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



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545 WC: Rev. Mr. Berkeley has a curious error, in his work already quoted, respecting this plant (similar to that about the fern-root). He says,—“In New Zealand the gelatinous volva of Ileodictyon affords an execrable article of food, which would indeed be used nowhere except under great scarcity of better sustenance.” And again,—“The gelatinous volva of Ileodictyon is eaten in New Zealand, but it must be a very unpleasant kind of food; and the same part of Lysurus mokusin is eaten by the Chinese.”—Loc. cit., pp. 254 and 334. No doubt Mr Berkeley supposed that this fungus was used as an article of food after bursting. Just as if one was to write against the use of asparagus for food after it was in flower! A similar or worse error is also made, or enlarged, by Dr. Lindley, in writing on the mangrove tree (Avicennia officinalis, Lin.); he says,—“It exudes a kind of green aromatic resin, which furnishes a miserable food to the barbarous Natives of New Zealand, who call it manawa.”—Veg. Kingdom, p. 665. Dr. Hooker, in his Handbook of the New Zealand Flora, attributes this error to Forster, who—certainly in two of his botanical works (“Plant. Escul.” and “Prodromus”)—had named the New Zealand mangrove, A. resinifera; but, as Forster was never in the North Island of New Zealand, where alone the tree grows, he could not have even seen the living plant. Forster had obtained that information from Crozet (Voyage de M. Marion); and Crozet had jumped to that conclusion from seeing the Bay of Islands Maoris chewing the kauri resin (not to eat, but as a mere masticatory, an old practice of theirs), and from noticing the large lumps of that resin floating about and stranded on the sea-mud among the mangroves,—and so error grows and is perpetuated!

546 WC: I mention this as being a similar instance to that I have given of Convolvulus sepium (ante); the Solanum nigrum of Europe being narcotic and poisonous. Lindley says of it,—“It is more active in its narcotic and dangerous symptoms than Solanum dulcamara,”—the English bittersweet, both also being British plants,—“a grain or two of the dried leaf has sometimes been given to promote various secretions, possibly by exciting a great and rather dangerous agitation in the viscera. It is a narcotic, and, according to Orfila, its extract possesses nearly the same power as lettuce opium.”— Vegetable Kingdom., p. 620. I had both those plants, with others, and their common edible uses here, as vegetables, in my mind, when I wrote what I did in the “Essay on Botany, North Island of New Zealand.”—“Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. I., p. 3 of Essay.

547 WC: see Proverb 19, “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol.XII, p.117.

548 WC: I should here quote a passage from Dr. Seemann’s Botany of Fiji; where, in writing on an allied species of Piper (P. methysticum), he makes some strange remarks on the New Zealand plant, and on the Maoris themselves. (Like not a few others, before him and since,—hastily adopting, or jumping to, a conclusion—not yet warranted by any known soundly logical premises—to bolster-up a pet theory!) Dr. Seemann says:— “Drinking kawa being peculiar to all light-skinned Polynesian tribes, Dr. Thomson expresses surprise that the Maoris of New Zealand should have forgotten the art of extracting it, ‘seeing that the plant (P. metlysticum, Forst.) grows abundantly in the country.’ But the Piper found wild in New Zealand is not, as Thomson supposes, the Piper methysticum, Forst., (the true kawa plant), but the P. excelsum of the same author. Hence it can form no surprise that a genuine Polynesian people should have forgotten the art alluded to during the long lapse of time intervening between their departure from Samoa (sic) and their discovery by Europeans. They have, however, preserved the name of kawa, which they have transferred to their indigenous pepper (!) (kawakawa), and also to a beverage (!!) (kawa) made of the fruits of the Coriaria myrtifolia, Linn.,—a plant by them termed tupakihi, tutu, or puhou. Kawakawa, according to Colenso’s statement in J.D. Hooker’s Flora Novæ-Zealandiæ, signifies ‘piquant’” (Flora Vitiensis, p. 261).

549 WC: This kind was what Cook, Crozet, and others of their early European visitors saw stored up largely in their forts and fighting places, which quantities excited their astonishment. Moreover, the Maoris would not sell them any.

550 WC: Vide—“Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. I., “Essay on the Maori Races,” § 28 and 35; also Papers on the Maoris, Vols. XI., XII., ditto.

551 WC: Like the “Goël haddâm” of the Hebrews, the next of kin was bound to avenge the murder of a kinsman; and too often here, like in those old and bloody times of the Jews (e.g., Gen. XXXIV., 25, etc.; Joshua X., XI.; 2nd Samuel VIII., 2, and XII., 31), the Maoris carried their vengeance to a terrible length! Let those, however, who would freely censure the old Maori, fairly and honestly bear in mind what they may read pretty much of in the Old Testament.

552 WC: This is difficult to express clearly in a mere translation, although to me the original is clear enough. I have given it just literally; it may mean, either that the lad was so carried away in thought at that saying of the chief; or, that he soon proved the truth of what had been said (I incline to the latter). What the chief said was no mere bombast, but the common belief of the Maoris. To an adult that remark would have been sufficient, meaning keep off. But an adult would scarcely have gone thither, at all events not without a special invitation, as those barns or stores were rigidly tabooed, and could only be entered by tabooed persons, and then only at proper set times. And the lad, it seems, did not take the significant hint, but afterwards went inside. The central stack of kumara in the store, as formerly piled, might very easily be made to fall bodily on a little boy below; their kumara was always stored away rather loosely, to allow of the dry air circulating throughout, their great enemy being mould, caused by damp.

553 WC: This is done while swimming, by rising and uplifting both arms, and bringing them down suddenly together with the air in the hollow of the armpits to the surface of the water. When well done by practised persons, it makes a loud hollow sound, and may be heard a great way off.

554 WC: Kahukuranui was the son of Hauiti, and the husband of Tahipare, the woman that was saved.

555 WC: The crawfish were preserved after this manner: they were taken alive, and in their shells were planted thickly in the bed of a running stream of fresh water, much like shingles are placed on the roof of a house; there they were kept down under water with stones placed on them. In a day or two they would be taken out, their shells slipped easily off, and the flesh hung up separately in the wind on light frame-work stages to dry. The flesh shrunk amazingly in the drying process, and when dried each one was very thin and light, all the legs, etc., having been packed on to the body of the fish in its damp state and there consolidated and compressed, were not now plain, so that each bore no resemblance to its original. When quite dry and hard they were put up in bundles and packed away in baskets, and kept in a dry store. They might well be called fish-cakes. They were greatly prized, especially by the Natives in the interior, to whom presents of them were sometimes sent, who gave potted forest birds in return.

556 WC: Their relations by marriage; a practice always allowed in their wars, though highly injurious to both sides, which they also well knew.

557 WC: It may be useful to quote here what Cook says about their nets,—“We had plenty of fish, most of which, however, we purchased of the natives, for we could catch very little ourselves, either with net or line. When we showed the natives our seine, which is such as the King’s ships are generally furnished with, they laughed at it, and in triumph produced their own, which was indeed of an enormous size, and made of a kind of grass [Phormium] which is very strong; it was five fathom deep, and by the room it took up could not be less than three or four hundred fathom long. Fishing seems indeed to be the chief business of life in this part of the country; we saw about all their towns a great number of nets, laid in heaps like haycocks, and covered with a thatch to keep them from the weather, and we scarcely entered a house where some of the people were not employed in making them.” Cook’s Voyages, Vol. II. (first voyage), p. 369—70. The very large nets, the heaps like haycocks, and the making in many houses, I have also seen, precisely as described by Cook. Curiously enough Cook had anchored and stayed some time at that very same place, Uawa, his Tolaga Bay. Cruise, and also Nicholas, 50 years after, relate the same of their nets.

558 WC: Cordyline australis.

559 WC: Very likely through being sons of their one father by different mothers.

560 WC: “Moimoi”—a common term among the old Maoris for calling to a dog; but a great insult if applied to a man.

561 WC: This was done to insult first before killing (having got them completely in their power), and so to make death doubly bitter. In all such matters the New Zealanders excelled!

562 WC: Lit., Fearing; Apprehension. Named, no doubt, like Ichabod and Benoni, of the Hebrews, from the circumstances attending his birth.

563 WC: Vagina lacera.

564 WC: Probably meaning the kite, or its string; this, of course, would be another bitter curse.

565 WC: The words are, “Kei nga iwi o Tuere te mana te atua.”

566 WC: Callæas cinerea.

567 WC: Pogonornis cincta.

568 WC: Anthornis melanura.

569 WC: Prosthemadera novæ-seelandiæ.

570 WC: Podocarpus ferruginea.

571 WC: This ceremonial was always performed over “first fruits,” of birds (as here), of kumara, etc.; and, like most other of their semi-religious ceremonies, was very simple. Insomuch that the principal noun used, being neither a prayer nor a thanksgiving,—I could only translate thus.

572 WC: See “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XIL., p. 123; proverbs 58, 59.

573 WC: Ka tae kei tona waka hua rewarewa”:—probably the meaning is,—after the model of; made like, in form and shape.

574 WC: Observe the change of her name by dropping the h (poetical usage), of which there is more in the way of elision in this chaunt, showing, though we cannot perceive it, that the retention of the letter h, even in a proper name, was offensive to the nice discriminating ear and cadenced rhythm of the Maori. Bearing in mind the literal meaning of the woman’s name, White-and-thinlocks (or hair), these two lines—four and five—may well and literally mean from (her possessing) white and thin locks above; from (her possessing) white and thin locks below.

575 WC: A name of one of the malevolent superhuman ones of old.

576 WC: Those raised by adverse malevolent beings.

577 WC: “Bogged” = powharuwharu,—This term, which is commonly and properly used with reference to swamps and deep muddy places, seems strangely out of place here. I never heard, never met with it so used before, especially with reference to the deep sea—clear water. I have a suspicion that, like some of the noted Delphic Oracles,—and like that of the juggling fiend in Shakespeare, (“The duke yet lives that Henry shall depose.”—King Henry IV., part ii., act 2, sc. 4), it was “said” with a double meaning.

578 WC: Translation here is difficult; I have given it nearly literally. I suppose the great chief, or leader (heruiwi), to be the atua or demon, who had deceived him.

579 WC: See “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XI., Art V., p. 77; and Vol. XII., Art VII., p. 108.

580 WC: Called kai-tuki, hau-tu, etc., —a kind of vocal marine fuglemen, encouragers, chaunters; who, standing on the thwarts (more like birds than men!) directed, and kept, and gave time, both by voice and gesture, to the paddlers.

581 WC: “Their war-dance is always accompanied by a song; it is wild indeed, but not disagreeable; and every strain ends in a loud and deep sigh, which they utter in concert. ... In their song they keep time with such exactness, that I have often heard above 100 paddles struck against the sides of their boats at once, so as to produce but a single sound at the divisions of their music.”—Cook, First Voyage, Vol. III., p. 468.

582 WC: Among their ancient myths and legends are some pleasing and warning stories of some daringly thoughtless persons, who had ventured to hew down trees for canoes without first paying the usual apologetic and deprecatory ceremonies; which have always served to remind me of the story of Erysicthon, who impiously “rushed without shame into the grove of Ceres, and hewed down the trees,” and paid a fearful penalty for his transgression (as told by Callimachus in his hymn to Demeter). But those thoughtless Maoris, in all instances, eventually escaped far better than Erysicthon did; although, in some cases, they often repeated their crime. Was this owing to the milder nature of the Maori wood-nymphs—as conceived by the old Maoris?

583 WC: “I think,” observes Burns, “it is one of the greatest pleasures attending a poetic genius, that we can give our woes, cares, joys, and loves, an embodied form in verse, which, to me, is ever immediate ease.” It is said of Fuseli, the painter, that seeing his wife in a passion one day, he said, “Swear, my love, swear heartily; you know not how much it will ease you!

584 WC: Vocal whistling, however, was almost wholly unknown, and never practised, being quite foreign to the natural musical genius of this people; indeed they often showed a dislike to it when made by a European (as I have proved). Probably this aversion to vocal whistling was owing to their superstitious views, as (they said) their familiar spirits or demons (atuas) thus made their presence known. Yet they had a peculiar kind of loud whistle in use by their chiefs, made out of hollowed hardwood, though not very common, when Cook visited them.

585 WC: There is a singularity here which has frequently reminded me of what is recorded of the Greenlanders, who, however, did not meet their supernatural visitants so bravely as the Maoris. It is said “that their times were often made painful by fancied terrors; sad sounds were often abroad in the air, and there were noises also on the deep and the shore, for which they could not account. In the sublime description in the Apocrypha, they heard the sound of fearful things rushing by, but saw not the form thereof.” And again, “Of spectres they stand greatly in dread. The loneliness of their lives, where the sense of hearing is often invaded with the most appalling sounds, conduces to this belief. The spirits of the lost at sea are heard to come on shore in the dead of night, and utter a mournful wailing.” A singular effect of the imagination is also given:—“A Greenlander came from a distant and quite healthy place to visit his sister in the Mission Station; they were deeply attached to each other. Before the boat came to land, he thought he saw her apparition flitting along the shore and beckoning him to come. The Greenlander paused on his oar, and gazed intently on the spot; his companions saw nothing but the rocks and the ice-hills. But there, he said, she was standing, like the dead, and he refused to go near her. They rowed back directly. Overcome with the fright, he fell sick the very day of his return, and infected the people where he dwelt.”—Life of Hans Egede.

586 WC: If I recollect aright, Captain Sir James Ross, Dr. Hooker, and the other officers of the Antarctic Expedition, informed me, in 1841, that when they had to raise the deepsea lead (in this case made up to 75lbs.) from their deepest soundings of 4,600 fathoms, the labour was so great that they were obliged to have recourse to the aid of music! A sailor perched on the capstan played on the violin.

587 WC: In “Essay on the Maori Races,” § 46.—“Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. I., p. 47 of Essay.

588 WC: From Pope’s Essay on Man. Epistle iv. Line 379:
Form’d by thy converse, happily to steer
From grave to gay, from lively to severe.

589 WC: Although I have used the words line and lines, yet I should also state that the Maoris, in writing poetry, never confine themselves to the use of artificially written poetical lines, but continue on as if writing prose; seldom, indeed, using either stops or capitals.

590 WC: Some old Scotch songs that I have formerly seen are somewhat after this fashion, as, for instance, in Burns’—“Ye Jacobites by name.”

591 WC: Astelia banksii.

592 WC: That the Maoris possessed, in an eminent degree, the faculties of both distant and quick sight and hearing has long been known; these natural qualities being generally highly improved and developed among all savage and uncivilized nations. I have often proved their fine and clear sight, in getting them to point out to me the position of Jupiter’s satellites by their unaided vision, while I used my telescope. From captains of ships I have often heard of the very great superiority of the Maori seaman in this respect,—in discerning ships, whales, icebergs, etc., at a long distance. Then their fine discrimination of the various shades and hues of colours, particularly of blacks, browns, reds, greens, etc., was truly wonderful. On this subject and its relatives I hope to write a paper.

593 WC: See “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XII., p. 88.

594 WC: See “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XII., p. 88, etc.

595 WC: A version of this poem will be found in Grey’s collection of “Poetry of the New Zealanders,” p. 9.

596 WC: Grey’s “Poetry of the New Zealanders,” p. 28.

597 WC: Vide infra, near end of this paper.

598 WC: By—here in a secondary sense; passive, or politely lessening. Lit., embraced closely.

599 WC: Although there is a reference mark in the text, there is no footnote: is this the censoring hand of the editor?

600 WC: Lit.—plain, unadorned, without ornament or covering; applied sneeringly.

601 WC: See Grey’s “Poetry,” p. 58.

602 WC: “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XII., p. 93.

603 WC: See “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XII., p. 142, for a few terse proverbs of this kind, referring to females.

604 WC: For Tinirau, see Grey’s “Polynesian Mythology,” p. 90, etc.

605 WC: Lit., “Puwharawhara” (Astelia banksii).

606 WC: See “Trans. N.Z. Inst.” Vol. XII., p. 139, for this proverb.

607 WC: See “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XI., p. 80.

608 WC: One of these peculiar trumpets (and, as far as I know, the only one remaining in New Zealand) is also in the possession of Mr. Samuel Locke, of Napier, who kindly lent them both to me, to exhibit on my reading of this paper.

609 WC: Of this we have two notable instances in the historical traditions of the Taupo tribes, which, as they are very rare, I may give here.

(1.) When the tribe of Ngatituwharetoa were returning from the battle and slaughter of the Marangaranga people, and had reached the beaches of Taupo lake, they sounded their big trumpet as a sign by which their approach should be known. On hearing it, a lady named Hinekahuroa, one of the Ngatikurapoto tribe, then living at Rotongaio, deeming it to be an insult, bawled out a bitter curse upon them (Pokokohua ma!—mummified heads); which they hearing immediately retaliated with another fell curse, making their trumpet to say “To roro, To roro,”—thy brains, thy brains. This so irritated that chieftainess, that she followed it up with another, still longer and worse, which, of course, was as promptly repaid back by them in kind, through their trumpet; and the end of this was that two towns (pas) were besieged and taken, and the inhabitants ruthlessly slaughtered, within a month.



(2.) Another instance was that of a chief named Ruawehea, a grandson of Tuwharetoa, who had managed to inveigle Maoris of another tribe (Ngatitama) to become his dependants, and, afterwards, whenever he should visit them in his canoe, he caused his trumpet to proclaim his approach, ordering food to be got ready for him, and ending with insulting language and curses, all spoken through his trumpet. The people of that village bore it for a considerable time, but one day on his landing at their place as usual, he was decoyed into their house of reception and killed—for the insulting words spoken through his trumpet. Of course, that also quickly ended with a fearful revenge and full slaughter.—(Historical Incidents of the Ancient Tribes of Taupo:—MSS. ined., W.C.)

610 WC: See “Trans, N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XI., pp. 103–106.

611 Hymenophyton leptopodum (H. & T.) St.

612 Scinde Island is Napier Hill today.

613 WC: “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. XI., p. 429.

614 WC: I know that twenty years ago, before the place was cleared of fern, my mule (a tall animal) was often lost in it, and could only be detected by her big ears just peering above it!

615 WC: In a description of some (then) newly-discovered New Zealand ferns, published by me in 1843 (in the “Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science,” Vol. II., p. 162), I said:—“The number of the species of New Zealand ferns published by A. Cunningham in his “Precursor” amounts to eighty-five, from which I venture to hazard an opinion at least two species—Niphobolus bicolor, and Doodia caudata—will have to be deducted, as I believe these will be found to be merely varieties of N. rupestris and of D. aspera.” At that time I did not know the true Doodia aspera, which was then, on the authority of the two brothers Cunningham, and of the French botanist, A. Richard, all of whom had “gathered the plant in New Zealand,” said to be a New Zealand fern, but which is now considered an endemic Australian one. Nearly twelve years after my publication, Sir W.J. Hooker, in his “Species Filicum,” when writing on D. aspera, says:—“Our herbarium, though eminently rich in New Zealand plants (including Sir J.D. Hooker’s collections formed there, mainly too in the same spot where those three botanists had formerly collected, viz., the Bay of Islands), does not possess a single specimen of D. aspera from that country; and I am hence led to believe that all writers on the botany of New Zealand have mistaken a state of D. media for it.”—L.C., Vol. III., p. 72.


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