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

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Doodia Squarrosa,625 n.s.

Caudex short, thick, oblique, sub-ascending; roots many, stout, long, black, and wiry, densely clothed with shaggy black shining patent hairs; plant of densely cæspitose close, sub-erect, and squarrose habit, many fronds springing from one stock; stipe rather slender, 6–8 in. long, scabrous yet glossy, straight, and sub-flexuose, deeply channelled on upper-surface, clothed (especially below) with black chaffy acuminate hair-pointed scales, 3–3½ lines long and 1 line broad at base, striated and minutely reticulated, reticulations oblong, stipe sub-muricate in distant dots where the scales have fallen; rhachis slender, brittle, channelled throughout on upper surface, pale-coloured in the upper part, brownish in the lower, with scattered long brown tortuous weak and shrivelled scarious scales; fronds pale green, sub-membranaceous, glossy yet minutely roughish and harsh to feel, dry, sub-rugose and rigid; the very young circinate and undeveloped ones 2–3 in. high, clothed with long black subulate and pointed scales; fertile fr. lanceolate, very acuminate, 18–19 in. long, with a very long terminal segment; breadth (mid.) 4½–5¼ in., pinnate, length of pinna (mid.) 2¼–2½ in., breadth 4 lines, margins of pinnæ and segments sinuous, cartilaginous, sharply and irregularly spinuloso-serrate with white sharp teeth; costæ deeply channelled above; pinnæ opposite, 24–28 jugate, sub-falcate, linear, broadest at base, obtuse and truncate; 4–6 lowest pairs sub-petiolate, free, largely hastate, and largely auricled upwards, 10 lines long, 4–5 lines broad at base; upper pinnæ sessile, free upwards and auricled, decurrent downwards; 3–4 pairs uppermost pinnæ slightly pinnatifid; 5–8 pairs lowermost pinnæ very distant, 1 inch apart on rhachis, with the distance between them gradually decreasing upwards; terminal segment very long, 4½–5 in. long, 3 lines broad, linear, strap-shaped, obtuse, sometimes sub-flexuose and sub-crenulated, not unfrequently auricled below and coadunate with adjoining segments, occasionally bifid at apex, each segment 8–14 lines long; veins as in the genus, but coarse and much produced; sori biserial, crowded yet not confluent (save through age in very old fronds), distant from costa, those in row nearest to costa longest, 1–2½ lines long, outer row shorter, often composed of mere dots, biserial on auricles and wings of pinnæ both upwards and downwards, sub-triserial on some long terminal segments, when fully ripe dark-brown and semi-confluent; involucre linear, narrow, pale-coloured, scarious, margin sub-erose, in outer row often sub-lunate and mere dots, but still the same kind of involucre; barren frond much as fertile, only [383] shorter and texture a little thinner; pinnæ linear-oblong, broader, 3–4 lines broad, obtuse; terminal segment somewhat shorter and broader, 4–6 lines broad.

Some semi-barren fronds present a peculiar appearance; a few pinnæ having single rows of scattered sori, in very small linear and semi-lunate dots, each scarely one line long, which are again sometimes biserial and distant on the terminal segment, and on a few of the larger pinnæ. If these peculiar fronds were not found growing from the same root or caudex with the larger and fertile ones, they would be set down as forming a different species or variety.

Six species of Doodia are very fully described by Sir W.J. Hooker in his Species Filicum, including those known to him from New Zealand; I possess botanical drawings with dissections of them all, with none of which as well as with their descriptions) does this plant agree. To our New Zealand “D. caudata,” of which, though possessing copious specimens from several botanists, Sir W.J. Hooker says, “All these from New Zealand border too closely upon D. media (Sp. Fil., Vol. III., p. 76); it approaches in its long terminal segment and narrow (fertile) pinnæ; but that Australian species, though a very much smaller plant, is said to be “pinnate nearly to the summit,” with the “sori in a single series,” its “indusia sub-lunate, stipes naked at base,” and “its rachis quite smooth,” etc. It also has pretty close affinity with D. media, but differs still more from this common New Zealand species. In its regular double lines of closely-compacted sori, and in their great excess, extending both upwards and downwards on the auricles and wings of its broadly-adnate pinnæ (as it were sursum currens and decurrens), which give a kind of winged appearance to the rhachis, though still truly pinnate, every pinna being separate, and also in its black paleaceous stipes and scales, it seems to have affinity with D. dives, a Ceylon species, especially with the variety β zeylanicum, Hook., of that species, of which Sir W.J. Hooker says,—“The wings of the rachis bear sori as well as the segments and pinnæ” (l.c., p. 74), but the involucres in the Ceylon plant are all lunulate and broader, and the pinnæ and venation different. (A fine free drawing, with dissections of this plant, is given in Beddome’s Ferns of S. India, p. 222, all showing its very great distinctness from the Napier plant.) It seems also to be equally distinct from five newer and additional Polynesian “varieties,” briefly described by Baker in his Synopsis Filicum (appendix, p. 482), nearly all of which have their sori uni-serial.

I have given, I may say, some amount of extra examination at various times extending throughout many years, to this plant, having it here growing around me—as may be inferred from my full description of it; and [384] while I advance it as a distinct species, I do so with some hesitation, and mainly from the fact of its disagreeing in several important characters with those of the other described species of Doodia, not a few of which, I think, will hereafter prove, when examined and compared together in a living state (the only way of true comparison), to be but varieties. Sir W.J. Hooker truly enough said (though he only knew of those six species first mentioned above)—“All our species of the genus are singularly variable.” (l. c., III. 75.) See, also, my remarks on the genus Doodia, in my preceeding Paper “On the Ferns of Scinde Island (Napier).”


1880 Mr Colenso’s English-Maori Lexicon (Specimen of).
Appendices to the Journals, House of Representatives, G-6.





abbreviations and signs

i. linguistic

1. Foreign

P. Polynesian generally.

H. Hawaiian, or Sandwich Islands.

S. Samoan, or Navigators’ Islands.

K Rarotongan, or Cook Islands.

T. Tahitian, or Society Islands.

Tng. Tongan, or Friendly Islands.

Mq. Marquesan, or Marquesas Islands.

F. Fijian, or Fiji Islands.

B. Easter Island.

S.A. South American.

Mr. Malagasy, or Madagascar.

M. Malay.

2. Home.

1. Rarawa, or Northernmost.

2. Ngapuhi, or Bay of Islands, &c.

8. Waikato.

4. Rotorua.

5. Thames and Bay of Plenty.

6. E. Cape and Poverty Bay.

7. Hawke’s Bay, &c.

8. Taranaki, &c.

9. Middle Island.

10. Chatham Islands.

ii. literary.

Poet. Sir G. Grey’s vol. Maori Poetry, &c. Wellington, 1858.

Myth. Ditto Mythology, &c. London, 1854.

Prov. Ditto Proverbs, &c. Cape Town, 1857.

Bible. If the new edition should be quoted, then the Book, ch., and v.

iii. grammatical

v., verb; v.n., verbal noun; adv., adverb; part., particle; adj., adjective; pr., pronoun; s., substantive, &c., &c.

iv. sundry

Obs. Observation.

Syn. Synonimous.

Fig. Figurative.

Prim. Primary.

Prov. Proverbial.

Eu. European.

Mod. Modern.

A, the first letter of tile New Zealand alphabet. It has two principal sounds, —(1) long, as in the English words, father, rather; and (2) short, as in the English words, man, mat.

It is sometimes interchanged for e, as in kai=kei, hai=hei, taina=teina, anei=enei, &c.

Grammatically considered it is of first importance in the formation of words and sentences.

1. It is the termination, or last letter, of all passive verbs.

2. A, short, is prefixed to the names of persons, and to many personal pronouns, when not preceded by ko, no, mo, and to; and sometimes it is prefixed to the names of things—always when personified or bearing a person’s name, as a canoe, ship, &c.—and to tribes, lands, stars,—and to names of months and days:—

Haere koe ki a Hemi noho ai.

Kawea atu tenei ki a Tamati.

Na, a Mea, a Henare, he tangata pal ia; a Tamati he tangata kino.

Ka rere mai a Tainui, a ka u.

E tangi ana a Hue ki a ia, ka ripi ripia ka toe-toea.

“Ka whakaatu ake i a Kaukaumatua.—Ka rapua Kaukaumatua” (a stone earring).—Myth. p. 78.

Ka te putake tenei i riro rnai ai a Mangakahia ki au, ko to huru.

Kua tae mai o au tuhi, i tuhia e koe i a Hurae, i a Akuhata, i a Hepetema ano hoki.

3. A, long, is prefixed to names of persons, to living things, and to personal pronouns, to form the possessive case plural. (See O.)

Nga kuri a Hoani. Nga kai a te poaka.

A maaua patu. A ratou kai.

Haere ana ratou ki te whawhai, tenei hapu tenei hapu o ratou; i a ratou ano a ratou pu, a ratou tao, a ratou rakau.

4. A, long, is also prefixed to names of persons, to living things, and to personal pronouns, to give the substantive or verbal noun, following or preceding, an active meaning.

I kite ano ahau i to patunga a Hoani i tena kuri.

I pera hoki to ahunga iho a nga kauohi, me ta to tahae ua hopukia.

Katahi kit patua i te tirohanga mai a nga tangata.

E kore ahau e neke i te pehanga a te nui, a te whakahee.

E ta, ka putake te riri a o matou nei tipuna ki Heretaunga.

I nui te korero a te Hapuku: koia ano te riri a taua tangata.!

5. A, long, is also prefixed to all proper and common names of men and women, and to pronouns, whenever the noun immediately preceding is that of any article of food, or of any implement or utensil for obtaining and preparing food, or of any place or thing for storing food, or of fire and firing for cooking food, or of any implement of war, to be used by them. (See A, prep. of.)

Ko te pu a Hoani tena.

Te patu a Mea.

Tenei te kete i ngaro a taku hoa.

Te kohua paku a te wahine tenei.

6. A, long, is prefixed to the definite article immediately preceding the noun and verbal noun, and also to possessive pronouns, to give a future meaning.

Meake ano ahau tae atu ki kona a nga ra o Tihema nei.

Ko a te tau koroi koe kite ai.

Hei a te rerenga o te kaipuke te mate ai. (See A, prep. at the time of.)

7. A long is also prefixed to proper and common names of men and women, and to personal pronouns, to show the natural relationship downwards.

Nga tamariki a Hoaai—John’s own children.

Kahore he uri a tena tangata i toe.

I taona ai Tunui a Takaha na i. Poet. 220.

Ko wai koe? Ko au ko Tauhou. Ka ui atu ano ia, Tauhou a wai? Tauhou a Ira; ko ia atu.

8. A, long, is also prefixed to adverbs of time to give them a future meaning, as a mua, a muri; and to adverbs of place, as a konei, a konaa, a koo, a reira; and to prepositions of place, as a ruuga, a raro, a waho, a roto, for intensification and emphasis; and in a very few instances to nouns, as a uta; possibly, in some instances, for euphony :—

Ka hoe rnatou ka hua e kore a uta e taea atu.

Penei hoki e rere ana, ahiahi rawa ake ka taea a uta,

Ka hoe raua ki te moana, a tawhiti noa, ka ngaro a uta.

Ina hoki, i wehea ata te moana mo nga ika, i wehea mai a uta mo te tangata.

A, adv. part., when

Ano to hari o taua tangata a tana kitenga i a ratou!

Hei karakia i to ratou waka a to putanga rnai o te hau.

Maau ano e mau mai a to haeretanga rnai.

—and then

Naau i kii, e kore e pai; a, i mea atu ahau, Heoi.

Ko tenei koi noho nga iwi, a whakarongo ki aaua patipati.

He whakatakariri noku, moona, i haere tona ingoa, inohio, a tukua ana e ia tona kaha ki raro.

E peka taaua nei ki tahaki, a taukini-kini, a taurakuraku. Poet., 172.


Kua mutu to patai? Ae. A, maaku tenei patai.

A, aha ana koe?


1882 Historical Incidents and Traditions of the Olden Times, pertaining to the Maoris of the North Island, (East Coast), New Zealand; highly illustrative of their national Character, and containing many peculiar, curious, and little-known Customs and Circumstances, and Matters firmly believed by them. Now, for the first time, faithfully translated from old Maori Writings and Recitals; with explanatory Notes. Part II.627
Transactions of the New Zealand Institute 14: 3-33.

[Read before the Hawke’s Bay Philosophical Institute, 9th May, and 12th June, 1881.]

Last year I had the honour and pleasure of reading some historical and traditional papers before you respecting the ancient Maoris of this East Coast. At that time I did so with some diffidence; for, first, I did not know how you might receive them; and, secondly, I did not know whether such papers would be published by the Parent Society. Now, however, we know, that those papers, read here and approved of by you, have been also published in the forthcoming volume (xiii.) of the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute” and this encourages me to bring some others of the same class, and obtained from the same sources, before you, during this winter’s session; only these are still more ancient, and, I think, more curious and interesting. Of course I have only very recently known of those papers having been printed. Had I earlier known of it, or of their having been approved of, I might have got some more ready during the autumn; for, I confess, the translating of some portions of them is exceedingly difficult, being written (or handed down) in language which, in some places, contains words and phrases that are very old, and have almost become obsolete.628 [4]

For my own part I may again repeat (what, I believe, I have said to you before), that it is to such sources we have primarily and mainly to look for much that relates to the manners and customs of the ancient New Zealander. In those old narrations we get to know what they really were; and even then more, perhaps, from casual or incidental matters than from the main subject itself. But then such must have been related by the ancient men themselves, chiefs and priests (tohungas) of the olden time, and not by the present loquacious and mendacious generation, be their position what it may,—for all such are not only grossly ignorant of the past, but are also more or less vitiated concerning the same, through their intercourse with Europeans, both willingly and unwillingly. And when, in addition to all this, what they may have to say is frequently taken down and translated by “free and easy” young interpreters,—often ignorant of the first principles of the noble Maori language, and too much inclined to dress up what they hear, as if writing a novel or romance,—the result may be easily guessed.

And here, perhaps, I may be permitted briefly to mention that—(as it is pretty well known I have collected, during my long residence among the Maoris, very much of their old history, traditions, etc.)—I have been often requested to publish, in a separate form, what I have so amassed and known; but that I have hitherto refused to do so, for I seek neither pelf nor fame (as a book-maker), but merely to relate, in plain words, what I believe to be genuine and authentic, leaving it for those who may come after me to “make the book,”—to fuse together the ores I may have laboriously sought out, and collected, and brought to the surface.

In all those historical traditions we shall find much of war,—of bloody, desolating wars, with all their hideous and savage accompaniments! far more indeed than we could wish.629 But war, as Cook early and sagaciously detected, was the very life and genius of the people; hence, too, they did not fear death. Not, however, but that it might have been better among them, for it will be found that, in almost all cases, their wars arose from some thoughtless or gross infringement of common rights. Yet even here we shall meet with much of extreme courtesy, and of fine feelings, which would have adorned a chivalrous European age; and that, too, in the midst of dreadful harrowing recitals of burning revenge for wrongs,—of extreme cruelty,—of great, yet simple superstition,—and of hair-breadth and marvellous escapes. [5]

Of their human sacrifices and cannibalism, which always and everywhere nationally accompanied their battles, I would say nothing at present; only (as I have before observed),630 that I never could consider those savage customs as even approaching, in cruelty and abomination, the well-known doings of that thrice-accursed institution of the so-called Christian Church—“the Holy Inquisition!” in which Christian kings and queens, bishops, priests, and saints (!!) took their unholy and murderous parts with a zest! Indeed, I hesitate not to affirm, that all such conduct as that of the New Zealand savage towards the dead—and that, too, in hot blood, after a deadly hand-to-hand combat with sticks and stones,—is as nothing when fairly compared with the modern and Christian (!) modes of wholesale mangling and destroying the living! (it may often be innocent and unoffending women and children, in the sieges and assaults of towns!) with shells, bombs, mines, mitrailleuses, dynamite, torpedoes, etc., etc.

Those historical stories will also show much of the cool courage, stratagem, endurance, patience, etc., of the ancient Maoris. From them we shall gather not a little every-way applicable to the so-called “Spiritualists” of the present day, showing, at least, that their modern lying “mediums’” deception was known long ago to the savage New Zealander! From those narrations we may also learn that such preternatural doings as that of Joshua commanding the sun to stand still,—of Jonah and the whale,—of supernatural visitants from the sky,—of wonderful achievements and miracles,—of miraculous conceptions,—of resurrections from the dead,—and even of ascensions into heaven, were not unknown to the ancient New Zealander. From them we may learn not a little of their (supposed) skill and belief in controlling and commanding the higher powers of Nature; and all this, too, both quietly and unostentatiously done and related without a single extra remark of the wonderful, or a note of admiration! And from them we shall also learn a good deal of their prayers (?), charms, spells, exorcisms, adjurations, and religious ceremonies—of their great simplicity and (may I not add?) utter uselessness. Or, rather, perhaps, not quite “utter uselessness” in one sense at least, for they, no doubt, felt strengthened in their belief, that, having followed closely in the footsteps of their forefathers, having done all that was required, they should certainly reap a corresponding benefit. And this belief would naturally re-act upon them, and stimulate them to continuous and future exertions to bring about the same, and thus would prove beneficial. In all those charms, spells, etc., we shall find (if I mistake not), three things, like three golden threads, always running through them; viz., (1) their firm belief in their knowledge [6] and use of the powers of Nature; (2) their relying on their own strength and ability as able men; and (3) their often invoking their deceased ancestors to help them in times of great need; or, more frequently, encouraging themselves, at such times, with the bare recital or recollection of their ancestors’ names631 and prowess.

Now all this strong and common, yet (if I may so term it) quiescent belief in the supernatural or miraculous, in my opinion forms a very peculiar and characteristic trait in the old New Zealander. (I know, of course, of those miracles related in the Old Testament, and that, too, generally, in like simple manner, without note or comment). No doubt all ancient nations felt more or less the influence of the Divine in Nature, or of the power of Nature; but as they knew her but imperfectly, all remarkable or unusual phenomena appeared to them as manifestations of supernatural powers, divine or demoniac (as the case might be), or as miracles, which, while they inspired some peoples with awe, did not so act on the minds of the ancient Maori. Not but that they had plenty of signs and wonders, akin to the Roman fictions of prodigia and portentæ,632 which served to announce important events; but, while they saw and observed, talked of and magnified them, they never feared them; rather ridiculed them, or treated them lightly; and even when all things turned out well and satisfactory, and in keeping with their belief in, or expectations from, those higher powers, no such thing as thanksgiving to them was ever dreamt of!

Moreover, it should also be briefly noticed, that while they laughed and mocked at earthquakes, at pealing thunder, at vivid lightnings, and at terrific storms, they exhibited great dread at merely unexpectedly seeing a small, common, and harmless lizard; at a gaseous flame suddenly shooting forth, with crackling noise, from their private fire towards them; and at a big spark bouncing therefrom in a similar direction! etc., etc.

The subject of my paper this evening will be some of the doings (and their consequences) of a powerful chief, named Uenuku,633 who dwelt here on the East Coast of New Zealand, between Table and East Capes, about twenty-five generations back,634 or (say) A.D. 1000,—time of our Danish [7] kings. His descendants are still residing there, who, also, rest their claims to their ancestral estates through their being such. The beginning, however, of their genealogical line goes much further back.

I may also add that this remarkable traditional story I have received in two separate narrations from two sources; and, further, that they wonderfully agree in all their main points, including, also, the charms, spells, and prayers (?) used.

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