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

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§ VI.—The Future.

65. Seeing but very little of a cheering nature in the late past and present of the New Zealanders, the mind ever hopeful, naturally looks forward to the future. But where is the seer who can truly decipher the mysterious signs of the times? much less predict the state and position of the Maori race at the end of another period of twenty years! But why say twenty years? Less than five years more will complete the century of years since Cook first saw them; how will the last year of that century close upon them? This is difficult to answer. Not merely because of the present sad state of the native mind, and of the [73] dismal fatality hitherto attending them; but, because of the crotchetty individuals among the colonists themselves. Men, doubtless, who are well-wishers to the Maories, but who (through their own cloistered, high-flying, or crotchetty views, and want of really understanding the native, and what is good and suitable for him,) have done them more injury (unwittingly) than their bitterest foes. This is the really great obstacle in the way of truly benefitting the Maori; and judging from the past, it appears to be all but hopelessly insurmountable. The following, however, (or something very like it) is believed by the writer, to be really needful, in order to a better state of things, and to the conservation of the Maori race.—

1. Preparatory.

1. The present war must be ended, and ended well; the sooner the better.

2. “Ended well”: is to have done so leaving a real salutary impression on the native; that come what will, he will never go to war again with the Government.

3. Their work done, the military must be all withdrawn from New Zealand.

4. The suspicions of the native must be removed; this will be a work of time.

5. The Colonial Government must have the Government of the Maories wholly in their own hands.

6. Individuals, especially those in authority, must for the common good, at once and for ever cease their fruitlessly teasing the native with their fine-spun theories, and their secretly writing to powers and parties at home against the New Zealand Government and the colonists: or, if not, the Government of the day must gird up their loins to the task, and put such persons down with a strong hand; and, if necessary, make a public example of them. Above all, pensionaries on the public purse must be taught a useful lesson.

7. All Bishops and other Ecclesiastics, should cheerfully and zealously, openly and privately support the Government; remembering Paul’s teaching,—“The powers that be, are ordained of God.

8. The Governor, the Government, and the various Ecclesiastical bodies, and settlers generally, must unite, and be as one in these matters: the Maories should be able to see this.

2. Real: Active.

9. The present mischievous and costly system of “Civil Commissioners” must be immediately abandoned: the Maories well know it to be an office of espionnage.

10. The present objectionable system of bribing Maories (derided among themselves) with gifts and with salaries for work never performed, must be wholly thrown aside. It is directly opposed to the genius of the people, as it is to their advancement, and is the cause of much bad feeling and jealousy. Until this is done their suspicions and distrust will never be really less. [74]

11. One strict, equal, but lenient law for them as for Europeans, in the one court in all European districts.

12. Good, useful, zealous, loving men, to be stationed as Resident Magistrates in purely native districts; men, whom the natives could love, obey, respect, and work with. Such to be obtained from England, if not to be found in the Colony.

13. Such Magistrates to itinerate throughout their districts; (say) 4 times a year, to hold their simple courts at the principal villages of the sub-tribes; to act in co-operation with the head, or heads, of the tribe. (Not, as now, with assuming inferior chiefs and pert loquacious youngsters.) And to get reparation for almost all Maori offences, by fines judiciously inflicted. Such a mode of proceeding falls in with the genius of the people, is just and Christian, and is not costly. Their errors among themselves, should be dealt gently with; a spirit of love and forgiveness (alas! foreign to our laws) should be inculcated. Insult not their prejudices. {Note 38}

14. The authority of the oldest head chief of a tribe, or sub-tribe, should be firmly but steadily supported.

Native Population, North Island of New Zealand, with Names of Tribes and Boundaries.—(Corrected to 1863.)

Name of Tribe.


Area in Acres.

Tribal Boundaries, Geographical Position, &c., &c.


Rarawa and Aopouri



North of Hokianga, W.C., and of Mount Camel, E.C.





North of 36°, W.C., and of Cape Rodney, E.C.


Ngatiwhatua and Uriohau



North of Manakau, W.C., and of Auckland to Cape Rodney.





South of Auckland, and North of Firth of the Thames.





Head of the Thames, across to Katikati, E.C., thence north to Cape Colville.





From Katikati to Maketu, E.C., and extending 40 miles inland.





Maketu, to Waitahanui river, E.C., and inland to the Lakes.





Nearly central; at Arowhena, nearly where 38°S. lat. bisects 176° long., and for 20 miles round.


Waikato & Ngatimaniapoto


North of Mokau to Manakau, W.C., and about half across the island at 38°S.


Ngatiawa, E.C.



Waitahanui river to Ohiwa, E.C., and inland to Mount Edgcombe.


Ngatiawa, W.C.



From 38°50` S., W.C., to the Sugar loaves, and inland about 40 miles, including Mount Egmont.


Ngatiawa, Waikanae


A few miles around Waikanae, W.C., and extending inland to the mountain ranges


Ngatiawa, Wellington



Near Wellington, extending E. to Rimutaka range and Palliser Bay.


Te Whakatohea



S. of Ohiwa, Bay of Plenty, for 30 miles, and extending inland about 50 miles.





Cape Runaway, E.C., to Table Cape, and extending inland about 50 miles.





Centre of island, including Taupo lakes and mountains, from 38° to 39°30` S.





Between Mokau, W.C., and 39°S., extending inland about 50 miles.





Near Taranaki, W.C., from Sugar loaves to about 39°30 S.





From about 39°30` S., W.C., to near Waitotara, and extending inland 60 miles.





From Waitotara to near Whanganui, W.C., and extending inland about 40 miles.





From a few miles N. of Whanganui river to Whanganui river, W.C., extending inland about 60 miles.





From Whanganui river to a few miles S. of Otaki, and extending to mountain ranges.













Included in No. 13.


Taranaki, Wellington



East of Wellington to Palliser Bay and Wairarapa.





From Table Cape to Palliser Bay, extending 50 miles inland, generally to the mountains.


Te Urewera


Interior: a radius of about 40 miles around 38°20` S. and 177° longitude.



From Cape Runaway, Bay of Plenty, E.C., to 40 miles N., coast line, and extending inland about 40 miles.

Note—W.C. means West Coast, and E.C. East Coast.

15. Maori views—modes of reparation, fines, forfeitures, semi-banishment from the village and tribe, etc., etc., should be supported, and acted on, where proper and just;—and not our unsuited Draconian laws. A celebrated author, says—“Humanity is one of the best fruits of refinement. It is only with increasing civilization, that the legislator studies to economise human suffering, even for the guilty; to devise penalties, not so much by way of punishment for the past, as of reformation for the future.”187

16. Young persons, of both sexes, should on no account be allowed to be enticed away from their tribe, by Europeans; on their being so enticed away, and complaint made, the authorities should interfere, and cause them to be restored, and the abductors severely punished.

17. Good, useful, plain, married schoolmasters should be stationed in the various Maori districts; such to be had also from home, through the various Christian and Philanthropic Societies.

18. Zealous, loving, self-denying European Ministers to be placed among them; men contented to serve their Great Master in humility. Also to be had from home through the various Christian Societies. No hireling, no mere observer of rites and ceremonies. The Maories have had enough of muttered charms and incantations. The young New Zealand Samson is not to be surely bound with green withes.

19. In populous, wholly Maori districts, a religious physician, or surgeon should be stationed; to be also obtained from home.

20. Anglo-Maori books should be written and printed for their use; and a really useful Anglo-Maori weekly paper should be established and circulated.

21. Once a year the Governor should meet the assembled chiefs at some principal Maori place to be fixed by them; and once in two years they should be assembled at the Seat of Government to see the Governor.

22. The sons of the head chiefs, and of others, who may show an [75] aptness to learn, should be sent to England to be educated at Government expense; but they should not be foolishly and flatteringly educated there as “gentlemen,” rather in a plain sound Christian way; they should also be taught useful arts and trades. Remember Peter the Great.

23. Occasionally one or more of the chiefs of the highest rank and most deserving should be taken to England, to see the sons of the chiefs there being educated, and to be presented to her Majesty.

24. European gentlemen visiting Maori districts and villages, should be careful to demean themselves as such. They should act there as they would in a village at home, or on the Continent.

25. Spirituous liquors should be kept out of all purely Maori districts and villages.

Cook found the Maories happy:—are they happy now? Let us endeavour to make them so.


66. The writer of this Essay has no hesitation in expressing his settled conviction; that, (apart from any spiritual Christian benefit,—a subject he has generally throughout this Essay carefully avoided,) taking all things into consideration, and viewing the matter from a philanthropic as well as a New Zealand point of view,—it would have been far better for the New Zealanders as a people if they had never seen an European.

—–“De duro est ultima ferro.—

—Fugere pudor, verumque, fidesque;
In quorum, subiere locum fraudesque dolique,
Insidiæque, et vis, et amor sceleratus habendi.”


Note 1, Par. 5. “These people enjoy perfect and uninterrupted health; in all our visits to their towns, where yg. & old, m. & w., crowded about us, we never saw a single person who appd. to have any bodily complaint, nor among their numbers that we have seen, naked, did we once perceive the slightest eruption on the skin, or any marks that an eruption had left behind. A further proof that hum. nat. is here untainted w. disease, is the gt. no. of old m. that we saw, many of whom by the look of their hair & teeth, appd. to be v. ancient, yet none of them were decrepid, & though not equal to the young in muscular strength, were not a whit behind them in cheerfulness & vivacity.”190 On 2 occasions it has fallen to the lot of the writer to Baptize, at one time, 4 lineal descendents, on anr. occasion the aged great-grandfather was healthy, active and in full possession of hair, teeth & memory.—

Note 2, Par. 7. as a favor. instance, the follg. may be mentd. 3 male children were born at one time in 1844 to a couple who lived at Waipureku very near the writer: these all reached maturity.

Note 3, Par. 9. This stubborn disease has been in a few cases treated successfully by the writer, admg. internally Arsenic or Potass. Iodide, in Sol., & using externally washes of Sulph. Zinc. Soda Bicarb, or Ung Iodid. & poultice of fresh seaweed, & at the same time a gen. diet. The Natives invy. assert this disease to havg. Been formerly unknown & Cook’s statement (noted in Notes) intimates as much.

Note 4, Par. 9. The writer once saw (1835) a wretched case of a young m. who had lost one hand & forearm, & the fingers of the other hand, & also one foot at the ankle, & some of the toes of the other foot, from this fell disease: he was naked & crawling on all fours thro the clayey mud, with his poor stumps sore and bleeding. He said that he felt little or no pain; as his smiling countenance indicated. I saw at Taika (Whangarei) in Decr. 1839, two sad cases of Tuwhenua: 1, a little lad named Wairepo, fingers, toes & part of feet gone! also parts of elbow & knees. Yet he cod. read & appd. to be thoughtful (this may be a bias of story!) 2, another lad, nearly as bad, also there, name Taukawau.191

Note 5, Par. 9. In one summer, two yg. natives, living near the writer at H. Bay, lost their lives thro sun-stroke. They were both travelling at difft. times over raised dry stony beaches, & both wore black glazed hats.

Note 6, Par. 10. “We saw among them (the N.Zrs.) one instance of cleanliness in wh. they exceeded our friends at Otaheite, & of wh. perhaps there is no ex. in any other Indian nation. Every house, or every little cluster of 3 or 4 houses, was furnished with a privy, so that the ground was every where clean. The offals of their food, & other litter, were also piled up in regular dunghills.”192 ―(A whole page here follows, in wh. Cook contrasts them with the Spaniards, and particularly w. the inhabs. of Madrid, awarding the palm for cleanliness in this respect to the N.Zrs.) Notwithstg. its length, the writer cannot refrain from adding another val. testimony highly characteristic of the N.Zers as they say;— & also, as indicating their horror at the dirty habits of many of the Europeans.193

Note 7, Par. 15. The Ngati Maru (Thames) Tribe used their flaming darts successfully in their attack on the stronghold of Tapatahi near Waiapu, S. of the E. Cape. This first landing site on the abrupt precipitous end of a high hilly range, made impregnable by nat., & containing several hundred natives was, after a long siege taken, through being fired by flaming combustibles slung, and thrown, into it. On this day there was a very great slaughter. Many threw themselves over the precipice, only a very few escaping w. their lives.

Note 8, Par. 15. Cook says “We had given the p. at Tolaga a piece of glass, and in a short time they found means to drill a hole through it, in order to hang it round the neck as an ornament by a thread, and we imagine the tool must have been a p. of Jasper.”194

Note 9, Par. 18. Rutherford, an intelligent Englishman, captured by the M. (who was tattooed & lived many y. among them,—a.d. ?1816–1826,) says— “My eldest wife’s name was Hau, & that of my youngest, Peka. They were both handsome, mild & good tempered. When away for any length of time, I used to take Peka along w. me, & leave Hau at home. The chief’s wives in N.Z. are never jealous of ea. other, but live together in great harmony; the only distinction among them being that the oldest is always consid. the head wife.”195

Note 10, Par. 19. As an instance of their acute & still natural views of this matter, the following may be mentioned.— About the time the news reached N.Z. of the birth of the P. of Wales, the N.Zers. wished to know his rank & whether he wod. not be of much higher rank than Her M. the Queen; on being ansd. in the neg. they seemed greatly perplexed, & said by our so doing, it was clear the Father really had no rank; “for” sd. he, “see 2 rivers” (naming them) “when they unite, the stream is therefore bigger, &c.—so it must be w. the son of the Q. & P. Albert
—he must be of greater rank than either f. or m., inasmuch as he inherits rank, titles, power & infl. of both.”

Note 11, Par. 19. Several yrs. ago the 2nd son of one of the prin. chfs. of H.B. (a wild youth) comd. adultery w. one of his father’s wives. On its being suspected & first whispered among the wom. of the village the unhappy wom. strangled herself. The father being absent from home, a messgr. was immy. despatched to him. On his return to his vill., he judiciously sent word to his offg. son to leave it (for a time), &, lest he might do that in his anger he shod. after be sorry for, to go & reside at anor. village with some of their relatives:—the eldest son (& uterine bror. to the offr.) hearing this, viewed it as “a lowering of their dignity,” inasmuch as they were all now residing on their (the son’s) land derived from their mother (a great lady, deceased,) therefore took his bror. into his own house, & sent word to their father, that he must leave! and nearly all the natives of the tribe sided w. him. In this emergency as to the land the father sent to the writer, who (having infl. w. both the sons) succeeded in getting the offending one to leave the village, and go to the one pointed out. In all probability, had this not been quickly done, blood wod. have been shed.

Note 12, Par. 19. “But in his social and domestic relations, where the full force of the human heart is allowed to prevail, no man can be more amiable than the New Zealander. Seated in the midst of his family or friends, he appears gentle, conciliating and affectionate; and, far from exercising a severe controul over his dependants, he behaves towards them on all occasions with affability and mildness, abject and insignificant as they are held in his estimation. In this respect the New Zealand chiefs are particularly distinguished from the higher classes on the Tonga Islands, who treat the multitude, in many instances, with wanton cruelty, as we have seen in the case of Finow, the king of these islands, who ordered the cookee or plebeian to be shot, without the least provocation that could justify such an act. Neither the areekees, nor the subordinate chiefs of New Zealand, are ever known to imbrue their hands in this unwarrantable manner in the blood of their followers; and whenever the latter transgress, they usually punish them with a spirit of lenity and moderation, consigning them to death only for crimes which they consider heinous.”196

Note 13, Par 20. Two striking instances respecting this may be here noticed: in the year 1847, the writer printed (at his private press) for Te Hapuku, one of the prin. Chfs. of H. Bay, the Native statement res. to his title to certain land, wh. was , & had been for years, resided on by anor. subtribe, who now claimed the ownership. That statement went back sevl. generations, deducing his title from an anct. gift made by one individual, an ancestor of the resident tribe, & this claim was subsy. allowed. Again: this present year (1865) a similar case (also contested according to “near lights”) has been fully heard before the Suptdt. of the Prove., I printed in the N.Z. tongue) in the Provl. Maori newspaper for the natives’ information.

Note 14, Par. 21. In 1835 the writer was acqd. w. a ven. old Chief, of the Nga Puhi tribes named Te Aka who gave the followg. narration:—He had been severely wounded in a battle, w. a spear wh. had entd. his side & the head of wh. had broken off within his lower abdomen. Of course he suffd. dreadful pains; several “priests” successively tried their skill at charming, but to no effect; He full knew, that the spear head was within him, as it cod. not be felt. At length a “priestess”—of great power was obtd. from a distance, who having daily examined the wound. chief, went to work. By her directions, he was shut up in a dark house, &, on the 2nd day of her charming, there suddenly fell before him a spearshead, wh. she sd. she had charmed out. The poor m. was so overjoyed, that his pains instantly lessened, & he believed. She got her rewards and went home. The pains howr. soon returned, & remained for a long while; his friends now laughing at him for not having more courage; as he was “all right” & wod. soon be well. For a long time he durst not disbelieve the “priestess”—although his thoughts were occasionally hardened. When after a while the spear head shifted, worked outwards, & was cut out, that was the means of his perceiving the trick wh. had been played upon him by her; & of his aftds. Becoming a Xn. To hear his long and artless statement of his joy & impious doubts, & fears, & his trying to suppress his natural feelings was both interesting & instructive.

Note 15, Par. 21. The writer well recollects having seen at Whangarei (Bream Bay) in the years 1836–9, a fine healthy youth of about 12 yrs. of age who had been recovrd. from poisoning by karaka kernels. He, howr., had not been properly attended to,—in the tying of his limbs in their right position, while under the influence of the poison, there, & he was now a curious spectacle! reminding me of the instrument called a caltrop more than anything else.—one leg was curved up behind to his behind, & the other bent up in front, the foot outwards; one arm inclined behind his shoulder, & the other slightly back & then forwards; and all as to muscles inflexibly rigid. He cod. do nothing, not even turn himself, nor drive off the sandflies, which were there in legions from feasting on his naked body, nor scratch himself when itching; nor put any food to his mouth. When not asleep he was laughing, often seeming the merriest of the village. I frequently sat by his side during my visits to talk w. him and drive away the tormenting sandflies, which he would beg me to do. His skin was remarkably fine & pretty—ruddy, I might call it,—being wholly without any eruption blemish or scar. His teeth pearly white and voice and laugh regularly strong and ringing. His eyes were very brilliant and of an intelligent cast, but in conversing w. him I always thought his intellect was not so sharp (or developed) as ordinarily that of Maori boys of his age. To me his was a pre-eminently sad case; as in the event of his losing his parents (and they were now middle aged) he would be most miserably off; yet it exhibited strongly two eminent natural and beautiful traits of the old N.Z. character, viz., the love of their offspring and patience under heavy and constant affliction and trial. He was the only child of his parents; who fortunately for him were both alive, and took great care of him, and shifted his position very often by day & night, as, from his body not evenly resting, he could not possibly remain long in one posn. If not eating he greatly enjoyed being placed so as he could see the children at play; in wh. he always encouraged them by his voice.

Note 16, Par. 25. As the N.Z. dog has long been quite extinct; (the writer having seen only two, & those nearly 30 years ago;) the following is taken from a rare book,197 as being the best account of this now unknown animal:—“The dogs of the South Sea isles are of a singular race: they most resemble the common cur, but have a prodigious large head, remarkably little eyes, prick-ears, long hair and a short bushy tail. They are chiefly fed with fruit at the Society Isles; but in the low isles and New Zeeland, where they are the only domestic animals, they live upon fish. They are exceedingly stupid, and seldom or never bark, only howl now and then; have the sense of smelling in a very low degree, and are lazy beyond measure: they are kept by the natives chiefly for the sake of their flesh, of which they are fond, preferring it to pork; they also make use of their hair, in various ornaments, especially to fringe their breast plates in the Society Isles, and to face or even line the whole garment in New Zeeland”.198 F. makes a slight mistake here, but it is easily accounted for. He says “to line their garments.”—Not so, howr., as such was always the outside,—but in going off to Cook’s ship, the wearers would reverse them to keep the hair from the salt spray.

Note 17, Par. 27 §1.199 Jn. Forster says— “The music of the N.Zers. is far supr. in var. to that of the Socy. & Fy. Islands; and if any nation of the South Sea comes in competition with them in this respect I should apprehend it to be that of Tanna. The same intelligent friend who favoured me with a specimen of the songs at Tonga-Tabboo, has likewise obligingly communicated to me another (sp.) of the New Zeeland music (given) which will be sufft. to give an idea of the taste of the people.”

See music & copy.

“Of this tune they continue to sing the two first bars till the words of their song are at an end, and then they close with the last. Sometimes they also sing an underpart, which is a third lower, except the two last notes, which are unisons.”

“... notice (was also taken) of a kind of dirge-like melancholy song, relating to the death of Tupaya. This song was chiefly practised by the inhabitants round Tolaga Bay, on the northern island, where the people seem to have had a high regard for that Taheitian. There is an extreme simplicity in the words, though they seem to be metrically arranged in such a manner, as to express the feelings of the mourners, by their slow movement.”

Copy music

Ake, mate awhe Tupaeia.

“They descend at the close from c to the octave below in a fall, resembling the sliding of a finger along the finger-board on the violin. I shall now dismiss this subject with the following observation, that the taste for music of the New Zeelanders, and their superiority in this respect to other nations in the South Seas, are to me stronger proofs, in favour of their heart, than all the idle eloquence of the philosophers in their cabinets can invalidate. They have violent passions; but it would be absurd to assert that these only lead them to inhuman excesses.”

The appx. to Sir G. Grey’s “Polyn. Mythology,” contains a learned paper on the nat. songs of N.I. by a comp. musician Mr. J.H. Davies Esq.—with specimens of the music of the N.Zers.

Note 18, Par. 27 §1. Cook says, “The N.Zers. have an adroitness, and manual dexterity in an uncomn. degree, wh. are discovd. in whatever they do. I have seen the strokes of 15 paddles on a side in one of their canoes made with incred. quickness, & yet w. such minute exactness of time, that all the rowers seemed to be actuated by one comn. soul.200 ―― “In the motions of the war dance, however horrid, there is a strength, firmness, and agility, which we could not but behold with admiration; and in their song they keep time with such exactness, that I have often heard above an hundred paddles struck against the sides of their boats at once, so as to produce but a single sound, at the divisions of their music.201

Note 19, Par 28. “Having come to an anchor, de Surville, the day follg. went on shore & was rec’d very hospitably by the Natives.... After this they shewed every dispn. to treat their visitors as friends & supplied them abundantly w. such refresht. as they wanted.... During the gale (wh. shortly folld.,) a boat, in which were the invalids of de Surville’s crew, in attempting to make from the shore to the ship, was very nearly lost; but contrived at last to get into a small creek, which hence received the name of Refuge Cove. As soon as they had arrived there, the sick men were sent on shore; and nothing could exceed the kindness with which they were received and treated, during their stay, by Naginoui, the chief or lord of the adjoining village. They remained in his care, having his house for their home, and feeding upon his bounty (for he would accept of no remuneration for the refreshments with which he supplied them), till the storm was over; and then, on the 29th, they got back in safety to the ship.”202

“During a stay of ten months in New Zealand a constant intercourse took place between the people of the ship and the natives; and that distant excursions were made by different individuals into the interior and along the coast, without any unfortunate consequences. From personal experience, it is but justice to the New Zealanders to add a particular testimony to their character. Two officers of the detachment of the 84th regiment being provided with a private boat, rowed by two soldiers, and having, as already observed, fewer avocations to detain them on board than the generality of persons belonging to the Dromedary, went on various shooting or other excursions into the country, which brought them in daily contact with the natives, whose assistance was always at their command. When badness of weather or other circumstances obliged us to seek food or shelter among them, an appeal to their hospitality was never made in vain. Perpetually at their mercy, if they chose to misuse us, not a single insult was ever offered to one of our little party; the most trifling article was never stolen, and we often experienced acts of generosity and disinterestedness from them which would have done honour to a civilised people.”203

Note 20, Par. 28. “in the manner of rearing children, and in the remarkable tenderness and solicitous care bestowed upon them by the parents, no partiality on account of sex was in any instance observed.”
“The infant is no sooner weaned than a considerable part of its care devolves upon the father: it is taught to twine its arms round his neck, and in this posture it remains the whole day, asleep or awake, suspended upon his shoulders, and covered with his mat; and in his longest journeys, or his most laborious occupations, it is his constant companion..”204

Note 21, Par. 29. Cook says:—“I have observed that our friends in the South Seas had not even the idea of indecency, with respect to any object, or any action; but this was by no means the case with the inhabitants of New Zealand, in whose carriage and conversation there was as much modest reserve and decorum with respect to actions, which yet in their opinion were not criminal, as are to be found among the politest nations in Europe.... The women wore their lower garment always bound fast around them, except when they went into the water to catch lobsters, and then they took great care not to be seen by the men. Some of us happening one day to land upon a small island in Tolaga Bay, we surprised several of them at this employment, and the chaste Diana with her nymphs, could not have discovered more confusion and distress at the sight of Actaon, than these women expressed upon our approach. Some of them hid themselves among the rocks, and the rest crouched down in the sea till they had made themselves a girdle and apron of such weeds as they could find, and when they came out, even with this veil, we could perceive that their modesty suffered much pain by our presence.”205 “Among the men, nudity at any time, or on any occasion, is not considered indecorous; but a dereliction of feminine modesty by the women is seldom known.”206

The writer recollects a middle-aged chief, several years back, sitting down on a low fence dressed in a large loose mat, at his work carving a small image, when suddenly he fell to the ground in a fit,—(to which,—epilepsy—he was subject,) on his recovering, the first question he asked the writer, was, whether in his fall he had exposed himself to the other natives of the place, mostly women; and although he was assured he had not, he burst into tears, crying bitterly for a long while, and would not be comforted.—

Dr. Forster says:— “The principles of chastity we found in many families, exceedingly well understood and practised, to the great satisfaction of all those Europeans in whose hearts lewdness had not yet effaced every notion of purity and morality. I have with transport seen many fine women, who with a modesty mixed with politeness, which would have graced the most exalted character of our polite nations, refuse the greatest and most tempting offers made them by our forward youths. But it is necessary to observe, that a nation still enjoying that just and noble simplicity of manners, & living in large houses with several families together, in the midst of their children, cannot conceal certain actions, which none of our Europeans, who have feelings and breeding, wished to commit in so great companies.... Virtuous women hear a joke without emotion, which amongst us might put some men to the blush. Neither austerity and anger, nor joy and ecstasy is the consequence, but sometimes a modest, dignified, serene smile spreads itself over their faces, and seems gently to rebuke the uncouth jester.”207

Note 22, Par. 29. “In New Zealand the fathers and nearest relations were used to sell the favours of their females to those of our ship’s company, who were irresistibly attracted by their charms; and often were these victims of brutality dragged by the fathers into the dark recesses of the ship, and there left to the beastly appetite of their paramours, who did not disdain them, though the poor victim stood trembling before them, and was dissolved in a flood of tears.”208

“The favors of the women did not depend upon their own inclination, but the men, as absolute masters, were always to be consulted upon the occasion, and won with a spike-nail, or a shirt, or a similar present.... Some among the women however submitted with reluctance to this vile prostitution; and but for the authority and menaces of the men, would not have complied with the desires of a set of people who could, with unconcern, behold their tears and hear their complaints. Encouraged by the lucrative nature of this infamous commerce, the New Zealanders went through the whole vessel, offering their daughters and sisters promiscuously, in exchange for our iron tools, which they knew could not be purchased at an easier rate. It does not appear that their married women were ever suffered to have this intercourse with our people.... We doubt, however, whether the New Zealanders ever debased themselves so much as to make a trade of their women, before we created new wants by shewing them iron tools.... Whether the members of a civilised society, who could act such a brutal part, or the barbarians who could force their own women to submit to such indignity, deserve the greatest abhorrence, is a question not easily to be decided.”209

“It may therefore be alledged, that as the New Zealanders place no value on the continence of their unmarried women, the arrival of Europeans among them, did not injure their moral characters in this respect; but we doubt that they ever debased themselves so much as to make a trade of their women, before we created new wants by shewing them iron-tools.”210

“...I fear that hitherto our intercourse has been wholly disadvantageous to the nations of the South Seas; and that those communities have been the least injured, who have always kept aloof from us....”211

Note 23, Par. 29. Among many painful instances of deep ingratitude, too well known to the writer, the follg. may be taken as an example:—10 yrs. ago there were 2 shore whaling stations about 3 m. apart, on the coast a little S. of Cape Kidn. and 2 m. further S. was the native village of Waimarama. One spring day a canoe of natives went from Waim. to the N.most of the whaling stations; late in the afternoon they were retg., &, when off the S. whalg. stat., the wind being fresh, the canoe upset about a m. from the land. The accident being seen from the station, the European whalers immy. launched one of their boats (though w. gt. difficulty owing to the heavy surf on the open coast,) & pulled to their rescue: just as the boat reached them one of the Natives was seen to sink, when one of the white m. plunged in & brought him up. All were got in safely to shore—& brought into the whalers’ huts, & warmed, clothed & fed; the Native that had sunk being attended to by the whalers for some hours, rubbing him, &c., before their fire. Late in the evening the Natives walked to their village over the sandy beach. The next mg. the weather having got too rough to “whale”, the European who had saved the native, walked to the village to enq. after him. On reachg. the small river on wh. the v. stands, (wh. is easily ford. at low water,) he found the tide had not suffy. receded; having waited a few moments, he saw the nat. whom he had saved come out of a hut on the opp. shore, he hailed him, & they conversed togr. At length the wh. said, “Shove across one of the small canoes by yr. side that I may come over.” When the characteristic reply was, “He aha te utu ki au?”—i.e., What payment am I to get for so doing? At first the wh. thought it was a joke—but he soon found it was a stern reality, no pay, no canoe to cross in;—findg. he cod. not obtain the momentary loan of a canoe from the man he had yesterday saved from drowning, and without having payment, he returned to his hut & friends—musing as he went.—

Note 24, Par. 30. “The canoe of the supr. kind, which seem to be their men of war, are magnificently adorned with open work, and covered with loose fringes of black feathers, which had a most elegant appearance: the gunwale boards were also frequently carved in a grotesque taste, and adorned with tufts of white feathers placed upon a black ground. Of visible objects that are wholly new, no verbal description can convey a just idea, but in proportion as they resemble some that are already known, to which the mind of the reader must be referred; the carving of these people being of a singular kind, and not in the likeness of any thing that is known on our side of the ocean, either in the heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters that are under the earth.”212

(other business there ———— in the Plates”213

Note 25, Par. 35. §.2. As a striking example of this strong resentful feeling the follg. may be given. In 1846 the writer with attendant maories was crossing the Ruahine mtn. range. When near the summit at an alt. of 5000 feet, we entered on the region habited by the Taramea plant (Aciphylla Colensoi)—whose rigid bayonet-like leaves expand into a circumference as large as a coach wheel. The ground being pretty well occupied by them, & their leaves meeting, & no track, there was gt. difficulty in passing thro them; often in doing so the leg was pierced on both sides at once & held fast, as securely as if caught in a man-trap. One of the bagg. bearers was so enraged at being severely stuck by a plant that he retreated a short distance,—threw down his bundle—armed himself with the axe, & deliby. went to work to cut up that plant. It was no use tellg. him the long spreadg. elastic frond-like leaves of the plant were longer than the axe handle; in a bitter rage he fought the plant for 10 minutes, when, nearly exhausted, he was obliged to give in, having recd. several extra stabs in his mad attempt, leaving the plant uninjured. Of course all (save himself,) were convulsed w. laughter—wh. only served to make him the more determined.—

Note 26, Par. 35. §2. See copy of essay MS.—

Note 27, Par. 37. The Revd. S. Marsden on his 2nd visit to N.Z., met with the priest of the heads of Hokianga (a terrific bar’d. entrance) who was believed to have absolute command over the winds & waves. “Accordingly, Mr. Marsden went out with him in a canoe to examine the entrance of the river; Tamanhena assuring him, though it blew very fresh, that he would soon make both the wind and the waves fall. ‘We were no sooner in the canoe than the priest began to exert all his powers to still the gods, the winds, and waves. He spake in an angry, commanding tone; however, I did not perceive either the winds or waves to yield to his authority, and when we reached the Heads I requested to go on shore.’”214

Note 28, Par. 38. “Superstition is natural to [ignorant] man & it exists under distinct forms in different countries. Civilized nations are not exempt from its infl. nor is it to be expected that they will be, so long as some men are born w. weaker minds than others. Its growth, howr., has been considy. checked, if not destroyed, in all countries where science has made progress.... In N.Z... the grossest delusions prevail & the word taboo (tapu) very frequently decides the actions of a whole race.... Yet though the taboo subjects them to many absurd & painful restrictions it is nevertheless found party. useful in a nation so irregularly constituted. It serves them in the absence of laws, as the only security for the protection of persons and property, giving them an awful sacredness which no one dares to violate; and by its powerful influence, restraining even the most cruel and rapacious plunderers.... This superstn. serves in a great measure to consolidate the limited power of the areekees over the inferior chiefs.... The same holds good with respect to whatever else the areekee chooses to exclude from common intercourse, and the prohibition being generally understood, is never upon any account contravened....The N.Zers. make no idols, nor have they any external form of worship; their conceptions of a supreme power being shewn only in the veneration they have for the above-mentioned superstition, and in the single word taboo all their religion and morality may be said to consist.”215 To the writer of this essay it is party. pleasing to find so just an opinion expressed on the taboo system so many years ago; by a writer, too, who had only stayd. in N.Z. for a short period of 3 months, but who during that time saw really more than many who have resided in N.Z. for 20 years!

Note 29, Par. 38. On one of the visits made by the writer to Taupo (1846) across the Ruahine mountain range, then under snow, he was not a little amused and instructed, in hearing one of the old chiefs gravely affirm the cause of their war party (of which he had been one) meeting with the disaster they did in attempting to cross the range at the same place, when on a marauding expedition into the present Hawke’s Bay district;—viz. through one of them (mentioning his name) having dared to violate the sanctity of the summits by making water on the top of the range! through which impious act he and several others lost their lives; and the expedition returned with difficulty, and without effecting their object.

Note 30, Par. 39.—This Reinga of the N.Zrs., or rather the entrance to it, is at Cape M.V.D., the N.W. Cape of N.Zealand. The writer, travelling on foot by the W. Coast, (the lonely & desolate course always taken by the spirits,) visited the spot in March 1839. The Cape, composed of ragged plutonic rock having veins of chalcedony, is not very high and is washed on 3 sides by the ocean. Its top is rugged & marked. About 40 feet from the tidal rocks rising beneath, the long bleached main root of a Pohutukawa (Metrosid. toment.) projects a few feet seaward; it at high water overhangs the sea. Over the top of this sharp & broken cliff, where nought possessing mortality could stand, & down the white-backed root of the tree is the course of the disembodied into the deep waters below. A little to the right is a small arch in the cliff & below it a little stream of water running over the rocks into the sea. Of this stream every sp. drinks its last of Earthly water ere it leaves this world; which, being done, it goes through the arch, up the rock, down the root & exit! A sp. may return to the body it has recently left from the land side of this stream, but having drunk and passed it, never. Of course the whole place was most strictly tapu. The unwilling guide to the sacred spot—the “priest” of the nearest & only small village (that had been met w. in 3 days jy. contg. a mis. remnant of 8 persons of the once numerous Aopouri tribe!) gravely assured the writer that the top of the cliff had been so broken & the root of the tree bleached, through the incessant treading of the myriad of spirits in the murderous days of Hongi Ika! (Well may those fatal days be remembered by a N.Zr.!) Much against the strong remonstrances of the old “priest,” the writer drank of the sacred stream, wriggled through the arch & brought away a spn. of the rock of renown.216 In the Reinga the departed live without labour & trouble: they feed on kumara (sweet potatoes). Messages were often given to the dying person to take to deceased relatives there. All funereal wails & chaunts over the recent dead ended with “Go, go, away to thy people.” And there, also, on Easter Day, under the tabooed crag, selected portions of revealed truth,—containing the only soul-supportg. declarations as to the Way the Resn. & the Life—were read & explained to the little knot of wondg. N.Zrs. It is a curious fact, that by the Fijians, Tahitians, Tongans, & Samoans, as well as by the N.Zrs., the place of departure of the spirits to the unseen world, is uniformly fixed at the W. extremity of the island.

Note 31, Par. 43.—An example or two might be given. Among the Ngapuhi tribes a chief was named Toru. Three yrs. hence, in that par. sub-tribe, the new word Tengi was used instead. A yg. chief at Ahuriri was named Kite (the verb to see, to perceive, &c.), hence that verb was no longer used, but instead one of the well-known and principal chiefs, Te Hapuku (lit. the Codfish),—hence that fish was always calleb by his tribe & friends te kawaeroa.

Note 32, Par. 51. §2. The writer has in his possn. a celebrated mere (or green stone battle axe), which has thus descended through sev. gens. of chiefs of one of the Ngapuhi tribes. It had been severally buried with 5 lineal chiefs— “all men of renown” in their day; whose names belong severally to it. The weapon is perfect. 14½ in. long, although it had been much longer (18–30 in.) having been broken in battle. Accordg. to tradition it is very ancient & has done much work in their sanguine field.

Note 33, Par. 51. §3. Cook says:— “When we shewed 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, which is very strong: it was five fathom deep, and, by the room it took up, it could not be less that 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 hay-cocks, 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.”217 Other early navigators also express astonisht. at their nets, so also Nicholas,218 (in 1814). Cruise (a.d. 1823) says— “Our seine, though of the same size with others served out to King’s ships, was contemptible when compared with those of the New Zealanders” p.317.219

Note 34, Par. 51. §3. Cook, speaking of his landing at Tolaga Bay (Uawa), says, “In their plantations the ground was as well broken down and tilled as even in the gardens of the most curious people among us: in these spots were sweet potatoes, coccos or eddas, which are well known and much esteemed both in the East and West Indies, and some gourds: the sweet potatoes were planted in small hills, some arranged in rows and others in quincunx, all laid by a line with the greatest regularity: the coccos were planted upon flat land, but none of them yet appeared above ground; and the gourds were set in small hollows, or dishes, much as in England. These plantations were of different extent, from one or two acres to ten: taken together, there appeared to be from 150 to 200 acres in cultivation in the whole bay, though we never saw an hundred people. Each district was fenced in, generally with reeds, which were placed so close together that there was scarcely room for a mouse to creep between.”220 Other early navigators say same.

Note 35, Par. 52. One of these Europeans gravely writes thus:— “Kupe is fairly entitled to be viewed as the New Zealand Columbus. In another account, Taha tuna, Tairea, Rimu rapu, Totara karia, are also mentioned. With all these little discrepancies, when we find the majority of these names well known in every part, with the chiefs who commanded them, as well as the ancestors of the different tribes who came with them, we have a sure proof that the general tradition is correct, and that the natives have a more accurate account of the founders of their race than either the English or the Spanish have of theirs in America, although one is more remote in point of time that the other, and labouring under the disadvantage of not possessing a written language to preserve the memory of it, when they can thus give the names of all the canoes which brought their ancestors, the names of those in them, and even the various things they brought.”!!221 Thompson, too like the rest, evidently believed that they also brought the “rat” with them!222 Although he goes bunglingly about it.—He says—vol.I p.59—the N.Z. rat is like the rats found in the Navigators of Rarotonga—& “in the island of Manoao (one of that group) are wild dogs resembling the dom. dogs seen in N.Z.” and “the sweet potatoe, wh, their ancestors brought w. them to N.Z. is indigenous in the Nav. Islands” when it is not, and the statements he calls “reasons” and “proofs” of the N.Zrs. having come from those islands!! Jam satis.

Note 36, Par. 53. §3. “We found the isles of the South-Sea very populous; and from the accounts of former navigators, they were so, more than 180 years ago, and in the very condition, in regard to happiness, in which we ourselves observed them; so that we may be sure, that their civil or social establishment is of a long standing.”223

Note 37, Par. 53. §26. This decline of the whole race is, it is feared, too true to be for a moment doubted. The writer is in possession of much unimpeachable evidence shewing its universality. A few striking examples only will here be given—chosen, from among many others, on acct. of their having been often mentioned in this essay, with respect to New Zealand. for their genl. position, & variety in pol. œconomy.

1. the Sandwich islands to the N., being the longest & most civilized, & under one chief or king:

2. the Samoan central groupe, as chiefly under missionaries: and
3. Easter Island, to the extreme E., as being heathen, isolated & almost unvisited.

1. The population of the Sandwich Islands was stated by Cook to be 400,000:—but, according to Hopkins, “200,000 would be probably the more correct computation—of the Sandwich Islanders in 1778–9 (time of Cook’s visits). Even then it seems likely to have been on the decrease, & that good old times had preceded that age—times in wh. a more numerous people covd. the islands, & left traces of their strength & abundance in roads, walls, temples, & other works. From Cook’s time to the present, the decay of the pop. has been continuous & rapid. At the time of Mr. Ellis’ visit (1823) the no. on the whole of the island was estimated at from 130,000 to 150.000 souls. In 1849, the population had fallen (by census) to 80,000. In 1853, the total no. (by census) 71,619. In (by the census) 1860 the total no. was 67,084.—Taking the lowest est. of the pop. at the time of Cook’s discovery of the islands, the Sandwich Islanders have diminished to one third in the last 80 years. 224

2. The popul. of the Samoan groupe was believed by Mr. Williams (C.M.) to amount to 160,000 in 1830, but probably this was an overestimate. In 1839, according to Com. Wilkes, the total pop. of the group. was 56,600 [p.190.v.i]. In 1845, the “Samoa Reporter” (printed by the Miss. in the island) speaks of it as between 50,000 & 60,000; & it is now [1853] toly. well ascertained that the whole nos. do not exceed 38,000. There can indeed be but little doubt that a consid. decrease is gradually taking place,225 and Turner, in the most recent work already cited, p.220, also says— “Among a people destitute of statistics or records of any kind, it is difficult to speak correctly of an earlier date than some 25 yrs. ago; since that time howr. the pop. has been on the decrease.”

3. Speaking of Easter Island, Forster says, “When it was discovd. in 1722, by Roggeveen it contd. many thousands of inhabitants. The Spaniards found in 1770 about 3000 people on it, and we, (Cook,) in 1774 scarcely 900.226 La Perouse, who visited the island in 1785, & who seemed to have had better means of ascertaing. than Forster or Cook, (owing perhaps to Cook’s remembered hiccups) speaks of having “seen about 1200 inhabitants;” and that he “believed the popul. without exaggeration then to be 2000.”—Modern visitors have spoken of them as being “about 300,”—while the last account of their informants say their companions had been all carried off by Peruvian ships to work on the neighbg. Chincha islands.

But it is neither only, nor principally from the sad picture of their numerical decrease that the writer contemplates the steady decline of a race. The Polynesians seem have been retrograding for a long time—perhaps centuries; as “the temples, roads, & walls,” in the Samoan Islds., & the colossal figures in Easter Island, silently intimate.

The New Zealanders appear to have been in quite as advanced a state when Tasman discovd. them (1643), as they were when Cook visited them, 126 years after,227 and historically it is certain that for the last 40 years they have been generally and gradually retrograde in their every national & prized manufactures and acts. All steady application to any thing, whether of for. or dom. origin, seems lost: their whole char. is sadly changed in their respect for the work. Man, like the tide, if not advancing in knowledge; indeed the Polynesians seem for years of natural decline to have had little or no power beyond imitation hence they constantly repeated the same idea without a shadow of alteration or improvement: indeed, among the New Zealanders to invent any thing new, go out of the old track, was looked upon as faulty innovation, & was thus open to condemnation. Is it too much here to adduce their own opinion on that steady & certain decline mournfully & mysteriously shadowed for them in the gradual extinction of other animals (& plants) around them? In N.Z. all the quadrupeds—the dog, the rat, the guana, the strange shadowy Kaurehe of Mantell:228 of birds the quail, ground parrot, the notornis, the var. sp. of Apteryx, the huia, & scores of other birds now unknown; as the cat parrot of Philip Island, and the Dodo-like Pigeon (Didunculus) of the Samoan groupe, while in the other Polynesian islands, endemic species of birds, formerly plentiful, are becomg. a novelty & nearly extinct.

Note 38, Par. 65, §13. The writer himself acted somewhat in this way, for several years, from 1845 to 1853, & as he believes, w. great success. In 1854, the Govt. sent their first R.M. to Hawke’s Bay; and, in 1855, the writer addressed to him a letter, pointing out to him the great benefits both to the Natives, & to the Settlers (then beginning to arrive), if some such mode as this here mentioned (§13) could be carried out. The doings of the subsequent 11 years have only confirmed the writer in the correctness of his old views mainly derived from experience.

The writer in closing these notes, would add the following mod. testy. (which he has only seen since this essay was written,)—in part explanation of what has been addressed in Par. 65. §18,—and as concerning the genius of the Polynesian race:— “The kind of preaching which takes in Samoa, is the illustrative. A plain statement of abstract truth to a people who hardly ever open their mouth but in a figure, is dry & uninteresting. The successful p. in Samoa [as in N.Z.,] whether native or European, must search heaven & Earth & sea, & bring forth also from every age of the history of his fellow-men w. wh. he is acqd., facts illustrative of the great truths wh. he preaches. The man who thinks that “anything” will do for such a people, will find that his preaching is vain & valueless. He will neither gain the respect of the people, nor save souls.”229


1868 Essay on the botany, Geographic and Œconomic, of the North Island of the New Zealand group.
Transactions of the New Zealand Institute 1: 233-283.230

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