A Voyage to New Zealand by J.L. Nicholas Published as part of Narrative of a Voyage to New Zealand, 1817
I shall here insert a journal of the voyage, in the same order as I kept it, beginning with the first day of our leaving the harbour, which was: Monday, November 28th, 1814 The wind this morning changing more round to the westward, we were enabled to clear the heads or outward extremity of the harbour, and steering an easterly direction, the south head of Port Jackson, from whence we were to take our departure, bore at noon, W. S. W. distant about seven leagues. When passing the heads, we were followed by a boat, and desired by the people in it to deliver up to them a fugitive convict, who, they said, had contrived to secrete himself on board our ship. Mr. Marsden immediately directed a search to be made, but the person sought for was not to be found, and though the New Zealanders said they had tickee tickee (seen) a strange man, the sailors declared he could not possibly be on board; while appearing satisfied with the report they made, the boat took its departure. However, when we had got to some tolerable distance from the harbour, not only the fellow who was the object of their pursuit, but also another, who had likewise concealed himself, appeared walking oh the deck without the least concern. Soon after our quitting the port we encountered a smart gale of wind and a heavy swell of the sea, which, tossing about our little ship in all directions, produced an instantaneous effect on every living thing on board. Both the human and the brute species experienced a derangement of their system at the same moment, and bipeds and quadrupeds, of all descriptions and degrees, were equally labouring under the most violent sea-sickness. The New Zealanders, it soon appeared, were not accustomed to attacks of this kind, and were but ill prepared to bear them. They shook their heads, and said, nuee nuee, mattee mattee, (very ill) and instantly repairing to the places assigned for them to sleep, they never showed themselves till the weather changed, and the convulsion of the sea had entirely subsided. Mr. Marsden was most severely attacked, and could find no rest either in his cot or on deck; above or below was all the same, he still continued a prey to convulsive retchings, and the disorder of his stomach would yield to nothing that was offered, either as a remedy or palliative. This disagreeable complaint had a strange effect on poor Mr. Kendall; it made him forget for the moment that he had a wig upon his head; which falling off, in his endeavours to relieve his stomach, dropped overboard, and left him under the necessity of tying a red handkerchief round his temples, which, with the death-like paleness of his face and the grim languor of his eyes, made him appear so complete a spectre, that he forcibly reminded me of Banquo's ghost. As for me, I had but a very slight attack, which I soon got over; but the scenes of disgusting nastiness, which I was every where obliged to witness, were truly intolerable, and I longed, most impatiently, for the period that was to put an end to them. Tuesday, November 29th The wind having happily abated, our sick people began to recover, and most of them ventured to show themselves upon deck. Duaterra and I played together at drafts, in which the proficiency he had made excited no small degree of surprise. Shunghi employed himself during the whole of this day in making a cartridge-box, in which he displayed his usual ingenuity; but in cutting the holes for the cartridges, being desirous it should contain as many as possible, he made the partitions so very thin that many of them broke, which, to the eye of a mechanic, gave it rather an unfinished appearance. What a pity it is that those powerful talents with which men are frequently endowed by nature, should so often be suffered to remain uncultivated, and that a genius, which might penetrate the researches of science and the secrets of art, must often sink, while conscious of its own powers, in ignoble obscurity! How justly does the poet say, "Full many a gem of purest ray serene The dark unfathom'd caves of Ocean bear-- Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air!" Had the genius which Shunghi inherited from nature, received the advantages of judicious instruction, it might, I doubt not, have placed him on a level with some of the first mechanics in Europe, and might have finely completed in the civilized man, what had rudely commenced in the untutored savage. Wednesday, November 30th The weather being extremely fine, with only some light breezes, the ship made very little way, and was forced by a strong current about eight miles to the southward. Thursday, Dec. 1st The weather still fine and clear. Lat. 34 deg. 28" S. Long. 154 deg. 13" E. That pride and vanity are closely allied to ignorance, is a fact that needs no illustration; and I was not a little amused, this day, with witnessing the connection between them. Korra-korra, while at the colony, was much struck with the formal respect paid to Governor Macquarie, and used to dwell with a kind of envious admiration on the great power with which he was invested; calling him frequently nuee nuee arekee, (a very great king,) and appearing evidently anxious to be raised himself to a similar elevation. Imagining, therefore, that it would add to his dignity to make Governor Macquarie the model of his imitation he was resolved to copy him in all the formalities of his rank, as closely as his rude conception of them would permit, and even to assume his very name, in order, if possible, to identify himself with his envied prototype. His behaviour this morning was truly ludicrous, his imagination being more than usually inspired with this self- created importance. On my going up to salute him, and in a familiar manner addressing him by his name, he immediately drew back, with an affected and haughty air, telling me, he was not Korra-korra, but Governor Macquarie, and expected I would salute him as such. Willing to indulge him in his capricious vanity, I instantly made him a low bow, and paid my respects to him as the Governor; upon which, aping the manner of his Excellency, he held out his hand to me as a mark of his condescension, and made at the same time a slight inclination of his head. He seemed anxious that I should think myself highly honoured, for being thus noticed by a person of his exalted station; and told me he would never again go by the name of Korra-korra, but, on his arrival at New Zealand, should always be called Governor Macquarie. Thus even are the rudest barbarians dazzled with the distinctions of office and the pageantry of power. Friday, December 2nd The weather fine with moderate breezes. Lat. 34 deg. 54" S. Long. 155 deg. 41 "E. In a conversation which we had this day with Duaterra, we learned from him that much time is frequently employed by his countrymen in observing certain stars and constellations, which they are very fond of contemplating. They have given names to each of them, and have likewise connected with them some curious traditions, which they hold in superstitious veneration. These traditions have continued among them from time immemorial, and have been carefully preserved and transmitted by their priests, who alone are the depositories of their mystical arcana. According to Duaterra, it is usual with them, in the summer season, to remain awake during the greater part of the night, watching the motions of the heavens, and making inquiries concerning the time when such and such a star will appear. If the star they look for does not show itself at the time it is expected to be seen, they become extremely solicitous about the cause of its absence, and immediately relate the tradition which they have received from the priests concerning it. To the man who will reflect, and consider that all the improvements of civilized life and all the discoveries of science, have proceeded from an anxious and persevering spirit of investigation, this fact of the New Zealanders contemplating the wonders of the firmament, and endeavouring to account for them by the wild vagaries of their own imagination, cannot fail to be interesting. He will see from this, that man, even in a state of nature, is anxious to ascertain the causes of the mighty works which he surveys around him, and will ascribe to this noble impatience of the human mind, every advance in science, from the days of Pythagoras to the immortal era of Newton. Pointing out some of the stars, he gave us the names assigned to them by his countrymen. The constellation forming the Belt of Orion, they call the Whacka or the Canoe, and have some tradition relating to it which he did not communicate; the Pleiades they believe to be seven of their countrymen, fixed after their death in that part of the heavens, and that one eye of each of them, which appears in the shape of a star, is the only part that is visible. To the two clusters of stars which form the Magellan Clouds, they give the names of Fire-bou and Arete, and have many superstitious ideas concerning them, but which we could hot discover, as Duaterra himself was not perfectly informed on this subject. In two months, he said, a cluster of stars would rise, some of which would represent the head and others the stern of a canoe, while close to them would appear another star which they call the Anchor, and which, setting at night and rising with the dawn of the morning, serves to regulate their hours of repose and labour. The day having passed as agreeably as could be expected, the chiefs in the evening entertained us with a song, the words of which were composed by the daughter of the late Tippahee. The subject of it was the visit of her father to Port Jackson. It was a plaintive and melodious air, and seemed, I thought, not unlike some of our sacred music, in many of its turns; as it forcibly reminded me of the chanting in our cathedrals, it being deep, slow, and extended; but, from the constant repetition of the same words, the ideas they contained must have been few, and could have but little variety of allusion. It was divided into parts, which the chiefs sung separately, and were joined in chorus, at certain intervals, by the other New Zealanders; while they all concluded it together. Singing and dancing appear favourite amusements with all savage nations, and these people are particularly fond of both. Indeed, I think this propensity is wisely ordained by nature, as a sure preventive of that listlessness and morbidity, which the want of regular employment and habits of active industry, would otherwise inevitably produce. The unpolished child of nature is seldom affected with constitutional melancholy, and his manner of living is by no means calculated to induce it. Though not engaged in any one fixed and regular occupation, to which, among civilized nations, the mind, if employed at all in active pursuits, is particularly devoted; he still never finds the time hang heavily on his hands, nor does he experience, in the least degree whatever, that sort of fashionable sensation, which lounging idlers term ennui. Cheerful and lively in himself, the animal spirits are at all times buoyant; and, whether attending to his desultory employments, or spending his time in doing nothing at all, he is still invariably the same. In either case, he can reflect with rapture on the fantastic mazes of the war-dance, or hear with enthusiastic delight, the song which gives the signal of battle to his tribe, and has frequently led himself to victory. His body, too, is constantly prepared to act in cooperation with his mind; for his food being light, and his exercises manly, he is always intrepid and vigorous, unless where the climate is too hot, which must of course considerably relax his energies. Saturday, December 3rd Light breezes and pleasant weather, in Lat. 35 deg. 31" S. Long. 156 deg. 26" E. The New Zealanders, as far as we could discover from Duaterra, have some confused ideas of a Supreme Being; but their superstitions are in general most absurd and extravagant. Besides a Supreme Power, of which, as I said, they have some notion, they likewise believe in a great number of inferior gods, to each of whom they have given distinct powers and peculiar functions. One of them they have placed over the elements; another, over the fowls of the air and the fishes of the sea; and there are an infinite number of others, whose duties are so complicated and multifarious, that it would fill a large volume to recount them. In addition to those superstitions which have been suggested to them by their physical necessities, they have many others, which have originated with the affections of the mind: hence they have been led to deify the various passions of the human heart, and Anger, Grief, Joy, &c are all included in their system of theogony. Though my ignorance of their language prevented my being able to obtain a detail of all the imaginary beings, which are objects of worship and veneration among these people, still I acquired, through the medium of Duaterra, a knowledge of those which have the strongest influence over their minds, and whose power is held by them in the greatest degree of religious awe. The first of those is called Mowheerangaranga, the Supreme Deity, with whose dignity and attributes they are totally unacquainted; though, from some internal suggestion, they have placed him at the head of the list, Teepockho, the God of Anger and of Death, is the next grand deity whom they seem most anxious to propitiate; and that persons in their dark state should imagine the existence of such a supernatural being, is not at all surprising, when we consider that anger and death are capable of making the most serious impressions even on the best cultivated minds. Towackhee, the god who presides over the elements, comes the next in succession, and is regarded by them, as holding a station of peculiar importance. After this god, follows Mowheemooha, a deity whose power and operations are rather limited. The office they have assigned to him, is, to make land under the sea, which, when completed, he is to fasten with a hook to a large rock, and leaving it there in a state of preparation to be drawn up, his duty ceases; while Mowheebotakee, another god of considerable power, comes to do his part, which is, to haul up the work of his fellow deity, the moment it is executed. Mowheebotakee, besides this office, performs others likewise of very great importance, and is dignified with attributes of a higher order than those which distinguish even the most exalted of the rest, the supreme himself being hardly excepted. The superintendence and management of all human diseases, are peculiarly within his province; and even the most important function of all, the power of giving life, though not of taking it away, (which latter privilege belongs to Teepockho,) is exclusively vested in him. These important beings are succeeded in the catalogue by one of a very melancholy cast, the God of Tears and of Sorrow, whom they call Heckotoro. They have a curious tradition concerning this god. They tell you, that having, by some untoward casualty, lost his wife, he came down from heaven in the greatest consternation, to look for her, and, after seeking to no purpose in many other places, he was at length fortunate enough to find her in New Zealand, where she was straying about for a considerable time before. Delighted at meeting with her, he immediately put her into a canoe, and having tied a rope to both ends of it, they were at once hauled up to heaven; where, to signalize their re-union, they were changed into a cluster of stars, called Ranghee, which the New Zealanders point out, and affirm to be the identical pair. To the curious reader, a full account of the mythology of these people would not be uninteresting; but this can only be given, by a long residence in their country, and an intimate acquaintance with their language; so that the Missionaries, I conceive, will be best qualified for such a task, and from them it will probably be expected. Among the numerous traditions of the New Zealanders, there are two which are very remarkable; one of them, for the extraordinary affinity it has to a fact, which is acknowledged by all who believe in the authenticity of the Gospel; and the other, for its similarity to an absurd legend, which for ages past has prevailed in England. The first of these refers to the creation of man, and has been handed down from father to son, through all generations. They believe the first man to have been created by three gods, Mowheerangaranga, or Toopoonah, or grandfather, Mowheermooha, and Mowheebotakee; but give the greatest share in the business to the first- mentioned of these deities. They likewise believe, which is more curious than all, that the first woman was made of one of the man's ribs; and to add still more to this strange coincidence, their general term for bone is Hevee, which, for aught we know, may be a corruption of the name of our first parent, communicated to them, perhaps, originally, by some means or other, and preserved without being much disfigured, among the records of ignorance. I shall not, however, positively defend this opinion; though I think it extremely probable, that these islands may have been first colonized from some parts of the East, and that the original settlers may have brought with them some knowledge of the true account of the creation; but which knowledge, their posterity, degenerating into barbarism and darkness, were not able to preserve. In regard to the fabulous tradition to which I have adverted, they say, as I have been informed by Duaterra, that formerly, before the moon gave any light to man, and when the nights were involved in total darkness, a certain individual of their countrymen, named Rona, went out one night to fetch water from a neighbouring well, and that in endeavouring to grope out his way, he hurt his foot by some accident or other, and became so very lame that he was unable to return home. While in this dilemma, groaning with pain and trembling with fear, he felt, it seems, the moon come suddenly upon him, and seizing hold of a tree, he clung to it with all his might to save himself; but it was all in vain, for the tradition asserts that the tree was torn up by the roots, and carried up, with the man attached to it, to the region of the moon, where it was replanted, and exists there, together with Rona, at this very time. The reader, I dare say, could hardly have supposed before, that the New Zealanders had a story so very like our Man in the Moon; yet, that they have this tradition, and the other more interesting one likewise, Duaterra is fully prepared to affirm; and I never had the least reason to doubt his veracity. From what I could learn from this chief, his countrymen hold any violation of the power of their gods, as awfully impious; and believe, most firmly, in the idea of their omnipresence. The part of the heavens where they all reside, is called Taghinga Attua, and is represented as beautiful in the extreme; while they assign to it, whatever fanciful delights their wild imagination can possibly conceive. While on this subject, I shall notice another curious fact which has been also related to me by Duaterra. The New Zealanders make it an invariable practice, when a child is born among them, to take it to the Tohunga, or priest, who sprinkles it on the face with water, from a certain leaf which he holds in his hand for that purpose; and they believe that this ceremony is not only beneficial to the infant, but that the neglect of it would be attended with the most baneful consequences. In the latter case, they consider the child as either doomed to immediate death, or that, if allowed to live, it will grow up with a most perverse and wicked disposition. Now, that this is a kind of baptismal ceremony, no one I think will dispute; but how it came to be introduced among them, I am wholly at a loss to determine; nor shall I, in this place, venture to hazard any opinion of my own upon it. Monday, December 5th The weather cloudy, with strong gales. Lat. 35 deg. 8" S. Long. 160 deg. 10" E. Wishing to learn as much as possible of the character and peculiarities of our rude guests, I let no day pass without remarking whatever I thought worthy of observation; and was careful in attending to every little anecdote or incident which might tend to illustrate their turn of mind. I had frequent opportunities of gratifying this curiosity, and on this day I was amused with a witticism, which is quite characteristic of these people. Tui, whom I shall now introduce to the reader as the brother of Korra-korra, seeing me on deck this morning with my spectacles on, and looking at some birds which were flying about the ship, inquired, with an arch smile, if I could tickee tickee (see) the Brush Farm, my place of residence in New South Wales. As our distance from it at the time could not have been less than four hundred and fifty miles, this was considered an excellent joke by his countrymen, who laughed heartily at it; nor, indeed, did I think it myself a bad specimen of that sly sort of humour, in which they all seem to delight. Sallies too of the gayest mirth and pleasantry frequently break out among them, and I have never met a people who are less inclined to sullen retirement, or more disposed to social hilarity, in fact, they are never reserved, unless when they imagine themselves ill-treated, or conceive that some design has been formed to do them an injury; and, in these cases, their natural disposition immediately gives way to all the dark broodings of adventitious passions. On many occasions, their mode of expression is emphatically significant. Duaterra, in telling us that it was impossible for a thief to escape punishment in New Zealand, (for if not detected by man, the all-seeing vigilance of the Deity was sure to discover him,) made use of the following remarkable words, which are not only forcible, but highly poetical. The Etua, (God) says he, rises upon him like a full moon, rushes upon him with the velocity of a falling star, and passes by him like a shot from the cannon's mouth. Such was the exact tenor of the expression he made use of, as nearly as I could collect it from the notion I had of his language; and I was forcibly struck with so extraordinary a description. Tuesday, December 6th Fresh gales and hazy weather. Lat. 35 deg. 16" S. Long. 161" 32" E. Nothing particular occurred. Wednesday, December 7th This has been one of the most disagreeable days I have ever experienced at sea; a continued calm, with incessant rain, and the ship rolling in a very heavy swell. My fellow-passengers and the crew become all sick again, and the New Zealanders, as on the former occasion, retreated to their sleeping places. Such has been the unfavourable state of the weather, that in four-and-twenty hours we have gained only nine miles. Lat. 35 deg. 19" S. Long. 162 deg. E. Thursday, December 8th The weather clearer, but with intermitting squalls of wind from the South West. Lat. 35 deg. 14" S. Long. 163 deg. 41" E. The stomachs of the New Zealanders experienced a salutary effect from the seasickness of the preceding day, for while all the other persons on board were still incapable of tasting a morsel, they were greedily devouring every thing they could find. Mr. Marsden, while suffering under a repetition of what he had before experienced, and lying stretched on his back in the long -boat, could not help envying the keenness of their appetite; when they approached the spot where he was, seizing every thing they could lay their hands upon, in the shape of food. However, they did not fail to heighten his disgust at the same time; for, going to a tub which lay in the corner of the boat, and contained all the loathsome garbage of the ship, which the cook had thrown into it, they began to feast themselves with a voracious eagerness, and shewed a liking for the treat, which plainly proved that their palates were not vitiated by their residence at Port Jackson. I have observed them particularly careful in looking out for such of the poultry as happened to die, and the intestines of the different animals that have been killed were never suffered to escape their vigilance; so that the shark, or any other prowler of the marine tribe, was never indebted to us for a single mouthful. But whatever credit this may do to the strength of their stomachs, it does very little to the cleanliness of their habits, and indeed this latter quality is not to be expected from persons of their description. Even in countries that are civilized, we frequently see the lower classes of the inhabitants delighting in dirt and nastiness; and who then can wonder, that the customs of wild barbarians should be offensive in this particular. Friday, December 9th The weather has become clear and pleasant, and brought all our sick people to life again. Lat. 34 deg. 40" S. Long. 166 deg. 5" E. The New Zealanders evinced during this day, a more than usual degree of their native good humour. They amused themselves with dancing and singing from an early hour in the morning, and seemed to enjoy the change in the weather, as it allowed them to indulge under the open air in their favourite recreations. The genuine simplicity of Nature must ever be admired, and those lighter amusements which she spontaneously suggests, if properly regulated, tend rather to harmonize than corrupt our morals. It is only the abuse of them that is favourable to vice; and while we condemn the licentious song and lascivious waltz of fashionable revelry, we should never be inclined to censure the artless notes of innocent mirth or the lively dance of inoffensive gaiety. All the songs of the New Zealanders are accompanied with a great deal of action, some of which is extremely graceful and becoming. I shall here subjoin specimens of three of them. The first which I shall notice is most commonly danced and sung at the same time, by three or four alternately; all standing in a line together, and joining in full chorus immediately before the conclusion. While in the chorus, they throw themselves into a variety of easy attitudes, but none of them have the least appearance of indelicacy that can possibly offend the most fastidious beholder. The subject of this song I could not get explained; however, to give the reader some idea of the music it contains, I have marked the parts where the voice rises and falls occasionally, and must observe that the notes, in my opinion, are both harmonious and agreeable. It runs thus:-- Tatarrah harnackee rah Thowy sho nang muthu He-ah-ah coomoo coomoo, hu coomoo He-ah-ah coomoo coomoo, hu coomoo He-ah-ah athoma, athoma, athoma Ah-ah ratapoo, ratapoo, ratapoo Ah-ah-ro. The subject of the following song, which I was more fortunate in ascertaining, betrays the emotions of the mind in its natural state, whenever the interest of the individual is particularly concerned. It describes the havoc occasioned by the violence of an east wind-- their potatoes are destroyed by it--they plant them again, and being more successful, they express their joy while taking them out of the ground, with the words, Ah kiki! ah kiki! ah kiki!--Eat away! eat away! eat away! which is the conclusion of the song. This is always sung at their festivals, and also at the time of planting their potatoes, when it is never omitted. It is generally accompanied with dancing, and the attitudes and movements represent the whole process of planting the potatoe, and afterwards of digging it out of the ground. I have marked the different inflections of the voice with all the attention I could possibly bestow on them, and have been also studious to collect the words as accurately as it was in my power, Maranghi tahow narnackah uteeah mituhu ruhuru Mytangho ho wy uteeah nartacko thowhy Nartacko thowy He-ah-ah, uteeah--uteeah--uteeah, He-ah-ah carmothu He-ah-ah carmothu He-ah-ah tatapi Tarhah tatapar--tatapar--tatapar, He-ah-ah tenna tonah He-ah-ah tenna tonah He-ah-ah, Ki-e-ah tenna tonah He-ah-ah tenna tonah He-ah-ah kiki, he-ah-ah kiki Ah-ah kiki, ah kiki, ah kiki! The third song, which I subjoin, is never accompanied with dancing, and is a low, soft, and plaintive air; it is not without harmony, and has that similarity to our chanting, which I remarked before, when speaking of the music of these people. The subject is a man carving a canoe, when his enemies approach the shore in a canoe to attack him; endeavouring to conceal himself, he runs in among the bushes, but is pursued, overtaken, and immediately put to death. Many of the expressions in this song possess a remarkable degree of natural tenderness, and a kind of piteous melancholy runs through the whole of it. They sing it in parts alternately, and the effect is not uninteresting to the sympathetic philanthropist. Nohohannah marharrar hannah hoko hetu Tetarrah thumu thumu, hotha na whackah Ho murthar tui; tupu farkar edo, teeah mi Nah teyawhah carmuthu rah hecahhow Taradee, artukee to parrah tar nepha Whyesho attua no, wharho towriver tuwhy Ta-isha mi hare, emow narwhackah; towhu. Huah tari karhah tacotangheetanghee Pheeu athu farkar wharhow; mo to Iree farkar attah taparreeparree whackee Why takee eree keeree; tarmarthui ruru po Whatthu tackah rarunghah kecoranghee Pukee uhahu reekee kecotanghah my No rafarrafar taho yonghee tahonghahruru Totarrah how mattah reekee phi yapoo ha. It is somewhat remarkable, that almost all the songs that are sung in New Zealand are composed by some tribes living in one part of the Island, called by Europeans the East Cape, the inhabitants of which seem alone to have engrossed the favour of the muses, and may be exclusively considered as the bards of their country. Saturday, December 10th Fine pleasant weather. Wind S. and S. W. Lat. 34 deg. 36" S. Long. 167 deg. 44" E. The North Cape of New Zealand bearing S. 87 deg. E. distant 260 miles. Korra-korra, with his imagination still turned to his favourite pursuit, gave us this morning an exhibition of his mode of warfare, and his plan of attacking his enemies. His gesticulations were, on this occasion, more furiously violent than ever I beheld them; he thrust out his tongue as far as it could go, tortured his countenance into all the horrible writhings of savage grimace, stamped on the deck like some raging fiend, and staring round him with the glare of the wildest frenzy in his eyes, he brought to our view the most hideous denizen of the infernal regions. His representation of taking revenge on his enemies was truly frightful to behold. After having pursued them in every direction, and got them completely in his power, he appeared as inflicting on them cruelties the most dreadful that can be imagined; nor even with their death was his vengeance satisfied; his fury still remained unabated, "And thrice he slew the slain." When Captain Seddons, the commander of a merchant vessel, was in the Bay of Islands, he had this chief bound with ropes in his cabin, suspecting him to have stolen an auger that was missing; but Korra-korra became outrageously indignant at such treatment, and despising his fetters, instantly broke them in pieces. His next step was to knock down the Captain, while, jumping out of the cabin window, he swam to his canoe, from whence he darted a spear at the ship, and wounded one of the sailors. Seddons fired at the same instant, but fortunately missed him, at which he was afterwards well pleased, for it appeared, on further inquiry, that his suspicions were ill founded, and that this man had not been guilty of the offence which was imputed to him. Korra -korra related the whole circumstance to us himself, accompanying his narration with many gestures expressive of his mode of escape and being shot at; and in all these he evinced the same furious impetuosity that he displayed in the war exhibition. Sunday, December 11th The weather still clear and pleasant. Lat. 34 deg. 8" S. Long. 168 deg. 42" E. Mr. Marsden performed divine service on deck, and there was no occurrence during the day of any particular consequence. Monday, December 12th The weather changed and become cloudy with fresh breezes. Lat. 32 deg. 57" S. Long. 169 deg. 11" E. Nothing worthy of notice happened on this day. Tuesday, Dec. 13th Fine weather returned again. Lat. 33 deg. 39" S. Long. 169 deg. 30" E. Neither on this nor on the two preceding-days did the chiefs come on deck as usual, but remained shut up below in a state of seclusion; and on being asked the cause, the reason they assigned was their fears of being pillaged by the sailors of the presents they had received. Certainly the conduct of sailors in general in this respect is highly reprehensible, and I doubt not but ours afforded sufficient cause to excite the suspicions of our savage visitors. Wishing to appear once more in the dress of his native country, Duaterra threw off his European clothes and arrayed himself after the manner of the other New Zealanders. The dress he put on consisted of a large mat made of flax, which descended below his waist, and was fastened round it by a belt of the same material; another, tied round his neck, was thrown negligently over his right shoulder, and hung down, quite loose, like a Spanish cloak; and there being no other garment, these two completed the whole of his artless costume. The nearer he approached the shores of his native Island, the more alarming grew his fears, lest the hostile tribe of Wangeroa, the same that had so cruelly massacred the crew of the Boyd, might have taken occasion of his absence to make war upon his people. In the event of such an occurrence, he announced his intention of collecting all the forces he could muster, and proceeding immediately with a fleet of war canoes to Wangeroa, to destroy all the inhabitants that should come in his way. Superstition added still more to his fears, and served to realize in idea all the evils he apprehended. His friends, he said, were extremely averse to his leaving them, and his head wife in particular, who at the time of his departure, expected every hour to add another member to his family. Besides, the priest assured him that if he should set out on so inauspicious an expedition, and contrary to the wishes of all his friends, either the death of his favourite wife, or some dire calamity to his tribe, would certainly happen during his absence. Reflecting that he had persisted in departing against these portentous declarations, his mind became more and more agitated as he drew nearer to the scene of them, and an anxious suspense taking possession of all his thoughts, left him no room for tranquillity or confidence. Wednesday, December 14th The weather extremely fine. Lat. 34 deg. 00" S. Long. 170 deg. 27" E. Flocks of gannets and petrels flying round the ship in all directions. Hope to see New Zealand to-morrow. Nothing happened on this day that I think worth communicating to the reader, nor on the following, though for the sake of regularity I shall insert it. Thursday, December 15th Pleasant weather with fresh breezes. Lat. 34 deg. 31" S. Long. 172 deg. 8" E. Friday, December 16th On this day a greater number of the above- mentioned birds surrounded the ship on every side, and they seemed to increase, the closer we approached the place of our destination. At seven A. M. the three small islands, called the Three Kings, appeared in sight, and at noon we sailed past them. In approaching them, they present to the eye a most picturesque appearance; having in a line with them some chequered rocks of a rude figure, which first attract the attention of the beholder, while his view is next directed to the little islands themselves, which offer scenes of romantic wildness worthy the fanciful pencil of a Claude or a Salvator. They are all uninhabited, and the largest is said to have both pigs and goats running wild upon it. A singular circumstance respecting these little islands, is, that they abound in the centepede, which reptile is entirely unknown in New Zealand, though only fifteen miles distant. In passing these islands, it was curious to see the address of the gannets and other birds in darting on the fish, and taking them off as they rose to the surface of the water: our people were highly amused with this spectacle. Our voyage was now drawing near its termination, and soon after we cleared the Three Kings, we had the pleasure to find the north-western part of New Zealand opening on our view. This part, named by Tasman Cape Maria Van Dieman, is the most western point of a peninsula, which extends directly north-west seventeen leagues, lying in Lat. 34 deg. 30" S. Long. 173 deg. 42" E. This end of New Zealand is subject to more violent and frequent changes of the weather than any of the other parts, and it is difficult to suppose how the difference can be so great, considering the comparative equality of temperature that exists in the rest of the island. The sea in the vicinity of this quarter is often so very boisterous, that it is extremely dangerous for any vessel that may happen to be there at the time, and Captain Cook assures us that he found it so himself. This celebrated navigator tells us, that in Lat. 35 deg. off this Cape, and in the midst of summer in these regions, (January 1770,) he encountered a gale of wind, which, for its strength and continuance, exceeded almost any he had ever before experienced. He was three weeks in getting ten leagues to the westward, and five weeks in making fifty. "During the gale, (says he,) we were happily at a considerable distance from land-otherwise it is highly probable that we should never have returned to relate our adventures." At an early hour on Saturday, December 17th, we found ourselves lying immediately off the North Cape, and Mr. Marsden being anxious to open a communication with the natives of this part of the island, sent the chiefs with three of their countrymen on shore, to prevail on some of the people to come on board. The chiefs, arrayed in their uniforms, made quite a showy and martial appearance, and being armed with swords, pistols, and muskets, were prepared to resist any hostilities that might be offered to them on their landing. Aware of the necessity of being supplied with implements of various descriptions, Mr. Marsden took care that those should be brought which were most necessary for all the purposes of ordinary convenience, and nothing of this kind was omitted; so that our people might set to work on the first moment after getting on shore. As our live stock had suffered very much from the want of green food, the persons sent on shore took the sickles with them to cut grass, and Mr. Hall and myself intended to accompany them, but Duaterra told us we had better wait the event of his reception, before we ventured on an enterprise which might perhaps be attended with imminent danger. He said he had strong reasons to distrust the people who inhabited this part of the island, and among others, mentioned an attempt which he understood they had made some short time before, to cut off a boat's crew belonging to the Jefferson, a whaler then fishing upon the coast; therefore he thought it would be very rash for us to hazard our lives among them in the first instance. This friendly caution was a strong earnest of Duaterra's sincerity, and we immediately resolved not to act in opposition to it. Soon after our party had left us, and as we were getting nearer to the shore, we saw a canoe full of men, proceeding towards us from the same direction, and dashing through the waves with inconceivable expedition. We had hardly time to express our surprise at the rapidity of the movement, when the canoe was alongside the vessel. To guard against any treacherous assault, we had previously loaded all the muskets, and brought the cutlasses on deck, so that we had every thing ready for offering an effectual resistance. As soon as the canoe had approached close enough, we threw out a rope to the men that were in it, fourteen in all, which they caught and fastened to the canoe, while six of them ascended the ship's side with an astonishing agility, and came on deck without the least hesitation or dismay. I could not help being much surprised at the confident resolution of these men in putting themselves so completely in our power, and I knew of no cause to which it could be ascribed, except that curiosity might have got the better of their fears, as we cannot suppose that they believed us less capable than other folks of deceit and treachery. Among those who came on deck was the chief of the tribe, who ordered the eight men that remained in the canoe to go back to the shore immediately and bring off some pigs for the use of the ship. By this act he trusted himself and those who accompanied him, entirely to our good faith, and certainly his confidence was not misplaced. The object of our visit was to introduce practices the very opposite of treacherous deception, and we should most assuredly be quite unworthy of such an undertaking, were we to commence it by taking any base advantage of those whose welfare we professed to contemplate. Mr. Marsden explained to this chief, through the medium of a New Zealand sailor who was on board, and who from his knowledge of our language was well qualified to act as interpreter, the nature of the establishment he was about to form in the Bay of Islands. He assured him at the same time, that the missionaries were particularly desirous of being on good terms with the people of the North Cape, and would be always ready to secure their friendship by acts of kindness and attention. He observed to him also, that they would be very glad if he would himself visit them occasionally; and that if he would order his people to supply them with pigs and flax, they should be regularly paid either in axes or tokees. The chief seemed greatly pleased with Mr. Marsden's communication, but complained loudly of the commander of the Jefferson whaler, Captain Barnes, who, it appeared, like too many of his profession, had behaved very ill to him. Having furnished this captain with a great number of pigs and a large quantity of potatoes, for which he received a musket in return, more pigs and more potatoes were still insisted upon, which being refused, one of the head chiefs was forcibly detained on board, for the purpose of extorting a ransom of fresh supplies from his people. Mr. Marsden made him some presents, and told him, if the commanders or crews of any of our vessels should in future conduct themselves in so disgraceful a manner towards the natives of New Zealand, a representation of the affair should be laid before Governor Macquarie at Port Jackson, on applying to Mr. Kendall, who was to have his constant residence in the Bay of Islands, and would take care that no injury should go unpunished. This assurance was highly gratifying to the chief, as might be seen by the joy displayed in his countenance. Mr. Marsden then shewed him Governor Macquarie's order prohibiting all future aggressions, and the pleasure which this afforded him was increased, by the certainty that some of our countrymen were going to reside upon the island. These people, however they might dislike Europeans as occasional visitors, were nevertheless gratified with the idea of white men settling among them, and becoming permanent inhabitants of their country. Converted to electronic form by Corey Woodw@rd
Did you find this diary using a search engine? Click here --> New Zealand Yesteryears