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

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Note.—The first 3 columns of figures are from the “Church Almanac” for 1847; in which Vitex littoralis was made the standard of comparison.—The last 2 columns are from W. W. Saunders’s Catalogue, in “Report of Juries,” Exhibition, 1851. [58]

A Comparative Table of Weight and Specific Gravity.

Name of Wood.

Whight Per Cubic Foot.

Specific Gravity.


lbs. oz.

English Oak

40     14




39     0




40     10



American Oak

42     9


English Beech

41     2


From Oxfordshire.


27     6


From Epping.

Riga Fir

37     10


Malabar Teak

37     14


Ceylon Teak

47     3


thank His Honor the Superintendent of Auckland (Robert Graham, Esq.,) and the Chief Provincial Surveyor of that Province, (C. Heaphy, Esq.); also the gentlemen composing the Chamber of Commerce at Wellington. To Mr. Heaphy he is largely indebted for much useful information in Colonial Œconomic Botany, as well as for that portion of the First Table containing the Weight and Specific Gravity of Woods, and the whole of the last Table herein given.


Napier, New Zealand, October 26, 1864.


1869 In Memory of Capt. J. Cook, R.N. and his little band of gallant and devoted followers, who first visited these shores of New Zealand in October, 1769,—l00 years ago!
Hawke's Bay Herald 8 October 1869 p.3.

“Veni, vidi, vinci”—Cæsar

In the year 1767 it was resolved by the Royal Society, that it would be proper to send persons into some part of the South Sea to observe a transit of the planet Venus over the sun’s disk, which, according to astronomical calculation, would happen in the year 1769; and that the islands called the Marquesas, or those of Rotterdam or Amsterdam (the Friendly Islands), were the most proper places then known for making such observation.

Upon this being made known to His Majesty George III., his pleasure was signified to the Admiralty that a fit ship should be provided. A bark of 370 tons, called the Endeavour was taken up for this purpose. She had been built for the coal trade, and a vessel of that construction was preferred for many reasons, particularly because she was what the sailors call a good sea-boat, was more roomy, would take and lie on the ground better, and might be navigated by fewer men than other vessels of the same burden.

The command of her was given to Lieut. James Cook, a gentleman of undoubted abilities in astronomy and navigation, who was soon after, by the Royal Society, appointed, with Mr. Charles Green, a gentleman who had long been assistant to Dr. Bradley at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, to observe the transit.

While the Endeavour was getting ready, Capt Wallis returned in H.M.S. Dolphin from his voyage round the world, and he, by letter, written on board of his ship before he landed in England, recommended Port Royal Harbour in King George’s Island, or Otaheite, (which had lately been discovered by him,) since known as Tahiti, as the most fitting place for observing the transit; the Royal Society, therefore, made choice of it.

On Friday the 26th August, 1768, the bark Endeavour put to sea from Plymouth Sound; her complement of officers and men was 84 persons besides the Commander,—twelve of whom were marines, and nine were servants. Mr. (afterwards, Sir) Joseph Banks, a private gentleman of fortune and of scientific attainments, also embarked in her at his own expense, and with him Dr. Solander, a Swede by birth, who had been educated under the celebrated Linnæus. Sir Joseph Banks also took with him two draughtsmen, together with a secretary and four servants, two of whom were negroes. (And, in visiting New Zealand from Tahiti, Capt. Cook brought with him thence two of the natives of that island, so that the New Zealanders had the opportunity of seeing in his ship men of various nations and races.)

One of Sir Joseph Banks’ draughtsmen deserves a particular notice; this person, a talented young man named Sydney Parkinson, (who executed those many beautiful and faithful colored drawings which are still being viewed with admiration in the British Museum,) was a respectable member of that excellent body of Christians the Society of Friends,—and to the writer of this memoir it has ever been a source of real pleasure both to read his very interesting Journal, and to contemplate the amount of good, which, without doubt, arose from such a young man being associated with that select band of early visitors to many of the South Sea Islands including New Zealand. From his Journal a few valuable items of information are taken for this paper.

After a long and adventurous voyage by Cape Horn, on the 13th of April, 1769, the Endeavour dropped anchor in Matavai Bay in Tahiti. And on the 3rd of June, the whole transit of the planet Venus across the sun (occupying more than six hours,) was clearly and successfully observed by Capt. Cook, Mr. Green, and Dr. Solander, without a single intervening cloud having been in the sky. This object of the expedition having been accomplished, Captain Cook proceeded to carry out the remaining part of his orders,—“to prosecute the discoveries in the South Sea.”

On the 13th July, 1769, Captain Cook sailed from Tahiti, taking with him a principal chief, who was also a high priest, from the island, named Tupaea, and his boy Te Ito, a lad of 13 years of age;—of whom we shall bear more anon here on the shores of New Zealand. The ship called at a few small islands; and on the 25th August celebrated the anniversary of their leaving England “by taking a Cheshire cheese from a locker where it had been carefully treasured up for this occasion, and tapping a cask of porter, which proved to be very good.” On Wednesday the 4th October, they saw two seals and some seaweed; on the 5th they thought the water changed colour, but upon casting the lead had no ground with 180 fathom. The captain, however, apprehended they were near land, and (according to Mr. Parkinson), “promised one gallon of rum to the man who should first discover it by day, and two if he discovered it by night; also, that part of the coast of the said land should be named after him.” The next day, Friday, the 6th, about two o’clock in the afternoon, Nicholas Young, the surgeon’s boy, descried a point of land from the starboard bow, at about nine leagues distance, bearing W. by N.; they bore up to it, and by sunset had a good view of it. They regaled themselves in the evening upon the occasion; the point was named Young-Nick’s-Head, and the boy received his reward. At midnight Captain Cook brought to and sounded, but had no bottom with 170 fathom. On Saturday, the 7th, it fell calm; but in the afternoon a breeze sprung up, and they made for the land, which was the subject of much eager conversation. About 5 p.m. they saw the opening of a bay, upon which they hauled their wind and stood in for it; they also saw smoke ascending from different places on shore. When night came on they kept plying off and on till daylight on the 8th (Sunday) when they found themselves to the leeward of the bay, the wind being at N. By noon they fetched in with the S.W. point, but not being able to weather it, tacked and stood off: at this time they saw several canoes standing across the bay, without seeming to take the least notice of the ship. They also saw some houses, which appeared to be small but neat; and near one of them a considerable number of people collected together, who were sitting upon the beach. Upon a small peninsula at the N.E. head, they perceived a pretty high and rectangular paling, which inclosed the whole top of a hill; this was also the subject of much speculation, some supposing it to be a park of deer, others an inclosure for oxen and sheep. About 4 pm. they anchored on the N.W. side of the bay, before the entrance of a small river, in 10 fathom water, with a fine sandy bottom, and at about half a league from the shore.

In the evening Captain Cook went on shore, accompanied by Sir Joseph Banks and Dr. Solander, with the pinnace and yawl and a party of men. They landed abreast of the ship, on the E. side of the river, which was here about forty yards broad; but seeing some natives on the W. side whom Captain Cook wished to speak with, and finding the river not fordable, he ordered the yawl in to carry them over, and left the pinnace at the entrance. When they came near the place where the people were assembled they all ran away; however, the Europeans landed, and leaving four boys to take care of the yawl, they walked up to some huts which were not far from the water-side. When they had got some distance from the boat, four natives, armed with long lances, rushed out of the woods, and running up to attack the boat, would certainly have cut her off if the people in the pinnace had not discovered them, and called to the boys to drop down the stream: the boys instantly obeyed; but being closely pursued by the natives, the cockswain of the pinnace, who had charge of the boats, fired a musket over their heads; at this they stopped and looked round them, but in a few minutes renewed the pursuit, brandishing their lances in a threatening manner: the cockswain then fired a second musket over their heads, but of this they took no notice; and one of them lifting up his spear to dart it at the boat, another piece was fired, which shot him dead. When he fell, the other three stood motionless for some minutes, as if petrified with astonishment; as soon as they recovered, they went back, dragging after them the dead body, which, however, they soon left, that it might not encumber their flight. At the report of the first musket, Captain Cook and his party drew together, having straggled to a little distance from each other, and made the best of their way back to the boat; and crossing the river, they saw the native lying dead upon the ground. Upon examining the body, they found that he had been shot through the heart: he was a man of the middle size and stature; complexion brown, but not very dark; and one side of his face was tattooed. They returned immediately to the ship, whence they could hear the people on shore talking with great earnestness and in a very loud tone. A strict watch was ordered to be kept all the night, lest they should come off in their canoes and surprise the ship. The water in the river was found to be brackish, in which Captain Cook was disappointed; but they shot some wild ducks of a very large size, and the botanical gentlemen gathered a variety of curious plants in flower.

In the morning (Monday the 9th), they saw several of the natives where they had been seen the night before. As Capt. Cook was desirous to establish an intercourse with them, he ordered three boats to be manned with seamen and marines, and proceeded towards the shore, accompanied by Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Solander, the other gentlemen, and Tupaea. About fifty natives seemed to wait for their landing, seated on the ground, on the opposite side of the river, which Capt. Cook and his party thought a sign of fear: at first, therefore, Capt. Cook, with only Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Solander, and Tupaea, landed from the little boat and advanced towards them; but they had not proceeded many paces before the natives all started up, and every man produced either a long pike, or a small weapon of green stone, extremely well polished, about a foot long, and thick enough to weigh four or five pounds. Tupaea called to them in the language of Tahiti, but they answered only by flourishing their weapons and making signs to them to depart, A musket was then fired wide of them, and the ball struck the water, the river being still between them; they saw the effect, and desisted from their threats; but Capt. Cook and his party thought it prudent to retreat till the marines could be landed. This was soon done; and they marched, with a jack carried before them, to a little bank, about fifty yards from the water-side; here they were drawn up, and Capt. Cook again advanced, with Sir Joseph Banks and Dr. Solander, Tupaea, Mr. Green, and Mr. Monkhouse the surgeon. Tupaea was again desired to speak to them, and it was with great pleasure that Capt. Cook and his party perceived that he was understood, he and the natives speaking only different dialects of the same language. He told them that the ship wanted provision and water, and would give them iron in exchange, the properties of which he explained as well as he was able. The natives replied that they were willing to trade, and desired that their visitors would come over to them for that purpose; to this Capt. Cook consented, provided they would lay down their arms, which, however, they could by no means be persuaded to do. During this conversation, Tupaea warned Capt. Cook to be on his guard, for that they were not his friends; Capt. Cook then pressed them in turn to come over to his party; and at last one of them stripped himself and swam over without his arms; he was almost immediately followed by two more, and soon after by most of the rest, to the number of twenty or thirty, but these brought their arms with them. Capt. Cook made them all presents of iron and beads; but they seemed to set little value upon either, particularly the iron, not having the least idea of its use; so that he had nothing in return but a few feathers: they offered indeed to exchange their arms for his, and, when he refused, made many attempts to snatch them out of the hands of his party. He then gave them to understand by Tupaea, that he should be obliged to kill them if they offered any further violence. In a few minutes, however, Mr. Green happening to turn about, one of them snatched away his sword, and retiring to a little distance, waved it round his head with a shout of exaltation: the rest now began to be extremely insolent, and more were seen coming to join them from the opposite side of the river. It was therefore become necessary to repress them, and Sir Joseph Banks fired at the man who had taken the sword with small shot, at the distance of about fifteen yards: when the shot struck him, he ceased his cry; but instead of returning the sword, continued to flourish it over hi head, at the same time slowly retreating to a greater distance. Mr. Monkhouse seeing this, fired at him with ball, and he instantly dropped. Upon this the main body, who had retired to a rock in the middle of the river upon the first discharge, began to return; two of them ran up to the body, one seized his weapon of green stone, and the other endeavoured to secure the sword, which Mr. Monkhouse had but just time to prevent. As all that had retired to the rock were now advancing, three of Capt. Cook’s party discharged their pieces, loaded only with small shot, upon which they swam back for the shore; and it was seen, upon their landing, that two or three of them were wounded. (Mr. Parkinson relates very circumstantially that those natives behaved very well at first,—that they were overjoyed at receiving some presents, that they danced their war-dance, and that three natives were killed by the Europeans on this occasion, whose bodies were left behind by their friends; and that afterwards they took possession of the country in form for the king.)

Capt. Cook. then reimbarked and proceeded in his boats round the head of the bay in search of fresh water, and with a design, if possible, to surprise some of the natives and take them on board, where, by kind treatment and presents, he might obtain their friendship. He found, however, no place where he could land, a dangerous surf everywhere beating upon the shore; but he saw two canoes coming in from the sea, one under sail and the other worked by paddles. He says:—“I thought this a favourable opportunity to get some of the people into my possession without mischief, as those in the canoes were probably fishermen and without arms, and I had three boats so as most effectually to intercept them in their way to the shore; the people in the canoe that was paddled perceived us so soon, that by making to the nearest land with their utmost strength, they escaped us; the other sailed on till she was in the midst of us, without discovering what we were; but the moment she discovered us, the people on board struck their sail, and took to their paddles, which they plied so briskly that she outran the boat. They were however within hearing, and Tupaea called out to them to come alongside, and promised for us that they should come to no hurt: they chose, however, rather to trust to their paddles than to our promises, and continued to make from us with all their power. I then ordered a musket to be fired over their heads; hoping it would either make them surrender or leap into the water. Upon the discharge of the piece, they ceased paddling; and all of them, being seven in number, began to strip, as we imagined to jump overboard; but it happened otherwise. When the boat came up, they began the attack with their paddles, and with stones, and other offensive weapons that were in their canoe, so vigorously, that we were obliged to fire upon them in our own defence: four were unhappily killed, and the other three who were boys, the eldest about nineteen, and he youngest about eleven, instantly leaped into the water; the eldest swam with great vigour, and resisted the attempts of our people to take him into the boat, by every effort that he could make: he was, however, at last overpowered, and the other two were taken up with less difficulty. I am conscious (says Capt. Cook), that the feeling of every reader of humanity will censure me for having fired upon these unhappy people, and it is impossible that, upon a calm review, I should approve it myself. They certainly did not deserve death for not chusing to confide in my promises; or not consenting to come on board my boat, even if they had apprehended no danger; but the nature of my service required me to obtain a knowledge of their country, which I could not otherwise effect than by forcing my way into it in a hostile manner, or gaining admission through the confidence and goodwill of the people. I had already tried the power of presents without effect; and I was now prompted, by my desire to avoid further hostilities, to get some of them on board, as the only method left of convincing them that we intended them no harm, and had it in our power to contribute to their gratification and convenience. Thus far our intentions certainly were not criminal; and though in the contest, which I had no reason to expect, our victory might have been complete without so great an expence of life; yet, in such situations, when the command to fire has been given, no man can restrain its excess, or prescribe its effect.”

(The writer has preferred giving these excellent words of Capt. Cook without abridgment, as much of them are just as applicable now as they were 100 years ago—and that, too, to the same unfortunate tribe.)

Mr. Parkinson (who was present) says:—“The natives in the canoe began the fight by throwing stones. Our people had recourse to their arms: the Captain, Dr. Solander, and Sir Joseph Banks fired at them, and killed and wounded several of them. The natives fought very desperately with their paddles, but were soon overpowered; their canoe was taken, three of them made prisoners, and the rest were suffered to escape,”

The three prisoners squatted down in the boat filled with fear, expecting to be put to death: kindness, however, on the part of all towards them removed their fears, and when they got on board they ate some bread which was given them with great avidity, and answered and asked many questions. At sunset they ate another meal, and went to sleep on beds made for them on the ship’s lockers. “Their countenances,” the Captain says, “were intelligent and expressive, and the middlemost, who seemed to be about fifteen, had an openness in his aspect, and an ease in his deportment, which was very striking. We found that the two eldest were brothers, and that their names were Tahurangi and Ikerangi; the name of the youngest was Marakowhiti.”

Mr. Parkinson says:—“On the 10th, in the morning, the boats went on shore again, and carried the three men whom we had taken, dressed up very finely. They did not seem willing to land at that place, and when we left them, they cried, and said that the people on that side of the bay would kill and eat them. While a party of our men went to cut wood, these three natives hid themselves in the bushes, and many of the natives appeared on the other side of the river. We beckoned to them, and, at length, one man of more courage than the rest, ventured over to us without arms, with whom we conferred, by our interpreter Tupaea, for a considerable time; and, during the conference, about two hundred more, armed with lances, poles, and stone bludgeons, made up to us, which the Captain seeing, and being apprehensive they intended to cut off our retreat to the boats, as they had got to the other side of the river, he ordered us to embark and return to the ship; which we did accordingly, taking with us the three natives whom we had brought on shore, who were unwilling to remain. The body of the man who had been killed the day before, still lay exposed upon the beach; the three native boys seeing it lie very near them went up to it and covered it with some of the clothes that had been given to them. In the afternoon the three natives were set on shore again; they parted very reluctantly from their new friends, and went into the woods; but some time after they were seen to join a party of natives, and towards sunset, came down to the beach and waved their hands three times towards the ship, which having done they rejoined their companions.

Mr. Parkinson says,— “We found here a sort of long pepper, which tasted very much like mace; a bald coot of a dark blue colour; and a black bird the flesh of which was of an orange colour, and tasted like stewed shell-fish. A vast quantity of pumice-stone lies all along upon the shore within the bay, which indicates that there is a volcano in this island.”

“The next morning, the 11th, at six o’clock,” says Captain Cook, “we weighed, and stood away from this unfortunate and inhospitable place, to which I gave the name of Poverty Bay, and which by the natives is called Te Oneroa, or Long Sand, as it did not afford, us a single article that we wanted except a little wood. It is in the form of a horse-shoe, and is known by an island lying close under the N.E. point, called by the natives Te Tuamotu. The S.W. point of the bay I named Young-Nick’s-Head, after the boy who first saw the land.”

In the afternoon the ship lay becalmed, when several canoes put off, and came within less than a quarter of a mile of the ship, but for a long time could not be persuaded to come nearer, though Tupaea exerted all the powers of his lungs and his eloquence upon the occasion. Another canoe was now seen coming from Poverty Bay; this made directly for the ship, and the natives were soon on board; their example was soon followed by the rest, to whom liberal presents were made. About sunset they left, leaving three of their people on board the ship. A light breeze springing up soon after it was dark, they steered along the shore under an easy sail till midnight, and then brought to, soon after which it fell a calm.

On Thursday, the 12th, about seven a.m. a light breeze springing up, the ship continued to stand S.W. along the shore. Two canoes came off to her; but stopped at some distance. The three natives who had been last evening left on board, and who had been bitterly lamenting their being carried along the Coast away from their homes, tried by every possible means to get the two canoes to come alongside. Tupaea interpreted to Capt. Cook what they said to their countrymen, and the Captain and his party were much surprised to find, “that, among other arguments, they assured the people in the canoes, the foreigners in the ship did not eat men.” One of those canoes came alongside and an old chief well-dressed came on board; he staid but a short time, and took the three natives with him. At this time they were abreast of a point, from which the land trends S.S.W. and which, on account of its figure, Captain Cook named Cape Table. A little after noon they passed a small island, which, says the Captain, “I named Portland Island, from its very great resemblance to Portland in the English Channel: It lies about a mile from a point on the main. N. of E. two miles from the south point of Portland lies a sunken rock, upon which the sea breaks with great violence. We passed between this rock and the land.”

In sailing along the shore they saw the natives assembled in great numbers as well upon Portland Island as the main; and also noticed several spots of ground that were cultivated. About noon another canoe came near, but would not go alongside the ship. About 2 p.m. they discovered land to the West of Portland, extending to the southward as far as they could see; and as the ship was hauling round the South end of the island, she suddenly fell into shoal water and broken ground; in a short time, however, they got clear of all danger. Capt. Cook says:—“At this time the island lay within a mile of us, making in white cliffs. On the sides of these cliffs sat vast numbers of people, looking at us with a fixed attention, —and it is probable that they perceived some appearance of hurry and confusion on board, and some irregularity in the working of the ship, while we were getting clear of the shallow water and broken ground, for five canoes put off with the utmost expedition, full of men, and well armed: they came so near and shewed so hostile a disposition, by shouting, brandishing their lances, and using threatening gestures, that we were in some pain for our small boat, which was still employed in sounding; a musket was therefore fired over them, but finding it did them no harm, they seemed rather to be provoked than intimidated, and I therefore fired a four-pounder, charged with grape-shot, wide of them: this had a better effect; upon the report of the piece they all rose up and shouted, but instead of continuing the chace, drew altogether, and after a short consultation, went quietly away.”

Having got round Portland Island, they hauled in for the land N.W. having a gentle breeze at N.E., which about five o’clock died away, and obliged them to anchor, in one and twenty fathoms with a fine sandy bottom. While they lay at anchor two more canoes came off to them; these came so near that they entered into conversation with Tupaea, answering all his questions with great civility, but would not go on board; they received however several presents from the ship.

About five aim of Friday the 13th, a breeze springing up northerly they weighed and steered in for the land. Capt. Cook says, “The shore here forms a large bay, of which Portland is the N.E. point, and the bay that runs behind Cape Table an arm. This arm I had a great inclination to examine, because there appeared to be safe anchorage in it, but not being sure of that, and the wind being right on end, I was unwilling to spare the time. Four and twenty fathom was the greatest depth within Portland, but the ground was everywhere clear. The land near the shore is of a moderate height, with white cliffs and sandy beaches; within, it rises into mountains, and upon the whole the surface is hilly, for the most part covered with wood, and to appearance pleasant and fertile. In the morning nine canoes came after the ship, but whether with peaceable or hostile intentions we could not tell, for we soon left them behind us. In the evening we stood in for a place that had the appearance of an opening but found no harbour; we therefore stood out again, and were soon followed by a large canoe, with about twenty men, all armed, who, though they could not reach us, shouted defiance, and brandished their weapons, with many gestures of menace and insult.”

“In the morning of Saturday the 14th, we had a view of the mountains inland, [Ruahine] upon which the snow was still lying: the country near the shore was low and unfit for culture, but in one place we perceived a patch of somewhat yellow, which bad greatly the appearance of a cornfield, yet was probably nothing more than some dead flags, which are not uncommon in swampy places: at some distance we saw groves of trees, which appeared high and tapering, and being not above two leagues from the S.W. cod of the great bay, in which we had been coasting for the two last days, I hoisted out the pinnace and long-boat to search for fresh water; but just as they were about to put off, we saw several canoes full of people coming from the shore, and therefore I did not think it safe for them to leave the ship. About 10 a.m. five of these canoes having drawn together, as if to hold a consultation, made towards the ship, having on board between 80 and 90 men, and four more followed at some distance, as if to sustain the attack: when the first five came within about a yard of the ship, they began to sing their war song, and brandishing their pikes prepared for an engagement. We had now no time to lose, for if we could not prevent the attack, we should come under the unhappy necessity of using our firearms against them, which we were very desirous to avoid. Tupaea was therefore ordered to acquaint them that we had weapons which, like thunder, would destroy them in a moment:—a four-pounder, loaded with grape shot, was then discharged wide of them, which produced the desired effect; the report, the flash, and above all, the shot, which spread very far in the water, so intimidated them, that they began to paddle away with all their might. Tupaea, however, calling after them, and assuring them, that if they would come unarmed, they should be kindly received; the people in one of the canoes put their arms on board of another, and came under the ship’s stern; we made them several presents, and should certainly have prevailed upon them to come on board, if the other canoes had not come up, and again threatened us by shouting and brandishing their weapons; at this the people who had come to the ship unarmed, expressed great displeasure, and soon after they all went away. In the afternoon we stood over to the S. point of the bay, but not reaching it before it was dusk, we stood off and on all the night.”

Mr. Parkinson says,—“In sailing along the shore of the bay on the 13th, we could plainly distinguish land that was cultivated, parcelled out into square compartments, having some sort of herbs growing upon them. On the 14th, in the morning, we bent our course round a small peninsula” [Scinde Island,] “which was joined to the main land by a low isthmus, on which were many groves of tall straight trees, that looked as if they had been planted by art; and within side of it the water was quite smooth. We saw some very high ridges of hills, streaked with snow; and when we had doubled the point of this peninsula, the low isthmus appeared again, stretching a long way by the sea side. The country looked very pleasant, having some sloping hills, which stretched out into beautiful green lawns, though not covered with wood, as other parts of the Coast are.”

From this extract we learn, that the entrance to the Ahuriri inner harbour was formerly much more to the N.W. than it now is; this is also shewn by Cook’s chart of the Bay; and native tradition confirms it. Twenty-six years ago, when the writer first travelled over the Western Spit, the remains of the old entrance were very visible, and indeed long remained so. It was not very far from abreast of Capt. Carter’s residence. Formerly there were also, as Parkinson says, several groves of white pine scattered on the plains; (four have wholly disappeared within the writer’s recollection,) and “Tareha’s bush,” before it was in part felled, always looked remarkably well and prominent from the N.W.

Capt. Cook proceeds,—“At eight a.m., on Sunday the 15th being abreast of the S. point several canoes came off to us, and sold us some stinking fish; it was the best they had, and we were willing to trade with them upon any terms: these people behaved very well, and we should have parted good friends if it had not been for a large canoe, with two and twenty armed men on board, which came boldly up alongside of the ship. We soon saw that this canoe had nothing for traffic, yet we gave them two or three pieces of cloth, an article which they seemed very fond of. I observed that one man had a black skin thrown over him, somewhat resembling that of a bear, and being. desirous to know what animal was its first owner, I offered him a piece of red baize, and he seemed greatly pleased with the bargain, immediately pulling off the skin, and holding it up in the canoe; he would not, however, part with it till he had the cloth in his possession, and as there could be no transfer of property, if with equal caution I had insisted upon the same condition, I ordered the cloth to be handed down to him, upon which, with amazing coolness, instead of sending up the skin, he began to pack up both that and the baize, which he had received as the purchase of it, in a basket, without paying the least regard to my demand or my remonstrances, and soon after, with the fishing canoes, put off from the ship; when they were at some distance, they drew together, and after, a short consultation returned; the fishermen offered more fish, which, though good for nothing, was purchased, and trade was again renewed. Among others who were placed over the ship’s side to hand up what we bought, was little Te Ito, Tupaea’s boy; and one of the natives, watching his opportunity, suddenly seized him, and dragged him down into the canoe; two of them held him down in the fore part of it, and the others, with great activity, paddled her off, the rest of the canoes following as fast as they could; upon this the marines, who were under arms upon deck, were ordered to fire. The shot was directed to that part of the canoe which was farthest from the boy, and rather wide of her, being willing rather to miss the paddlers than to hurt him; it happened, however, that one man dropped, upon which the others quitted their hold of the boy, who instantly leaped into the sea, and swam toward the ship; the large canoe immediately pulled round and followed him, but some muskets, and a great gun being fired at her, she desisted from the pursuit. The ship being brought to, a boat was lowered, and the poor boy taken up unhurt, though so terrified that for a time he seemed to be deprived of his senses. Some of the gentlemen who traced the canoes to shore with their glasses, said, that they saw three men carried up the beach, who appeared to be either dead or wholly disabled by their wounds. As soon as Te Ito recovered from his fright, he brought a fish to Tupaea his father, and told him, that he intended it as an offering to his Atua, or God, in gratitude for his escape; Tupaea commended his piety, and ordered him to throw the fish in to the sea, which was accordingly done.”

With reference to this affair, Mr. Parkinson says,—“On the 15th we had several fisher canoes come to us; and, after much persuasion, they gave us some fish for cloth and trinkets; but none of their fish was quite fresh, and some of it stank intolerably. They went away very well satisfied, and then a larger canoe, full of people, came up to us, having their faces shockingly besmeared with some paint. An old man who sat in the stern, had on a garment of some beast’s skin, with long hair, dark brown, and white border, which we would have purchased but they were not willing to part with anything. When the captain threw them a piece of red baize for it, they paddled away immediately; held a conference with the fisher’s boats, and then returned to the ship. We had laid a scheme to trepan them, intending to have thrown a running bowline about the head of the canoe, and to have hoisted her up to the anchor; but, just as we had got her ahead for that purpose, they seized Tupaea’s little boy, who was in the main-chains, and made off with him, which prevented the execution of our plan. We fired some muskets and great guns at them, and killed several of them. The boy, soon after, disengaged himself from them, jumped into the sea, and swam toward the ship, and we lowered down a boat and took him up, while the canoes made to land as fast as possible.”

In 1844, the writer saw at Waimarama an aged native who remembered this sad event; and also obtained from several natives, descendants of the sufferers on that occasion, their account of the affair, received from their forefathers; five, it appears, were killed, and several wounded; one of the poor fellows had received a ball in his knee joint which made him a helpless cripple during a long life.

Captain Cook says, “To the cape off which this unhappy transaction happened, I gave the name of Cape Kidnappers. It is rendered remarkable by two white rocks like hay stacks, and the high white cliffs on each side. It lies S.W. by W. distant thirteen leagues from the isle of Portland; and between them is the bay of which it is the south point, and which in honour of Sir Edward Hawke, then first Lord of the Admiralty, I called Hawke’s Bay.”

“About two o’clock in the afternoon, we passed a small but high white island, lying close to the shore, upon which we saw many houses, canoes, and people. It was totally barren, and I named it Bare Island. We saw several people also on shore, upon the main, within the island. At eleven p.m. we brought to till daylight, on Monday the 16th, and then made sail to the south-ward along the shore. At noon a high bluff head, with yellowish cliffs, bore W., distant about two miles. In the afternoon we had a fresh breeze at west, and during the night variable light airs and calms. In the morning of Tuesday the 17th, a gentle northerly breeze sprung up, and having till now stood to the southward, without seeing any probability of meeting with a harbour, and the country manifestly altering for the worse, about one in the afternoon I tacked and stood north, with a fresh breeze at west. The high bluff head with yellowish cliffs I called Cape Turnagain, because here we turned back. The land between it and Cape Kidnappers is not so well clothed with wood as it is about Hawke’s Bay; it is, however, to all appearance, well inhabited, for as we stood along the shore, we saw several villages, not only in the values, but on the tops and sides of the hills, and smoke in many other places.”

“On Wednesday the 18th, in the evening, being abreast of the peninsula within Portland Island, a canoe came off from that shore, and with much difficulty overtook the ship; there were on board five people, two of whom appeared to be chiefs, and the other three servants: the chiefs, with very little invitation came on board, and ordered the rest to remain in the canoe. We treated them with great kindness, and they were not backward in expressing their satisfaction; they went down into the cabin, and after a short time told us that they had determined not to go on shore till the next morning. As the sleeping on board was an honour which we neither expected nor desired, I remonstrated strongly against it, and told them, that on their account it would not be proper, as the ship would probably be at a great distance from where she was then, the next morning; they persisted, however, in their resolution, and as I found it impossible to get rid of them without turning them by force out of the ship, I complied: as a proper precaution, however, I proposed to take their servants also on board, and hoist their canoe into the ship; they made no objection, and this was accordingly done. The countenance of one of these chiefs was the most open and ingenuous of all I have ever seen; they both examined everything they saw with great curiosity and attention, and received very thankfully such little presents as we made them; neither of them, however, could be persuaded either to eat or drink, but their servants devoured everything they could get with great voracity. We found that these men had heard of our kindness and liberality to the natives who had been on board before, yet we thought the confidence they placed in us, an extraordinary instance of their fortitude. At night I brought to till daylight, and then made sail; and at seven in the morning of Thursday the 19th, I brought to again under Cape Table, and sent away our guests with their canoe, who expressed some surprise at seeing themselves so far from home, but landed abreast of the ship.”

Having thus given a tolerably succinct outline of what was seen and done by Capt. Cook during his first ten days on our shores,—in which there was very little of a profitable or pleasing nature to either the visitors or the visited, the relation of the northward course of the gallant barque and her Captain and company must end here for want of space. Before, however, that the historical subject is finally dropped, it may be mournfully interesting briefIy to notice how very rapidly many of the actors who were engaged in the busy scenes of those 10 days passed away; seeing too, that not a few of their names are recorded in the history of our neighbourhood and E. Coast localities. At Batavia, on their homeward voyage, they lost several men Mr. Monkhouse the Surgeon, Tupaea the Tahitian and the boy Te Ito—the little hero of Cape Kidnapers! Almost the last entry in Mr. Parkinson’s journal is his affecting relation of the death of Tupaea and his boy, which I copy:—

“We were staying at Cooper’s Island while the Ship was repairing at another small island called Unrust. Tupaea and Te Ito, whom the Captain designed to have brought to England, died there. They had been several times up to Batavia, and expressed great surprise at the many various objects to which they had been unaccustomed; having, before our arrival at Batavia, made great progress in the English tongue in which they were greatly assisted by Mr. Green the astronomer, who took much pains therein, particularly with Te Ito. When Te Ito was seized with the fatal disorder, as if certain of his approaching dissolution, he frequently said to those of us who were his intimates, “Taiau mate oee,” —My friends I am dying. He took any medicine that was offered him; but Tupaea, who was ill at the same time, and survived him but a few days, refused every thing of that kind, and gave himself up to grief; regretting, in the highest degree, that he had left his own country; and when he heard of Te Ito’s death he was quite inconsolable, crying out frequently, “Te Ito! Te Ito!” They were both buried in the island of Eadam. During our stay at Batavia most of us were sickly; while there one of the midshipmen ran away and was never afterwards heard of; and another died.”

A few days after leaving Batavia, the same disorder which had carried off so many there, began to rage with great violence in the ship; and in a few days carried off Mr. Green the astronomer, Mr. Sydney Parkinson, and Mr. David Spoving secretary to Sir Joseph Banks, (whose names were given to the two islets off Uawa in Tologa Bay,) the boatswain, the carpenter, and the mate, the sailmaker, the corporal of marines, two of the carpenter’s crew and nine seamen.. On their arrival at the Cape, they were in great distress, not having more than six men fit for duty; so that they could not send a boat on shore! Three days after leaving the Cape, Mr. Molineux, the master of the ship, died, (after whom the harbour in Southland was named,) and shortly afterwards Mr. Hicks, the first lieutenant, died, whose name had been given to the bay near the East Cape: (Sir Joseph Banks’ second draughtsman, a Mr. Buchan, had died before, also two of his servants;) while every one knows of the sad untimely end of the able and brave leader of the band within a few short years afterwards!

To write a just panegyric, however well-merited, on such a Commander of such an expedition sent on a long, unknown, and dangerous service, and in such times, would require a far abler pen than that of the writer of this paper. No formal monument has yet been erected in this country to his memory; and it may be justly said, “Si monumentum requiris, circumspice!249 But posterity will give it. Upwards of 30 years ago the writer was often struck with astonishment, in travelling over then little known beaches, to find the coast so very accurately laid down by Cook, from only once seeing it and that from his ship in passing! Well might the early French navigator M. Crozet, say, —“I compared with care the chart which I had drawn of the portion which we ran along of the coast of New Zealand, with that taken by Capt Cook. I found it to possess an exactness and minuteness which astonished me beyond all expression. I doubt whether our own coasts of France have been delineated with more precision.” (Voyage de M. Marion, p. 38.)

With one more quotation from Cook which is given entire, as shewing the true genuine manly English heart of this great man, to whom all colonists are so much indebted, (and which is almost needful in these our degenerate times, when Justice is so often travestied by colonists Juries and Judges)—the writer will close this “labor of love.” Cook, who was at this time at anchor near the Bay of Islands, says:—“While here some of our people, who, when the natives were to be punished for fraud, assumed the inexorable justice of a Lycurgus, thought fit to break into one of their plantations, and dig up some sweet potatoes: for this offence I ordered each of hem to be punished with twelve lashes, after which, two of them were discharged; but the third, insisting that it was no crime in an Englishman to plunder a native plantation, though it was a crime in a native to defraud an Englishman of a nail, I ordered him back into his confinement; from which I would not release him till he had received six lashes more.”

——–“Venient annis

Sæcu1a seris, quibus Oceanus
Vincula rerum laxet, et ingens
Pateat tellus, Tiphysque novos
Detegat orbes; nec sit terris
Ultima Thule.’’—Sen.250

William Colenso.


1871 Fiat Justitia;251 being a few thoughts respecting the Maori prisoner Kereopa now in Napier gaol, awaiting his trial for murder. Respectfully Addressed to the considerate and justice-loving Christian Settlers of Hawke’s Bay, and also to our Rulers, in a Letter to the Editor of the “Hawke’s Bay Herald.” Napier, Dinwiddie, Morrison & Co. 23p.252

“Audi alteram partem”253

Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed
Thrice; and once the hedge-pig whined.” Macbeth

Shall the sword devour for ever: knowest thou

not that it will be bitternesss in the latter end?
O1d Chronicle.

To the Editor of the “Hawke’s Bay Herald.


Sir,—During the past week I have wished to give utterance to a few thoughts respecting the unhappy Maori prisoner Kereopa now in our gaol. At one time I entertained the notion of giving a lecture about him and Te Kooti, and the Hauhau fanaticism in general; but this, for the present, I have abandoned. I am glad, too, that I did not write to you last week; as then (from what I could hear, and see in our papers,) there was much of a nature that was objectionable, reminding me forcibly of the old Nursery Tale of the Giant and his refrain—

Fee fa fum,

I smell the blood of an Englishman (read Hauhau)
I will and must have some.”

And which, of course, I should have to deal with. Not that such a spirit or feeling does not now exist; but folks (including myself) are a little more calm today,—and a few words conveying a few facts (forgotten, it may be, in the midst of much of everyday hurly-burly and din,) may not altogether be written in vain.

I address myself, therefore, firstly, to the thoughtful and considerate justice-loving bona fide settlers of this Province, and in particular to those who have families growing up around them; and, secondly, to those in authority. Premising, however, that the justice I speak of, is that which is true real and Divine,—allied to compassion to the oppressed, and mercy to the sufferer; and not that mock unreal shadowy figment called justice, too often (to the shame of the 19th century) found in our Courts of Law!

What I have to say, will be,—To shew good and valid reasons why mercy should be extended to the unhappy man Kereopa; and this not so much by way of begging, or as a matter of political expediency, as by its being the only just and proper course, or corollary, for us and our rulers to pursue.

It may be asked, what right have I, a private person, to come out in this kind of way? and this I will answer at once—in limine. I step out then on this occasion into the arena:—

1. Because, in 1865, I did, as Member for Napier, in my place in the House of Representatives, both move and support certain resolutions touching on this very question.254

2. Because there, as a member, I read all the official correspondence and Government information respecting it.

3. Because I am in possession of certain facts, which, possibly not many (if any) besides myself in the Province possess.

4. Because my long experience among the uncivilised New Zealanders—prior to the arrival of, and their intercourse with, settlers—has taught me, that they are (or naturally were) a patient and justice-loving people; but, if they could not have justice they would have revenge,—cost what it would!

5. Because I believe that while all will talk in all manner of ways about a thing, few are found to investigate it closely and reasonably.

6. Because an intricate matter, extending, too, over years, can never be fairly dealt with except by commencing at the very beginning: and, also, because I firmly hold the following axioms:—

1. That in all -isms (to mention only a few of the prominent modern ones,—Rationalism, Communism, Mormonism, Fenianism, and Hauhauism;), there is a germ of truth: it is this which gives vitality; it is this which causes men to embrace it. (Would that rulers would, or could, “take a note of it”!)

2. That many a poor fellow would have been reformed and saved “from lowest depths of woe,” and become a valuable member of society,—if society in general, and Christian Churches in particular, had but acted a kinder part towards him, for

“Evil is done by want of thought,

As well as want of heart.”

3. That the Devil is neither so black nor so ugly as he is painted. [4]


The Hauhau superstition originated at Taranaki in 1864, while we were fighting with the natives. It was begun by a native named Te Ua, who had been known for many years to the Europeans as a very good man, and who, in the wreck of the Lord Worsley steamer, did all that he could to prevent his people from, plundering the wreck. He now announced himself as a prophet, divinely commissioned by the angel Gabriel to succour and relieve his suffering countrymen. He was believed in by many, and, he sent out his servants, or colleagues, all over the island; among others be sent a chief, named Patara to visit the East Coast, and to induce the then populous tribes residing here to join them. Patara had with him in his party the prisoner Kereopa, now in our gaol, and they carried with them the head of a Capt.. Lloyd, who had been killed in fighting. The party came to Opotiki, the Rev. Mr. Volkner’s station, by way of Tarawera lake, where the Rev. Mr. Spencer was residing; they did, however, no harm to Mr. Spencer.

On their arrival at Opotiki they commenced haranguing the people; the fame of the new religion having preceded them; and soon gained many adherents. And there can be little doubt, that, under their fanatical zeal and their maddening orgies continually being practised by day and night, they were more or less insane.

Most unfortunately, after only a few days’ sojourn at Opotiki, a small vessel arrived from Auckland, having on board Mr. Volkner and a Mr. Grace (another Minister). This was considered by them as highly confirmatory of their new religion, as their god bad thus given their enemies into their hands! Mr. Volkner was soon seized and cruelly killed, for his alleged political offences against the Maoris, as well as by way of revenge for the more serious offences charged against the Government.

There can be little doubt, that the prisoner Kereopa was more or less concerned with many others in all that took place.

Shortly afterwards a young half-caste named Fulloon, balding a subordinate office n the Government service, was also killed by his own excited Hauhau tribe in the neighborhood of Opotiki, on his arriving among them in a little vessel, for similar political offences real or alleged.

Here I would quote a few words from an able and cautiously-written letter by the late Chief Justice of New Zealand, Sir William Martin, to the Native Minister; it is dated September 23, 1865. Speaking of the state of things at Opotiki preceding Mr. Volkner’s death, Sir William says:—“No spot in the island was better prepared to receive this fanaticism than Opotiki. The people of that place had syumpathised in the Waikato, and some of them had taken part in the war. Various circumstances bad caused their Minister (Mr. Volkner) to be suspected of being in secret correspondence with the Government on the subject of their disaffection. The feeling of the people became more bitter when their leading chief Aperotanga, who had been wounded and taken prisoner by our allies, was murdered by a woman of that tribe (the widow of Pekama Tohi), in revenge for the death of her husband who had fallen in the war. Yet this provocation did not at once lead them to retaliate on Mr. Volkner. Even two men of the offending tribe who had come into the district from the eastward in ignorance of all that had passed were spared. The cry of blood which arose from the widows was rebuked by a woman, and the men were fed, conducted to the western boundary of the district, and sent on their way… Mr. Volkner having again visited Auckland, was continually troubled by the thought of the miserable condition of his people. Their cultivations had been neglected, and a low fever, caused by the lack of food, had carried off more than 150 persons. It appeared to be worthwhile to try the effect of an attempt to minister to them. He resolved therefore to revisit them… A small vessel was seen entering the river, and it was discovered that Mr. Volkner was on board. As the people cluster on the banks of the river the Hauhau leaders pointed to the vessel as a proof of the magical power of the new worship which had brought their betrayer into their hands.”

And, again, after Mr. Volkner’s death, he says:—“Even after this foul crime the superstition continued to spread. Patara, who was himself not present at the murder, proceeded with his party to Turanga (Poverty Bay). He kept Kereopa in the [5] background, and spoke of the murder as a misfortune, a great blow to a good cause. Even then, men who had for years exhibited a sober, thoughtful character, were induced to join, carried away by what the Maori calls “Aroha ki te iwi” (pity for the people), what we should call a strong sympathy with the National cause. The Maoris were strongly effected by the novel practices and the burthen of the worship, and especially by the bitter crying and wailing for their countrymen slain, and their land seized by the pakeha.”

Indeed, the chiefs of Opotiki, in writing to the Government after Mr. Volkner’s death, told them what had been done, and of the reasons, and what Europeans might further expect; they say:—“Friends, this is a word to you. Mr. Volkner, Minister, is dead. He has been hung according to the laws of the New Canaan, in the same manner as it has been ordained by the Parliament of England that, the guilty man be hung. Mr. Grace, Minister, is captured, and is in the prison of the New Canaan, which was arranged by us in the same manner as that which the Parliament of England instituted, that the guilty man be imprisoned. Friends, do not you ask (as if you did not know), “What is the cause of that wrong?” This alone is the cause; firstly, the deception practised upon our island by the Church. That Church said that they were sent hither by God; but now we are aware that they were sent hither by the knowing Society of the Church of England; secondly, the sin of the Governor at Rangiriri,—his murder, the women are dead; thirdly, Rangiaohia, where the women were shot; that is now an unalterable law of the Governor’s. We are now aware, with regard to those laws, that they were made by the authority of England. Why is not the Governor ashamed?... Friends, our island is now aware of your doings. Listen. You catch the Maoris, we kill the pakehas. You hang the Maoris and we hang the pakehas. Release to us Hori Tupaea and we will then let go Mr. Grace; but if you withhold Hori Tupaea, we will also withhold Mr. Grace.”

The chief Wiremu Tamihana te Waharoa also, in his two long and sad petitions of grievances to the General assembly, dated April and July 1865, complained of pretty nearly the same things; he says;—

“To the Parliament at Wellington. Salutations. Hearken. I will tell you the causes of the trouble which has disturbed this island. I write to you all because I have heard people say, that you are the men selected to inquire into the wrongs of the Maoris and pakeha…. For a period of 20 years we had no desire to fight with the pakehas, notwithstanding during that period we were numerous and you, the pakehas, were few. And how was it that we did not wage war with you at that time, when we were in the majority and when you were few?... When it came to be time of the murder at Rangiaohia, then I surely knew, for the first time, that this was a great war for New Zealand. Look also: Maoris hare been burnt alive in their sleeping-houses! Because of this, I did not listen to the words of the pakehas disapproving of the evil of the Maoris’ mode of fighting, which partook of the nature of cruelty. ‘When the women were killed at the pa at Rangiriri, then, for the first time, the General advised, that the women should be sent to live at places where there was no fighting. Then the pa at Paterangi was set aside as a place for fighting, and Rangiaohia was left for the women and children. As soon as we had arranged this, the war party of Bishop Selwyn and the General started to fight with the women and children. The children and women fell there! Before this time our desire was great to put away the customs of our forefathers—ambuscades and surprises, and other modes of warfare by which the enemy could be destroyed. Do not say that the words of advice are thrown away upon us. No the words of advice are regarded by us; it was the affair at Rangiaohia which completely hardened the hearts of the Maori people. The reason was the many instances of murder. Now let me count them. First, the commencement of this war was Rangiriri, a murder; Rangiaohia, a murder. The taking of the river of Horotiu was also a murder,—a murder of men and a murder of land. My reason for calling the taking of Horotiu a murder is, that the General said, he would not carry the war into my territory. but after this he brought his men to occupy my [6] country (Horotiu), to fight also with my tribe; but I was not willing to fight with him; I, and my people, and also the King, departed, and left our land to be cut up without cause by him. I believed in his peaceable word.”— This petition is dated, April 5, 1805, just a mouth after the death of Mr. Volkner.

There are many official papers to the same effect, indicating too plainly the deep-seated feeling of long-borne injury in the Maori mind. Sir W. Martin also clearly shews that be was aware of this; in his letter already quoted, he says:—“The practical fact with which we have to deal is this: the old feeling of distrust and exasperation towards our Government has been strong enough to lead thoughtful men incapable of being parties to such acts, to join the Hauhau cause, even after the commission of the great crime at Opotiki. This is our real difficulty; the same in kind as ever, but greater in degree. I believe that this feeling is now more deep and more widely spread than at any time. I believe there are now many who are convinced that we are determined, even by fraud and violence, to get possession of their land, and force our dominion upon men who have never consented to it. Many, therefore, on their part determine to hold their own as best they may, and are content to sacrifice their lives in the contest. The state of the case is this: we have put too great a pressure upon these people, more than they can bear, more than we can continue to exert; we have driven many of the natives into a state of determined resistance, bordering on desperation; we have brought upon ourselves the necessity of bearing burdens beyond our strength.”

An extract from a statement of Mr. Agassiz, a European surgeon resident at Opotiki at the time, is worthy of notice, as shewing how these deluded Hauhaus were again unfortunately confirmed in their new religion, and that, too, from a quarter we should least have expected it, viz., the first English man-of-war sent against them; he says:—

“The Opotiki natives did not make any pa or fortification. They said, if any soldiers came their god would defend them. They instance, the retreat of the crew of H.M.S. Eclipse, as one of the interpositions of their god in their behalf. That steamer had landed several soldiers; they marched up to a pa occupied by twelve natives, and they were frightened by their god and ran away. (In answer to a question.) I believe the number of natives in that pa is correctly stated. A sailor was shot, by his own comrades. The natives assert they never fired a shot on the night when the sailors landed; the firing was all done by the pakeha. They fouud on the beach some sand which had been stained with the blood of the wounded sailor; they also picked up some four or five cartridges. The sand containing the blood was carefully collected, and with the cartridges placed on a board beside the sacred post. After the usual ceremonies of encircling the post and singing Pai Marire songs, each person advanced to the board, bowed low, and thanked the good god of the Pai Marire for making the pakehas shoot their own people.”—

Subsequently, as is well known, much mischief and loss of life was caused everywhere on the East Coast, from Opotiki to Hawke’s Bay, through that fanatical party of excited Hauhaus headed by Patara. The East Coast tribes, once populous, have been ruined, and their consequent loss has been altogether above 1000 lives! but of all this I do not now care to speak.

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