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



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§ V.—Modern.


54. This period, comprising nearly a century, from the discovery of New Zealand by Cook to the present—is a most eventful one in the history of the New Zealanders. A large and instructive volume might be written of the principal acts and actors, men and things, of this period. Time, however, will only allow of a very brief mention in this Essay, of the most prominent of them. It was during this century that four European quadrupeds were introduced into New Zealand—the pig, the dog, the cat, and the rat. These have each done its share in the work of effecting a great change in the country. Had foreigners ceased to visit New Zealand, after the introduction of those animals, the country would no longer have been the same it once was to its Maori inhabitants. And it is a question difficult to answer, whether their introduction alone, followed by such a circumstance, would have been a benefit or an injury. These four animals (especially the two smaller ones) destroyed the choice and numerous ones of the Maori;—the edible rat, the kiwi, the quail, the ground parrot, and the birds generally; while the foreign dog was also the cause of the entire loss of their own peculiar little dog (to them a most useful animal); and the pig caused them an enormous amount of extra work in everywhere fencing their many cultivations; as well as became the cause of much dissension, strife, and fighting. It is highly instructive to trace and to see the great and important changes, affecting even the destiny of peoples and nations, which are sometimes brought about by apparently unimportant and trivial circumstances.

1. Foreign, or External.


55. From their discovery by Cook in 1769, to the visit of Governor King in 1794. This first quarter of the past century seems to be a very proper division; beginning and ending with their two greatest known foreign benefactors during that period. Cook found the New Zealanders numerous, healthy, strong, industrious, abounding in children, contented, and happy. As is well known, he visited New Zealand five times during the years 1769–1777; on two of which visits he was also accompanied by Capt. Furneaux. From Cook the New Zealanders received many valuable things—more especially the pig and potato, which have proved an incalculable blessing to the people. Unfortunately, Cook was obliged to show them his superiority, by using his fire-arms no less than twelve times during his first visit, and to shed blood on each occasion, through which several natives lost their lives. That more serious collisions did not take place was, without doubt, owing both to his able manner of dealing with them, and to his having with him the Tahitian islander, Tupaea, whose services as interpreter must have been invaluable;—and yet not always appreciated by the New Zealanders, as the [63] lamentable affray at Cape Kidnappers, (when they kidnapped and carried off his son Taieto,) fully show. It is remarkable, that while Cook was on the coast, during his first visit in 1769, the French navigator D’Surville also visited New Zealand, and spent some time, at anchor at Doubtless Bay, near the North Cape; during which he surveyed it, naming it Lauriston Bay.181 Unfortunately, D’Surville, after receiving great kindness from the natives, came also into collision with them—burnt down their village, and carried off their principal chief, Kinui, prisoner. This chief died of a broken heart, on board of D’Surville’s ship three months after, when off the island of Juan Fernandez. In 1771, only a few weeks after Cook’s return to England, the celebrated Dr. Franklin projected a scheme for the civilization of the New Zealanders. His proposals were printed and circulated; but, owing to the sad massacre of M. Marion and his crew, which took place early in the following year, or some other cause, they were never carried out. In 1772, (before Cook’s second visit,) another French navigator, M. Marion du Fresne, visited New Zealand in two ships, the Mascarin and the Marquis de Castries. These ships anchored in the Bay of Islands, and remained there two months; and at first, and for some time, there appears to have been great kindness and cordiality on both sides. Unfortunately, again a collision took place, in which Marion and twenty-eight of his crew lost their lives. Shortly after a very large number of natives were slain by the exasperated French. Cook paid his second visit in the following year, 1773, in two ships, Capt. Furneaux commanding the consort. On leaving New Zealand to prosecute their voyage, they were separated by a heavy gale, and Capt. Furneaux putting back to refit, to the same harbour they had so recently left, unfortunately got into collision with the-natives, who killed the whole of his boat’s crew of ten men, ate them, and broke up the boat. Soon after this unhappy affair, Cook again visited them; and again in his fifth voyage in 1777; each time adding to his former benefactions. In 1791 they were also visited by the benevolent Vancouver, who spent a short time at Dusky Bay, from whom the natives also received several gifts. In 1793, another French navigator, D’Entrecasteaux, commanding two frigates, (Recherche and Esperance,) in search for La Perouse, and having the naturalist L’Billardiere on board, communicated briefly with the natives living near the North Cape, who received from him several presents. In the same year, the English settlement at Norfolk Island having been lately founded, Lieutenant Hanson in the Dœdalus was sent to New Zealand by Governor King to obtain some New Zealanders, to teach the new settlers at Norfolk Island how to manufacture the flax (Phormium), which was also indigenous there. Two chiefs were therefore carried thither; who, however, proved to be of little service for the specific purpose they were obtained; as the working of the flax in New Zealand was peculiar to women. They remained, however, with Governor King until the next year, 1794, when he honorably returned them to New Zealand, accompanying them himself, and giving them many useful things—among others a fresh supply of pigs, potatoes, and maize. There can be no doubt, but that their stay with Governor King, and his humane and kind treatment of them, were productive of great good. [64]

56. From Governor King’s visit (1794) to that of the Rev. S. Marsden, and the introduction of the first British settlers (1814)—A period of twenty years. From about the time of Governor King’s visit, ships engaged in the South Sea whale fishery occasionally called at New Zealand for refreshments. From time to time several New Zealanders entered as sailors in those ships; few of whom ever returned to their native country. Other ships too arrived in New Zealand for spars, and their number increased every year. From this date also the New Zealanders began to acquire firearms and ammunition, for which (and often of the most wretched kind) they paid almost fabulous prices. These fatal exchanges and gifts came to them from all quarters, and were, and long continued to be, of immensely greater value in their eyes than anything else. In 1805, Mr. Savage (an English Surgeon) visited them, and remained a short time at the Bay of Islands; taking with him to London, in 1806, the chief Moehanga; who was the first known New Zealander who visited England. In 1809, the sad tragedy of the murder of the captain and crew of the Boyd, nearly seventy in number, and the pillage and burning of the ship, occurred at Whangaroa; to which harbour the ship, on her return voyage from New South Wales to England, had put in for Kauri spars. For this savage murder the New Zealanders, as a people, again paid severely, many hundreds of all ages and both sexes being soon after slaughtered by the enraged united crews of several whalers; but their retribution, unfortunately, fell wholly (a la Nouvelle Zelande!) on a wrong tribe. Nearly the whole of this period was one of great loss and suffering to the New Zealanders, from the cupidity and lust of their European visitors; and to such a length did their maltreatment of them proceed, that at last the New South Wales Government was obliged to interfere by severe proclamations. In 1814, a few Missionary settlers (who had come out for that purpose some time before to New South Wales, under the auspices of the Church Missionary Society) arrived in New Zealand, and they settled at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands. They brought with them several New Zealanders from Port Jackson, among whom was the notorious Hongi. Some time after the Rev. S. Marsden paid his first visit to New Zealand, accompanied by his friend (the classical New Zealand historian) Mr. Nicholas, and remained in New Zealand nearly three months. From Mr. Marsden the natives received several useful things.



57. From the introduction of the first British Settlers and Christianity (1814), to the Treaty of Waitangi (1840). This period of another quarter of a century was also a very important one for New Zealand. It is highly probable, that in no like period did the New Zealanders lose such a number of their population. From without (as before) the natives received much good, although not unfrequently dashed with some evil; often the fruits of their own sad doings. During this period the crews of several small trading vessels were treacherously murdered; among others were those of the Agnes at Tokomaru, of a whaler at Whanganui, and of the Sydney Cove farther south. For a long time the first settlers, although daily benefitting the natives, only held their ground with extreme difficulty, more than once being on the point of leaving. During this period the Wesleyan Society also commenced a mission in New Zealand. Such, however, was the dreadful state of things that their first [65] station at Whangaroa was obliged to be abandoned; shortly however to be re-formed and re-strengthened at Hokianga. Still, it was not until 1824, or ten years after the commencement of the Mission, that the first New Zealand convert was baptized. In the year 1819 the Church Mission took up a new station at Kerikeri, also in the Bay of Islands—then the head-quarters of the chief Hongi. In 1823 the Paihia station was formed; and here, soon after, the first schooner (of 52 feet keel) was built. In 1830 the Waimate station was formed; and in 1834 the Kaitaia, or northernmost one. In 1834–5, Mission stations were also formed at Matamata, and at Mangapouri in Waikato; at Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty; and at Rotorua. Soon after Mission stations were also formed in the Thames, and at Manakau, Entry Island, Otaki, and Whanganui, in Cook’s Straits; and Poverty Bay, Uawa (“Tolaga”), and the East Cape, were all occupied in the years 1839–40. From all these spots, and some others, as so many centres, the natives around, for many miles, were regularly visited, and more or less brought under Christian instruction; receiving largely at the same time the manifold blessings of trade, commerce, and civilization. The printing press was introduced in 1834, and early in 1835, portions of the Holy Scriptures were first printed in New Zealand. In 1837 the first edition of the complete New Testament was printed at Paihia in 8vo, of which edition 5000 copies were printed, and soon entirely disposed of. During the five years ending 1840, many thousands of other books were printed in the New Zealand language and distributed. Within this quarter of a century several whalers and sealers had located themselves in different parts of New Zealand; especially in and near Cook’s Straits, at Dusky Bay, and at Stewart’s Island. But at the Bay of Islands was by far the largest number of settlers and white residents. If the first half of this period of twenty-five years was to the New Zealander the most deadly, the last quarter was certainly the most beneficial; whether in spiritual, intellectual, or outward wealth.

58. The period, from the year 1840, to the present year (1865), another quarter of a century, might be very advantageously divided into two portions:—(1) to the end of the year 1852, up to which time the natives were generally progressing; and (2) from that to the present, during which they have been generally falling back:—but time will not permit of this. During the whole of this period very much has been done for the New Zealander. New Mission stations have been formed in many places; the British Bible Society (and other societies) have given them immense donations of holy and religious books: the Colonial Government has done much for them in aiding them with water mills, ploughs, harrows, horses, seed, vessels, boats, clothing, etc., and with annual grants of money for schools. Many laws also have been made exclusively for their benefit. They have also received directly from the Government, for lands sold, some tens of thousands of pounds in gold; while the greatly increased value of their own reserves, within and near such alienated blocks, and the enormous consequent value of the large tracts still in their hands is almost beyond computation. The industrial stimulus they have received,—through the steady influx of Settlers, the formation of towns for all their supplies,—and the largely increasing demands for pigs, grain, potatoes, kauri-resin, and tanning barks,—are [66] also very great. A New Zealander of low rank, or even a slave, of the present day, is possessed of far more real wealth and comforts than a chief was twenty years ago, or than a whole tribe possessed thirty years back! And all exotic—through their increased intercourse with Europeans! Unfortunately, however, this period (like all the others) is marked by the shedding of their blood by their European friends. The present unfinished war being the third within the last twenty years, and in each case brought on and begun by themselves.


2. Domestic, or Internal.


59. From the time of their discovery by Cook (1769) to the end of that century.—It is evident, that Cook found them much as Tasman left them,—ready to shed blood and delighting in doing it. Tasman, their discoverer, lost a boat’s crew of six men through their sudden murderous attack. Cook, on several occasions was attacked by them;—sometimes, too, at sea, by their throwing stones at his ship! and smashing his cabin windows, which we can now well afford to laugh at;—and Furneaux (Cook’s consort on his third voyage) lost, as we have seen, a whole boat’s crew of “ten of the best men of the ship,” by the natives of Queen Charlotte’s Sound, who, besides killing, ate them! These were the same tribe, or their neighbours, as those who had killed Tasman’s crew. Their treacherous attack the year before on Marion and his crew in the Bay of Islands, in which they killed the commander and twenty-eight of his men, showed clearly their character towards Europeans, who were their benefactors; while the full information obtained from Cook, as clearly showed their character towards each other. The first few natives whom he took on board his ship by force at Poverty Bay (after killing four of their companions), begged hard not to be landed by him at a place in the Bay only a few miles from whence their canoe had come, lest they should be killed by their own neighbours! Speaking of them generally, he also says,—“If I had followed the advice of all our pretended friends, I might have extirpated the whole race; for the people of each hamlet, or village, by turns, applied to me to destroy the other.” Such being their known fierce character, discovery and other ships generally avoided them, and they were left to their old practice of destroying one another; until towards the end of the 18th Century; when, owing to the colonization of New South Wales, they were again visited by Europeans and brought a little into notice. During the last ten years of the century, vessels occasionally visited the coast; and in 1794, the two natives who had been taken to Norfolk Island, were returned, with pigs, potatoes, maize, and other useful seeds, which they assiduously cultivated.

60. From the year 1800 to the year 1840.—The beginning of this century first found the New Zealanders visiting the European Colonies. Te Pahi, and his five sons, visited New South Wales; to which place the father again returned in 1808. In 1806, Moehanga visited London; whither, also, Matara, one of Te Pahi’s sons (who had been to New South Wales), went in 1807, and Tuatara in 1809. Matara, while in England, was introduced to the Royal Family; and all returned to their native country laden with presents. In 1815, a chief named Maui visited England, followed, in 1818, by two others Tui and Titore. [67]



During these years the New Zealanders, having had the worse propensities of their native character inflamed, were active in seizing ships and murdering their crews; among which, the Boyd at Whangaroa, the Agnes at Tokomaru, a whaler at Whanganui, and the Sydney Cove at South-east Cape, may be noticed. Every ship approaching the coast had boarding-nets for protection. Love of murder and greed for plunder stirred up the coast natives generally to be on the watch for prey; while the Europeans sometimes retaliated by shooting, or encouraging the shooting of “a race of treacherous cannibals.” In 1820, the two Ngapuhi chiefs, Hongi and Waikato, also visited England, returning to New Zealand the following year. Hongi brought back with him a large amount of arms and ammunition, which enabled him and his allies to commit much wholesale slaughter. The Ngapuhi (or Bay of Islands) tribes, being well armed with muskets, revelled in destruction, slaying thousands,—at Kapaira, Manukau, Tamaki, the Thames, the interior of Waikato on to Rotorua, and even to Taranaki; and they also came in their canoes so far south as Ahuriri in Hawke’s Bay, remorselessly destroying everywhere as they went. Not content with this, they subsequently turned their arms against themselves, and the tribes in their neighbourhood, where eventually Hongi himself received the wound which caused his death. The tribes further north were also fighting against each other; only ending in the Rarawa destroying the Aopouri, who were very numerous about the North Cape. Te Wherowhero at the head of his people was slaughtering for many years on the west coast, from Taranaki to Whanganui and Entry Island: Te Waharoa, and other chiefs, in the interior, and overland to Hawke’s Bay: the Rotorua tribes in the Bay of Plenty; and Te Rauparaha exterminating in the neighbourhood of Cook’s Straits, and along the east coast of the Middle Island! From 1822 to 1837, was truly a fearful period in New Zealand. Blood flowed like water. There can be little doubt, that the numbers killed by the New Zealanders, in their many sanguinary battles and surprises during this period of forty years; throughout all the New Zealand Islands,—together with those who also perished in consequence thereof, far exceeds 60,000 persons. Nothing is more erroneous than to suppose, that the introduction of firearms made their wars less sanguinary. Such a view is a very partial and mistaken one, and only made by those who have not had the opportunities of knowing the truth. During the last three years, however, of this period, there was very much less fighting than in any three previous years of the same; and missionaries and instruction, commerce and trade, became daily more valuable in their eyes. Several New Zealanders early became very good sawyers and carpenters; in 1836, a few made excellent window-sashes, dove-tailed boxes, and even cedar writing-desks; while (at least) one, whom the writer knew, was, in 1835, the mate of a whaler, and was very much liked as an officer.

61. From a.d. 1840 to the present time, 1865.—During this quarter of a century the natives as a race have become nominally Christian. From 1840 to 1852, they eagerly sought for Christian and other instruction; often submitting to great privations and hardships in seeking after it. They also cultivated wheat, etc., very largely, increasing in quantity every year; although in 1845, and again in 1846, small portions of them were fighting against the Government. Hitherto, however, they have [68] been written of as they were; now they will have to be considered as they are. They have sought for and obtained everything the European could bring; but while they became rich in foreign, they became poor in domestic, wealth. Yearly more and more idle, and discontented, and careless in Christian observances, in schools and in morals. In 1854, they formed an anti-land-selling league, and soon after set up one of themselves as “King”! Their houses are now wretched huts; their canoes are almost entirely gone; their far-famed and useful nets they have ceased to make; and their cultivations, even of their own esteemed roots, are not of one-eighth the extent they formerly were. Their few children (baptized) are growing up in idleness, without being taught to read and write,—though mostly clothed and sometimes gaudily dressed in European costume; their drunkenness, idleness, and greediness, is painfully increasing; and many bad habits, formerly unknown, have been acquired, and, like the introduced weeds, grow luxuriantly. It cannot be denied that in many places, the savage has been spoiled, and the civilized man is not yet formed. And how to do this is a very difficult task; seeing, that from the very beginning, the New Zealanders have ever had the fatal quality, or fatality, of turning honey to gall—of drawing ill from every good thing. Many of them are now engaged in a murderous war against their best friends, the Colonists; in which war, began in 1860, upwards of 1000 have already perished.—While, to crown the whole, or to accelerate “the evil day” for their race, they have largely consented to abandon Christianity, and again to take up with a disgusting heathenish fanaticism in its stead!



62. It has been stated in this Essay, that the natives were formerly in great numbers; this is true, but it may need explanation. They were formerly in great numbers, (1) considering the area which they inhabited; and (2) comparing their former, with the present sparse, population. Whether they were numerically more when Tasman discovered them (1642) than they were when Cook first saw them (1769) is perhaps beyond our research. The writer, however, is inclined to believe, they were many more in number at the time of Tasman’s visit, than they were at the time of Cook’s—at least in the Middle Island. This, he thinks, may reasonably be inferred from the two following facts:—(1.) The natives coming off to attack Tasman’s ships “in eight canoes;” and immediately after, on seeing him under sail, to follow him “with twenty-two more boats put off from the shore;”—these latter were double canoes. And (2) the men in them, (Tasman says,) “wore their hair tied up on the crown of the head, like the Japanese, each having a large white feather stuck upright in it,”—a sure sign they were chiefs or free men. Although Cook was, subsequently, several times at anchor in that very neighbourhood, he never saw there anything like such a number of natives, canoes, or “boats;” nor could he obtain any traditionary information respecting Tasman’s visit—a highly pregnant fact. Dr. Forster, who accompanied Cook on his second voyage, supposed the population to be 100,000; although he never saw any of the populous parts of the North Island. Since when, down to 1840, it has been variously estimated, at, from 150,000 (by Nicholas in 1814) to 80,000. Forster’s estimate is believed (by the writer) to have been too low; because Cook himself, in all his voyages, only saw the natives [69] who were inhabiting a portion of the sea-coast, and in particular those spots where he anchored. He saw none on the whole west coast of the North Island, which he therefore believed to be uninhabited! and, of course, none of the numerous tribes inhabiting the interior.—In 1834, the Missionaries had very good data for believing, that, from the Bay of Islands northwards, there were 7000 fighting men; are there more than one-seventh of that number to be found there now belonging to those tribes? In 1847–8, the writer of this Essay, collected, with much pains and care, an exact census of the natives living between Wairarapa and Ahuriri (Hawke’s Bay) inclusive; going to every village, and seeing every individual native himself (and this two or three times); their number then amounted to 3704 persons, divided among forty-five ascertained tribes and sub-tribes. At present (leaving out the immigrant natives since arrived, from Manawatu, Waikato, Taupo, and the Bay of Islands, and also strangers), the population of the same district is under 2000,—or less than two-thirds of what they were seventeen years ago. Children are every year becoming fewer. Marriages are rarely fruitful. The seven principal Chiefs of Ahuriri (including Te Moananui, lately deceased), are all without children, with the exception of Te Hapuku; and of four of his sons married, three are still childless. Mr. Fenton, from an accurate census182 of a portion of certain tribes in the Waikato district, has clearly shown, that the decrease among them in fourteen years (1844–1858), was at the rate of 19 per cent. Another table, also compiled by Mr. Fenton, showing the numbers of the natives of the Colony of New Zealand in 1858, gives the following:—




Males.

Females.

Total.

North Island

29,984

22,993

52,977

Middle Island

1,326

957

2,283

Stewart’s Island and Ruapuke

110

90

200183

Chatham Islands

247

263

510




31,667

24,303

55,970

Unfortunately at the present time there is no means of accurately showing the difference on the whole of New Zealand; still this may be done for certain isolated districts.—




Males.

Females.

Total.

The Province of Nelson, (including Marlborough), had, in 1855

692

428

1120

The same, in 1864.





980

Decrease





140

The Provinces of Otago and Southland (including Ruapuke and Stewart’s Island), had, in 1852.

382

327

709

Ditto, in 1864

217

179

396

Decrease





313

[70] The Chatham Islands, in 1859

247

263

510

Ditto, in 1861





413184

Decrease





97

“Middle Whanganui,” 1859





2210

“Central Whanganui,” 1864





1417185

Decrease





793

Rotorua, the Lakes, and Maketu, 1859

1210

1050

2260

Ditto, 1864

1023

742

1765

Decrease





495

With the exception of the Return for Otago and Southland, and also that for Chatham Islands, the foregoing can scarcely be depended on; owing to the vagueness of the Whanganui Return, the “incompleteness” of the Rotorua one, and the recent numbers in the Nelson one, being only estimated by Mr. Mackay. The Return for Otago and Southland (which appears to have been each time very accurately and satisfactorily taken,—in 1852 by Mr. Mantell, and in 1864 by Mr. Clarke), shows the greatest decrease! but here it should be noticed, that the last Return (1864) also shows 125 half-castes,—i.e. 72 males and 53 females; of which, some probably had not been included by Mr. Mantell in 1852. Mr. Seed accompanies his Chatham Islands Return with the following remarks:—“From this Return it will be seen the natives must be rapidly on the decline. At Kaingaroa and the adjacent villages, 34, nearly all adults, have died since 1856, and only 17 have been born in the same period. Several years ago the Bishop of New Zealand took a list similar to the one I obtained, and then the natives, I am told, numbered over a thousand.”—It may reasonably be doubted whether the whole Maori population at present number 50,000. Appended is a table, copied, by the writer, from recent official documents in the House of Representatives,—showing the numbers of the natives, the principal tribes, tribal boundaries, and geographical position in the North Island; it can scarcely, however, be wholly relied on for perfect accuracy, yet, in all its main features is correct.



63. The Causes of their very rapid Decrease might here be properly shown, but such can only be done very briefly. The writer believes, that many separate causes have all combined to bring about this sad state of things; not a few of which are nearly or wholly unknown to, or overlooked by, those who have hitherto written on Maori statistics.—(1.) Their own prevailing strong propensities, implacability, and revenge; hence their love of war, murder, and pillage;—in their exterminating wars, mercy was never shown, the helpless and (to the victors) valueless were struck down and slain in heaps. Besides the actual slaughter, they were always wearing themselves out, in preparing arms and building [71] forts on high hills; or, more lately, in working day and night to obtain flax, etc., wherewith to purchase firearms, and in building new forts on low lands. In this half harrassed state many children and weak persons perished through want of proper rest, care, and food. (2.) The increasing number of small tribes also increased their feuds. (3.) Their immorality with foreigners, especially shipping. (4.) Consequent infanticide (before birth, fœticide), and sterility, to an extent which no writer has yet correctly conceived. (5.) Sorcery. (6.) New diseases, especially epidemics, including the rewharewha of 45 years back, the measles, hooping-cough, influenza, etc. (7.) The unlimited use of tobacco, and its many substitutes, and its many attendant evils,—especially by the young and females. (8.) Carelessness,—as to regular food, and wet thin clothing, bringing on early disease and death. (9.) Their exposing themselves in serving and working hard for others; whether in whale ships at sea, whalers on shore, missionaries, settlers, etc. (10.) Their laboring beyond their strength in their greed after European goods, to the continual neglect of themselves;—in scraping flax, and in raising potatoes, wheat, etc., for sale to Europeans, and their bringing the same, with much labour, difficulty, and exposure, to market. (11.) Their selling all their best, including all their tame pigs, and keeping only the refuse food for themselves, being stimulated therto by the price given. (12.) The introduction and rapid increase of the horse (strange as it may appear) has certainly been very injurious to the native, through their abuse of that noble animal; it proving a great means of calling them constantly, away from their homes and cultivations, especially the young and strong (thereby leaving the work to be done by the old and weak), tending to habits of idleness, wandering, and dissipation, and of consequent exposure to hunger and wet in travelling about; and of want, etc., at home. (13.) Many minor causes attendant upon their transition state and the incoming of the settler,—such as, the abandoning of their own rough and dry flax garments for the thin European ones,—frequent exposure to bad weather, sleeping in wet garments, and often in cold damp houses,—going in crowds to a distance to large gatherings (whether of their own, or of the Europeans—Mission or Government), to see new arrivals, or things, etc., etc., and there badly provided for, and always much suffering in, and after, returning to their homes. The writer has long been convinced, that the amount of mortality arising from the causes mentioned under heads 7–13 has been truly frightful—stealthy, unnoticed, and slow, but ever sure.

64. Apart from their numerical decrease, is the great Decline of their Power and Influence,—whether we consider the race, or a tribe, a family, or a single chief;—and that not only among Europeans, but also among themselves. This has, in a measure, been caused by their decrease in numbers, but not wholly or mainly so. The sudden termination of polygamy, slavery, and the taboo (tapu) system, without any things to replace the last two, has been the chief causes of their decline as a people in status and influence. Had some comprehensive mind early arrived in New Zealand, to point out to the first Missionaries the sure consequence of the utter and sudden removal of what then upheld the tribes and nation,—unless renewed with something equally strong and equally suitable,—more cautious and better adapted means for preserving [72] them might have been used. However distasteful these three things might be to an European and Christian, they were the life of the New Zealander. They were perhaps the three rotten hoops round the old cask, but they kept the cask together. Slavery (though an ugly word) might have been ameliorated in New Zealand, where its form was mild compared with what it was in ancient Rome,—even as it was both there and in Asia Minor by Paul. Polygamy might have been far better dealt with, for the time, according to the lenient dealings of God with the Jewish fathers, and with New Testament teaching, than according to ecclesiastical dogmas. And much of the taboo might have been softened and altered, and borne with too, for a time, until a better, and not altogether distinct, scheme, suited to uphold and expand the moral character of the neophyte Maori Christian, had been got ready. An Eastern sage has said, “In time the mulberry leaf becomes satin.” The writer of this Essay has seen a chief,—a lineal descendant of ancient kings,—whose nod yesterday was life or death, who had several wives, many fine children, and a number of slaves; whose home was full of merry laughing faces, food, and hospitality;—he has seen him afterwards a baptized man, without servants or helpers, with little food and less clothing, ashamed and vexed at not having the means to be hospitable; with one weak wife (soon brought to be so through extra daily labour), and three children, for whom he himself had daily to work very hard, and yet could not procure for them the fish and birds and pork of former days;—while any one of his late slaves was far better off than he. The writer has seen with secret grief that man (and several such) more than once, and he has asked Christianity, “Was there really a necessity for all this?” Very likely, had those notable Maori kings been only gradually altered, and not so suddenly and rudely abolished; and had fitting short Christian services obtained instead of wearisome long ones, the principal chiefs, heads of tribes, would have kept their status,—order would have prevailed,—the rising generation would have both known and kept their proper place,—the decrease in their numbers would have been considerably less,—they would have confidence in the Government, missionaries, and settlers, instead of suspicion;—in all probability there would have been now no war with the Government,—and the degrading fanaticism which now obtains would never have found support. Fuit ilium! Cook found the New Zealanders healthy, happy, and contented in the midst of all their wars and poverty.—Are they so now?


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