Maori Races of New Zealand.
Much has been said of late about the New Zealanders. From the palace to the cottage, from the senate of Great Britain to the village alehouse,—themselves, their doings, and their country, have been greatly talked of. Not many, however, of those who have talked or written the most concerning them, have really understood them; and it is not wholly without hopes of making them to be a little better known, that the following brief Essay has been undertaken by the writer.
§ I. Physiological.
1. In Colour the New Zealanders varied more than those of any other of the Polynesian islanders. Various hues of olive, of yellow-brown, and of an approach to the copper-colour were common. A few were of fair complexion; while others were very dusky, particularly of the more Northern tribes. Such colours, however, were not invariably perpetuated by descent; seeming rather to follow the abnormal law of all domesticated animals.
2. In Height they were generally above the middle stature, especially the chiefs; owing, no doubt, to more food and better nurture, as well as to blood. The women generally were smaller than the men. In figure both sexes were well proportioned, muscular, and fleshy; with good sized calves. The men had often finely formed fingers and nails; and many of the women had beautifully small, delicate hands. Their knee-joints were large, and their feet flat and broad, but not long.
3. Their Physiognomy varied much. Generally the open countenance, nose large and broad at the base, but not very prominent, thickish lips and dark eyes prevailed. Sometimes the nose was aquiline, but more often flat; sometimes the whole face was a handsome oval, sometimes round; mostly wearing an expression of cheerfulness and good humour. Rarely were the eyes light, never blue. The eyebrows much as in Europeans, but narrower, and seldom meeting over the nose; and the teeth beautifully regular and white (except in the case of the inland Rotorua and Taupo tribes, with whom the four front incisors were always discoloured). The head was generally well shaped, oval, with a
fine forehead, and well developed cerebral regions. Sometimes the forehead assumed the Turanian type, giving almost a pyramidal appearance; and a few rare instances have been noticed of an approach to the peculiar Mongolian eye and eyebrows. Very rarely has any indication of the prognathous jaw been observed, while the orthognathous type is far from uncommon.
4. As their Complexions varied, so did their Hair. Generally it was profuse, black, and waving, or slightly inclined to curl. Sometimes it was red, of which colour there were also many shades; and sometimes it was of a very peculiar shade for human hair, being of two colours,—a dark reddish brown, having an inch or two of the tips somewhat flaxen, as if bleached. Sometimes it was lank, and sometimes it was excessively curled; and not unfrequently it was to be met with having a wiry appearance, as if every single hair was separately curled, and always in such cases rising high in a pyramidal form. With many, the beard, whiskers, moustache, etc., grew as profusely as with Europeans, and of much the same quality and colour; while a few only possessed a harsh rigid moustache, and some (particularly of the Northern tribes), were wholly without hair on the face; no doubt mainly owing to their continual and early attempts to eradicate it. In age the hair became grey, yet not commonly thin, and sometimes (though rarely) quite white. Hair on the thorax or shoulders, as in some Europeans was wholly unknown.
5. Their Frame being strongly built, and Constitution good, they were naturally long-lived, and generally retained their hair, and their teeth sound and white to the last; baldness being very rare among them. The old natives have always and everywhere affirmed, that formerly they lived to a very advanced age, and commonly only died gradually through old age. The writer is quite inclined to believe this, from the numbers of wiry, lithe, and active aged men and women he has seen among them; as well as from the testimony of Captain Cook.
6. Their Sensorial Faculties were particularly good—far more so than those of Europeans—no doubt, quickened both through their absolute need and constant use. The senses of seeing, hearing, and feeling, were pre-eminently vigorous and acute, insomuch that the writer has been often astonished at the quiet displays he has witnessed. To define an object plainly a long way off among the fern, or shrubs; to distinguish clearly a far off and indistinct sound among many others; to know certainly by the feel of the foot, that the dense moss in the trackless mountain forests had been before trodden by man, (an accomplishment which took the writer many years to learn,) were common things to them; though the last, in its perfection, was confined to the natives inhabiting the mountains. Their senses also of smell and of taste were peculiar, as well as keen; and though blunt and rude, were plain and unsophisticated.
7. They early arrived at the age of puberty, from 12, or even 11, years upwards; they did not, however, cease growing until 18 or 19 years. A few females have been mothers at the age of 13, but such cases were rare. Large families were by no means uncommon; very many women have each borne more than 10, or even 12, children, though they seldom reared them all. Of course the strongest lived; which was a very good kind of natural selection, no doubt highly beneficial to the race. The
act of giving birth, with them, was easy, and mostly a very common matter; sometimes women delivered themselves alone, and having done what was necessary for themselves and infant, returned to their usual occupations. They commonly suckled their children until they were two years old, and sometimes much older. Instances are known of married women having given birth to children when nearly forty years of age, and often after several years of cessation. Twins were not uncommon; though three at a birth was rare. Formerly it was almost unknown for mothers to lose their milk at an early period, but of late years it has become common. If the mother's milk failed, while the infant was still very young, small birds were snared, and their flesh chewed as food for it.
8. Children born blind, or idiots, or deaf and dumb, were all but unheard of; tongue-tied or lisping children were also extremely rare; so were stammerers, though these have certainly increased with civilization. A hare-lipped child was unknown; children however, with six fingers and six toes were not unfrequent; so were some without any fingers on one hand, yet generally having a thumb, and with very small rudimentary nails on the fingerless stump, at the ends of the metacarpal bones. Left-handed persons were not uncommon. Hunchbacks were not unfrequently met with; caused (it is believed by the writer) by their having been injured in passing through their low doors while being borne on the parent's back;—although the natives would never allow it. The fairer children would often be strongly marked with nævus maternus or mole; such nævi, however, were almost always pigmentary, rarely hairy, and never vascular. Albinos, too, though rare, were sometimes born; in their weak reddish-pink eyes and light flaxen hair much resembling the albinos of other nations.
9. Their Diseases were but few; and among them only one which could properly be styled mortal, and at the same time general. That, however, was a fatal species of Consumption, which alone carried off half of those who died from natural causes. A fever, of a typhoid character, was also prevalent in marshy districts in the summer; which also annually took away several victims, more, however, owing to want of proper food and aid when beginning to rally, than to the disease itself. Scrofula, of a very serious nature, often attacked some of the fairest and finest children, (particularly at the northern parts of New Zealand), if, however, they survived till years of puberty they generally recovered. Sometimes it (or a kindred disease, perhaps a severe species of Leprosy, not unlike Elephantiasis, and confined to the North) attacked the miserable patient in the hands or feet, causing the fingers and toes, and even the hands and feet, to drop off at the joints. Fortunately for the poor sufferer, this disease gave little or no pain. Rheumatism, especially in the back, was very common. So also was Ophthalmia, increased sometimes to Cataract and to utter Blindness through the smoke of their close huts, the dust, and the glare of the sun. Amaurosis was occasionally met with. Dropsy was known, but rare; so was Hydrocele. Their principal skin diseases were, a virulent species of Itch (Psora); Boils of two kinds, and often of large size (Furuncle and Anthrax); Shingles, which, however was not common; an obstinate kind of Scalled head (Tinea granulata?); and Ringworm (Herpes circinatus); the two last-mentioned
were confined to children. Worms, especially Ascarides, were not unfrequent. Fits, of an epileptic nature afflicted some, both men and women; while a few have lost their lives through sun-stroke. Sudden deaths were rare. Insanity, mostly aberrant, of a mild melancholy type, was occasionally to be found. And a new epidemic disease, of some violent plague-like character, called by them Rewharewha, and which appeared about 45 or 50 years ago, destroyed nearly 3-5ths of the people of the more Southern parts of the Northern Island; in some villages and sub-tribes leaving only one or two individuals! (This name has since been given by the Maories to the Influenza—a disease of much more recent date.)
10. In their Ordinary Habits of life they were industrious, regular, temperate, and cleanly. They loved society and dwelt together, in, or near large fenced villages (pa); which pas, or forts, before the introduction of firearms, were always advantageously situated on some eminence, and only made with a vast amount of labour. Always early risers, they naturally enjoyed their siesta at noon. They had two principal meals a day, at morning and evening, which were cooked and eaten hot, and always in the open air, the men apart from the women. Fire they obtained by friction; an easy though sometimes a troublesome process, often dependent on the material, its state, and the skill of the operator. No common (cooking) fire could be ever used to kindle one for warming a house, or for sitting by; nor, long after the introduction of tobacco, for lighting a pipe. Each fine day brought its daily labour to, at least, all the adults.
(1.)—The men to their cultivations; or to sea-fishing; or to catching birds, eels, or rats; or to digging of fern-root; or to climbing the highest forest trees for their small fruits; or to the building or repairing of houses, canoes, fences, earthworks, and eel-weirs; or to the felling and bringing out of trees and split timber from the forest; or to the making of troughs, paddles, spades, axes and their handles, spears of various kinds, and other offensive implements of stone, bone, and hardwood; (some of which required years to perfect a single article;) or to the manufacture of fishing lines, canoe ropes, and small cord; or of nets, of eel-traps, of canoe sails, and of their prized dog-skin, or Kiwi-feather, clothing mats; or to the making of combs and flutes; or to the making and ornamenting of greenstone, ivory, and bone ear-rings, and breast ornaments; or of fishhooks, circlets for tame parrots' legs, various tattooing instruments, and of tags, pins, skewers and needles, for their own dress-mats, for most of which purposes human bone was preferred; or to the seeking for, and preparing, the various coloured mineral pigments, feathers, vegetable and animal oils, and vegetable dyes used as ornament; or to tattooing, or to the drying and preserving of human heads; or to the carving of figures (some larger than life), on posts of fences, or slabs (pilasters) of chiefs' houses; or of carving boxes for feathers, or of balers for canoes, or their large and highly ornamented stern-posts, taffrails, and figure-heads.
(2.) The women attended to their peculiar work,—to the diurnal preparing of food, and to the coarse weaving of small baskets (paro) of green
flax, as dishes for their food; no cooked food basket being used twice; to the gathering of shell fish; to the cleaning of sea-fish; to fetching of firewood; to preparing of flax, and to plaiting and weaving it into clothing, and baskets of very many different kinds; and to their work in the cultivations,—such as weeding, etc., and above all, to the very heavy task of carrying on their backs fresh gravel thither every year for their Sweet Potatoe beds. In the summer season, too, they sought and gathered in large quantities the juicy fruits of the Tutu (Coriaria ruscifolia), and expressed its juice as a refreshing drink. They also gathered in the swampy forests the sugary fruits and fleshy edible flower-bracts of the Kiekie plant (Freycinetia Banksii.)
11. Their means of obtaining Subsistence were as varied as the things themselves. They were not (as many have rashly supposed) deficient in food; although (having but one domestic animal and that a small dog,) what they had and used was not to be obtained without a large amount of daily labour. At the same time there must have been a great difference in the food of the natives of the Northern and of the Middle and Southern Islands; as Cook states,—“the Southern natives have not yams, taro or kumara.” (iii. p. 56.). They were very great consumers of fish; those on the coast being true Icthyophagi. The seas around their coasts swarmed with excellent fish and crayfish; the rocky and sandy shores abounded with good shell fish; the cliffs and islets yielded plenty of mutton-birds, and fat young shags and other sea fowl, and their eggs, all choice eating. The rivers and lakes (in their season) contained plenty of ducks and other wild fowl, and plenty of small fish and fine mussels, and small crayfish; the marshes and swamps were full of large rich eels; the open plains had plenty of quail, rail, and other birds, and edible rats; the fern lands abounded in the kiwi and ground parrot; and the forests yielded fine pigeons and parrots, and plump parson-birds (tui) together with many other birds which are now very rare; while many a rich meal was also made from the large larvœ so commonly found in rotten wood. In seeking all these, they knew the proper seasons when, as well as the best manner how, to take them:—
(1.) Sometimes they would go in large canoes to the deep sea-fishing, to some well known shoal or rock, 5 to 10 miles from the shore, and return with a quantity of large cod, snapper, and other prime fish; sometimes they would use very large drag nets, and enclose great numbers of grey mullet, dog-fish, mackarel, and other fish which swim in shoals; of which (especially of dog-fish and of mackarel) they dried immense quantities for winter use. They would also fish from rocks with hook and line, and scoop-nets; or, singly, in the summer, in small canoes manned by one man and kept constantly paddling, with a hook baited with mother-of-pearl shell, take plenty of Kahawai; or with a chip of tawhai wood attached to a hook, as a bait, they took the barracouta in large quantities. Very fine crayfish were taken in great numbers by diving, and sometimes by sinking baited wicker-traps. Heaps of this fish, with mussels, cockles, and other bivalves, were collected in the summer, and prepared and dried; and of eels also, and of several delicate fresh water fishes, large quantities were taken in the summer, and dried for future use.
(2.) Birds, such as quail, rail, and ground parrot, also the pigeon, and parson-bird, and various species of wild duck, they ingeniously snared;
although they often speared the pigeon. The large brown parrot was first decoyed to a stand fixed on the top of a high tree by the cry of a tame one, and then suddenly trapped and killed by the concealed native. The Kiwi was caught by night, through successfully imitating its cry; and the fat frugivorous and harmless indigenous rat, was both trapped and dug out of its burrow in several ways.
(3.) A large portion of their time and attention was necessarily given to their Cultivations, especially as the few plants they cultivated,—two edible roots, the Kumara (Batatas edulis), and Taro (Caladium esculentum), and a gourd-like fruit called Hue, and the cloth plant, or paper mulberry tree, Aute (Broussonetia papyrifera),—each required a different soil to bring it to perfection; added to which they always wisely preferred cultivating in patches far apart, so as perchance to save one or more in case of a sudden inroad from a taua (a legal or illegal, honouring, stripping, or fighting, party,) which visit was perfectly sure to take place at least two or three times a year. The Kumara, or sweet potatoe, was planted with much ceremony and regularity, in little hillocks in sheltered dry ground facing the sun, carefully prepared, and heavily gravelled with fresh gravel obtained from some gravel pit, or from the bed of a neighbouring stream; this annual gravelling of their Kumara grounds was alone a heavy service. Among some tribes (as at Rotorua), the Kumara root was not planted until the sprout had gained some length, which caused additional care and labour. It had to be constantly watched when in leaf, or it would be destroyed by a large caterpillar which fed on the plant, and which was continually being gathered and destroyed in great quantities. It was also carefully weeded, and the ground around its roots loosened. When about two-thirds ripe, a few of its largest roots were carefully taken away by an experienced hand; these were scraped and dried in the sun, and called Kao, and were reserved to be used as a kind of sweetmeat, or delicacy at feasts, boiled and mashed up in hot water. And when the Kumara was fully ripe, the labour in taking it up, sorting and packing it into its own peculiar baskets for store,—including the weaving of those baskets, and the half-digging, half-building of the stores supposed to be absolutely needful for effectually keeping it, (and which were often the best built houses in the village and often renewed,) was very great. The Taro (of which the leaves and stems were also eaten) required a moist, and the Hue and Aute, a rich soil, with much less care, however, in raising them; but the manufacture of the bark of the Aute into cloth-like fillets for the hair of the chiefs, (it never was made into clothing in New Zealand) was also a tedious work.
(4.) Of wild edible Vegetable Substances they made great use; particularly of the fruits of three trees,—the Karaka (Corynocarpus lævigata), the Tawa (Nesodaphne Tawa), and the Hinau (Elæocarpus dentatus). The kernels of the first two they annually collected in large quantities, and prepared, by baking, steeping, and drying, for future provision, and which (if kept dry) continued good a long time. The flesh of the Karaka was also largely eaten when ripe. The fruit of the Hinau was also collected and placed in water to steep, to separate the dry flesh from the nuts; which powder or flour was subsequently strained, made into coarse cakes, and eaten. The common fern-root,
Aruhe (Pteris esculenta), was also generally used; and the spots in which it grew to perfection (mostly a deep light soil, especially on a hill side or slope) were prized, and sometimes fought for. (It is a great mistake, and one often made by foreigners, to suppose, that, because the fern is common, the root which was eaten was also common. The writer has known the natives to dig and carry it a distance of upwards of 20 miles to their homes.) Much labour was also expended in procuring and preparing it; on being dug up, it was sorted and loosely stacked, that the wind might pass through and dry it; after which it was put up into bundles or baskets, and stored for use. When used, it was soaked, roasted, and repeatedly beaten with a small club, on a large smooth stone, until it was supple; a process always tiresome, both to eater and to beater, to master and to slave. It was seldom, however, eaten alone, mostly with fish; and, in the summer, soaked in the juice of Tupakihi, or Tutu. The large sugary roots of the great Cabbage-tree, or Ti (Cordyline Australis), and also the small ones of the little Ti-koraha (Cordyline Pumilio), were also baked and eaten; or rather the pulpy substance which is among its fibres. The sago-like pith of the stem of the large black tree fern, Korau, or Mamaku (Cyathea medullaris), was also baked in their earth ovens and used; it is very good and nourishing eating. The heart and blanched stems of leaves of the New Zealand Palm, Nikau (Arecasapida), and also of the Ti (Cordyline Australis) were eaten both raw and cooked. The watery farinaceous roots of Raupo (Typha angustifolia), were also eaten raw; and its pollen was made into cakes like gingerbread and baked. The fleshy blanched sugary bracts of the flowers of the Kiekie plant (Freycinetia Banksii), called by the natives Tawhara, and the fruit of the same (Ureure), when quite ripe were eagerly sought after in their season. The common sow-thistle, Puwha (Sonchus oleraceus), of which there were two varieties; and the little Poroporo (Solanum nigrum), and the Toi (Barbarea Australis), were also cooked and eaten as vegetables. So were several Fungi found growing in open fern lands, and in woods on trees; also a few of the sea-weed class,—particularly the Karengo, a low growing thin fronded species, found extensively on clayey tidal rocks from the East Cape southwards. This kind was gathered and dried for use, and sometimes carried a long way into the interior to friends as a great delicacy. Many small fruits were also eaten when ripe; such as the fruits of the large timber trees, Kahikatea, Totara, Mataii, and Rimu, (Podocarpus dacrydioides, P. Totara, P. spicata, and Dacrydium cupressinum); of the Kohoho (Solanum aviculare), of the Poroporo (S. nigrum), of the Kotukutuku (Fuchsia excorticata), of the Karamu (Coprosma lucida), of the Ngaio (Myoporum lætum), of the Korapuka (Gaultheria antipoda), of two species of Myrtle, the Ramarama, and Rohutu (Myrtus bullata, and pedunculata), and of the little heath Totara (Leucopogon Fraseri.)
12. Labour was by them divided into four great classes, viz.—(1) Male—(2) Female—(3) Sacred, and—(4) Common. Of fruges consumere nati there were none. The chiefs worked equally with the slaves, especially in the cultivations, and often better and more energetically. There were no really adstricti glebæ. From their youth the chiefs were taught to be foremost and to excel; and as they gloried in getting a great name, they strove to do so. The men caught fish and eels, and snared
birds and rats; they dug and planted their cultivations; they climbed the highest trees for their fruits; they dug up the fern root; they felled the timber, and built the houses, and canoes, and made the fences, and all wooden, stone, and bone implements and ornaments; they made their fishing nets and lines, and eel traps and hooks; they performed all the tattooing; and very frequently carried their infants for hours on their backs, even while at work. The women prepared the daily food; cleaned the fish for drying; collected shell-fish, edible sea-weeds, and herbs, and firewood; weeded the plantations, and gathered up the crop when dug; cut and dressed the flax leaves for clothing and floor mats and baskets, and plaited and wove them. Their quasi “sacred” or taboo (tapu) duties, (of which much might be written,) could only be properly performed by a “sacred” person; for although in some few cases, a person not “sacred” might act, yet he sometimes most inconveniently became “sacred” by his doing so! As a rule, a “sacred” person never touched common work or things. Their common matters, however, were open to all, with this only reservation,—that men's work was not done by women, and vicê versâ.
13. Their better Architecture and Building, (bearing in mind the nondurability of the materials used) though peculiar, was of first order, and well fitted for the people and the climate. Their houses, particularly those of the principal chiefs, were strongly and neatly built, snug, and often highly ornamented. They were cool in summer and warm in winter. The faults of all their houses were, their being too low, with excessively low doors, with earthen floors, and without chimney or sufficient ventilation. In shape they were generally a parallelogram, with their walls always slightly inclined inwards, with the angle of the roof low, and invariably with the one door and one window at the sunny end, within a pretty large verandah. In size, they were from one which would contain with ease a hundred men, to one which would only contain six. Their floors were rarely ever raised above, oftener sunk into, the ground. The window shutter, and door, each fixed in a substantial and often highly carved wooden frame, slid to and fro, and when closed all was dark within. The house having its framework wholly of totara wood, (of which the pilasters were often each two feet wide, and smoothed by repeated chipping with a stone adze), was built of several coats of bulrushes, securely fixed with flax, having a handsome ornamental lining of reeds to the roof and between the wide pilasters, covered outside with one or more coats of strong thatch firmly fixed, and often with the bark of the totara pine, laid on in large slabs. On the large and wide barge-boards, posts, ridgepole, and ends of the verandah, much grotesque carving and ornamental work was often displayed; these were mostly coloured red. Their sweet potatoe stores were also often elaborately finished. Sometimes their stores were neatly set on high posts, which were not unfrequently carved; and were climbed up into by means of a notched pole as a ladder. Their common houses though plain were often very strongly made; sometimes, however, their walls were not more than two feet high, with a prodigious roof. No observable order was followed in placing their houses in a village; throughout which there were ways of communication in all directions, but no proper streets. Each sub-tribe, or family, generally enclosed with an inner fence, having
around their own houses apertures for ingress and egress. The outer fence of the village, often composed of whole timber trees set in the ground, without their bark or branches, and from 15 to 20, or even to 30 feet in height, and strongly secured with transverse timbers cross-lashed to the uprights with durable supple-jacks and vines from the forest, looked very formidable and was very strong. All its posts were surmounted with human figures as large as life, in puris naturalibus, elaborately though roughly carved out of solid wood, with faces in every conceivable or inconceivable, state of distortion. Inside this was generally a second wooden fence, made like the outer one but of lighter materials, within this were excavated earthworks. Sometimes the wooden fences, or some portions of them, were raised on earthworks; and sometimes they were made to overhang a cliff or side of a hill, as a chevaux de frise, presenting a low angle with the horizon.
14. If there was much to admire in their House-architecture and fortification building, there was still more in their Naval architecture; bearing in mind (as before) that they did all without the aid of iron or any metal; Their solid and strong double canoes (Wakaunua), long since extinct; and scarcely known even by name to the present generation. [ unclear: ] Their handsome well arranged war canoes, of which there are not many, and perhaps not a single first-class one left! Their fishing and voyaging canoes, also with raised sides;* and their common canoes of several kinds and sizes, formed out of a single tree and often of great length. A first-class war canoe, with all its many fittings—its hundred paddles, its handsome elaborately carved stem and stern, and all its many ornaments and decorations of feathers, rouge, and mother-of-pearl, was always the work of many hands throughout many years. Fully to complete one was indeed a triumph, in which many hearts would heartily join: so true it is,—
“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever!”
Their largest canoes were rigged with two masts, and carried a large light triangular-shaped sail to each. Their smaller canoes had only one similarly shaped sail. Besides their canoes, they sometimes made use of rafts for crossing streams and inlets when the water was deep; such, however, were only made for the occasion, of dry bulrushes, or the dry flowering stems of the flax plant, tied together in bundles with green flax. In some places, (as about the East Cape, where there are no harbours), the natives made use of an open frame-like raft of light wood, on which they went out to sea for some distance; and of late years have not unfrequently visited ships on such, carrying with them two or three baskets of potatoes.
15. They also excelled in some few Manufactures, more particularly in their textiles; in this respect far surpassing all the other Polynesians. Nature having bountifully given to them that most useful plant, the New Zealand flax, or Phormium; which was very nearly to them what the Cocoa-nut palm is to the Indian.
(1.) From this plant they wove a very great variety of dress mats; from the large elegant and silky bordered Kaitaka of the chiefs, to the common
[Footnote] * Commonly called “War Canoes” by the Colonists
pakè, or rough bee-butt-like cape, for the shoulders against the rain and cold. Much time was necessarily occupied in weaving a first quality dress-mat; the seeking the variety of flax requisite, and the scraping, preparing, and selecting of its fibre; the tewing it to make it soft and silky; the slow weaving; the further seeking of the different barks and earths required, for dyeing the flax in three colours for its lozenge border, to which they always gave the utmost attention. Under the most favorable circumstances one of those best mats could scarcely be finished in two years. Some of those mats were made very soft by repeated tewtawing. All were more or less ornamented; some with a wide border woven differently from the body of the mat, and dyed with enduring colours; others having a profusion of fine glossy black tasselled strings, about 5 or 6 inches long, regularly depending at equal distances from them; others with a rich border of black, or black and white, fringe; and others (Korirangi), were thickly adorned with chequered black and yellow strings, which being also hard in spots or joints through the leaving on of the skin, etc., of the flax, rattled pleasingly with every movement of the wearer. Their more common and daily rough and shaggy dress mats, though anything but ornamental, were exceedingly useful and excellently adapted for preserving their health. Being waterproof, this mat kept them dry and warm in the severest weather; being loosely worn, it allowed of free ventilation; and being rough, it kept up that healthy slight irritation of the skin which to them was indispensable. They also used other fibrous plants for clothing mats although the flax (Phormium) grew everywhere. The strong durable and wholly black dyed mat called Toii, was made of the fibres of the handsome large leaved mountain Cordyline (C. indivisa). The long leaves of the climbing Kiekie (Freycinetia Banksii), and of the Neinei, or large leaved Dracophyllum latifolium, were also used by them; while the bright yellow leaves of the Pingao (Desmoschænus spiralis), were woven into useful purse-like girdles. The Natives in the more southern parts of the group, also wove very useful flax sandals for wearing on the snow. The floor mats, of various sizes, patterns, and fineness, were also neatly woven of flax or Kiekie leaves, separated by the thumb nail into narrow slips; or of the leaves of the large cutting-grass Toetoe (Arundo conspicua), denuded of its edges; or of those of the Nikau palm (Arica sapida); of all which materials they also made their numerous baskets, of many patterns, kinds, and sizes. Some of their fancy baskets woven in elegant patterns with dyed leaves, were highly ornamental. They also made strong and serviceable dress mats of the hairy skins of their dogs, and also of the feathers of the Kiwi (Apteryx); for which they wove a strong lining of flax. Their dogskins they always separated into narrow shreds, which they firmly sewed together, so as to variegate the colours according to the fancy of the maker and owner; or sewed in stripes upon a stout woven lining of flax—not unlike sackcloth. The flax plant also furnished them with excellent material for their many and various threads, twines, cords, lines, and ropes. These they commonly made of 2, 3, or 4 twist; which operation was always performed with the hand on the naked thigh! They also made their several kinds of drag and hand nets, of various sized mesh, of its undressed leaves; of which, and of the leaves of the Ti or cabbage-tree (Cordyline Australis),
they plaited flat, round, and square ropes, for their canoes, nets, etc. Their canoe sails were curiously constructed of bulrush leaves (Typha), laid flat edge to edge, and laced across with flax.
(2.) Their Implements of Agriculture, were made of hard wood, and were few in number. The principal one was a ko, a rude kind of narrow and pointed spade with a very long handle, to which, at about 18 inches or more from the point, they fitted a small crooked bit of carved wood, as a rest for the foot. Much smaller implements of a similar shape were used for digging around the plants, and for breaking the clods; these last they used in a sitting or squatting posture. Their canoe paddles, and fish spears, were also made of hardwood, Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium); but their bird spears being very long, some upwards of 30 feet, were made of the light wood Tawa (Nesodaphne Tawa). Their war implements of wood were made both of Manuka and Rimu; the curious halbert shaped Wahaika, the broad Meremere (or hand club), for close quarters, and their short spears, were made of the former; and the long spears of the latter, wood. They also made darts with heads of light combustible materials; these they used in attacking a pa or village. Their saw-knives, used for cutting up the flesh of whales, etc., were also made of hardwood; some were edged with sharks' teeth. Their fishhooks, had the shaft made of the fossil bone of the Moa (Dinornis), and the barb of human bone, with a small tuft of metallic blue feathers of the little penguin attached; some were also made of the tough crooked roots of shrubs, hardened by fire; to some of which a glittering piece of mother-of-pearl shell was attached as a lure. Their sinkers, for deep sea fishing, were made of stone, which they cut and notched to suit; sometimes using a large fossil bivalve, and sometimes a piece of rock which had been perforated by a pholas.
(3.) Their stone Axes of various sizes, used for felling trees, shaping canoes, and many other purposes, were made of three, or more, different kinds of stone;—the green jade, or axe stone; a close-grained dark basalt; and a hard grey stone. A piece of broken shell was commonly used for cutting, scraping, carving, etc.; but for cutting their own bodies (in lamenting for the dead, etc.), as well as for cutting their hair, and sometimes for carving, they used a thin piece of obsidian. One of their most ingenious instruments, was a kind of wimble, or drill, composed of a small cylindrical piece of wood, produced to a point at one end, to which was fixed a small angular quartz stone; two strings were also fastened at the opposite end, these being repeatedly pulled by both hands in a contrary direction, (the stone to be bored, etc., being firmly held by the feet,) a hole was in time perforated. They used the wedge (matakahi) in splitting trees; and another simple machine, composed of a short lever with short straps, on the plan of a tourniquet, was also used by them in expressing oil from the seeds of the Titongi (Alectryon excelsum), etc., etc. For water vessels they commonly used the hard and fully ripened rind of the cultivated gourd, hue, which sometimes attained to a large size, hardened by baking, sun and fire. The larger calabashes were selected for potting fat birds, and similar delicacies, in their own fat. Oil was often kept in the smaller calabashes; also in dilated joints of kelp, and in the stout double air bladder of the curious sea-porcupine fish (Tetraodon, sp.)
16. They cultivated the Ornamental as well as the Practical. This has been already shown (in part), in the manufacture of their clothing mats, in their canoe decoration, in their carving, etc. Their greenstone ear and neck ornaments belong to this class; which, from their shape, polish, and tenuity, as well as from the well-known hardness of the stone, must have taken an enormous time to finish. The Mako, or teeth of the long snouted porpoise (a species of mammalia rarely indeed to be met with,—driven on shore, at least), was also greatly prized for ear ornaments. The black and white tail feathers of the bird Huia (Neomorpha Gouldii), and the snowy plumes of the Kautuku (Ardea flavirostris), were greatly prized, to adorn the heads of their chiefs; the former were snared in their proper forests, by skilled natives imitating their call; the latter was (in the Northern Island) rarely seen, and yet they sometimes managed to capture it alive, and to keep it so in a cage for a considerable time for the sake of its feathers, which they regularly plucked. The white down of the Albatross, and of the Gannet, was also worn by the chiefs both in their hair and ears, as ornaments; while the women often wore suspended to their necks, the mottled feathers of the Paradise Duck, and of the little blue Teal of the mountain rivers. They also ornamented themselves by wearing in their ears, the beak and feathered skin of the Huia deprived of its tail feathers; and also of the Tui, or parson bird, and of the elegant little glossy Cuckoo, or Pipiwharauroa (Chrysococcyx-lucidus), while the long tail feathers of the larger Cuckoo, or Kohaperoa (Eudynamis taitensis), they also wore in their hair. Flowers were also sometimes used for this purpose; especially the elegant climbing Puawananga (Clematis, sp.), and neat Waewaekoukou (Licopodium volubile), of both which the women often made graceful wreaths and garlands. They carved handsome staves (Hani and Taiaha), out of the hard variegated wood of the Ake (Dodonæa viscosa); which weapon was used both as insignia of rank, and for defence; this they further ornamented with mother-of-pearl eyes set into the wood, and with small red feathers, obtained from under the wings of the brown parrot, firmly fastened around it, and with the prized long white hair of their dogs' tails, neatly quilled up into little queues and pendant from it. Then their Musical Instruments (rude though they were and possessing only a few notes) were several; perhaps they would have improved these had they possessed proper material for making them. Their 3 or 4 flutes of different sizes were made of human bone, or the hollow stems of the Tutu (Coriaria ruscifolia), or of the Kohoho (Solanum aviculare); or of two pieces of hard wood, cleverly constructed and fitted together, having the joining in the centre, where, too, it was much larger. Their trumpet was made of a large conch shell (Triton variegatum), and sometimes of a piece of wood. All their musical instruments were also more or less carved and ornamented. Their larger war-gongs were made of Mataii wood, and were suspended in their forts. Their combs for their hair were also both neatly made and carved; these however were not used as combs commonly are by us, but by the chiefs to keep up their hair, much as English ladies use their high back-combs. The cloth-like inner bark of the Aute, or paper mulberry, was manufactured only for head ornaments, for which sole purpose too the exotic was carefully and annually cultivated. They very elaborately carved their boxes for
holding their Huia and Kautuku feathers; and so they (afterwards) often did their tinder-boxes. They also carved the deep circlet necks, or collars, of hardwood, which they neatly fixed on to their large provision calabashes for potted birds; to which they also fitted tripod-like stands. The poukaakaa, or parrot perch, was also generally carved and ornamented. And they assiduously sought, and only obtained with much trouble and preparation, their favorite colors of red and blue mineral pigments, with which to ornament their bodies, as well as their chiefs houses, canoes, store-houses, tombs, and boundary posts.
17. Buying and Selling for a price (as practised by us) was unknown to them. Such was not wanted where every man, or household, had nearly alike, and made their own commodities. They had, however, a kind of Barter, or Exchange;—or, more properly, a giving to be afterwards repaid by a gift. Dried sea-fish, or dried edible sea-weed, or shark oil, or karaka berries, would be given by natives living on the sea-coast to friendly natives dwelling inland; who would afterwards repay with potted birds, or eels, or hinau cakes, or mats, or rouge, or birds' feathers and skins. So, a chief would give to one of his own, or of a friendly tribe, some article as an acknowledgment or equivalent for building a canoe, carving, etc., but always without any kind of stipulation or fixed price. Or, he would make a present (always to be repaid), of a canoe, or a dress mat, or a stone war weapon, or a dog, to some other chief, generally to one of higher, or equal, rank than himself; but all without anything like price stated. And when the return gift was made, it was always stated to be such, for if not so stated it would not be so considered' (want of knowing this has occasioned much misunderstanding between them and whites). A return gift was always expected to be a larger one than the one which occasioned it. Sometimes they sought to exchange one thing for another, especially with strangers visiting, but this was very rare.
18. The four great yet ordinary events to a New Zealander, were Birth, Marriage, Death, and Exhumation; to which may be added, the ceremony of Naming, the arranging of Betrothal, and Tattooing. On all these occasions there was great feasting; particularly in the case of death and exhumation;—when, too, there was grievous lamentation, much of which was very often real. Time, however, will not permit of anything more at present, than a passing mention of those matters.
(1.) At the Birth of a child, especially of the first-born of a couple of high rank, there was quite–as much rejoicing as in more civilized countries. The maternal aunt, or maternal grandmother of the infant was generally present and ruled on such occasions,—if not, then the paternal grandmother took her place. Sometimes the birth of a daughter was preferred to that of a son for political reasons. Of course, the spot where the child was born (if in fine weather in the open air), everything touched or used, and all who had anything to do at the birth, were strictly tabooed (tapu),—under customary restraint, or “legally unclean,”—set apart for the time from every ordinary matter. The umbilical cord was tied with scraped flax, which sometimes slipping caused a protuberant navel, and not unfrequently hernia; which latter, however, disappeared at adult age. The natives have been charged with compressing the infant's nose, to flatten it; and while this has been commonly
denied, it is evident, that the nose salutations (hongi, nose-rubbing), it was continually receiving from its mother and relatives, must have had a great tendency that way: besides, flat noses were always admired. Soon after its birth they commenced rubbing down its knee joints, in order to reduce the inner part of the joint, and so make them “handsome.” For this purpose the infant was placed face downwards by its grandmother, or by one of the elder women, on her closed legs, and its little legs and knees rubbed downwards with pretty much squeezing of the inner knee; this operation was daily, or oftener, performed during several weeks. Female infants had the first joint of their thumbs half disjointed, or bent considerably outwards, to enable the woman the better to hold, scrape, weave, and plait flax. At an early period, the little ears of the infant were bored with a sharp fragment of stone, or bit of obsidian; an operation generally performed by its mother.
(2.) Betrothal often took place at, or shortly after, birth (if not indeed, mentally, and conditionally, before). This was almost certain to ensue in the case of simultaneous births of opposite sexes among friends of equal rank, or distant relatives. If not then arranged by the parents, or uncles, it was generally done during the early childhood of the children. While, no doubt, all such affiances arose from both good and political motives, nothing the New Zealanders ever did caused them more misery—and yet they could never be brought to see it.
(3.) “Naming” of the child also followed soon after its birth. This ceremony was always performed by a “priest,” (cunning wright, or skilled man, who managed all such secret and mysterious matters, of exorcism, objurgation, or incantation)—it has been called by Europeans, the “naming” of the child, but it does not mean that; it has also been called “baptism,” and compared with Christian baptism, and the term, iriiri, adopted, (rather unwisely) to express that ordinance. No doubt it was a high ceremony in the eyes of a New Zealander; but it was nothing else than a removal of the tapu,—restraint, or prohibition,—under which the child and mother lay,—more a rite of purification than anything else. If the child was a boy, the “priest” expressed his wish that he should be brave and manly; if a girl, that she should be efficient in all those peculiar duties pertaining to her sex.
(4.) About the age of puberty the Tattooing operation was begun on both sexes; as, in the case of the man, it took several years to complete, and in that of the woman it was necessary, at least, that her lips should be finished ere she could have a husband; red lips in women being abhorred, and black ones being considered the perfection of beautiful feminine lips. Regular tattooing, in the male, was confined to the whole face and to the breech, and sometimes to the thighs: certainly some were very handsomely done. In the female it was confined to the lips, chin, between the eyes, and a little up the forehead, and on the back part of the leg, from the heel to the calf; the three last-mentioned being always indicative of rank. The women, also, often got themselves irregularly marked on their hands, arms, breast, and face, with small crosses, short lines, and dots. A very few women the writer has seen with tattooed faces just as a man; these belong to Southern tribes; some of whom formerly had a very different style of tattooing (such as is shewn in Cook's Voyages, plate 13, 4to. edition). The Chiefs wore their hair long,
and dressed up into a knot on the top of their heads; the women wore it cut short.
(5.) At the Marriage, or coming together as man and wife of the young couple, there was really no ceremony; indeed they have no proper name for it in their own language. It was known as, “noho tahi,” or “moe tahi,” or “whakamoe,”—i.e., dwelling together, or sleeping together, or causing to do so. If they had been betrothed by their parents, it was merely a matter of time,—(always supposing no rupture, or anything serious having occurred, which, however, was rarely the case,)—the mats being woven, and the provisions ready for the feast, and the parents, brothers, uncles, and tribe, being of opinion that the long looked for dwelling-together should take place, (which they were often too ready to do) and the young couple also willing, the betrothed bride was brought, generally by her brothers and uncles, to the house of the bridegroom's parents, clothed in new mats, where she was received with acclamation, and given over to her husband; by whom and by his people gifts were always made to the parents of the girl. If, however, there had been no betrothal, a marriage between young people was always a very difficult thing to effect, and one which took some time; as everyone, of both the tribes, had something to say, and must be satisfied ere it could take place; particularly the uncles and aunts, the sisters, and female cousins of the young man, and the brothers and male cousins of the girl. Hence, the young couple, disgusted, often ran away to the woods, and there remained some time together in solitude, pretty sure of being soon sought after, and their living together acquiesced in. Contrary to what obtains (openly at least) among us; with them, the unbetrothed young woman commenced the courtship; not unfrequently, however, (even after all the relations had agreed,) other suitors appeared at the last moment, and a passionate and severe struggle took place,—sometimes ending in the forcible abduction of the girl, (especially if the newly-arrived suitor was a person of high rank,) after being nearly killed through the pulling and hauling she received.
(6.) Polygamy being encouraged, and divorce allowed, all chiefs had several wives; which increased their power and influence considerably. Polygamy was not the cause of disagreement or jealousy among the wives, who lived together in great harmony. Nor did it cause a disproportion of marriageable women, as many males were being continually killed in their frequent battles. The sudden bringing home of a new wife, which sometimes happened, (perhaps a slave, or from a distance,) as a matter of course made quite a sensation among the old wives, but it was only temporary. Often the old wives themselves encouraged their husband to take another, and aided efficiently in his doing so. Their injudicious early betrothals, (marriages of policy, not love,) which must take place; their great desire of offspring; their belief that barrenness always proceeded from the female; and their rule of a brother always taking the widow of his deceased brother; were among the main causes of polygamy. Politically speaking, had polygamy and divorce not been too early and rudely ecclesiastically interfered with and prohibited, the New Zealanders as a nation would, in all probability, have now been very much more numerous and better off.
(7.) Death was always gloomy to a New Zealander, and yet they
often met the “king of terrors” bravely. Whether they slowly died from disease, or from barbarous cruelties practised by their enemies;—whether suddenly from unlooked for casualty, or the excited anger of a superior, or in the battle-field, they all, young and old, of either sex, died bravely, though not willingly. This is the more striking, from the fact of their belief, that, whether they died at home from disease, or at sea from a canoe upsetting, or from a fall from a lofty tree, or through a house taking fire, or in the battle-field, or as a captive,—such was invariably owing to the anger of the Atua (or, man-destroying demon,). Often did they when sinking, calmly give their last words (alas! too frequently of deadly revenge) to their weeping relatives; which burning words the hearers treasured up never to be forgotten. They rarely ever died in a good house; mostly in the open air, or under some wretched shed; this was done because the house in which anyone died would have to be forsaken as tapu. At death there was much loud lamentation, accompanied with gashing themselves on their arms, chests, and foreheads, through which the blood flowed profusely. They also further disfigured themselves by cutting their hair close on one side; sometimes a few locks of long hair were left untouched, and these were seldom afterwards trimmed, but allowed to grow and mat together as a constant and ever present memento of the departed. The whole place was very sad; several of the principal resident mourners have been known to die from sheer exhaustion. Such miserable wailing continued for a long time; as fresh parties of mourners kept continually arriving. Some came before the body was removed; some not till long after; but this made no difference. All sang and wailed with much gesticulation and lacerating of themselves, with their faces towards the deceased, or his tomb, or the place where he had breathed his last; the burden of their lament invariably being, “Go, go, depart, depart; go before us to thy people: we follow.” The body was sometimes tied up in a sitting posture, and clothed, and placed with its greenstone mere,* etc., in a small house, or mausoleum, prepared for it. Sometimes, though not frequently, it was boxed up in the corner of the verandah of the house in which it had lived; oftener it was placed on a small canoe or bier, and taken to a gloomy forest (anciently set apart for the purpose), and there put up in the broad forked branches of some dark tree. In all such cases to remain until the flesh should have decayed.
(8.) The Exhumation, or hahunga,—i.e., cleaning of the bones,—sometimes took place within a year after death. For this work great preparations were made—in the way of preparing provisions; and not unfrequently the ceremony was put off until a sufficiency should have been provided. Of course all engaged in cleaning the bones were very tapu; —and rightly so. Not one of the smallest was ever left behind; they were cleaned, anointed, and decorated, the head especially, with feathers and ornaments. After being exhibited, seen, wept, and wailed over, they were carried by a single man and near relative to their last resting place. The exact spot of deposit, for wise political reasons, being only known to a select few. Sometimes the bones were thrown into some old volcanic rent, or chasm; sometimes thrown into very deep water-holes;
[Footnote] * Short cutting club.
and sometimes neatly and regularly placed in a deep, dark cave; always, if possible, wherever those of his ancestors happened to be. Their principal object being, to prevent their falling into the hands of their enemies, who would dreadfully desecrate and ill-use them, with many bitter jeers and curses. The skull might be made to serve as a dish for food, or be placed on a stake to be daily mocked,—or even taken out to sea on fishing excursions to be taunted and derided afresh there with new indignities. The bones of the body would also be used for fishhooks, flutes, needles, skewers, dining-forks, etc. All such ill-usage was always dreaded and detested. Some tribes, especially the Ngatiporou, (E. Cape) extracted the teeth, and, having strung them, wore them as a necklace.
19. Of Rank and Class, the New Zealanders had keen and clear (if not subtle) distinctions. First, there were the great ones of bond and free:—
(1.) Of the free, there were—(a.) the ariki, or head of the tribe, being the first-born (male or female) by the eldest branch; the lineal heir, or heiress—(b.) the principal man (tino tangata) or head of the sub-tribe—(c.) his brothers and sisters, and half-brothers and sisters by other mothers—(d.) his uncles and aunts, cousins, etc. The tribe or sub-tribe having sprung from one progenitor, the greatness of any one of it depended, partly, on his nearness to that progenitor, and, partly, on the rank, power, and influence of his own immediate parent or ancestor (male or female), who had married into the tribe. Thus, paradoxical as it may appear, the children were often of higher rank than either of their parents; this often caused what would be by us termed gross insubordination. The children of a principal chief by wives of unequal rank would not all be of one rank; as their rank always depended on that of their mothers as well as on that of their fathers. The first-born of the eldest of the tribe, whether male or female, was called ariki, (i.e., first-born, heir, high chief, or ruler) and besides his high rank had great privileges. Of him, or her, great care was taken. To him from his birth, being of much higher rank than his father or mother, it was, as if the world around was made for him. In every case the eldest child ruled all the younger children; and they generally promptly obeyed him. Sometimes, in consequence of the will of the father, or owing to a quiet or retiring disposition, to bodily deformity or ailment, to want of capacity, or of signalizing himself, on the part of the elder child, or to the scheming daring character of the younger,—the younger superseded the elder, and governed the tribe in all ordinary matters; but not in the greater tribal matters. A chief generally lost his influence among his own tribe, if not his rank, by not asserting his position and rights. Here, as in other countries, might very soon became to be considered as right. Hence the constant exertion and struggle, and the difficulties continually arising in the daily jostle of New Zealand life. Chiefs of rank were also known by their tattooing, dress, insignia, and ornaments. The black and white tail-feather of the Huia bird, and the white plume of the crane (Kautuku), were worn by them alone in the hair; the prized tooth (mako) in their ears; the quaintly carved greenstone heitiki suspended on their breasts; and the greenstone mere, and ornamented hani in their hands; these, with their best mats, of flax, dogskin, and birds'
feathers, were all for patrician ornament and use—(e.) Poor men and low plebeians, though free, were the children of remote lateral descendants of a tribe, especially if their mothers, or fathers, had been slaves—(f.) Successful “priests,” and skilled artificers, both male and female, whether belonging to the tribe or not, always gained both renown and influence, whatever their proper rank might be; so did the brave warrior, and fortunate fisher, and bird snarer. The “priest,” however, lost his influence the moment he ceased to be successful,—or, to be believed, on which his success depended; hence all manner of lying props and stratagems were used.
(2.) With the slave, too, it was much the same; if skilled, or if active and industrious, and willing to serve his new masters, he was sure to rise and have some influence; which, however great his rank might have been in his own tribe, he would never again have there,—even if he could return. This was a strange and cruel trait in their character, but it is easily understood, when it is considered, that his own tribe attributed his being enslaved to the anger of the Atua, (evil demon) and that by his becoming so he had lost his tapu; and if they were to compassionate and restore, they too would incur the anger of the Atua, which they dreaded above all things. Slaves have been known to rise to very important positions among their new masters; and, even when having opportunities to escape, or set at liberty, to choose to remain and live and die with them. The writer has known several instances, especially among the Ngapuhi (Bay of Islands) tribes, in which the slave, although without original rank, has become the principal man, or leader, in the sub-tribe in which he was a slave. A New Zealand slave had full liberty, even of speech, before his masters, and plenty to eat; and was generally as cheerful as the free. True, he could not wear the clothing, or ornaments of patrician rank; nor would he be greatly bewailed at death; nor have his bones ceremonially scraped; but these things now did not move him. Those about him knew, and he too knew, that his lot of to-day might be theirs tomorrow. Bad, irritating language was sometimes used towards a slave by tyrannical, passionate masters; but such was the exception, not the rule, and was secretly disapproved of among themselves. All things considered, ordinary slavery among the New Zealanders was not so bad as the word imports, and as some Europeans, from want of due knowledge, have made it to appear.
20. Their views of property were, in the main, both simple and just; and, in some respects, (even including those most abnormal), wonderfully accorded with what once obtained in England. Among the New Zealanders property may be said to have been divided into two great classes,—immovable and movable;—or, ordinary and extraordinary;—or, peculiar and common;—perhaps the latter definition may be most advantageous for consideration.
(1.) Of peculiar, or private, rights:—With them, every man had a right to his own, as against every one else, but then this right was often overcome by might. A man of middle or low rank, caught, perhaps, some fine fish, or was very lucky in snaring birds, such were undoubtedly his own; but if his superior or elder chief wished, or asked for some, he dared not refuse, even if he would. At the same time such a gift, if
gift it might be termed, was (according to custom) sure to be repaid with interest, hence it was readily yielded. The whole of a man's movable property was his own, which included his house and fences, as well as all his smaller goods. All that a freeman made, or caught, or obtained, or raised by agriculture were his own, private and peculiar; his house erected by himself was his own, but if not on his own land (rarely the case) he could not hold it against the owner of that spot, unless such use had been openly allowed to him by the owner before all (i te aroaro o te tokomaha). So a plantation planted by himself, if not on his own land (also a rare thing), he would have to leave after taking his crops, on being ordered to do so; but not so if he had originally and with permission felled the forest, or reclaimed that land from the wild; in which case he would retain it for life, or as long as he pleased, and very likely his descendants after him. To land, a man acquired a peculiar right in many ways.
(i.) Definite:—(a.) by having been born on it, or, in their expressive language, “where his navel-string was cut,” as his first blood (ever sacred in their eyes) had been shed there—(b.) by having had his secundines buried there, (this, however, was much more partial)—(c.) by a public invitation from the owner to dwell on it—(d.) by having first cultivated it with permission—(e.) by having had his blood shed upon it—(f.) by having had the body, or bones, of his deceased father, or mother, or uterine brother or sister deposited, or resting on it—(g.) by having had a near relative killed, or roasted on it; or a portion of his body stuck up or thrown away upon it—(h.) by having been bitterly cursed in connection with that piece of land, i.e.—this oven is for thy body, or head; on that tree thy liver shall be fixed to rot; thy skull shall hold the cooked birds, or berries of this wood, etc.—(i.) or by the people of the district using for any purpose, a shed which had been temporarily put up there and used by a chief in travelling.
(ii.) Indefinite:—(a.) by having been invited to come there by the chief with a party to dwell (lit. having had their canoe in passing called to shore)—(b.) through his wife by marriage, (but such would only be a quasi life-interest to him—i.e. during her life and infancy of the children; as, in case of children, they would take all their mother's right)—(c.) by having assisted in conquering it—(d.) by having aided with food, a canoe, a spear, etc., an armed party who subsequently became conquerors of it. All these equally applied though he should belong to a different tribe or sub-tribe.
(iii.) Beyond all these, however, was the right by gift or transfer, and by inheritance, which not unfrequently was peculiar and private. This, (which has of late years been much contested, and too often, it is feared, by ignorant and interested men, or by those who have too readily believed what the talkative younger New Zealanders now say), may clearly be proved beyond all doubt—(1.) By the acts of their several ancestors (great-grandfathers) to their children, from whom the present sub-tribes derive their sub-tribal names, and claim their boundaries; such ancestors divided and gave those lands simply to each individual of their family, which division, and alienation, however unfairly made, has never been contested—(2.) By their ancient transfers (gifts or sales) of land made by individuals of one tribe to individuals of another, as related by them-
selves; and from which gift, or alienation, in many instances, they deduce their present claims. (3.) By their earliest (untampered) sales and transfers of land to Missionaries and to others; which were not unfrequently done by one native. (As was notably the case in the first alienation of land by deed, to Mr. Marsden at the Bay of Islands, in 1815.) Although the foreign transferees (not knowing the native custom,) often wished others being co-proprietors to sign the document of transfer; and this, bye-and-bye, came to be looked upon as the New Zealand custom; whence came the modern belief that all must unite in a sale; and thence it followed that one could not sell his own land! But such is not of New Zealand origin.
(iv.) Their order of Succession of Inheritance, as clearly shown in their genealogical recitals, etc., was from father to son; but on the demise of the eldest, the next brother succeeded to the inheritance, pro tempore, and so on; eventually, however, reverting to the children of the senior brother, and mainly to the eldest of them. Hence, a New Zealander in speaking of his right to land, (even after the decease of his parent through whom he derived his title) preferred to mention his grandfather's name, and himself as deriving from him. It must not be forgotten, that the living brother invariably took to wife the widow of his deceased brother, unless she destroyed herself, or he was willing to forego his right: this, also often entangled the succession still more, especially to a European.
(v.) Usufructuary:—Of which two classes may be here noticed. (1.) Permanent: as the right of a man to a hidden rock, or shoal, at sea for cod-fishing; to a tidal bank for shell-fish; or to a certain wood, or tract of land, for taking certain birds; or to a defined portion of a plain for quail and rats; or to a forest, for hinau, tawa, or karaka berries; or to a defined portion of a flax swamp for cutting flax; or to a spot for an eel-weir; or to a hill, etc., for digging fern-root. Sometimes there would be a double-right to the usufruct of the same estate, i.e. one man or family would have the right to the eels, another to the ducks: one to the fern-root, another to the rats, quails, etc. Those permanent usufruct rights often originated in transfers or gifts, and generally continued in the first line of descent. They were mostly easily managed by the New Zealanders before the incoming of the European; or, rather, before the younger natives became infiltrated with novel European notions. (2.) Temporary:—often only for a year or season; such as, to the fruit (juice) of the tutu shrub, or to the watery honey of the flax (phormium) flowers, growing within certain bounds—to the young shags of a certain cliff—to the Inanga (whitebait), or other annual fish, of a certain part of a stream. In all such cases the right was generally made known by a pole being stuck up with fragments of wearing apparel, or a bunch of flax, grass, or such like, tied around it; and this was usually respected.
(vi.) There were also other peculiar rights to property,—such as that of the ariki, or head chief, to a whale, porpoise, or dolphin (“royal fish,”) cast anywhere on shore within his territories; to a white crane, if in any of his streams. (These, on being seen, should not be touched, but information given directly to him, the supreme lord.) Also, to any wreck driven on a desolate shore; but a wreck of any kind, or even a canoe and property of friends and relatives upsetting off a village, and drifting on shore where a village was, became the property of the people of that
village; although it might be that the people in the canoe had all got safely to land or were coming by special invitation to visit that very village, perhaps to lament over their dead! Strangest of all, the (unfortunate?) people in the upset canoe would be the very first to resent—even to fighting—any kind alleviation of this strange law! so that such conduct, while appearing to us (as Blackstone says) to be “consonant neither ‘to reason nor humanity,’ was not to them the ‘adding of sorrow to sorrow.”’ So also, goods floating at sea (a canoe, etc.); or found on the high-road; or anywhere dropped, not hidden; became the property of the finder. Recently hidden property, if discovered, was restored to its owner, on its being clearly identified; but anciently hidden property (mostly stone axes, and stone ornaments), became the property of the lord of the manor, who sometimes gave it (ex proprio motu) to the descendants of the person, when known, to whom it had belonged.
(2.) Of common rights. Such everywhere existed, both to—(a.) movable, and to—(b.) immovable property.—(a.) As where several joined together,—to build a village,—to build a large house,—to make a large net,—to fell a forest, and to plant the ground,—to fish, with a seine net, or to snare birds in company,—to make a large eel-weir, etc., etc.—(b.) to land, including what it spontaneously produced (which latter was often of the greater moment to them):—such was common and unrestricted for every purpose to all the tribe, and to their relatives by marriage of other tribes, and to their friends. Always excepting any such isolated peculiar claims and rights as those already mentioned. Hence, any one of the tribe, or sub-tribe, would clear a portion of the forest for planting,—or set fire to the fern or swamp; or select and mark for himself a tree in the wood, to be hereafter felled by him and made into a canoe, etc.
21. Their Treatment of Internal Diseases, excepting, perhaps, rheumatism, was altogether bad, yet ignorantly so; as they wholly relied on the efficacy of the objurgations, or exorcisms, of the “priest,” or skilled man. In rheumatic affections, however, among other remedies, they often resorted to a rude hot vapour bath; and both in rheumatism, and in some obstinate cutaneous diseases, the tribes living near to hotsprings, and hot sulphureous mud wells, used them advantageously. But, while bad physicians, they were tolerably good surgeons,—especially in reducing dislocations, and setting broken bones,—as they knew well the economy of the human frame, from their too often cannibal feasts, as well as from their practice of cleaning the bones of the dead. They set broken bones admirably, using splints of Totara bark, or of the broad green bases of the large flax leaves; they also managed to cut off crushed fingers and toes, and even badly maimed hands, feet, and forearms, in a creditable manner, although wholly ignorant of the arterial system. Spearheads broken off within and perceived, they managed to cut out; but if not apparent, they repeatedly exorcised, to the double misery and expense of the sufferer. Recent wounds were generally left to themselves, and like their fractures, they mostly healed quickly and well; owing, no doubt, to their non-stimulating diet, temperate living, and low pulse. Old obstinate ulcers, (often arising from scrofula, or from some fragment of bone, or foreign substance remaining in the flesh, or from fungoid flesh,) they sometimes adroitly managed, by weaving a little wicker boss,
or shield, which they strapped on to protect the sore. They were also clever at boils, in courageously bearing the extraction of the core by pressure, only they did it too early. Painful excoriations of the hands, by poling or paddling, they eased by the actual cautery; burning the same with live embers. In midwifery cases, they were also very expert; in severe cases extracting the fætus piecemeal; when the husband was generally the operator. They were always extraordinarily solicitous about the retention of the afterbirth. In cases of children being poisoned by eating the seeds of the Tupakihi or Tutu, (Coriaria ruscifolia) they generally smoked them over a heap of green bushes, having a little fire underneath, shaking them about at the same time; sometimes they also ducked them roughly in the sea or river. In cases of poisoning through eating the unprepared kerels of the Karaka (Corynocarpus lævigata), they dug a deep pit as fast as possible, in which they placed the unhappy sufferer standing, with his arms lashed to his sides, his legs tied together, and a gag in his mouth; filling in the earth, or sand, to his neck. If this treatment was well and expeditiously performed, the patient not only recovered, but had again the proper use of his limbs. The convulsions and rigidities, during the action of the poison, were dreadfully severe.
22. They had several Acquired Habits, some of which were notably good, others peculiar. Their great industry has been already mentioned. They usually carried their heavy loads strapped on their backs, where they also carried their children. They were fond of sitting squatting on their haunches, both on land and in their canoes. They often used their toes to pick up any small article with. They endured their smoky houses without inconvenience; and always ate their food out of doors in all weathers. They saluted each other on meeting, by placing their noses in contact, rubbing and pressing them; in this way chiefs saluted chiefs, and slaves slaves. They often signified their assent to anything by a slight elevation of the head, or of the eyebrows. Silence was the understood sign of dissent. They measured length, especially cordage, etc., with expanded arms; or by stretching themselves on the ground, or surface, to be measured. Lice of two kinds, (Pediculus hum. capitis, and P. hum. corporis), with which their heads and clothing formerly abounded, they uniformly caught and cracked with their teeth. They had a peculiar gait, turning in their toes, and planting the sole flat on the ground, one foot closely before the other; hence they walked in very narrow pathways, yet they trod firmly, and stood strong on their legs.
23. Of Drinks, save water, no people had fewer; of really artificial ones none. In summer they everywhere drank the sweet and pleasant juice of the Tutu, sometimes mixed with gelatinous seaweeds, or a little prepared fern root, to give it consistency. Sometimes they mixed the fresh gathered watery honey of the flax floweres Korari (Phormium), with water; and sometimes the large roots of the cabbage-tree Ti (Cordyline Australia), were slowly baked and bruised up in water, and yielded a sweetish drink.
24. Their Masticatories were few and scanty; yet most of what they had they prized. The resin of the Tarata (Pittosporum eugenioides), they gathered and mixed into a ball with the gum of the sow-thistle, which they chewed. A kind of Bitumen, which was sometimes found thrown up on their coasts, though rarely, and called by them “Kauritawhiti,”
and “Mimiha,” they also chewed. As they did the fresh resin of the Kauri tree (Dammara Australis). In using them, they passed them freely from one to another without hesitation.
25. Fond of Children, Pets, and Playthings, they endeavoured to domesticate a few animals. Foremost among them was their dog, which, for many reasons, must have been one of their great treasures; this animal they prized for his long tail-hair, his skin, and his flesh. In some places they dexterously managed to flay the outer skin of his living tail in narrow strips, so as to obtain the much coveted long white hair; which in time grew again! They also had a very ingenious mode of castrating them. This variety of dog has long become wholly extinct in New Zealand. Next to their dog, as being like him wholly at liberty, were the two large sea gulls, the Karoro, and the Ngoiro (Larus sp.) these, however, were of no real service; they would go to the sea and return again to the village. The large brown parrot, Kaakaa (Nestor meridionalis) and the Parson-bird Tui, or Koko (Prosthemadera Novæ Seelandiæ) they also tamed; the former as a useful decoy-bird for catching his fellow-parrots; the latter, merely for his song, talking, and antics. They kept the Tui in a kind of rude cage, and taught him to repeat tolerably well a long song; while the poor parrot was always kept fast confined, tied by his leg to a cord with a running noose on a light perch or spear. They also sometimes kept the white crane, Kotuku (Ardea flavirostris), in a miserable cage of basket work, much smaller than the bird required to stand upright in! where they scantily fed him with small fresh-water fish; this was done for the sake of its prized feathers, which were regularly plucked every four or six months.
26. Of Games and Diversions the New Zealanders had several; some of them were remarkably innocent. For children they had the whipping top, which, curiously enough, closely resembled the common English one; also, a game called whai, played with a string, much like the “cat's-cradle” of the English children; and another called poi, played with a large light ornamented ball attached to a short string. Young men often strove for the mastery in short spear exercises, and in projecting long dry fern stalks over a piece of level ground, or sandy beach; and in wrestling, running, leaping, hopping with or without a pole, climbing, swinging, paddling a small canoe, swimming and diving; in the three last-mentioned the girls also took part. They had also, for the young of both sexes, games of guessing; in one of which a pebble was hidden among a company;—of repeating long involved sentences without stay or hesitation;—of singing;—and of regular gesticulation by a company all sitting. They had various dances, some of which were mostly performed in their villages by the young women; while the rougher dances, accompanied with grimaces, and defiance, and brandishing of weapons, culminating in the hideous war-dance, were generally executed by the adult men. In dancing, however, with the sole exception of the war-dance, and also in swimming and other aquatic exercises, they were very much inferior to the other Polynesians. Old men often amused themselves with looking on and encouraging the younger ones, and especially with kite-flying, and in playing with the poi-ball. Their kites (pakaukau) were wholly different from European ones, and more resembling those of the Chinese. They were very ingeniously and neatly made with round and flat rushes,
and hovered very prettily in the air. They usually sang or chaunted a song to the kite while flying it.
§ II. Psychological
27. Their intellectual and moral Faculties, as a race, were of a high order; however stunted, warped, or debased they may have been through custom, habit, or their strong and unrestrained animal propensities.
(1.) They often showed acuteness of understanding and of comprehension, with great quickness of apprehension; consequently they were very apt to learn. Their subtlety was great, notwithstanding their openness and want of secrecy; so, also, was their ready power of mimicry, and imitation, and of low wit. Their memory was very good; and their ingenuity ever ready to follow closely any pattern; though certainly barren of originality and invention. They often exhibited great skill in finding out how best to do, or get, anything, (with their very limited means,) as well as ingenuity in performing or obtaining it; this they exemplified in many ways:—as, in making their various axes, weapons, and ornaments of stone; in not only taking, preserving, and curing, fish and birds for food, but in making the highly poisonous vegetable substances, karaka, and tawa kernels subserve the same ends; in procuring fire by friction, and in making it to blaze, and in finding out the best tinder; in making their ingenious snares for hawks, ducks, rats, etc., and their various cleverly made fishhooks,—some artificially baited with mother-of-pearl shell for the kahawai, and others with a chip of tawhai (Fagus) wood for the Barracouta; in making their quartz-pointed wimble, and their “Spanish tourniquet,” and their delicate tattooing instruments. They were passionately fond of music, but it was peculiarly their own: and of poetry, or of its chief ingredients, sentiment, and rhythm, although they had not rhyme. They greatly excelled in order and regularity, which they carried into almost everything they did; as shown in their parallel carving, regular in its wildness, and in tattooing the right and left faces and posteriors, with circles and scrolls almost mathematically exact; in their building and ornamenting of canoes and houses; in the laying out of their plantations, and particularly in the planting of their crops; in their measured paddling to “time and stroke;” and, above all, in their war-dance! hence their practised eye always detected want of regularity in the stroke of the best manned man-o'-war's boat, as well as in the most precise military drill. They paid great attention to Nature, and profited largely and deservedly by the observance. They calculated their years by moons, and their moons by days, or rather by nights, (as, indeed, they reckoned all their time,) each having a distinct and appropriate name. The names of their moons were particularly appropriate, naturally reminding one of the French nomenclature of the months introduced at the institution of the Empire. They divided the year into two great annual seasons of summer and winter, which they subdivided into four great agricultural times, of preparation, planting, cessation, and harvest. Their year commenced with spring; to which, and to the proper planting season, they were guided by the rising of certain constellations, particularly of Pleiades and of Orion;—by the flowering of certain trees, especially a red-flowered creeper (Metrosideros, sp.,)—by the sprouting of ferns,
principally of the Rauaruhe (Pteris esculenta)—by the mating, moulting and change of note of birds; by the singing of insects; and by the arrival of the migratory Pipiwharauroa, or little glossy cuckoo. In planting their precious kumara, they carefully turned its young sprout to the sun; which position they also chose for the entrances of their kumara stores, so as to avoid the cold south. They attended to the appearance of the clouds, and the redness of the heavens at sun-rise and sun-set—to the flight and noise of birds, and of insects—to the opening of flowers—to the apparent nearness of far-off hills—and the distinctness of distant sounds by night, for indications of coming wind and weather. They knew in what weather fish would bite, and what baits to use, and when certain fish were in season, and when crayfish were spawning and in their prime. If at sea, out of sight of land, or in a strange trackless country or forest, they shaped their course by the stars and by the sun. The diurnal ebbing and flowing of the tide they well knew, although they attributed it to the constant inhalation and exhalation of a certain monstrous being living in the sea in deep water, named Te Parata. They noticed the natural affinities of plants, hence the two Solanums (S. aviculare, and S. nigrum,) though widely differing in appearance, were both named Poroporo:—the two large pea-flowered plants, (one a hardwooded tree, the yellow Edwardsia grandiflora, and the other an herbaceous shrub, the red Clianthus puniceus), were respectively called Kowhai, and Kowhai-ngutu-kaakaa (Kowhai, and Parrot's-bill Kowhai); the black and the red birches (Fagus fusca, and F. Solandri), though greatly unlike in leafing, bark, etc., they appropriately knew as Tawhai-rau-iti, and Tawhai-rau-nui (large-leaved and small-leaved Tawhai); as also with the two species of olive (Olea Cunninghamii, and O. montana); with the two species of Flax (Phormium); and with several others. They not only well knew the difference between their common Fern-trees, giving them proper distinctive names; but another and scarce one, Dicksonia antarctica, they distinguished by the name of Weki-ponga, because it possesses characters in common with two of the commoner ones, severally called by them, Weki and Ponga. It is also evident, from their proper names and descriptive remarks, that, long before Linnæus' age, they knew something of the sexes of plants; they had noticed, if there was little or no pollen discharged in the summer from the male catkins (amentæ) of the Taxaceous trees, (and which the writer has sometimes seen escape in clouds,) there would be no fruit that year for them, and their favorite pigeons would not be fat. And they were well acquainted with certain curious natural facts—such as the Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx lucidus) laying her eggs in the nest of the little Riroriro (Mirotoitoi);—the eel having two holes to its lurking place in the mud—the sea migration of the lamprey—and the various metamorphoses of insects.
(2.) That powerful moral faculty, Conscience, often showed itself strongly; so did its close attendant Shame—“that lurks behind;” although, from custom, the New Zealanders often exhibited much more shame at little failings and mistakes, than at great sins. They had a large share of fidelity and attachment; hence the slaves and lower classes were attached to their masters and lords; and hence, too, they frequently left their homes and tribes to live with and work for strangers, to whom
they had become attached; and their women generally made good and faithful wives to the early European settlers and whalers. Their filial attachment, however, was very slight. They were often very patient, and could exercise well, and for a long time, the virtues of endurance, especially if they had any object in view. They sometimes eminently showed their endurance in trying situations, by completely controlling their temper. They possessed a large amount of physical courage, as is abundantly shown in their desperate hand-to-hand encounters, and many hair-breadth adventures; but in-moral courage they were very deficient, e.g. their fearing to speak to their superiors on unpleasant or unwelcome matters; their being afraid to go any where in the dark; and their mortal superstitious dread of harmless and pretty lizards.
28. Their Natural Propensities, both good and bad, were strong, and generally freely indulged. Unfortunately, their good ones, though striking, were but few in number, and were consequently often overcome by their more numerous bad ones.
(1.) Of their good ones, hospitality to visitors and travellers must ever stand foremost. The New Zealand host not only willingly shared what he had with his guests, but often freely gave them all, while he, his family, and his people looked on, quite pleased at seeing them eating. As it was with the coming, so it was with the going, guest, he was often loaded with food, etc., so that it was a difficult matter to carry it away,—and a heinous offence to refuse, or to leave it. They were also very open and free in giving, one to another; and things were generally given without the least hesitation or appearance of regret. A constant cheerfulness of disposition and countenance, often amounting to gladsomeness or hilarity, was also very prevalent, more especially among all the younger ones; hence, perhaps, their peculiar habit of surnames—commonly calling any unfortunate sufferer by his infirmity or deformity—as blind, lame, deaf, one-handed, hunchbacked, etc., etc., without giving or taking offence. Their love and attachment to children was very great; and that not merely to their own immediate offspring. They very commonly adopted children; indeed, no man having a large family was ever allowed to bring them all up himself—uncles, aunts, and cousins, claimed and took them, often whether the parents were willing or not. They certainly took every physical care of them; and, as they rarely chastised (for many reasons), of course, petted and spoiled them; sowing the seed of which they invariably reaped the bitter crop of disobedience. The father, or uncle, often carried or nursed his infant on his back for hours at a time, and might often be seen quietly at work with the little one there snugly ensconced. Perhaps in no race has the love of offspring been more fully developed, which by them was also often carried out to excess towards the young of brutes—especially of their dogs, and, afterwards, of cats and pigs introduced. Hence it was by no means an unusual sight to see a woman carrying her child at her back, and a pet dog, or pig, in her bosom. Another praiseworthy feature was, their being ever ready to help, and desirous of assisting to the utmost (whenever the taboo did not hinder them) anyone they could, whether visitor or neighbour, friend or relative; always, however, excepting their enemies. They were certainly not quarrelsome; nor were they thievish among themselves; excepting the slaves, who often stole from each other.
They would, however, steal freely from strangers; at the same time things left in their charge by strangers were almost invariably safe. They were childishly inquisitive, but this they were with so much artlessness and good grace, and from a real desire for information, that it must be classed among their good qualities. Lastly, their being able to command sleep at any time—by day or by night, in health or in sickness—must not be omitted, for by being able to do so they doubtless escaped much misery, mental and physical.
(2.) Of their bad propensities, the following were among the more prominent:—Revenge, never weakening, never dying; ever assiduously cherished in their tenacious memories; sucked in with their mother's milk, and brooded over incessantly, with large accruments of interest and compound interest, and handed down as a precious legacy from father to son! Their combativeness, or love of fighting (especially after their fashion), was, no doubt, largely developed; it seems, as if it and its preparations, must have taken up fully half of their time: for once fairly roused, a New Zealander shuts his eyes to consequences. Akin to this was their cruelty and barbarity, and their love of teasing and tormenting—whether the poor and afflicted, the unfortunate recent captive, or the innocent dumb animal. Some of the barbarities sometimes practised by way of revenge on their newly taken prisoners of war, were horrifying, and quite equal those of the North American Indians, or the worse Christian (!) savages of the “Holy Inquisition.” They were also hasty, passionate, and envious, and treacherous, especially to strangers, and in making war. But their constant suspicion of almost all others exceeded everything; no strange canoe could appear in sight, nor travelling party, however small, be descried at a distance, but their worst suspicions were aroused, and immediately and by everyone evil was surmised. So it was of any track, or sign, of anyone unknown having lately travelled that way. Their instability and fickleness were also very great, and likely to occur at any time; often enough at an awkward time. Allied to which was their superserviceableness, or over-officiousness; their incessantly taking on themselves to do something new, or of little use, or not wanted; a trait best known by their own emphatic and peculiarly appropriate term, pokanoa (an undesired, causeless, or worthless, doing, or thing). Their disagreeable ever-asking for some utu—return, payment, recompense, or equivalent—for the least assistance or thing, (quid pro quo) is more a matter of growth during the last twenty-five years, at all events if latent it has wonderfully developed during that period: so, also, has their begging faculty; which, however, was well known to, and encouraged by their first visitors. From their childhood they were incessantly prone to practise all manner of deceit, (maminga, hangareka, hianga) from fun and joke, to imposition and fraud—at which they were great adepts, ever glorying in beguiling and terrifying. To this list must be added their superstition, or, better, perhaps, credulity—ever ready to believe anything strange, new, or wonderful; and their excessive ostentation and desire of being talked of;—which, though bad in the abstract, was, it is reasonably believed, the main cause why several (apparently) good actions were done by them; perhaps not a little of their old industry, and of their hospitality to strangers is rightly to be attributed to this characteristic
trait; as well (in some instances at least) of their more recent adopting the Christian religion, building chapels, etc.
29. Their common and biggest Vices, which have gained them such sad notoriety, were the luxuriant unpruned growths or fruits of their natural evil propensities. Their implacability and unmercifulness was but another phase of their never-dying revenge; from these came their cold-blooded murders, and cruel retaliating on the innocent, which was closely followed by cannibalism in all its horrors. Nothing more clearly shows the truth of the old adage, “the best corrupted is the very worst,”—than that a party of New Zealanders should be so carried away by the diabolical frenzy of the moment, as wholly to forget their strongly and highly characteristic natural feelings, and kill, roast and eat little children! In considering, however, their savage cannibalism, two things should never be forgotten—(1.) that they in practising it, broke no known law; and as they did not think it wrong, they never once thought of concealing it: and, (2.) that as they (their tribe) were doing to-day, they (their tribe) had been done by yesterday, and might be again tomorrow. Neither should it be altogether lost sight of, that commonly a bloody engagement—often the storming of a hill pa, or fort—could only take place when both sides were well nigh doubly desperate with starvation; and that after the fight was over there was really nothing to eat. There can be little doubt, but that at such times large bodies of men were often in a nearly similar situation, as to want of food, to distressed ship-wrecked mariners at sea; with this important addition, of having their worst passions dreadfully excited from the smarting of their own wounds, and the sight of their dead and dying friends and relatives around them. So much may, perhaps, be allowed for their cannibal feasts under such circumstances on the battle field; but those which often took place afterwards—although on a much smaller scale—cannot be so palliated. At the same time it should be remembered, that a race who ever thought so little of human life, as commonly to commit suicide at the death of a husband, or favorite child, could not estimate highly the life of a slave. At home they rarely killed a slave, as they were too valuable, and they wished them to become attached to them, knowing too their dependence upon them; and if they did it was almost sure to be one who was incorrigibly bad, and had been already often warned and sentenced;—who, himself, perhaps, cared little for life; and who, in being killed, would be mercifully, instantly despatched (the greatest mercy the New Zealander ever knew). But their most cruel, murderous and cannibal atrocities were invariably perpetrated on the immediate return of the victors (mostly by water in their war canoes) to their homes. Then, on hearing from the heralds of their loss, the infuriated women who had remained at home,—widows, sisters, and daughters,—would frenziedly fly upon the trembling captives, demand them to be given up to them as utu, (payment, or satisfaction) and cruelly murder them in cold blood! and to add to their horrors, perhaps some of these,—wives or daughters of the vanquished,—might have been taken to wife by some of the victor chiefs during their long return voyage, and who themselves were now utterly unable to save them! Disobedience of children to parents, a common fault of their bringing up, with all its many kindred vices, was also very prominent; this mostly ended in a
total filial disregard! It seems strange that children generally, after puberty, should scarcely ever think of their parents who had always been so kind to them, although the parents still continued to show their great solicitude for their children. Lying too, of all kinds, was another highly characteristic vic [ unclear: ] ; common every day, lying was never by them considered to be a sin. But the chiefs were too sadly given to calumniate one another with all kinds of fictions. No one ever believed all that anyone should say. It has often seemed (to the writer) as if a New Zealander could not possibly relate any matter truly. Their most public and solemn promises and asseverations,—even to the making of peace, or a truce, (after imposing and gaining their own terms) could always, without any shame, and without any pretext, be wholly scattered to the winds at pleasure! Their heartless and cold neglect of sick, infirm, and aged parents, relatives and friends, is another sad charge which is too true. Many a poor creature has slowly yet early died through sheer neglect. Fish, and birds, and pork, and fruit, and other good things, have often been in profusion in the village for the whole and hearty, of which the sick and infirm, though desirous, never tasted; and, knowing their own people too well, never once solicited. Sometimes, no doubt, such gross neglect was owing to superstition; and the miseries of the sufferers were perhaps lessened through knowing that such had ever been their custom. Of their common immorality much has been said; and very much has been laid to their charge, far more, it is reasonably believed, than is their just due. At all events the point of view must not be that of high artificial civilization, where everything natural is studiously concealed, and common matters, which may not be openly mentioned, are freely talked of secretly, the more copiously, perhaps, (in accordance with the well-known law of our nature) from the fact of restraint being laid upon them. With the New Zealander all was open and unconcealed from his birth; so that a host of common things of every day occurrence—any one of which to a highly civilized European might be a cause of distress and unpleasantness,—or, to another, of evil thoughts and desires,—was not so to him. Many such sights, sayings, and doings, were to the New Zealander as if they were not; simply from being always used to them. It was just that kind of difference which exists between the aged grave-digger in the old churchyard,—the old professor in the dissecting room,—the phrenological philosopher in his study,—and the highly civilized but uninitiated gentleman. New Zealand men often went naked, without any breach of modesty, or decorum; but a New Zealand woman never did so. Keeping in mind the “well-known law” above alluded to, and remembering that the New Zealander kept no secrets—with him everything was known; there is good reason for believing, that their immorality was really less through the promiscuous dwelling and sleeping together of the sexes (in one house), than if they had been made to dwell and sleep separately. Adult brothers and sisters slept together, (as they had always done from their birth) not only without sin, but without thought of it. Incest (and other high crimes) was scarcely known, even by name; nor was it likely to be, by a race, among whom the marriage of first-cousins has always (and justly) been viewed with great disgust, as “weakening the shoot.” Whatever the New Zealand girl might be before marriage, after
marriage she was faithful; and even before marriage, the betrothal, when made, supported by the tapu, in the majority of cases, kept her from going astray. Adultery, on the part of the wives, (generally punished with death) was by no means common among the same sub-tribe or village. In fact, such could not be among the suspicious, revengeful New Zealanders. A chief going anywhere confidingly left his wife, or wives, behind, in his brother's or relative's charge; generally speaking, such a thought as their faithlessness during his absence never entered his head. Of course, the writer, in thus giving his firm belief as to the immorality of the New Zealanders, wishes to be understood, as speaking of it as practised by a race among themselves. The grosser and more frequent immoralities, which have been caused by the arrival of the “superior” man among them, is no more to be charged, as a vice, to their account as a race, than is that of their selling an estate for a musket, or a jew's harp, or a large pig, for a stick of tobacco. There is still one more glaring vice of theirs to be noticed, namely, ingratitude. This, it must be confessed, did everywhere exist, and that to an extent almost unheard of elsewhere. To a New Zealander gratitude was wholly unknown. They have no word for it in their language; no way of expressing such a feeling, which never existed in their breast. To a deeply reflecting mind, this sad fact may appear to be a far worse one than their cannibalism. There can be little doubt but that their total want of this high feeling of the soul, arose from their own peculiar natural condition; particularly from the fact, that no New Zealander ever did any kindness, or gave anything, to another, without mainly having an eye to himself in the transaction; and this was known and reciprocated. Of all their characteristic vices, this of ingratitude appears to be one of the worst. Our immortal bard might well truthfully and feelingly say:—
“Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky;
Thou dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot;
Though thou the waters warp,
The sting is not so sharp
As friends remember'd not.”
30. From what is gloomy and repulsive in their character, let us now turn to what is pleasing, and what perhaps, by some, has been hastily set down as wanting—their love of Æsthetics—or the beautiful. This, it is believed, will be clearly seen, if we keep hold of the fine clue, and pursue it steadily through all its entanglements and ramifications to the end. They generally sought a clear open site for their villages, so as to command a good view; a fine open prospect from a village being loudly praised by strangers, while a cramped or bad one was denounced. They did all they could to keep their villages both clean and tidy. Each village had its common privy—generally in some secluded spot. Their houses were often neatly kept, all their little articles hung up or stowed away in baskets in their proper places. Their fishing residences, and huts near their cultivations, and forest huts where they sometimes dwelt, (for a chief had generally 5 or 6 residences) were usually beautifully placed and snugly ensconced under shady trees, and by the side of a murmuring brook: they rarely ever wantonly cut
down evergreen shrubs or old shady trees growing near them, for the sake of their wood for timber or firing;—choosing rather to fetch the same from a long distance. They liked to hear the birds warbling; and they often planted the red parrot's-bill acacia (Kowhai-ngutu-kaakaa), and the ornamental variety of striped leaved flax, about their houses, on account of their beauty. They sought largely after the beautiful in their making of clothing mats,—as is seen, in their handsome coloured borders; in their many ornamental strings and tassels of various dyes: in their cutting up their dogskins into narrow strips and then sewing them together, so as to have the greater effect from shade and colour; and in the peculiar bias seams skilfully introduced in their weaving, in order to make the mat fall in graceful folds over the shoulders. Even their back-straps for carrying their common loads, they sometimes plaited of scraped flax fibre dyed of two or three colours. It was the love of the beautiful, also, which led them to seek after and use other fibrous substances only obtained with much more labour,—flax being everywhere so plentiful. Hence, too, their love of neat, pretty, elegant, contrast ornaments; of graceful drooping feathers, as of the White Crane, or bunches of snowy down from the Gannet and Albatross, of the small feathered skins of the Huia, the Tui, and the little glossy Cuckoo; of their female head dresses made of the snowy down-like epidermis from the leaves of the Astelia and Celmisia plants,—the graceful small-leaved Clematis, and the elegant climbing Lycopodium; and, of the white fillets from the Paper-mulberry tree for the dark raven locks of the men. Hence too their scented necklaces of the odorous grass Karetu, of the Roniu flowers, and of the Piripiri moss; enclosed within the neat spotted feathers of the Paradise Duck. Hence their prizing the scented gums of the Tarata, and of the Taramea plants, as perfumes; the latter, an Alpine plant, only collected with much labour and danger. It was owing to their love of the beautiful that they so tastefully decorated their canoes with plumes of feathers, and with elegant long flowing pennants of feathery [ unclear: ] ufts, which so loudly elicited the praises of Cook and the early navigators. Through this love of the beautiful, they were led to chequer and make regular dark spirals on their yellow reeds for lining their chiefs' houses, which was done by winding slips of green flax at regular distances around them and passing them through the fire. It was owing to this that they carved so much, and so regularly, even down to their canoe-balers and paddles, and the wooden necks of their large calabashes. Hence, too, in all their good carvings, however quaint, “the true line of beauty, the curve,” is found, which they skillfully managed to produce, without drawn plans, copy, or pair of compasses.
31. The educated New Zealander possessed many Acquirements. In him, sound and practical knowledge of the utile and dulce—the useful and the ornamental—were very often to be found combined. It was not with them as with us,—one man knowing one trade or occupation, and another, another; with them, generally, one clever man knew all things, while every one, at least, knew several useful and practical ones. Invariably, in whatever they sought to learn, they strove to excel, hence they generally succeeded. They uniformly counted very well and without difficulty up to a hundred, and some among them could go further; their term mano, however, now used for a 1000, scarcely definitely
meant that number. Besides their common counting by units, they had another mode of counting by pairs, which principally obtained for baskets of sweet potatoes, and fish, and a few other articles. The many and varied acquirements of the different parts and kinds of house building; of making their many different canoes; and of all kinds of wooden and stone implements for use and defence; of cultivating successfully the soil; of making several kinds of very ingenious traps for catching animals; of bird, and rat snaring; and of sea, river, and swamp fishing, in all its various branches;—of carving, tattooing, weaving, spinning, and plaiting; and of making sails and nets of many kinds; of skill in paddling, steering, and navigating a canoe; of swimming, climbing, and parrying spear thrusts; of music, singing, and dancing; of surgery and oratory; of genealogies and relationships; of old feuds, and their causes, and their unsettled scores; of boundaries, and of roads and tracks to distant places; not to mention all the needful acquirements respecting the tapu, traditions, songs, chaunts, exorcisms, and very many customs. In bygone years, the writer has not unfrequently looked with quiet admiration at such an individual, diligently and unassumedly working at his many varied occupations; often when tired at one, dropping it and taking up another; and in doing so he has thought,—what an example such-an-one was of the successful pursuit of knowledge under difficulties [ unclear: ] How truly he deserved to be called a “tohunga” (a living cyclopædia, or skilled man)! At such times the exquisite, and not inapplicable, lines of Hurdis, (learnt in childhood) would rush into the mind and may not be wholly out of place here:—
“But most of all it wins my admiration,
To view the structure of this little work.—
——— —Mark it well, within, without,
No tool had he that wrought, no knife to cut,
No nail to fix, no bodkin to insert,
No glue to join; [his hand alone] was all
And yet how neatly finished:—
——— Fondly then
We boast of excellence, whose noblest skill
Instinctive genius foils.”
32. It is evident they possessed the germs of knowledge of the first principles of Mechanics; but it appeared more like a decaying remnant of ancient wisdom, or a growth nipped in its bud, than a new, or recent development. They seem scarcely ever to have improved the one original idea. The powers of the inclined plane they knew and used in the wedge, and in moving heavy weights up a prepared slope. In using the lever, they well knew the difference between a high or low, near or far-off fulcrum. The wheel and axle, rude as it was, they had in their quartz-pointed drill or wimble. The screw, in the “Spanish tourniquet,” for expressing of oil, etc. And the pulley, in rollers for their canoes, and for hoisting up heavy weights to their high stages for great feasts; which rollers they often smoothed and wetted, or covered with wet seaweed, to make the body to be moved the better to glide.
33. It is said, that the New Zealander's perception of Colours was defective and weak—because he had proper names for only three colours, and none for blue, green, brown, violet, etc.; this, however, is (in the
opinion of the writer) a mistake. Their colours, it is true, were mainly divided into three distinctive classes—ma, pango, and whero, (white, black, and red,—or, light, dark, and reddish)—but they were never at a loss with these three words clearly to express all colours. They used them, much as an English mariner uses the four names of the principal winds and points of the compass, repeated and involved to make 32, only much more expressively; as they also used with them several adjectives, increasing or lessening their meaning; also the words themselves reduplicated as diminutives. Besides which, if a New Zealander wished to convey to another a very exact idea of any colour intended, he would mention that of some natural object which was of the same shade of colour;—for greens, the karaka leaf, or the blue-green of the sea, or the light-green of the young grass or the yellow glancing green of the plumage of the little parroquet;—for blues, the differing blues of the day, and of the night sky, or of the pukepoto mineral, or of the neck of the red-billed swamp bird Pukura, (Porphyrio melanotus) etc., etc.
34. Their courtesy and etiquette deserve notice; particularly from the sad fact of such having become nearly extinct, and that mainly through their intercourse with foreigners! In visiting, the visitors when near the village, sounded their conch shell, or wooden trumpet, (in later times fired a musket) or sent on some one known to the people to inform them of their approach, lest they should be taken unawares—a thing very much disliked by all New Zealanders. If they were loudly invited, they went straight on, without speaking, into the village, unless the company was straggling, when they waited for those behind. If they were not so invited, (through the people of the village being absent in their neighboring cultivations) they quietly waited in a body outside until they were. On entering, they were led to some large house, or spot, strewed with clean mats, or fresh fern, or leafy branches. There they quietly sat until food was prepared and brought them. After having eaten they were welcomed by the chief, or chiefs, in speeches and songs, and individually saluted, when conversation began. No enquiries were ever made as to the purport of their visit, till after they had been refreshed. Great respect was shown to known rank; to such, the best seat in the canoe, and in the house (which was always on the window side), was constantly given. A proper respectful mode of address, was always used to chiefs. Bad, and unexpected startling tidings, were generally couched in other words, or delicately alluded to, in a song or saying of well-known meaning. In conversation, euphonious words and euphonisms were often chosen; and care was taken to make no allusions to past disagreeable matters. They took great heed not wantonly to hurt any one's feelings; and if any such were attempted, it was immediately repressed. Such a person was spoken of as having had no parents, or, as having been born (laid) by a bird, (a term repeatedly used by the New Zealanders concerning many English “gentlemen,” owing to their rude behaviour!) Things which might remind the visitors of past sorrows and troubles were also carefully put out of sight. The people of the place were mindful not to use any bad or intemperate language towards, or in the hearing of, their visitors. No foolish tricks were offered in jest. They were very careful not to step over, or to hand food over, any of them. If they wished to pass through, or by them, and there was little or no room, they did
not [ unclear: ] shove, but civilly said, “Tukua a hau,”—allow me to pass. They brought their visitors fire, food, and water, always of the best they had; and if they were of high rank, such was in part carried to them by the chiefs of the place; and often, if they had any reserved prized delicacy, they also brought it. Sometimes, when their visitors were very few, and arrived just as the evening meal was cooked, they sent them the best of it—the chief sometimes culling with his own hands. In laying down anything before their visitors, they always retired nimbly, lest they should hear their own praises, or be supposed to be desirous of hearing them. They avoided openly staring, or laughing at the newly-arrived; or making impertinent remarks upon their appearance, manner, clothing, etc., and quickly removed all offensive things dropped near by animals; and carefully covered up all sores, or deformities, of their own. The chief of the village often gave up his own house to his visitors, and sat outside the door in the sun, rain, and wind, conversing with them, until they had repeatedly invited him in. If the party was small, and house accommodation scanty, the chief of the village and his people occupied the inferior side of the house, leaving all the other and best side to the visitors. They were careful not to ask anyone his name, particularly a stranger. They were always exceedingly circumspect not to cause offence by a look, word, or gesture. They rarely enquired after any one's health by name, and took good care not to enquire specially after any female. They also abstained from finding fault with any of the words or doings of their visitors, even when they might justly have done so. From courtesy alone they generally assented to what was said by a visitor, and always to anything said by a person of rank; at the same time quietly holding to their own opinions. (This trait in their character has been the means of deceiving many Europeans, and not a few of those in high authority.) While their visitors slept by day, they were attentive not to disturb them. If any one happened to be among the party who was an enemy, or had done wrong to any one of the village, and had not yet made reparation, they quietly overlooked it for the sake of the head of the party; at the same time they abstained from giving him individually anything, or welcoming him particularly. They always saluted on meeting in the way, and if the one party was carrying anything edible, they dropped their loads, unlaced their baskets, and freely gave the other a portion; if both were, they gave to each other. They sometimes sat down to receive, and to give messages, and to receive salutations, as a sign of inferiority. On their visitors leaving, they were loaded with food, and freely supplied with all little accommodations of baskets, straps, etc., with many attentions; the chief usually went with them a short distance to point out the way, and sometimes accompanied them to the next village. If he did so, although related to the people of the village, he entered and remained with the visitors, and was treated as one of them. In war, women who were related to both sides, the besiegers and besieged, were allowed to pass and repass continually, and often were the cause of much mischief. Sometimes, when a besieging party knew of their enemies wanting food, or stones, or spears, they sent them a supply, laying them down in heaps near their defences, and then retiring, but such chivalrous (?) conduct was rare.
35. Like some of the nations of the old world, they believed the seat of their Sentiments and Feelings to be in the stomach and bowels (ngakau).
(1.) Many of their Sentiments, respecting plain practical matters of every day life, were eminently sagacious and just; yet here there was a great difference in those concerning things with which they were conversant, and those which were new; also between objective and subjective matters. Again, other of their sentiments, including most of those concerning sickness, death, the cause of common natural phenomena, and of everything pertaining to the tapu, sorcery, and the state hereafter, were excessively puerile. They loudly expressed their approbation and disapprobation; and were often not a little biassed in giving judgment by considerations of relationship and of tribe. Having espoused a cause or party, they generally pertinaciously adhered; and though shown their error, would rarely allow themselves to be in the wrong. They judged of others by their looks, especially by their eyes and cheeks, and by their manner and tone of voice; and if they thought them to be angry, etc., they often very plainly told them of it; or politely asked them if they were not so.
(2.) Their Feelings were very strong, often easily excited, and rarely ever concealed. In showing them the New Zealander was very changeable—now in a towering passion, or bitterly weeping at a single slight word, or a look; anon, quite stoical and not to be stirred. At times their feelings were soon controlled; at others with extreme difficulty suppressed. Consequently, with them it was ever an easy matter “to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep.” Their keen uncontrolled feelings often led them to beat, kick, and strike inanimate objects—sometimes to their own greater hurt; and commonly to gnaw and bite, on extraction, a splinter or thorn which had pierced them, and which was often carefully preserved to be burnt in fire! An object of pity and suffering often excited feelings of disgust. Hate, and desire of revenge, were fearfully exhibited at seeing or hearing anything of their enemies. Superstitious dread was universally shown at going anywhere in the dark, or at approaching where anyone had died, or was buried; and most particularly at all kinds of lizards, living or dead, although harmless—as such ever reminded them of a malignant demon, or Atua. Their sense of loneliness or desertion was often expressed in mournful songs; while that of wounded pride was borne with extreme difficulty. Ridicule, invariably freely given, was most keenly felt; so was shame; while the salutary conviction of having wronged or injured any one, even when done under a mistake, was generally followed with ample restitution. Sometimes their feelings have been so intense at being rebuked before others, though perhaps very slightly (as by a husband, for negligence in cooking, or for want of care towards a child at that one time, or for breaking a calabash, or a pipe, or some other small thing), that they have run away into the woods, or attempted suicide. But it was mainly at the death of the loved one—husband, child, or brother—that the feelings of anguish of the bereaved were uttely uncontrollable, and not seldom ending in self-murder, while others have gone down, pining and lamenting, to the grave. Some fathers cut off their hair close on one side of the head for the death of a child, and never
allowed the hair-en the other side to be cut or touched; hence it grew very long, and became completely matted together, while over it they would often sigh and weep. A chief often changed his name at the death of a beloved son or daughter, relative or friend; and took for a new name that of something last said, or even eaten by the departed; or something strongly reminding of the sad event. Sometimes, too, tribes and sub-tribes altered their names, generally in order to bear some loss, or insult, in mind. Most New Zealanders would destroy or remove every article which had pertained to, or had been touched by, the departed loved one, sometimes burying them with him: a few, however, would keep some little thing, but always away out of sight, to be now and then produced and wept over. A chief's greenstone battle-axe, and breast and ear ornaments, though frequently buried with him, were always recovered for future use. Many forsook the place where the loved departed had died; while others left their homes and wandered about unsettled for a long time, seeking to forget their grief.
36. Their mysterious and intricate institution of the Tapu (taboo) with all its many forms, rites, observances, and customs, was, on the whole, beneficial to the New Zealanders. However irregular, capricious, and burdensome it may now appear (to us) to have been, it was certainly the source of order to them; and was of great use to conserve them as a race, and to sharpen their intellectual and moral faculties. Having no written language, it is not at all unlikely but that the observances of the tapu institution were much more simple and charitable at the first; seeing, too, that its observances and modes of working varied in different districts and under oral directions. Very likely the more the tribes, sub-tribes, and “priests” increased, the more varied became the taboo. How greatly would the Mosaic code of laws have been changed or added to, had they not been written! As it was (2000 years ago) the Jews were charged with having “made the word of God of no effect through their traditions;” and how much have some of the early Christian churches departed from what was written, through non-attention to that writing, and that continual inseparable desire of the human breast to be always adding something new! A good sized book might be written about all the numerous requirements of the tapu system. They commenced with the birth of the New Zealander, continued with him throughout life in all its varied scenes, and did not leave him until long after he was in the grave. The tapu regulated, or pretended to regulate, all his movements. It certainly enabled him to accomplish many heavy and useful works, which without it he could not have done. Through it, their large cultivations, their fisheries, their fine villages and hill forts, their fine canoes, their good houses, their large seine nets, their bold carvings, and a hundred other things were accomplished—without possessing either iron or metal! Through it, their fowl, and fish, and forests were preserved. Through it, the crimes of murder, theft, sorcery, and adultery were less common, and when committed sure not to go long unpunished; and through it, fornication and other errors were lessened, and the headstrong passions of the New Zealander were in a great measure controlled. It had great influence over them: the stoutest and fiercest of the New Zealand chiefs bowed like an infant before it, and dared not disobey its behests. In all their changes, they held it to the last, and only relin-
quished it by slow degrees; [have they done so yet?] Notwithstanding they certainly never liked it. No man, or body of men, has ever yet liked a coercive law, however beneficial. If through it, (or rather, perhaps, owing to its being broken or neglected,) much blood was shed, many lives were also through it saved. Several of its requirements were certainly very peculiar and abnormal, and bear the appearance, at least, of being very cruel;—e. g., at the death of a chief, a taua, or stripping party, came and stripped the family of all eatables and other movables, digging up root crops, and seizing and spearing tame pigs, and devouring and carrying them off; and if by any chance the family were not so stripped; they would be sure deeply to resent the neglect; as much on account of their being lowered (i. e., not taken notice of), as for the violation of the tapu, in failing to carry it out. Again: in case of any infringement of the tapu, or of any error or wrong, real or supposed, the taua would be sure to pay its visit; such taua was not unfrequently a friendly one!—one quickly made up of the nearest relatives and neighbours to the offender; for, as he must be stripped and mulcted, they might as well do it as others, and so keep his goods from wholly going to strangers. If a road was tabooed, and anyone was foolish or hardy enough to go over it, the taua would be sure to inflict a very heavy penalty. On the completion of a large seine net, it was brought on a set day to some beach “to be first wetted,” when not only that beach, but the neigbouring ones, and also the whole sea in front, would be rigidly tabooed; on such an occasion, should any unfortunate canoe, however unwittingly, trespass on the prohibited waters, it, and all its contents, would be immediately confiscáted; and loss of life might very probably take place in the melee. Their strange custom, also, which obtained in the upsetting of friendly canoes, or their drifting on to their shores, has been already mentioned (par. 20, sec. vi.); also, that respecting a chief who had been made captive (par. 19, sec. ii.) Several others, equally unreasonable, might also be adduced. As there was not a family or individual among them who was exempt from the influence and operation of the tapu; and as there was no such thing known as a standing, or selected, party to act as a taua; so, those who suffered through it to-day, were enabled to retaliate (with true New Zealand zest) upon those who might be sufferers to-morrow; especially if they had been engaged in paying them a visit yesterday. And this, no doubt, always had a tendency both to equalize the inflictions, and temper the operations of the taua.
37. Their credulity was very great, and sometimes accompanied with a large amount of superstitious dread, which cannot well be defined. They believed in the truth of Dreams, of which they had many kinds both good and bad. To dream of a nice house was indicative of great good; of wounds, or of death, or of eating bad food, indicated great evil, perhaps death. All were alike firmly believed to be remembrances of what they had seen in the reinga, or unseen world, (or place of the departed,) whither the spirit (Wairua) was supposed to have been during the sleep of the body. They also put great faith in convulsive startings in sleep, especially of their chiefs—whether such were directed to the right, or to the left—from, or to; a start forward, or outward, was a prognostic of good; in the contrary direction, of evil. Their omens were many; among them were the catching, or tripping, of the toe or
foot, on beginning a journey; which would sometimes cause them to return. An ember bouncing from the fire towards anyone; a singing noise, or gaseous flame, issuing from firewood burning; sneezing; various persons, or peculiar things, first met on leaving the house, etc., etc., were all ominous. An aitua, or evil prognostic—casually arising by some chance thing or accident, done by, or to, another, was also believed in. Ghosts, too, were commonly believed, and greatly dreaded; but this haunting spirit, or phantom, (Kehua,) which haunted its former place of residence, when in the body, and also the repositories of the dead, differed widely from the sensible intellectual spirit (Wairua), which had departed to the reinga, and which was not feared. The former were as lemures and larvœ; the latter as manes or spiritus. There were also nocturnal visitations (taepo); voices from the dead; demon spectres speaking in the whistling winds, especially in an old hut; and, above all, the last words (poroaki) of the dying, to which they paid great attention; and when spoken at random, in great weakness, wandering, or delirium, were often productive of much mischief. They had also their Soothsayers and Augurs, who gave predictions of lucky and unlucky days for fighting, voyaging, etc., and which they often ascertained by a kind of sortes, or lot. Many of the “priests” were great physiognomists, and read the features closely, that they might know what such a slave would become; they also believed in something akin to the “evil eye” of the East. Some tribes disliked the owl, and the lonely little swamp bird Maata (Sphenœacus punctatus); and yet they both persecuted and killed them. All lizards were more or less dreaded by every New Zealander: this is a curious feature, and worthy of deep investigation. It was their only living representation for the Atua (or malignant demon), which, according to their belief, was gnawing their vitals in sickness, and especially in consumption; while, however, stout men and warriors would often fly from a lizard, they would also return and kill it. Shooting stars, meteors, and phosphorescent fires in woods and marshes, they considered portentous; but thunder, lightning, severe storms, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes, they laughed at. The nearness of the moon to a star or planet, was also considered very ominous. They had many trivial ceremonies in travelling and voyaging:—as in crossing the culminating peak of a range, or by certain solitary stones (named), or by any famed cliff or cavern, or upon entering on dreary plains, or on crossing a spot termed by them the back-bone of the North Island; at such places they all singly performed a slight simple ceremony in passing; gathering a small branch, they cast it on, or towards, the object, using a few words by way of salutation, or custom, or charm, which words varied in different parts, and by different tribes. So at sea, on being about to pass over a bar, or to enter a narrow tidal passage, or to pass round a cape or headland; there they would halt a moment, and the “priest,” or chief, would mutter a few words of chaunt, or charm, and then proceed. To the writer it has ever been most animating—at such a time, with danger rioting around, to see, the old grey-haired man arise in his puny little vessel, and in a few simple words, command the heavy breakers and the demon-guardian of the pass, to listen to his powerful charms! All such (in his opinion) is a picture of Man struggling for his true position in Nature; as lord and master of her powers and gifts:—although
alas! as yet he has them not. The brief ceremony over, the inspired crew paddle away heartily, nothing doubting. Their credulity as to Sorcery and Necromancy,in all their branches, causing sickness and death, was universal and very great. Hence hair, saliva, etc., of chiefs, were carefully buried, lest such should get into the Sorcerer's hands. The heads of the chiefs were always tabooed (tapu), hence they could not pass, or sit, under food hung up; or carry food as others, on their backs; neither would they eat a meal in a house, nor touch a calabash of water in drinking. No one could touch their head, nor, indeed, commonly speak of it, or allude to it; to do so offensively was one of their heaviest curses, and grossest insults, only to be wiped out with blood. All fruits, vegetables, etc., which grew at a prohibited spot (wahi tapu), were not to be eaten or gathered. A tabooed child was not on any account to be washed; and common cooking fire was not to be used for warming a house, or a company in the open air, nor lighting a pipe; lest the taboo should be broken, and penalties, sickness, and death ensue.
38. Religion—according to both the true and popular meaning of the word—they had none. Whether religion be defined to be,—virtue, as founded upon the reverence of God, and expectation of future rewards and punishments; or any system of divine faith and worship,—they knew nothing of the kind. They had neither doctrine nor dogma; neither cultus, nor system of worship. They knew not of any Being who could properly be called God. They had no idols. They reverenced not the sun, or moon, or glittering heavenly host, or any natural phenomena. Rather, when they chose, they derided them. The three principal beings, or rather personifications,—Tu, Whiro, and Tawhirimatea,—(all alike malignant, and ever hated by the New Zealander, as the sole cause to them, of pain, misery, and death—in war, in peace, and in voyaging,) were certainly never loved, or reverenced, or worshipped. The New Zealander knew better than to worship them. Sometimes in some of their karakia (recitals), the name of one or other of these imaginary beings would be mentioned, but it was done more by way of exorcism—to order him off—to bind him down—or to abuse him. They never once thought of getting any aid or good from them; they rather hoped (through their “priests”) to overcome them, or their malignancy, by the power of their muttered karakia (recitations) acting like charms. Moreover, in their own traditions and legends, they are sometimes represented as being ancestors of, or related to, their own (mythical) progenitors.
With the New Zealanders the observances of the Tapu were in place of religion. Hence it was that the tapu was so rigidly upheld and enforced. Nothing could set it aside, or alleviate it; all were equally obnoxious to it. Hence, too, we may see, why they increased the misery of the miserable, and made the wretched sufferer still more wretched. If a man died at home in peace, it was owing to the anger of the demon Whiro, (and very likely, as stated by the “priests,” in seven cases out of ten, to have been inflicted on account of some infringement of the tapu), consequently the family were to be also pillaged and peeled, to end, if possible, the visitation, by still further.
——-“placating the dread Atargatis.”
If a canoe was upset; such of course, could only be caused by the anger of the watery ruler, the New Zealand Neptune, Tawhirimatea; (perhaps, too, for some secret infringement of the tapu,) when the result must be the same, on the part of those on shore—siding, for the time, with the stern Nemesis. So, in the case of death, or captivity in war, the malignant demon, Tu, who there presided, had definitively sentenced, as seen, (doubtless for some violation of the tapu,) and it only remained for the living—the captive and his relations—to ratify by silently acquiescing. Even their savage cannibalism at such times may owe much of its origin to their belief in this. Again, in the case of the new seine, (par. 36,) which is rigidly tabooed until the first fish taken are tabooed and set free—their legends of Maui and his fishing up the North Island of New Zealand state, that the present broken and abrupt face of the country is entirely owing to the brothers of Maui rushing to cut up the huge fish he had caught without having made the tabooed offerings of the first fish. Consequently, it came to pass, that under the tapu they were secularists, never once thinking or caring about an hereafter. Not that they disbelieved in an after state for man; but (1) that it was not a state to be desired; and (2) that it would follow as a matter of course, not being dependent or contingent on anything done on earth—unless it were, on the one hand, in being a strenuous supporter of the “priests” and of the tapu; and, on the other, of dying a slave.
39. Death, with the New Zealander, was the passage to the Reinga (hades), the unseen world containing his departed people. No one, however, unless some suicides in a fit of insanity, ever willingly went there. Even the disembodied went on unwillingly, casting lingering longing looks behind. Occasionally (according to the natives) a few of such returned from the very verge to the bodies and the world they had left; such truly recovered from the gates of death! In the Reinga, the departed live without labour and trouble. They feed on kumara (sweet potatoes.) Messages were often given to the dying person to take to deceased relatives there. All funeral wails and chaunts over the recent dead ended with—“Go, go, away to thy people.” It is a curious fact, that by the Fijians, Tahitians, Tongans, and Samoans, as well as by the New Zealanders, the place of departure of the spirits to the unseen world is uniformly fixed at the western extremity of the island.
§ III. Philological.
40. The New Zealand tongue is a distinct dialect of the great Polynesian language; spoken more or less throughout most of the numerous isles in the Pacific Ocean lying east of the longitude of New Zealand. It consists of fifteen letters—five vowels and ten consonants; of the latter, two may be called double, though having each but one sound. No two consonants can possibly come together, and every syllable and every word ends with a vowel. The New Zealand dialect has ten principal subdivisions, which cannot however, with propriety, be termed subdialects, viz.:—(1) Rarawa, or Northern; (2) Ngapuhi, or Bay of Islands; (3) Waikato; (4) Roturua and Taupo; (5) Bay of Plenty; (6) East Cape and Poverty Bay; (7) Hawke's Bay to the Straits; (8) Ngatiawa, or Wellington to Taranaki; (9) The Middle Island; and (10)
Chatham Islands. In all these sub-divisions the grammatical structure is the same, with very slight variations; the principal differences being found in words and idioms. There are, however, three exceptions as to the change or dropping of a consonant:—(1.) The Bay of Plenty, where n is used for ng; (2.) The Ngatiawa tribes, from Wellington to Taranaki, who alone, of the New Zealanders, have a very peculiar mode of expressing the h by a kind of guttural click, or half expressed hiatus, or semi-stop; and (3.) The Ngaitahu in the Middle Island, who use k for ng. It is highly worthy of notice, that all these differences are also found in the dialects of the various island groupes, though not as in New Zealand—all in the one dialect of one island, or group.
41. Its Grammar is peculiar, as compared with those of western languages; having neither declension of nouns by inflection, nor conjugation of verbs as there obtains; all such being clearly done by simple particles affixed or suffixed. Its singular is changed into the plural number by prefixing a syllable. There is no auxiliary verb “to be;” but the particle ano often supplies its place. Every verb has a causative, as well as active and passive meanings. Intensitives, superlatives, and diminutives abound. It has double dual pronouns, and also a double plural; both of which may be termed inclusive and exclusive; allowing of great grammatical precision in speaking. It has several articles, singular and plural, and is rich in prepositions, adverbs, conjunctions and particles; each bearing delicately different shades of meaning. The New Zealanders all speak grammatically from their infancy, and never make any mistake in pronunciation. The same may also be said of the writing of the most untaught among them; with the exception of their elision of terminal and initial vowels, and their division of words. These, however, arise from their close adherence to their quick pronunciation.
42. The Language is remarkable for its euphony, simplicity, brevity, clearness, and copiousness. For its euphony, it is not only indebted to its not having two or more consonants coming together, and no word ever ending with a consonant, but to the copious use of the vowel i, (pronounced ee,) to the sound of its semi-liquid r (approaching l,) and to several vowels often closely following, together with a quick flowing elision of others. Its simplicity arises from one word, or root, being noun, verbal noun, adjective, or verb; requiring merely the addition of a simple short particle; and-from the peculiarity of its idiom. It knows of no circumlocution. All long, involved parenthetical sentences, are utterly foreign to it. Its brevity is often quite laconic; and while exceedingly terse, contains great beauty and power of expression. It is very clear and exact, as shown by its many singular and plural articles, and double dual, and double plural pronouns; its various modes of address, according to age, sex, and rank; and its many intensitive and diminutive particles. While its copiousness may be readily inferred, from its having proper names for every natural thing however small—different names for a tree and its fruit, and for every part of a vegetable whether above or below ground, and for young and adult fish of the same species—for everything made by them, and for each of all its various parts—for every kind of tattooing, and each line and marking of the same—and upwards of fifty names for a sweet potato, and forty for a
common one. Nevertheless, in words for abstract ideas, unknown to the New Zealanders, such as hope, gratitude, mercy, charity, etc., it is deficient; as also for many new things. It does not, however, follow, that an intelligent New Zealander, wishing to speak of any such, would not easily find suitable expressions wherewith to make himself quickly and clearly understood, and convey a very correct idea to the minds of the hearers. The writer has never known an old New Zealander (or a young one who knew his own language), ever to be at a loss accurately and minutely to describe whatever he wished of any new thing or transaction to his countrymen; at the same time it is believed by him, that the New Zealand language is but a remnant of what it once was, and is fast going to decay.
43. There is one Peculiarity of their Language, or rather, of their manner of dealing with it, that requires notice. If a principal chief should bear the name of anything, or be named with any word in common use, that thing would thenceforth, by his own tribe and friends, be called by some other name, and the word be changed for another. After his death, or after he began to be forgotten, such new names and words might drop, and the old words be again commonly used; but if such a chief had lived long, had great influence, and was either severe or greatly loved, (so as to make him to be respected, and the disuse of the said words more general and certain,) it is easy to see that the old terms would not always be restored; which in time must tend to make a great alteration in the language. No doubt to this source not a few of its strange aberrant words are to be rightly attributed.
44. They have many Proverbs and Sayings, and not a few Fables, most of which are very amusing, even to a European. Their proverbs are mostly derived from observation and experience; many of them express much wisdom, and serve to prove how very highly industry and skill was prized by their ancestors. One or two may be here quoted, although, like all others, they lose much by translation:—
“For the winter seek fuel, but food for the year.
“Plenty of food, plenty of vigour.
“Stand (to work) and thrive, squat and want food.
“Hasty to eat, lazy to dig.
“The seeker finds.
“Lazy hand, gluttonous throat.
“A wooden spear can be parried, not so a mouth one, (an accusation.)
“Will the escaped wood-hen return to the snare?
“Dark-skin and red-skin united will do it, (that is, the cultivation by chiefs and slaves together; formerly the chiefs always anointed themselves with a red pigment.)
“With the brave in war is great uncertainty, with the brave in cultivation is sure reward.
“A lazy and sleepy man will never be rich.
“Labour's gains are carried off by do-nothing.”
Their sayings were mostly laconical expressions of men of other days, indicative of their feelings at having lost, or gained; and (as their stories were well known) were used as cautions and warnings. Their Fables were very natural and correct, and mostly conversational between animals, or natural objects; such as:—between the large rock lizard and the red gurnard; the cod-fish and the fresh water eel; the common
shark and the large lizard; the rat and the green parroquet; the sweet potato and the edible fern root; and the paper mulberry tree and the New Zealand cork tree. Had they more and larger animals, they might have had a volume of fables, rivalling those of Æsop, or of Pilpay.
Their Poetry was plentiful and various, and suited to all times and conditions—peace or war, work and ease, love and death, constancy and despair. Being naturally of a cheerful disposition, they were often humming a stanza, or verse; and frequently beguiled the monotonous drudgery of some of their heavier work, performed together in company, with suitable inspiriting chaunts and songs, in which all joined in chorus, and which always had a surprising effect. In many of their old songs, as in their proverbs, industry is highly praised. Such heavy work comprised, paddling of war canoes—or dragging them out, when new, from the forests (which they sometimes did up and down hill and ravines for many a mile)—or over necks of land (peninsulas) on their voyages—or when digging together in their cultivations, or fern lands, with their wooden spades. The funereal wails and dirges, were only used on occasions of death; to attempt to use them at any other time was considered highly improper. Their war-songs and defiances, contained horrible curses, and were truly ferocious, and must especially have so sounded in the ears of a New Zealander. Several of their love songs possess tender and affecting passages; a selection from them would bear comparison with the most celebrated ones of Britain. Their sentimental songs, expressive of abandonment, loneliness, and despair, contain much pathos, and simply sung in their peculiar low notes and melancholy cadence, are very affecting. They had also baby-songs, which they chaunted to their infants. The whole of their poetry, while often possessing pleasing natural images and strong gushing sentimental utterances, was equally destitute of rhyme and metre; which deficiency they managed to get over in the using, by lengthening and shortening vowels and words—much after the manner of a chaunt. Proving here, as at the antipodes, that the popular mind always conceives of something in poetry far higher than mere versification. From a close examination, however, of their poetry, it is apparent, that the New Zealand poet had taken some pains towards rhythm—a first step as it were, towards shapeliness; the blocks and logs had been rough-hewn and riven, though neither file nor chisel had ever approached them. This is seen—in the frequent omission of grammatical particles, in the abbreviation of proper names—in the ellipsis of portions of words and sentences—in the curious divisions of words at the end of a line, (half being in one line and half in another)—in the unusual lengthening of vowels—and in the peculiar reduplication of syllables. It is this which makes it so difficult to understand or translate. Much of their poetry is very old; none, worthy of notice, has been produced by the present generation. All the various poetical effusions—praises and laments—which from time to time during the last twenty years have appeared, respecting our several Governors, Her Majesty the Queen, the late Prince Albert, etc., etc., are old, and merely hashed up again (perhaps for the hundredth time) and dexterously improvised for the occasion. A characteristic of the New Zealander, and one in which they greatly excel. Much of the so-called “translations” of New Zealand poetry, which have been from time to time printed, are not really such; (not
even allowing the utmost latitude to the translator;) they are mostly wild paraphrases, not unfrequently lacking the ideas of the original.
46. Like other rude martial unlettered nations, the New Zealanders had many Traditions, Legends, and Myths. These were on all subjects, from the gravest and most sublime to the most puerile and ridiculous; not unfrequently the same myth containing both. Some of them are, no doubt, of very ancient date; others, while still old, are more modern, and have modern interpolations. The language in all is modern, much more so than in several of their songs. With most, if not all nations, their early religion and early history is blended with fable; but there is this difference with the New Zealander, that the large proportion of his traditions and myths are neither religious nor historical, and were not believed to be such by the intelligent among them. Their common myths vary a little; a few considerably, in the various districts (especially those relating to the arrival in New Zealand of their immigrant ancestors); but not more than might be reasonably expected from such a people. They all show their common New Zealand source; and, as far as is known, vary very much indeed from anything similar among the Polynesian race. To understand them they should be read and studied in their original New Zealand language; in their roughness and originality; not in either the meagre, or the polished semi-classical, dress, which some of them have been made to assume in translations. The celebrated myths of dry land and sky; of Maui fishing up the North Island of New Zealand; of his obtaining fire for man; of his seizing and beating the sun, to have longer daylight; and of the untimely death of the hero through the laughing of the little New Zealand flycatcher; of the ascent to heaven of Rupe and of Tawhake; of the arrival of the first New Zealanders in this country; and many others;* are all so many indications of the mind of man groping after truth in ages long past. In the writer's opinion many of those myths will be found to be allegorical.
“The intelligible is food to that which understands.—For the paternal intellect, which understands Intelligibles, and adorns things ineffable, has sowed Symbols through the world.”
47. A few words must be said about their Oratory, or rather, oratorical language. Some of the New Zealanders were truly natural orators, and consequently possessed in their large assemblies great power and influence. This was mainly owing, next to their tenacious memories, to their proper selection from their copious expressive language; skilfully choosing the very word, sentence, theme, or natural image best fitted to make an impression on the lively impulsive minds of their countrymen. Possessing a tenacious memory, the orator's knowledge of their traditions and myths, songs, proverbs, and fables, was ever to him an exhaustless mine of wealth. For the New Zealander, both speaker and hearer, never tired of frequent repetition, if pregnant and pointed. All the
[Footnote] * Posterity will be greatly indebted to Sir George Grey for the exertions made by him to obtain and record many of these myths, the recollection of which is fast dying out.
people well knew the power of persuasion—particularly of that done in the open air—before the multitude. Hence, before anything of importance was undertaken, there were repeated large open-air meetings, free to all, where the tribe or confederates were brought into one way of thinking and acting by the sole power of the orator. Their auditories applauded and encouraged with their voice, in an orderly manner, as with us. Not unfrequently has the writer sat for hours (some twenty or thirty years ago) listening with admiration to skilled New Zealand speakers arousing or repressing the passions of their countrymen—scarcely deciding which to admire the most—their suitable fluent diction, their choice of natural images, their impassioned appeals, or their graceful action! No young New Zealander of the present generation knows anything practically of natural Maori eloquence; arising not so much from colonisation and its many new things and ideas, as from a real deficiency in his knowledge of the past, and of the New Zealand language.
48. Several Europeans now speak the New Zealand language; few, however, correctly; still fewer idiomatically; and scarcely any in such a way as to be wholly grateful (reka) to a native's ear. The reason is, their ideas, language, and gesture (if any) are altogether foreign. They have never thought, or cared to think, in Maori; hence, while many of them are ready to speak of the meagreness of the New Zealand tongue, the leanness is entirely on their own side. There are not a few Europeans who have grown grey in service in New Zealand, and who have been speaking (in their way) the language every day of their lives, who neither speak it correctly nor clearly understand it. Some Europeans have even ventured to write “learnedly” upon it! using (without acknowledgment) the material obtained by others, and racking and distorting by turns Hebrew, Sanscrit, Arabic, Greek, Coptic, Spanish, and many others; never once suspecting their own ignorance of that of New Zealand! It is surprising how few words—and those of the common every-day sort—suffice to talk daily with natives (or ourselves), especially when that intercourse is mainly of one kind. It is also remarkable how very soon natives get to know the true mental calibre of a white man; to gauge, as it were, his knowledge of their language and of themselves, and to say and act accordingly. Setting wholly aside for the time, with him, their own true grammar, pronunciation, and idiom, to suit and accommodate him; while he does not perceive or suspect it. Not a few of our old missionaries, officials, and settlers, are thus continually being politely treated by them—from the old native woman down to her little toddling grandchild. It is also to be regretted, that not unfrequently the translations made for the Government of English documents into the New Zealand language, are more or less faulty; partly, no doubt, owing to the translator's contracted knowledge of the English language, and partly to the faulty correction of such printed documents. As, in the New Zealand tongue, the typographical error of a single letter is sure to alter the meaning of that word, and not unfrequently the whole sentence!
49. It is an astonishing fact, and one worthy of close attention from future philologists, that the Polynesian language, of which the New Zealand is a branch dialect, is commonly spoken by people scattered over
one-tenth of the whole globe! Throughout an island area, containing eighty degrees of latitude, and seventy degrees of longitude, from the South Island of the New Zealand group, in 47° S. lat., to the North Island in the Sandwich group, in 22° N. lat., and from the west coast of New Zealand, in long. 167° E., to Easter Island in 109° W., is this great Polynesian language spoken. It has also been detected,* in names of places, and in sentences used, in the Island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean; although, from its not having been adopted by the Missionaries there in their translations, it is considered (viewed from this distance) as probably belonging to an older form of the present Malagase, or to a distinct and more ancient language. The Polynesian is therefore peculiarly an island language, being nowhere found on the main land in either the east or west continents; or in any of the larger semi-continental islands of the world. Another interesting fact is, that while there are many known dialects in use, some of which differ greatly among the various islands and groups within the above-mentioned area, the extreme outlying ones, viz., the Sandwich Islands on the north; New Zealand on the south and west; and Easter Island on the east, are those possessing the dialects nearest to each other, in several instances the words and sentences being identically the same.† Williams, of the London Mission, (who spent many years among the islands,) considered the principal dialects as being eight in number, viz.:—The Sandwich, the Tahitian and Society, the Marquesan, the Austral, the Hervey, the Samoan, the Tongan, and the New Zealand. The number of letters required to form an alphabet in each of these dialects is about the same; although while one, as the New Zealand retains the h, the Hervey dismisses it; for the New Zealand wh, the Tahitian, Samoan, and Tongan have f; for the New Zealand w, the Austral and Marquesan have v. The nasal New Zealand sound, ng, is also used in the Hervey, Samoan, and Tongan, but it is rejected from the Tahitian, Sandwich, Marquesan, and Austral; the New Zealand k is also rejected by the Samoan, Austral, and Tahitian, while it is used by the Marquesan and Hervey Islanders, and serves for t in the Sandwich group. There can, however, be but little doubt, that had those dialects been reduced to writing by one man, or one party of men, the few differences which appear would be even less than they now are. At present it is almost difficult to say which of those eight should be considered as the standard or leading dialect; but while the writer has always inclined to the New Zealand, (partly from internal philological considerations, observed in comparing it with the cognate dialects,) and partly from the fact of its having—as already stated—remarkable affinity with those the more distant, e. g., Sandwich group and Easter Island, he is now strengthened in his opinion, in finding that Mr. Williams, (L. M.) was also nearly of the same opinion, although he knew very little indeed of that of New Zealand. He says, “I shall select the Tahitian as the standard, and compare the others with it. I do this, however, not because I think it the original; for the Hervey Islands dialect appears to possess superior claims to that title, as it is so much more extensively spoken, and bears a closer affinity to the
[Footnote] * By the writer, in 1835.
[Footnote] † The dialect of Rarotonga, one of the Hervey group, in 160° W. long., may also be here included.
other dialects than the Tahitian, but because the latter was first reduced to system.” Now, as the Hervey Islands (Rarotonga) and the New Zealand dialects are very near each other, it will not perhaps be too much to assume that the New Zealand dialect (spoken, as it is, by the largest number of natives, and over the greatest area) is the standard or leading dialect; but this will be still more clear when its philological claims come to be considered.
50. The question has very often been asked—Whence came the people who were found inhabiting the islands of New Zealand? and this question has not yet been satisfactorily answered. It is therefore purposed to take up the consideration of this subject, and possibly to place some matters connected with it in a new, or clearer light.
(1.) Are the present New Zealanders autochthones? The commonly received statement—that the whole globe was peopled from one pair, which pair primarily resided in Western Asia; the traditions of the people themselves; and (chiefly) their cultivated plants being exotics, and their only domestic animal not indigenous; and their language radically agreeing with that of other island groups, are the present reasons for disallowing this.
(2.) Were there autochthones? Possibly, or rather, very likely. a. From the fact that no large island like New Zealand, however distant from the nearest land, is uninhabited. b. From the fact that nearly all the numerous islands in the Pacific, though vastly smaller in size, teeming with population. c. From the fact of a remnant at present existing in the Chatham Islands (the nearest land to New Zealand), of a race which is allowed by the present New Zealanders to be truly aboriginal, and before them in occupation. d. From their traditions, and fear of “wild men” in the interior. e. From the allusions, and even direct statement, in their traditionary myths, of their having found inhabitants on their arrival in the country, both at Waitara, on the west coast of the North Island, and at Rotorua, in the interior. But if there were, which appears very probable, they have been destroyed, or become amalgamated with the present race.
(3.) Did the Immigrants come from the nearest land? (Australia, etc.?) No: proved by their being a wholly distinct race, in appearance, civilisation, manners, customs, habits, and language.
(4.) Whence, then, came they? (Before entering on this question, it should be carefully noted that could the island be clearly shown whence they came, such would not really answer the question; it would only remove it a step farther off.) In reply to this—
(i.) Very little can be gathered from their own traditions worthy of any credit; save that, (a.) some arrived hither in canoes; and (b.) that those arrivals were successive. Even these two postulates could scarcely be allowed, were it not for two facts—first, that their only cultivated vegetables were exotics; and, second, that the principal different tribal, or district varieties among the New Zealanders—as seen in Physiology, Language, and Traditions—partly coincide with what at present obtains in some of the Island groups. The use of the nasal sound ng by two-
thirds of the New Zealanders agree with the usage in the Tonga, Samoan, and Hervey Islands; the omission of the h and the substituting instead of a peculiar click, (as done by the Cook's Straits and West Coast New Zealanders) agree with those of Austral Island and Rarotonga; and the dropping of the nasal sound ng by the natives of the Bay of Plenty, and using n instead, agree with those of Marquesan, Society, and Sandwich Islands; while the New Zealand use of the k, agrees with that of the Hervey, and the Friendly Islands.
(ii.) In their traditionary myths, the New Zealanders also say that they came hither from “Hawaiki.” The writer was formerly of opinion, (in 1835–6, which has subsequently been taken up as valid by several others,) that this Hawaiki was identical with the Sandwich Islands, or Hawaii,—the k being dropped according to the rules of their dialect;—but he has long given that up as untenable. (1.) From the utter impossibility of their having come that distance, (65° of latitude), against the prevailing winds in their frail open canoes; and (2.) from the irreconcilable differences which exist in their habits, customs, manufactures, traditions, and religion. By way of illustration, the following may be here briefly mentioned, (bearing in mind, that the New Zealanders, like most other uncivilized people, most pertinaciously adhere to the plans, patterns, and sort of things made by their ancestors);—(a.) all the various kinds of New Zealand canoes are very differently made: (b.) they have no outrigger: (c.) the New Zealanders never used the kawa root, (not-withstanding a very closely allied species of piper grows throughout New Zealand): (d.) nor the bow and arrows: (e.) the New Zealanders invariably carry their burthens on their backs, the Sandwich Islanders on a balance pole over the shoulders: (f.) the New Zealander has no words for swearing, oath, or vow: (g.) the New Zealander never practised circumcision:* (h.) nor had any temples for religious worship: (i.) nor idols; (j.) nor king: (k.) they knew not the names of the numerous chief gods of the Sandwich Island: (l.) their old customs respecting their Chief, etc., do not agree: (m.) their tattooing is different: (n.) they had no “refuge cities” (a most remarkable custom, only found at the Sandwich Islands): and (3.) from there being no vestige of any of their several emigrations from Hawaiki, and of the wars, etc., which occasioned such, (as related by the New Zealander,) to be found in the ancient history of the people of the Sandwich Islands, whose traditions are much more ancient and clear than those of the New Zealanders.
(iii.) Others have supposed the largest island of the Samoan, or Navigator's, group—called by the same name, Sawaii, (the sibilant being used for the aspirate—Sawaii, Hawaii, Hawaiki,) to be the Hawaiki of the New Zealanders. This opinion has been warmly supported by several later writers,† but, with the sole exception of the Samoan group being only half the distance from New Zealand that the Sandwich Islands are, certainly with much less reason than the former. For, in addition to the objections adduced against the Sandwich Islands being the New Zea-
[Footnote] * Vide Cook's Voyages, 4to. Ed., vol. iii, p. 50.
[Footnote] † Erskine's “Journal of a Cruise in the Western Pacific,” p. 103, ed. 1853: et. al. It may be noticed, by the way, that Dr. Thompson, in his elaborate compilation, “Story of New Zealand, London, 1859,” speaks of this view as being peculiarly his own!
land home, or Hawaiki—here, at the Samoan group, they never tattoo their heads and upper part of their bodies, but only from the waist downwards, and that in a wholly different style; the women also are never tattooed; the men, including chiefs of the highest rank, do all the cooking;* their dialect, on the whole, has much less affinity with that of New Zealand; their traditions about the creation of the earth, etc., are widely different; and the kumara, or sweet potato (common at the Sandwich Isles), they have not among them.
(iv.) But even if it were conceded, or proved, that the New Zealanders really came from the Hawaiki of either the Samoan or the Sandwich group—the next question would be, Whence came their ancestors? (Vide infra, par. 53.)
(v.) There is yet another view to be taken of this word Hawaiki, or Hawaii, which at least is not wholly unworthy of notice, viz.—to consider the New Zealand tradition of their emigration thence to New Zealand more as a figurative or allegorical myth than anything really historical. Such is wholly in keeping with all their other traditionary myths, and with the genius of the race; and also with the common legends of all nations. Viewing it thus, Hawaiki, or Hawaii, will no longer mean any particular (if any) island; and may prove to be a portion of a still more ancient myth than that of the fishing-up of the Northern Island of New Zealand by Maui. Williams (L. M.) says, that “one of the Polynesian traditions concerning the creation of the world and of the first peopling of it, was, that after the island of Hawaii was produced by the bursting of an egg, which an immense bird laid upon the sea a man and a woman, with a hog, a dog, and a pair of fowls, arrived in a canoe from the Society Islands, and became the progenitors of the present inhabitants.” And another account, given by Turner, † represents Tangaroa, the great Polynesian Jupiter, as rolling down from heaven two great stones, one of which became the first land, or island of Savaii—(or Hawaii,) in the Samoan group. Very likely it may yet more clearly be seen that this mythical or allegorical Hawaii, or Sawaii, of those two groups, is also the mythical Hawaiki of the New Zealanders—the whole being fragmentary portions of the legend of a flood which are found underlying the myths of all ancient races. By whom, however, the universal greatness of the event (as found in the Biblical record) is generally lessened or lost sight of; while the legend itself is contracted into a matter of insular national and special interest, serving to carry back the forms of every-day life into antediluvian ages. Common proofs of the inventive mind of man ever seeking to understand the why and the wherefore of things around him.
51. Leaving, however, for a while the further consideration of the place whence the immigrant ancestors of the New Zealanders may have come, let the endeavour now be made to ascertain the time when they arrived in New Zealand. Here again, little really valuable, of a positive nature can be gathered from their traditions. The writer very well knows, how cleverly the different tribes of New Zealanders contrive to
[Footnote] * Turner says—“The duties of cooking devolve on the men; and all, even chiefs of the highest rank, consider it no disgrace to assist in the cooking-house.”—Nineteen Years in Polynesia, (p. 196.)
[Footnote] † Nineteen Years in Polynesia, p. 245, ed. 1861.
deduce their descent from some one of those early (mythical) emigrants; although in so doing, they diametrically oppose each other in their early genealogies; while others, finding no means of tacking themselves on to a “parent stem,” cut the matter short by saying their ancestors came from Hawaiki on the water by enchantment in a few hours;—or under water, by diving—or on the back of an albatross, etc., etc.! And the writer also knows, how many late writers and lecturers on this subject, have repeatedly stated their full belief in the historical truth of such traditions! And not only so, but by proceeding to calculate the generations of the New Zealanders, (believing, of course, all their genealogical statements,) have come to the conclusion, that “their dwelling in New Zealand has not been more than 500 years;” scarcely four centuries before Cook, and not three before Tasman discovered them (a.d. 1642)! In reasonably prosecuting this enquiry, a few old truthful witnesses will have to be carefully examined; and although their evidence (from the nature of the case) will scarcely be any other than purely negative; yet, combined, the reasonable proof they will yield of great antiquity may be sufficient to establish its claim for favorable consideration to the intelligent and scientific mind.
(1.) Tradition—uniformly speaks of the Northern Island of New Zealand having been fished up by Maui. How did this peculiar myth arise concerning this one Island? Did the first inhabitants see recent signs of upheaval, which (geologically speaking) are patent to us, especially on the East Coast, and in the Hawke's Bay province? Further: tradition speaks of the vehement struggles of the said, huge earth-fish after having been brought to the surface, (owing to the impiety of the brothers of Maui, who, in his absence, had proceeded to cut up his fish,) which caused the very broken and abrupt appearance of the country:—may this be also considered as indicative of subsequent violent volcanic action, known to the first inhabitants? What necessity was there for such an addition to the Polynesian myth of Maui, seeing either of the countries they had left (Hawaii, or Sawaii), were more broken? Again: the hook, with which Maui had fished up the land, was said to be at Cape Kidnappers, in Hawke's Bay—no doubt from the curved extension of the land at that cape in ancient times, when the present two islets lying off it were joined to the land—but those two islets existed, as now, in Cook's time. And long before that period (owing to the very gradual irruption of the sea there at that clayey cape) the ancestors of the present natives, seeing the “hook” was gone, had removed its locality to Cape Turnagain, which cape also had a similar, though smaller curvature; this, too, has long ago been washed away. May not this be considered as another item in favor of antiquity? Tradition also speaks of many local portions of the North Island having been upheaved, fallen-in, submerged, and deluged — of the old channels of the present rivers having been far off from, and flowing over much higher ground than where they now are; of chasms having opened, and of the escape of the imprisoned monsters (Taniwha or Ngarara) to the sea, and, in some few cases, of their having been killed by some renowned hero of former days. Now in most of these instances alluded to (some of which places the writer has seen and examined) a thousand years would scarcely suffice for their subsequent forests and depth of vegetable humus. Again: the
stone canoes in which those mythical emigrants arrived, scattered on both the East and West Coast, (one being on the crest of a high range, twenty miles from the sea); the footmarks of Rongokako, one of those emigrants, also left in stone at various parts of the East Coast; the several men metamorphosed into large perpendicular stones at Manaia, in Whangarei Harbour, etc., etc., all indicate a long time back in the old night preceding all history; or such conspicuous stones would not have been handed down and narrated by such a shrewd inquisitive race as the New Zealanders. Lastly: the tradition which the writer received in 1837, from an intelligent aged “priest” in the Bay of Plenty, respecting Tuhua, or Mayor Island, there, viz, that anciently the Northern natives obtained their prized greenstone from that island; but, that the guardian-god being vexed covered it with excrementitious substances, and swam away with the fish which produced it to the Middle Island, whence, subsequently all the greenstone was with difficulty obtained.—Now, as the island is an eruptive volcanic mass, this tradition, in more ways than one, points to a time long since past.—Often what is not scientifically correct has in it a deep and pregnant truth of feeling.
(2.) Archœology. In repeated travelling in the North Island, from Cook's Straits to Cape Maria Van Diemen, during more than a quarter of a century, and that by bye-paths long disused, through forests, and over mountain and hilly ranges, the writer has been often astonished at the signs frequently met with, of a very numerous ancient population, who once dwelt in places long since desolate and uninhabited:—Such as the number and extent of their hill forts, cut, levelled, escarped, moated, and fenced, only with immense labour (considering they had no iron tools);—and the number and extent of their ancient cultivations, all long since overgrown; and the enormous mounds of river, lake, and seashells, sometimes clearly revealing the slow accretions through years or centuries, by their accumulations having been made stratum super stratum with intervening layers of vegetable mould and humus—each stratum of shell possessing small fragments of obsidian, which mineral (used by them for cutting their hair, and themselves in lamentation, and also for scraping their finer woodwork) being only found in one or two districts, had been brought from a great distance. He also noticed, and that in more than one or two places, that some of the ancient New Zealanders buried their dead in the earth or sand; skulls having been met with, and skeletons which had been buried, and from which the winds had removed the soil. On enquiry, it was found, that none of the present generation knew aught of the people to whom such bones had belonged; they also expressed no astonishment at them, and always disowned their ever having belonged to their tribe, and which, indeed, their conduct showed. Moreover, the very great number of their jade (greenstone) war implements and ornaments, (found by Cook and others, even at the Bay of Islands and the North Cape,) seem to indicate their antiquity as a race in New Zealand. The great number appears the more remarkable when it is considered that they always endeavoured to hide them securely in time of war, through which great numbers have been lost. Now that stone is only found at one spot in the Middle Island,* difficult of access
[Footnote] * Though found as pebbles on many parts of the West Coast.—Ed.
both by sea and land. It was only obtained thence with great difficulty, increased through the superstitious belief that it was produced by a “fish” under the guardianship of a “god,” to propitiate whom many ceremonies were observed. Further: there is also the known antiquity of many of those prized stone weapons and ornaments which have descended as heir-looms through several generations, and the great length of time necessarily taken in the making of one of them. Again: there is the silent evidence of the mako, or tooth of the long-snouted porpoise, the prized ear ornament of the New Zealanders, many of which are also heir-looms of great antiquity. How did their ancestors obtain these teeth seeing the animal which produces them inhabits the open ocean? The natives say, by occasionally finding the animal driven on shore after a gale. But during the writer's long residence of more than thirty years, always on the sea coast, and his frequent travelling over all the beaches, he has only heard of one of those animals having been found, and that was too small for its teeth to be of any value! What amount of years, then, may it not reasonably have required to obtain all those teeth now left among the natives—exclusive of the large number sold and lost.
(3.) History.—From Tasman and Cook we learn that the natives were very numerous. Tasman, who came suddenly upon them from the South, coasting up the western side of the Middle Island, and who only remained at anchor for a few hours in one of its bays, was visited by eight canoes filled with men, who attacked him, and having killed his quarter-master and four others, they retreated, bearing off one of the bodies. Tasman “immediately left the scene of this bloody transaction; when twenty-two more boats put off from the shore, and advanced towards them.” From a drawing given by Tasman, we find the “boats” he speaks of to be the ancient double canoe, long since out of date. This occurred in 1642: some 280 years (according to our calculators) after the arrival of the first few emigrants in this country! Here, let it be observed, that according to the natives' own legends, those so-called emigrants were not many in number; that they soon fell out among themselves, went to war with each other, and slew several where they had landed in the Bay of Plenty; and that of the remainder, many went inland, and farther north in the North Island, and settled. Yet Tasman found the inhospitable and colder latitudes of the Middle Island, near Cape Farewell, so thickly peopled as to send thirty boats and canoes from one beach, well manned, to the attack. Cook, who had long and repeated interviews with them during his different voyages, and who was associated with scientific and observing men; (although, both from the nature of the country and character of the people, he could only have seen those tribes who lived on the sea coast and near to his anchorages, which anchorages were not many in the vastly more populous Northern Island)—Cook was of opinion, that they were very numerous; so also were the two French navigators, D'Surville and Crozet, who arrived in New Zealand shortly after Cook. But what has ever been of great weight with the writer, as being highly corroborative of the correctness of the opinion formed by the early navigators is, the statements they give (especially Cook) of the innumerable number of canoes, of the number of large seine nets, which they everywhere found in houses
erected purposely for them—of the extent of the kumara or sweet potato cultivations, and of the very many places on the immediate East Coast—particularly between Capes Palliser and Kidnappers, and Capes Rodney and Brett, and Cape Pococke and the North Cape, which then abounded with Pas, (forts and villages), and swarmed with people; but which are now, and have been for many years, wholly uninhabited! All which, it is believed, silently indicates the ancient settlement of the race, especially when their warlike character and habit is also considered.
(4.) Habits, Customs, Manufactures, Ornaments, and Tattooing.—Very many of the habits and customs of the New Zealanders, indeed nearly all, are widely different from those of other Polynesian islanders, though belonging to the same race. So also their manufactures; whether the more useful and durable, as canoes, houses, implements of wood, etc., or the many varied textile ones, for clothing and daily use; all differed, and that greatly. And when their immense variety, with their woven and dyed ornamental patterns, and their skill in manufacturing, is also considered, how long a time would it not require for them to lose all the old knowledge (which they had brought with them) and to gain the new; and also to use it successfully upon entirely new materials? (For not only is the New Zealand flax plant (Phormium) not found in the other islands, but also no like fibrous substitute.)—And that by a people so prone to copy, and so exceedingly tenacious of innovation;—by a people, too, who, according to their own traditions and legends, and the sad experience of the early navigators, were so prone to war and murder. Again: tediously to fashion their war implements of whalebone, and of jade (green or axe-stone), instead of hardwood, was wholly a new thing to them; and these substances were only occasionally to be obtained, and that slowly and with great trouble and labour;—could such a change—such an entire revolution—one, too, almost needless, have taken place save in a very long lapse of time? Moreover, the peculiar carving of all their greenstone breast ornaments (Heitiki) which possess great sameness, and which might be correctly styled national, differs from any other Polynesian carving particularly in the invariably reclined, not erect, head, and in only having three fingers to each hand (which striking peculiarities also invariably obtain in all their old carving); could such a great change in the national taste have taken place in a few generations? Lastly, the tattooing of their chiefs, which entirely differs from all other Polynesian Islanders, and which has certainly not varied in the least during the last 150 years; could such an universal revolution in their old tastes possibly have taken place in the short period which preceded, of 350 years?
(5.) Language.—The negative evidence to be obtained from this source is very important. Language adheres to the soil, when the lips which spoke it are resolved into dust. “Mountains repeat, and rivers murmur, the voices of nations denationalised or extirpated in their own land.” It has already been briefly-shown in what respects the New Zealand dialect differs from other dialects of the great Polynesian language,—as far as relates to the change or substitution of letters; but there are still greater differences observable in the dialects of the two groups—Sandwich and Samoan—(from one of which it has been said the New
Zealanders emigrated hither) and the dialect of New Zealand; of which the great difference in the causative verb in the Sandwich Islands, and of “the distinct and permanent vocabulary of words” used in addressing chiefs can only be here mentioned. It is also noticeable, that the names of “gods” whom the mythical emigrants are said to have consulted before leaving, are not known as such in those islands; and all the names of the emigrants themselves are pure New Zealand words, which do not exist in the dialects of those islands. Their traditions and songs, however ancient, are all very distinct; for although some of the New Zealand myths do possess a few of the names of the numerous Polynesian “gods” or deified heroes, they are all assigned a very different and inferior position and work by the New Zealanders. Could all this have been brought about, in less than a very large number of years? So with the subdialects observed in New Zealand, which agree in their outline characters with others in the Pacific, (as has been already stated,) and which were much more strongly defined formerly than they are now; (mainly owing to the introduction of a written language within the last 30 years, which has caused the chosen one, or two, of the sub-dialects to become both commonly used and dominant;) could those tribes also severally set aside their own many peculiar words, and adopt words which were strange and new (n.z.) in such a short period? or, rather, did they not gradually do so, through the long lapse of ages, and of little intercourse; while they still retained their characteristic tribal pronunciation and manner of speaking?
(6.) Religion.—It is well known that the Sandwich islanders (Hawaii, or Hawaiki,) had an old and costly idolatrous worship, possessing ancient temples, and many ceremonies. It almost seems too ridiculous, momentarily to entertain such a notion, as, that such a ceremonial worship had only originated 400 years before Cook visited them; or, in other words, that it sprang up (de novo) after our emigrants to New Zealand had left. Yet both these positions the believers in the New Zealand immigration myth, from that Hawaiki, must be prepared to support. For, certainly had those emigrants known of it they could not so easily and entirely have cast it off. So again at Savaii (or Hawaiki) of the Samoan Group; their religion was if possible, still farther from anything that either has, or reasonably might have, obtained in New Zealand. For there, “every village had its god, and its small temple consecrated to the deity of the place.” A woman would say, on the birth of her child, “I have got a child for so-and-so, and name the village god.”* In their village temples, too, were objects for veneration. They also daily offered meat-offerings and drink-offerings to their god; and this at home in every house. And their many taboos (tapu),—the sea-pike taboo, the white shark taboo, the cross-stick taboo, the ulcer, the tie-doloreux, and the death taboo, the rat, and the thunder taboo, etc., etc., were all differing widely from anything which has ever obtained in New Zealand.
(7.) The Moa, Dinornis.—Its valuable evidence is purposely omitted, as the writer still holds to his original opinion (published twenty-three years ago,† and drawn both from geological deductions as well as from
[Footnote] * Turner's Nineteen Years in Polynesia, pp. 239, 240.
[Footnote] † In Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science, vol. ii.
history,) in reference to its never having been seen alive by the present race of New Zealanders. For if it had been seen by them, and by them had been gradually killed and extirpated, (as some Europeans have labored to shew,) then no surer evidence could be desired as to the great antiquity of the present race in New Zealand.
(8.) After examining and weighing all this evidence gathered from various sources, the mind is irresistibly driven to accept the only logical conclusion,—that the time of the early or first peopling of New Zealand is one of high antiquity.
52. Further, it is believed, that it will also be satisfactory briefly to consider the first emigrants mentioned in the New Zealand traditionary myths;—the persons and their doings. The names of several canoes are given, also of their crews or leaders;—their marvellous adventures by the way; the numerous things they brought to New Zealand;—and the height of the men, “9 and 11 feet.” Also, that some of them had previously discovered New Zealand, in a voyage of exploration purposely made hither, and having coasted and visited different parts of it, had returned to the mother country and had been the means of others coming to New Zealand to settle; and that many of the canoes, on reaching the land of New Zealand, immediately set about circumnavigating the Northern Island! I etc., etc. In all this mythical rhapsody there is scarcely a grain of truth; and yet some educated Europeans have wholly believed it! The New Zealanders themselves however, never did so. The names of the canoes and of the leaders are nearly all figurative names suitably coined in the New Zealand tongue, and given after the event; several of the latter being also the names of ideal beings in their mythology. They are all said to have come from one place; but it has been shown, and anyone may yet see, that they evidently came from several, as their sub-dialects, still partly extant, clearly show. They are also said to have come by several consecutive migrations; this alone would require a very long time. Their adventures on the way,—their enchantments, battles; and charms (excelling those of Munchausen, or Gulliver), are suited, perhaps, for the region of romance, but ought to have no place in any reasonable enquiry. Among the numerous things said to have been brought by them to New Zealand, were several of the wild New Zealand birds,—such as, the swamp pukeko, the green parroquet, the woodhen, and many others; also the New Zealand rat! and, with the exotic plants the Karaka tree, which last they everywhere planted; but, unfortunately for them, the tree is not found anywhere else; the canoes which brought them are spoken of as being only ordinary canoes, and some even small, yet to contain 140 men! And, while several kinds of food (used by New Zealanders) are spoken of, no mention whatever is made of any of the peculiar edible productions of the islands; or of water, none of the Polynesian islanders having any large water-holding vessels. Some of their leaders are described as leaving in great haste and flying for their lives,—others as being of monstrous size, and able to accomplish anything,—even to run to the top of the mountain Tongariro, or to dive under the island and emerge on the other side, or to tame whales,—nevertheless to be subject to all the common infirmities of smaller and ordinary men.
53. To return: the question put (par. 50, sec. iv.) has not yet been answered:—Whence came the Maori,—the Polynesian race? It is not,
however, the present intention of the writer to go deeply into the subject. Only a few thoughts and excogitations will be here set down.
i. That the race is one, throughout the numerous islands in the Pacific Ocean where the language is spoken. (Vide, par. 49.)
ii. That from its original wide separation into groups, sufficient time must be allowed for the perfect grammatical construction and full development of its leading dialects; the growth of its many and varied habits; customs, and manufactures; and the slow change and product of its various mythologies and traditions.
iii. That notwithstanding their long and sanguinary wars among themselves from time immemorial, prior to their discovery by Europeans, the respective islands were teeming with population.
iv. That while some have supposed the race to have sprung from the Malays, from a very slight physical resemblance, and from the likeness of a few words of their language; there is quite as much, if not a greater, physical resemblance between the race and the people of Madagascar (on the opposite side of the globe), whose language also contains a few words and sentences which are identical.
v. That, with the exception of the Islands of New Zealand, which are the farthest south, the race is almost exclusively found in the easternmost isles and groups of the Pacific; and not in the numerous isles nearest to the Malays.
vi. That it would have been impossible for any regular migration to have ever taken place from the Malays to the Polynesian islands, owing the frailness of their shipping,—and to the prevailing trade winds and equatorial currents being contrary.
vii. That the Malays were found, by Cook, and the earlier navigators, to know the use of iron and other metals, and invariably to chew betel, drink Palm wine (toddy), smoke, cook in earthen pots, live in partitioned houses, and to be strictmonogamists; none of which national habits and customs, nor the knowledge of any metal has been detected among the Polynesians.
viii. That the near resemblance or even identity, of a few (quasi) Malayan words prove really little, when it is considered (1) that those words only obtain among the sea coast natives of Malaya; and (2) that the same words are found more or less in use in the sea coasts of Java, Sumbawa, and the Phillipine and other isles, including even Madagascar. May it not therefore be reasonably enquired, whether those few words might not rather have reached those several Northern Asiatic isles from Polynesia, than vice versa?
ix. That the language spoken by the Polynesian race has no affinity with the Malayan; being in its whole formation and construction of a far more primitive and ancient cast. The structure of the Malayan language is wholly different.
x. That if the origin of the people on some few of the islands (in the lapse of ages) might have arisen from a drift canoe, (which seems next to impossible), exotic edible roots were not at all likely to have been by such means imported; nor the peculiar and ancient Asiatic drink of Palm wine (toddy) to be to them, where the Cocoa-nut is everywhere indigenous, wholly unknown.
xi. That the kumara, or sweet potato, so generally cultivated in the
islands by the Polynesian race, is believed on good grounds to be only indigenous to South America.
xii. That a large migration has ever been traditionally spoken of, as having anciently taken place from Mexico and Central America, (on the breaking up of the Toltec Empire;) and that it is an easy and short voyage, and one not impossible to large canoes, from Central America to several of the nearest Polynesian islands.
xiii. That of all the various dialects to be found among the largely scattered Polynesian race, the New Zealand dialect agrees most with that of the little isolated islet called Easter Island, and next with that of the Sandwich group; which islands are also the nearest of all the inhabited isles to the shores of America.
xiv. That the carving of the Polynesian race, and particularly of the New Zealanders agrees most (as far as is at present known) with that of the ancient inhabitants of Central America, as shown by the late discoveries at Uxmel and Palenque.
xv. That like the ancient inhabitants of Central America the New Zealanders obtained fire by friction; and steeped poisonous kernels of the karaka, etc., to obtain a food, much as those also did the poisonous roots of the Mandioc or Cassava plant.
xvi. That there is incontestable geognostic evidence of a chain or series of active volcanoes surrounding the Pacific Ocean.
xvii. That there are good reasons for believing that very great changes have taken place in the Pacific through volcanic agency.
xviii. That there are also good reasons for believing, geologically and analogically, from what we see in Europe, and also here in New Zealand—that anciently the volcanic focus (or foci) in the Pacific was nearer its centre than it is now.
xix. That there are also reasons for believing that through such agency, a continent, or large continental island, or islands, have been wholly, or partially, rent, and sub-merged in the Pacific Ocean.
xx. That it is a highly interesting fact, and one that is increasing in importance every day, that the large majority of animals and plants of the whole island region inhabited by this great race, while more or less allied in themselves, are peculiar to this region.
xxi. That in New Zealand, and in several other islands of the Pacific, there are species of European, African, and American plants, identical with the plants of those countries, but which have not been taken to the Pacific islands by the agency of man.
xxii. That there are living remnants of an apparently earlier creation; both animal and vegetable, in the Pacific isles and seas.
xxiii. That the Polynesian race of man may be a fixed variety of the genus homo.
xxiv. That there seems to be just the same kind of difficulty attending this question as attends that of the geographical distribution of animals and plants among the Polynesian islands.
xxv. That the Polynesian variety (stirps) of the genus homo, may be an earlier one than the Caucasian or European; and from its creation peculiar to its own (now) insular region.
xxvi. That it is believed, that while the fair Polynesian race everywhere exhibits signs of great antiquity, it also bears unequivocal symp-
toms of great and rapid decadence, or universal deterioration and decline.
xxvii. That the origin of the Polynesian race is a problem that has yet to be solved; and it is believed (having firm faith in the vocation of Man, and his power to fulfil it) that it will be solved.
54. This period, comprising nearly a century, from the discovery of New Zealand by Cook to the present—is a most eventful one in the history of the New Zealanders. A large and instructive volume might be written of the principal acts and actors, men and things, of this period. Time, however, will only allow of a very brief mention in this Essay, of the most prominent of them. It was during this century that four European quadrupeds were introduced into New Zealand—the pig, the dog, the cat, and the rat. These have each done its share in the work of effecting a great change in the country. Had foreigners ceased to visit New Zealand, after the introduction of those animals, the country would no longer have been the same it once was to its Maori inhabitants. And it is a question difficult to answer, whether their introduction alone, followed by such a circumstance, would have been a benefit or an injury. These four animals (especially the two smaller ones) destroyed the choice and numerous ones of the Maori;—the edible rat, the kiwi, the quail, the ground parrot, and the birds generally; while the foreign dog was also the cause of the entire loss of their own peculiar little dog (to them a most useful animal); and the pig caused them an enormous amount of extra work in everywhere fencing their many cultivations; as well as became the cause of much dissension, strife, and fighting. It is highly instructive to trace and to see the great and important changes, affecting even the destiny of peoples and nations, which are sometimes brought about by apparently unimportant and trivial circumstances.
1. Foreign, or External.
55. From their discovery by Cook in 1769, to the visit of Governor King in 1794. This first quarter of the past century seems to be a very proper division; beginning and ending with their two greatest known foreign benefactors during that period. Cook found the New Zealanders numerous, healthy, strong, industrious, abounding in children, contented, and happy. As is well known, he visited New Zealand five times during the years 1769–1777; on two of which visits he was also accompanied by Capt. Furneaux. From Cook the New Zealanders received many valuable things—more especially the pig and potato, which have proved an incalculable blessing to the people. Unfortunately, Cook was obliged to show them his superiority, by using his fire-arms no less than twelve times during his first visit, and to shed blood on each occasion, through which several natives lost their lives. That more serious collisions did not take place was, without doubt, owing both to his able manner of dealing with them, and to his having with him the Tahitian islander, Tupaea, whose services as interpreter must have been invaluable;—and yet not always appreciated by the New Zealanders, as the
lamentable affray at Cape Kidnappers, (when they kidnapped and carried off his son Taieto,) fully show. It is remarkable, that while Cook was on the coast, during his first visit in 1769, the French navigator D'Surville also visited New Zealand, and spent some time, at anchor at Doubtless Bay, near the North Cape; during which he surveyed it, naming it Lauriston Bay.* Unfortunately, D'Surville, after receiving great kindness from the natives, came also into collision with them—burnt down their village, and carried off their principal chief, Kinui, prisoner. This chief died of a broken heart, on board of D'Surville's ship three months after, when off the island of Juan Fernandez. In 1771, only a few weeks after Cook's return to England, the celebrated Dr. Franklin projected a scheme for the civilization of the New Zealanders. His proposals were printed and circulated; but, owing to the sad massacre of M. Marion and his crew, which took place early in the following year, or some other cause, they were never carried out. In 1772, (before Cook's second visit,) another French navigator, M. Marion du Fresne, visited New Zealand in two ships, the Mascarin and the Marquis de Castries. These ships anchored in the Bay of Islands, and remained there two months; and at first, and for some time, there appears to have been great kindness and cordiality on both sides. Unfortunately, again a collision took place, in which Marion and twenty-eight of his crew lost their lives. Shortly after a very large number of natives were slain by the exasperated French. Cook paid his second visit in the following year, 1773, in two ships, Capt. Furneaux commanding the consort. On leaving New Zealand to prosecute their voyage, they were separated by a heavy gale, and Capt. Furneaux putting back to refit, to the same harbour they had so recently left, unfortunately got into collision with the-natives, who killed the whole of his boat's crew of ten men, ate them, and broke up the boat. Soon after this unhappy affair, Cook again visited them; and again in his fifth voyage in 1777; each time adding to his former benefactions. In 1791 they were also visited by the benevolent Vancouver, who spent a short time at Dusky Bay, from whom the natives also received several gifts. In 1793, another French navigator, D'Entrecasteaux, commanding two frigates, (Recherche and Esperance,) in search for La Perouse, and having the naturalist L'Billardiere on board, communicated briefly with the natives living near the North Cape, who received from him several presents. In the same year, the English settlement at Norfolk Island having been lately founded, Lieutenant Hanson in the Dœdalus was sent to New Zealand by Governor King to obtain some New Zealanders, to teach the new settlers at Norfolk Island how to manufacture the flax (Phormium), which was also indigenous there. Two chiefs were therefore carried thither; who, however, proved to be of little service for the specific purpose they were obtained; as the working of the flax in New Zealand was peculiar to women. They remained, however, with Governor King until the next year, 1794, when he honorably returned them to New Zealand, accompanying them himself, and giving them many useful things—among others a fresh supply of pigs, potatoes, and maize. There can be no doubt, but that their stay with Governor King, and his humane and kind treatment of them, were productive of great good.
[Footnote] * Published by the Hydrographic Office, London.
56. From Governor King's visit (1794) to that of the Rev. S. Marsden, and the introduction of the first British settlers (1814)—A period of twenty years. From about the time of Governor King's visit, ships engaged in the South Sea whale fishery occasionally called at New Zealand for refreshments. From time to time several New Zealanders entered as sailors in those ships; few of whom ever returned to their native country. Other ships too arrived in New Zealand for spars, and their number increased every year. From this date also the New Zealanders began to acquire firearms and ammunition, for which (and often of the most wretched kind) they paid almost fabulous prices. These fatal exchanges and gifts came to them from all quarters, and were, and long continued to be, of immensely greater value in their eyes than anything else. In 1805, Mr. Savage (an English Surgeon) visited them, and remained a short time at the Bay of Islands; taking with him to London, in 1806, the chief Moehanga; who was the first known New Zealander who visited England. In 1809, the sad tragedy of the murder of the captain and crew of the Boyd, nearly seventy in number, and the pillage and burning of the ship, occurred at Whangaroa; to which harbour the ship, on her return voyage from New South Wales to England, had put in for Kauri spars. For this savage murder the New Zealanders, as a people, again paid severely, many hundreds of all ages and both sexes being soon after slaughtered by the enraged united crews of several whalers; but their retribution, unfortunately, fell wholly (a la Nouvslle Zelande!) on a wrong tribe. Nearly the whole of this period was one of great loss and suffering to the New Zealanders, from the cupidity and lust of their European visitors; and to such a length did their maltreatment of them proceed, that at last the New South Wales Government was obliged to interfere by severe proclamations. In 1814, a few Missionary settlers (who had come out for that purpose some time before to New South Wales, under the auspices of the Church Missionary Society) arrived in New Zealand, and they settled at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands. They brought with them several New Zealanders from Port Jackson, among whom was the notorious Hongi. Some time after the Rev. S. Marsden paid his first visit to New Zealand, accompanied by his friend (the classical New Zealand historian) Mr. Nicholas, and remained in New Zealand nearly three months. From Mr. Marsden the natives received several useful things.
57. From the introduction of the first British Settlers and Christianity (1814), to the Treaty of Waitangi (1840). This period of another quarter of a century was also a very important one for New Zealand. It is highly probable, that in no like period did the New Zealanders lose such a number of their population. From without (as before) the natives received much good, although not unfrequently dashed with some evil; often the fruits of their own sad doings. During this period the crews of several small trading vessels were treacherously murdered; among others were those of the Agnes at Tokomaru, of a whaler at Whanganui, and of the Sydney Cove farther south. For a long time the first settlers, although daily benefitting the natives, only held their ground with extreme difficulty, more than once being on the point of leaving. During this period the Wesleyan Society also commenced a mission in New Zealand. Such, however, was the dreadful state of things that their first
station at Whangaroa was obliged to be abandoned; shortly however to be re-formed and re-strengthened at Hokianga. Still, it was not until 1824, or ten years after the commencement of the Mission, that the first New Zealand convert was baptized. In the year 1819 the Church Mission took up a new station at Kerikeri, also in the Bay of Islands—then the head-quarters of the chief Hongi. In 1823 the Paihia station was formed; and here, soon after, the first schooner (of 52 feet keel) was built. In 1830 the Waimate station was formed; and in 1834 the Kaitaia, or northernmost one. In 1834–5, Mission stations were also formed at Matamata, and at Mangapouri in Waikato; at Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty; and at Rotorua. Soon after Mission stations were also formed in the Thames, and at Manakau, Entry Island, Otaki, and Whanganui, in Cook's Straits; and Poverty Bay, Uawa (“Tolaga”), and the East Cape, were all occupied in the years 1839–40. From all these spots, and some others, as so many centres, the natives around, for many miles, were regularly visited, and more or less brought under Christian instruction; receiving largely at the same time the manifold blessings of trade, commerce, and civilization. The printing press was introduced in 1834, and early in 1835, portions of the Holy Scriptures were first printed in New Zealand. In 1837 the first edition of the complete New Testament was printed at Paihia in 8vo, of which edition 5000 copies were printed, and soon entirely disposed of. During the five years ending 1840, many thousands of other books were printed in the New Zealand language and distributed. Within this quarter of a century several whalers and sealers had located themselves in different parts of New Zealand; especially in and near Cook's Straits, at Dusky Bay, and at Stewart's Island. But at the Bay of Islands was by far the largest number of settlers and white residents. If the first half of this period of twenty-five years was to the New Zealander the most deadly, the last quarter was certainly the most beneficial; whether in spiritual, intellectual, or outward wealth.
58. The period, from the year 1840, to the present year (1865), another quarter of a century, might be very advantageously divided into two portions:—(1) to the end of the year 1852, up to which time the natives were generally progressing; and (2) from that to the present, during which they have been generally falling back:—but time will not permit of this. During the whole of this period very much has been done for the New Zealander. New Mission stations have been formed in many places; the British Bible Society (and other societies) have given them immense donations of holy and religious books: the Colonial Government has done much for them in aiding them with water mills, ploughs, harrows, horses, seed, vessels, boats, clothing, etc., and with annual grants of money for schools. Many laws also have been made exclusively for their benefit. They have also received directly from the Government, for lands sold, some tens of thousands of pounds in gold; while the greatly increased value of their own reserves, within and near such alienated blocks, and the enormous consequent value of the large tracts still in their hands is almost beyond computation. The industrial stimulus they have received,—through the steady influx of Settlers, the formation of towns for all their supplies,—and the largely increasing demands for pigs, grain, potatoes, kauri-resin, and tanning barks,—are
also very great. A New Zealander of low rank, or even a slave, of the present day, is possessed of far more real wealth and comforts than a chief was twenty years ago, or than a whole tribe possessed thirty years back! And all exotic—through their increased intercourse with Europeans! Unfortunately, however, this period (like all the others) is marked by the shedding of their blood by their European friends. The present unfinished war being the third within the last twenty years, and in each case brought on and begun by themselves.
2. Domestic, or Internal.
59. From the time of their discovery by Cook (1769) to the end of that century.—It is evident, that Cook found them much as Tasman left them,—ready to shed blood and delighting in doing it. Tasman, their discoverer, lost a boat's crew of six men through their sudden murderous attack. Cook, on several occasions was attacked by them;—sometimes, too, at sea, by their throwing stones at his ship! and smashing his cabin windows, which we can now well afford to laugh at;—and Furneaux (Cook's consort on his third voyage) lost, as we have seen, a whole boat's crew of “ten of the best men of the ship,” by the natives of Queen Charlotte's Sound, who, besides killing, ate them! These were the same tribe, or their neighbours, as those who had killed Tasman's crew. Their treacherous attack the year before on Marion and his crew in the Bay of Islands, in which they killed the commander and twenty-eight of his men, showed clearly their character towards Europeans, who were their benefactors; while the full information obtained from Cook, as clearly showed their character towards each other. The first few natives whom he took on board his ship by force at Poverty Bay (after killing four of their companions), begged hard not to be landed by him at a place in the Bay only a few miles from whence their canoe had come, lest they should be killed by their own neighbours! Speaking of them generally, he also says,—“If I had followed the advice of all our pretended friends, I might have extirpated the whole race; for the people of each hamlet, or village, by turns, applied to me to destroy the other.” Such being their known fierce character, discovery and other ships generally avoided them, and they were left to their old practice of destroying one another; until towards the end of the 18th Century; when, owing to the colonization of New South Wales, they were again visited by Europeans and brought a little into notice. During the last ten years of the century, vessels occasionally visited the coast; and in 1794, the two natives who had been taken to Norfolk Island, were returned, with pigs, potatoes, maize, and other useful seeds, which they assiduously cultivated.
60. From the year 1800 to the year 1840.—The beginning of this century first found the New Zealanders visiting the European Colonies. Te Pahi, and his five sons, visited New South Wales; to which place the father again returned in 1808. In 1806, Moehanga visited London; whither, also, Matara, one of Te Pahi's sons (who had been to New South Wales), went in 1807, and Tuatara in 1809. Matara, while in England, was introduced to the Royal Family; and all returned to their native country laden with presents. In 1815, a chief named Maui visited England, followed, in 1818, by two others Tui and Titore.
During these years the New Zealanders, having had the worse propensities of their native character inflamed, were active in seizing ships and murdering their crews; among which, the Boyd at Whangaroa, the Agnes at Tokomaru, a whaler at Whanganui, and the Sydney Cove at South-east Cape, may be noticed. Every ship approaching the coast had boarding-nets for protection. Love of murder and greed for plunder stirred up the coast natives generally to be on the watch for prey; while the Europeans sometimes retaliated by shooting, or encouraging the shooting of “a race of treacherous cannibals.” In 1820, the two Ngapuhi chiefs, Hongi and Waikato, also visited England, returning to New Zealand the following year. Hongi brought back with him a large amount of arms and ammunition, which enabled him and his allies to commit much wholesale slaughter. The Ngapuhi (or Bay of Islands) tribes, being well armed with muskets, revelled in destruction, slaying thousands,—at Kapaira, Manukau, Tamaki, the Thames, the interior of Waikato on to Rotorua, and even to Taranaki; and they also came in their canoes so far south as Ahuriri in Hawke's Bay, remorselessly destroying everywhere as they went. Not content with this, they subsequently turned their arms against themselves, and the tribes in their neighbourhood, where eventually Hongi himself received the wound which caused his death. The tribes further north were also fighting against each other; only ending in the Rarawa destroying the Aopouri, who were very numerous about the North Cape. Te Wherowhero at the head of his people was slaughtering for many years on the west coast, from Taranaki to Whanganui and Entry Island: Te Waharoa, and other chiefs, in the interior, and overland to Hawke's Bay: the Rotorua tribes in the Bay of Plenty; and Te Rauparaha exterminating in the neighbourhood of Cook's Straits, and along the east coast of the Middle Island! From 1822 to 1837, was truly a fearful period in New Zealand. Blood flowed like water. There can be little doubt, that the numbers killed by the New Zealanders, in their many sanguinary battles and surprises during this period of forty years; throughout all the New Zealand Islands,—together with those who also perished in consequence thereof, far exceeds 60,000 persons. Nothing is more erroneous than to suppose, that the introduction of firearms made their wars less sanguinary. Such a view is a very partial and mistaken one, and only made by those who have not had the opportunities of knowing the truth. During the last three years, however, of this period, there was very much less fighting than in any three previous years of the same; and missionaries and instruction, commerce and trade, became daily more valuable in their eyes. Several New Zealanders early became very good sawyers and carpenters; in 1836, a few made excellent window-sashes, dove-tailed boxes, and even cedar writing-desks; while (at least) one, whom the writer knew, was, in 1835, the mate of a whaler, and was very much liked as an officer.
61. From a.d. 1840 to the present time, 1865.—During this quarter of a century the natives as a race have become nominally Christian. From 1840 to 1852, they eagerly sought for Christian and other instruction; often submitting to great privations and hardships in seeking after it. They also cultivated wheat, etc., very largely, increasing in quantity every year; although in 1845, and again in 1846, small portions of them were fighting against the Government. Hitherto, however, they have
been written of as they were; now they will have to be considered as they are. They have sought for and obtained everything the European could bring; but while they became rich in foreign, they became poor in domestic, wealth. Yearly more and more idle, and discontented, and careless in Christian observances, in schools and in morals. In 1854, they formed an anti-land-selling league, and soon after set up one of themselves as “King”! Their houses are now wretched huts; their canoes are almost entirely gone; their far-famed and useful nets they have ceased to make; and their cultivations, even of their own esteemed roots, are not of one-eighth the extent they formerly were. Their few children (baptized) are growing up in idleness, without being taught to read and write,—though mostly clothed and sometimes gaudily dressed in European costume; their drunkenness, idleness, and greediness, is painfully increasing; and many bad habits, formerly unknown, have been acquired, and, like the introduced weeds, grow luxuriantly. It cannot be denied that in many places, the savage has been spoiled, and the civilized man is not yet formed. And how to do this is a very difficult task; seeing, that from the very beginning, the New Zealanders have ever had the fatal quality, or fatality, of turning honey to gall—of drawing ill from every good thing. Many of them are now engaged in a murderous war against their best friends, the Colonists; in which war, began in 1860, upwards of 1000 have already perished.—While, to crown the whole, or to accelerate “the evil day” for their race, they have largely consented to abandon Christianity, and again to take up with a disgusting heathenish fanaticism in its stead!
62. It has been stated in this Essay, that the natives were formerly in great numbers; this is true, but it may need explanation. They were formerly in great numbers, (1) considering the area which they inhabited; and (2) comparing their former, with the present sparse, population. Whether they were numerically more when Tasman discovered them (1642) than they were when Cook first saw them (1769) is perhaps beyond our research. The writer, however, is inclined to believe, they were many more in number at the time of Tasman's visit, than they were at the time of Cook's—at least in the Middle Island. This, he thinks, may reasonably be inferred from the two following facts:—(1.) The natives coming off to attack Tasman's ships “in eight canoes;” and immediately after, on seeing him under sail, to follow him “with twenty-two more boats put off from the shore;”—these latter were double canoes. And (2) the men in them, (Tasman says,) “wore their hair tied up on the crown of the head, like the Japanese, each having a large white feather stuck upright in it,”—a sure sign they were chiefs or free men. Although Cook was, subsequently, several times at anchor in that very neighbourhood, he never saw there anything like such a number of natives, canoes, or “boats;” nor could he obtain any traditionary information respecting Tasman's visit—a highly pregnant fact. Dr. Forster, who accompanied Cook on his second voyage, supposed the population to be 100,000; although he never saw any of the populous parts of the North Island. Since when, down to 1840, it has been variously estimated, at, from 150,000 (by Nicholas in 1814) to 80,000. Forster's estimate is believed (by the writer) to have been too low; because Cook himself, in all his voyages, only saw the natives
who were inhabiting a portion of the sea-coast, and in particular those spots where he anchored. He saw none on the whole west coast of the North Island, which he therefore believed to be uninhabited! and, of course, none of the numerous tribes inhabiting the interior.—In 1834, the Missionaries had very good data for believing, that, from the Bay of Islands northwards, there were 7000 fighting men; are there more than one-seventh of that number to be found there now belonging to those tribes? In 1847–8, the writer of this Essay, collected, with much pains and care, an exact census of the natives living between Wairarapa and Ahuriri (Hawke's Bay) inclusive; going to every village, and seeing every individual native himself (and this two or three times); their number then amounted to 3704 persons, divided among forty-five ascertained tribes and sub-tribes. At present (leaving out the immigrant natives since arrived, from Manawatu, Waikato, Taupo, and the Bay of Islands, and also strangers), the population of the same district is under 2000,—or less than two-thirds of what they were seventeen years ago. Children are every year becoming fewer. Marriages are rarely fruitful. The seven principal Chiefs of Ahuriri (including Te Moananui, lately deceased), are all without children, with the exception of Te Hapuku; and of four of his sons married, three are still childless. Mr. Fenton, from an accurate census* of a portion of certain tribes in the Waikato district, has clearly shown, that the decrease among them in fourteen years (1844–1858), was at the rate of 19 per cent. Another table,* also compiled by Mr. Fenton, showing the numbers of the natives of the Colony of New Zealand in 1858, gives the following:—
[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]
|Stewart's Island and Ruapuke||110||90||200†|
Unfortunately at the present time there is no means of accurately showing the difference on the whole of New Zealand; still this may be done for certain isolated districts.—
[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]
|The Province of Nelson, (including Marlborough), had, in 1855||692||428||1120|
|The same, in 1864.||—||—||980|
|The Provinces of Otago and Southland (including Ruapuke and Stewart's Island), had, in 1852.||382||327||709|
|Ditto, in 1864||217||179||396|
[Footnote] * Blue Book, N.Z., 1859.
[Footnote] † Estimated
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|The Chatham Islands, in 1859||247||263||510|
|Ditto, in 1861||—||—||413*|
|“Middle Whanganui,” 1859||—||—||2210|
|“Central Whanganui,” 1864||—||—||1417†|
|Rotorua, the Lakes, and Maketu, 1859||1210||1050||2260|
With the exception of the Return for Otago and Southland, and also that for Chatham Islands, the foregoing can scarcely be depended on; owing to the vagueness of the Whanganui Return, the “incompleteness” of the Rotorua one, and the recent numbers in the Nelson one, being only estimated by Mr. Mackay. The Return for Otago and Southland (which appears to have been each time very accurately and satisfactorily taken,—in 1852 by Mr. Mantell, and in 1864 by Mr. Clarke), shows the greatest decrease! but here it should be noticed, that the last Return (1864) also shows 125 half-castes,—i.e. 72 males and 53 females; of which, some probably had not been included by Mr. Mantell in 1852. Mr. Seed accompanies his Chatham Islands Return with the following remarks:—“From this Return it will be seen the natives must be rapidly on the decline. At Kaingaroa and the adjacent villages, 34, nearly all adults, have died since 1856, and only 17 have been born in the same period. Several years ago the Bishop of New Zealand took a list similar to the one I obtained, and then the natives, I am told, numbered over a thousand.”—It may reasonably be doubted whether the whole Maori population at present number 50,000. Appended is a table, copied, by the writer, from recent official documents in the House of Representatives,—showing the numbers of the natives, the principal tribes, tribal boundaries, and geographical position in the North Island; it can scarcely, however, be wholly relied on for perfect accuracy, yet, in all its main features is correct.
63. The Causes of their very rapid Decrease might here be properly shown, but such can only be done very briefly. The writer believes, that many separate causes have all combined to bring about this sad state of things; not a few of which are nearly or wholly unknown to, or overlooked by, those who have hitherto written on Maori statistics.—(1.) Their own prevailing strong propensities, implacability, and revenge; hence their love of war, murder, and pillage;—in their exterminating wars, mercy was never shown, the helpless and (to the victors) valueless were struck down and slain in heaps. Besides the actual slaughter, they were always wearing themselves out, in preparing arms and building
[Footnote] * Government Gazette, January 14, 1862. Mr. W. Seed also gives, “Maories, 413, of whom 24 are children; Morioris, 160; Half-castes, 17.”
[Footnote] † Kindly furnished by Hon: Mr. Mantell, Native Minister: the Rotorua Return is officially said to be “incomplete.”
forts on high hills; or, more lately, in working day and night to obtain flax, etc., wherewith to purchase firearms, and in building new forts on low lands. In this half harrassed state many children and weak persons perished through want of proper rest, care, and food. (2.) The increasing number of small tribes also increased their feuds. (3.) Their immorality with foreigners, especially shipping. (4.) Consequent infanticide (before birth, fœticide), and sterility, to an extent which no writer has yet correctly conceived. (5.) Sorcery. (6.) New diseases, especially epidemics, including the rewharewha of 45 years back, the measles, hooping-cough, influenza, etc. (7.) The unlimited use of tobacco, and its many substitutes, and its many attendant evils,—especially by the young and females. (8.) Carelessness,—as to regular food, and wet thin clothing, bringing on early disease and death. (9.) Their exposing themselves in serving and working hard for others; whether in whale ships at sea, whalers on shore, missionaries, settlers, etc. (10.) Their laboring beyond their strength in their greed after European goods, to the continual neglect of themselves;—in scraping flax, and in raising potatoes, wheat, etc., for sale to Europeans, and their bringing the same, with much labour, difficulty, and exposure, to market. (11.) Their selling all their best, including all their tame pigs, and keeping only the refuse food for themselves, being stimulated therto by the price given. (12.) The introduction and rapid increase of the horse (strange as it may appear) has certainly been very injurious to the native, through their abuse of that noble animal; it proving a great means of calling them constantly, away from their homes and cultivations, especially the young and strong (thereby leaving the work to be done by the old and weak), tending to habits of idleness, wandering, and dissipation, and of consequent exposure to hunger and wet in travelling about; and of want, etc., at home. (13.) Many minor causes attendant upon their transition state and the incoming of the settler,—such as, the abandoning of their own rough and dry flax garments for the thin European ones,—frequent exposure to bad weather, sleeping in wet garments, and often in cold damp houses,—going in crowds to a distance to large gatherings (whether of their own, or of the Europeans—Mission or Government), to see new arrivals, or things, etc., etc., and there badly provided for, and always much suffering in, and after, returning to their homes. The writer has long been convinced, that the amount of mortality arising from the causes mentioned under heads 7—13 has been truly frightful—stealthy, unnoticed, and slow, but ever sure.
64. Apart from their numerical decrease, is the great Decline of their Power and Influence,—whether we consider the race, or a tribe, a family, or a single chief;—and that not only among Europeans, but also among themselves. This has, in a measure, been caused by their decrease in numbers, but not wholly or mainly so. The sudden termination of polygamy, slavery, and the taboo (tapu) system, without any things to replace the last two, has been the chief causes of their decline as a people in status and influence. Had some comprehensive mind early arrived in New Zealand, to point out to the first Missionaries the sure consequence of the utter and sudden removal of what then upheld the tribes and nation,—unless renewed with something equally strong and equally suitable,—more cautious and better adapted means for preserving
them might have been used. However distasteful these three things might be to an European and Christian, they were the life of the New Zealander. They were perhaps the three rotten hoops round the old cask, but they kept the cask together. Slavery (though an ugly word) might have been ameliorated in New Zealand, where its form was mild compared with what it was in ancient Rome,—even as it was both there and in Asia Minor by Paul. Polygamy might have been far better dealt with, for the time, according to the lenient dealings of God with the Jewish fathers, and with New Testament teaching, than according to ecclesiastical dogmas. And much of the taboo might have been softened and altered, and borne with too, for a time, until a better, and not altogether distinct, scheme, suited to uphold and expand the moral character of the neophyte Maori Christian, had been got ready. An Eastern sage has said, “In time the mulberry leaf becomes satin.” The writer of this Essay has seen a chief,—a lineal descendant of ancient kings,—whose nod yesterday was life or death, who had several wives, many fine children, and a number of slaves; whose home was full of merry laughing faces, food, and hospitality;—he has seen him afterwards a baptized man, without servants or helpers, with little food and less clothing, ashamed and vexed at not having the means to be hospitable; with one weak wife (soon brought to be so through extra daily labour), and three children, for whom he himself had daily to work very hard, and yet could not procure for them the fish and birds and pork of former days;—while any one of his late slaves was far better off than he. The writer has seen with secret grief that man (and several such) more than once, and he has asked Christianity, “Was there really a necessity for all this?” Very likely, had those notable Maori kings been only gradually altered, and not so suddenly and rudely abolished; and had fitting short Christian services obtained instead of wearisome long ones, the principal chiefs, heads of tribes, would have kept their status,—order would have prevailed,—the rising generation would have both known and kept their proper place,—the decrease in their numbers would have been considerably less,—they would have confidence in the Government, missionaries, and settlers, instead of suspicion;—in all probability there would have been now no war with the Government,—and the degrading fanaticism which now obtains would never have found support. Fuit ilium! Cook found the New Zealanders healthy, happy, and contented in the midst of all their wars and poverty.—Are they so now?
§ VI.—The Future.
65. Seeing but very little of a cheering nature in the late past and present of the New Zealanders, the mind ever hopeful, naturally looks forward to the future. But where is the seer who can truly decipher the mysterious signs of the times? much less predict the state and position of the Maori race at the end of another period of twenty years! But why say twenty years? Less than five years more will complete the century of years since Cook first saw them; how will the last year of that century close upon them? This is difficult to answer. Not merely because of the present sad state of the native mind, and of the
dismal fatality hitherto attending them; but, because of the crotchetty individuals among the colonists themselves. Men, doubtless, who are well-wishers to the Maories, but who (through their own cloistered, high-flying, or erotchetty views, and want of really understanding the native, and what is good and suitable for him,) have done them more injury (unwittingly) than their bitterest foes. This is the really great obstacle in the way of truly benefitting the Maori; and judging from the past, it appears to be all but hopelessly insurmountable. The following, however, (or something very like it) is believed by the writer, to be really needful, in order to a better state of things, and to the conservation of the Maori race.—
1. The present war must be ended, and ended well; the sooner the better.
2. “Ended well”: is to have done so leaving a real salutary impression on the native; that come what will, he will never go to war again with the Government.
3. Their work done, the military must be all withdrawn from New Zealand.
4. The suspicions of the native must be removed; this will be a work of time.
5. The Colonial Government must have the Government of the Maories wholly in their own hands.
6. Individuals, especially those in authority, must for the common good, at once and for ever cease their fruitlessly teasing the native with their fine-spun theories, and their secretly writing to powers and parties at home against the New Zealand Government and the colonists: or, if not, the Government of the day must gird up their loins to the task, and put such persons down with a strong hand; and, if necessary, make a public example of them. Above all, pensionaries on the public purse must be taught a useful lesson.
7. All Bishops and other Ecclesiastics, should cheerfully and zealously, openly and privately support the Government; remembering Paul's teaching,—“The powers that be, are ordained of God.”
8. The Governor, the Government, and the various Ecclesiastical bodies, and settlers generally, must unite, and be as one in these matters: the Maories should be able to see this.
2. Real: Active.
9. The present mischievous and costly system of “Civil Commissioners” must be immediately abandoned: the Maories well know it to be an office of espionnage.
10. The present objectionable system of bribing Maories (derided among themselves) with gifts and with salaries for work never performed, must be wholly thrown aside. It is directly opposed to the genius of the people, as it is to their advancement, and is the cause of much bad feeling and jealousy. Until this is done their suspicions and distrust will never be really less.
11. One strict, equal, but lenient law for them as for Europeans, in the one court in all European districts.
12. Good, useful, zealous, loving men, to be stationed as Resident Magistrates in purely native districts; men, whom the natives could love, obey, respect, and work with. Such to be obtained from England, if not to be found in the Colony.
13. Such Magistrates to itinerate throughout their districts; (say) 4 times a year, to hold their simple courts at the principal villages of the sub-tribes; to act in co-operation with the head, or heads, of the tribe. (Not, as now, with assuming inferior chiefs and pert loquacious youngsters.) And to get reparation for almost all Maori offences, by fines judiciously inflicted. Such a mode of proceeding falls in with the genius of the people, is just and Christian, and is not costly. Their errors among themselves, should be dealt gently with; a spirit of love and forgiveness (alas! foreign to our laws) should be inculcated. Insult not their prejudices.
14. The authority of the oldest head chief of a tribe, or sub-tribe, should be firmly but steadily supported.
15. Maori views—modes of reparation, fines, forfeitures, semi-banishment from the village and tribe, etc., etc., should be supported, and acted on, where proper and just;—and not our unsuited Draconian laws. A celebrated author, says—“Humanity is one of the best fruits of refinement. It is only with increasing civilization, that the legislator studies to economise human suffering, even for the guilty; to devise penalties, not so much by way of punishment for the past, as of reformation for the future.”*
16. Young persons, of both sexes, should on no account be allowed to be enticed away from their tribe, by Europeans; on their being so enticed away, and complaint made, the authorities should interfere, and cause them to be restored, and the abductors severely punished.
17. Good, useful, plain, married schoolmasters should be stationed in the various Maori districts; such to be had also from home, through the various Christian and Philanthropic Societies.
18. Zealous, loving, self-denying European Ministers to be placed among them; men contented to serve their Great Master in humility. Also to be had from home through the various Christian Societies. No hireling, no mere observer of rites and ceremonies. The Maories have had enough of muttered charms and incantations. The young New Zealand Samson is not to be surely bound with green withes.
19. In populous, wholly Maori districts, a religious physician, or surgeon should be stationed; to be also obtained from home.
20. Anglo-Maori books should be written and printed for their use; and a really useful Anglo-Maori weekly paper should be established and circulated.
21. Once a year the Governor should meet the assembled chiefs at some principal Maori place to be fixed by them; and once in two years they should be assembled at the Seat of Government to see the Governor.
22. The sons of the head chiefs, and of others, who may show an
[Footnote] * Prescott: Conquest of Mexico, vol. i, p. 144.
aptness to learn, should be sent to England to be educated at Government expense; but they should not be foolishly and flatteringly educated there as “gentlemen,” rather in a plain sound Christian way; they should also be taught useful arts and trades. Remember Peter the Great.
23. Occasionally one or more of the chiefs of the highest rank and most deserving should be taken to England, to see the sons of the chiefs there being educated, and to be presented to her Majesty.
24. European gentlemen visiting Maori districts and villages, should be careful to demean themselves as such. They should act there as they would in a village at home, or on the Continent.
25. Spirituous liquors should be kept out of all purely Maori districts and villages.
Cook found the Maories happy:—are they happy now? Let us endeavour to make them so.
66. The writer of this Essay has no hesitation in expressing his settled conviction; that, (apart from any spiritual Christian benefit,—a subject he has generally throughout this Essay carefully avoided,) taking all things into consideration, and viewing the matter from a philanthropic as well as a New Zealand point of view,—it would have been far better for the New Zealanders as a people if they had never seen an European.
—–“De duro est ultima ferro.—
—Fugere pudor, verumque, fidesque;
In quorum, subiere locum fraudesque dolique,
Insidiæque, et vis, et amor sceleratus habendi.”
|Name of Tribe.||No.||Area in Acres.||Tribal Boundaries, Geographical Position, &c., &c.|
|1||Rarawa and Aopouri||1858||587,680||North of Hokianga, W. C., and of Mount Camel, E. C.|
|2||Ngapuhi||5693||2,195,765||North of 36°, W. C., and of Cape Rodney, E. C.|
|3||Ngatiwhatua and Uriohau||550||1,276,978||North of Manakau, W. C., and of Auckland to Cape Rodney.|
|4||Ngatitai||77||134,951||South of Auckland, and North of Frith of the Thames.|
|5||Ngatipaoa||2060||1,266,977||Head of the Thames, across to Katikati, E. C., thence north to Cape Colville.|
|6||Ngaiterangi||957||396,498||From Katikati to Maketu, E. C., and extending 40 miles inland.|
|7||Ngatiwhakaaue||2367||473,240||Maketu, to Waitahanui river, E. C., and inland to the Lakes.|
|8||Ngatiraukawa||490||2,411,357||Nearly central; at Arowhens, nearly where 38°S. lat. bisects 176° long., and for 20 miles round.|
|9||Waikato & Ngatimaniapoto||9971||North of Mokau to Manakau, W. C., and about half across the island at 38°S.|
|10||Ngatiawa, E. C.||1864||1,456,077||Waitahanui river to Ohiwa, E. C., and inland to Mount Edgcombe.|
|11||Ngatiawa, W. C.||1300||591,425||From 38°50 S., W. C., to the Sugar loaves, and inland about 40 miles, including Mount Egmont.|
|12||Ngatiawa, Waikanae||385||A few miles around Waikanae, W.C., and extending inland to the mountain ranges|
|13||Ngatiawa, Wellington||115||194,908||Near Wellington, extending E. to Remutaka range and Palliser Bay.|
|14||Te Whakatohea||1730||361,870||S. of Ohiwa, Bay of Plenty, for 30 miles, and extending inland about 50 miles.|
|15||Ngatipouri||4365||1,571,760||Cape Runaway, E. C., to Table Cape, and extending inland about 50 miles.|
|16||Ngatituwharetoa||1850||2,784,000||Centre of island, including Taupo lakes and mountains, from 38° to 39°30 S.|
|17||Ngatitama||90||917,947||Between Mokau, W. C., and 39°S., extending inland about 50 miles.|
|18||Taranaki||690||276,969||Near Taranaki, W. C., from Sugar loaves to about 39°30 S.|
|19||Ngatiruanui||1330||1,224,491||From about 39°30 S., W. C., to near Waitotara, and extending inland 60 miles.|
|20||Ngarauru||243||183,249||From Waitotara to near Whanganui, W. C., and extending inland about 40 miles.|
|21||Ngatihau||3360||724,699||From a few miles N. of Whanganui river to Whanganui river, W. C., extending inland about 60 miles.|
|22||Ngatiraukawa||1203||2,069,161||From Whanganui river to a few miles S. of Otaki, and extending to mountain ranges.|
|26||Ngatitoa||168||Included in No. 13.|
|27||Taranaki, Wellington||205||201,161||East of Wellington to Palliser Bay and Wairarapa.|
|28||Ngatikahungunu||4839||5,572,989||From Table Cape to Palliser Bay, extending 50 miles inland, generally to the mountains.|
|29||Te Urewera||400*||Interior: a radius of about 40 miles around 38°20 S. and 177° longitude.|
|30||Whanauapanui||From Cape Runaway, Bay of Plenty, E. C., to 40 miles N., coast line, and extending inland about 40 miles.|
Note—W. C. means West Coast, and E. C. East Coast.
[Footnote] *Estimate in 1858.