themselves to
cold; but they only laughed at my precautions, and said, "If Atua wished
it, so it must be; they could not strive with the Great Spirit."

I have heard so much said about the great impropriety of the white
settlers admitting the native females into their society, so much of the
scandalous conduct of captains of ships suffering their men to have
sweethearts during their stay in port, and so much urged in justification
of the indignation shown by the missionaries when this subject is touched
on by them, that I feel it necessary to state one decided benefit which
has resulted from that intercourse, and which, in my opinion, far more
than counterbalances the evil against which there has been raised so loud
an outcry.

Before our intercourse took place with the New Zealanders, a universal
and unnatural custom existed amongst them, which was that of destroying
most of their female children in infancy, their excuse being that they
were quite as much trouble to rear, and consumed just as much food, as a
male child, and yet, when grown up, they were not fit to go to war as
their boys were. The strength and pride of a chief then consisted in the
number of his sons; while the few females who had been suffered to live
were invariably looked down upon by all with the utmost contempt. They
led a life of misery and degradation. The difference now is most
remarkable. The natives, seeing with what admiration strangers beheld
their fine young women, and what handsome presents were made to them, by
which their families were benefited, feeling also that their influence
was so powerful over the white men, have been latterly as anxious to
cherish and protect their infant girls as they were formerly cruelly bent
on destroying them. Therefore, if one sin has been, to a certain degree,
encouraged, a much greater one has been annihilated. Infanticide, the
former curse of this country, and the cause of its scanty population, a
crime every way calculated to make men bloody-minded and ferocious, and
to stifle every benevolent and tender feeling, has totally disappeared
wherever an intercourse has taken place between the natives and the crews
of European vessels.

The New Zealand method of "courtship and matrimony" is a most
extraordinary one; so much so, that an observer could never imagine any
affection existed between the parties. A man sees a woman whom he fancies
he should like for a wife; he asks the consent of her father, or, if an
orphan, of her nearest relation, which, if he obtains, he carries his
"intended" off by force, she resisting with all her strength; and, as the
New Zealand girls are generally pretty robust, sometimes a dreadful
struggle takes place; both are soon stripped to the skin, and it is
sometimes the work of hours to remove the fair prize a hundred yards. If
she breaks away, she instantly flies from her antagonist, and he has his
labour to commence again. We may suppose that if the lady feels any wish
to be united to her would-be spouse, she will not make too violent an
opposition; but it sometimes happens that she secures her retreat into
her father's house, and the lover loses all chance of ever obtaining her;
whereas, if he can manage to carry her in triumph into his own, she
immediately, becomes his wife. The women have a decided aversion to
marriage, which can scarcely be wondered at, when we consider how they
are circumstanced. While they remain single, they enjoy all the
privileges of the other sex; they may rove where they please, and bestow
their favours on whom they choose, and are entirely beyond control or
restraint; but when married their freedom is at an end; they become mere
slaves, and sink gradually into domestic drudges to those who have the
power of life and death over them; and whether their conduct be criminal
or exemplary, they are equally likely to receive a blow, in a moment of
passion, of sufficient force to end life and slavery together! There are
many exceptions to this frightful picture; and I saw several old couples,
who had been united in youth, who had always lived in happiness together,
and whose kind and friendly manner towards each other set an example well
worthy of imitation in many English families.



April 2nd.--This day, perceiving that an unusual number of canoes were
passing up the river, all proceeding towards the village of Par-Finneigh,
we hailed one; and, upon its coming alongside, we inquired what had
occurred, for every appearance of bustle or commotion amongst this
restless and war-like people is truly alarming. They informed us that the
great chief A-Rowa, who died four months since, and the ceremony of whose
"lying in state" I had been permitted by his eldest son to be a witness
of, was this day to be exposed to the view of his friends; was to be
cried over; and was finally to be deposited in the tomb of his ancestors.
As this was one of their imposing spectacles which I had never yet seen,
I was anxious to witness it. We soon got a boat ready, and a party of us
joined the throng, and proceeded with them to the village. Upon our
arrival thither, we found an immense concourse of people assembled; for
here, as in most uncivilised or early states of society, the disposition
and good qualities of the deceased are made known by the number of
friends and followers who meet at his funeral. As these New Zealanders
were all fully equipped in arms, they had more the appearance of a
hostile meeting in an enemy's camp, than of a group of mourners about to
be occupied in the melancholy duty of depositing out of sight for ever
the last remains of a beloved chief.

Mooetara, the son and successor of the deceased, came to meet us on the
beach, and seemed much gratified by our attention, our appearance on this
solemn occasion giving him importance in the eyes of all the natives then
assembled. He gave orders for our being conducted with much ceremony to
the place of mourning, where, amidst a number of uncouth pieces of
carving (which, we were informed were all tombs reared in honour of the
memory of several former chiefs, and all tabooed), was erected a small
hut, covered in at the top with thatch, but open at the sides. In the
centre of this hut the bones of the deceased chief were exposed to view.
After having undergone the process of decomposition during four months'
exposure to heat, wind, and rain, they had been collected, cleaned, and
decorated with a quantity of fresh white feathers, which rendered the
appearance of the skull still more frightful.

The women here invariably perform the parts of chief mourners; a group of
them, with the widow of the deceased at their head, kept up a most
mournful cadence, and at every pause in their dismal song slashed their
skins with a piece of shell, till their faces, necks, and arms were
literally streaming down with blood. This mourning and cutting is
completely a matter of business, and is sometimes carried on without
their feeling any real sorrow or sympathy. Parties kept arriving, and
when there was not room for them to thrust themselves round the hut, they
sat down in groups, perfectly unconcerned, employing themselves in
cleaning their firelocks, or playing off upon each other some practical
joke; but the moment a vacant space was presented near the hut, they
deliberately stripped themselves, put on a most sorrowful countenance,
and, seating themselves as near to the ornamented bones as possible, they
immediately began their howling and slashing; no one seemed to like the
idea of being outdone by his neighbour; but when the time allotted to
this ceremony had expired, all instantly jumped up, wiped themselves, put
on their mats, and joined the busy throng. There was, indeed, one real
mourner, who never moved from the bones, nor once lifted up her eyes from
them; she neither howled nor cut herself, and yet she inspired me with
pity and commiseration for her forlorn state. This woman had been the
only wife of the late chief; and I was informed they had lived many years
together, and had a large family; she looked as if she herself was on the
very brink of the grave. The contemplation of the mouldering remains of
her partner through life must have been, even to her savage mind, most

After witnessing several parties perform their funeral ceremonies, and
imbibing, in some degree, the melancholy tone of mind such a sight must
necessarily create, we arose and joined Mooetara. Here I witnessed a
scene that reminded me of an English country fair. An immense number of
temporary huts had been erected for the accommodation of the chiefs and
their families, where they might repose after their exertions, while
their slaves cooked their provisions, of which an abundant quantity had
been provided, consisting of piles of kumara and Indian corn, with heaps
of fish, which were served out, to all who came for them, with a most
liberal hand, and which, of course, added not a little to the pleasure of
the day. After all had satisfied their hunger (and even the lowest slaves
were permitted, on this occasion, to have as much as they wished for)
they jumped up, flew to their muskets, and commenced their war dance with
great noise and vigour. The violence of their exertions caused their
recent wounds to bleed afresh, and added much to the horror of their
hideous grimaces. They then divided into two parties, and had a sham
battle. I must here do justice to the temperate habits of my savage
friends. During my residence in New Zealand, I have known but very few
who were addicted to drinking, and I scarcely ever saw one of them in a
state of intoxication; and, on this occasion, where a profusion of what
they esteem delicacies was provided gratuitously, they partook so
moderately of the tempting fare as not to be prevented using the most
violent exertions immediately after their meal. The entertainment being
now over, the different parties gathered up what remained of the portions
of food distributed to them, and without taking any leave of their
entertainer, or returning any thanks for his bountiful providing, they
all entered their canoes and paddled away.



An unfortunate prejudice has gone forth into the world against the
natives of New Zealand, which I have always endeavoured to counteract
from a sense of justice, and, from a careful review of those
circumstances which have fallen immediately under my own observation;
this prejudice has long retarded our knowledge of their true character,
but error must gradually give way to truth; and as the circumstances
which first brought the stigma upon their name come to light, and are
investigated and properly explained, I feel confident the conduct of
these islanders will be found superior to that of any other nation in the
South Seas. If we take the whole catalogue of dreadful massacres they
have been charged with, and (setting aside partiality for our own
countrymen) allow them to be carefully examined, it will be found that we
have invariably been the aggressors; and when we have given serious cause
of offence, can we be so irrational as to express astonishment that a
savage should seek revenge? The last massacre was that of "The Boyd's"
crew; every impartial person who reads the account of that melancholy
transaction must acknowledge the unfortunate captain was most to blame.
But that event took place nineteen years back; since which time they know
us better, and respect us more; in proof of which, four years since, The
Mercury brig was taken possession of by a crowd of natives, after they
had endured a series of offences and every kind of ill-treatment; but the
difference in their fate, compared with that of The Boyd's ship's
company, was remarkable, and proved that the savage temper of the natives
was much softened down and humanised, as they merely plundered the
vessel, but made no attempt to murder or molest any of the crew, who, if
they had possessed sufficient courage, would not have sacrificed their
vessel; but, being terrified, they abandoned her, and she was finally
wrecked. During my residence, I never heard of one of the men having been
murdered; and I feel fully convinced no massacres will ever again be
committed in any of the ports in New Zealand where European vessels have
been accustomed to anchor.

I once saw, with indignation, a chief absolutely knocked overboard from a
whaler's deck by the mate. Twenty years ago so gross an insult would have
cost the lives of every individual on board the vessel, but, at the time
this occurred, it was only made the subject of complaint, and finally
became a cause of just remonstrance with the commander of the whaler. The
natives themselves (and I have heard the opinions of various tribes) have
invariably told me that these things occurred from our want of knowledge
of their laws and customs, which compelled them to seek revenge. "It
was," they said, "no act of treachery on our part; we did not invite you
to our shores for the purpose of plunder and murder: but you came, and
ill-used us; you broke into our tabooed grounds. And did not Atua give
those bad white men into the hands of our fathers?"

I am confident that a body of Europeans may now reside in perfect
security in any part of these islands. The late plundering of the
missionaries at Whangaroa was a peculiar circumstance, which might have
happened even in civilised Europe, had the seat of war approached so near
their place of residence. If their houses and chapel had been on the
plains of Waterloo during the June of 1815 they would not have
experienced a better fate.

This recent tumult has brought a circumstance into notice highly
interesting to all who may hereafter wish to settle here. It has hitherto
been their custom, when an accident occurs, such as the sudden death of a
chief, to make a general plunder of everything belonging to the family of
the deceased, and all under their protection. A knowledge of this
horrible custom has deterred many from settling in New Zealand; and even
those who have resolved to run so great a risk have lived in a continued
state of alarm, lest the death of their protecting chief should leave
them at the mercy of a savage enemy.

The deaths of Hongi and Shulitea placed the missionaries and all the
settlers on Kororarika Beach in considerable jeopardy: but it appeared as
if reason had begun to dawn on the minds of these benighted savages, for
this unjust and cruel custom was now for the first time discontinued. I
was on the beach at the time when an immense party, well armed, came for
the express purpose of satiating their revengeful feelings. I had taken
the precaution of removing what I possessed on board a whaler then lying
in the harbour. The chiefs first sat down to discuss the matter over
amongst themselves, and their deliberations ended in their being
satisfied with destroying the village of Matowe, the one adjoining ours,
and which had been the residence of Pomare's son, whose death was the
cause of all the late turbulent events.

The great and leading defect in this country, and the principal cause of
their frequent wars and disturbances, which harass and depopulate the
tribes, and puts a stop to all improvement, is the want of some regular
system of government. There are only two classes of people--chiefs and
slaves; and, as consanguinity constitutes a high claim, the eldest son of
a large family, who can bring the greatest number of warriors of his own
name into the field, is considered the chief of that district or tribe;
and as he, by reason of his followers, can take possession of the
greatest number of prisoners or slaves, he becomes the ruling man. Every
other man of his tribe considers himself on an equality with him in
everything, except that he shows him obedience, and follows him to

Each is independent in his own family, and holds uncontrolled power of
life and death over every individual it contains. They seem not to
exercise any coercion over the younger branches of a family, who are
allowed unbounded liberty till the girls have sweethearts and the boys
are strong enough to go to war. They are kind and hospitable to
strangers, and are excessively fond of their children. On a journey, it
is more usual to see the father carrying his infant than the mother; and
all the little offices of a nurse are performed by him with the tenderest
care and good humour. In many instances (wherein they differ from most
savage tribes) I have seen the wife treated as an equal and companion. In
fact, when not engaged in war, the New Zealander is quite a domestic,
cheerful, harmless character; but once rouse his anger, or turn him into
ridicule, and his disposition is instantly changed. A being, whose
passions have never been curbed from infancy, and whose only notion of
what he conceives to be his right is to retaliate for an offence with
blood, must naturally form a cruel and vindictive character. Such these
islanders seemed to us on our first visiting them. The sight of beings so
extraordinary (for thus we Europeans must have appeared to them) excited
in their savage minds the greatest wonder; and they thought we were sent
as a scourge and an enemy; and though Cook, one of their earliest
visitors, adopted every method his ingenuity could devise to conciliate
them, yet, as they never could thoroughly understand his intentions, they
were always on the alert to attack him. Hence arose the horror and
disgust expressed formerly at the mere mention of the name of "a New

I have often tried, in vain, to account for there being such a decided
dissimilarity between the natives of New Holland and New Zealand. So
trifling is the difference in their situation on the globe, and so
_similar their climates_--both having remained so long unknown to the
great continents, and so devoid of intercourse with the rest of the
world--that one would be led to imagine a great resemblance must be the
result. But the natives of the former seem of the lowest grade--the last
link in the great chain of existence which unites man with the monkey.
Their limbs are long, thin, and flat, with large bony knees and elbows, a
projecting forehead, and pot-belly. The mind, too, seems adapted to this
mean configuration; they have neither energy, enterprise, nor industry;
and their curiosity can scarcely be excited. A few exceptions may be met
with; but these are their general characteristics. While the natives of
the latter island are "cast in beauty's perfect mould;" the children are
so fine and powerfully made, that each might serve as a model for a
statue of "the Infant Hercules;" nothing can exceed the graceful and
athletic forms of the men, or the rounded limbs of their young women.
These possess eyes beautiful and eloquent, and a profusion of long,
silky, curling hair; while the intellects of both sexes seem of a
superior order; all appear eager for improvement, full of energy, and
indefatigably industrious, and possessing amongst themselves several arts
which are totally unknown to their neighbours.



On April the 14th, our brig being stored with planks, flax, and potatoes,
and ready for sea, I went on board of her. We had fine weather till we
dropped down to the entrance of the river, where we intended taking in
our stock of water for the voyage, when the scene suddenly changed, and a
severe gale came on, right out to sea, which we could not avail ourselves
of; neither could we get the water off, as our rafts of casks got adrift
in the attempt to get them on board. To add to our disasters, one of our
cables parted, and we had to ride out the gale (of two days' continuance)
with one only, the sea rolling heavily right open before us, and we in
momentary expectation of the remaining cable's going; we had not a single
day's allowance of water on board, and at one period all hands (except
the carpenter and passengers) were out of the brig, on shore, filling the
casks. Fortunately for us, the cable proved a tough one; had it parted,
we should have been in a most perilous situation.

April 20th.--For the last week we were stationary at the river's mouth,
waiting for a fair wind to carry us over the bar; and during that time
there was no appearance of any change; we also heard that vessels had
been detained here for six weeks before they could accomplish it. We
were visited daily by parties of natives, who seemed to rejoice at our
being delayed, as it gave them more of our company than they had
calculated upon. They were more delighted with our society than we were
with theirs; in a small vessel they are a serious nuisance, on account of
the swarms of vermin they bring with them, and which they communicate
liberally to all. Myself and all the passengers on board had our leisure
time fully occupied in dislodging these "little familiars" from their
strongholds in different parts of our apparel.

During the time we were lying here, I saw and conversed with several
individuals who had attended the "Great Meeting," and their accounts gave
rise to various opinions respecting the policy of supplying the natives
with firearms. As I had always been an advocate for the measure, I was
gratified by hearing that it was thought to be in consequence of each
party's being possessed of a nearly equal quantity of muskets, that a
general and exterminating war was avoided. Some may suppose that similar
tranquility would have been preserved, had they been equally well
supplied with their native weapons of war; but that would not have been
the case. When they found that each party could furnish forth the same
number of European muskets, they paused, well knowing that it was
contrary to the wish of all the white settlers that they should proceed
to hostilities. Indeed, Europeans intrepidly mingled amongst them, urging
them to a reconciliation, and threatening that, if they failed in their
endeavours, the supplies of arms and ammunition should be discontinued.
This threat had its desired effect on the minds of the natives; no blood
was spilt, and each chief returned quietly to his own home.

On the night we heard of the death of George and his wife, "Revenge and
war" was the universal cry. His party would not believe that it could be
an accident, nor would they hear of any apology being received. At this
time they imagined the tribes of Hokianga were possessed of but very few
firearms; and, as the skirmish took place in that district, it was
determined that an exterminating war should be carried into the heart of
it. However, before all the preparations could be made to carry their
intentions into effect, they received certain information that the people
of Hokianga were even better supplied with muskets than those of the Bay
of Islands. This intelligence occasioned an assemblage of the different
tribes to be proposed, and when it took place the friends of George saw
their opponents so well prepared for the "tug of war" that they deemed it
judicious to come forward and to shake hands and to acknowledge that the
death of Shulitea proceeded either from accident or mistake. A curious
circumstance took place in the midst of their debate. An old chief, who
wished for a fight, and did not approve of the introduction of firearms,
but was an advocate for the old method of New Zealand warfare, proposed
that each party should send away _all_ their muskets and ammunition, and
engage manfully with their own native weapons, and then it could be
easily proved which were the "best men;" but this mode of settling the
dispute, not being agreeable to the majority, was instantly negatived,
and treated with disdain.

The colony of Scotch carpenters, who had formed a settlement at the head
of the river, and of whom I made "honourable mention" on my first
journey, finding themselves so close to what they feared might become
the seat of war, and having no means whatever of defending themselves,
made an arrangement with Mooetara, the chief of Parkunugh (which is
situated at the entrance of the same river), and placed themselves under
his protection. They accordingly moved down here, which gave great
satisfaction to that chief. Neither could their former protector,
Patuone, feel offended at their removal, from the peculiar nature of the
circumstances they were placed in. These hardy North Britons were
delighted to find a reasonable excuse for moving, their former
establishment being situated too far from the sea for them to reap any
advantage from ships coming into port. Nothing can be more gratifying
than to behold the great anxiety of the natives to induce Englishmen to
settle amongst them; it ensures their safety; and no one act of treachery
is on record of their having practised towards those whom they had
invited to reside with them.

Mooetara is a man of great property and high rank, and is considered a
very proud chief by the natives; yet he is to be seen every day working
as hard as any slave in assisting in the erection of houses for the
accommodation of his new settlers. He has actually removed from his old
village of Parkunugh (a strong and beautiful place), and is erecting huts
for his tribe near the spot chosen by his new friends; so that, in a very
short time, a barren point of land, hitherto without a vestige of a human
habitation, will become a thriving and populous village, for it is
incredible how quickly the orders of these chiefs are carried into
effect. I was frequently a witness to the short space of time they took
to erect their houses; and, though small, they are tight, weather-proof,
and warm: their storehouses are put together in the most substantial and
workmanlike manner.

It is very difficult to make the New Zealanders explain the nature of
their religious belief. One superstition seems general with all the
tribes respecting the formation of the world, or, rather, of their own
island, for that is the place of the first importance in their
estimation. They say a man, or a god, or some great spirit, was fishing
in his war-canoe, and pulled up a large fish, which instantly turned into
an island; and a lizard came upon that, and brought up a man out of the
water by his long hair; and he was the father of all the New Zealanders.
Almost all their grotesque carvings are illustrations of this idea in
some way or other. The favourite theme on which (I observed) the
missionaries discoursed to them were "the torments of hell." This has
become a subject of ridicule to most of the natives; they do not deny
that there may be such a place, but they add, it is not for them, for if
Atua had intended it so he would have sent them word about it long before
he sent the white men into their country; and they conclude by stating
that they know perfectly well the situation of the island where they are
to go to after this life.



While remaining here wind-bound, in imaginary security, and amusing
ourselves with noticing the curious customs and peculiarities of these
islanders, a dreadful tragedy was taking place only a few miles' distance
from us, and to which I before alluded, when I mentioned crossing the bar
on our first arrival from Port Jackson. The Enterprise schooner, a very
fine vessel, which was built at the settlement on this river, had been
sent to Sydney, and while we were lying there we were in hourly
expectation of her return. She did return. The unfavourable weather which
detained us so long proved fatal to her, and she was wrecked a few miles
to the northward of the river's mouth, and every soul on board perished.

The moment this catastrophe was known every European hastened to the
spot, and, with feelings of horror, perceived but too plainly, from the
appearance of the wreck and the boat, and by finding also the clothes of
the crew, that they had reached the shore in safety, and had afterwards
all been murdered; but how, or by whom, it was impossible to discover.
The most probable conclusion was that the tribes situated around the
European dockyard at Hokianga, having meditated for some time past a
great war-like expedition, waited the return of this schooner from Sydney
to possess themselves of an additional supply of arms and ammunition,
which might enable them to take the field with a certainty of conquest.
They had regularly purchased the cargo of this vessel by their labour
and their merchandise, and the schooner was merely employed to convey it
thither from Sydney, for the use of the natives; unhappily for the poor
creatures on board, in running for the mouth of the river, she fell to
leeward, and got stranded on the beach, in the very territory of that
tribe against whom these preparations were made--the tribe intended to be
invaded. Though no formal declaration of war had taken place, the tribes
well knew the preparations that were making against them, and the nature
of the cargo contained in The Enterprise; falling into the hands of such
fierce and vindictive savages, the fate of the crew may be imagined--all
our poor fellows were sacrificed to gratify their feelings of revenge.

Mooetara (the friendly chief of Hokianga) no sooner heard of the fate of
the vessel and her crew than he hastened with his party to the spot; it
was owing to the investigation which then took place that the conclusion
was arrived at that all had been murdered. What remained for Mooetara to
do (according to their savage notion of what was right) was to take ample
revenge on all the hostile tribes that might fall in his way, whether our
poor countrymen met their deaths through accident or treachery. Mooetara
instantly commenced the work of destruction; and, having made his
vengeance complete, he returned laden with spoil. The promptness with
which he acted on this melancholy occasion greatly increased the feelings
of security possessed by those Englishmen settled on the banks of the
river, as it proved to them that he was both able and willing to protect
them, and though the dead could not be restored, yet he had inflicted an
awful punishment on their murderers.



On the 21st a fair wind and smooth sea favoured our departure. Early in
the morning the natives who were on board assured us everything would
facilitate our passing over the bar with safety, and they prepared to
leave the ship. When the moment of separation came, it caused a great
deal of emotion on both sides. I must confess I felt much affected when I
came to rub noses, shake hands, and say "Farewell" to these kind-hearted
people. I saw them go over the ship's side, and reflected that I should
never behold them more. There is always something repugnant to our
feelings in the idea of separating from any being for ever; and as, in
this instance, I felt assured that this was our last time of meeting, it
cast a gloom over the pleasure the fair wind and smooth sea would
otherwise have afforded me. As we fell down towards the river's mouth,
and, indeed, as long as their canoes were to be seen, they kept waving
their hands towards us.

Thus terminated my visit to the islands of New Zealand. I had arrived
with feelings of fear and disgust, and was merely induced to take up a
temporary residence amongst the natives, in hopes of finding something
new for my pencil in their peculiar and picturesque style of life. I left
them with opinions, in many respects, very favourable towards them. It
is true, they are cunning and over-reaching in trade, and filthy in their
persons. In regard to the former, we Europeans, I fear, set them a bad
example; of the latter, they will gradually amend. Our short visit to
Kororarika greatly improved them in that particular. All took great pains
to come as clean as possible when they attended our "evening
tea-parties." In my opinion, their sprightly, free, and independent
deportment, together with their kindness and attention to strangers,
compensates for many defects.

On looking round upon their country, an Englishman cannot fail to feel
gratified when he beholds the good already resulting to these poor
savages from their intercourse with his countrymen; and they themselves
are fully sensible of, and truly grateful for, every mark of kindness
manifested towards them. They have stores full of the finest Indian corn,
which they consider a great luxury, a food which requires little trouble
in preparing, keeps well, and is very nutritious. It is but a few years
since this useful grain was introduced amongst them; and I sincerely hope
this introduction may be followed up, not only by our sending out to them
seeds of vegetables and fruits, but by our forwarding to them every
variety of quadruped which can be used for food. Abundance of the finest
water-melons are daily brought alongside vessels entering their ports;
these, in point of flavour, are superior to any I ever met with. I have
no doubt every variety of European produce essential to the support of
life would thrive equally well; and as food became abundant, and luxuries
were introduced, their disgusting feasts on human flesh would soon be
discontinued altogether.

We were soon at sea, and speedily felt considerable apprehensions as to
the safe termination of our voyage. Our vessel (the brig Governor
Macquarie) we well knew was a leaky one, though her leaks did not
distress us on the outward voyage, she being then only in ballast trim;
but now that she was loaded to the water's edge, and the winter coming
on, we became greatly alarmed for her. Another disagreeable circumstance
was having no bread or flour on board. To obviate the first evil, and to
save the sailors a great deal of hard labour, our Captain offered to give
a passage to Sydney to several natives, who accepted his offer, they
being always anxious to see the colony; we likewise had on board the
great Chief from the Thames, who had caused us so much trouble at
Kororarika. These men, being fine, strong, active young fellows, were
indefatigable in their exertions at the pumps; and though we had to
contend with much heavy weather, and contrary winds, they kept our vessel
pretty dry. The want of bread was not so easily remedied; though our
Captain treated it lightly, saying he was sure of getting a supply by
making a requisition to the missionaries. He accordingly waited upon
them, and acquainted them with our distressed condition; they had plenty
(for only a few weeks previously they had received a large supply), and
as we knew their agent at Sydney, Mr. Campbell, we had no doubt of
procuring a sufficiency from them to carry us home; but in this we were
disappointed. Captain Kent did not ask them for a supply as a gift, but
solicited merely the _loan_ of a cask or two till we arrived at Sydney,
when he guaranteed that the owners of the brig should return the same
quantity into the missionary storehouse there. The little monosyllable
_No_ was again put in requisition, with this qualification--"that they
did not like the Botany Bay skippers." Through their "dislike," the
passengers and seamen of the brig might have gone unprovided to sea, had
not a "worldly-minded" whaler (fortunately for us) at that critical
moment come into port, who, the instant he heard of the ill-success of
our entreaty, vented his indignation in pretty coarse language, and said,
"if it detained his vessel a week, he would supply us;" and he kept his
word; he gave us a bountiful supply, which rendered us comfortable during
the whole way home.

It was most interesting to observe our savages when we got well out to
sea. They soon appeared to become accustomed to their novel situation,
and seemed to feel quite at home and at their ease "on board ship." Their
exertions at the pumps were indefatigable. I felt convinced they thought
that during all voyages the same labour was gone through to keep the
vessel afloat; and as it only required strength and exertion, they
cheerfully took that department entirely to themselves, especially as
they soon perceived how useless they were when they attempted to perform
any other duty on board of the brig, as their knowledge of voyaging
extended no further than the distance they go in their own canoes, which,
though very beautiful, are sad leaky things at sea; and as, during the
time they are out, the greater part of the crew are baling the water out
of them, they thought the leaky state of our vessel was no uncommon
occurrence. But however cheerfully they worked during the day, nothing
could induce them to "turn out" at night; they always stowed themselves
away, but in what part of the vessel I never could conjecture. They have
a dread of some unknown evil spirit, which they imagine has power over
them at night; and this supposition makes them terrible cowards in the

The second day after we were at sea, I saw a group of savages lying round
the binnacle, all intently occupied in observing the phenomenon of the
magnetic attraction; they seemed at once to comprehend the purpose to
which it was applied, and I listened with eager curiosity to their
remarks upon it.

"This," said they, "is the white man's God, who directs them safely to
different countries, and then can guide them home again." Out of
compliment to us, and respect for its wonderful powers, they seemed much
inclined to worship this silent little monitor.

During our voyage to Port Jackson we experienced a succession of
southerly gales, which Captain Kent informed me were very prevalent at
this season of the year. Notwithstanding all our exertions to prevent it,
we were carried considerably to leeward of the port. We made Lord Howe's
Islands, whose high and bold features rise, as it were, out of the ocean;
as we passed close to them, we perceived they were well wooded and
watered; and one of the men, who had been on shore there, informed me that
there was a tolerably good harbour for small craft. A few miles to the
southward of these islands is Ball's Pyramid, a most singular and
sublime-looking rock, rising perpendicularly out of the sea to a height
of a thousand feet; the base of it is enveloped in perpetual surf,
dashing and climbing up its craggy sides. Its appearance, as we saw it,
relieved by the setting sun, and the coming on of a stormy night, was
awful in the extreme!

Nothing could exceed the delight manifested by our New Zealanders as we
sailed up Port Jackson harbour; but, above all, the windmills most
astonished them. After dancing and screaming with joy at beholding them,
they came running and asking me "if they were not gods." I found they
were inclined to attach that sacred appellation to most things they could
not understand; they did so when they first became possessed of their
muskets, and actually worshipped them, until they discovered how soon
they got out of repair, and then, notwithstanding all the prayers they
could bestow upon them, they would not mend again of their own accord.

Our Chief from the Thames, who had a great idea of his own dignity,
commenced adorning his person, as he felt convinced the Governor would
instantly grant him an audience when he came on shore. All our lamps were
emptied to add a more beautiful gloss to his hair and complexion; his
whole stock of feathers and bones were arranged to the greatest
advantage. He at length became quite enraged when he found that he was
allowed to sit two days on our deck, amongst all manner of dirty porters
and sailors, without either being visited or sent for; and he was loud in
his reproaches to us for having deceived him. We certainly were to blame
in having induced him to believe we had any influence with the Governor,
for however politic we (who had lived in New Zealand) might think it, to
pay some attentions to these simple savages, his Excellency,
unfortunately, thought otherwise; and though the Chief, attended by his
followers, used to sit in the verandah at Government House from morning
till night, the Governor never once deigned to speak to them, and they
were, in consequence, constantly coming to me with complaints. At length
they told me that unless they obtained an audience from our Chief they
should consider it so great an insult that they would revenge it upon all
the Europeans they could get into their power; and I, well knowing that
several families were settled in that part of the country wherein this
man was Chief, thought it my duty to let the Governor know, that, however
he might dislike their manners and appearance, it might lead to some
serious calamity, if he continued to refuse to give them an audience.

I accordingly waited upon the Brigade Major, and explained to him how
unwise it was to treat these men with such undisguised contempt. The
result was, the Governor saw the affair in the same point of view as
myself, and condescended to meet them and converse with them for about
five minutes; and with that they were satisfied. Other heads of
departments (civil and military) behaved differently, and evidently felt
a pleasure in having them with them. The Commander of the troops suffered
them to sit at the same table with himself and officers, and had the
war-dance performed in the mess-room, which I thought would have brought
the house down upon our heads. He likewise permitted them to fall into
the ranks with the soldiers, which pleased them beyond everything,
inasmuch as they considered it a higher honour in being permitted to
stand by our warriors on the martial parade than to take food with our
Chiefs at their own table!

The Attorney-General of the colony took a particular interest in these
savages, and gave a large party, to which they were invited. Several of
the visitors on this occasion came out of curiosity to see how these
cannibals would conduct themselves, expecting, no doubt, to witness a
display of disgusting gluttony; but in that they were disappointed, for
never did any set of men behave with greater decorum than they did.

On being apprised of this invitation, they were all most anxious to
obtain European dresses, and when we refused to lend them ours, they
requested of our servants the loan of a suit. This being denied them
also, with the little money they had they attempted to bargain for whole
suits of _convict_ dresses, in order to make their _debut_ in style at
the table of the Attorney-General! When I discovered this to be the case,
I explained to them the impropriety of their conduct, and roused their
pride by pointing out to them the absurdity of men of their high rank in
their own country wishing to appear in the cast-off dress of degraded
slaves, and how much more suitable it was to the dignity of their
character to appear in their own national costume. Accordingly, on the
appointed day, they met the company superbly attired in mats and
feathers; they made a splendid show at the dinner-table, and afforded
great amusement to the evening visitors. At an early hour they got very
sleepy, but were too polite to hint how much they felt oppressed by
drowsiness. I saw their eyes grow heavy, and perceived that it was
difficult for them to sit upright on their chairs. I mentioned these
symptoms to their kind host, who immediately consented to their retiring.
They accordingly withdrew into a corner of one of the adjoining rooms,
where, lying down huddled together, and covering themselves with their
mats, they were soon asleep, and gave no interruption to anyone during
the remainder of the evening.

The greatest treat it was in our power to bestow on them was to take them
to a review of the troops then stationed at Sydney. The splendour of
their regimentals, the regularity of their movements, and the precision
of their firing, made them nearly mad with delight; they ran about the
plain literally wild with joy, occasionally stopping to gaze with wonder
on men performing what they deemed such prodigies. In their ecstasies
they occasionally vociferated their own furious war-whoop. Their
extravagant expressions of delight, and their many extraordinary
gestures, caused great amusement both to the military and to the
spectators assembled on the ground; and when the review was over my
savage friends were quite exhausted with fatigue and excitement.

After two months' residence at Sydney we had an opportunity of procuring
a passage for them to their own country; and they departed, expressing
the greatest gratitude for our attentions towards them. They were loaded
with presents of all descriptions; for, finding they generally got what
they begged for, while here, they importuned everyone they met, and they
used daily to return home burthened with the most miscellaneous and
extraordinary jumble of commodities it was possible to conceive; for, as
everything they then beheld was new to them, and might be (they thought)
of some service to them in their own country, each trifle was of great
value in their estimation, and was carefully stowed away. They always
expressed their concern that so few muskets were given to them, and that
they were presented with ammunition in such small quantities. War-like
stores were their grand desideratum; and though they would accept of any
thing you chose to give them, yet they always had hopes they should
finally receive their favourite presents of a stocking of powder, a piece
of lead, or a musket.





[_The following is the account given by Captain Furneaux of the massacre
of his boat's crew, referred to in Earle's narrative on page 24._]

* * * * *

The Resolution, under command of Captain Cook, and the Adventure,
commanded by Captain Furneaux, sailed from Plymouth on the 13th April,
1772, to continue the exploration of New Zealand begun during Captain
Cook's first voyage. The vessels became finally separated in a gale off
Cape Palliser in October, 1773, and the two navigators did not meet again
until after Cook's return to England in July, 1775.

Captain Furneaux reported that while his ship was refitting in Queen
Charlotte Sound the astronomer's tent was robbed by a party of natives.
One who was seen escaping was fired upon and wounded, when he and his
confederates made for the woods, leaving their canoe with most of the
stolen goods on the shore. "This petty larceny," Captain Furneaux
remarks, "probably laid the foundation of that dreadful catastrophe which
soon after happened," and which he thus describes:

"On Friday, the 17th, we sent out our large cutter, manned with seven
seamen, under the command of Mr. John Rowe, the first mate, accompanied
by Mr. Woodhouse, midshipman, and James Tobias Swilley, the carpenter's
servant. They were to proceed up the Sound to Grass Cove to gather greens
and celery for the ship's company, with orders to return that evening;
for the tents had been struck at two in the afternoon, and the ship made
ready for sailing the next day. Night coming on, and no cutter appearing,
the captain and others began to express great uneasiness. They sat up all
night in expectation of their arrival, but to no purpose. At daybreak,
therefore, the captain ordered the launch to be hoisted out. She was
double manned, and under the command of our second lieutenant, Mr.
Burney, accompanied by Mr. Freeman, master, the corporal of marines, with
five private men, all well armed, and having plenty of ammunition and
three days' provision. They were ordered first to look into East Bay,
then to proceed to Grass Cove, and if nothing was to be seen or heard of
the cutter there, they were to go farther up the cove, and return by the
west shore. Mr. Rowe having left the ship an hour before the time
proposed for his departure, we thought his curiosity might have carried
him into East Bay, none of our people having ever been there, or that
some accident might have happened to the boat, for not the least
suspicion was entertained of the natives. Mr. Burney returned about
eleven o'clock the same night, and gave us a pointed description of a
most horrible scene, described in the following relation:--

"'On Saturday, the 18th, we left the ship about nine o'clock in the
morning. We soon got round Long Island and Long Point. We continued
sailing and rowing for East Bay, keeping close in shore, and examining
with our glasses every cove on the larboard side, till near two o'clock
in the afternoon, at which time we stopped at a beach on our left going
up East Bay, to dress our dinner.

"'About five o'clock in the afternoon, and within an hour after we had
left this place, we opened a small bay adjoining to Grass Cove, and here
we saw a large double canoe just hauled upon the beach, with two men and
a dog. The two men, on seeing us approach, instantly fled, which made us
suspect it was here we should have some tidings of the cutter. On landing
and examining the canoe, the first thing we saw therein was one of our
cutter's rowlock ports and some shoes, one of which among the latter was
known to belong to Mr. Woodhouse. A piece of flesh was found by one of
our people, which at first was thought to be some of the salt meat
belonging to the cutter's men, but, upon examination, we supposed to be
dog's flesh. A most horrid and undeniable proof soon cleared up our
doubts, and convinced us we were among no other than cannibals; for,
advancing further on the beach, we saw about twenty baskets tied up, and
a dog eating a piece of broiled flesh, which, upon examination, we
suspected to be human. We cut open the baskets, some of which were full
of roasted flesh, and others of fern root, which serves them for bread.
Searching others, we found more shoes and a hand, which was immediately
known to have belonged to Thos. Hill, one of our forecastle men, it
having been tattooed with the initials of his name. We now proceeded a
little way in the woods, but saw nothing else. Our next design was to
launch the canoe, intending to destroy her; but seeing a great smoke
ascending over the nearest hill, we made all possible haste to be with
them before sunset.

"'At half after six we opened Grass Cove, where we saw one single and
three double canoes, and a great many natives assembled on the beach, who
retreated to a small hill, within a ship's length of the water side,
where they stood talking to us. On the top of the high land, beyond the
woods, was a large fire, from whence, all the way down the hill, the
place was thronged like a fair. When we entered the cove, a musketoon was
fired at one of the canoes, as we imagined they might be full of men
lying down, for they were all afloat, but no one was seen in them. Being
doubtful whether their retreat proceeded from fear or a desire to decoy
us into an ambuscade, we were determined not to be surprised, and
therefore, running close in shore, we dropped the grappling near enough
to reach them with our guns, but at too great a distance to be under any
apprehensions from their treachery. The savages on the little hill kept
their ground, hallooing, and making signs for us to land. At these we now
took aim, resolving to kill as many of them as our bullets would reach,
yet it was some time before we could dislodge them. The first volley did
not seem to affect them much, but on the second they began to scramble
away as fast as they could, some howling and others limping. We continued
to fire as long as we could see the least glimpse of any of them through
the bushes. Among these were two very robust men, who maintained their
ground without moving an inch till they found themselves forsaken by all
their companions, and then, disdaining to run, they marched off with
great composure and deliberation. One of them, however, got a fall, and
either lay there or crawled away on his hands and feet; but the other
escaped without any apparent hurt. Mr. Burney now improved their panic,
and, supported by the marines, leaped on shore and pursued the fugitives.
We had not advanced far from the water-side, on the beach, before we met
with two bunches of celery, which had been gathered by the cutter's crew.
A broken oar was stuck upright in the ground, to which the natives had
tied their canoes, whereby we were convinced this was the spot where the
attack had been made. We now searched all along at the back of the beach,
to see if the cutter was there, but instead of her, the most horrible
scene was presented to our view; for there lay the hearts, heads, and
lungs of several of our people, with hands and limbs in a mangled
condition, some broiled and some raw; but no other parts of their bodies,
which made us suspect that the cannibals had feasted upon and devoured
the rest. At a little distance we saw the dogs gnawing their entrails. We
observed a large body of the natives collected together on a hill about
two miles off, but as night drew on apace, we could not advance to such a
distance; neither did we think it safe to attack them, or even to quit
the shore to take an account of the number killed, our troop being a very
small one, and the savages were both numerous, fierce, and much
irritated. While we remained almost stupefied on the spot, Mr. Fannen
said that he heard the cannibals assembling in the woods, on which we
returned to our boat, and having hauled alongside the canoes, we
demolished three of them. During this transaction the fire on the top of
the hill disappeared, and we could hear the savages in the woods at high
words, quarrelling, perhaps, on account of their different opinions,
whether they should attack us and try to save their canoes. They were
armed with long lances, and weapons not unlike a sergeant's halbert in
shape, made of hard wood, and mounted with bone instead of iron. We
suspected that the dead bodies of our people had been divided among those
different parties of cannibals who had been concerned in the massacre,
and it was not improbable that the group we saw at a distance by the fire
were feasting upon some of them, as those on shore had been where the
remains were found, before they had been disturbed by our unexpected
visit. Be that as it may, we could discover no traces of more than four
of our friends' bodies, nor could we find the place where the cutter was
concealed. It now grew dark, on which account we collected carefully the
remains of our mangled friends, and, putting off, made the best of our
way from this polluted place. When we opened the upper part of the Sound,
we saw a very large fire about three or four miles higher up, which
formed a complete oval, reaching from the top of a hill down almost to
the water-side, the middle space being enclosed all round by the fire,
like a hedge. Mr. Burney and Mr. Fannen having consulted together, they
were both of opinion that we could, by an attempt, reap no other
advantage than the poor satisfaction of killing some more of the savages.
Upon leaving Grass Cove we had fired a volley towards where we heard the
Indians talking, but by going in and out of the boat our pieces had got
wet, and four of them missed fire. What rendered our situation more
critical, it began to rain, and our ammunition was more than half
expended. We, for these reasons, without spending time where nothing
could be hoped for but revenge, proceeded for the ship, and arrived safe
aboard before midnight.'"

It is a little remarkable that Captain Furneaux had been several times up
Grass Cove with Captain Cook, where they saw no inhabitants, and no other
signs of any but a few deserted villages, which appeared as if they had
not been occupied for many years, and yet, in Mr. Burney's opinion, when
he entered the same cove, there could not be less than fifteen hundred or
two thousand people.

On Thursday, the 23rd of December, the Adventure departed from, and made
sail out of, the Sound. She stood to the eastward, to clear the straits,
which was happily effected the same evening; but the ship was baffled for
two or three days with light winds before she could clear the coast. In
this interval of time the chests and effects of the ten men who had been
murdered were sold before the mast, according to an old sea custom.

When Captain Cook was in the Sound on his third voyage, he learned that
the massacre arose over an unpremeditated quarrel. Kahura, who had been
active in the tragedy, told Cook that a Maori having brought a stone
hatchet to barter, the man to whom it was offered took it, and would
neither return it nor give anything for it, and on which the owner
snatched some bread from the party of Europeans, who were at dinner on
the beach, as an equivalent, and then the quarrel began. Kahura himself
had a narrow escape of being shot, while another was shot beside him; and
the Europeans, outnumbered, were surrounded and killed. It was also
stated by the natives that not one of the shots fired by the party of
Captain Furneaux led by Mr. Burney to search for the missing people had
taken effect so as to kill or even to hurt a single person.



The death of this Bay of Islands chief, who acted as protector to Mr.
Earle during his residence at Kororareka, is thus described by Messrs.
Hobbs and Stack, Wesleyan missionaries at Hokianga, in a letter dated
from Mangungu, Hokianga, on the 22nd March, 1828:--

"On the same day that Hongi died at Whangaroa a son of the late Pomare's,
named Tiki, was killed at Waima by a chief of the tribe called
Mahurihuri. Waima is in Hokianga, and only a few miles distance from us.
The cause of the quarrel was this: Tiki had had some of his pigs stolen
by the natives of Waima, and he was seeking utu by robbing their sweet
potato plantations, for which he was shot.

"As soon as the report of the young man's death reached the Bay of
Islands, 400 natives collected together, forming two divisions, under two
separate chiefs, Whareumu, or, as he is called by the Europeans, King
George, and Toi, and came to Hokianga. Toi and his party arrived first at
Waima, where he found Patuone and all the natives and other chiefs of our
district. After robbing the natives of Waima of their potatoes, etc.,
peace was made, and no further evil consequences seemed likely to arise.
The next day, the 14th, Whareumu and his party arrived. He was highly
displeased with Toi for having made peace on such easy terms. He
prevailed upon him, therefore, to break his league. Whareumu was also
very insolent to Muriwai, intimated that he was a coward, and poured
contempt upon the idea of the Hokianga natives standing in their own
defence. On the morning of the 15th a quarrel ensued between the 400 Bay
of Islanders and the natives of Waima, our natives also having now become
their allies. This fray did not at the outset seem likely to be attended
with fatal results, but, as Solomon justly observes, the beginning of
strife is like the letting out of water; so it was in this instance.
Shots were fired on both sides till several were killed and wounded. At
length Muriwai, who was a pacificator, was wounded and fell. Supposing he
was killed, our natives (for the natives of Waima fled as soon as matters
assumed a serious aspect) no longer regarded matters lightly, but turned
round in great rage, for they also were in the act of retreating, and
singled out Whareumu as a satisfaction for Muriwai. Whareumu received two

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