Art. LXX.—Te Kuri maori (the Dog of New Zealand). A Reply to the Rev. W. Colenso.
[Read before the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 11th September 1893.]
In Volume xxv. of “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute” I notice that Mr. Colenso, F.R.S., &c, has attacked me most bitterly because of my presumption in recording such information as I could collect from several correspondents, both in the North and South Islands of New Zealand, giving their experience and recollection of certain unusual canine forms which they had noticed in the earlier days of the colony, &c.
A good portion of Mr. Colenso's paper consists of quotations from the writings of Max Müller and others, which have no bearing on the subject-matter of the paper.
I will take the points in Mr. Colenso's paper, before referred to, in regular order, and will use the pruning-knife rather freely, not that I personally wish to differ therefrom, but where it seems that certain points will not stand criticism it is reasonable that they should be traversed, and, moreover. I have no wish to remain under a cloud longer than can be helped.
Previous to my writing my first paper on the New Zealand dog question* I had seen Mr. Colenso's paper on this subject in the Transactions, † and came to the conclusion that the subject was not” exhausted,” but rather was dealt with in a one-sided manner. For instance, why should we be considered limited to one kind or one size in the Maori dog? We would seem to be able, by inference, to trace one breed of the dog to the islands, of the Malay Archipelago, where there are many different species of large game to be hunted; and in such places it is reasonable to expect a dog capable of assisting his master in capturing this large game—forms of wild cattle, deer, pigs, and cassowary, &c.—because, if the Maori race is compounded of the junction of two pure races, the Moriori and the Negrito, would not these mixed peoples have the Papuan dog as well as that of the Moriori? And, supposing the Moriori people to be the original inhabitants of a great southern continent, now chiefly submerged, we may suppose the dog of pure Moriori
[Footnote] * Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxii., p. 327.
[Footnote] † L.c., vol. x., p. 135.
breed to have remained in New Zealand with such of the Moriori people who escaped to the high lands of New Zealand at the time of the aforesaid submergence.
The mixed race—the present Maori—may be the descendants of Morioris who, from expectation of returning to their former home, travelled onward until, coming in contact with a Negrito race, they acquired a taint of the blood of the latter people, but were ultimately compelled to retreat backward to islands which once formed, the mountain-peaks of their original home. Hence the Samoans say that the distant land of the Maori, called Hawaiki, is not in this present world, but is down below.
Any way, we know that the Negrito race had, and still have, an able-bodied hunting-dog, however they came by it, We find the Australian blacks making use of the dingo, which they partially domesticate. Therefore, if the Maori are a crossed people, we get the Moriori dog, the dog of the Negrito allied to the dingo, and such other varieties as may have resulted from the cross from the two pure forms.
Even supposing we only have in New Zealand a dog originally identical with that of Tahiti, this dog will have been resident in its new home some three hundred years under changed conditions. In its former home tropical fruits and fish were abundant; hence the dogs chiefly fed on the remains of their masters' feasts. But, on the other hand, these Polynesian or Negrito peoples had brought forward the pig from the Archipelago or from the mainland of Asia. In some of the Polynesian islands were found both the dog and pig; other islands were acquainted with the one or the other animal only; and in the Island of Niue was no animal of any kind, I believe, not even the rat. Here, then, in Tahiti we see the pig and dog kept by a Maori people. Yet Mr. Colenso supposes that the Maoris of New Zealand must have of necessity required the English dog, to match the pigs which Captain Cook brought to New Zealand from Tahiti or a contiguous island. Cook makes such entries in his writings as this: “Landed here some pigs and fowls, which we brought from the islands.”
We know that animals of a white colour, not albinoes, but such having the eye of the normal colour, are almost invariably those which have been long domesticated by man. For instance, Professor Boyd Dawkins assumes that the white wild cattle of Chillingham Park and others are feral descendants of the domesticated urus. The fact of their being white precludes the possibility of their being an original form. Black is in nature the complementary colour to white, and therefore we expect to find these two colours (if I may so term it) running parallel in the same varieties of animals or
domesticated species, as the Black Polled Angus and Highland ox, black and also white horses, sheep, goats, and pigs, not to mention rabbits, cats, rats, and mice, which mostly are deficient in colour in the eye, and so approximate to the albino. All these are altered from, their pristine colour by the effect of domestication. So, when we read that the Maori of New Zealand were seen by the early navigators to be possessed of black dogs, white dogs, and spotted dogs, we may reasonably conclude that these dogs had been long under the influence of man.
It would be interesting to know what were the colours of the dogs first noticed among the other peoples of the Pacific. A. R. Wallace gives no description of dogs in the Archipelago. Were the original dogs of the Pacific islands white, black, and spotted, or is this seemingly long-domesticated form of dog the original dog of the Moriori people?
To return to my other argument, which I left uncompleted. If the helpless (?) dog of the islands came to New Zealand some three hundred years ago—before Cook's arrival at New Zealand—would not the changed conditions of its life in the new country, and the effect of “variation and domestication,” alter its descendants so much that it would become useful to its masters in catching food, and also acquire the habit of providing its own aliment from the plentiful supply of ground-game, such as takahe, kiwi, weka, quail, and rats? The early navigators were only, able to report on such doings of the Maori as concerned fishing and a life along the margin of the sea, for they were of necessity obliged to keep near their boats, and often to make a hasty retreat. Both parties were mutually suspicious and fearing treachery; therefore the Maori always saw the European armed and ready for the fray, and the European mostly saw the Maori, as it were, on the warpath. The European and Maori were not then accustomed to go a-hunting together; and whilst the Maori lived at his seaside villa the order of the day would be fishing and feeding on fish; so the dog is said to eat fish. But who was to say that the dogs did not go a-ratting on their own account when so inclined? A small English terrier is often trained to be very useful in catching pigs by the European, and supposing a party of Europeans were left for three hundred years on an island teeming with ground-game, and at the outset had only a few terriers to help them, would not the descendants of these small dogs have increased in size by the judicious selection of their owners during this long term of years? We may safely answer, Yes. What, then, would prevent the Maori selecting his most fitting and useful dogs and eating the puny sluggards? To my thinking, it is preposterous to limit the Maori to one particular shape or size of dog. Even the fact
that each tribe of Maori were in dread of other tribes—this alone would cause a variation in the dogs of different tribes by preventing free intermixture. If we find no fossil remains of man or dog seemingly of any great age in New Zealand this will not go to prove the impossibility of a great southern continent inhabited by gigantic moas, the dog, and man. The great and extensive plains or low lands are now buried under the sea, together with all marks of their inhabitants, for the present islands of New Zealand would, under former conditions, be a very high range of mountains, covered in perpetual ice; and, supposing any living thing to die in these ice-covered regions, the dead carcase would be mingled with the ever-moving glacier, and carried onward to the lands which are now at the bottom of the sea. The disappearance of this continent may be coeval with that great convulsion of nature which occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, when the climate of Siberia was so suddenly altered that the living and gigantic mammoth was frozen in ice-blocks, which have remained as evidence to the present day. We have proof that man and the mammoth lived in the same country and at the same period of time in northern Europe, and where we find the evidence of man's existence there also is mostly found the remains of a canine form. The dog would seem to have always been the companion of man, or a feral animal utilised by man as a food-product.
I am sorry to say that I am denied the pleasure of again reading Mr. Colenso's paper on the native dog of New Zealand, Transactions, vol. x., and therefore must refer back to my remarks thereon, which were published in Transactions, vol. xxii.
“Mr. Colenso quotes from the writings of George Forster, ‘A good many dogs were observed in their canoes, which they seem very fond of, and kept tied with a string round their middle. They were of a rough, long-haired sort, with pricked ears, and much resembled the common shepherd's cur. They are of different colours, some spotted, some quite black, others perfectly white.’”
Now, Mr. Colenso assumes that a common shepherd's cur must needs be a dog of small size, the result of cross-breeding between a sheep-dog and a small breed—presumably a terrier. Have we any evidence in English records that shepherds were accustomed to use mongrel dogs to work sheep in preference to using the pure-bred sheep-dog for the same purpose? I think the correct answer here is, Certainly no; such would be absurd. Therefore George Forster saw a similarity between those New Zealand dogs and the English sheep-dog.
“At Tolago Bay,” Cook says, “the dogs were small and ugly.” This I take to be a special remark, referring to a
dog of a kind not previously seen among the Maoris, not that all other New Zealand dogs were alike—“small and ugly.”
“Mr. Colenso quotes from Parkinson, ‘In one canoe a handsome man, clad in many garments, upper garment made of black and white dogskin.… An old man sat in the stern of the canoe; had on a garment of some black skin, with long hair, dark-brown and white border.” “There would seem nothing here to sufficiently prove that all the dogs seen were small and ugly, and you will notice that we have no mention of any dark-brown dogs seen alive.” Dark-brown” might just as well refer to trimmings of moa-feathers, which are of a hair-like appearance.
Now to examine the fresh evidence which Mr. Colenso brings forward in his paper, Transactions, vol. xxv., as a re-butment of my own conclusions:—
“Crozet thus writes concerning their native dog: ‘The only quadrupeds I saw in this country were dogs and rats The dogs are a sort of domesticated fox, quite black or white, very low on the legs, straight ears, thick tail, long body, full jaws but more pointed than that of the fox, and uttering the same cry; they do not bark like our dogs. These animals are only fed on fish, and it appears that the savages only raise them for food. Some were taken on board our vessels, but it was impossible to domesticate them like our dogs—they were always treacherous, and bit us frequently. They would have been dangerous to keep where poultry was raised or had to be protected. They would destroy them just like true foxes. They have absolutely no other domestic animal than the dog.”
Now, I would ask, why did not Mr. Colenso finish this quotation, which I here give from memory: “The rats were similar to those of our woods and forests”? Captain Crozet here gives a very clear description of the dogs which he saw; but it is to be noted no mention is made of spotted dogs, nor of brown-coloured dogs. You will observe that the feeding and habits of the dog are described in a contradictory manner. “These animals are only fed on fish.” Of course, such would seem the case when the dog-owners were employed fishing on the coast. Again, “They would destroy poultry just like true foxes.” This is right into my hand. If Crozet found these dogs snapping off the heads of his hens as often as they looked through the bars of their coops, it seems remarkable he should not have concluded that they were accustomed to hunt feathers. Therefore these dogs did hunt the ground-birds, to obtain food for themselves and their masters.
What we may infer from the remark on the Maori rat I am unable to say. Crozet does not say the rats of our towns
or sewers, but those of the forest; * but then we need not assume that Crozet had made a study of natural history. If he were country-bred he might naturally allude to the Mus decumanus in the home of his childhood; or it may have been the European black rat (Mus rattus), a form of which we have with us at the present day, as Mr. Colenso very correctly remarks.
Mr. Colenso quotes from Dr. Marshall, surgeon in H.M.S. “Alligator,” who, after remarking on the rugged nature of the sea-shore and the prevalence of high winds, says, “rendering the supply of fresh fish very precarious, while the absence of native animals, and the paucity of those imported, such as dogs and pigs, occasion a dearth of fresh meat. The dog, from the treble purpose served by it, of a watch when living, and food and clothing when dead, is highly valued by those he serves, and its bones carefully preserved. The skeleton of one, bleaching in the sun, was found on a high pole at the Namu, with the tapu or sacred thread wound round it, and a tuft of white feathers fastened to its skull.” Mr. Colenso says, “Of course, Dr. Marshall received this information respecting their food, and much more, from Mrs. Guard, who, with her child, were residing as captives among those Maoris for five months.”
Here, on the authority of Dr. Marshall, from information obtained through Mrs. Guard, we find that Mr. Colenso adopts the error in which these two had fallen by assuming that both the dog and pig were imported animals. Where, then, had the original native dog disappeared to so suddenly? But note how Mr. Colenso runs counter to the opinions expressed by Dr. Marshall:—
“Moreover, the facts stated by Dr. Marshall—(1) of the bones of those ‘imported’ dogs being ‘carefully preserved’; and (2) the skeleton of another found ‘set apart (tapu = sacred), bleaching in the sun, and ornamented with white feathers fastened to its skull’—are to me a convincing proof that such bones were not obtained from the common small New Zealand dog, whose flesh had been used for food (which never could become tapu with the Maori), but only from some peculiar and prized animal, such as an imported and high-priced and highly-valued one would be.”
Yet Dr. Marshall distinctly says these dogs were highly valued “as a watch when living, and food and clothing when dead.” Not a word about hunting or catching the wild pig. So far as my experience goes, the Maori kept the pig in a semi-domestic condition, and would round them up and catch those they wished without the help of dogs.
[Footnote] * Perhaps meaning the black rat of Europe.
The respect shown to these remains of dogs described here corresponds to the surroundings of the skeleton of a dog wrapped in matting which was found by Captain Rowan, and referred to in Transactions, vol. ix., page 243, some years ago.
I maintain that we have no proof that the dogs seen by Dr. Marshall and Mrs. Guard were European or imported dogs, and that they were the kuri. No colour, form, or size is here given, but the matter of the tapu is of great interest.
Mr. Colenso entirely gives himself away when he says we have not proved beyond, doubt that the original native rat (kiore) is living with us at the present day. Note the last paper on this subject (Transactions, vol. xxv.) by Sir W. Buller. Mrs. Guard, was wrecked on the coast of New Zealand on the 29th April, 1834, at which time the dog, when living, acted as a watch, and was food and clothing when dead. (Note remarks further on in this present paper.) I am of opinion these were the kuri. Yet Mr. Colenso says Messrs. Marsden and Nicholas failed to see the native dog in 1814–15, but they saw imported dogs in great numbers, and also running wild. Where can I see an account of these dogs of 1815?
Mr. Colenso sums up the result of his observations or quotations thus: “It was really a domestic animal, small in size, with pointed nose, prick ears, and very little eyes; that it was dull, stupid, and ugly; of various colours—white, black, brown, and particoloured—with lank long hair, and a short bushy tail; that it was fed on fish and refuse offal, and that it was quiet, lazy, and sullen, had little or no scent, and had no proper bark.” I fail to see where the authority for the brown colour is obtained; but that there were such I do not doubt.*
I have gleaned all the evidence on the native dog which is to be found in the account of Cook's “Voyages” round. New Zealand, which appears to be given verbatim in Chapman's “Centenary Memorial of Captain Cook's Description of New Zealand,” and will now place them before you.
When in Hawke's Bay, “A large canoe, with two-and twenty armed men on board, came boldly up alongside the ship. We soon saw that this boat had nothing for traffic; yet we gave them two or three pieces of cloth, an article they seemed fond of. I observed that one man had a black skin thrown over him, somewhat resembling that of a bear, and, being desirous to know what animal was its first owner, I offered him for it a piece of red baize, and he seemed greatly pleased with the bargain, immediately pulling off the skin, and
[Footnote] * Mr. A. Hamilton says, in Trans., vol. xxv., p. 488, “In the mat under notice the upper and lower edges had a fringe of strips of dogskin, with black, reddish-brown, and white hairs twisted in.”
holding it up in the boat. He would not, however, part with it till he had the cloth in his possession, and, as there could be no transfer of property if, with equal caution, I had insisted on the same condition, I ordered the cloth to be handed down to him, upon which, with amazing coolness, instead of sending up the skin, he began to pack up both that and the baize which he had received as the purchase of it in a basket, without paying the least regard to my demand or remonstrances, and soon after, with the fishing-boats, put off from the ship.”
“Soon after this occurrence some natives in a canoe seized Tayeto, Tupia's boy, and tried to paddle the canoe quickly away. The marines fired at the canoe, and one man dropped; the boy, jumping into the sea, swam to the ship. This cape was therefore called ‘The Kidnappers.’”
“This bay is called by the natives Tolaga. We saw no four-footed animals, nor the appearance of any, either tame or wild, except dogs and rats, and these were very scarce. The people eat the dogs, like our friends at Otaheite, and adorn their garments with the skins, as we do ours with fur and ermine.”
“In one of the canoes that came about us as soon as we anchored we saw two men, who by their habits appeared to be chiefs; one of them was dressed in a jacket, which was ornamented, after their manner, with dogs' skin; the jacket of the other was covered with small tufts of red feathers.… In other seasons they have certainly plenty of excellent vegetables; but no tame animals were seen among them, except dogs, which were very small and ugly.”
This definition of the dog I maintain to be only referring to the dogs of this particular district—of Tolaga Bay—and not applicable to all the dogs seen in New Zealand.
Page 28, “First Voyage,” Queen Charlotte Sound: “The family, when we came on shore, was employed dressing some provisions; the body of a dog was at this time buried in their oven, and many provision-baskets stood near. Having cast our eyes carelessly into one of these as we passed it, we saw two bones pretty cleanly picked, which did not seem to be those of a dog, and which upon nearer examination we discovered to be those of a human body.”
Page 133, “Second Voyage,” Queen Charlotte Sound: “These new-comers took up their quarters in a cove near us, but very early next morning moved off with six of our small water-casks, and with them all the people we found here on our arrival. This precipitate retreat of these last we supposed was cwing to the theft the others had committed. They left behind them some of their dogs.”
Here we have seemingly an instance of the owners leaving at a time when their dogs had gone on a hunting expedition
on their own account. How easily would come about leaving, and subsequent wildness of dogs, when we remember the people of one tribe were always, or most frequently, on the alert to surprise and murder those of another tribe not in friendly alliance with them! Kill the owners of any dogs and it would be highly improbable that the dogs would chum in with the strangers; hence they would become feral, for they could easily support themselves, feeding on the flightless birds of the country.
“Further Notes on the Habits and Customs of the Maori,” by Captain Cook: “But the great pride of their dress consists of the fur of their dogs, which they use with such economy that they cut it into stripes and sew them upon their cloth at a distance from each other—a strong proof that dogs are not plenty among them; these stripes are also of different colours, and disposed so as to produce a pleasing effect. We saw some dresses that were adorned with feathers instead of fur; but these were not common, and we saw one that was entirely covered with the red feathers of the parrot.”
“Second Voyage,” Massacre of boat's-crew from the “Adventure,” Captain Furneaux, 17th December, 1774, at Ship Cove. Mr. Burney's report: “In a small beach adjoining Grass Cove we saw a very large double canoe, just hauled up, with two men and a dog. The men on seeing us ran into the woods. In this canoe we found things belonging to the lost crew—a great many baskets, some full of roasted flesh. On further search we found a hand belonging to Thomas Hill, it being tattooed ‘T. H.’ at Otaheite.
“The next bay, which was Grass Cove, we found no boat, but, instead of her, such a shocking scene of carnage and barbarity as can never be mentioned or thought of but with horror, for the heads, hearts, and lungs of several of our people were seen lying on the beach, and, at a little distance, the dogs gnawing their entrails.”
A note appended to Chapman's “Centenary”: “Earl (page 194) speaks of a rich feast, not of pork, nor fish, nor even the kumara, but of two old sturdy large dogs. There were only five persons allowed to partake of this delicious meal, which was, as well as the five partakers, strictly tapued for the whole of that day. A similar dish was offered to Cook at Otaheite.”
Extract from introduction to Chapman's “Centenary”: “The New-Zealanders assert that their ancestors did not bring the dog with them, but that it was introduced by a ship that visited the islands before the arrival of Cook. The obsolete name pero for that animal is identical with the Spanish name.”
Referring to the above, I may state that New Zealand, or
a part of the eastern coast, was shown on the Portuguese charts some fifty years before Cook's arrival at New Zealand.
“A strong proof of the visit of the Spaniards or Portuguese exists in the fact of Spanish names attaching in the old charts to capes on the eastern coast. The coast-line from Poverty Bay to Cabo Formosa, or East Cape, was laid down on the Portuguese charts, whilst Dusky Bay and portions of the south-west coast appear in the charts of the Spaniards previous to the voyage of Cook.
“Note: The Portuguese nomenclature appears to have been copied for some time at the Hydrographic Office. On the Admiralty charts of the Indian Ocean of 1827, against the draft of the group, appears this note: ‘New Zealand, discovered and named by Tasman, 1642, but whose eastern coast was known to the Portuguese about 1550.’ And also, against Cook Strait, east side: ‘Gulph of the Portuguese, 1550.’
“The Spanish navigator, Juan Fernandez, in the year 1574, sailing from the coast of Chili… in a small ship, with some of his companions, reached in about a month a tierra firma, which was fertile and pleasant, and inhabited by a race of white people, well made, and dressed in a species of woven cloth, and who were of an amiable disposition. Several rivers fell into the sea, and altogether it appeared much better and richer than Peru.”
Dr. Thompson estimates the distance between Peru and New Zealand as 7,000 miles.
The speaking of the natives as white may be in contrast to black of the Negro race.
From this view of the case we cannot deny the possibility—nay, even the probability—that a Spanish or Portuguese dog or dogs were left at New Zealand long before the time of Captain Cook, more especially when it seems certain that this word pero was only used by the Maoris of the extreme North. But that they also had the dog of Polynesia, or, at least, the recollection of its Polynesian name, there is ample proof, kuri and kuli being the name for dog all through Polynesia. I speak thus cautiously because, although the Maori had no pigs before they were brought to New Zealand by Cook, yet they had a knowledge of its Polynesian name, as Cook himself says.*
It seems that men of science in the Northern Hemisphere are, like ourselves, more or less ignorant as to what kind of animal the New Zealand dog really was. In the last volume of Transactions (xxv.) you will notice a translation from “The
[Footnote] * A dog of the name of Pedro (Peter) might be left or stolen from a ship, and the Maoris would call it and its half-bred descendants pero, pero, in place of moi, moi.
Moas and Moa-hunters,” by Monsieur A. de Quatrefages, in which occurs the following:—
“The Maori dog, which came from the Islands of Manaia, belonged to this Polynesian race, which, all travellers describe as being vegetarian, and must have retained its natural habits in New Zealand. Besides, if the dogs had taken to eating meat their masters would have quickly discovered that this food affected in anything but an agreeable manner the flavour of their flesh, and they would not have failed to guard the observance of the habitual course. It is quite natural, therefore, that the Maori dogs did not behave like those which accompanied the old Danes of the kjækkenmæddings, and that they did not leave, as these latter did, the trace of their teeth on the refuse bones around them.*
Note (86): “The dog was called kuri by the Maoris. This local race was small in size, of a brown or yellowish colour, long ears, and bushy tail. It is extinct now, and replaced by the European dog.”
Note (87): “The flesh of our European dogs, who all more or less eat meat, has a particular flavour, reminding one of the odour of a badly-kept kennel, as was only too well known during the siege of Paris.”
I may remark here that the Chinese are said to keep the dogs they eat in pens, as we do our pigs; but the Maori did not do so. We know that the dog is naturally a carnivorous animal and a general scavenger. For this latter purpose dogs are highly valued in eastern cities of Europe, as Constantinople, Cairo, &c. As for the Maori dog being a vegetable-feeder, the idea is absurd. Can we suppose that the Maori would toil at digging fern-root, cooking, and pounding it, and then giving it to his dog? Nor could he grow kumaras or other esculents in sufficient plenty to supply even his own requirements. Fish, flesh, and fowl were undoubtedly, the main staple food of these people, more especially to those living in the frosty climate of the south. For flesh we may read dog and human flesh.
From fear of making this paper too lengthy I did not give the following entry of Captain Cook's, but possibly it may be of special interest: “During my last voyage, when we were continually making inquiries about the ‘Adventure ’ after our separation, some of the natives informed us of a ship having been in a port on the coast off Teerawitte, but at that time we thought we must have misunderstood them. The arrival of this unknown ship has been marked by the Maori
[Footnote] * I do not myself see how kitchen-middens could be formed where domestic dogs were present. Would they not carry the bones all about the place?
with more cause for remembrance than the unhappy one just mentioned. Taweiharooa told us their country was indebted to her people for the present of an animal which they left behind them. But as he had not himself seen it, no sort of judgment could be formed from his description of what kind it was.”
This can hardly have been any kind of dog—though, perhaps, Cook might understand “large dog,” or “something dog,” to mean some sort of animal other than dog, for I am given to understand that when the Maoris first saw the horse they named it kuri, as other Polynesians who had no dogs, but possessed pigs, called the horse “the pig swift (running) on the land”—Tahitian, puaa-horo-fenua; and at another island they, on first seeing the dog, called them pigs (broas).* So we have proof of the difficulty of this investigation. Te ra whiti means a place in the direction of the sun's rising. Some suppose this ship to be that of the ill-fated Marion. (When Marion was murdered, Crozet took command of the vessel.) The headland in Cook Strait which Cook supposed to be then referred to was “known to the Maori as To poroporo,” but possibly the natives really meant “at a distance eastward—far away.”
In Dr. Von Jhering's paper “On the Ancient Relations between New Zealand and South America,” Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxiv., are the following remarks: “The fauna of East Polynesia has such a well-pronounced Mesozoic character that the supposition of a very old Pacific continent, breaking up in pieces more and more during the Mesozoic era, may give us a natural explanation. And the further we go westward the more frequently we meet with recent types—in New Guinea the genus Sus and Muridæ; in Australia, besides Muridæ, also Canis. The craving only to make of Australia a land completely without placental mammals accounts for Canis dingo being considered as a race of the domestic dog. This error has been settled definitely by Nehring.† Canis no doubt belongs to the oldest Carnivora. Species of Canis are found in India and Sumatra, and C. dingo is as well a domesticated sporting-dog as Canis latrans of the North American Indians, ‡ or C. ingæ of the old Peruvians…. We shall have to give up the theory of the floating-trees with Sus, Canis, Muridæ, Lacertidæ, fresh-water Molluscs, &c., in their branches, as well as many other things of Wallace's hypothesis; and the botanists will not tarry to reduce the transports by currents and winds to a moderate measure.”
[Footnote] * Max Müller, “Science of Language.”
[Footnote] † Nehring, Sitzungsber. d. Ges. naturf. Freunde: Berlin (1882), p. 67. Zoolog. Garten (1885), p. 164.
[Footnote] ‡ The coyote (wolf).
The natives of the Polynesian Island Niue are of the fair Polynesian race, possibly without the admixture of Negrito blood, and akin to the Moriori of the Chathams. Their home is situated about two hundred miles to the east of Tonga, and nearly three hundred miles south of Samoa. It is about forty miles in circumference. These people had neither the dog nor the pig; whether without rats and lizards I cannot state. They would seem to have had no proper name for our term “animal,” for in a translation of the Bible by the Rev. Frank Lawes the word “animal” is rendered “four-boned bird.” They, of course, speak a dialect of the Maori language: E manu huifa,” four-footed beast”; e manu lele, “a bird”—i.e., a flying bird or animal. Manu I take to have been bird formerly, * but that after the introduction of animals to the island the addition of lele, “flying” = Maori, rere, “to fly or run,” was used as a specific distinction. Hhi-fa, literally “bone-four” (four-footed), which seemingly corresponds to Maori uwha, “the female” (of brutes only). Mr. Tregear, in his paper “Had the Polynesians a Knowledge of Cattle?”† treats the Maori uwha thus: “U, ‘the female breast” wha, ‘four’: Can this mean an animal having four teats, as the cow?” We seem to get the original form of Maori u in uwha, from Niue, hui, “a bone.” Whether a good philologist could, by a study of the word manu, “a bird,” prove that the old-time Polynesian lived in a land where no land-mammals existed I know not, but this would seem worth the looking-up. In Niue, manu huifa he vao, “beasts of the field”; e tau manu huifa oti kua mea, “all the four-footed beasts that are clean.” The Maori kuri and kararehe are taken as equivalent to “beast”; yet these words, before the advent of Europeans, meant “dog.” In Tahitian a goat is puaa-miho, literally “the pig with teeth” (on top of his head)—i.e., the horned animal. This study, you see, would be very interesting if well followed up.
You will notice I have stated two issues—(1.) Had the Moriori, or first inhabitants of New Zealand, a dog (feral or domesticated) and the moa previous to the arrival of the Maori or mixed Polynesian and Melanesian race, bringing the kuri with them? (2.) Or were the original inhabitants of New Zealand (the backbone of a sunken continent) totally unacquainted with any land-animal other than varieties of the lizard, and birds? I will now give you part of a letter written by a gentleman whom I some time ago asked to procure me skulls of the Maori dog for examination, but whose name I at present withhold from publication: “While digging lately I
[Footnote] * Maori, manu, a bird.
[Footnote] † Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxi., p. 447.
found one (a dog-skull) under the sand, alongside a kowhai upright piece of wood, which had been the support, or one of the supports, of the roofing of an ancient Maori dwelling, which could only have been inhabited eighty or a hundred years ago, as no natives have been at the place for over that time. It is quite possible this dwelling may have been empty for two hundred years. I forward this head, and one found by my brother, and a lower jaw found by him at another old settlement.… Sometimes very large heads have been found, and at others very small ones.… If I had known some years ago I could have got you hundreds, but now they are getting scarce.”
These two skulls are surprisingly small. The two, and a piece of a substance like ruddle or red-ochre, were packed in a compass which might be supposed to contain one fair-sized skull. They must be very different from the one Mr. A. Hamilton found at Shag Point or River, and which he said was about the size of that of a collie-dog. Now, I would ask the question, Have we not here something worthy of note—a dog buried at the foot of a post—presumably “the chief corner-stone” of the building—for I suppose other parts of the skeleton were with the skull? Had the Maori a custom of making his new dwelling tapu, sacred to himself alone, or to be guarded by the spirit of the dog; or allied to the custom of Rahui? At one time in Europe it was customary to bury a slave, or some particular person, at the ceremony of laying the chief cornerstone, and perhaps we still have a survival of this idea when we in modern times place coins, newspapers, &c., under the foundation-stone. I would like the opinion of a good Maori scholar on this point. Of course, the old-time missionaries would set their faces against such customs as heathenish, and would ignore them, as in Europe idols and so-called sacred books of the old faith were destroyed or burnt.
In the Maori language are three words which mean both dog and quadruped—kuri, which is the most general term for dog; kirehe and kararehe, which seem allied to the verbs karehe and rere, “to run”; the latter also means “to fly” and “to flow,” as water. The following quotation from Genesis, i., 24, will serve as a comparison with those given in the Niue tongue: Te kararehe, me te mea ngokingoki, me te kirehe o te whenua. In Rarotonga the pig, as the best-known quadruped, has acquired the meaning of animal or cattle, as e pou oki ta kotou au puaka i te reira, “and will also destroy your cattle.” At the present time to define a pig the Rarotongan will say puaka maori—i.e., the indigenous animal. This gives us the meaning of our word maori as applied to the native race, meaning indigenous, common, or ordinary, and would seem to be short for tangata maori, “a man indigenous” (to the country). In
Tahitian the letter k of the Maori is lost, as puaa, “a pig”; but it is remarkable that the Maori t is changed to k, as tangata = kanaka, “a man.” The ng of Maori = n of Tahitian. * In this language puaa also means cattle. So now I have called your attention to the remarkable fact that in various parts of Polynesia words originally meaning dog, pig, and bird are now, owing to the introduction of different kinds of animals by Europeans, come to mean animal, beast, and cattle. We may ask the question, Did these people, through their ancestors, at a former time know the numerous animals of the Continent of Asia, and, if so, how many generations intervened before these people, living on islands where such quadrupeds were not found, lost all tradition of and the names of once-known animals? And, again, if they never knew of the animals of the mainland, how do they come to possess the dog and pig? Have they met and mingled with a Negrito race in mid-oceanic islands, which latter race brought forward at different migrations at one time the dog and at another the pig? There is also the question of the domestic fowl, which, originally from India, might be carried forward by a Brahmin migration as far as Java. If so, possibly the dog and pig also came by way of India, and so by way of the Malay Archipelago onward to various islands of the Pacific and to far-away New Zealand. The pig and fowl came to New Zealand by the agency of Europeans. As Captain Cook says, “There we landed pigs and fowls which we brought from the islands”; and Maori tradition claims that they brought a dog, or the dog, in one of their canoes when they sailed from far-away Hawaiki.
Since Dr. Carroll has proved, by translating certain of the Easter Island inscriptions, † that they are of the same language as those found on the mainland of South America, in Peru, that formerly there was traffic between those two places; and, as we now find Easter Island inhabited by a Polynesian people, sufficient proof is obtained that man had successfully navigated the whole breadth of the Pacific between the Malay Archipelago and South America. Whether the Polynesians found any of the people who came from America still there when they took possession of Easter Island we have as yet no evidence; but it would be highly probable that a dog was brought from Peru and remained on Easter Island.
On the 21st June, 1764, the Honourable Commodore Byron left the Downs in Her Majesty's ship the “Dolphin,” on a voyage of discovery round the world. At the Faukland, or Falkland Islands, when Byron's sailors went ashore, no inhabit-
[Footnote] * The natives of the Sandwich Islands who join European ships as sailors are known as kanakas.
[Footnote] † “Polynesian Society,” vol. i.
ants were found, but there were dogs, which had no fear of man—in fact, they seem, owing to curiosity alone, to have followed the sailors so closely that the latter, from fear, ran into the sea. How can we account for these dogs being there? and have any signs of previous inhabitants been found on the islands, such as stone implements, &c.? At a later period cattle had been left there, and had become feral. Darwin remarks on them in one of his works. The climate was said to be continually wet, and the land mostly peat-swamps. Now I notice that wool and frozen mutton is exported from this place to the European markets. Some may say, What has all this to do with the dog of Polynesia? To which I reply that a careful observer should, in doubtful cases, collect all information possible, which may, or may not, ultimately have a bearing on the case under consideration. The dog is one of the few landmarks which we may connect with Polynesian history, and, as such, should attract the attention of those who wish to study the whence of the Maori people.
A gentleman whom I quoted in my former paper under the nom de plume of J. B., owing to not receiving written permission to use his name previous to my sending in the paper, is Mr. James Bennett, of Lovell's Flat, Otago. Referring to remarks which were made on this former paper, I may say that it is not good policy to speak of our helpers as “second hand,” or as “men of to-day.” Every man, old or young, “gentle or simple,” has a right to hold his own opinion on any given subject.