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



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(12.) Another Watch-song.


The moon shines brightly!
The moon shines brightly!
What is to be seen?
(Here) the spears strong and ready!
(There) the spears weak and fearful!
Mine were not quite true to aim;
Yet they shall be.
Thine were not true to aim, [75]
For thine fell to ground.
A long way off! oh!
With us is the god of war—Tu,
Who approves of close fighting.
Ye will not come on!
Ye dare not! Ye say,—
“Just leave the assault till they fear.”
Ha! ha! But know ye,—
The eye of the leaders of war
Never sleeps;606 never winks! oh! oh!

A truly fine spirited song in the original. (MS., ined.)




(13.) A Love-song. By a widow, or a widower, for the partner deceased.


(Part only.)

Go on setting, O thou sun!


Descend into thy cave,
To carry tidings thither!
Alas! alas!
The tears fall plentifully from my eyelids,
Gushing like a flowing tide;—
But thou repliest not!
Alas! alas!
...
Truly grey hairs are showing
On my dear friends;—
But with me especially,
Alas! alas!
The flowering plume of the Arundo reed,
Shows prettily, glancing in the sun
In the seventh (moon),—
Alas! alas!
In the eighth (moon) it is blown away!
Alas! alas!
The rainbow shows brightly in the dark cloud,
But the lightning is flashing!—
All is over!—
Alas! alas!

(MS., ined.)

An altered version of this beautiful song is on p. 261, Grey’s “Poetry.”

(14.) A Love-chaunt. (Part only.)


Rain on, O thou rain! Continue to rain down without, there; here am I, within the hut, deploring my distress, and comparing (this with that), for my eyes are as if supplied with water from a flowing spring. It is the great love I bear to the fond one of my affection that causes these fierce convulsive pains: the dear one who is so greatly desired and hoped for! Now, alas! thou art separated, far off to a distance; who will return thee [76] hither to me? And you, my hundred friends, who are strenuous to aid me, leave it for a while; just merely for a little (time), while I am sitting-up a bit. Be assured, I shall not wait long, only until the moon rises; then I, also, will go forth, to look at the fleecy clouds sailing hither, coming this way over the mountain.

Alas! the boundary that parts us, dear young lady! is as a great ocean-depth to thee. Notwithstanding, in that one direction towards thee, my eyes are dim with steady gazing. For thou alone art the only one of my deepest affection, etc., etc.



Note.—The great beauty of this song, in its commencement, arises from the poet’s making it to rain heavily and unceasingly without, while he is lamenting within a miserable hut, and comparing the flood of waters flowing from his eyes with the falling rain! The imagery is so natural, plaintive and affecting, that it is worked up into many of their love-songs. So, again, where he says—“wait a while,—while I am sitting up a bit;”—meaning, just as a sick person, who is weak when roused to get up. (A version of a part of this song is at p. 396 of “Grey’s Poetry.”)

(15.) A Love-song. By a Widow for her Dead Husband.
(Part only.)


After the evening hours,
I recline upon my bed,
Thy own spirit-like form
Comes towards me,
Creeping stealthily along!
Alas! I mistake!
Thinking thou art here with me
Enjoying the light of day!
Then the affectionate remembrances
Of the many days of old
Keep on rising within my heart!
This, however, loved one; this
Thou must do,—
Recite the potent call to Rakahua
And the strong cry to Rikiriki,—
That thou mayest return (to me).
For thou wast ever more than a common husband,—
Thou wast my best-beloved,—my chosen;
My treasured possession! alas!

(MS., ined.)

(This, in part, worked up with another song, will be found in Grey’s “Poetry of the New Zealanders,” p. 352.)

Note.—The cries, or invocations, to Rakahua, and to Rikiriki, often mentioned in their poetry, etc., were said to be to those beings who had power to restore from the dead.

(16.) A Love-song.


Rise up quickly, O thou Moon! make haste to get above me, that I may give vent to my sighing, and utter my laments! Now, indeed, for the first time, do I feel the pangs of [77] love; it is as if a demon, or a lizard, were within me gnawing. If, indeed, my people, you are not willing to dwell with me, and bear me company in my distress,—you had better separate yourselves to a distance; for the love within me is very great; far, indeed, beyond expression.

O ye light, fleecy clouds, flitting above; fly on, fly away, and carry tidings, that my beloved one may hear of me in her anxiety. Here, also, am I, in very great perplexity. I must hide my strong affection for the one I love. Alas! alas! my very eye-sight is fast failing me; when I look at the distant headlands, they quiver and are dim!

If the burning sulphur-crater at White Island were near me,—gladly thither would I go; turning away from all my friends,—never more to return hither; but for ever remain absent in the dreary cold South.—(MS., ined.)

(17.) A Love-song, or Lament. By a Wife for her Absent Husband.


The eye is strained and wearied with the long looking-out;
Thou art, to me, the peaks of firmly-fixed affection!
If I were but a bird, then I could fly away,
Then, indeed, my wings would quickly become extended.
My own very heart is no longer faithful to me,
Hanging, far away, suspended! I see the fine white clouds
Above me, flying hither, over the far-off mountain tops,
Beyond which is the husband so dearly loved by me.
In the house I am being eaten up with anxiety;
The husband was unwilling to dwell here with me!
But now thou art separated, a long way off from me,
And my remembrances come crowding in hundreds,
Causing the flowing tears to trickle down from my eyelids.

(Grey, loc. cit., p. 62.)

Those few examples of striking natural imagery herein brought forward, are both varied and brief. Among them are,—melancholy, warlike, ceremonial, humourous, and love pieces; some whole, some only in part;—having purposely excepted the long historical, legendary, martial, revengeful, and ceremonial ones (as such would require much explanation for a European reader); also, all of a licentious character,—of which there are many, as might be supposed, among a people where all and everything was open and naked. Yet, no doubt, in the martial and revengeful pieces, so truly characteristic of the people, the Maori poets more fully rise with the occasion; there the poet shows himself as absolutely “dowered with the hate of hate, and scorn of scorn!” I might, also, have shown much more of their numerous natural beauties, had I confined myself to a line or two, here and there, containing a single beautiful image or expression, and so have picked them out from a large number of poetical pieces; and such would also have been easier for me,—but I considered, that in following the plan I had adopted, I have given both longer and more continuous (unbroken) specimens, and done the Maori poets justice. I have mostly [78] preferred to take them from Sir G. Grey’s published collection, or, at all events, to refer to such when found therein (although, in several instances a different version, having been altered, as is frequently the case) as, in my so doing, the published Maori originals could be referred to by those possessing that book.

In conclusion, I would make a few remarks on their musical talent, this being a natural and necessary part of the subject, seeing that the old Maoris either sung or chaunted all their poetry. And I am the more inclined to do so from the fact of so very little being known about it for this—the music (unlike the words) of their poetry—has nearly become wholly lost both to them (their descendants) and to us.

This I purpose considering briefly under two heads—I., Instrumental; and II., Vocal.

I. Of their Instrumental Music.—Here, however, little can be said, save that they did possess such; and that, rude as it was, they sought to vary it in many ways, showing (1) their musical faculty, and (2) their endeavours after its improvements. But to do them justice, we must never lose sight of this one great fundamental fact, already mentioned by me,607 their utter ignorance and want of all and every kind of metal! How, then, it might well be asked could they possibly manufacture a musical instrument? Still they strove to do it, and, to a certain rude extent, succeeded. Their attempts in this direction have always served to remind me strongly of what the ancient Greeks related concerning the early endeavours of Apollo himself in constructing his first lyre, or harp, from the castaway shell of a tortoise and a few strings drawn across it!



First I would observe that their instruments were nearly all wind instruments, which they played or sounded with both mouth and nose, having, however, separate instruments for each service. Of these, fortunately, we have a few accurately drawn and described by their first European visitors; also a few deposited in museums at home. Yet, while the proper names of several of them still remain (though some are for ever lost) an accurate description of all of them is not now to be obtained from the Maoris. I myself, in all my researches during a lengthened residence, have seen but a few—a poor remnant! They were all made of wood, bone, or shell, and may be conveniently classed under three familiar names: (1) trumpets, (2) flutes, and (3) whistles.

(1.) The trumpets were made of wood or shell; for this latter purpose the shell of the large Triton (T. australis) was used, its apex was neatly cut off, its mouth scraped, and the whole shell polished, and a mouth-piece of hard wood, suitably hollowed and carved, was ingeniously and firmly fixed [79] on. Here I must notice a most curious plan which the old Maoris seem to have had for increasing, or altering, the power of the sound of their conch shell. An ancient trumpet of this kind (formerly belonging to the old patriotic chief of Table Cape, Ihaka Whanga, but now the property of Mr. Samuel Locke, of Napier,) has a thin piece of dark hard wood, of a broadly elliptic form, and measuring 5 × 3 inches, most dexterously fitted in to fill up a hole in the upper part of the body or large whorl of the shell; which piece of wood is also curved, and ribbed, or scraped to resemble and closely match the transverse ridges of the shell; and additionally carved, of course, with one of their national devices; besides being ornamented with strips of birds’ skin and feathers;—the plumage of the kaakaapo or ground parrot, (Strigops habroptilus). At first I had supposed that the said shell, having been somehow broken, had been repaired by having this piece of wood set in; but on further examination, and also comparing it with the figure of a similar New Zealand shell trumpet in Cook’s Voyages (Second Voyage, Vol. I., plate 19,) which has, apparently, a precisely similar piece of dark wood let into it! I have concluded as above, that, in both instances, such was done purposely. The old Maoris informed Mr. Locke that only one sort of wood was used by them for such purposes, it being very sonorous, viz. kaiwhiria (also, koporokaiwhiri, and porokaiwhiri)=Hedycarya dentata. Of this wood they anciently made their best loud-sounding drums, or gongs (pahu), which were suspended in their principal forts. They also manufactured several other musical instruments from this wood, for the producing of delicate sounds to accompany their singing; some of which processes being highly curious (and all but wholly lost) may be here briefly described.—1. Two small smooth sticks, each about 18 inches long, were made, one of them was held in the mouth, while the other was used to strike that one at the end; the performer at the same time humming the tune. 2. Another manner of musical performance was by two persons standing about 4 feet apart, each holding a prepared rod of kaiwhiria wood, of the length and size of a walking-stick; these sticks were thrown to and fro alternately, and gently and dexterously caught, but so that they should while passing in the air touch each other, and give out the exact note required; the two performers at the same time chaunting their song. Might this wood not be advantageously used for stethoscopes, etc., etc. Their wooden trumpets were also very peculiar, made of pieces of hard wood, scraped and hollowed and jointed, and very compactly put together, after a highly curious fashion, so that the joinings are scarcely seen! Some long ones have a large hole in the middle of the instrument, whence the sound issued, which was there modified by the hand; and others, four feet in length, have a singular (if not unique) central piece, larynx, or diaphragm, [80] set a long way (12–14 inches) within its mouth,—the sound of this kind was emitted from its larger aperture at the big dilated end;608 to me, this instrument seems a really wonderful work and contrivance! The noise they made with some of their trumpets was very loud and powerful, and must, I think, be justly termed discordant, if not absolutely hideous, to an European ear; yet by their different sounds their several chiefs in travelling were known. And not only so, for those loud-sounding instruments were also used as speaking-trumpets to carry words to a distance.609

(2.) The flutes were made of wood and of bone—when of the latter it was human bone. They were of various lengths, generally six to eight inches long, open at both ends, and having three holes on one side and one on the other. The wooden ones were ornamented with a great amount of carving and inlaying, each being an example of skill, industry and patience, and of the time necessarily taken in its construction. Those for the mouth were differently formed from those for the nose. One of the smaller ones (often made of bone) was not unfrequently worn suspended from the neck of a chief. On these the old Maoris managed to play simple Maori tunes and airs.

(3.) Their whistles were very large; that is, thick, obtuse, peculiarly [81] shaped, and something like a short thick tongue, some being a little curved. They were made of hard wood, scraped, polished, and profusely carved, and inlaid with mother-of-pearl; these, also, were worn by the chiefs, hung to their necks. Parkinson (Sir Joseph Banks’ draughtsman) has given a drawing of one in plate 26 of his interesting “Journal,” figure 24;—in describing it he says,—“A whistle made of wood having the outside curiously carved; besides the mouth-hole they have several for the fingers to play upon. These, which are worn about the neck, are 3½ inches in length, and yield a shrill sound.” I suspect that these, like their trumpets, were not used for obtaining any proper tune, but only for the purpose of making a loud call,—as from a chief to his followers.

Captain Cook, in his first voyage, when on this subject, briefly says,— “They have sonorous instruments, but they can scarcely be called instruments of music; one is the shell, called the Triton’s trumpet, with which they make a noise not unlike that which our boys sometimes make with a cow’s horn: the other is a small wooden pipe, resembling a child’s nine-pin, only much smaller, and in this there is no more music than in a pea-whistle.”— (Vol. III., p. 468.) Either Cook, then, had not seen them all, or Dr. Hawksworth, in compiling that history of the first voyage, had overlooked it;—I think this latter the more probable.

Forster, who accompanied Cook in his second voyage remarks,—“They also brought some musical instruments, among which was a trumpet, or tube, of wood, about four feet long, and pretty straight; its small mouth was not above two inches, and the other not above five inches in diameter; it made a very uncouth kind of braying, for they always sounded the same note, though a performer on the French horn might perhaps be able to bring some better music out of it. Another trumpet was made of a large whelk (Murex tritonis) mounted with wood curiously carved, and pierced at the point where the mouth was applied; a hideous bellowing was all the sound that could be produced out of this instrument. The third went by the name of a flute among our people, and was a hollow tube, widest about the middle, where it had a large opening, as well as another at each end. This and the first trumpet were both made of two hollow semi-cylinders of wood, exactly fitted and moulded together, so as to form a perfect tube.”— (Forster’s Voyage, Vol. I., p. 227.) I think Forster could not have seen their small flute (which is a very differently-formed instrument, and without “a large opening in the middle”), on which alone they played their plaintive airs;—at all events, such is not included in the above.

Second, we have the proof recorded by competent early visitors, of the abilities of the New Zealanders in playing tunes on their flutes; which they could only have attained to through long and persevering practice. And [82] this, to me, is indicative of both a high musical ear and a love for music,—to find that they could patiently succeed in extracting even a short series of pleasing notes from such wretched instruments.

Captain Cruise (84th Regiment), who was in New Zealand in H.M.S. “Dromedary,” in 1820, and who spent nearly a year here, and therefore had far better opportunities for observation, remarks in his “Journal,”—when in the Thames, and not far from the site of the present town of Auckland,—“Two chiefs came on board; one of them, a very tall handsome man, wore a carved flute or pipe round his neck, upon which he played the simple but plaintive airs of this part of the island, with much correctness.”—(Loc. cit., p. 212.)

I may here mention a few incidents which have in past years come under my own special notice, as further showing their natural ear for music—or melody.

(1.) It is well known that at an early date, say forty years ago, the Maoris showed a great desire to obtain jews-harps, this was common. But to see them—one at a time being quite enough!—critically examine and try a whole score, or more, of those little instruments, before one was found that was “soft” enough (or suitably melodious) in its twang to please their ear! I have known them to leave the store where jews-harps were sold without purchasing one after trying many, though sadly in want of one at the time, rather than bring away a “hard” or unsuitable one. They also often spent much time in endeavouring to alter its tone, by trying all manner of schemes and plans with its tongue. Again: in later years, I have known them to improve on the sound of the jews-harp (for their ear), by fixing a small lump of sealingwax, or kauri-resin, on the projecting end of the tongue of the instrument, for the purpose of playing the same within their mouth and with their tongue, instead of with their finger! This certainly rendered the sounds much softer than when played in the usual way. Young men would sometimes be thus occupied for one or two hours, evidently delighting themselves with the dulcet sounds. Another little-known item in connection with jews-harp playing, or its musical sounds, I may also mention, as it is very peculiar, namely, I have known the Maoris anxiously to beg for old dessert knives when worn out by constant use and scouring, to make with them (the worn thin remnant of a blade) a small instrument resembling a jews-harp, its sound, they said, being so much sweeter.

(2.) A little Maori lad, named Itama, whom I was training, and who lived with me some time, showed at a very early age a most refined ear for music. Seeing that he was always endeavouring to elicit pleasing sounds from threads and twine strained over a bit of board, or a shell, I procured him some catgut of different sizes, which highly delighted him. He then [83] sought (in his own quiet persevering way) pieces of wood of various sorts and shapes, and cut them and fixed his chords to please himself, making, at length, sweet sounding instruments; and often have I known him to spend hours in quietly listening to those soothing sounds, especially during one long dreary and painful season, when he was in the doctor’s hands for his eyes, which ended in his totally losing the sight of one of them. At such times I have been led to think upon Wordsworth’s beautiful and appropriate lines:—

“And she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place,
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound
Shall pass into her face.” —(Lucy).

But there is much throughout the whole of that poem strictly applicaable to the subject of this paper.

Another lad, whom I had residing with me at a much earlier period, also showed a fine natural ear for music. I bought him a piccolo flute, and he early taught himself to play on it. I have known him after hearing a tune a few times (at church, or elsewhere), to come home, and in a very short time to play it correctly and harmoniously on his little flute. This, too, he did with several of our tunes, of course, all without notes or previously knowing them.

II. Of their Vocal Music.—Under this branch I have very little additional to say; the true old Maori singing differing so widely from our own; although some of it approached pretty nearly to a few of our more simple chaunts. The vocal Maori music, as a whole, has, like their own instrumental, almost become extinct. One remarkable feature, however, concerning their vocal music I would relate, as I am sure it is but little known;—namely, that almost every song or poetical piece had its own proper tune,—and must not be sung or recited to another! Indeed, the words alone of any newly-heard song, however spirited or approved of, were not valued without its tune. When I first discovered this I was astonished, and could hardly believe it, until I had repeatedly proved it. For, in my extensive yearly travelling, some 30–40 years ago, throughout the North Island, always having Maoris travelling with me, I found, in getting to a strange place or people, that my companions could do nothing with a new song they had brought with them, unless they also knew its proper tune. And I myself, when sometimes quoting a line or two from an unknown song, should soon be teased about its tune—“He aha tona rangi?” would be frequently asked. Here, then, is another addition to their amazing powers of memory, already alluded to by me in this paper.

I will conclude with two quotations from their earliest visitors, [84] containing their remarks on this subject. Captain Cook says,—“A song, not altogether unlike their war-song, they sometimes sing without the dance, and as a peaceable amusement. They have also other songs which are sung by the women, whose voices are remarkably mellow and soft, and have a pleasing and tender effect; the time is slow, and the cadence mournful, but it is conducted with more taste than could be expected among the poor ignorant savages of this half-desolate country; especially as it appeared to us, who were none of us much acquainted with music as a science; to be sung in parts; it was at least sung by many voices at the same time.” (First Voyage, Vol. III., p. 468). And Mr. Anderson, who was the surgeon in Cook’s ship on his third voyage to New Zealand, thus writes:—“The children are initiated at a very early age into the keeping the strictest time in their song. They likewise sing, with some degree of melody, the traditions of their forefathers, their actions in war, and other indifferent subjects, of all which they are immoderately fond, and spend much of their time in these amusements, and in playing on a sort of flute. Their language is far from being harsh or disagreeable, though the pronunciation is frequently guttural; and whatever qualities are requisite in any other language to make it musical, certainly obtain to a considerable degree here, if we may judge from the melody of some sorts of their songs.” (Anderson, in Cook’s Third Voyage, Vol. I., p. 163.) But far beyond all, as I take it, is the scientific testimony of Dr. Forster, who was with Cook in his second voyage to New Zealand,—already, however, given by me in a former paper, with some interesting additions from Sir G. Grey’s work.610

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1880 Description of a new species of Metzgeria; also a brief notice of the finding of Bæomyces heteromorphus, Nyl., in New Zealand.
Transactions of the New Zealand Institute 13: 368-370.


[Read before the Hawkes’ Bay Philosophical Institute, 12th July, 1880.]

Metzgeria (Symphyogyna) rugulosa,611 n.s.


Plant terrestial, sub-erect, of close half imbricate growth, forming little beds; root creeping, densely tomentose, colour light brown; stipe 2–3 in. long, sub-flexuose, whitish, translucent, semi-succulent, two-nerved downwards from the fork (four-nerved above), nerves very distinct; frond darkish green, very membranaceous, drooping outwardly, flabellate and kidney-shaped in outline, 10–12 lines broad, 5–7 lines long, forked, symmetrical, each main division trichotomously divided and two-nerved, semi-rugulose on upper surface glabrous; segments linear, 2–3 lines long, 1 line broad, [369] bifid, emarginate, transparent, midrib very apparent and extending to margin at emarginate apex, margins entire; fructification 3–5 on one frond, from below at the fork of main division of frond, and again at each fork of the secondary divisions; calyptra tubular, 3 lines long, very slightly incised at top (somewhat resembling the tubular capsule of Cerastium vulgatum), at first white, but after flowering bearing a pale reddish tinge; involucre crisped and fimbriate; capsule (immature) at first linear-elliptic, dark coloured, enclosed in tubular calyptra, 1 line long, afterwards seated on long whitish succulent fruit-stalk, 10–12 lines long, bursting into four red-brown valves, cohering by their apices.

This interesting and curious little plant has very much of the appearance of a stipitate Symphyogyna, to which genus I should undoubtedly have referred it had I not fortunately (after much research) found it in fruit. It is very like S. flabellata in general appearance, though quite distinct, and without fruit, and at first sight might easily be confounded with it. It has many natural characters in common with that genus, but from the position of its ventral fructification it is placed (provisionally) under Metzgeria. It seems, however, to serve to unite those two genera. Although closely resembling Symphyogyna flabellata in some particulars, it differs from it not merely in the situation of its fructification, but also in its involucral scale being much more crisped and even fimbriated (which, in that species, has plain margins), while the top of its calyptra is very much less incised (which, in that species, is largely cut and fimbriated), and the segments of its fronds, instead of being obtuse, as in that plant, are emarginate. It also largely differs in its habit of growth. Another peculiarity is its bearing two manner of fronds from the same rhizome: one, the larger and often fruitful one, as described; the other is much smaller, and, though forked, is less cut, and more palmate or sub-flabellate in outline, with the upper part of the stipe winged, its colour a light green, quite glabrous and smooth, and highly transparent. At first I had supposed it to be another species, but subsequent and frequent examination has confirmed its forming with the other and larger frond only one plant.



Hab.—On the banks of a watercourse in a deep, secluded, damp glen, on the west side of the main road, about four miles south from Norsewood, in the “Seventy-mile bush,” May, 1880, with immature fruit; and again in October, 1880, with fruit fully ripened, and passing. Hitherto I have only detected it growing in one small spot, though there plentifully.

Bœomyces heteromorphus, Nyl.

Thallus constaceous, spreading, thin, greyish or dull-white; apothecia reddish flesh-coloured, orbicular, flat or very slightly depressed, with a finely crenlated margin, 1–5 together, separate rarely confluent, on a thick [370] short stipe (podetium), which is generally cylindrical in the lower part and sub-branched in the upper, each branchlet terminating in an apothecium.

Hab.—On sub-vertical clayey banks, in the forest (“Seventy-mile bush”), between Norsewsod and Daneverk, forming large patches, and growing with B. rufus.

I was much pleased in detecting this pretty little plant, especially in finding it growing together with its allied species B. rufus; the contrast between them was great, in the thallus as well as in apothecia, and showed advantageously. Hitherto, I believe, this species has only been found in Tasmania.

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1880 The ferns of Scinde Island612 (Napier).
Transactions of the New Zealand Institute 13: 370-376.


[Read before the Hawke’s Bay Philosophical Institute, 11th October, 1880.]

I Have often thought that it would not be undesirable to bring to your notice the ferns of Scinde Island; that is, I regret to say, those which were here until lately, for many of them are no longer to be found within its limits.

And this fact of some of them having already become extinct (like much of the old, striking, and curious indigenous vegetation of the extensive flats and plains adjoining) is another reason, with me, for putting on record those ferns that formerly existed here, which I myself have often seen and, with one solitary exception, gathered. For, in times to come, it might well be doubted whether any ferns—save, of course, the common ubiquitous Pteris esculenta—could have ever inhabited this small high, dry, and isolated islet-like limestone mound, destitute of fresh-water.

And there is yet another valid reason, viz., that among them were two, if not three, peculiar ferns, which are also local and comparatively rare in New Zealand.

In the “Handbook of the New Zealand Flora,” by Sir J.D. Hooker, 31 genera of ferns, containing 120 species (exclusive of varieties), are described; some of those however have not yet been detected within the area of New Zealand proper, but only in far-off outlying localities—as Chatham, Auckland, and Kermadec Islands. Here, within this small area of Scinde Island, containing only 660 acres (and now comprised within the Borough of Napier), there were no less than eleven of those 31 genera, or one-third of the whole; and of the said 120 species, fourteen, together with, at least, one new species, not known to Dr. Hooker, making a total of fifteen. [371] Those several genera I will take in the order in which they run in the “Handbook” of our New Zealand flora.

1. Cyathea. Of this fine genus of tree-ferns the beautiful new species, lately described by me (C. polyneuron),613 was first found in 1865, young and small, growing among the common fern (Pteris esculenta), on my land on the hill-side. I removed it into my garden, where it has thriven remarkably well, although it suffered severely during those two very dry summers in succession of 1878 and 1879; it is now 7 feet high.

2. Adiantum hispidulum. This fern has been found growing sparingly in cliffy spots on the west side of the “Island.” It is rather rare in all this district.

3. Adiantum affine. This pretty little fern formerly grew densely in beds on ledges of the clayey cliffs on the north side of Hyderabad road, at the south end of the “Island.”

4. Cheilanthes tenuifolia. This fern I have often found in various parts of the hills growing among the common fern. Also, a very large and undescribed variety (or a distinct species of a fern of this genus) of diffuse rambling growth, of which I may have something more of say hereafter, as I fortunately possess specimens.

5. Pteris esculenta, formerly all over the “Island,” in some parts attaining to a large size, 6–7 feet high.614

6. Pteris tremula. This elegant species also grew strongly here. I have still good thriving plants in my garden brought in from the adjoining hill.

7. Lomaria procera—a small common variety—grew sparsely scattered in damp shaded spots and gulches on the hill-side; also, a larger variety on the flat below.

8. Doodia. A very fine species or variety of this genus also grew sparingly here, which differed largely from the northern species. I have both known and cultivated this fine fern for upwards of thirty years, having in 1848 removed plants of it from this hill to my old residence at Waitangi, near West Clive. Did I not believe that the various plants of Doodia found at the north (where also they are very common) are all varieties of one species,615 I should be inclined to consider our Scinde Island plant as forming [372] another and distinct species, inasmuch as it varies considerably from those northern plants (D. media and D. caudata, of Dr. Hooker’s “Handbook”), and does not agree with their separately-published specific characters. It is much the finest of all our New Zealand varieties or species Doodia. I shall, however, in a separate paper616 give a description of this plant, D. squarrosa, mihi.

9. Asplenium flabellifolium. I have formerly gathered fine specimens of this elegant little ferm among herbage in gravelly spots; even now it is to found in cliffy nooks on the west side of the “island,”

10. Asplenium obtusatum. This common sea-side fern grew on the cliffs near to the Bluff, on its north-east side.

11. Aspidium richardi.—This plant grew sparingly in fine tufts on the hill-sides among the common fern. I removed some plants into my garden a few years back, where they have grown very well.

12. Polypodium billardieri.—I have found this below at the base of the hill, growing well on, and among old drifted wood, above high water-mark, spring and flood tides, where it had become established.

13. Polypodium serpens.—This fern formerly grew in the groove or thicket of karaka trees (Corynocarpus lœvigata), which stood near the south end of the “island.” I think that grove was originally a tabooed spot (probably a burial-place) of the old aborigines, who formerly dwelt here. On my arrival in 1843, and long after, the cormorants (Graculus varius) both roosted and built their nests thickly in those trees, so that the spot had the appearance of a small rookery. It was both a pleasing and a curious sight to see them attending assiduously to their young in the breeding season, the white breasts and bellies of the parent-birds contrasting so strongly with the dense dark green foliage of the trees. Very soon after the purchase, by the Government, of this block of land the few early white residents (and especially the military) cut down the whole grove! and also [373] nearly all the other small and few scattered trees617 of the “Island,” merely for the small poles, etc., for rude fencing and for tents. To some of those trees (Ngaio=Myoporum lœtum) that grew, picturesquely fringing and overhanging the sea (of the inner harbour) at high water, I have known the Natives frequently to make fast their canoes, and, in the summer season, to bivouac under their shade. No Maori of the olden time would have cut down one of those ancient and useful trees! and, when the whites did so, they complained bitterly against it.

14. Gymnogramme leptophylla.—This sweet little annual fern still grows here in a few undisturbed spots on the hill-side, where, every spring, I have the pleasure of noticing and welcoming it. I first detected this fern in 1842, growing in sheltered grassy spots among scoria on the dry hills at the head of Manukau Bay, near Auckland, which is the only other locality of its habitat known to me in New Zealand.618 Believing it to be a new species, I published it as G. novœ-zealandiœ619 but, according to Dr. Hooker, it is identical with a British (Jersey) species, which is also found in Australia and Tasmania. Nevertheless there are (as I view it) striking differences between our New Zealand plant and the British one, judging from the ample descriptions, and also the many botanical plates in my possession of that species.

15. Botrychium cicutarium.—Fine plants of this species of fern I formerly found here on the hills, but I have not noticed any for fifteen years.




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