W hat I believe to be genuine and authentic the collected publications of William Colenso



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454 WC: Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. V., Art. III.

455 No one should speak ill of the dead.

456 WC: Vide “Tasmanian Journal,” published lists of members.

457 WC: In that paper Mr. Taylor says: “The Aweto (!)—Cordiceps—” is only found at the root of one particular tree, the Rata, the female Pohutukawa. ... These curious plants are far from being uncommon. The natives eat them when fresh (!) The seeds of the fungus are nourished by the warmth of the insect,” etc., etc.—Tasmanian Journal, Vol. 1., p. 307.

458 WC: Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. V., p. 98.

459 WC: “Zoological Transactions,” Vol. III., part 4, p. 327.

460 WC: Vide I. “Tasmanian Journal,” Vol. II., p. 85; and Dr. Dieffenbach also saw it. At that time, and for several years before and after, I was residing at Paihia in the Bay of Islands, while Mr. Taylor’s home was at the Waimate, then a long day’s journey inland. I saw him on his return from the East Cape as he landed at Paihia, and with him tried to match his “toe” (or claw) to my few bones of the Moa, but it would not fit; at that time Mr. Taylor had none, neither had Mr. Williams. The so-called “toe,” which was very black and solid, resembled a bit of water-worn and rolled Obsidian more than anything else; yet it might have been a claw; but, if so, greatly worn, and with dull and rounded edges. I only saw it once and for a short time.

461 WC: As a proof of this, see “Tasmanian Journal of Science,” Vol. II., p. 244, for an account of a fine fossil Terebratula (T. tayloriana), which I discovered far away in the interior in 1841, and dedicated to him.

462 WC: Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. VIII., p. 11.

463 WC: Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. XI., Art. V., p. 77.

464 WC: For Part I. see Vol. XI., Art. V., p. 77.

465 Wikipedia: “A pun, or paronomasia, is a form of word play that deliberately exploits ambiguity between similar-sounding words for humorous or rhetorical effect.”

466 The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas, usually in a balanced way, e.g. “Many are called, but few are chosen”.

467 WC: Vide paper on the Moa; Art. VI., Part II.

468 WC: Vide Vol. XI., Part I. of “Contributions, etc.,” p. 83.

469 WC: Vide Part III. of “Contributions, etc.,” infra.

470 WC: Lest any should say I have Paul’s well-known and often-quoted passage in my mind (which I have not), I will give a notable passage to the same effect from the Greek tragedians, 500 B.C.:— “For no such evil institution as money has arisen to men. It lays waste cities; it drives away men from their homes; it seduces and perverts the honest inclinations of mortals to turn to base actions; and it has taught men to learn villanies, and to know the impiety of every deed.”—Sophocles: Antigone.

471 WC: Though a far better translation of the same work had been made nearly twenty years before, by a skilled Maori scholar; this translation, in MS., I have still by me.

472 WC: As, for instance:—“A’are no frien’s that speak fair to you” (S.), “All are not friends that speak us fair” (E.); “As the auld cock craws, the young ane learns” (S.), “As the old cock crows, the young one learns” (E.); “As the old cock crows, the young bird chirrups” (I.). Again, “To carry coals to Newcastle” (E.), “To carry saut to Dysart” (S.), “To send water to the sea” (French and German), “To send fir to Norway” (Dutch), are all one and the same proverb as to meaning, but which is the original?

473 WC: There are several items of interest in this old story, but I must pass them by to take up a more modern one. A few years ago, the then Superintendent of the late Auckland Province (Mr. J. Williamson) sought to have an interview with a Maori chief of note on political matters; this, however, the chief would not grant, ending with saying, “You and I shall never meet until we meet in the reinga.” This, of course, was made much of. The dreadful bitterness of expression—“never until we meet in hell!—was intensified and dwelt upon shudderingly with much Christian feeling, but all through ignorance on the part of the Christian Europeans. The New Zealander had no such thoughts, and only made use of an old saying, the English having chosen this word (reinga) as the equivalent for hell; a meaning, however, which it does not possess.

474 WC: Sophocles; Philoctetes.—Aristophanes; Plutus.—Horace; Odes, lib. I., 10.

475 WC: Son-of-the-tongue, or, Master-of-the-tongue, would be more literal, but I have given the meaning.

476 WC: Vide plates, 13, 55, etc., in Cook; and in Parkinson, 15, 16, 17, 21.

477 WC: So Virgil: —“facilis descensus Averno; Noctes atque dies patet atri janua Ditis.”—Æn., lib. vi. (which Dryden freely translated as
The gates of hell are open night and day;
Smooth the descent, and easy is the way.—Ed.

478 WC: First Voyage, Vol. III., p. 464.

479 WC: Vide Prov. No. 11, ante.

480 WC: But, at the south parts of the North Island, Maire is the Maori name of the Olea cunninghamii.

481 WC: See a future paper on the astronomical lore of the old New Zealanders.

482 WC: Note on preceding page.

483 WC: See Grey’s Polynesian Mythology, p. 90.

484 WC: Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. X., pp. 37–54.

485 WC: Te Kaniotakirau, long the principal chief. I, also, saw him on several occasions; his father, Rangitumamao, did not see Cook, but his grandfather, Whakatataraoterangi, who was then the principal chief there, received Cook and his party.

486 WC: On my arrival in New Zealand I found several natives bearing his name, mostly on the East Coast.

487 WC: A farther proof of the term by which Cook and his first visit to New Zealand was everywhere known. Vide Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. XI., p. 108.

488 WC: Handbook, N.Z. Flora, p. 183.

489 WC: Vide Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science, (1843) Vol. II. p. 299.

490 WC: Vide Addendum.

491 WC: The sensation being just as if every single scale was being forcibly moved forwards in rapid succession by the muscles of the animal.

492 WC: Vide Addendum.

493 Naultinus elegans, Gray.

494 Possibly Clematis foetida Raoul.

495 WC: Vide Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. X., p. 109.

496 Metrosideros colensoi Hook.f.

497 Metrosideros diffusa (Forst.) Sm.

498 Olearia rani var. colorata (Colenso) Kirk.

499 Dicksonia fibrosa Colenso.

500 WC: In giving the name from the “Handbook, New Zealand Flora,” by which this handsome fern is therein described, I do not subscribe to its being identical with the British species of that name.

501 WC: Vide “Transactions N.Z. Inst., Vol. I., “Essay on the Botany of the North Island, N.Z.,” pp. 55, 56, for more.

502 Hymenophyllum revolutum Colenso.

503 WC: Tasmanian Journal Natural Science, Vol. I., p. 186.

504 Trichomanes venosum R.Br.

505 WC: Cook’s Voyages, 1st Voyage, Vol. II., p. 313.

506 WC: Here is a specimen:— “Formerly they were much pinched for food in winter; that period went by the name of the grumbling months, they had no other name for them, being a blank in their calendar, as they could do nothing but sit in their smoky huts with eyes always filled with tears.” [What horrid stuff!] Again:— “In times of scarcity, the only food they had to depend upon was fern-root and shell-fish. The traveller is often surprised, as he journeys along the coast, by the large heaps of shells which he sees on almost every mound he passes; these are records of by-gone scarcity, &c.”—Taylor’s New Zealand, 2nd Ed., p. 341

To this I reply:—1. They were not pinched for food in winter. 2. The winter months were not so named. 3. Their “only food in times of scarcity” was not merely fern-root and shell-fish. 4. Those mounds are not “records of by-gone scarcity”—rather of plenty! The shell-fish were collected in bushels, or cart-loads, in the summer, in their proper season, and cooked, and the flesh dried and often strung on long threads of New Zealand flax, and carried off in baskets to their homes for stores.



507 WC: Tacitus, Germania, c. 26; and Cæsar, Bell. Gall., VI. 21, etc.

508 WC: It is related of the ancient Persians, “that their kings laid aside their grandeur once a month to eat with husbandmen;” this is a striking instance of the high estimation in which they held agriculture; for at that time the fine arts were practised among that people to great perfection. The precepts of the religion taught by their ancient magi, or priests, included the practice of agriculture. The saint among them was obliged to work out his salvation by pursuing all the labours of agriculture; and it was a maxim of the Zendavesta,—that “he who cultivates the ground with care and diligence, acquires a greater degree of religious merit than he could have gained by the repetition of 10,000 prayers.” I would that such a doctrine were believed in now-a-days!

509 WC: Among the Greeks, Hesiod in “Works and Days,” and Xenophon in “Œconomics,” and among the Romans, Cato, and Varro, and Virgil in his “Georgics.”

510 WC: See the Maori proverb, No. 22, p. 118, “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XII.

511 WC: Contributions towards a better knowledge of the Maori Race, “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XII., p. 115, etc.

512 WC: The last two occasions (known to me) of this being done, may be briefly noticed in a note—seeing that well-known Maori chiefs of Hawke’s Bay were concerned. (1.) Te Hapuku, in 1847, rooted up and destroyed the young growing crop of kumara belonging to Takamoana, (afterwards baptized and named Karaitiana = Christian, and, in years long after, one of the Maori Members in the House of Representatives), owing to a severe quarrel between them, or rather between Te Hapuku and Takamoana’s tribe; to show his pre-eminent right to the land where they grew, not far from their respective pas on the east bank of the river Ngaruroro. (2.) Te Hapuku again, in 1850, tore up and destroyed the kumara crop, and killed the tame pigs, of the venerable old Melchizedeck Te Motu, at Te Haukee (near Te Aute), where the old man then lived almost alone. The offence in this case was, that Te Motu was Te Hapuku’s old family and tribal priest, (and there was now not another left!) and he had dared to become a Christian and to be baptized, and subsequently refused to perform some of his old ceremonies when required to do so by Te Hapuku, saying, that “all such now were of no use whatever!” “I would not have done so,” said Te Hapuku to me, afterwards, when expostulating with him, “had he but listened to me for a short time longer, and performed the ceremony of horohoro over my children before that he left me; now there is no one left to do it!”

513 WC: “Leaving Te Kawakawa and travelling south by the seaside, I passed by several of the taro plantations of those natives. These plantations were large, in nice condition, and looked very neat, the plants being planted in true quincunx order, and the ground strewed with fine white sand, with which the large pendulous and dark-green shield-shaped leaves of the plants beautifully contrasted; some of the leaves measuring more than two feet in length—the blade only. Small screens formed of the young branches of Leptospermum scoparium, to shelter the young plants from the violence of the winds, intersected the grounds in every direction.”—Excursion in N.Z., in 1841:—”Tasmanian Journal of Science,” Vol. II., p. 217.

514 WC: A striking incident illustrating the above, which once happened to me, may not be out of place here. I was travelling, as usual, in the interior, where I had often been before, and having brought up at a small village for the night, in the morning early I went and gathered some remarkably fine succulent tops of the wild Brassica (“Maori cabbage” of the settlers) which was running up to flower, for my breakfast; a thing I almost daily or oftener did; these I brought to my tent, and gave to my Maori cook, who had travelled with me many years. At breakfast, however, I missed them, having, instead, only some very inferior leaves. On my enquiring after my fine vegetables, I was told that my gathering them had been seen by some of the people of the village, who ran and told him of it, and that he had therefore thrown them away, for they had grown on the river’s bank not far from the village privy. I should also add that the young man himself was above all such notions, having often worked in my garden at home, and there used manure.

515 WC: See Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. XI., p. 303, and Vol. XII., p. 121.

516 WC: A few years after I came to Hawke’s Bay to reside—I think in 1846—the tribe of the late chief Karaitiana, who lived near me, had their large kumara plantation regularly set upon by those immense larvæ. The chiefs borrowed all my turkeys, which were put into their kumara plantation, and in a short time they cleared the whole ground of those destructive creatures.

517 WC: In an old work on Gardening and Botany I find the following:—“The sweet potato” (Batatas edulis), Sir Joseph Banks observes, “was used in England as a delicacy long before the introduction of our potatoes; it was imported in considerable quantities from Spain and the Canaries, and was supposed to possess the power of restoring decayed vigour. The kissing comfits of Falstaff, and other confections of similar imaginary qualities with which our ancestors were duped, were principally made of these and Eryngo roots,”—Dow’s General System, Vol. IV., p. 401.

518 WC: That some correct idea may be formed of the large amount of cultivated vegetable food consumed at those great tribal feasts (hakari)—seeing all such has long gone into disuse, I may state that the food was generally piled up in the form of a pyramid, from 80 to 90 feet high, and 20 to 30 feet square at the base, gradually rising to its apex. To build up this, the straight trunk of a large tree was first obtained from the forest, and dragged out with no small difficulty to the spot fixed on for the feast, there it was disbarked or dubbed down and set up, other strong poles were then set up around it, a series of horizontal stages were then made all round the scaffolding at from 7 to 9 feet apart, and the whole was filled in and built up with food packed into baskets; presenting, when finished, one solid mass of food! The getting-up of one of those feasts always took a long time, often more than a year, though many willing hands were employed, and the labour expended was prodigious! At a small feast (comparatively) of this kind, and almost the last in those parts, held at the Waimate (Bay of Islands) in 1835, and given to the people of Hokianga, 2,000 one-bushel baskets of kumara were used; and at a similar feast given by the noted warrior chief Te Waharoa (father of the equally notable Wiremu Tamihana Tarapipipi), at Matamata, in 1837, to the people of Tauranga, the following inventory of the food was taken down at the time by a credible eye-witness:—“Upwards of 20,000 dried eels, several tons of sea-fish, principally young sharks (a great Maori delicacy), a large quantity of hogs, 19 big calabashes of shark oil, 6 albatrosses, and baskets of potatoes (sweet and common) without number.”

519 WC: See Appendix A.

520 WC: Here may also be noticed that a striking peculiarity obtains among the Maoris generally with respect to the name given to the tubers of this plant when used for planting—purapura, which is the proper Maori name for all real small seeds, as of cabbage, etc. It seems strange, seeing they revel in such a multiplicity of names for every variety of natural objects, and for the several parts of any one thing. Purapura is also the name given to potatoes when used for planting.

521 WC: See Appendix B.

522 WC: See “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XII., p. 140.

523 WC: See Appendix C.

524 WC: See Part III. of this paper.

525 WC: This is its name at the north, but poporo and poroporo at the south.

526 WC: See Grey’s Mythology, p. 124.

527 WC: Parkinson, in his “Journal,” has more particularly noticed this plant; he says (speaking of the Bay of Islands), “Saw many plantations of kumara, also plantations of aute, or cloth trees.” I once saw this plant growing, in an old plantation at the head of the Kawakawa river in the Bay of Islands,—that was in 1835. There was however but one small tree left, which was about 6 feet high, with few branches and not many leaves on them, it appeared both aged and unhealthy, and it soon after died. On my finally leaving the Bay of Islands in 1844, to reside at Hawke’s Bay, I heard of some aute trees still living at Hokianga. I wrote to a chief of my acquaintance there (E. M. Patuone), who kindly sent me several good cuttings; saying (in a letter) that the plant there was nearly totally destroyed by the cattle of the Europeans. Unfortunately, my removing was so greatly hindered, in not meeting readily with a vessel, and the summer also advancing, that I lost them all.

528 WC: For proverbs concerning it see “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XII., p. 145.

529 WC: See the work on Phormium tenax by Dr. Hector.

530 WC: In travelling through the dense forests of the interior, on two occasions, I came suddenly upon a small cleared area of an acre in extent, which had been regularly panted with a fine variety named oue. At that time, and for many years, no one lived within miles of it, and my Maori companions gazed with wonder, some taking a leaf with them to show when they got home. So here, in Hawke’s Bay, in 1845, there were the remains of old plantations of several varieties. In the spot where the township of Havelock now stands was a fine old plantation, and from it I obtained specimens of a prized sort, named tapoto, for Sir W.J. Hooker, which I thought to be a new species.

531 WC: Tate’s “Account of N.Z.,” p. 106. Tate had also resided in New Zealand 7 years!

532 WC: It had also several other names, some of which were mythological, and some allegorical.

533 WC: As corroborating this, I may here mention that at the reading of this paper I exhibited some superior fern-root (though not of the best quality) which I had recently obtained from Pakowhai from the late chief Karaitiana’s tribe. They had had three baskets of it sent to them as a present, some six months ago, from a place about 20 miles inland from Te Wairoa (Hawke’s Bay); it had grown in volcanic soil, the roots being much pitted, and still having many bits of pumice adhering to them. They contained a very large amount of fecula, and commonly measured 12–15 inches in length, and 3 inches in circumference.

534 WC: See Appendix D.

535 WC: I find that Taylor has given this fable, in incorrect Maori and worse translation (!) as usual; not apprehending the real gem of the excellent retort, through which it had passed into a proverb. To which, and worse still, he has added this remark,—“Formerly fern-root was nearly the sole food of the Natives during the winter months. It was beaten indoors, on account of the constant rain, and their houses being always filled with smoke, the eyes were as constantly suffused with tears.” (Loc. cit., p. 302.) I copy this remark as being quite in keeping with the erroneous ones copied at pp. 4–5, footnote.

536 WC: Or, Vegetable carpet.

537 WC: Or bore; or caused to grow.

538 WC: One of the sons of the Sky (father) and Earth (mother.)

539 WC: Lit. the Kicked below: i.e. Mother Earth.

540 WC: Or Deceit; or Imposition; or Carelessness.

541 WC: Lit. Haumia; one of the sons of Sky and Earth; who, at the great separation, remained with his mother, and is called the Father, Former, or Precursor, of all vegetable food spontaneously growing—particularly of the common Fern.

542 WC: Or, Superior, Master, or Forerunner. Lit. The name is, Miss- (or, Daughter-Lady) dig-up-thy-lord; meaning, that the young shoots of fern showed annually where the best (thickest, strongest) roots, which produced them, were to be found; and, also, in their being used as food by man, they enable him to persevere in digging them up.

543 WC: This statement has never failed to remind me of what the Maoris said and did when they first saw our mission wheat growing at the Bay of Islands, a vegetable production too, which they had long wished for, through having so often tasted bread, biscuit, and flour, of all which they were passionately fond. “What!” said they on seeing it in leaf, “Grass, it is only grass;” and then a little later, when early in ear, they hastily and eagerly tried some of its green half-filled grains, and spat them out with disgust and reproof to us.
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