Art. LI.—Captain Dumont D'Urville's Visit to Whangarei, Waitemata, and the Thames in 1827.
Translated from the French* by S. Percy Smith, F.R.G.S.
[Read before the Auckland Institute, 22nd November, 1909.]
We left the “Astrolabe” off Tokomaru Bay, north of Gisborne, after having visited Tologa Bay (see Transactions, vol. xli, p. 130), and will now take up her further voyage to the north, and describe the visit of the French expedition to the Waitemata, the present site of Auckland, in 1827.
After leaving Tokomaru there are no incidents of particular interest until the corvette reached the Great Barrier Island, though she sighted White Island and many of the other groups of islands in the Bay of Plenty, and nearly suffered shipwreck on the Mercury Islands during a violent storm.
As in the previous cases, the translator's notes appear within square brackets.
D'Urville's intercourse with the Ngatai-Paoa Tribe of Maoris at the Tamaki is of peculiar interest; and, moreover, his meeting with Rangituke's expediton at Whangarei has served to fix the exact date of an important event in the history of the Auckland isthmus, the full history of which is to be found in “The Peopling of the North” and the “Wars of the Northern against the Southern Tribes in the Nineteenth Century,” published by the Polynesian Society.
With regard to D'Urville's claim to have been the discoverer of the Manukau Harbour, we must, in fairness, deprive the celebrated Frenchman of that honour, for it was Marsden (with whom was the Rev. Mr. Butler) who first visited those waters, as the following extract from his MS. journal, now in the possession of Dr. Hocken, who has very kindly sent me a copy, will prove: “November 3rd, 1820. … when I went to the top of a very high conical hill [Mount Wellington, or Maunga-rei], near the settlement [Mauinaina, across the water from Panmure]. From its summit may be seen both the western and the eastern shores of New Zealand. One river [the Manukau] which ran into the western ocean seemed to join the Wyetematta [Waitemata] and the Magoea [Mokoia; really Tamaki, Mokoia being the basin south of Panmure] Rivers, as I could not see any land that separated them [Otahuhu isthmus would be invisible from Mount Wellington]. On inquiry, I learnt that one river [Wai]uku] which I saw ran towards Wyekotta [Waikato], and the other was called Manukou [Manukau], which fell into the sea on the west side.”. … On the 9th November, “wishing to ascertain whether the River Manukou did unite with the Magoea River or the Wyetematta, I determined to proceed immediately to Manukou to satisfy myself on that head. … We reached Manukou in the evening. … We found an extensive harbour, and saw the Heads at the distance of about 5 leagues. … I informed him that the object of my visit was to examine the Harbour of Manukou, and that we intended
[Footnote] * Voyage de la corvette L' Astrolabe, exécuté par ordre du Roi, pendant les années 1826, 1827, 1828, sous le commandement de M. J. Dumont D'Urville (Paris, 1833), vol. ii, p. 111et seq.
to go down to the Heads to see if there was an entrance for ships.” … 10th November: “Though the communication between the western and eastern seas is not entirely complete, yet it is very nearly so. … In the Manukou there are very extensive shoals and sand-banks, but there appeared to be a channel of deep water, but which we were unable to examine in the canoe from the strength of the tide, which occasioned too great a sea to venture into it with safety. The entrance into the harbour is also narrow, and it is probable a bar may be found on the outside, but this we could not ascertain, as it would not be safe to go out to sea in a small canoe when the swell is so great; within the Heads we had 10 fathoms of water.”
The above clearly proves Marsden to have been the first discoverer of Manukau. Apparently he went down the harbour to beyond Puponga Point, as the soundings and other things prove. Marsden was there six years and a half before the “Astrolabe” entered the Waitemata, a fact which D'Urville could not have been aware of, for the above quotations are not printed in the “Missionary Register,” and it was from that source that D'Urville obtained the other information as to Marsden's doings which he so freely quotes in his third volume. Judging from D'Urville's observations scattered throughout his works, he would be the last man to deprive a prior discoverer of the credit which is his due.
With respect to the name “Astrolabe Channel,” Which D'Urville gave to what is now known as the Waiheke Channel, his name must also give place to another which had previously been given to it by Major Cruise, of the 84th Regiment, who, in the colonial schooner “Prince Regent,” belonging to the New South Wales Government, under the command of Captain Kent, entered the Rangitoto Channel on the 21st August, 1820, and thence passes along the Waiheke Channel to Coromandel, where H.M. storeship of that name was then taking in spars for the Admiralty. On her return north the schooner again passed through the channel, and left by way of the Motu-ihi Channel on the 3rd September, 1820. Cruise, in his “Journal of a Ten Months' Residence in New Zealand,” p. 209, says, “The passage above mentioned was called ‘Prince Regent's Channel,’ because that vessel was the first by which it was known to have been navigated.” Marsden also passed up the Waiheke Channel on his way to Kaipara from Coromandel two days before the “Prince Regent” first entered it, but he does not appear to have given it a name, and therefore Cruise's name, “Prince Regent's Channel,” should stand.
[Visit to Whangarei.]
Chapter XIV [part of page 142.]
20th February, 1827.—At daybreak the land which had been in view all night showed up at less than two leagues' distance to windward, and the whole of the island of Otea [Aotea, Great Barrier] was developed to its full extent. It is formed by a chain of elevated mountains, cut up by deep ravines, and is generally sterile. A small island situated on the N.E. of Otea [Rakitu], which we passed at about two miles and a half distant, offers a most arid aspect. On the whole coast of Otea we did not remark any indication of inhabitants; no smoke denoted the presence of human beings. By noon we were at a point precisely to the east and less than half a league from the north point of Otea. On that side the island is terminated by a peninsula, without vegetation, of a brownish colour, and the flanks of which
battered by the sea, have something of a lugubrious though imposing appearance. It is also accompanied by some pointed rocks of singular shape, some of which are very slender on top. For this reason we gave to that part of Otea the name of Pointe des Aiguilles [still so called]. At the same time the soundings were 72 fathoms, hard yellow mud.
As soon as we had passed the Pointe des Aiguilles, we discovered successively the numerous islands dispersed at the entrance to the Bay of Shouraki [Hauraki], a view which produced a most picturesque and animated scene. Here the work of Cook was again found to be very unexact, and a new exploration became indispensable.
With the wind W.N.W. then prevailing I already flattered myself with the hope of doubling the north point of Otea, and of penetrating into the Bay of Shouraki by the channel which lies between that island and Shoutourou [Hauturu, Little Barrier]. A black squall, however, rose in the S.W., and prevented me, and therefore I kept away to starboard. At 1.30 the squall burst upon us with violence, but it did not last long. Presently the sky cleared, and the wind returned to the S.S.W. and obliged me to keep outside the islands, and soon after we sighted the Poule et les Poussins [Hen and Chickens Isles], just before night. At 12 p.m. a brilliant meteor showed in the east for some seconds.
21st February.—When daylight came we sighted all the land seen the previous evening, and at the same time found that the current had driven us eight or ten miles to the north. We also commenced to see the Tawiti Rahi (Poor Knights of Cook) [Tawhiti-rahi] and the broken summits of Tewara [Bream Heam], although distant one and the other nearly twenty-five miles.
At noon we passed, at six miles distant, to the north of the islets, apparently uninhabited, of Moko-hinau.[Moko-hinau]. The breeze having changed to the S.E. and even E.S.E., I steered the corvette under all sail towards the Harbour of Wangari [Whangarei], where I hoped to cast anchor before night. Unfortunately, at the moment when we arrived on the meridian of the east group of Moro-Tiri (and it was already 4.30), the breeze fell, and barely allowed us to move more than a knot an hour. It was then impossible to stand out to sea, and I decided, as well as I could, to gain the anchorage of Wangari, with the sounding-line in hand. We passed at less than half a league the narrow and loftly chain (sic) of Moro-Tiri. [The Moro-tiri, or Chicken Islands, however, are, comparatively speaking, quite low; probably D'Urville means the Hen Island.] On its desert shores nothing but the monotonous sound of the breakers and the fearful cry of the sea-birds was heard.
Up to midnight we had successively from 48 to 22 fathoms of water, sand, and shells. … At 4.30 in the morning of the 22nd I laid to; and at 6 a.m., having recognised the land at less than three miles off, I stood towards Cape Rodney. Soon the sky, up to that time clear, became overcast from the east, with a heavy sea, and it appeared as if bad weather was again setting in. I did not judge it prudent to expose ourselves to the fury of the wind on an open coast, and thought it better to find an anchorage in shelter.
In consequence, I steered towards the head of Wangari Bay, where I hoped to place the “Astrolabe” under the shelter of Cape Tewara. Unfortunately, we had already fallen too far to leeward, and a bank appeared in our route, which obliged us to anchor in the mouth of the bay in a place little sheltered against the wind prevailing.
Hardly had we anchored when the sky became entirely overcast, and the wind blew with force from the S.E., accompanied by much rain and a heavy sea. Nevertheless, it was not long before we distinguished a long warcanoe coming from the head of the bay, and approaching us, urged by all the vigour of those on board, for they managed their craft with extreme ability. It was not without interest to see that long and frail vessel mounting and disappearing alternately over the rough waves. These Natives were in the national costume of New Zealand—that is, mats of mouka (Phormium tenax) [muka], more or less thick, with the exception of one individual, who was properly dressed in English garments. I at first took him for some deserter established amongst the Natives, the more so as he accosted the corvette without hesitation, mounted on board, and asked for the rangatira rahi [principal chief], and advanced toward me with a deliberate air. It was not until I heard him speak, and examined his partly tattoed face nearer, that I discovered he was in reality a Native.
Soon, by aid of a language half English, half New-Zealand, often aided by singnificant gestures, I came to understand that my guest was named Rangui [Rangituke], son of Te Koki, principal chief of Paihia, Bay of Islands, Whom I had visited four years previously. He said, with pride, he was a companion of Pomare [killed by Waikato, on the Waipa River, in 1826], and, although he concealed part of the truth, I suspected very quickly that he was at this time engaged in some military expedition against the people of Shouraki Bay.
One of his lieutenants, named Natai [?Nga-tai], decorated with regular tattooage, attracted our attention. The facile of M. de Sainson has reproduced with fidelity the features and the moko [tattooing] of this New Zealand warrior (see pl. xliii). [Plate XL.]
Rangui gave me to understand that he had resided some time at Port Jackson, where he had acquired his semi-European manners. In order to convince me, he showed me with much gravity a torn sheet of paper, which I at first took for some certificate of a whaling captain. In effect it was a certificate, but under the name of two individuals of Sydney, attesting the fact that they had lodged Rangui for some days, adding that the latter had promised in return to send them some spears, shells, and other objects of the country. These two people, in consequence, invited all captains into whose hands the paper should fall to remind the bearer of that promise. That pleasant invitation amused me much, and I thought that those invited would think much more of securing such things for themselves, rather than for the two comrades of Port Jackson. For the rest, I returned to Rangui his paper, with a serious air, as if its contents had given me much information about him, and he appeared very well satisfied.
After having examined for a moment the weather, our ship, and our anchorage with as much aplomb as an experienced pilot, he declared that we were in a very bad place, that the weather was going to be worse, and that our ship would certainly perish if we did not change her position. At the same time he indicated the head of the bay, and assured me we should be in perfect safety there, and used all his eloquence to persuade me to remove thither. Without doubt he was right, which I knew well; and more than he I desired the power to conduct the corvette under the shelter of Tewara Peninsula, but the weather which prevailed did not permit me to attempt it. Te Rangui, who could not understand my reasons, exerted himself to demonstrate the necessity of leaving that anchorage, and added
the menace of an approaching shipwreck. Seeing that he could not prevail, he sent his canoe ashore and remained with me himself.
At my request he gave me, with intelligence and complaisance, the names, in the language of the country, of the adjacent lands and islands, which I have, as usual, substituted for those of Cook.
On these coasts, occupied by a people endowed with so much sagacity, and who have not left an islet, a rock, or a corner of the land without a name, it seems odd to a navigator to see none but English names, often applied without taste. It is much more interesting to use the Native names, which are certain to be understood by them, and to be able to indicate thereby the places to which he desires to direct his ship. Without doubt it is a sacred duty on the part of the navigator to respect the names given by the first discoverer of uninhabited places; but, everywhere else, I think that those of the indigenous people should prevail so soon as they are known. A time will come when these names will be the only vestiges of the language spoken by the primitive inhabitants.
Immediately after anchoring, I sent M. Pâris to sound all round the ship from the N.W. to the S.W., and determine the limit of the 5-fathom line. The result of his operations was that the deep water nearly touched the coast. As we were more than two miles distant, it assured me that in case of accident we should have plenty of room to drift.
The weather threatened more and more. At 12, I attempted to get under way to advance farther up the bay; but our capstan, always in bad order, slipped at each violent shock of the waves. I feared that the intended movement, in place of being advantageous to us, might become fatal, so I decided to remain as we were, the more so as the anchor held well, although we had at that time only 40 fathoms of chain out.
The weather being somewhat better at 3 p.m., I sent M. Lottin towards the head of the bay to make a survey of it. He returned at 5.30 p.m., after having found an excellent anchorage at the entrance of a fine channel, which is probably the mouth of the Wangari River.
Te Rangui had passed the day on board very happily, and decided to spend the night with us. But nothing would prevail on him to accompany us to the head of Shouraki Bay. The very idea of communicating with the inhabitants of that country seemed to cause him much terror. Neither prayers nor promises could conquer his repugnance, nor even the offer of a musket, a bait so powerful to a New-Zealander.* He told me that Temarangai [Te Marangai], chief of this district, lived on the Wangari; and he added that he would go and inform him of our arrival, and invite him to bring some hogs, if we would only wait three or four days.
All night the sea was very heavy, the breeze fresh and uncertain, and the heavens overcast. The “Astrolabe” rolled heavily, but without too much strain on her.
23rd February.—At 5 a.m., seeing that the wind and the sea would not permit me to make sail, I wished to profit by the delay to visit the bay at the entry of the river, and the encampment of Te Rangui. Followed by MM. Quoy, Lottin, Lauvergne, and Te Rangui, I directed the whaleboat towards the point of sand situated N.N.W. of our anchorage.
[Footnote] [* Te Rangi and his tribe, Nga-Puhi, had been at war with the Thames tribes for many years past; and, indeed, his tribe, under Hongi, had inflicted such numerous defeats on them that it would not have been safe for Te Rangi to have shown himself there.—Translator]
On our way thither we met the three canoes of Rangui, which were coming off.* The largest was ornamented both fore and aft with plumes and tufts of hair, and the whole length of its top-sides sculptured in basrelief, painted in red, often enriched with shell, the whole executed in the best New Zealand taste. Rangui addressed some words to his warriors, and then insisted on accompanying me in my excursion, though I offered to leave him in his canoe. A considerable bank of sand which extends nearly a mile out from the coast reduces the entry to Wangari so much as not to leave more than half a mile of clear space. The interior offers an excellent anchorage, where one would be sheltered in all parts; and the south wind, which alone could enter, would not cause much sea, on account of the configuration of the adjacent lands. Along the high land towards the north 10 and 12 fathoms are found close to the shore.
The entrance of the river itself has half a mile of width, and expands into a vast basin of from two to three miles in width, where ships like ours could doubtless enter. We debarked near the north point, and M. Lottin and I climbed up to the summit of a ridge which dominated both the exterior and interior basins. From that point the eye wandered at will over the sombre summits of Tewara, surmounted by sharp peaks often disposed like the fingers of the hand, and over the low and sandy flats which bordered the opposite side of the channel at my feet [Township of Marsden; landing-place for Waipu], and, above all, over the vast and peaceful basin of the waters of Wangari, surrounded on all sides by shores covered with a robust vegetation. Pleasant isles elevated themselves on its surface, whilst the course of the river disappeared in the mountains situated towards the sunset.
Probably, like all those which have been found up to date in these islands, this river, in spite of its imposing aspect at its mouth, is but a large creek of salt water, ending soon in a torrent more or less voluminous, which in summer and at low water often offers but a small stream of water. That disposition of the New Zealand rivers, so much in conformity in appearance with those of New Holland, arises, I think, from a different cause. In New Zealand I attribute it naturally to the extreme irregularity of the soil, to the height of the mountains, and, above all, to the little width of the islands of which that land is composed, which does not permit the water-courses to attain any considerable volume before pouring out into the sea. It is needless to prove that the same reason is not admissible for the Australian Continent.
Whilst admiring the beauty of the scene spread out before us, and the vigour of the vegetation, I was astonished at the silence which reigned on all sides, and the absence of all human creatures on a soil so fertile. But I recalled to mind the warlike habits of the New-Zealanders, and, above all, the wars of extermination which the people of the north declared each year against the unhappy tribes of Shouraki Bay. In fact, in rambling in the neighbourhood, I soon discovered in the scrub which covered the soil the scattered remains of numerous houses. A village had formerly occupied that eminence, and its inhabitants had been destroyed, or had fled to the interior to escape the fury of the Bay of Island tribes, guided successively by Korokoro, Pomare, Shongue [Hongi], &c.
[The Whangarei Natives—Parawhau and others tribes—were generally allies of Nga-Puhi of the bay, but not always, and frequent wars between
[Footnote] * Pl. xl.
them have taken place. But the desolation of the country referred to by D'Urville was caused by Ngati-Whatua, of Waitemata, who, in 1824, had destroyed or driven away most of the inhabitants around Whangarei Heads. See “Wars of the Northern against the Southern Tribes in the Nineteenth Century,” p. 148.]
Here, in spite of most favourable circumstances for the researches of an entomologist—a brilliant sunshine after a long rain—I had occasion to remark again the singular paucity of many species of insects on the soil of New Zealand—no Coleoptera, no Lepidoptera; nothing but some Orthoptera, Hemiptera, and Diptera, such as locusts, crickets, bugs, and flies. The birds were more numerous, but very wild. Excellent oysters covered the rocks, and large sea-weeds carpeted the intervals between them.
As soon as M. Lottin had completed his work, which took about an hour, I made my way towards Rangui's camp, which was established on a little flat under the flanks of Tewara Peninsula, and sheltered from all winds. A rapid glance over his establishment soon convinced me that it was but temporary: it was only a flying camp, where that rangatira had placed himself with his troop as a vedette awaiting the rest of the army. Two or three huts made of branches served as tents; a great number of baskets full of fern-root (ngadoua) [aruhe]; a quantity of fish suspended in the air to dry, of which half were decomposed, exhaling a disagreeable odour; bundles of spears, and sometimes muskets covered with mats: behold the baggage of these adventurers! There were no pigs, no appearance of cultivations—nothing but a handsome cock, which I purchased.
As nearly all had gone on board the ship, there only remained on guard one man, two or three women, and some children.
Having questioned Rangui more particularly, after some shifting he ended by avowing that he was conducting the advance guard of a military expedition directed this year by the people of the Bay of Islands against those of Waikato, whose ruin they had sworn. He awaited from day to day the arrival of the other chiefs to advance towards the south. He was delighted at hearing that I intended to anchor at Paroa [Bay of Islands]; his eyes filled with tears when I said I should see his father, Te Koki,* and expressed his pleasure by all sorts of testimonies of friendship.
As I judged the weather would permit me to get under way, I dissuaded Rangui from returning with us, and took leave of him. Half-way back I met the three canoes returning ashore. Already I was felicitating myself on being disencumbered of our importunate guests during the time we were getting under way, when on my arrival I was altogether nonplussed to find that six of them remained on board. Instantly I embarked them in the whaleboat, and landed them on the nearest point. Nevertheless, this caused a delay of two long hours, and it was noon exactly when we got under way.†
[Footnote] * [A great deal is to be learnt about this turbulent old chief in “The Life of Archdeacon Henry Williams.”]
[Footnote] † [The expedition of which D'Urville saw the advance guard at Whangarei Heads, under the chiefs Te Rangi-tuke and Hori Kingi, about April or May, 1827, was defeated near Tamaki Heads, Waitemata, by Ngati-Tipa, Ngati-Paoa, and some divisions of Waikato, and nearly the whole of the Ngati-Tipa, Ngati-Paoa, and some divisions of Waikato, and nearly the whole of the Nga-Puhi were killed. They were led into an ambush. and very few escaped back to the Bay of Islands to take the news. (See “Wars of the Northern against the Southern Tribes in the Nineteenth Century,” p. 191.)—Translator.]
[Visit to Waitemata.] Chapter XV.—Exploration of Shouraki Bay; Discovery of the Astrolabe Channel.
We steered to the S.E. with a fine breeze from the north, keeping two and three miles off the coast. From the anchorage up to Cape Papai-Outu [Paepae-o-tua; Bream Tail], which forms the southern point of Wangari Bay, the coast is low and bare [this low coast fronts the Waipu Settlement], and does not rise until after the cape is passed, where it becomes also partly wooded. Beyond that again there is nothing but a series of uniform dunes, almost bare, up to four or five miles from Cape Tokatou-Wenoua [Toka-tu-Whenua*] (Cape Rodney of Cook). After that the land rises again, and is less mournful in appearance. On our left we passed the elevated summits of Moro-tiri [Taranga] and the rock Toutourou [Tuturu], like an isolated sight on a cannon, without any appearance of verdure.
At 7 p.m. exactly we passed between the Cape Tokatou-Wenoua and the high island Shoutourou [Hauturu, Little Barrier], at less than half a league from the first, and about six miles from the latter. The point of Tokatou-Wenoua is not itself very elevated, and not until four or five miles in the interior is it surmounted by a peak of about 150 toises [1,500 ft.] in height [Mount Hamilton, Tamahunga].
The soundings, which all the afternoon had indicated 32 and 33 fathoms, increased to 40 near the cape, although the distance from the coast was only half as much as before. After passing it the indications again became uniform, of 31 to 33 fathoms, as before, right up to mid-channel between the main and Shoutourou. The night was very fine, and we passed it peacefully, lying to.
24th February.—From 4 a.m. I steered to the W.S.W., to approach Cape Tokatou-Wenoua. When daylight permitted us to see the land I saw that the current had carried us during the night six or seven miles towards the Cape Moe-Hao [Moehau] (Cape Colville of Cook). I endeavoured to follow the coast as closely as possible, for my intention was to enter amongst the islands to the west that Cook had only noticed hastily and in a very vague manner, so much was I desirous to complete the work of that great navigator.
Although the wind had become very light, at 8 a.m. we passed opposite a projecting point terminated by some islets, and behind which should be found an excellent anchorage [Tawharanui Point, just south of Whanga-te-au Bay]. An instant after, a reef awash showed right ahead, which we passed at 400 toises, whilst M. Guilbert went to reconnoitre it. It is a small plateau of little extent, and which offers no danger, having all round it 17 fathoms of water.
With a fair wind we passed before a deep bay, which contains many islets, bays, and channels. Towards 2 p.m. we passed under full sail between an island to port (Tiri-Tiri-Matangui) [Tiritiri-matangi] and a peninsula on the right which is only joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus [Whanga-paraoa Peninsula]. In the channel, which is two or three miles wide, the soundings decreased regularly from 20 to 17 fathoms.
[Footnote] * [Near Cape Rodney is a place named Te Waka-tuwhenua, or the “Canoe of the 1 epers.” Here one of the ancient canoes that came from the Eastern Pacific landed her crew, who had the leprosy, and nearly all died soon after landing.—Translator.]
After this we entered a spacious gulf on the west side of Shouraki Bay, where we were obliged to make some bords to approach the land in a S.W. direction.
This fine basin has ten or twelve miles of extent either way. To the S.E. it is bounded by a chain of islands of moderate height [Rakino, Motutapu, Rangitoto, &c.], and well wooded; to the west by a uniform perpendicular coast, sad-looking and sterile; to the N.N.W. a large channel appears to enter into the land [Te Weiti River]. But I preferred to direct my researches towards another opening in the south, which would, according to my calculations, allow me to approach the opposite coast of New Zealand, and which appeared to reduce to very little the width of Te Ika-Na-Mawi [Te Ika-à-Maui] at this point. I even thought that there might exist here a channel which separated the land into two islands.
We had not remarked any trace of inhabitants, only two or three smokes a long way in the interior. One cannot doubt that this extreme depopulation arises from the ravages of war.
The breeze having very much decreased, and changed to the W.S.W. in the evening, we let go to the anchor in 12 fathoms, soft mud, at four miles off the coast. In a few instants the crew had brought up on their lines an immense quantity of fish, which was exquisite eating. During the afternoon a small hammer-headed shark had followed the corvette.
25th February.—The hammocks were stowed at 5 a.m., and a few minutes afterwards the “Astrolabe” was under sail. The wind having become steady in the S.S.W. obliged us still to beat against it, and I saw that it would take us a good part of the day to attain the pass to the south. In order to profit by this, I jumped into the whaleboat with MM. Lottin, Gaimard, and Lesson, to go and explore the interior channels. At a distance of about half a league we had the pleasure of seeing the “Astrolabe” sailing the tranquil waters of a basin surrounded by land on all sides, her hull lightly balanced on the surface of the waves, her sails softly filled by a light breeze, a lively contrast to the absolute silence of nature. Lost in the immensity of the ocean, like a point, the mass of a ship takes on all its importance as soon as it approaches any object with which it can be compared. The effect which this spectacle produces is perhaps more striking still to the navigator who, enclosed within that floating home, finds in its ordinarily restricted dimensions the reason of the constraint he feels.
At the end of two hours we entered the pass which had excited our curiosity. On the left is an island (Rangui-Toto) [Rangitoto], low at its extremities, surmounted by a peak in the centre, and of which the flourishing vegetation contrasts in a singular manner with the nakedness of the opposite coast. We soon found ourselves in a beautiful interior basin, in which we got 6 to 8 fathoms regularly, and which soon divided into two channels: the one turned to the east, of which we could not discern the extremity [Waiheke Channel]; the other, which ran to the west, seemed to us to be land-locked at two or three leagues distant.
We entered the latter, and debarked on the right-hand shore. Whilst M. Lottin made a geographical station on the summit of a peak which since last evening we had observed from a long distance [probably Mount Victoria, or Takapuna], I cast an eye on the surrounding country. Covered in abundance with herbaceous plants, there are some bushes, but no trees. Already the heat seemed to have destroyed a great part of the vegetation; and the soil, although fertile, seemed to me to be without fresh water, for I could only find a pool, which was brackish. Birds were very scarce; we
were only able to shoot a few species on the shore; we did, however, notice a quail analogous to that of Europe. All along that beach we felt a heat to which we had not been accustomed since our arrival on the New Zealand coast.
At half an hour after noon we re-embarked to cross the arm of the sea, and landed on the southern shore. At the side of the water we found an abandoned village, composed of over a hundred houses; but we saw they were merely huts built of branches, constructed solely to serve as a temporary shelter for the Natives on their great fishing excursions, or on some military expedition.*
Always occupied with the idea that the ocean would be found at a short distance to the south, I resolved to cross the narrow isthmus which separated it from us, or at least reach a mount distant about two leagues [? Mount Eden], from the summit of which I hoped to discover the two seas. I took Simonet with me, and MM. Lottin and Gaimard, to whom I communicated my project, and who wished to accompany me. Their society was as useful as agreeable, for in traversing these unknown solitudes one runs the risk of meeting at any moment with savages whose intentions might be suspected. For the rest, I placed confidence in the fact that I carried nothing that might excite their cupidity. Simonet alone had an indifferent gun.
We were at first favoured by a little well-trodden path, which led precisely in the direction I wanted to go. For a long time I thought it would lead us to some habitation. For about an hour we passed across hillocks covered with high fern, scrub, and sometimes coppices, cut up by gullies in which ran streams of fresh water. To our great regret our path vanished by degrees, and ended at a small but thick wood. However, as we were not more than two miles from the eminence which I wished to attain, we therefore tried to continue our route; but after half an hour of unheard-of efforts and extraordinary fatigue, which barely permitted us to advance two hundred paces, we found ourselves in a place so swampy and interlaced with ferns, dry shrubs, and brushwood that it became impossible to place one foot before the other. In an attempt to proceed farther M. Gaimard had a fall, and was near being dangerously hurt.† It became necessary to return, a task rendered more difficult on account of our exhaustion. The ligneous Veronica, Leptosperma, Epacrids, and some Cyperaces, and, above all, the edible fern, formed the principal vegetation of these deserts. No trace of cultivation offered to our view. Beyond the path which we followed we saw no other vestiges of the presence of man except some fallen trees and a few places where the earth had been freshly turned over to procure roots of the fern (ngadoua) [aruhe], one of the principal bases of nutriment of the inhabitants of these regions.
[Apparently D'Urville passed from the harbour through what is now Parnell, and the place he finally turned back from was the wood and swampy ground that formerly existed on the site of the present Newmarket.]
[Footnote] * [It seems probable that the point where D'Urville landed was either in Judge's or St. George's Bay. None of the Ngati-Whatua were living about the Waitemata at that period, having abandoned the country and gone to lower Waikato and Manukau, in consequence of their great defeat at the Battle of Te Ika-a-ranga-nui, in February, 1826, at the hands of Hongi.—Translator.]
[Footnote] † See note 14 [extract from M. Gaimard's journal, of no particular interest. Translator].
From the neighbouring heights we remarked that the channel where our boat was left debouched to the west into a large basin which extended indefinitely to the north [the upper Waitemata]. It is very probable that the latter communicates with the channel we had observed the previous evening in the N.N.W. of our anchorage [? the Weiti River]. Everything indicates that in these parts the island Ika-na-Mawi [Te Ika-a-Maui] is cut up by many channels and creeks, which form bays and harbours, some better than the others.
Towards half past 3 we quitted those parts, and an hour afterwards we were on board. Profiting by the favouring tide, M. Jacquimot had brought the corvette to the entry of the pass between Rangui-Toto and the land of Toka-Pouni [Takapuna, Mount Victoria; the north head is Takarunga]. As soon as the whaleboat was hoisted in I hauled the tacks to star-board, having decided to enter the eastern channel. Aided by a fine breeze from the S.W., I quickly doubled to windward the island Rangui-Toto, and at twenty-five minutes past 5, at the moment when we passed its southern point, at less than 300 toises, the sounding-line, which was dropped alternately and continuously on either side, showed diminished soundings from 6 to 5, 5 ½, and even 4 fathoms. I luffed up, in spite of breakers which encircled us on the south, when the soundings gave us 6, and afterwards augmented up to 8 fathoms. At 6.30 p.m. I saw myself surrounded by land in all directions, and the channel was much contracted. Fearing to fall into a place less favourable to anchor, and not wishing to go any farther, I let go the starboard anchor in 8 fathoms, muddy bottom. Twenty fathoms of chain sufficed to place us in a position without anxiety. The night was very fair, and I was able to enjoy a perfect repose.*
26th February.—At 5 a.m., impatient to pursue our discoveries, and with a slight breeze from the S.W., accompanying charming weather, I made sail in order to advance farther up the channel into which we had penetrated. But the wind, after veering to the S. and S.E., suddenly fell altogether, at 7.30 a.m., and left us in a dead calm. At the same time three canoes, which we had long since seen coming from the south shore, arrived alongside. I soon learned that they belonged to Rangui [Rangi-hua], chief of these parts; he himself, dressed in a Scotch tunic [? kilt], was in the largest of the canoes. On my invitation he mounted on board at once, and without distrust, and advanced towards me with a grave and assured pace, and offered me the salutation of etiquette (shongui) [hongi]. I ordered that all his warriors should remain in their canoe, and only permitted him and his brother and companion-in-arms, Tawiti [Tawhiti, or Waero], to come on board, which did not seem to cause him any repugnance.
Te Rangui, whose height was 5 ft. 9 in., was a very fine man in every sense of the word; his gait was noble and imposing; and his features, though ornamented with numerous furrows—marks of his rank—expressed an air of calm confidence and dignity in a remarkable degree. It was not long before we became the best friends in the world, and, during the course of the long conversation we had, the following are the principal things I was able to catch: The Natives of Shouraki [Hauraki] are in continual war with the people of the north, who come each year to ravage their territories. The firearms give an immense advantage to the latter, and Rangui testified the most lively desire to obtain some for his tribe. A
[Footnote] * See note 15 [being an extract from M. Quoy's journal, which is of no interest except that he mentions the volcanic nature of the surrounding country.—Translator].
year has barely passed since he fought with guns against the redoubtable Pomare. After having exchanged several shots, Pomare had finally succumbed. As is the custom, his body was devoured on the field of battle, and his head, prepared in mokomokai, was conserved in the Waikato Pa, the principal fortress of the league of the people of Shouraki Bay. I could have become its owner for a few pounds of powder; it was only necessary to wait four or five days, the time required to send a messenger to bring the head from Waikato. That proposition was assuredly very seducing to me, and I should have been pleased to have taken to Europe the skin [or head] of a warrior so famous in these antarctic regions. Unfortunately, the exploration of New Zealand was only a secondary object of the expedition, and my instructions were to proceed to the tropics.
[Pomare, the celebrated Nga-Puhi warrior and leader, had been killed near Te Rore, on the Waipa branch of the Waikato, in about the month of March, 1826, together with almost the whole of his war-party, only some half a dozen men escaping to carry back the news to their homes. The expedition of Te Rangi-tuke that D'Urville saw at Wangarei was organized to obtain revenge for Pomare's death. Te Rangi and Tawhiti's tribe, Ngati-Paoa, assisted at the death of Pomare.]
Rangui and Tawiti, impressed with the desire to satisfy my curiosity, gave me also the names of the districts, channels, and islands surrounding us. It is thus that the following names figure on our chart—namely, Rangui-Toto [Rangitoto] for the volcanic island situated N.W. of the anchorage; Taka-Pouni [Takapuna] for the shore opposite; Wai-Tamata [Waitemata] for the channel to the west; Wai-Mogoia [Mokoia, an old pa near Panmure; Tamaki is the name of the channel], a channel to the south; and Wai-Roa [Wairoa River] for a third situated to the east. They confirmed the fact that the Wai-Tamata did not communicate with the western sea; but they repeated several times, and in a positive manner, that in following the course of the Wai-Mogoia one arrived at a place only separated by a very short distance from the banks of the Manou-Kao [Manukau], a large port situated on the west coast of New Zealand.
This information appeared to me so important that I instantly conceived the project of verifying its truth. I immediately proposed to Rangui to remain on board with Tawiti, whilst I sent some one of our officers to Manoukao under the escort of his warriors. He consented with such good grace and with such an open air that I thought there would not be the least danger for my companions. In consequence, I let go the anchor at no great distance from the place where we had passed the night; and afterwards, at 6 a.m., the whaleboat, under the orders of M. Lottin, accompanied by MM. Guilbert, Gaimard, Bertrand, and Faraguet, departed. A guide supplied by Rangui was charged to conduct them, and to make them respected in the name of that chief.
M. Lottin had orders to proceed as far as Manoukao to reconnoitre the western sea, but so arranging his proceedings as to return by night. The greatest care on their part, in their dealings with the Natives, was impressed upon them. Too many fatal catastrophies, dating from the discovery by Tasman up to the taking of the “Boyd” at Wangaroa [Whangaroa, 1809], have sadly signalised the presence of Europeans in these parts for me to be perfectly tranquil as to the disposition of these people, as easy to irritate as they are barbarous in their vengeance.
At the same time I sent the yawl, under the orders of the boatswain, to obtain wood on a little island adjacent, named Koreha [Motu-Korehu;
Brown's Island]. Its summit is in form of a crater, and the scoria found at its base attests that its origin is equally volcanic, although it is to-day almost entirely covered with a thick carpet of very green herbs.
Rangui had breakfast with me, and comported himself decently at table; afterwards he sent all his people and the canoes ashore, remaining alone with Tawiti on board. Amongst the things which he told me, the following are what I noted with much care: He had no knowledge of any but three vessels that had visited these parts before ours—viz., the “Koroman” (“Coromandel,” Captain Downie), “Pateriki” (without doubt, from what I afterwards gathered, the “Saint Patrick,” with M. Dillon); lastly, the “Louisiann,” which I supposed to be an American. [Major Cruise, in the “Prince Regent,” was in these parts in 1820.] This last ran aground and nearly perished in trying to pass through the Pakii [Pakihi] Channel. The district of Tamaki, which lies on the banks of the Mogoia, recognises for principal chief Rangui, Kaiwaka, and Tawiti, whilst Manoukao is under a great chief named Toupaia [Tu-paea, a leading chief of Ngati-Tipa, of lower Waikato], whom my two guests called their father. No doubt this is only a title of respect or adoption, since they explained later that their true father was Houpa [Te Haupa], a powerful chief formerly established near the mouth of the Wai-Kahourounga [probably Kauaeranga, River Thames], but who had succumbed, with a great number of his warriors, in an epidemic which they attribute to the anger of the God of the English. [Probably this epidemic is that known as “Te Ariki,” introduced by H.M.S. “Coromandel” in 1820, when she discovered the harbour named after her, and which epidemic spread through nearly the whole of New Zealand, carrying off very many thousand people. Mr. Marsden was on board her at the time.] In their superstitious ideas it was the appearance of Mr. Marsden amongst them, and the intercession of that tohunga or powerful prophet, that procured for them this terrible affliction; but they could not assign any special motive for that absurd opinion. It is known also that during the whole of his voyages in this country Mr. Marsden lived in the most perfect harmony with these people. However it may be, thenceforth regarding those parts as devoted to the celestial vengeance, the children of Houpa and their companions, placing their old homes under an eternal tapu, established themselves more to the north on the left-hand side of the Shouraki Gulf. All that side takes the name of Ware-Kawa [Wharekawa], whilst that on the east retains more particularly that of Shouraki. Waikato, situated at three or four days' journey towards the S.S.E., and where is the arsenal of these people, is commanded by Kanawa [Te Kanawa, who was a leading but not the principal chief of Waikato at that time. Te Wherowhero was the head chief then, and for many years after], and defended by a thousand warriors, who at once march if any news is heard of the arrival of Shongui [Hongi] at the Shouraki Bay. Rangui recounted to me the miserable death of Hihi [Te Ihi, a noted Nga-Puhi warrior], one of the most redoubtable companions of Shongui, who was drowned the preceding year in the same basin where we were then anchored. His canoe had capsized during a violent squall, and his body became food for the fishes—a destiny the most fatal [degrading] in the ideas of this people.
My guest never ceased telling me with emphasis that he had killed and eaten Pomare, showing me with pride his Scotch tunic as a trophy of his victory—Exuvias indutus Achilles. [No doubt Te Rangi was present at the death of Pomare, for the former's tribe, Ngati-Paoa, were, with NgatiTipa, of Waikato, the principal actors in the affair. But it is always said
that Nini, of the second tribe, gave Pomare his coup de grâce with a spear.] According to my guest, he was preparing the same end for Shongui if the latter should dare to oppose him. Nevertheless, when I spoke by chance of Rangui, of Paihia, whom I had encountered at Wangari, the boasting of my hero diminished all at once, to be replaced by an inquietude very marked, and which had something of the comic about it. He inquired as to the trength of his enemy, of his projects, and demanded more than twenty times if they would not arrive immediately. All noticed that the news cruelly agitated him, and that he was extremely put out at learning that his enemy was so near. Having asked what would be my conduct in case Rangui—whom he surnamed Touke [his real name was Rangi-tuke] to distinguish him from himself—came alongside the corvette, I replied that, being a friend of all New-Zealanders, I should do him no harm; but that I would not suffer him or any of my guests to be attacked or even insulted on my vessel. I added that so long as Rangui, of Tamaki, and his people were under my protection no harm could come to them. That promise gave him pleasure, and appeared somewhat to calm the lively fears that he entertained. The path that we had followed yesterday I found also led to Manoukao, although intercepted here and there. KaiPara [Kaipara], the residence of Moudi-Panga [Muru-paenga], celebrated chief of those regions, is only distant three days' journey from Tamaki; and that valorous rangatira, who had so long resisted Shongui with success, had finally succumbed under the blows of the latter, and had also, with his warriors, served him as a repast. [Muru-paenga, the one chief of Ngatiwhatua, of Waitemata and Kaipara, who for many years had withstood the might of Nga-Puhi, was at last caught, with a few of his followers, at Mahurangi in 1826 by some of the Hikutu Tribe, of Hokianga, and there killed. In the days before firearms he was one of the most noted warriors of the Maori race. In 1807 he inflicted a serious defeat on Nga-Puhi at Moremunui, on the beach a little south of Maunganui Bluff, and several times led expeditions to Taranaki. Marsden, who visited him at his Kaipara home in 1820, gives a pleasing description of this great rangatira.]
Kapou-Hoka, of whom Touai [Tui, said to be a brother of the wellknown Korokoro, of the Bay of Islands] some years ago showed me the prepared head at Paroa [Bay of Islands], was a brother or elder cousin of Rangui's. I believe that Kanawa, chief of Waikato, was a toupouna [tupuna] or grandfather of Rangui, and father of Tawiti [this is not quite right; see note at the end hereof], from whence it follows that the latter would be the uncle, or nephew, or even cousin, are often confounded amongst these people, and they adopt them as often amongst themselves as did the ancient Romans, adding thus to the confusion.
Rangui could only name six of the principal winds—that is, N.W., moudi [muri]; N.E., marangai; E., tonga; S., hawa-ourou [haua-uru]; W., touaraki [tuaraki]; and N.W., kauraki. He recited to me the whole of the famous chant, the pihe, and was much astonished at my repeating it after him by reading it from the grammar [Professor Lee's “Grammar and Vocabulary,” 1820]. The chief carried as a sceptre a piece of carved whalebone, which he called a patou-wairoa [patu-paraoa], which I acquired, as also a fine mantle garnished with dogs' hair, of various colours, belonging to Tawiti. The latter had brought his wife* with him, who carried an
[Footnote] * See pl. lvii.
infant in her arms, who appeared to be equally cherished by both parents. As we had seen in other parts, the slave girls granted their favours to the first-comer for the merest trifle, whilst the married women were inaccessible. In order to prove the extent of the scruples touching conjugal fidelity, M. Gaimard made all sorts of offers to Tawiti to obtain the favours of his wife; that rangatira was deaf to all these seductions, even of the offer of an ordinary musket, and contented himself each time by responding, “Tapou” (sacred, defended) [tapu]. But when the doctor came to offer, as a pleasantry, a double-barrelled gun, this savage chief, incapable of resisting an offer so seducing, pushed his wife into the arms of the stranger, whilst he held out the other hand for the gun. Before judging too severely these children of nature, it must not be forgotten that in their eyes an arm of that kind is to-day a greater prize than a chamberlain's key, a marshal's baton, or even a Minister's portfolio, in the eyes of a European.
As I had already remarked in similar cases at the Bay of Islands, the wife of Tawiti showed the greatest repugnance to part with a shark's tooth which she carried in her ear. The only reason she offered was that this tooth came from a stranger (tangata ke), a response which had often been made to me at Paroa. It must follow that these Natives hold singularly to souvenirs of friendship which have been left them, if, indeed, it is not the effect of a superstitious sentiment.
At 5 o'clock the canoes returned alongside, bringing an immense quantity of fish. These islanders ceded them to the sailors for scraps of biscuit, and showed great probity in their bargains. The yawl brought two loads of wood, which was easily procured from Koreha Island.
The whaleboat returned at 7.15 p.m. with all our voyagers. After having ascended the Mogoia [Tamaki] River three or four miles, they landed on the shore of a narrow isthmus, which they crossed, and then found themselves on the basin of Manoukao. They had nothing but praise for the proceedings of the Natives, and were received by them with all possible honour. I refer the reader to M. Lottin's account* for details of this interesting excursion, and the results of his explorations; for the rest, it is now proved that the island of Ika-Na-Mawi in that part is reduced to a very narrow tongue of land [at Otahuhu].
This discovery may become of great interest for any settlements which may take place in the bay of Shouraki, and the interest augments the more if further reconnaisances demonstrate that the port of manoukao is susceptible of receiving ships of a certain size, for such an establishment would thus be found within reach of the two seas, both east and west.
Toupaia [Tupaea], the principal chief, could not come on board till the morning; but Inaki, rangatira paraparao,† who had received the gentlemen at Manoukao, accompanied them on their return. He was of medium height, but very well built, with an expressive face and proud attitude, and a truly warlike air. He appeared to be altogether independent of Rangui, who on his side affected to treat him with haughtiness. The latter did not cease to repeat that Inaki was much inferior in rank, and that he was but a rangatira paraparao, allowing also that he was a very brave warrior. I concluded that, as in other countries of the globe, Inaki, though inferior to Rangui by birth, had perhaps acquired by his courage
[Footnote] * Note 16 [at the end hereof].
[Footnote] † A title which corresponds to that of first lieutenant of the principal chief, and confers on him the function of chief warrior.
and his exploits the right to command the warriors of Manoukao. He presented me with his baton of command, carved at its extremity, incrusted with shell, and enriched with precious plumes. [Inaki must not be confounded with Hinaki, the principal chief of this branch of Ngati-paoa, who was killed at the storming of Mauinaina or Mokoia Pa, near Panmure, by Hongi's war-party in 1821. Hinaki was the father of Harata, wife of old Epiha Patene (or Jabez Bunting), well known to old Auckland settlers. Paraparau means “one captured in war,” and, as often happened, probably Inaki, by his courage as a warrior, had risen to be a leader in war in his captor's tribe.]
Te Rangui had become altogether my guest, and slept in my cabin, whilst Inaki and Tawiti were treated on the same footing by the officers. Rangui was extended tranquilly on his mattress, and was preparing to sleep, when he heard in the adjacent cabin (the officers' quarters) his two companions occupied in negotiating the introduction of some women who had been demanded of them. My chief then demanded of me if I also wished the same; on my replying in the negative he heaved a sigh; subsequently, supposing me to be asleep, he stole away softly, and went to take part in the negotiations of his two companions, in order, no doubt, to participate in the profits which should accrue to them.
27th February.—At 5 a.m., desiring to profit by a light breeze from the S.S.W. to continue our work, I had the topsails set, and half an hour afterwards we were under way to the E.S.E. towards Pakii [Pakihi].
Our noble friends, Rangui, Tawiti, and Inaki, before leaving us, promised to return and see us at Shouraki. By means of a ribbon I suspended round the necks of Rangui and Inaki medals of the expedition, in sign of protection and friendship, testimony of which they appeared very sensible. Rangui having informed me that the passage by Pakii was not safe, and that it was necessary to take another, between the islands, offered me one of his slaves (kouki) [kuki—i.e., cook] to serve as pilot, assuring me that the man knew all those localities perfectly. In testifying my thanks to the chief for this mark of attention, I was little disposed to place too much confidence in the nautical knowledge of such a person, who, after all, could never have piloted anything but a canoe, drawing only 2 ft. or 3 ft. of water.
At the time when the chiefs embarked in their canoes, an incident occurred showing the character of these people. I have already said that during all the time the corvette was at anchor off the Mogoia River, not only Rangui and the other rangatiras had comported themselves with propriety, but also their subjects had trafficked alongside with a good faith worthy of praise. As we got under way I was told that one of the Natives had taken the lead of the sounding-line, negligently left hanging in the chains. Taken in the deed, he returned it without any resistance, and hastened to slip away. Addressing Rangui in a loud voice, and with a severe tone, to the effect that they were not worthy of being called honest men, I said that we would chastise robbers without mercy. That reproach and threat appeared to affect him profoundly; he excused himself by saying the crime had been committed without his knowledge by a stranger, a slave. Then, with a submissive air, he demanded if I intended to punish him for that action. I responded that it was of no consequence this time, and wished him good-bye in a friendly way, and turned away to the work of the ship. An instant after, the noise of heavy blows and of pitiable cries coming from the canoe of Rangui drew my attention to the side. Then I saw Rangui and Tawiti both striking a mat which seemed to cover a man.
But it was easy to see that these two astute chiefs were only striking the side of the canoe. After having played this farce for some time, Rangui's paddle broke, and he nearly fell over; and he, calling to me, said that he had nearly killed the man, and demanded if I was satisfied. I responded in the affirmative, laughing to myself at the ruse of these savages—a ruse, moreover, of which examples are to be found amongst many people more advanced in civilisation.
Rangui and his companions had often urgently demanded lead to make balls with, a request which I was not able to comply with, because we had hardly enough for our own use. Without doubt, it was impossible for that chief to resist the temptation of possessing such a large piece at once, and it was by his orders the lead had been taken. Seeing the larceny discovered, he had not hesitated to leave the slave to bare the blame, and resolved to appease my anger by a pretence of giving me satisfaction.
The feeble and variable wind only allowed us to advance very slowly, with a depth of from 5 to 6 fathoms, along the pretty island of Wai-Heke. In approaching the pass, I sent M. Guilbert to sound the Pakii Channel, and presently the red flag which he hoisted announced that he had found less than 4 fathoms. I then decided to proceed along a channel to port, and which my pilot Makara assured me was practicable for our corvette. This new channel has not more than half a league of width, and is also confined by an islet (Takoupou) [Takupu], situated towards its middle. I passed by the northern arm at less than two cables' length from that rock, and not having for a long time more than 4 fathoms under the keel, which caused me some anxiety. Presently the depth increased to 7 and 8 fathoms, the breeze became fresher from the west, and we sailed rapidly along these unknown channels. A pleasant vegetation decorated their shores, offering to us at each instant the most agreeable effects of perspective. It was thus we navigated during nearly two hours, by islands, sometimes high, broken, and covered with magnificent forests, sometimes lower, and carpeted only with a more modest verdure.
There is no doubt that it would be easy to find in these agreeable islands places well suited for settlement. I remarked particularly on the shores of Wai-Heke places that seemed to me admirably suited for such establishments. It is vain to repeat that I deeply regretted having to leave these beautiful places without power to explore them more attentively, and without levying a new tribute from all the natural productions. But time pressed, and other work called us far from these coasts.
I must say that our guide, Makara, in that difficult navigation, showed a coolness, an attention, and an intelligence which would have done honour to a European pilot. I never found his directions at fault; it was a spectacle as new as it was interesting to us to see a savage, a cannibal, take us through these solitary channels like an attentive and devoted pilot. He gave me the names of the islands and adja ent lands with much complaisance. If I had been better able to understand his language, no doubt I should have acquired many important details. He informed me that it certainly was the god of the white people who had killed Houpa [Haupa] and the other inhabitants of Shouraki. When I asked who was the god of the white man, he pointed to the binnacle; and it was not for the first time these Natives had accorded divine honours to that singular machine, so much above the intellectual sphere of a poor savage.
At 3 p.m. we entered into the Shouraki Bay, a lit le to the south of the place which Cook named “The Isles of the West.” With a unanimous
voice we gave the name of our ship to the fine channel through which we had passed in all its extent, and explored with so much success. If one wishes to estimate it, starting from the island Tiri-Tiri-Matangi, where our discoveries really commenced, the Astrolabe Channel has not less than fifty miles in length; but by making its origin at Rangui-Toto, where, restricted between the two shores that approach one another very nearly, it offers at all times the best anchorages in the world for ships of all dimensions, and from there it presents a development of nearly thirty miles of coast, without including the Wai-Tamata branch, to which we were unable to assign the real extent. It is undoubted that one day these channels will play a most important rôle in navigation, when the Colony of New South Wales shall take on the development it is susceptible of. The work of the “Astrolabe,” until then disdained, will revive in the memory of man like that of M. D'Entrecasteaux, which already interests an entire colony established on the places which that navigator found originally a complete desert [no doubt the author refers to Hobart].
At a mile outside where the Astrolabe Channel joins Shouraki Bay is an isolated rock, altogether bare, wild, and inhabited by myriads of cormorants. The people have given it the name of Tara-Kai (from tara, cormorant; and kai, to eat) [Tarakihi]. We made a “station” close to that rock, and afterwards pursued our route to the south, with a light breeze from the S.W., changing to the south at 6 p.m., which constrained us to anchor in 6 fathoms at less than half a league from the coast of Ware-Kawa [Wharekawa], and near a somewhat remarkable cape named Wai-Mango [probably near Orere].
28th February.—The night was fine and tranquil. The following day, at 6 a.m., the “Astrolabe” was under sail, and I endeavoured to approach the mouth of the Wai-Kahourounga [Kauaeranga, at the Thames]. But the breeze, which at first was E.S.E., varied successively to the S.E. and even S.S.W.: this caused me to renounce the project of advancing towards the head of the bay, and at 8.30 a.m. I again anchored in 8 fathoms, mud, at about two miles from the shore, and at seven miles and a half from the mouth of the river [Thames]. From the anchorage we could distinguish clearly the two points of the entrance; but the head of the bay is no doubt nothing but an alluvial plain, and is so low that it was only from the tops that the immense forests of Podocarpus that cover a large part could be seen. As soon as the corvette had anchored, I sent M. Lottin to the adjacent coast to make a geographical “station,” and at the same time to leave our excellent pilot Makara. Although belonging to the slave class, or kouki [kuki, derived from the English cook], this young fellow had, by his conduct on board, merited our esteem. In parting with him, I gratified him with a packet of powder, a large axe, and some other trifles, which made him the happiest of men. He spared neither pressing nor promises to determine me to return and see his chiefs, who were about returning from Waikato with immense provision of hogs, potatoes, and kumaras. Much as I should have desired to prolong my sojourn in these interesting parts, the time pressed, and the “Astrolabe” had to visit a number of other places besides New Zealand.
In consequence, as soon as the boat returned, we got under sail, and directed our course towards the Shouraki coast [east coast], to follow it closely. It is much more elevated, and, moreover, more abrupt, than that of Ware-Kawa, and the ground is not suitable for cultivation. We may remark here that the place where M. Lottin had debarked he found a shore
of pebbles on which the sea broke, and beyond that a marsh, impracticable, and covered with Phormium. In general, this part of the Shouraki Bay cannot compare in appearance and fertility of soil with the shores of the Astrolabe Channel.
At 6.20 p.m., the wind having passed to the N.N.E., and the current turned towards the head of the bay, we anchored in 5 fathoms, two miles from the shore. All day we had seen a great fire on the Shouraki side; but no canoe came out to us, which proves that the tribe inhabiting that district is poor and not numerous. [The fact is that the Ngati-Maru and other tribes owning this part of the Thames district had mostly been driven to the upper Thames by the constant incursions of the Nga-Puhi.]
1st March.—A fresh breeze from the east blew all night, which we profited by at 5.20 a.m. to continue our route, following the coast two or three miles distant, so as to seize on all the details. At noon we made a “station” on the parallel of the northernmost of the Islands of the East, of Cook, the Wai-Hao [Waiau, probably—i.e., Coromandel Harbour], Wai-Mate [Waimate], Papa-Roa [Paparoa, which is a place on the mainland five miles north of Coromandel], and Moutou-Kawao [Motu-Kawau] in the Native language. These islands would offer excellent anchorages, as also would several well-marked bays along the coast. This latter rapidly rises everywhere in escarped mountains covered with forest. The summit, Moe-Hao [Moehau],* which ends in the cape of the same name (Cape Colville of Cook), is remarkable for its elevation. All this land seemed to us uninhabited, and we saw no other smoke but that of which I have already spoken.
We had charming weather and a smooth sea; but the breeze, but the breeze, which was feeble, only allowed us to advance slowly. All the same, we succeeded in getting to the north of the channel formed by Cape Moe-Hao and the island of Otea [Aotea]. We passed at five miles an island in the channel [Takapau, otherwise Te-poito-o-te-kupenga-o-Taramai-nuku!], and at 6 p.m. were about mid-channel between Shoutourou [Hauturu] and Otea. The calm surprised us in that place, and we were obliged to pass the whole night directing all our efforts to avoid falling on one or the other.
Every time we were becalmed the crew caught with lines an astonishing quantity of fine fish belonging to the species Dorade unicolor, which are excellent eating. It is the same fish that Cook calls “bream,” and appeared to be prodigiously abundant in these parts. Whilst we were at anchor off the Mogoia [Tamaki] River, the Natives of Tamaki loaded their canoes in the space of a few hours. To-day the crew soon caught hundreds, and there was enough to supply each plate with ample provision.
2nd March.—At 2 a.m. we found that the current had taken us near to the coast of Shoutourou [Hauturu, or Little Barrier], and afterwards carried us towards the strait of Moe-Hao. At daylight the calm still prevailed, and we were obliged to remain in the same position. The channel which separates the two islands of Shoutourou and Otea has a width of seven or eight miles, and appears very safe, with regular soundings of 30 fathoms. Shoutourou rises rapidly on all sides up to a conical mountain of a considerable height, and is easily seen from all parts of Shouraki Bay [Hauraki Gulf]. The surf breaks all round it, rendering it difficult for
[Footnote] * [The Geological Department, quite wrongly, call this mountain “Te Moehau,” which is not the name given to it by Tama-te-Kapua, captain of the “Arawa” canoe, circa 1350. There is no “Te” in the name.—Translator.]
small boats to land. It is the same with Otea, of which the coast is even steeper, cut up with gullies, and often devoid of vegetation; nevertheless, ships would probably find shelter under the little islands situated near the larger one. At two or three miles to the south of the west cape of Otea, which we named Cape Krusenstern, is a little group of bare rocks, which at a distance have the appearance of canoes under sail, which caused us to give it that name.
3rd March.—A light breeze from the S.W. having arisen, we profited by it to advance on our route towards the north. At midnight, being then about three miles to the east of the island Moko-Hinou [Mokohinau, also Poko-hinau], I laid to to await daylight. Afterward I steered as much west as possible, to regain the coast near Wangari, to continue the explorations ended some days before near that point. But the wind remained in the west, and I was reduced all day to beat to windward to approach the coast. …
[We may leave the “Astrolabe” here, with the hope of being able to take up the narrative of her visit to the Bay of Islands on another occasion.
[With respect to the Natives seen at Tamaki by D'Urville, these were members of the Ngati-Paoa Tribe, who originally owned all that district. D'Urville did not, as might be expected, get the exact relationship of the chiefs whom he met there. Te Haupa (or Kaiwaka), a great chief of that tribe, was a son of Toto-ka-rewa, as was Tawhiti (or Waero). Rangi is not known, unless he was Tawhiti's son Rangi-pua. These people had a few years previously been driven from their homes by Nga-Puhi, under Hongi, who had inflicted a disastrous defeat on them at the taking of the pa, Mauinaina, situated just across Mokoia basin, to the south of Panmure, in 1821. The people that D'Urville saw only visited their old homes occasionally to procure fish, &c., for they had migrated to Waikato in order to avoid the constant raids of Nga-Puhi. A few months after D'Urville's departure from the Tamaki, the expedition that he saw at Whangarei, under Rangi-tuke, met the Ngati-Paoa Ngati-Paoa just inside Tamaki Heads, and a great battle ensued, in which Rangi-tuke and all but about twenty of his followers were killed. The Ngati-Paoa in this case were assisted by the Ngati-Tipa, of Waikato Heads. All the details of these troublous times will be found in “Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century.”]
Note 16.—M. Lottin's Journey to Manukau.
…At 9.30 a.m. I left in the whaleboat with MM. Guilbert, Gaimard, and Faraguet. We were about to ascend the Wai-Mogoia and verify the assertion of the Natives who affirmed that in that part New Zealand could be crossed in a few instants, and then we should arrive at the sea which bathes the west coast.
At 11 a.m. we entered the river. Above its mouth, confined by a tongue of sand, it forms a large basin of a mile and a half in width by two in length, where the water is salt; and beyond that, at low water, banks of mud appear, obstructing its course, and reducing it to a sinuous channel, of which the width varies from 50 to 200 toises, and is only navigable by small boats.
By noon we had crossed the first basin, and the water became drinkable. The sinuosities of the river caused us to pass near a village, or sleeping-place (moemoe), situated on the right-hand shore, and named Ourouroa [Ururoa]. An immense quantity of fish was drying in the air, extended
on frames, and exhaling an insupportable odour. The Natives gathered on the summit of the cliff, drawn thither by curiosity, and talked with loud voices to our guide as long as the speed of our boat allowed, whilst many children followed us along the banks.
As we advanced the land became lower; it was covered with tall vegetation, and cut up by small streams of almost stagnant water; many isolated mounts of no great elevation dominated the plain, recalling the tumuli of Greece.
At 12.15 the river suddenly terminated in a basin 200 toises wide, and beyond it there was nothing but a streamlet of water. We disembarked on the mud, leaving M. Faraguet to guard the boat. We were at this time seven miles from the corvette and about three miles and a half in a straight line from the mouth of the Mogoia, the general direction of which is S. ¼ S.W. to N. ¼ N.E.
At 12.55 we took a path cleared through high vegetation, which appeared to be frequently used by the Natives. The lay of the land prevented our seeing very far ahead, but at 1.50 p.m. we found ourselves on the borders of the sea of the other coast. We had therefore taken fifty-five minutes to cross New Zealand, which in that place had only about two miles of width. [It is clear from this account that M. Lottin did not go to the head of the Tamaki at Otahuhu, but crossed the Mokoia basin south of Panmure and came out on the Manukau north of Mount Richmond.] We now had before us what appeared like an immense lake. We tested the water, and found it salt; and, noticing a hill near us, we directed our steps towards it, with the intention of obtaining a more exact idea of the locality. A canoe was out fishing. The piercing vision of the Natives soon discovered us, and they immediately paddled ashore, and directly afterwards a numerous and armed crowd surrounded us. After talking some moments with our guide, the noisy escort accompanied us to see the chief of these parts.
We passed near some huts which exhaled the odour of rotten fish. There was no palisade to protect them; it was a kind of flying camp, ready to be quitted at the first announcement of an enemy. Many young girls came forth and joined our party, whilst a crowd of children gazed at us most earnestly, notwithstanding the blows from the butt of the guns which our escort seemed proud to bear. Presently we saw the chief; it was Inaki, one of these handsome New-Zealanders. He commanded under him who owned that part of the island, having the title of rangatira-paraparao, general-in-chief of the warriors. He was advantageously posted on the upper part of a slope at the extremity of a double rank of his warriors, and clothed in a beautiful mantle of dog-skin. He stood upright, supporting himself on a spear ornamented with plumes and tufts of hair. I made him a present of some cloth and a medal of the expedition, which had been given me by M. D'Urville for that purpose. The guide explained our intentions, and he gave us his permission to climb the hill, which is sacred, and up which, as a matter of fact, none of the Natives followed us. [This was probably Mount Richmond, formerly a pa, possibly at that time used as a burial-ground.]
Arrived at the summit, we were disappointed in not being able to see the entry from the ocean. In the place indicated by the Natives towards the west was a well-pronounced depression in the mountains which bounded our view, but an island between them and us prevented our seeing as far as the ocean. [This would be Puponga Peninsula.] The immense bay seemed entirely safe; but near the shores many mud-banks appeared,
showing that there would be a good bottom for anchors. We took a few bearings to give more exactitude to our sketches, and then descended, urged by the advanced hour, which prevented us taking a more interesting course by boat.
The Natives give the name of Manoukao [Manukau] to this bay. They stated a hundred times that it communicated with the open sea, and I have no doubt on the subject. It is probable that it is the False Bay of Cook.
We distributed several articles of hardware and some small pieces of French money, and then departed with Inaki, who expressed a desire to see the commander.
We traversed rapidly the narrow isthmus which separated us from the boat, and, catching part of the ebb tide, returned very slowly down the Mogoia River. A great number of Natives were collecting shellfish on the mud, and the rocks at the entrance were covered with fishermen. We reached the “Astrolabe” during the night.