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|l State 0f t\\t &ao& Id Slimes. 


" Of Anthropophagi, and men whose heads 
Do grow BETWEEN their shoulders." 

Second CF&itton. 







t > 


To the English reader, and to most of those 
who have arrived in New Zealand within 
the last thirty years, it may be necessary 
to state that the descriptions of Maori life 
and manners of past times found in these 
sketches owe nothing to fiction. The dif- 
ferent scenes and incidents are given exactly 
as they occurred, and all the persons 
described are real persons. 

Contact with the British settlers has of 
late years effected a marked and rapid 


change in the manners and mode of life 
of the natives, and the Maori of the present 
day are as unlike what they were when I 
first saw them as they are still unlike a 
civilised people or British subjects. 

The writer has therefore thought it 
might be worth while to place a few 
sketches of old Maori life on record before 
the remembrance of them has quite passed 
away ; though in doing so he has by no 
means exhausted an ' interesting subject, 
and a more full and particular delineation 
of old Maori life, manners, and history has 
yet to be written. 



Introductory First view of New Zealand First Sight 
of the Natives, and First Sensations experienced by 
a mere Pakeha A Maori Chief's notions of trading 
in the Old Times A dissertation on ' Courage ' A 
few words on Dress The Chief's Soliloquy The 
Maori Cry of Welcome Page 1 


The Market Price of a Pakeha The value of a Pakeha 
" as such " Maori Hospitality in the Good Old Times 
A Respectable Friend Maori Mermaids My 
Notions of the value of Gold How I got on 
Shore P il g c 1 7 


A Wrestling Match Beef against Melons The Victor 
gains a Loss " Our Chief" His Speech His flatus 
in the Tribe Death of " Melons " Rumours of Peace 


and Wai' Getting the Pa in fighting order My 
Friend the "Relation Eater" Expectation and Pre- 
paration Arrival of Doubtful Friends Sham Fight 
The "Taki" The War Dance Another Example 
of Maori Hospitality Crocodile's Tears Loose 
Notions about Heads Tears of Blood Brotherly 
Love Capital Felony Peace Page 30 


A Little affair of " Flotsam and Jetsam " Rebellion 
Crushed in the Bud A Pakeha's House sacked 
Maori Law A Maori Law Suit Affairs thrown into 
Chancery Page 66 


Every Englishman's House is his Castle My Estate and 
Castle How I purchased my Estate Native Titles 
to Land, of what Nature Value of Land in New 
Zealand Land Commissioners The Triumphs of 
Eloquence Magna Charta Page 7 6 


How I kept House Maori Freebooters An ugly 
Customer The- " Suaviter in Modo " A single 
Combat to amuse the Ladies The true Maori Gen- 
tleman Character of the Maori People Page 85 


Excitement caused by first Contact with Europeans 
The Two Great Institutions of Maori Land The 
Mum The Tapu Instances of Legal Robbery 
Descriptions and Examples of the Muru Profit and 
Loss Explanation of some of the Workings of the 
Law of Muru , Page 103 



The Mum falling into Disuse Why Examples of the 
Tapu The Personal Tapu Evading the Tapu The 
Undertaker's Tapu How I got Tabooed Frightful 
Difficulties How I got out of them The War Tapu 
Maori War Customs Page 117 


The Tapu Tohunga The Maori Oracle Responses of 
the Oracle Priestcraft Page 148 


The Priest evokes a Spirit The Consequences A Maori 
Tragedy The " Tohunga " again Page 1 5G 


The Local Tapu The Tauiwha The Battle of Motiti 
Death of Tiki Whenua Reflections Brutus, Marcus 
Antonius, and Tiki Whenua Suicide Page 16o 


The Tapa Instances of The Storming of Mokoia 
Pomare Hongi Ika Tareha Honor amongst 
Thieves Page 175 


" My Rangatira '' The respective Duties of the Pakeha 
and his Rangatira Public Opinion A "Pakeha 
Kino " Description of my Rangatira His Exploits 
and Misadventures His Moral Principles Decline 
in the numbers of the Natives Proofs of former 
Large Population Ancient Forts Causes of De- 
crease Page 179 



Trading iuthe Old Times The Native Difficulty Virtue 
its own Reward Rule Britannia Death of my 
Chief His Dying Speech Rescue How the World 
goes Round Page 211 


Mana Young New Zealand The Law of England 
"Pop goes the weasel" Right if we have Might 
God save the Queen Page 223 





AH ! those good old times, when first I 
came to New Zealand, we shall never see 
their like again. Since then the world seems 
to have gone wrong somehow. A dull sort 
of world this now. The very sun does not 
seem to me to shine as bright as it used. 
Pigs and potatoes have degenerated ; and 
everything seems "flat, stale, and unprofit- 
able." But those were the times ! the 
"good old times" before Governors were 
invented, and law, and justice, and all that. 


When every one did as he liked, except 
when his neighbours would net Let him, (the 
more shame for them,) Avhen there were no 
taxes, or duties, or public works, or public 
to require them. Who cared then whether 
he owned a coat ? or believed in shoes or 
stockings ? The men were bigger and stouter 
in those days ; and the women, ah ! Money 
was useless and might go a begging. A 
sovereign was of no use except to make a 
hole in and hang it in a child's ear. The 
few I brought went that way, and I have 
seen them swapped for shillings, which 
were thought more becoming. What cared 
I ? A fish-hook was worth a dozen of them, 
and I had lots of fish-hooks. Little did I 
think in those days that I should ever see 
here towns and villages, banks and insurance 
offices, prime ministers and bishops ; and hear 
sermons preached, and see men hung, and all 
the other plagues of civilization. I am a 
melancholy man. I feel somehow as if I had 
got older. I am no use in these dull times. 
I mope about in solitary places, exclaiming 
often, "Oh ! where are those good old times?" 
and echo, or some young Maori whelp from 
the Three Kings, answers from behind a 
bush, No HE A. 


I shall not state the year in which I first 
saw the mountains of New Zealand appear 
above the sea ; there is a false suspicion 
getting about that I am growing old. This 
must be looked down, so I will at present 
avoid dates. I always held a theory that 
time was of no account in New Zealand, and 
I do believe I was right up to the time of the 
arrival of the first Governor. The natives 
hold this opinion still, especially those who 
are in debt : so I will just say it was in the 
good old times, long ago, that, from the deck 
of a small trading schooner in which I had 
taken my passage from somewhere, I first 
cast eyes on Maori land. It was Maori land 
then ; but alas ! what is it now ? Success to 
you, King of Waikato. May your mcma 
never be less ! long may you hold at bay the 
demon of civilization, though fall at last*I 
fear you must. Plutus with golden hoof is 
trampling on your landmarks. He mocks 
the war-song ; but should / see your fall, at 
least one Pakeha Maori shall raise the tangi ; 
and with flint and shell as of old shall the 
women lament you. 

Let me, however, leave these melancholy 
thoughts for a time, forget the present, take 
courage, and talk about the past. I have not 


got on shore yet ; a thing I must accomplish 
as a necessary preliminary to looking about 
me, and telling what I saw. I do not under- 
stand the pakeha way of beginning a story in 
the middle ; so to start fair, I must fairly get 
on shore, Avhich, I am surprised to find, was 
easier to do than to describe. 

The little schooner neared the land, and as 
we came closer and closer, I began in a most 
unaccountable manner to remember all the 
tales I had ever heard of people being baked 
in ovens, with cabbage and potato " fixins." 
I had before this had some considerable expe- 
rience of " savages/* but as they had no regu- 
lar system of domestic cookery of the nature 
I have hinted at, and being, as I was in those 
days, a mere pakeha (a character I have since 
learned to despise), I felt, to say the least, 
rather curious as to the then existing demand 
on shore for butchers' meat. 

The ship sailed on, and I went below 
and loaded my pistols ; not that I expected 
at all to conquer the country with them, 
but somehow because I could not help it. 
"We soon came to anchor in a fine harbour 
before the house of the very first settler 
who had ever entered it, and to this time 
he was the only one. He had, however, a 


few Europeans in his employ ; and there 
was at some forty miles distance a sort of 
nest of English, Irish, Scotch, Dutch, French, 
and American, runaways from South Sea 
whalers, with whom were also congregated 
certain other individuals of the pakeha race, 
whose manner of arrival in the country was 
not clearly accounted for, and to enquire 
into which was, as I found afterwards, con- 
sidered extremely impolite, and a great breach 
of biensuance. They lived in a half savage 
state, or to speak correctly, in a savage 
and-a-half state, being greater savages by 
far than the natives themselves. 

I must, however, turn back a little, for 
I perceive I am not on shore yet. 

The anchoring of a vessel of any size, large 
or small, in a port of New Zealand, in those 
days, was an event of no small importance ; 
and, accordingly, from the deck we could 
see the shore crowded by several hundreds 
of natives, all in a great state of excitement, 
shouting and running about, many with spears 
and clubs in their hands, and altogether look- 
ing to the inexperienced new-comer very 
much as if they were speculating on an 
immediate change of diet. I must say these 
at least were my impressions on seeing the 


mass of shouting, gesticulating, tattooed fel- 
lows, who were exhibiting before us, and who 
all seemed to be mad with excitement of 
some sort or other. Shortly after we came 
to anchor, a boat came oft* in which was 
Mr. , the settler I have mentioned, and 
also the principal chief of the tribe of 
natives inhabiting this part of the country. 
Mr. gave me a hearty \ welcome to New 
Zealand, and also an invitation to his house, 
telling me I was welcome to make it my home 
for any unlimited time, till I had one of 
my own. The chief also, having made some 
enquiries first of the captain of the schooner, 
such as whether I was a rangatira, if I 
had plenty of taonc/a (goods) on board, and 
other particulars ; and having been answered 
by the Captain in the most satisfactory 
manner, came up to me and gave me a most 
sincere welcome. (I love sincerity). He 
would have welcomed me, however, had I 
been as poor as Job, for pakehas were, in 
those days, at an enormous premium. Even 
Job, at the worst, (a pakelia Job) might be 
supposed to have an old coat, or a spike 
nail, or a couple of iron hoops left on hand, 
and these were " good trade " in the times 
I speak of ; and under a process well under^ 


stood at the time by my friend the chief, 
were sure to change hands soon after his 
becoming aware of their whereabouts. His 


idea of trade was this : He took them, and 
never paid for them till he took something 
else of greater value, which, whatever it might 
be, he never paid for till he made a third 
still heavier haul. He always paid just what 
he thought fit to give, and when he chose 
to withdraw his patronage from any pakeha 
who might be getting too knowing for him, 
and extend it to some newer arrival, he never 
paid for the last " lot of trade;" but, to 
give him his due, ho allowed his pakeha 
friends to make the best bargain they could 
with the rest of the tribe, with the excep- 
tion of a few of his nearest relations, over 
whose interests he would watch. So, after 
all, the pakeha would make a living ; but 
I have never heard of one of the old 
traders who got rich by trading with the 
natives : there were too many drawbacks 
of the nature I have mentioned, as well as 
others unnecessary to mention just yet, which 
prevented it. 

I positively vow and protest to you, gentle 
and patient reader, that if ever I get safe 
on shore, I will do my best to give you 


satisfaction ; let me get once on shore, and 
I am all right : but unless I get my 
feet on terra jirma,, how can I ever begin 
my tale of the good old times ? As long 
as I am on board ship I am cramped and 
crippled, and a mere slave to Greenwich time, 
and can't get on. Some people, I am aware, 
would make a dash at it, and manage the 
thing without the aid of boat, canoe, or life 
preserver ; but such people are, for the most 
part, dealers in fiction, which I am not : my 
story is a true stoiy, not " founded on fact," 
but fact itself, and so I cannot manage to get 
on shore a moment sooner than circumstances 
will permit. It may be that I ought to have 
landed before this ; but I must confess I don't 
know any more about the right way to tell a 
story, than a native minister knows how to 
" come " a war dance. I declare the mention 
of the war dance calls up a host of reminis- 
cences, pleasurable and painful, exhilarating 
and depressing, in such a way as no one but a 
few, a very few, pakeha Maori, can under- 
stand. Thunder ! but no ; let me get ashore ; 
how can I dance on the water, or before I 
ever knew how ? On shore I will get this 
time, I am determined, in spite of fate so 
now for it. 


The boat of my friend Mr. - - being about 
to return to the shore, leaving the chief and 
Mr. on board, and I seeing the thing had 
to be done, plucked up courage, and having 
secretly felt the priming of my pistols under 
my coat, 'got into the boat. 

I must here correct myself. I have said 
" plucked up courage," but that is not exactly 
my meaning The fact is, kind reader, if you 
have followed me thus far, you are about to 
be rewarded for your perseverance. I am 
determined to make you as wise as I am my- 
self on at least one important subject, and 
that is not saying a little, let me inform you, 
as I can hardly suppose you have made the 
discovery for yourself on so short an ac- 
quaintance. FalstafF, who was a very clever 
fellow, and whose word cannot be doubted, 
says "The better part of valour is discretion." 
Now, that being the case, what in the name 
of Achilles, Hector, and Colonel Gold (he, 
I mean Ach illcs, was a rank coward, who w r ent 
about knocking people on the head, being 
himself next tiling to invulnerable, and who 
could not be hurt till he turned his back to 
the enemy. There is a deep moral in this 
same story about Acliilles wliich perhaps, by 
and bye, I may explain to you) what, I say 


again, in the name of everything valorous, can 
the worser part of valour be, if " discretion" 
be the better ? The fact is, my dear sir, I 
don't believe in courage at all, nor ever did ; 
but there is something far better, which has 
carried me through many serious scrapes with 
ecldt and safety ; I mean the appearance of 
courage. If you have this you may drive 
the world before you. As for real courage, I 
do not believe there can be any such thing. 
A man who sees himself in danger of being 
killed by his enemy and is not in a precious 
fright, is simply not courageous but niad. 
The man who is not frightened because he 
cannot see the danger, is a person of weak 
mind a fool who ought to be locked up 
lest he walk into a well with eyes open ; but 
the appearance of courage, or rather, as I 
deny the existence of the thing itself, that ap- 
pearance which is thought to be courage, that 
is the thing will carry you through ! get 
you made K.C.B., Victoria Cross, and all 
that ! Men by help of this quality do the 
most heroic actions, being all the time ready 
to die of mere fright, but keeping up a good 
countenance all the time. Here is the secret 
pay attention, it is worth much money 
if ever you get into any desperate battle or 


skirmish, and feel in such a state of mortal 
fear that you almost wish to be shot to get 
rid of it, just say to yourself " If I am so 
preciously frightened, what must the other 
fellow be ?" The thought will refresh you ; 
your own self-esteem will answer that of 
course the enemy is more frightened than you 
are, consequently, the nearer you feel to run- 
ning away the more reason you have to stand. 
Look at the last gazette of the last victory, 
where thousands of men at one shilling per 
diem, minus certain very serious deductions, 
" covered themselves with glory." The thing 
is clear : the other fellows ran first, and that 
is all about it ! My secret is a very good 
secret ; but one must of course do the thing 
properly ; no matter of what kind the danger 
is, you must look it boldly in the face and 
keep your wits about you, and the more 
frightened you get the more determined you 
must be to keep up appearances and half 
the danger is gone at once. So now, having 
corrected myself, as well as given some 
valuable advice, I shall start again for the 
shore by saying that I plucked up a very 
good appearance of courage and got on board 
the boat. 

For the honor and glory of the British 


nation, of which I considered myself in some 
degree a representative on this momentous 
occasion, I had dressed myself in one of my 
best suits. My frock coat was, I fancy, " the 
thing ;" my waistcoat was the result of much 
and deep thought, in cut, colour, and ma- 
terial I may venture to affirm that the like 
had not been often seen in the southern 
hemisphere. My tailor has, as I hear, long 
since realised a fortune and retired, in conse- 
quence of the enlightenment he at different 
times received from me on the great princi- 
ples of, not clothing, but embellishing the 
human subject. My hat looked down criti- 
cism, and my whole turn out such as I 
calculated would " astonish the natives," and 
cause awe and respect for myself individually 
and the British nation in general, of whom I 
thought fit to consider myself no bad sample. 
Here I will take occasion to remark that 
some attention to ornament and elegance in 
the matter of dress is not only allowable but 
commendable. Man is the only beast to 
whom a discretionary power has been left in 
this respect : why then should he not take a 
hint from nature, and endeavour to beautify 
his person ? Peacocks and birds of paradise 
could no doubt live and get fat though all 


their feathers were the colour of a Quaker's 
leggings, but see how they are ornamented ! 
Nature has, one would say, exhausted herself 
in beautifying them. Look at the tiger and 
leopard 1 Could not they murder without 
their stripes and spots ? but see how their 
coats are painted ! Look at the flowers at 
the whole universe and you will see every- 
where the ornamental combined with the 
useful. Look, then, to the cut and colour 
of your coat, and do not laugh at the Maori 
of past times, who, not being "seized" of a 
coat because he has never been able to seize 
one, carves and tattoes legs, arms 7 and face. 

The boat is, however, darting towards the 
shore, rapidly propelled by four stout natives. 
My friend - - and the chief are on board. 
The chief has got his eye on my double gun, 
which is hanging up in the cabin. He takes 
it down and examines it closely. He is a good 
judge of a gun. It is the best tupara he has 
ever seen, and his speculations run something 
very like this : " A good gun, a first-rate 
gun ; I must have this ; I must tapu it before 
I leave the ship ; [here he pulls a piece of 
the fringe from his cloak and ties it round the 
stock of the gun, thereby rendering it impos- 
sible for me to sell, give away, or dispose of it 


in any way to anyone but himself] I wonder 
what the pakeha will want for it ! I will 
promise him as much flax or as many pigs as 
ever he likes for it. True, I have no flax just 
now, and am short of pigs, they were almost 
all killed at the last hahunga ; but if he is in 
a hurry he can buy the flax or pigs from the 
people, which ought to satisfy him. Perhaps 
he would take a piece of land ! that would be 
famous. I would give him a piece quite close 
to the kainga, where I would always have him 
close to me ; I hope he may take the land ; then 
I should have two pakehas, him and - . All 

the inland chiefs would envy me. This 

is getting too knowing; he has taken to hiding 
his best goods of late, and selling them before 
I knew he had them. It's just the same as 
thieving, and I won't stand it. He sold three 
muskets the other day to the Ngatiwaki, and 
I did not know he had them, or I should have 
taken them. I could have paid for them some 
time or another. It was wrong, wrong, very 
wrong, to let that tribe have those muskets. 
He is not their pakeha ; let them look for a 
pakeha for themselves. Those Ngatiwaki are 
getting too many muskets those three make 
sixty-four they have got besides two tupara. 
Certainly we have a great many more, and 


the Ngatiwaki are our relations, but then 
there was Kohu, we killed, and Patu, we stole 
his wife. There is no saying what these Ngat- 
iwaki may do if they should get plenty of 
muskets ; they are game enough for anything. 
It was wrong to give them those muskets ; 
wrong, wrong, wrong ! " After-experience 
enabled me to tell just what the chiefs 
soliloquy was, as above. 

But all this time the boat is darting to the 
shore, and as the distance is only a couple 
of hundred yards, I can hardly understand 
how it is that I have not yet landed. The 
crew are pulling like mad, being impatient to 
show the tribe the prize they have made, a 
regular pakclia rangatira as well as a ran- 
gatira pakeha, (two very different things,) 
who has lots of tomahawks, and fish-hooks, 
and blankets, and a tupara, and is even sus- 
pected to be the owner of a great many "pots" 
of gunpowder ! " He is going to stop with the 
tribe, he is going to trade, he is going to be a 
pakeha for us." These last conclusions were, 
however, jumped at, the "pakeha" not having 
then any notions of trade or commerce, and 
being only inclined to look about and amuse 
himself. The boat nears the shore, and now 
arises from a hundred voices the call of wel- 


come, "Haeremai! haeremai! Jioemai! hoe 
mail haere mai } e-te-pa-ke-lia, haere mail 
mats, hands, and certain ragged petticoats put 
into requisition for that occasion, all at the 
same time waving in the air in sign of wel- 
come. Then a pause. Then, as the boat came 
nearer, another burst of haere mai! But 
unaccustomed as I was then to the Maori 
salute, I disliked the sound. There was a 
wailing melancholy cadence that did not strike 
me as being the appropriate tone of wel- 
come ; and, as I was quite ignorant up to this 
time of my own importance, wealth, and gene- 
ral value as a pakeha, I began, as the boat 
closed in with the shore, to ask myself whether 
possibly this same "haere mai" might not be 
the Maori for "dilly, dilly, come and be killed." 
There was, however^ no help for it now ; we 
were close to the shore, and so, putting on the 
most unconcerned countenance possible, I pre- 
pared to make my entree into Maori land in a 
proper and dignified manner. 



HERE I must remark that in those days the 
value of a pakeha to a tribe was enormous. 
For want of pakehas to trade with, and from 
whom to procure gunpowder and muskets, 
many tribes or sections of tribes w r ere about 
this time exterminated or nearly so by their 
more fortunate neighbours who got pakehas 
before them, and who consequently became 
armed with muskets first. A pakeha trader 
was therefore of a value say about twenty 
times his own weight in muskets. This, 
according to my notes made at the time, I 
find to have represented a value in New 
Zealand something about what we mean in 
England when we talk of the sum total of the 
national debt. A book-keeper, or a second- 
rate pakeha, not a trader, might be valued 



at say his weight in tomakawks ; an 
enormous sum also. The poorest labouring 
pakeha, though he might have no property, 
would earn something his value to the chief 
and tribe with whom he lived might be esti- 
mated at say his weight in fish-hooks, or 
about a hundred thousand pounds or so ; 
value estimated by eagerness to obtain the 

The value of a musket was not to be esti- 
mated to a native by just what he gave for 
it : he gave all he had, or could procure, and 
had he ten times as much to give he would 
have given it, if necessary, or if not, he would 
buy ten muskets instead of one. Muskets ! 
muskets ! muskets ! nothing but muskets, was 
the first demand of the Maori ; muskets and 
gunpowder at any cost. 

I do not, however, mean to affirm 'that 
pakehas Avere at this time valued a as such," 
like Mr. Pickwick's silk stockings, which 
were very good and valuable stockings, "as 
stockings" not at all. A loose straggling 
pakeha a runaway from a ship for instance, 
who had nothing, and was never likely to have 
anything, a vagrant straggler passing from 
place to place, was not of much account even 
in those times. Two men of this description 


(runaway sailors) were hospitably entertained 
one night by a chief, a very particular friend 
of mine, who, to pay himself for his trouble 
and outlay, eat one of them next morning. 
Remember, my good reader, I don't deal 
in fiction ; my friend eat the pakeha sure 
enough, and killed him before he eat him, 
which was civil, for it was not always done 
But then, certainly, the pakeha was a tutua, 
a nobody, a fellow not worth a spike nail ; 
no one knew him ; he had no relations, no 
goods, no expectations, no anything : what 
could be made of him ? Of what use on 
earth was he except to eat ? And, indeed, 
not much good even for that they say he 
was not good meat. But good well-to-do 
pakehas, traders, ship captains, labourers, or 
employers of labour, these were to be 
honoured, cherished, caressed, protected, and 
plucked. Plucked judiciously, (the Maori 
is a clever fellow in his way,) so that the 
feathers might grow again. But as for poor, 
mean, mere, Pakclia tutua, c ((ha te 2>(ri? 

Before going any farther I beg to state 
that I hope the English reader or the 
new-comer, who does not understand Maori 
morality especially of the glorious old 
time will not form a bad opinion of my 

c 2 


friend's character, merely because he eat a 
good-for-nothing sort of pakeha, who really 
was good for nothing else. People from 
the old countries I have often observed to 
have a kind of over-delicacy about them, 
the result of a too eifeminate course of life 
and over-civilization, which is the cause 
that, often starting from premises which 
are true enough, they will, being carried 
away by their over-sensitive constitution or 
sickly nervous system, jump at once, without 
any just process of reasoning, to the most 
erroneous conclusions. I know as well as can 
be that some of this description of my readers 
will at once, without reflection, set my friend 
down as a very rude ill-mannered sort of 
person. Nothing of the kind, 1 assure you, 
Miss. You never made a greater mistake in 
your life. My friend was a highly respectable 
person in his way ; he was a great friend 
and protector of rich, well-to-do pakehas ; 
he was, moreover, a great warrior, and had 
killed the first man in several different 
battles. He always wore, hanging round 
his neck, a handsome carved flute, (this at 
least showed a soft and musical turn of 
mind,) which was made of the thigh-bone 
of one of his enemies ; and when Heke, 


the Ngapuhi, made war against us, my 
friend came to the rescue, fought manfully 
for his pakeha friends, and was desperately 
wounded in so doing. Now can any one 
imagine a more respectable character ? a 
warrior, a musician, a friend in need, who 
would stand by you while he had a leg to 
stand on, and would not eat a friend on 
any account whatever, except he should be 
very hungry. 

The boat darts on ; she touches the edge of 
a steep rock ; the "fiacre mai" has sub- 
sided ; six or seven " personages" the mag- 
nates of the tribe come gravely to the front 
to meet me as I land. There is about six 
or seven yards of shallow water to be crossed 
between the boat and where they stand. A 
stout fellow rushes to the boat's nose, and 
" shows a back," as we used to say at leap- 
frog, lie is a young fellow of respectable 
standing in the tribe, a far-off cousin of the 
chiefs, a warrior, and as such has no back ; 
that is to say, to carry loads of fuel or 
potatos. He is too good a man to be spoiled 
in that way ; the women must carry for him ; 
the able-bodied men of the tribe must be 
saved for its protection ; but he is ready to 
carry the pakeha on shore the rangatira 


pakehct, who wears a real koti roa, (a long 
coat,) and beaver hat ! Carry ! He would 
lie down and make a bridge of his body, with 
pleasure, for him. Has he not half a ship full 
of taonga f 

Well, having stepped in as dignified a 
manner as I knew how, from thwart to 
thwart, till I came to the bow of the boat, 
and having tightened on my hat and buttoned 
up my coat, I fairly mounted on the broad 
shoulders of my aboriginal friend. I felt 
at the time that the thing was a sort of 
failure a come down ; the position was not 
graceful, or in any way likely to suggest ideas 
of respect or awe, with my legs projecting a 
yard or so from under each arm of my bearer, 
holding on to his shoulders in the most pain- 
ful, cramped, and awkward manner. To be 
sacked on shore thus, and delivered like a 
bag of goods thus, into the hands of the 
assembled multitude, did not strike me as 
a good first appearance on this stage. But 
little, indeed, can we tell in this world what 
one second may produce. Gentle reader, fail- 
reader, patient reader ! The fates have 
decreed it ; the fiat has gone forth ; on that 
man's back I shall never land in New Zea- 
land. Manifold are the doubts and fears 


which have yet to shake and agitate the 
hearts and minds of all my friends as to 
whether I shall ever land at all, or ever 
again feel terra firma touch my longing foot. 
My bearer made one step ; the rock is 
slippery ; backwards he goes ; back, back ! 
The steep is near is passed ! down, down, 
we go ! backwards and headlong to the 
depths below ! 

The ebb tide is running like a sluice ; in 
an instant we are forty yards off, and a fathom 
below the surface ; ten more fathoms are 
beneath us. The heels of my boots, my 
polished boots, point to the upper air aye, 
point ; but when, oh, when again, shall I 
salute thee, gentle air ; when again, unchoked 
by the saline flood, cry Veni aura ? When, 
indeed ! for now I am wrong end uppermost, 
drifting away with the tide, and ballasted with 
heavy pistols, boots, tight clothes, and all the 
straps and strings of civilisation. Oh, heavens ! 
and oh earth ! and oh ye little thieves of 
fishes who manage to live in the waters under 


the earth (a miserable sort of life you must 
have of it) ! oh Maori sea nymphs ! who, 
with yellow hair yellow ? egad that's odd 
enough, to say the least of it ; however the 
Maori should come to give their sea nymphs 


or spirits yellow hair is curious. The Maori 
know nothing about yellow hair ; their hair 
is black. About one in a hundred of them 
have a sort of dirty brown hair ; but even 
if there should be now and then a native 
with yellow hair, how is it that they have 
come to give this colour to the sea-sprites in 
particular ? who also " dance on the sands, 
and yet no footstep seen." Now I confess I 
am rather puzzled and struck by the coinci- 
dence. I don't believe Shakespeare ever was 
in New Zealand ; Jasan might, being a sea- 
faring-man, and if he should have called in for 
wood and water, and happened to have the 
golden fleece by any accident on board, and 
by any chance put it on for a wig, why the 
thing would be accounted for at once. The 
world is mad now-a-days about gold, so no 
one cares a fig about what is called " golden 
hair ;" nuggets and dust have the preference ; 
but this is a grand mistake. Gold is no use, 
or very little, except in so far as this that 
through the foolishness of human beings, one 
can purchase the necessaries and conveniences 
of life with it. Now, this being the case, if 
I have a chest full of gold (which I have 
not), I am no richer for it in fact until I 
have given it away in exchange for neces- 


saries, comforts, and luxuries, which are, 
properly speaking, riches or wealth ; but it 
follows from this, that he who has given me 
this same riches or wealth for my gold, has 
become poor, and his only chance to set him- 
self up again, is to get rid of the gold as fast 
as he can, in exchange for the same sort and 
quantity of things, if he can get them, which 
is always doubtful. But here lies the gist 
of the matter how did I, in the first instance, 
become possessed of my gold ? If I bought 
it, and gave real wealth for it, beef, mutton, 
silk, tea, sugar, tobacco, ostrich feathers, 
leather breeches, and crinoline, why, then, 
all I have done in parting with my gold, is 
merely to get them back again, and I am, con- 
sequently, no richer by the transaction ; but 
if I steal my gold, then I am a clear gainer 
of the whole lot of valuables above men- 
tioned. So, upon the whole, I don't see 
much use in getting gold honestly, and one 
must not steal it : digging it certainly is almost 
as good as stealing, if it is not too deep, which 
fully accounts for so many employing them- 
selves in this way ; but then the same amount 
of labour would raise no end of wheat and 
potatoes, beef and mutton : and all farmers, 
mathematicians, and algebraists will agree 


with me in this that after any country is 
fully cultivated, all the gold in the world 
won't force it to grow one extra turnip, and 
what more can any one desire ? So now Adam 
Smith, McCulloch, and all the rest of them 
may go and be hanged. The whole upshot of 
this treatise on political economy and golden 
hair, (which I humbly lay at the feet of the 
Colonial Treasurer,) is this : I would not 
give one of your golden locks, my dear, for 
all the gold, silver, pearls, diamonds, mere 
ponamus stop, let me think, a good mere 
ponamu would be a temptation. I had once 
a mere, a present from a Maori friend, the 
most beautiful thing of the kind ever seen. 
It was nearly as transparent as glass ; in it 
there were beautiful marks like fern leaves, 
trees, fishes, and I would not give much for 
a person who could not see almost anything in 
it. Never shall I cease to regret having 
parted with it. The Emperor of Brazil, I 
think, has it now ; but he does not know the 
proper use of it. It went to the Minister many 
years ago. I did not sell it. I would have 
scorned to do that ; but I did expect to be 
made knight of the golden pig knife, or 
elephant and watch box, or something of that 
nature : but here I am still, a mere pakeha 


Maori, and, as I recollect, in desperate danger 
of being drowned. 

Up we came at last, blowing and puffing 
like grampuses. With a glance I. "recognised 
the situation :" we had drifted a long way 
from the landing place. My hat was dashing 
away before the land breeze towards the sea 
and had already ^inade a good "offing." 
Three of the boat's-crew had jumped over- 
board, had passed us a long distance, and 
were seemingly bound after the hat ; the 
fourth man was pulling madly with one oar, 
and consequently making great progress in 
no very particular direction. The whole 
tribe of natives had followed our drift along 
the shore, shouting and gesticulating, and 
some were launching a large canoe, evidently 
bent on saving the hat, on which all eyes 
were turned. As for the pakeha, it appears 
they must have thought it an insult to his 
understanding to suppose he could be 
drowned anywhere in sight of land. " ' Did 
he not come from the sea ? ' Was he not 
a fish ? Was not the sea solid land to 
him ? Did not his fire burn on the ocean ? 
Had he not slept 011 the crests of the 
waves 1" All this I heard afterwards ; but 
at the time had I not been as much at home 


in the water as anything not amphibious 
could be, I should have been very little 
better than a gone pakeha. Here was a 
pretty wind up ! I was going to " astonish 
the natives/' was I ? with my black hat 
and niy koti roa ? But the villian is within a 
yard of me the rascally cause of all niy grief. 
The furies take possession of me ! I dart upon 
him like a hungry shark ! I have him ! I 
have him under ! Down, villain ! down to 
the kraken and the whale, to the Taniwha 
cave ! down ! down ! down ! As we sank 
I heard one grand roar of wild laughter 
from the shore the word utu I heard roared 
by many voices, but did not then know its 
import. The pakeha was drowning the 
Maori for utu for himself, in case he should 
be drowned. No matter, if the Maori can't 
hold his own, it's fair play ; and then, if the 
pakeha really does drown the Maori, has 
he not lots of taonga to be robbed of ? no, 
not exactly to be robbed of, either ; let us 
not use unnecessarily bad language we will 
say to be distrained upon. Crack ! What 
do I hear ? Down in the deep I felt a 
shock, and actually heard a sudden noise. 
Is it the "crack of doom?" No, it is 
my frock-coat gone at one split "from clue 


to earing" split down the back. Oh if 
my pistols would go off, a fiery and watery 
death shouldst tliou die, Caliban. Egad ! they 
have gone off they are both gone to the 
bottom ! My boots are getting heavy ! 
Humane Society, ahoy ! where is your 
boat-hook ? where is your bellows ? Humane 
Society, ahoy ! We are now drifting fast by 
a sandy point, after which there will be no 
chance of landing, the tide will take us right 
out to sea. My friend is very hard to drown 
must finish him some other time. We both 
swim for the point, and land ; and this is 
how I got ashore on Maori land. 







SOMETHING between a cheer, a scream, and a 
roar, greet our arrival on the sand. An 
English voice salutes me with " "Well, you 
served that fellow out. " One half of my 
coat hangs from my right elbow the other 
from my left ; a small shred of the collar is 
still around my neck. My hat, alas ! my hat 
is gone. I am surrounded by a dense mob of 
natives, laughing, shouting, and gesticulating, 
in the most grotesque manner. Three 
Englishmen are also in the crowd they 
seem greatly amused at something, and offer 
repeated welcomes. At this moment up 


comes my salt-water acquaintance, elbowing 
his way through the crowd ; there is a 
strange serio-comic expression of anger in 
his face ; he stoops, makes horrid grimaces, 
quivering at the same time his left hand and 
arm about in a most extraordinary manner, 
and striking the thick part of his left arm 
with the palm of his right hand. " II u ! " says 
he, "Uu ! hit!" "What can he mean ?" said I. 
" He is challenging you to wrestle, " cried one 
of the Englishmen; " he wants utu." "What 
is utu ?" said I. " Payment. " "1 won't pay 
him. " " Oh, that's not it, he wants to take 
it out of you wrestling." "Oh, I see ; here's 
at him ; pull off my coat and boots ; I'll 
wrestle him ; his foot is in his own country, 
and his name is what ? " " Sir, his name 
in English means ' An eater of melons ;' he 
is a good wrestler ; you must mind. " " Water- 
melons, I suppose ; beef against melons for 
ever, hurrah ! here's at him. " Here the na- 
tives began to run between us to separate us, 
but seeing that I was in the humour to 
" have it out," and that neither self or friend 
were actually out of temper, and no doubt, 
expecting to see the pakeha floored, they 
stood to one side and made a rinsr. A 


wrestler soon recognises another, and my 


friend soon gave me some hints that showed 
me I had some work before me. I was a 
youngster in those days, all bone and sinew, 
full of animal spirits, and as tough as leather. 
A couple of desperate main strength efforts 
soon convinced us both that science or endur- 
ance must decide the contest. My antagonist 
was a strapping fellow of about five-and- 
twenty, tremendously strong, and much 
heavier than me. I, however, in those days 
actually could not be fatigued ; I did not 
know the sensation, and could run from 
morning till night. I therefore trusted to 
wearing him out, and avoiding his ta and 
wiri. All this time the mob were shouting 
encouragement to one or other of us. Such 
a row never was seen. I soon perceived I 
had a " party." " Well done, pakeha ! " 
" Now for it, Melons ! " " At him again ! " 
" Take care, the pakeha is a taniwha ; the 
pakeha is a tino tangata ! " " Hooray ! " 
(from the British element). "The Pakeha 
is down ! " " No he isn't ! " (from English 
side). Here I saw my friend's knees begin- 
ning to tremble. I made a great effort, 
administered my favorite remedy, and there 
lay the " Eater of melons" prone upon the 
sand. I stood a victor ; and like many other 


conquerors, a very great loser. There I 
stood, minus hat, coat, and pistols, wet and 
mauled, and transformed very considerably 
for the worse since I left the ship. When 
my antagonist fell, the natives gave a great 
shout of triumph, and congratulated me in 
their own way with the greatest good will. 
I could see I had got their good opinion, 
though I scarcely could understand how. 
After sitting on the sand some time my 
friend arose, and with a very graceful 
movement, and a smile of good nature on 
his dusky countenance, he held out his hand 
and said in English, " How do you do ? " 

I was much pleased at this ; the natives had 
given me fair play, and my antagonist, though 
defeated both by sea and land, offered me his 
hand, and welcomed me to the shore with his 
whole stock of English " How do you do ? " 

But the row is not half over yet. Here 
comes the chief in the ship's boat. The other 
is miles off with its one man crew still pulling 
no one knows, or at all cares, where. Some 
one has been off in a canoe and told the chief 
that " Melons " and the " New Pakeha " were 
fiorhtinof like mad on the beach. Here he 

O O 

comes, flourishing his mere ponamu. He is 
a tall, stout fellow, in the prime of life, black 



with tattooing, and splendidly dressed, accord- 
ing to the splendour of those days. He has on 
a very good blue jacket, no shirt or waistcoat, 
a pair of duck trousers, and a red sash round 
his waist ; no hat or shoes, these being as 
yet things beyond a chiefs ambition. The 
jacket was the only one in the tribe ; and 
amongst the surrounding company I saw 
only one other pair of trousers, and it had 
a large hole at each knee, but this was not 
considered to detract at all from its value. 
The chief jumps ashore ; he begins his oration, 
or rather to "blow up" all and sundry the 
tribe in general, and poor " Melons " in par- 
ticular. He is really vexed, and wishes to 
appear to me more vexed than he really is. 
He runs, gesticulating and flourishing his 
mere, about ten steps in one direction, in 
the course of which ten steps he delivers 
a sentence ; he then turns and runs back 
the same distance, giving vent to his wrath 
in another sentence, and so back and forward, 
forward and back, till he has exhausted the 
subject and tired his legs. The Englishmen 
were beside me and gave a running trans- 
lation of what he said. " Pretty work this/' 
he began, "good work; killing my pakeha ; 
look at him ! (Here a flourish in my direction 


with the mere.) I won't stand this ; not at 
all ! not at all ! not at all ! (The last sentence 
took three jumps, a step, and a turn-round, 
to keep correct time.) Who killed the 
pakeha ? It was Melons. You are a nice 
man, are you not ? (This with a sneer.) 
Killing my pakeha ! (In a voice like thunder, 
and rushing savagely, mere in hand, at poor 
Melons, but turning exactly at the end of 
the ten steps and coining back again.) It 
will be heard of all over the country ; we 
shall be called the ' pakeha killers ; ' I shall 
be sick with shame ; the pakeha will run 
away, and take all his taonga along with him. 
What if you had killed him dead, or broken 
his bones ? his relations would be coining 
across the sea for utu. (Great sensation, and 
I try to look as though I would say 'of 
course they would.') What did I build this 
pa close to the sea for ? was it not to 
trade with the pakeha s ? and here you are 
killing the second that has come to stop with 
me. (Here poor Melons burst out crying 
like an infant.) Where is the hat ? where 
the koti roa ? where the shoes ? (Boots were 
shoes in those days.) The pakeha is robbed ; 
he is murdered ! (Here a howl from Melons, 
and I go over and sit down by him, clap 



him on the bare back, and shake his hand.) 
Look at that, the pakeha does not bear 
malice ; I would kill you if he asked me ; 
you are a bad people, killers of pakehas ; be 
off with you, the whole of you, away ! " This 
command was instantly obeyed by all the 
women, boys, and slaves. Melons also, 
being in disgrace, disappeared ; but I 
observed that "the whole of you" did not 
seem to be understood as including the stout, 
able-bodied, tattooed part of the population, 
the strength of the tribe the warriors, in 
fact, many of whom counted themselves to 
be very much about as good as the chief. 
They were his nearest relations, without 
whose support he could do nothing, and 
were entirely beyond his control. 

I found afterwards that it was only during 
actual war that this chief was perfectly abso- 
lute, which arose from the confidence the 
tribe had in him, both as a general and a 
fighting man, and the obvious necessity that 
in war implicit obedience be given to one 
head. I have, however, observed in other 
tribes, that in war they would elect a chief 
for the occasion, a war chief, and have been 
surprised to see the obedience they gave him, 
even when his conduct was very open to 


criticism. I say with surprise, for the natives 
are so self-possessed, opinionated, and repub- 
lican, that the chiefs have at ordinary times 
but little control over them, except in very 
rare cases, where the chief happens to possess 
a singular vigour of character, or some other 
unusual advantage, to enable him to keep 
them under. 

I will mention here that my first antagonist, 
" The Eater of Melons, " became a great friend 
of mine. He was my right-hand man and 
manager when I set up house on my own 
account, and did me many friendly services in 
the course of my acquaintance with him. He 
came to an unfortunate end some years later. 
The tribe were getting ready for a war expedi- 
tion ; poor Melons was filling cartridges 
from a fifty pound barrel of gunpowder, pour- 
ing the gunpowder into the cartridges with 
his hand, and smoking his pipe at the time, 
as I have seen the natives doing fifty times 
since. A spark fell into the cask, and it is 
scarcely necessary to say that my poor friend 
was roasted alive in a second. I have known 
three other accidents of the same kind, from 
smoking whilst filling cartridges. In one of 
these accidents three lives were lost, and 
many injured ; and I really do believe that 


the certainty of death will not prevent some 
of the natives from smoking for more than a 
given time. I have often seen infants refuse 
the mother's breast, and cry for the pipe till 
it was given them ; and dying natives often 
ask for a pipe, and die smoking. I can 
clearly perceive that the young men of the 
present day are neither so tall, or stout, or 
strong as men of the same age were when I 
first came to the country ; and I believe that 
this smoking from their infancy is one of the 
chief causes of this decrease in strength and 

I am landed at last, certainly ; but I am 
tattered and wet, and in a most deplorable 
plight : so to make my story short, for I see, 
if I am too particular, I shall never come to 
the end of it, I returned to the ship, put 
myself to rights, and came on shore next day 
with all my taonga, to the great delight of 
the chief and tribe. My hospitable enter- 
tainer, Mr. , found room for my possessions 
in his store, and a room for myself in his 
house ; and so now I am fairly housed we 
shall see what will come of it. 

I have now all New Zealand before me to 
caper about in ; so I shall do as I like, and 
please myself. I shall keep to neither rule, 


rhyme, or reason, but just write what comes 
uppermost to my recollection of the good 
old, days. Many matters which seemed odd 
enough to me at first, have long appeared 
such mere matters of course, that I am likely 
to pass them over without notice. I shall, 
however, give some of the more striking 
features of those delectable days, now, alas ! 
passed and gone. Some short time after this, 
news came that a grand war expedition, which 
had been absent nearly two years at the 
South, had returned. This party were about 
a thousand strong, being composed of two 
parties of about five hundred men each, from 
two different tribes, who had joined their 
force for the purpose of the expedition. The 
tribe with which Mr. and myself were 
staying, had not sent any men on this war 
party ; but, I suppose to keep their hands in, 
had attacked one of the two tribes who had, 
and who were, consequently, much weakened 
by the absence of so many of their best men. 
It, however, turned out that after a battle 
the ferocity of which has seldom been 
equalled in any country but this our friends 
were defeated with a dreadful loss, having in- 
flicted almost as great on the enemy. Peace, 
however, had afterwards been formally made ; 


but, nevertheless, the news of the return of 
this expedition was not heard without causing 
a sensation almost amounting to consterna- 
tion. The war chief of the party who had 
been attacked by our friends during his 
absence, was now, with all his men, within 
an easy day's march. His road lay right 
through our village, and it was much to 
be doubted that he would keep the peace, 
being one of the most noted war chiefs 
of New Zealand, and he and his men 
returning from a successful expedition. All 
now was uproar and confusion ; messengers 
were running like mad, in all directions, to 
call in stragglers ; the women were carrying 
fuel and provisions into the pa or fortress of 
the tribe. This pa was a very well built and 
strong stockade, composed of three lines of 
strong fence and ditch, veiy ingeniously and 
artificially planned ; and, indeed, as good a 
defence as well could be imagined against an 
enemy armed only with musketry. 

All the men were now working like furies, 
putting tliis fort to rights, getting it into 
fighting order, mending the fences, clearing 
out the ditches, knocking down houses inside 
the place, clearing away brushwood and fern 
all around the outside within musket shot. 


I was in the thick of it, and worked all day 
lashing the fence ; the fence being of course 
not nailed, but lashed with toro-toro, a kind 
of tough creeping plant, like a small rope, 
which was very strong and well adapted for 
the purpose. This lashing was about ten or 
twelve feet from the ground, and a stage had 
to be erected for the men to stand on. To 
accomplish this lashing or fastening of the 
fence well and with expedition required two 
men, one inside the fence and another outside ; 
all the men therefore worked in pairs, passing 
the end of the toro-toro from one to the other 
through the fence of large upright stakes and 
round a cross piece which went all along the 
fence, by which means the whole was con- 
nected into one strong wall. I worked aw r ay 
like fury, just as if I had been born and bred 
a member of the community ; and moreover, 
not being in those days very particularly 
famous for what is called prudence, 1 intended 
also, circumstances permitting, to fight like 
fury too, just for the fun of the thing. About 
a hundred men were employed in this part of 
the work new lashing the pa. My vis-d-cis 
in the operation was a respectable old warrior 
of great experience and approved valour, 
whose name being turned into English meant 



"The eater of his own relations." (Be careful 
not to read rations.} This was quite a dif- 
ferent sort of diet from " melons, " and he did 
not bear his name for nothing, as I could tell 
you if I had time, but I am half mad with 
haste lashing the pa. I will only say that 
my comrade was a most bloodthirsty, fero- 
cious, athletic savage, and his character was 
depicted in every line of his tattooed face. 
About twenty men had been sent out to 
watch the approach of the dreaded visitors. 
The repairing of the stockade went on all one 
day and all one night by torchlight and by 
the light of huge fires lit in the inside. No 
one thought of sleep. Dogs barking, men 
shouting, children crying, women screaming, 
pigs squealing, muskets firing (to see if they 
were fit for active service and would go off), 
and above all the doleful tetere sounding. 
This was a huge wooden trumpet six feet 
long, which gave forth a groaning moaning 
sound, like the voice of a dying wild bull. 
Babel, with a dash of Pandemonium, will 
give a faint idea of the uproar. 

All preparations having been at last made, 
and no further tidings of the enemy, as I may 
call them, I took a complete survey of the 
fort, my friend the " Relation Eater" being my 


companion and explaining to me the design 
of the whole. I learned something that day ; 
and I, though pretty well " up " in the noble 
science of fortification, ancient and modern, 
was obliged to confess to myself that a savage 
who could neither read or write who had 
never heard of Cohorn or Vauban and who 
was moreover avowedly a gobbler up of his 
own relations, could teach me certain practical 
"dodges" in the defensive art quite well 
worth knowing. 

A long shed of palm leaves had been also 
built at a safe and convenient distance from 
the fort. This was for the accommodation of 
the expected visitors, supposing they came in 
peaceful guise. A whole herd of pigs were 
also collected and tied to stakes driven into 
the ground in the rear of the fort. These were 
intended to feast the coming guests, according 
to their behaviour. 

Towards evening a messenger from a 
neighbouring friendly tribe arrived to say 
that next day, about noon, the strangers 
might be expected ; and also that the peace 
which had been concluded with their tribe 
during their absence, had been ratified and 
accepted by them. This was satisfactory 
intelligence ; but, nevertheless, no precaution 


must be neglected. To be thrown off guard 
would invite an attack, and ensure destruc- 
tion ; everything must be in order ; gun 
cleaning, flint fixing, cartridge making, was 
going on in all directions ; and the outpost 
at the edge of the forest was not called in. 
All was active preparation. 

The path by which these doubtful friends 
were coming led through a dense forest and 
came out on the clear plain about half-a-mile 
from the pa, wlmch plain continued and ex- 
tended in every direction around the fortress 
to about the same distance, so that none could 
approach unperceived. The outpost of twenty 
men were stationed at about a couple of hun- 
dred yards from the point where the patli 
emerged from the wood ; and as the ground 
sloped considerably from the forest to the fort, 
the whole intervening space was clearly 

Another night of alarm and sleepless ex- 
pectation, the melancholy moan of the tetere 
still continuing to hint to any lurking enemy 
that we were all wide awake ; or rather, I 
should say, to assure him most positively of 
it, for who could sleep with that diabolical 
din in his ears ? Morning came and an early 
breakfast was cooked and devoured hurriedly. 


Then groups of the younger men might be 
seen here and there fully armed, and "getting 
up steam" by dancing the war dance, in antici- 
pation of the grand dance of the whole warrior 
force of the tribe, which, as a matter of course, 
must be performed in honour of the visitors 
when they arrived. In honour, but quite as 
much in intimidation, or an endeavour at it, 
though no one said so. Noon arrived at last. 
Anxious glances are turning from all quarters 
towards the wood, from whicji a path is plainly 
seen winding down the sloping ground towards 
the pa. The outpost is on the alert. Straggling 
scouts are out in every direction. All is ex- 
pectation. Now there is a movement at the 
outpost. They suddenly spread in an open 
line, ten yards between each man. One man 
comes a! full speed running towards the pa, 
jumping and bounding over every impedi- 
ment. Now something moves in the border 
of the forest, it is a mass of black heads. 
Now the men are plainly visible. The whole 
taua has emerged upon the plain. "Here 
they come ! here they come !" is heard in all 
directions. The men of the outpost cross the 
line of march in pretended resistance ; they 
present their guns, make horrid grimaces, 
dance about like mad baboons, and then fall 


back with headlong speed to the next ad- 
vantageous position for making a stand. The 
taua, however, comes on steadily ; they are 
formed in a solid oblong mass. The chief at 
the left of the column leads them on. The 
men are all equipped for immediate action, 
that is to say, quite naked except their arms 
and cartridge boxes, which are a warrior's 
clothes. No one can possibly tell what this 
peaceful meeting may end in, so all are 
ready for action at a second's notice. The 
taua still conies steadily on. As I have said, 
the men are all stripped for action, but I 
also notice that the appearance of nakedness 
is completely taken away by the tattooing, 
the colour of the skin, and the arms and 
equipments. The men in fact look much 
better than when dressed in thefr Maori 
clothing. Every man, almost without ex- 
ception, is covered with tattooing from the 
knees to the waist ; the face is also covered 
with dark spiral lines. Each man has round 
his middle a belt, to which is fastened two 
cartridge boxes, one behind and one before ; 
another belt goes over the right shoulder and 
under the left arm, and from it hangs, on the 
left side and rather behind, another cartridge 
box, and under the waist-belt is thrust, 


behind, at the small of the back, the short- 
handled tomahawk for close fight and to finish 
the wounded. Each cartridge box contains 
eighteen rounds, and every man has a 
musket. Altogether this taua is better and 
more uniformly armed and equipped than 
ordinary ; but they have been amongst the 
first who got pakehas to trade with them, and 
are indeed in consequence the terror of New 
Zealand. On they come, a set of tall, 
athletic, heavy-made men- they would, T 
am sure, in the aggregate weigh some tons 
heavier than the same number of men taken 
at random from the streets of one of our 
manufacturing towns. They are now half 
way across the plain ; they keep their forma- 
tion, a solid oblong, admirably as they 
advance, but they do not keep step ; this 
causes a very singular appearance at a dis- 
tance. Instead of the regular marching step 
of civilised soldiers, which may be observed 
at any distance, this mass seems to progress 
towards you with the creeping motion of 
some great reptile at a distance, and when 
coming down a sloping ground this effect is 
quite remarkable. 

The mimic opposition is now discontinued ; 
the outpost rushes in at full speed, the men 


firing their guns in the air as they run. 
Takini! takini ! is the cry, and out spring 
three young men, the best runners of our 
tribe, to perform the ceremony of the taki. 
They hold in their hands some reeds to repre- 
sent darts or kokiri. At this moment a 
tremendous fire of ball cartridge opens from 
the fort ; the balls whistle in every direction, 
over and around the advancing party, who 
steadily and gravely come on, not seeming to 
know that a guii has been fired, though they 
perfectly well understand that this salute is 
also a hint of full prepartion for any unexpected 
turn things may take. Now, from the whole 
female population arises the shrill "haeremai! 
haere tnai /" Mats are waving, guns firing, 
dogs barking ; the chief roaring to " fall in," 
and form for the war dance. He appears 
half ma( i with excitement, anxiety, and some- 
thing vgry like apprehension of a sudden 
onslaught from his friends. In the midst of 
this horrible uproar off dart three runners. 
Thoj: are net unexpected. Three youngjmen of 
the taua are seen to tighten their waist belts, 
and hand their muskets to their comrades. 
On go the three young men from the fort. 
They approach the front of the advancing 
column ; they dance and caper about like 


mad monkeys, twisting their faces about in 
the most extraordinary manner, shewing the 
whites of their eyes, and lolling out their 
tongues. At last, after several feints, they 
bojklly advance within twenty yards ijf the 
supposed enemy, and send the reed darts 
flying full in their faces : then they turn and 
fly as if for life. Instantly, from the stranger 
ranks, three young men dart forth in eager 
pursuit ; and behind them comes the solid 
column, rushing on at full speed. Run now, 
O " Sounding Sea," (Tai Haruru) for the 
" Black Cloud," (Kapna Jfant/nj the swiftest 
of the Rarawa, is at your back ; run now, for 
the honour of your tribe and your own name, 
run ! run ! It was an exciting scene. The 
two famous runners came on at a tremendous 
pace, the dark mass of armed men following 
close behind at full speed, keeping their for- 
mation admirably, the ground shaking under 
them as they rushed on. On come the two 
runners (the others are left behind and dis- 
regarded). The pursuer gains upon his man ; 
but they are fast Hearing the goal, where, 
according to Maori custom, the chase must 
end. Run, " Sounding Sea ;" another effort ! 
your tribe are near in full array, and armed 
for the war dance ; their friendly ranks aiv 


your refuge ; run ! run ! On came the head- 
long race. When within about thirty yards of 
the place where our tribe was now formed 
in a solid oblong, each man kneeling on one 
knee, with musket held in both hands, butt to 
ground, and somewhat sloped to the front, 
the pursuing native caught at the shoulder 
of our man, touched it, but could do no more. 
Here he must stop ; to go farther would not 
be "correct." He will, however, boast every- 
where that he has touched the shoulder of 
the famous " Sounding Sea." Our man has 
not, however, been caught, which would have 
been a bad omen. At this moment the 
charging column comes thundering up to 
where their man is standing ; instantly they 
all kneel upon one knee, holding their guns 
sloped before their faces, in the manner 
already described. The elite of the two tribes 
are now opposite to each other,* all armed, 
all kneeling, and formed in two solid oblong 
masses, the narrow end of the oblong to the 
front. Only thirty yards divide them ; the 
front ranks do not gaze on each other ; both 
parties turn their eyes towards the ground, 
and with heads bent downwards, and a little 
to one side, appear to listen. All is silence ; 
you might have heard a pin drop. The 


uproar has turned to a calm ; the men are 

kneeling statues ; the chiefs have disap - 

peared ; they are in the centre of their 

tribes. The pakeha is beginning to wonder 

what will be the end of all this ; and 

also to speculate on the efficacy of the buck 

shot witli which his gun is loaded, and 

wishes it was ball. Two minutes have elapsed 

in this solemn silence, the more remarkable 

as being the first quiet two minutes for the 

last two days and nights. Suddenly from the 

extreme rear of the strangers' column is 

heard a scream a horrid yell. A savage, of 

herculean stature, comes, mere in hand, and 

rushing madly to the front. He seems hunted 

by all the furies. Bedlam never produced so 

horrid a visage. Thrice, as he advances, 

he gives that horrid cry ; and thrice the 

armed tribe give answer with a long-drawn 

gasping sigh. He is at the front ; he jumps 

into the air, shaking his stone weapon ; the 

whites only of his eyes are visible, giving 

a most hideous appearance to his face ; he 

shouts the first words of the war song, 

and instantly his tribe spring from the 

ground. Tt would be hard to describe the 

scene which followed. The roaring chorus of 

the war song ; the horrid grimaces ; the eyes 



all white ; the tongues hanging out ; the 
furious yet measured and uniform gesticu- 
lation, jumping, and stamping. I felt the 
ground plainly trembling. At last the war 
dance ended ; and then my tribe, (I find I 
ani already beginning to get Maorified,) 
starting from the ground like a single man, 
endeavoured to out-do even their amiable 
friends' exhibition. They end ; then the new- 
comers perform another demon dance ; then 
my tribe give another. Silence again pre- 
vails, and all sit down. Immediately a man 
from the new arrivals comes to the front of 
his own party ; he runs to and fro ; he speaks 
for his tribe ; these are his words : " Peace 
is made ! peace is made ! peace is firm ! peace 
is secure ! peace ! peace ! peace ! " This man 
is not a person of any particular consequence 
in his tribe, but his brother was killed by our 
people in the battle I have mentioned, and 
this gives him the right to be the first to 
proclaim peace. His speech is ended and he 
" falls in." Some three or four others 
"follow on the same side." Their speeches 
are short also, and nearly verbatim what the 
first Avas. Then who of all the world starts 
forth from " ours," to speak on the side of 
" law and order," but my diabolical old 


acquaintance the " Relation Eater." I had 
by this time picked up a little Maori, and 
could partly understand his speech. "Wel- 
come ! welcome ! welcome ! peace is made ! 
not till no\v has there been true peace ! I 
have seen you, and peace is made ! " Here 
he broke out into a song, the chorus of which 
Avas taken up by hundreds of voices, and 
when it ended he made a sudden and veiy 
expressive gesture of scattering something 
with his hands, which was a signal to all 
present that the ceremonial was at an end for 
the time. Our tribe at once disappeared into 
the pa, and at the same instant the strangers 
broke into a scattered mob, and made for the 
long shed which had been prepared for their 
reception, which was quite large enough, and 
the floor covered thickly with clean rushes to 
sleep on. About fifty or sixty then started 
for the border of the forest to brino- their 


clothes and baggage, which had been left 
there as incumbrances to the movements of 
the performers in the ceremonials I have 
described. Part, hoAvever, of the " n^ccU- 
uienta " had already arrived on the backs 
of about thirty boys, Avomen, and old 
slaA'es ; and I noticed amongst other things 
some casks of cartridges, Avhich Avere, as 


I thought, rather ostentatiously exposed to 

I soon found the reason my friend of 
saturnine propensities had closed proceedings 
so abruptly was, that the tribe had many 
pressing duties of hospitality to fulfil, and 
that the heavy talking was to commence next 
day. I noticed also that to this time there 
had been no meeting of the chiefs, and, more- 
over, that the two parties had kept strictly 
separate the nearest they had been to each 
other was thirty yards when the war dancing- 
was going on, and they seemed quite glad, 
when the short speeches were over, to move 
off to a greater distance from each other. 

Soon after the dispersion of the two 
parties, a firing of muskets was heard in 
and at the rear of the fort, accompanied by 
the squeaking, squealing, and dying groans 
of a whole herd of pigs. Directly afterwards 
a mob of fellows were seen staggering under 
the weight of the dead pigs, and proceeding 
to the long shed already mentioned, in front 
of which they were flung down, sans-cere- 
nionie, and without a word spoken. I 
counted sixty-nine large fat pigs flung in 
one heap, one. on the top of the other, 
before that part of the shed where the 


principal chief was sitting ; twelve were 
thrown before the interesting savage who 
had " started " the war dance ; and several 
single porkers were thrown without any 
remark before certain others of the guests. 
The parties, however, to whom this compli- 
ment was paid sat quietly saying nothing, 
and hardly appearing to see what was done. 
Behind the pigs was placed, by the active 
exertion of two or three hundred people, a 
heap of potatoes and kumcra, in quantity 
about ten tons, so there was no want of the 
raw material for a feast. 

The pigs and potatoes having been de- 
posited, a train of women appeared the 
whole, indeed, of the young and middle-aged 
women of the tribe, They advanced with a 
half-dancing half-hopping sort of step, to the 
time of a wild but not unmusical chant, 
each woman holding high in botli hands a 
smoking dish of some kind or other of Maori 
delicacy, hot from the oven. The ground- 
work of this feast appeared to be sweet 
potatoes and taro, but on the top of each 
smoking mess was placed either dried shark, 
eels, mullet, or pork, all " piping hot. " This 
treat was intended to stay our guests' 
stomachs till they could find time to cook 


for themselves. The women having placed the 
dishes, or to speak more correctly, baskets, 
on the ground before the shed, disappeared ; 
and in a miraculously short time the feast 
disappeared also, as was proved by seeing the 
baskets flung in twos, threes, and tens, empty 
out of the shed. 

Next day, pretty early in the morning, I 
saw our chief, (as I must call him for dis- 
tinction) with a few of the principal men of 
the tribe, dressed in their best Maori cos- 
tume, taking their way towards the shed 
of the visitors. When they got pretty near, 
a cry of haere mai ! hailed them. They went 
on gravely, and observing where the principal 
chief was seated, our chief advanced towards 
him,, fell upon his neck embracing him in the 
most affectionate manner, commenced a tangi, 
or melancholy sort of ditty, which lasted a 
full half hour, and during which, both parties, 
as in duty bound and in compliance Avith 
custom, shed floods of tears. How they 
managed to do it is more than I can tell to 
tliis day, except that I suppose you may train 
a man to do anything. Right well do I 
know that either party would have almost 
given his life for a chance to exterminate 
the other with all his tribe ; and twenty-seven 


years afterwards I saw the two tribes fighting 
in the very quarrel which was pretended to 
have been made up that day. Before this, 
however, both these chiefs were dead, and 
others reigned in their stead. While the 
tamji was going on between the two prin- 
cipals, the companions of our chief each 
selected one of the visitors, and rushing into 
his arms, went .throuq-h a similar scene. Old 

' O 

" Relation Eater " singled out the horrific 
savage who had began the war dance, and 
these two tender-hearted individuals did, for a 
full half hour, seated on the ground, hanging 
on each other's necks, give vent to such a 
chorus of skilfully modulated howling as would 
have given Momus the blue devils to listen to. 
After the taiiyi was ended, the two tribes 
seated themselves in a large irregular circle 
on the plain, and into this circle strode an 
orator, who, having said his say, was followed 
by another, and so the greater part of the day 
was consumed. No arms were to be seen in 
the hands of either party, except the green- 
stone mere of the principal chiefs ; but I took 
notice that about thirty of our people never 
left the nearest gate of the pa, and that their 
loaded muskets, although out of sight, were 
close at hand, standing against the fence 


inside the gate, and I also perceived that 
under their cloaks or mats they wore their 
cartridge boxes and tomahawks. This caused 
me to observe the other party more closely. 
They also, I perceived, had some forty men 
sleeping in the shed ; these fellows had not 
removed their cartridge boxes either, and all 
their companions' arms were carefully ranged 
behind them in a row, six or seven deep, 
against the back wall of the shed. 

The speeches of the orators were not very 
interesting, so I took a stroll to a little rising- 
ground at about a hundred yards distance, where 
a company of natives, better dressed than com- 
mon, were seated. They had the best sort of 
ornamented cloaks, and had feathers in their 
heads, which I already knew " commoners" 
could not afford to wear, as they were only to 
be procured some hundreds of miles to the 
south. I therefore concluded these were 
magnates or "personages" of some kind or 
other, and determined to introduce myself. 
As I approached, one of these splendid indi- 
viduals nodded to me in a very familiar sort 
of manner, and I, not to appear rude, returned 
the salute. I stepped into the circle formed 
by my new friends, and had just commenced 
a tena koutou, when a breeze of wind came 


sighing along the hill-top. My friend nodded 
again, his cloak blew to one side. What do 
I see ? or rather what do I not see ? The 
head lias no body under it ! The heads had 
all been stuck on slender rods, a cross stick 
tied on to represent the shoulders, and the 
cloaks thrown over all in such a natural man- 
ner as to deceive anyone at a short distance, 
but a green pakeha, who was not expecting 
any such matter, to a certainty. I fell back a 
yard or two, so as to take a full view of this 
silent circle. I began to feel as if at last I 
had fallen into strange company. 1 began to 
look more closely at my companions, and to 
try to fancy what their characters in life had 
been. One had undoubtedly been a warrior ; 
there was something bold and defiant about 
the whole air of the head. Another was the 
head of a very old man, grey, shrivelled, and 
wrinkled. I was going on with my observa- 
tions when I was saluted by a voice from 
behind with, " Looking at the eds, sir ?" It 
was one of the pakehas formerly mentioned. 
"Yes," said I, turning round just the least 
possible thing quicker than ordinary. " Eds 
has been a getting scarce," says he. " T 
should think so," says I. " We aii't ad a ed 
this long time," says he. " The devil !" says 


I. " One o' them eds has been hurt bad," 
says he. " I should think all were, rather 
so," says I. " Oh no, only one on 'em," says 
he, "the skull is split, and it won't fetch 
nothin," says he. " Oh, murder ! I see, now," 
says I. " Eds was werry scarce," says he, 
shaking his own " ed." "Ah!" said I. 
" They had to tattoo a slave a bit ago," 
says he, " and the villain ran away, tattooin' 
and all !" says he. " What T said I. "Bolted 
afore he was fit to kill," says he. " Stole off 
with his own head ?" says I. " That's just it/' 
says he. " Capital felony !" says I. " You 
may say that, sir," says he. "Good morn- 
ing," said I. I walked away pretty smartly. 
" Loose notions about heads in this country," 
said I to myself ; and involuntarily putting up 
my hand to my own, I thought somehow the 
bump of combativeness felt smaller, or indeed 
had vanished altogether. " It's all very 
funny," said I. 

I walked down into the^ plain. I saw in 
one place a crowd of women, boys, and others. 
There was a great noise of lamentation going 
on. I went up to the crowd, and there be- 
held, lying on a clean mat, which was spread 
on the ground, another head. A number of 
women were standing in a row before it, 


screaming, wailing, and quivering their hands 
about in a most extraordinary manner, and 
cutting themselves dreadfully with sharp flints 
and shells. One old woman, in the centre of 
the group, was one clot of blood from head to 
feet, and large clots of coagulated blood lay 
on the ground where she stood. The sight 
was absolutely horrible, I thought at the 
time. She was singing or howling a dirge-like 
wail. In her right hand she held a piece of 
tuliua, or volcanic glass, as sharp as a razor : 
this she placed deliberately to her left wrist, 
drawing it slowly upwards to her left shoulder, 
the spouting blood following as it went ; 
then from the left shoulder downwards, across 
the breast to the short ribs on the right side ; 
then the rude but keen knife was shifted 
from the right hand to the left, placed to 
the right wrist, drawn upwards to the right 
shoulder, and so down across the breast to 
the left side, thus making a bloody cross on 
the breast ; and so the operation went on all 
the time I was there, the old creature all 
the time howling in time and measure, 
and keeping time also with the knife, which 
at every cut was shifted from one hand to the 
other, as I have described. She had scored 
her forehead and cheeks before I came ; her 


face and body was a mere clot of blood, and 
a little stream was dropping from every finger 
a more hideous object could scarcely be 
conceived. I took notice that the younger 
women, though they screamed as loud, did 
not cut near so deep as the old woman, espe- 
cially about the face. 

This custom has been falling gradually out 
of use ; and when practised now, in these 
degenerate times, the cutting and maiming is 
mere form, mere scratching to draw enough 
blood to swear by : but, in " the good old 
times, " the thing used to be done properly. 
I often, of late years, have felt quite indig- 
nant to see some degenerate hussey making 
believe with a piece of flint in her hand, but 
who had no notion of cutting herself up 
properly as she ought to do. It shews a 
want of natural affection in the present gene- 
ration, I think ; they refuse to shed tears of 
blood for their friends as their mothers used 
to do. 

This head, I found on enquiry, was not 
the head of an enemy. A small party of 
our friends had been surprised ; two brothers 
were flying for their lives down a hill-side ; 
a shot broke the leg of one of them and he 
fell ; the enemy were close at hand ; already 


the exulting cry " na ! na ! mate rawa I " was 
heard ; the wounded man cried to the brother 
" Do not leave my head a plaything for the 
foe." There was no time for deliberation. 
The brother did not deliberate ; a few slashes 
with the tomahawk saved his brother's head, 
and he escaped with it in his hand, dried it, 
and brought it home ; and the old woman 
was the mother, the young ones were 
cousins. There was no sister, as I heard, 
when I enquired. All the heads on the hill 
were heads of enemies, and several of them 
are now in museums in Europe. 

With reference to the knowing remarks of 
the pakeha who accosted me on the hill on 
the state of the head market, I am bound to 
remark that my friend Mr. - never specu- 
lated in this ' ' article ;" but the skippers of 
many of the colonial trading schooners were 
always ready to deal with a man who had " a 
real good head," and used to commission such 
men as my companion of the morning 
to "pick up heads'' for them. It is a posi- 
tive fact that some time after this the head 
of a live man was sold and paid for be- 
forehand, and afterwards honestly delivered 
" as per agreement. " 

The scoundrel slave who had the conscience 


to run away with his own head after the 
trouble and expense had been gone to to 
tattoo it to make it more valuable, is no fiction 
either. Even in " the good old times " people 
would sometimes be found to behave in the 
most dishonest manner. But there are good 
and bad to be found in all times and places. 

Now if there is one thing I hate more 
than another it is the raw-head-and- bloody- 
bones style of writing, and in these random 
reminiscences I shall avoid all particular 
mention of battles, massacres, and onslaughts, 
except there be something particularly char- 
acteristic of my friend the Maori in them. 
As for mere hacking and hewing, there has 
been enough of that to be had in Europe, 
Asia, and America of late, and very well 
described too, by numerous " our correspon- 
dents." If I should have to fight a single 
combat or two, just to please the ladies, I 
shall do my best not to get killed, and hereby 
promise not to kill anyone myself if I pos- 
sibly can help it. I, however, hope to be 
excused for the last two or three pages, as 
it was necessary to point out 'that in the 
good old times, if one's own. head was not 
sufficient, it was quite practicable to get 


I must, however, get rid of our visitors. 
Next day, at daylight, they disappeared : 
canoes from their own tribe had come to meet 
them, (the old woman with the flint had arri- 
ved in these canoes,) and they departed sans- 
ceremonie, taking with them all that was left 
of the pigs and potatoes which had been 
given them, and also the "fine lot of eds." 
Their departure was felt as a great relief, 
and though it was satisfactory to know peace 
was made, it was even more so to be well rid 
of the peacemakers. 

Hail, lovely peace, daughter of heaven ! 
meek-eyed inventor of Armstrong guns and 
Enfield rifles ; you of the liquid-fire-shell, 
hail ! Shooter at " bulls'-eyes," trainer of 
battalions, killer of wooden Frenchmen, hail ! 
(A bit of fine writing does one good.) 
Nestling under thy wing, I will scrape sharp 
the point of my spear with a pipi shell ; I 
will carry fern-root into my pa ; I w r ill cure 
those heads which T have killed in war, or 
they will spoil and " won't fetch nothin" : for 
these are thy arts, O peace ! 



PAKEHAS, though precious in the good old 
times, would sometimes get into awkward 
scrapes. Accidents, I have observed, will hap- 
pen at the best of times. Some time after the 
matters I have been recounting happened, 
two of the pakehas who were " knocking 

about" Mr. premises, went fishing. One 

of them was a very respectable old man-of- 
war's man ; the other was the connoisseur of 
heads, who, I may as well mention, was 
thought to be one of that class who never 
could remember to a nicety how they had 
come into the country, or where they came 
from. It so happened that on their return, 
the little boat, not being well 'fastened, went 
adrift in the night, and was cast on shore 
at about four miles distance, in the dominions 
of a petty chief who was a sort of vassal or 


retainer of ours. He did not belong to the 
tribe, and lived on the land by the permission 
of our chief as a sort of tenant at will. Of late 
an ill-feeling had grown up between him and 
the principal chief. The vassal had in fact 
begun to show some airs of independence, and 
had collected more men about him than our 
chief cared to see ; but up to this time there 
had been no- regular outbreak between them, 
possibly because the vassal had not yet suffi- 
cient force to declare independence formally. 
Our chief was however watching for an excuse 
to fall out with him before he should crow 


too strong. As soon as it was heard where 
the boat was, the two men went for it as a 
matter of course, little thinking that this 
encroaching vassal would have the insolence 
to claim the right of "flotsam and jetsam," 
which belonged to the principal chief, and 
which was always waived in favour of his 
pakehas. On arrival, however, at this rebel- 
lious chief's dominions, they were informed 
that it was his intention to stick to the boat 
until he was paid a ''stocking of gunpow- 
der" meaning a quantity as much as a 
stocking would hold, which was the regular 
standard measure in those days in that 
locality. A stocking of gunpowder ! who ever 

F '2 


heard of such an awful imposition ? The 
demand was enormous in value and rebellious 
in principle. The thing must be put an end 
to at once. The principal chief did not hesi- 
tate : rebellion must be crushed in the bud. 
He at once mustered his whole force, (he did 
not approve of " little wars/') and sent them 
off under the command of the Relation Eater, 
who served an ejectment in regular Maori 
form, by first plundering the village and then 
burning it to ashes ; also destroying the culti- 
vation and provisions, and forcing the vassal 
to decamp with all his people on pain of 
instant massacre a thing they did not lose a 
moment in doing, and I don't think they 
either eat or slept till they had got fifty miles 
off, where a tribe related to them received 
them and gave them a welcome. 

Well, about three months after this, about 
daylight in the morning, I was aroused by a 
great uproar of men shouting, doors smash- 
ing, and women screaming. Up I jumped, 
and pulled on a few clothes in less time, I am 
sure, that ever I had done before in my life ; 
out I ran, and at once perceived *that Mr. - 
premises were being sacked by the rebellious 
vassal, who had returned with about fifty 
men, and was taking this means of revenging 


himself for the rough handling he had received 
from our chief. Men were rushing in mad 
haste through the smashed windows and 
doors, loaded with anything and everything 
they could lay hands on. The chief was 
stamping against the door of a room in which 
he was aware the most valuable goods were 
kept, and shouting for help to break it open. 
A large canoe was floating close to the house, 
and was being rapidly filled with plunder. I 
saw a fat old Maori woman, who was washer- 
woman to the establishment, being dragged 
along the ground by a huge fellow, who was 
trying to tear from her grasp one of my shirts, 
to which she clung with perfect desperation. 
I perceived at a glance that the faithful 
old creature would probably save a sleeve. 
A long line of similar articles, my property, 
which had graced the taicpa fence the night 
before, had disappeared. The old man-of- 
war's man had placed his back exactly oppo- 
site to that part of the said fence where 
hung a certain striped cotton shirt and well 
scrubbed canvas trowsers, which could belong 
to no one but himself. He was " hitting 
out" lustily right and left. Mr. - - had been 
absent some days on a journey, and the head 
merchant, as we found after all was over, was 


hiding under a bed. When the old sailor 
saw me, he '" sang out," in a voice clear as a 
bell, and calculated to be distinctly heard 
above the din : " Hit out, sir, if you please ; 
let's make a fight of it the best we can ; our 
mob will be here in five minutes ; Tahuna 
has run to fetch them." While he thus gave 
both advice and information, he also set a 
good example, having delivered just one 
thump per word or thereabouts. The odds 
were terrible, but the time was short that I 
was required to fight ; so I at once floored a 
native who was rushing by me. He fell like 
a man shot, and I then perceived he was one 
of our own people who had been employed 
about the place ; so, to balance things, I 
knocked down another, and then felt myself 
seized round the waist from behind, by a 
fellow who seemed to be about as strong as a 
horse. At this moment I cast an anxious 
glance around the field of battle. The old 
Maori woman had, as I expected, saved a 
good half of my shirt ; she had got on the top 
of an out-house, and was waving it in a 
" Sister Anne " sort of manner, and calling 
to an imaginary friendly host, which she pre- 
tended to see advancing to the rescue. The 
old sailor had fallen under, but not sur- 


rendered to, superior force. Three natives 
had got him down ; but it took all they could 
do to keep him down : he was evidently carry- 
ing out his original idea of making a fight of 
it, and gaining time ; the striped shirt and 
canvas trowsers still hung proudly on the 
fence. None of his assailants could spare a 
second to pull them down. I was kicking 
and flinging in the endeavour to extricate 
myself; or, at least to turn round, so as to 
carry out a " face to face " policy, which it 
would be a grand mistake to suppose was 
not understood long ago in the good old 
times. I had nearly succeeded, and was 
thinking what particular form of destruction I 
should shower on the foe, when a tremendous 
shout was heard. It was " our mob " coming 
to the rescue ; and, like heroes of old, " send- 
ing their voice before them." In an instant 
both myself and the gallant old tar were 
released ; the enemy dashed on board their 
canoe, and in another moment were off, dart- 
ing away before a gale of wind and a fair tide 
at a rate that put half a mile at least between 
them and us before our protectors came up. 
" Load the gun ! " cried the sailor (there 
was a nine pound carronade on the cliff before 
the house, overlooking the river) . A cartridge 


was soon found, and a shot, and the gun 
loaded. " Slew her a little/' cried my now 
commander ; " fetch a fire stick." " Aye, 
aye, sir" (from self). "Wait a little; that will 
do Fire!" (in a voice as if ordering the 
discharge of the whole broadside of a three- 
decker). Bang ! The elevation was perfectly 
correct. The shot struck the water at exactly 
the right distance, and only a few feet to one 
side. A very few feet more to the right and 
the shot would have entered the stern of the 
canoe, and, as she was end on to us, would 
have killed half the people in her. A miss, 
however, is as good as a mile off. The canoe 
disappeared behind a point, and there we 
were with an army of armed friends around 
us, who, by making great expedition, had 
managed to come exactly in time to be too 

This was a taua inuru (a robbing expedi- 
tion) in revenge for the leader having been 
cleaned out by our chief, which gave them 
the right to rob any one connected with, 
related to, or under the protection of, our 
chief aforesaid, provided always that they 
were able. We, on the other hand, had the 
clear right to kill any of the robbers, which 
would then have given them the right to kill 


us ; but until we killed some of them, it 
would not have been "correct" for them to 
have taken life, so they managed the thing 
neatly, so that they should have no occasion 
to do so. The whole proceeding was un- 
objectionable in every respect, and tika 
(correct). Had we put in our nine-pound 
shot at the stern of their canoe, it would 
have been correct also, but as we were not 
able, we had no right whatever to complain. 

The above is good law, and here I may as 
well inform the New Zealand public that I 
am going to write the whole law of this land 
in a book, which I shall call "Ko ur/a ture ; " 
and as I intend it for the good of both 
races, I shall mix the two languages up in 
such a way that neither can understand ; but 
this does not matter, as I shall add a 
" glossary," in Coptic, to make things clear. 

Some time after this, a little incident 
happened at my friend Mr. - - place worth 
noting. Our chief had, for some time back, 
a sort of dispute with another magnate, who 
lived about ten miles off. I really cannot 
say who was in the right the arguments 
on both sides were so nearly balanced, that I 
should not like to commit myself to a judg- 
ment in the case. The question was at last 


brought to a fair hearing at my friend's house. 
The arguments on both sides were very 
forcible, so much so that in the course of the 
arbitration our chief and thirty of his principal 
witnesses were shot dead in a heap before my 
friend's door, and sixty others badly wounded, 
and my friend's house and store blown up 
and burnt to ashes. My friend was all but, 
or indeed, quite ruined, but it would not have 
been "correct" for him to complain his loss 
in goods being far over-balanced by the loss 
of the tribe in men. He was, however, 
consoled by hundreds of friends who came in 
large parties to condole and tangi with him, 
and who, as was quite correct in such cases, 
shot and eat all his stock, sheep, pigs, goats, 
ducks, geese, fowls, &c., all in high compli- 
ment to himself, at which he felt proud, as a 
well conducted and conditioned pakeha Maori 
(as he was) should do. He did not, however, 
survive these honours long, poor fellow. He 
died, and strange to say, no one knew exactly 
what was the matter with him some said it 
was the climate, they thought. 

After this the land about which this little 
misunderstanding had arisen, was, so to speak, 
thrown into chancery, where it has now re- 
mained about forty years ; but I hear that 


proceedings are to commence de novo (no 
allusion to the "new system") next summer, 
or at farthest the summer after ; and as I 
witnessed the first proceedings, when the case 
comes on again " may I be there to see.' 




" EVERY Englishman's house is his castle," 
" I scorn the foreign yoke," and glory in the 
name of Briton, and all that. The natural 
end, however, of all castles is to be burnt or 
blown up. In England it is true you can 
call the constable, and should any foreign 
power attack you with grinding organ and 
white mice, you may hope for succours from 
without, from which cause " castles" in Eng- 
land are more long lived. In New Zealand, 
however, it is different, as, to the present 
day, the old system prevails, and castles con- 
tinue to be disposed of in the natural way, as 
has been seen lately at Taranaki. 

I now purchased a piece of land and built 
a " castle" for myself. I really can't tell to 
the present day who I purchased the land 
from, for there were about fifty different 


claimants, every one of whom assured me 
that the other forty-nine were "humbugs," 
and had no right whatever. The nature of 
the different titles of the different claimants 
were various. One man said his ancestors 
had killed off the first owners ; another de- 
clared his ancestors had driven off the second 
party ; another man, who seemed to be 
listened to with more respect than ordinary, 
declared that his ancestor had been the first 
possessor of all, and had never been ousted, 
and that this ancestor was a huge lizard that 
lived in a cave on the land many ages ago, 
and sure enough there was the cave to prove 
it. Besides the principal claims there were 
an immense number of secondary ones a 
sort of latent equities which had lain 
dormant until it was known the pakelia had 
his eye on the land. Some of them seemed 
to me at the time odd enough. One man 
required payment because his ancestors, as 
he affirmed, had exercised the right of catch- 
ing rats on it, but which he (the claimant) 
had never done, for the best of reasons, i.e., 
there were no rats to catch, except indeed 
pakeha rats, which were plenty enough, 
but this variety of rodent was not counted 
as game. Another claimed because bis 


grandfather had been murdered on the 
land, and as I am a veracious pakeha 
another claimed payment because his grand- 
father had committed the murder ! Then 
half the country claimed payments of various 
value, from one fig of tobacco to a musket, 
on account of a certain wahi tapu, or 
ancient burying-ground, which was on the 
land, and in which every one almost had had 
relations or rather ancestors buried, as they 
could clearly make out, in old times, though 
no one had been deposited in it for about two 
hundred years, and the bones of the others 
had been (as they said) removed long ago to 
a tor ere in the mountains. It seemed an 
awkward circumstance that there was some 
difference of opinion as to where this same 
wahi tapu was situated, being, and lying, for 
in case of my buying the land it was stipu- 
lated that I should fence it round and make 
no use of it, although I had paid for it. (I, 
however, have put off fencing till the exact 
boundaries have been made out ; and indeed 
I don't think I shall ever be called on to do 
so, the fencing proviso having been made, as I 
now believe, to give a stronger look of reality 
to the existence of the sacred spot, it having 
been observed that I had some doubts on the 


subject. No mention was ever made of it 
after the payments had been all made, and 
so I think I may venture to affirm that the 
existence of the said wahi tapu is of very 
doubtful authenticity, though it certainly cost 
me a round " lot of trade.") There was one 
old man who obstinately persisted in de- 
claring that he, and he alone, was the sole and 
rightful owner of the land ; he seemed also to 
have a " fixed idea" about certain barrels of 
gunpowder ; but as he did not prove his claim 
to my satisfaction, and as he had no one to 
back him, 1 of course gave him nothing ; he 
nevertheless demanded the gunpowder about 
once a month for five-and-twenty years, till 
at last he died of old age, and I am now a 
landed proprietor, clear of all claims and de- 
mands, and have an undeniable rioilt to hold 

' O 

my estate as long as ever 1 am able. 

It took about three months' negotiation 
before the purchase of the land could be 
made ; and, indeed, I at one time gave up the 
idea, as I found it quite impossible to decide 
who to pay. If I paid one party, the others 
vowed I should never have possession, and to 
pay all seemed impossible ; so at last I let 
all parties know that I had made up my mind 
not to have the land. This, however, turned 


out to be the first step I had made in the 
right direction ; for, thereupon, all the dif- 
ferent claimants agreed amongst themselves 
to demand a certain quantity of goods, and 
divide them amongst themselves afterwards. 
I was glad of this, for I wished to buy the 
land, as I thought, in case I should ever take 
a trip to the "colonies," it would look well 
to be able to talk of " my estate in New 
Zealand." The day being now come on 
which I was to make the payment, and all 
parties present, I then and there handed over 
to the assembled mob the price of the land, 
consisting of a great lot of blankets, muskets, 
tomahawks, tobacco, spades, axes, &c., &c. ; 
and received in return a very dirty piece of 
paper with all their marks on it, I having 
written the terms of transfer on it in English 
to my own perfect satisfaction. The cost per 
acre to me was, as near as can be, about five 
and a half times what the same quantity of 
land would have cost me at the same time in 
Tasmania ; but this was not of much import- 
ance, as the value of land in New Zealand 
then, and indeed now, being chiefly imaginary, 
one could just as easily suppose it to be of a 
very great value as a very small one; I there- 
fore did not complain of the cost. 


While I ain on the subject of land and land 
titles, I may as well here mention that many 
years after the purchase of my land I received 
notice to appear before certain persons called 
" Land Commissioners/ 5 who were part and 
parcel of the new inventions which had come 
up soon after the arrival of the first governor, 
and which are still a trouble to the land. I 
was informed that I must appear and prove 
my title to the land I have mentioned, on 
pain of forfeiture of the same. Now I could 
not see what right any one could have to 
plague me in this way, and if I had had no 
one but the commissioners and two or three 
hundred men of their tribe to deal with, T 
should have put my pa in fighting order, 
and told them to " come on ; " for before 
this time I had had occasion to build a pa, 
(a little misunderstanding,) and being a re- 
gularly naturalised member of a strong tribe, 
could raise men to defend it at the shortest 
notice. But somehow these people had 
cunningly managed to mix up the name 
of Queen Victoria, God bless her I (no 
disparagement to King Potatau) in the matter ; 
and I, though a pakeha Maori, am a loyal 
subject to her Majesty, and will stick up 
and fight for her as long as ever I can 


muster a good imitation of courage or a 
leg to stand upon. This being the case, I 
made a very unwilling appearance at the 
court, and explained and defended my title to 
the land in an oration of four hours' and a half 
duration ; and which, though I was much out 
of practice, I flatter myself was a good speci- 
men of English rhetoric, and which, for its 
own merits as well as for another reason 
which I was not aware of at the time, was 
listened to by the court with the greatest 
patience. When I had concluded, and having 
been asked "if I had any more to say ? " I 
saw the commissioner beginning to count my 
words, which had been all written I suppose 
in short hand ; and having ascertained how 
many thousand I had spoken, he handed me a 
bill, in which I was charged by the word, for 
every word I had spoken, at the rate of one 
farthing and one twentieth per word. Oh, 
Cicero ! Oh, Demosthenes ! Oh, Pitt, Fox, 
Burke, Sheridan ! Oh, Daniel O'Connell ! 
what would have become of you, if such a 
stopper had been clapt on your jawing 
tackle ? Fame would never have cracked her 
trumpet, and " Dan " would never have raised 
the rint. For my part I have never re- 
covered the shock. I have since that time 


become taciturn, and have adopted a Spartan 
brevity when forced to speak, and I fear I 
shall never again have the full swing of my 
mother tongue. Besides this, I was charged 
ten shillings each for a little army of witnesses 
who I had brought by way of being on the 
sure side five shillings a head for calling 
them into court, and five more for " examin- 
ing" them ; said examination consisting of 
one question each, after which they were told 
to " be off." *I do believe had I brought up 
a whole tribe, as I had thoughts of doing, the 
commissioners would not have minded ex- 
amining them all. They were, I am bound 
to say, very civil and polite ; one of them told 
me I was " a damned, infernal, clever fellow, 
and he should like to see a good many more 
like me." I hope I am not getting tedious, 
but this business made such an impression on 
me, that I can't help being too prolix, perhaps, 
when describing it. I have, however, often 
since that time had my doubts whether the 
Queen (God bless her) got the money or 
knew half as much of the affair as they 
wanted to make out. I dont believe it. 
Our noble Queen would be clean above such 
a proceeding ; and 1 mean to say its against 
Magna Charta, it is ! " Justice shall not l>c 

o 2 


sold," saith Magna Charta ; and if it's not 
selling justice to make a loyal pakeha Ma'ori 
pay for every word he speaks when defending 
his rights in a court of justice, I don't 
know what is. 

Well, to make matters up, they after some 
time gave me a title for my land (as if I had 
not one before) ; but then, after some years, 
they made me give it back again, on purpose, 
as they said, that they might give me a better ! 
But since that time several ntore years have 
passed, and I have not got it ; so, as these 
things are now all the fashion, " T wish I 
may get it." 



I NEVER yet could get the proper knack of 
telling a story. Here T am now, a good forty 
years ahead of where I ought to be, talking 
of " title deeds " and " land commissioners," 
things belonging to the new and deplorable 
state of affairs which began when this country 
became "a British colony and possession," 
and also " one of the brightest jewels in the 
British crown." I must go back. 

Having purchased my " estate," 1 set up 
housekeeping. My house was a good com- 
modious ranpo building ; and as I had a 
princely income of a few hundred a year " in 
trade," I kept house in a very magnificent and 
hospitable style. I kept always eight stout 
paid Maori retainers, the pay being one fig of 
tobacco per week, and their potatoes, which 
was about as much more. Their duties were 


not heavy ; being chiefly to amuse themselves 
fishing, wrestling, shooting pigeons, or pig- 
hunting, with an occasional pull in the boat 
when I went on a water excursion. Besides 
these paid retainers, there was always about a 
dozen hangers on, who considered themselves 
a part of the establishment, and who, no doubt, 
managed to live at my expense ; but as that 
expense was merely a few hundred weight of 
potatoes a week, and an odd pig now and then, 
it was not perceptible in the good old times. 
Indeed these hangers on, as I call them, were 
necessary ; for now and then, in those brave 
old times, little experiments would be made 
by certain Maori gentlemen of freebooting 
propensities, and who were in great want of 
" British manufactures," to see what could be 
got by bullying " the pakeha," and to whom a 
good display of physical force was the only 
argument worth notice. These gentiy generally 
came from a long distance, made a sudden 
appearance, and, thanks to my faithful re- 
tainers, who, as a matter of course, were all 
bound to fight for me, though I should have 
found it hard to get much iffork'out of them, 
made as sudden a retreat, though on one or 
two occasions, when my standing army were 
accidentally absent, I had to do battle single 


handed. I think 1 have promised somewhere 
that 1 would perform a single combat for the 
amusement of the ladies, and so I may as well 
do it now as at any other time. I shall, 
therefore, recount a little affair I had with 
one of these gentry, as it is indeed quite 
necessary I should, if I am to give any true 
idea of " the good old times." I must, how- 
ever, protest against the misdeeds of a few ruf- 
fians human wolves being charged against 
the whole of their countrymen. At the time 
I am speaking of, the only restraint on such 
people was the fear of retaliation, and the con- 
sequence was, that often a dare-devil savage 
would run a long career of murder, robbery, 
and outrage, before meeting with a check, 
simply from the terror he inspired, and the 
"luck" which often accompanies outrageous 
daring. At a time, however, and in a country 
like New Zealand, where every man was a 
fighting man or nothing, these desperadoes, 
sooner or later, came to grief, being at last 
invariably shot, or run through the body, by 
some sturdy freeholder, whose rights they had 
invaded. I had two friends staying with me, 
young men who had come to see me from the 
neighbouring colonies, and to take a summer 
tour in New Zealand ; and it so happened 


that no less than three times during my 
absence from home, and when I had taken 
almost all my people along with me, my castle 
had been invaded by one of the most notorious 
ruffians who had ever been an impersonation 
of, or lived by, the law of force. This inter- 
esting specimen of the genus homo had, on the 
last of these visits, demanded that my friends 
should hand over to him one pair of blankets ; 
but as the prospectus he produced, with 
respect to payment, was not at all satisfactory, 
my friends declined to enter into the specula- 
tion, the more particularly as the blankets 
were mine. Our freebooting acquaintance 
then, to explain his views more clearly, 
knocked both my friends down ; threatened 
to kill them both with his tomahawk ; then 
rushed into the bed-room, dragged out all 
the bed-clothes, and burnt them on the 
kitchen fire. 

This last affair was rather displeasing to me. 
I held to the theory that every Englishman's 
house was his castle, and was moreover rather 
savage at my guests having been so roughly 
handled. I in fact began to feel* that though 
I had up to this time managed to hold my 
own pretty well, I was at last in danger of 
falling under the imposition of " black mail," 


cind losing my status as an independent 
potentate a rangatira of the first water.. I 
then and there declared loudly that it was 
well for the offender that I had not been at 
home, and that if ever he tried his tricks with 
me he would find out his mistake. These 
declarations of war, I perceived, were heard 
by my men in a sort of incredulous silence, 
(silence in New Zealand gives <7/s-sent,) and 
though the fellows were stout chaps, who 
would not mind a row with any ordinary 
mortal, I verily believe they would have all 
ran at the first appearance of this redoubted 
ruffian. Indeed his antecedents had been 
such as might have almost been their excuse. 
He had killed several men in fair fight, and 
had also as was well known committed two 
most diabolical murders, one of which was on 
his own wife, a fine young woman* whose 
brains he blew out at half a second's notice 
for no further provocation than this : he was 
sitting in the verandah of his house, and told 
her to bring him a light for his pipe. She, 
being occupied in domestic affairs, said, 
" can't you fetch it yourself, I am going for 
water." She had the calibash u> her hand 
and their infant child on her back. He 

snatched up his gun and instantly shot her 


dead on the spot ; and I had heard him 
afterwards describing quite coolly the comical 
way in which her brains had been knocked 
out by the shot with which the gun was 
loaded. He also had, for some trifling provo- 
cation, lopped off the arm of his own brother 
or cousin, I forget which, and was, altogether, 
from his tremendous bodily strength and utter 
insensibility to danger, about as "ugly a 
customer" as one would care to meet. 

I am now describing a regular Maori 
ruffian of the good old times, the natural 
growth of a state of society wherein might 
was to a very great extent right, and where 
bodily strength and courage were almost the 
sole qualities for which a man was respected 
or valued. He was a bullet-headed, scowl- 
ing, bow-legged, broad-shouldered, herculean 
savage, and all these qualifications combined 
made him unquestionably "a great rangatira," 
and, as he had never been defeated, his mana 
was in full force. 

A few weeks after the affair of the blankets, 
as I was sitting all alone reading a Sydney 
newspaper, which, being only a year old, was 
highly inteftesting, my friends and all my 
natives having gone on an expedition to haul 
a large fishing net, who should I see enter 


the room and squat down on the floor, as if 
taking permanent possession, but the amiable 
and highly interesting individual I have taken 
so much trouble to describe. He said 
nothing, but his posture and countenance 
spoke whole volumes of defiance and mur- 
derous intent. He had heard of the threats 
I had made against him, and there he was, 
let me turn him out if I dare. That was his 
meaning, there was no mistaking it. 

I have all my life been an admirer of the 
sttaviter in modo, though it is quite out of 
place in New Zealand. If you tell a man 
a Maori I mean in a gentle tone of voice and 
with a quiet manner that if he continues a 
given line of conduct you will Ijegin to com- 
mence to knock him down, he simply disbe 
lieves you, and thereby forces you to do that 
which, if you could have persuaded yourself 
to have spoken very uncivilly at first, there 
would have been no occasion for. i have 
seen many proofs of this, and though I have 
done my best for many years to improve the 
understanding of my Maori friends in this 
particular, I find still there are but very few 
who can understand at all how it is possible 
that the suaviter in modo can be combined 
with the fortiter in re. They in fact can't 


understand it for some reason perfectly inex- 
plicable to me. It was, however, quite a 
matter of indifference, I could perceive, how 
I should open proceedings with my friend, as 
he evidently meant mischief. "Habit is 
second nature," so I instinctively took to the 
sitaviter. " Friend," said I, in a very mild 
tone 'and with as amiable a smile as I could 
get up, in spite of a certain clenching of the 
teeth which somehow came on me at the 
moment, " my advice to you is to be off." He 
seemed to nestle himself firmer in his seat, and 
made no answer but a scowl of defiance. " I am 
thinking, friend, that this is my house," said I, 
and springing upon him I placed my foot to his 
shoulder, and gave a shove which would have 
sent most people heels over- head. Not so, 
however, with my friend. It shook him, 
certainly, a little ; but in an instant, as quick 
as lightning, and as it appeared with a single 
motion, he bounded from the ground, flung 
his mat away over his head, and struck a 
furious blow at my head with his tomahawk. 
I escaped instant death by a quickness equal 
to or greater than his own. My eye was 
quick, and so was my arm ; life was at stake. 
I caught the tomahawk in full descent ; the 
edge grazed my hand ; but my arm, stiffened 


like a bar of iron, arrested the blow. He 
made one furious, but ineffectual, effort to 
tear the tomahawk from my grasp ; and then 
we seized one another round the middle, and 
struggled like maniacs in the endeavour to 
dash each other against the boarded floor, I 
holding on for dear life to the tomahawk, and 
making desperate efforts to get it from him, 
but without a chance of success, as it was 
fastened to his wrist by a strong thong of 
leather. He was, as I soon found, somewhat 
stronger than me, and heavier ; but I was as 
active as a cat, and as long winded as an emu, 
and very far from weak. At last he got a 
wiri round my leg ; and had it not been for 
the table on which we both fell, and which, in 
smashing to pieces, broke our fall, I might 
have been disabled and in that case instantly 
tomahawked. We now rolled over and over 
on the floor like two mad bulldogs ; he trying 
to bite, and I trying to stun him by dashing 
his bullet head against the floor. Up again ! 
still both holding on to the tomahawk. 
Another furious struggle, in the course of 
which both our heads, and half our bodies, 
were dashed through the two glass windows 
in the room, and every single article of furni- 
ture was reduced to atoms. Down again, 


rolling like mad, and dancing about amongst 
the rubbish the wreck of the house. By 
this time we were both covered with blood 
from various wounds, received I don't know 
how. I had been all this time fighting 
under a great disadvantage, for my friend 
was trying to kill me, and I was only trying 
to disarm and tie him up a much harder 
thing than to kill. My reason for going to 
this trouble was, that as there were no wit- 
nesses to the row, if I killed him, I might 
have had serious difficulties with his tribe. 
Up again ; another terrific tussle for the 
tomahawk ; down again with a crash ; and so 
this life or death battle went on, down and 
up, up and down, for a full hour. At last I 
perceived that my friend was getting weaker, 
and felt that victory was only now a question 
of time. I, so far from being fatigued, was 
even stronger. Another desperate wrestling 
match. I lifted my friend high in my arms, 
and dashed him, panting, furious, foaming at 
the mouth, but beaten, against the ground. 
There he lies ; the worshipper of force. His 
God has deserted him. But no, not yet. He 
has one more chance, and a fatal one it 
nearly proved to me. I began to unfasten 
the tomahawk from his wrist. An odd ex- 


pression came over his countenance. He 
spoke for the first time. " Enough, I ani 
beaten ; let me rise." Now I had often 
witnessed the manly and becoming manner 
in which some Maoris can take defeat, when 
they have been defeated in what they con- 
sider fair play. I had also ceased to fear 
my friend, and so incautiously let go his 
left arm. Like lightning he snatched at a 
large carving fork, which, unperceived by 
me, was lying on the floor amongst the 
smashed furniture and debris of my house- 
hold effects ; his fingers touched the handle 
and it rolled away out of his reach, and 
my life was saved. He then struck me with 
all his remaining force on the side of the 
head, causing the blood to flow out of my 
mouth. One more short struggle, and he was 
conquered. But now I had at last got angry. 
The drunkenness, the exhilaration of fight, 
which comes on some constitutions, was fairly 
on me. I had also a consciousness that now 
I must kill my man, or, sooner or later, he 
would kill me. I thought of the place I 
would bury him ; how I would stun him first 
with the back of the tomahawk, to prevent 
too much blood being seen ; how I would 
then carry him oft' (I could carry two such 


men now, easy). I would murder him and 
cover him up. I unwound the tomahawk 
from his wrist : he was passive and helpless 
now. I wished he was stronger, and told 
him to get up and "die standing," as his 
countrymen say. I clutched the tomahawk 
for the coup-de-grace, (I can't help it, young 
ladies, the devil is in me,) at this instant 
a thundering sound of feet is heard, a whole 
tribe are coming I Now am I either lost or 
saved ! saved from doing that which I should 
afterwards repent, though constrained by ne- 
cessity to do it. The rush of charging feet 
comes closer. In an instant comes dashing 
and smashing through doors and windows, in 
breathless haste and alarm, a whole tribe of 
friends. Small ceremony now with my an- 
tagonist. He was dragged by the heels, 
stamped on, kicked, and thrown half-dead, or 
nearly quite dead, into his canoe. All the 
time we had been fighting a little slave imp 
of a boy belonging to my antagonist had been 
loading the canoe with my goods and chattels, 
and had managed to make a very fair plunder 
of it. These were all now brought back by 
my friends, except one cloth jacket, which 
happened to be concealed under the whariki, 
and which I only mention because I remember 


that the attempt to recover it some time after- 
wards cost one of my friends his life. The 
savage scoundrel who had so nearly done for 
me, broke two of his ribs, and so otherwise 
injured him that he never recovered, and died 
after lingering about a year. My friends 
were going on a journey, and had called to 
see me as they passed. They saw the slave 
boy employed as I have stated, and knowing 
to whom he belonged had rushed at once to 
the rescue, little expecting to find me alive. I 
may as well now dispose of this friend of 
mine by giving his after history. He for a 
long time after our fight went continually 
armed w r ith a double gun, and said he would 
shoot me wherever he met me ; he however 
had had enough of attacking me in my 
"castle," and so did not call there any more. 
I also went continually armed, and took care 
also to have always some of my people at 
hand. After this, this fellow committed two 
more murders, and also killed in fair fight 
with his own hand the first man in a native 
battle, in which the numbers on each side 
were about three hundred, and which I 
witnessed. The man he killed was a remark- 
ably fine young fellow, a great favourite of 
mine. At last, having attacked and at- 


tempted to murder another native, he was 
shot through the heart by the person he 
attempted to murder, and fell dead on the 
spot, and so there died "a great rangatim" 
His tribe quietly buried him and said no 
more about it, which showed their sense of 
right. Had he been killed in what they con- 
sidered an unjust manner, they would have 
revenged his death at any cost ; but I have 
no doubt they themselves were glad to get 
rid of him, for he was a terror to all about 
him. I have been in many a scrape both by 
sea and land, but I must confess that I never 
met a more able hand at an argument than 
this Maori rangatira. 

I have not mentioned my friend's name 
with whom I had this discussion on the rights 
of Englishmen, because he has left a son, who 
is a great rangatira, and who might feel 
displeased if I was too particular, and I am 
not quite so able now to carry out a " face-to- 
face" policy as I was a great many years ago ; 
besides there is a sort of " honour amongst 
thieves" feeling between myself and my 
Maori friends on certain matters which we 
mutually understand are not for the ears of 
the " new people." 

Now, ladies, I call that a fairish good fight, 


considering no one is killed on either side. I 
promise to be good in future and to keep the 
peace, if people will let me ; and indeed, I 
may as well mention, that from that day to 
this I have never had occasion to explain 
again to a Maori how it is that " every Eng- 
lishman's house is his castle." 

"Fair play is a jewel ;" and I will here, as 
bound in honour to do, declare that I have 
met amongst the natives with men who would 
be a credit to any nation ; men on whom 
nature had plainly stamped the mark of 
" Noble," of the finest bodily form, quick and 
intelligent in mind, polite and brave, and 
capable of the most self-sacrificing acts for the 
good of others ; patient, forbearing, and affec- 
tionate in their families ; in a word, gentle- 
men. These men were the more remarkable, 
as they had grown up surrounded by a set 
of circumstances of the most unfavourable 
kind for the development of the qualities of 
which they were possessed ; and I have often 
looked on with admiration, when I have seen 
them protesting against, and endeavouring to 

restrain some of, the dreadful barbarities of 

their countrymen. 

As for the Maori people in general, they 

are neither s-o gocd or so bad as their friends 

H 1' 


and enemies have painted them, and I suspect 
are pretty much like what almost any other 
people would have become, if subjected for 
ages to the same external circumstances. For 
ages they have struggled against necessity 
in all its shapes. This has given to them 
a remarkable greediness for gain in every 
visible and immediately tangible form. It 
has even left its mark on their language. 
Without the aid of iron the most trifling 
tool or utensil could only be purchased by an 
enormously disproportionate outlay of labour 
in its construction, and, in consequence, became 
precious to a degree scarcely conceivable by 
people of civilised and wealthy countries. This 
great value attached to personal property of 
all kinds, increased proportionately the tempta- 
tion to plunder ; and where no law existed, 
or could exist, of sufficient force ,to repress 
the inclination, every man, as a natural con- 
sequence, became a soldier, if it were only 
for the defence of his own property and that 
of those who were banded with him his tribe, 
or family. From this state of things regular 
warfare arose, as a matter of course ; the 
military art was studied as a science, and 
brought to great perfection as applied to the 
arms used ; and a marked military character 


was given to the people. The necessity of 
labour, the necessity of warfare, and a tem- 
perate climate, gave them strength of body, 
accompanied by a perseverance and energy 
of mind, perfectly astonishing. With rude 
and blunt stones they felled the giant kauri- 
toughest of pines ; and from it, in process of 
time, at an expense of labour, perseverance, 
and ingenuity, perfectly astounding to those 
who know what it really was produced, 
carved, painted, and inlaid, a masterpiece 
of art, and an object of beauty, the war 
canoe, capable of carrying a hundred men 
on a distant expedition, through the boister- 
ous seas surrounding their island. 

As a consequence of their warlike habits 
and character, they are self-possessed and 
confident in themselves and their own pow- 
ers, and have much diplomatic finesse and 
casuistry at command. Their intelligence 
causes them theoretically to acknowledge 
the benefits of law, which they see established 
amongst us, but their hatred of restraint 
causes them practically to abhor and resist 
its full enforcement amongst themselves. 


Doubting our professions of friendship, fear- 
ing our ultimate designs, led astray by false 
friends, possessed of that " little learning," 


which is, in their case, most emphatically 
" a dangerous thing/' divided amongst them- 
selves, such are the people with whom we 
are now in contact, such the people to whom, 
for our own safety and their preservation, we 
must give new laws and institutions, new 
habits of life, new ideas, sentiments and in- 
formation, whom we must either civilise or 
by our mere contact exterminate. How is 
this to be done ? * Let me see. I think I 
shall answer this question when I am prime 

* PRINTER'S DEVIL : How is this to l>e clone 1 which ? 
what ? bow 1 civilise or exterminate ? PAKEHA MAORI : 
Eaha mau ! 







THE natives have been for fifty years or more 
in a continual state of excitement on one 
subject or another, which has had a markedly 
bad effect on their character and physical 
condition, as I shall by-and-by take occasion 
to point out. When the first straggling ships 
came here the smallest bit of iron was a prize 
so inestimable that I mi^-lit be thought to 

O O 

exaggerate were I to tell the bare truth on 
the subject. The excitement and speculation 
caused by a ship being seen off the coast was 
immense. Where would she anchor ? What 
iron could be got from her ? Would it be 
possible to seize her ? The oracle was con- 
sulted, preparations were made to follow her 
along the coast, even through an enemy's 


country, at all risks ; and when she disap- 
peared she was not forgotten, and would con- 
tinue long to be the subject of anxious expec- 
tation and speculation. 

After this, regular trading began. The 
great madness then was for muskets and 
gunpowder. A furious competition was kept 
up. Should any tribe fail to procure a 
stock of these articles as soon as its neigh- 
bours, extermination was its probable doom. 
We may then imagine the excitement, the 
over-labour, the hardship, the starvation 
(occasioned by crops neglected whilst labour- 
ing to produce flax or other commodity 
demanded in payment) I say imagine, but 
I have seen at least part of it. 

After the demand for arms was supplied, 
came a perfect furor for iron tools, instru- 
ments of husbandry, clothing, and #11 kinds of 
pakeha manufactures. These things having 
been quite beyond their means while they 
were supplying themselves with arms, they 
were in the most extreme want of them, 
particularly iron tools. A few years ago 
the madness ran upon horses and cattle ; and 
now young New Zealand believes in nothing 
but money, and they are continually torment- 
ing themselves with plans to acquire it in 


large sums at once, without the trouble of 
slow and saving industry, which, as applied 
to the accumulation of money, they neither 
approve of nor understand ; nor will they ever, 
as a people, take this mode till convinced that 
money, like everything else of value, can only 
be procured as a rule by giving full value for 
it, either in labour or the produce of labour. 

Here I am, I find, again before my story. 
Right down to the present time talking of 
" young New Zealand," and within a hair's- 
breadth of settling " the Maori difficulty " 
without having been paid for it, which would 
have been a great oversight, and contrary to 
the customs of New Zealand. I must go 

There were in the old times two great insti- 
tutions, which reigned with iron rod in Maori 
land the Tapu and the Muni. Pakehas 
who knew no better, called the muni simply 
"robbery," because the word muni, in its 
common signification, means to plunder. But 
I speak of the regular legalised and estab- 
lished system of plundering as penalty for 
offences, which in a rough way resembled 
our law by which a man is obliged to pay 
"damages." Great abuses had, however, 
crept into tliis system so great, indeed, as 


to render the retention of any sort of move- 
able property almost an impossibility, and 
to in a great measure discourage the in- 
clination to labour for its acquisition. These 
great inconveniences were, however, met, or 
in some degree softened, by an expedient of 
a peculiarly Maori nature, which I shall 
by-and-by explain. The offences for which 
people were plundered were sometimes of a 
nature which, to a mere pakeha, would seem 
curious. A man's child fell in the fire and 
was almost burnt to death. The father was 
immediately plundered to an extent that 
almost left him without the means of sub- 
sistence : fishing nets, canoes, pigs, provisions 
all went. His canoe upset, and he and all 
his family narrowly escaped drowning some 
were, perhaps, drowned. He was immediately 
robbed, and well pummelled Avith a club into 
the bargain, if he was not good at the science 
of selfrdefence the club part of the ceremony 
being always fairly administered one against 
one, and after fair warning given to defend 
Irimseif. He might be clearing some land for 
potatoes, burning oft* the fern, and the fire 
spreads farther than he intended, and gets 
into a ivahi tapu or burial-ground. No 
matter whether any one has been buried in it 

OLD NtiVV 2EALAS1), Io7 

or no for the last hundred years, he is 
tremendously robbed. In fact for ten 
thousand different causes a man might be 
robbed ; and I can really imagine a case 
in which a man for scratching his own head 
might be legally robbed. Now as the en- 
forcers of this law were also the parties who 
received the damages, as well as the judges of 
the amount, which in many cases (such as that 
of the burnt child) would be everything they 
could by any means lay hands on, it is easy 
to perceive that under such a system personal 
property was an evanescent sort of thing 
altogether. These executions or distraint 
were never resisted. Indeed in many cases, 
as I shall explain by-and-by, it would have 
been felt as a slight, and even an insult, no 
to be robbed ; the sacking of a man's estab- 
lishment being often taken as a high compli- 
ment, especially if his head was broken into 
the bargain ; and to resist the execution 
would not only have been looked upon as 
mean and disgraceful in the highest degree, 
but it would hare debarred the contemptible 
individual from the privilege of robbing his 
neighbours, which was the compensating ex- 
pedient I have alluded to. All this may 
seem a waste of words to my pakeha Maori 


readers, to whom these things have become 
such matters of course as to be no longer 
remarkable ; but I have remembered that 
there are so many new people in the country 
who don't understand the beauty of being 
knocked down and robbed, that I shall say 
a few more words on the subject. 

The tract of country inhabited by a single 
tribe might be say from forty to a hundred 
miles square, and the different villages of the 
different sections of the tribe would be scat- 
tered over this area at different distances from 
each other. We will by way of illustrating 
the working of the mum system take the case 
of the burnt child. Soon after the accident 
it would be heard of in the neighbouring 
villages ; the family of the mother are proba- 
bly the inhabitants of one of them ; they 
have, according to the law of mum-, the first 
and greatest right to clean out the afflicted 
father a child being considered to belong 
to the family of the mother more than to that 
of the father in fact it is their child, who 
the father has the rearing of. The child was 
moreover a promising lump of a boy, the 
makings of a future warrior, and consequently 
very valuable to the whole tribe in general, 
but to the mother's family in particular. 


"A pretty thing to let him get spoiled." Then 
he is a boy of good family, a rangatira by 
birth, and it would never do to let the thing 
pass without making a .noise about it. That 
would be an insult to the dignity of the fami- 
lies of both father and mother. Decidedly 
besides being robbed, the father must be 
assaulted with the spear. True, he is a 
famous spearman, and for his own credit 
must " hurt " some one or another if attacked. 
But this is of no consequence ; a flesh wound 
more or less deep is to be counted on ; and 
then think of the plunder ! It is against the 
law of mum that any one should be killed, 
and first blood ends the duel. Then the 
natural affection of all the child's relations 
is great. They are all in a great state of 
excitement, and trying to remember how 
many canoes, and pigs, and other valuable . 
articles, the father has got : for this must be 
a clean sweep. A strong party is now mus- 
tered, headed probably by the brother of the 
mother of the child. He is a stout chap, and 
carries a long tough spear. A messenger is 
sent to the father, to say that the taua muru 
is coming, and may be expected to-morrow, or 
the next day. He asks, " Is it a great taua ?" 
"Yes; it is a very great taua indeed." 


The victim smiles, he feels highly compli- 
mented, he is then a man of consequence. 
His child is also of great consideration ; he is 
thought worthy of a. large force being sent 
to rob him ! Now he sets all in motion to 
prepare a huge feast for the friendly robbers 
his relations. He may as well be liberal, for 
his provisions are sure to go, whether or no. 
Pigs are killed and baked whole, potatoes are 
piled up in great heaps, all is made ready, he 
looks out his best spear, and keeps it always 
ready in his hand. At last the taua appears 
on a hill half a mile off ; then the whole fight- 
ing men of the section of the tribe of which 
he is an important member, collect at his 
back, all armed with spear and club, to 
shew that they could resist, if they would 
a thing, however, not to be thought of under 
the circumstances. On conies the taua. The 
mother begins to cry in proper form ; the 
tribe shout the call of welcome to the ap- 
proaching robbers ; and then with a grand 
rush, all armed, and looking as if they in- 
tended to exterminate all before them, the 
Icai muru appear on the scene. * They dance 
the war dance, which the villagers answer 
with another. Then the chief's brother-in- 
law advances, spear in hand, with the most 


alarming gestures. " Stand up ! stand up ! 
I will kill you this day/' is his ciy. The 
defendant is not slow to answer the challenge. 
A most exciting, and what to a new pakeha 
would appear a most desperately dangerous, 
fencing bout with spears, instantly commences. 
The attack and defence are in the highest de- 
gree scientific ; the spear shafts keep up a 
continuous rattle ; the thrust, and parry, and 
stroke with the spear shaft follow each other 
with almost incredible rapidity, and are too 
rapid to be followed by an unpractised eye. 
At last the brother-in-law is slightly touched ; 
blood also drops from our chief's thigh. The 
fight instantly ceases ; leaning on their spears, 
probably a little badinage takes place be- 
tween them, and then the brother-in-law 
roars out " niurna ! mania ! murua ! " Then 
the new arrivals commence a 'regular sack, 
and the two principals sit down quietly with 
a few others for a friendly chat, in which 
the child's name is never mentioned, or the 
enquiry as to whether he is dead or alive even 
made. The case I have just described would, 
however, be one of more than ordinary im- 
portance ; slighter " accidents and offences " 
would be atoned for by a milder form of 
operation. But the general effect was to keep 


personal property circulating from hand to 
hand pretty briskly, or indeed to convert it 
into public property ; for no man could say 
who would be the owner of his canoe, or 
blanket, in a month's time. Indeed, in that 
space of time, I once saw a nice coat, which 
a native had got from the captain of a trading 
schooner, and which was an article much 
coveted in those days, pass through the 
hands, and over the backs, of six different 
owners, and return, considerably the worse 
for wear, to the original purchaser ; and all 
these transfers had been made by legal process 
of muru. I have been often myself paid the 
compliment of being robbed for little acci- 
dents occurring in my family, and have several 
times also, from a feeling of politeness, robbed 
my Maori friends, though I can't say I was a 
great gainer 15y these transactions. I think the 
greatest haul I ever made was about half a 
bag of shot, which I thought a famous joke, 
seeing that I had sold it the day before to the 
owner for full value. A month after this I 
was disturbed early in the morning, by a 
voice shouting "Get up! get* up ! I will 
kill you this day. You have roasted my 
grandfather. Get up ! stand up ! " I, of 
course, guessed that I had committed some 


heinous though involuntary offence, and the 
" stand up " hinted the immediate probable 
consequences ; so out I turned, spear in hand, 
and who should I see, armed with a bayonet 
on the end of a long pole, but my friend the 
um while owner of the bag of shot. He came 
at me with pretended fury, made some smart 
bangs and thrusts, which I parried, and then 
explained to me that 1 had " cooked his grand- 
father ; " and that if I did not come down 
handsome in the way of damages, deeply as 
he might regret the necessity, his own credit, 
and the law of m ut'u, compelled him either to 
sack my house or die in the attempt. I was 
glad enough to prevent either event, by paying 
him two whole bags of shot, two blankets, 
divers fish hooks, and certain figs of tobacco, 
which he demanded. I found that 1 had 
really and truly committed a most horrid 
crime. I Jiad on a journey made my fire at 
the foot of a tree, in the top of which the 
bones of my friend's grandfather had once 
been deposited, but from which they had been 
removed ten years before ; the tree caught fire 
and had burnt down : and I, therefore, by 
a convenient sort of figure of speech, had 
"roasted his grandfather," and had to pay 
the penalty accordingly. 


It did not require much financial ability on 
my part, after a few experiences of this nature, 
to perceive that I had better avail myself of 
my privileg es as a pakeha, and have nothing 
further to do with the law of muru a determi- 
nation I have kept to strictly. If ever I have 
unwittingly injured any of my neighbours, I 
have always made what I considered just com- 
pensation, and resisted the muru altogether ; 
and I will say this for my friends, that when 
any of them have done an accidental piece of 
mischief, they have, in most cases without 
being asked, offered to pay for it. 

The above slight sketch of the penal law 
of New Zealand I present and dedicate to 
the Law Lords of England, as it might, 
perhaps, afford some hints for a reform in 
our own. The only remark I shall have to 
add is, that if a man killed another, " malice 
prepence aforethought," the act, in nineteen 
cases out of twenty, would be either a 
very meritorious one, or of no consequence 
whatever ; in either of which cases the penal 
code had, of course, nothing to do in the 
matter. If, however, a man -killed another 
by accident, in the majority of cases the con- 
sequences would be most serious ; and not 
only the involuntary homicide, but every one 


connected with him, would be plundered of 
everything they possessed worth taking. 
This, however, to an English lawyer, may 
require some explanation, which is as fol- 
lows : If a man thought fit to kill his own 
slave, it was nobody's aifair but his own ; the 
law had nothing to do with it. If he killed a 
man of another tribe, he had nothing to do 
but declare it was in revenge or retaliation for 
some aggression, either recent or traditional, 
by the other tribe, of which examples Avere 
never scarce. In this case the action became 
at once highly meritorious, and his whole 
tribe would support and defend him to the 
last extremity. If he, however, killed a 
man by accident, the slain man would be, as 
a matter of course, in most instances, one of 
his ordinary companions i.e., one of his own 
tribe. The accidental discharge of a gun 
often caused death in this way. Then, in- 
deed, the law of inuru had full swing, and the 
wholesale plunder of the criminal and family 
was the penalty. Murder, as the natives 
understood it, that is to say, the malicious 
destruction of a man of the some tribe, did 
not happen as frequently as might be ex- 
pected ; and when it did, went in most cases 
unpunished ; the murderer, in general, man- 

i 2 


aging to escape to some other section of the 
tribe where he had relations, who, as he fled 
to them for protection, were bound to give it, 
and always ready to do so ; or otherwise he 
would stand his ground and defy all comers, 
by means of the strength of his own family 
or section, who all would defend him and 
protect him as a mere matter of course ; and 
as the law of utu or lex talionis was the only 
one which applied in this case, and as, unlike 
the law of mum, nothing was to be got by 
enforcing it but hard blows, murder in most 
cases went unpunished. 





THE law of muni- is now but little used, and 
only on a small scale. The degenerate men 
of the present day in general content them- 
selves with asking " payment," and after some 
cavilling as to the amount, it is generally 
given ; but if refused, the case is brought 
before a native magistrate, and the pleadings 
on both sides are often such as would astound 
our most famous barristers, and the decisions 
of a nature to throw those famous ones by 
Sancho Panza and Walter the Doubter for 
ever into the shade. 

F think the reason that the mum is so 
much less practised than formerly is the fact 
that the natives are now far better supplied 
with the necessaries and comforts of life than 
they were many years ago, especially iron tools 


and utensils, and in consequence the tempta- 
tion to plunder is proportionately decreased. 
Money would still be a temptation ; but it is 
so easily concealed, and in general they have 
so little of it, that other means are adopted 
for its acquisition. "When I first saw the 
natives, the chance of getting an axe or a spade 
by the short-hand process of muru, or at a 
still more remote period a few wooden 
implements, or a canoe, was so great that 
the lucky possessor was continually watched 
by many eager and observant eyes, in hopes 
to pick a hole in his coat, by which the muru 
might be legally brought to bear upon him. 
I say legally, for the natives always tried to 
have a sufficient excuse ; and I absolutely 
declare, odd as it may seem, that actual, un- 
authorised, and inexcusable robbery or theft 
was less frequent than in any country I ever 
have been in, though the temptation to steal 
was a thousandfold greater. The natives of the 
present day are, however, improving in this 
respect, and, amongst other arts of civilisation, 
are beginning to have very pretty notions of 
housebreaking, and have even tried highway 
robbery, though in a bungling way. The fact 
is they are just now between two tides. The 
old institutions which, barbarous and rude as 


they were, were respected and in some degree 
useful, are wearing out, and have lost all 
beneficial effect, and at the same time the 
laws and usages of civilisation have not ac- 


quired any sufficient force. This state of 
things is very unfavourable to the morale of 
Young New Zealand ; but it is likely to 
change for the better, for it is a maxim of 
mine that "laws, if not made, will grow." 

I must now take some little notice of 
the other great institution, the tapu. The 
limits of these flying sketches of the good old 
times will not allow of more than a partial 
notice of the all -pervading tapu. Earth, air, 
fire, water, goods and chattels, growing crops, 
men, women, and children, everything abso- 
lutely was subject to its influence, and a more 
perplexing puzzle to new pakehas who were 
continually from ignorance infringing some 
of its rules, could not be well imagined. The 
natives, however, made considerable allowance 
for this ignorance, as well they might, seeing 
that they themselves, though from infancy to 
old age enveloped in a cloud of tapu, would 
sometimes fall into similar scrapes. 

The original object of the ordinary tapu 
seems to have been the preservation of pro- 
perty. Of this nature in a great degree was 


the ordinary personal tapu. This form of the 
tap it was permanent, and consisted in a certain 
sacred character which attached to the person 
of a chief and never left him. It was his birth- 
right, a part in fact of himself, of which he 
could not be divested, and which was well 
understood and recognised at all times as a 
matter of course. The fighting men and 
p^tty chiefs, and every one indeed who could 
by any means claim the title of rangatira 
which in the sense I now use it means gentle- 
man were all in some degree more or less 
possessed of this mysterious quality. It ex- 
tended or was communicated to all their 
moveable property, especially to their clothes, 
weapons, ornaments, and tools, and to every 
thing in fact which they touched. This pre- 
vented their chattels from being stolen or 
mislaid, or spoiled by children, or used 
or handled in any way by others. And 
as in the old times, as I have before stated, 
every kind of property of this kind was 
precious in consequence of the great labour 
and time necessarily, for want of iron tools, 
expended in the manufacture, this form of the 
tapu was of great real service. An infringe- 
ment of it subjected the offender to various 
dreadful imaginary punishments, of which 


deadly sickness was one, as well as to the 
operation of the law of mum already men- 
tioned. If the transgression was involuntary, 
the chief, or a priest, or tolmnya, could, by a 
certain mystical ceremony, prevent or remit 
the doleful and mysterious part of the punish- 
ment if he chose, but the civil action, or the 
robbery by law of nnn-u, would most likely 
have to take its course, though possibly in a 
mitigated form, according to the circum- 

I have stated that the worst part of the 
punishment of an offence against this form of 
the tcqtu was imaginary, but in truth, though 
imaginary it was not the less a severe punish- 
ment. " Conscience makes cowards of us all," 
and there was scarcely a man in a thousand, 
if one, who had sufficient resolution to dare 
the shadowy terrors of the t<.q>. I actually 
have seen an instance where the offender, 
though an involuntary one, was killed stone 
dead in six hours, by what I considered the 
effects of his own terrified imagination, but 
what all the natives at the time believed to 
be the work of the terrible avenger of the 
tapu. The case I may as well describe, as it 
was a strong one, and shows how, when false- 
hoods are once believed, they will meet with 


apparent proof from accidental circumstances. 
A chief of very high rank, standing, and 
mana, was on a war expedition ; with him were 
about five hundred men. His own personal 
tapu was increased two -fold, as was that of 
all the warriors who were with him, by the war 
tapu. The taua being on a very dangerous 
expedition, they were over and above the 
ordinary personal tapu made sacred in the 
highest degree, and were obliged to observe 
strictly several mysterious and sacred customs, 
some of which I may have to explain by 
and-by. They were, in fact, as irreverent 
pakehas used to say, " tabooed an inch thick," 
and as for the head chief, he was perfectly 
unapproachable. The expedition halted to 
dine. The portion of food set apart for the 
chief, in a neat paro or shallow basket of 
green flax leaves, was, of course, enough for 
two or three men, and consequently the 
greater part remained unconsumed. The 
party having dined, moved on, and soon after 
a party of slaves and others, who had been 
some mile or two in the rear, came up carrying 
ammunition and baggage. One of the slaves, 
a stout hungry fellow, seeing the chief's un- 
finished dinner, eat it up before asking any 
questions, and had hardly finished when he 


was informed by a horror-stricken individual 
another slave who had remained behind 
when the taua had moved on of the fatal 
act he had committed. I knew the unfortu- 
nate delinquent well. He was remarkable 
for courage, and had signalized himself in the 
wars of the tribe. (The able-bodied slaves 
are always expected to fight in the quarrels 
of their masters, to do which they are 
nothing loth.) No sooner did he hear the 
fatal news than he was seized by the most 
extraordinary convulsions and cramps in the 
stomach, which never ceased till he died, 
about sun-down the same day. He was a 
strong man, in the prime of life, and if any 
pakeha free-thinker should have said he was 
not killed by the tap a of the chief, which had 
been communicated to the food by contact, he 
would have been listened to with feelings of 
contempt for his ignorance and inability to 
understand plain and direct evidence. 

It will be seen at once that this form of the 
tap n was a great preserver of property. The 
most valuable articles might, in ordinary cir- 
cumstances, be left to its protection, in the 
absence of the owners, for any length of time. 
It also prevented borrowing arid lending in 
a very great degree ; and though much 


laughed at and grumbled at by unthinking 
pakehas, who would be always trying to get 
the natives to give it up, without offering 
them anything equally effective in its place, 
or indeed knowing its real object or uses, it 
held its ground in full force for many years, 
and, in a certain but not so very observable 
a form, exists still. This form of the tapu, 
though latent in young folks of rangatira 
rank, was not supposed to develope itself fully 
till they had arrived at mature age, and set 
up house on their own account. The lads 
and boys " knocked about " amongst the 
slaves and lower orders, carried fuel or pro- 
visions on their backs, and did all those 
duties which this personal tapu prevented the 
elders from doing, and which restraint was 
sometimes veiy troublesome and inconvenient. 
A man of any standing could not carry pro- 
visions of any kind on his back, or if he did 
they were rendered tapu, and in consequence 
useless to any one but himself. If he went 
into the shed used as a kitchen, (a thing how- 
ever he would never think of doing except on 
some great emergency,) all the pots, ovens, 
food, &c., would be at once rendered useless, 
none of the cooks or inferior people could 
make use of them or partake of anything 


which had been cooked in them. He might 
certainly light a little fire in his own house, 
not for cooking, as that never by any chance 
could be done in his house, but for warmth ; 
but that, or any other fire, if he should have 
blown upon it with his breath in lighting it, 
became at once tapu, and could be used for 
no common or culinary purpose. Even to 
light a pipe at it would subject any inferior 
person, or in many instances an equal, to a 
terrible attack of the tapu morbus, besides 
being a slight or affront to the dignity of the 
person himself. I have seen two or three 
young men fairly wearing themselves out on 
a wet day and Avith bad apparatus trying to 
make fire to cook with, by rubbing two sticks 
together, when on a journey, and at the same 
time there was a roaring fire close at hand at 
which several rangatira and myself were 
warming ourselves, but it was tupu, sacred 
fire one of the rangatira had made it from 
his own tinder box, and blown upon it in 
lisfhtino- it, and as there was not another 

O J ' 

tinder box amongst us, fast we must, though 
hungry as sharks, till common culinary fire 
could be obtained. A native whose personal 
tapn was perhaps of the strongest, might, 
when at the house of a pakeha, ask for a 


drink of water ; the pakeha, being green, 
would hand him some water in a glass, or in 
those days, more probably in a tea-cup ; the 
native would drink the water, and then 
gravely and quietly break the cup to pieces, 
or otherwise he would appropriate it by 
c ausing it to vanish under his mat. The new 
pakeha would immediately fly into a passion, 
to the great astonishment of the native, who 
considered, as a matter of course, that the cup 
or glass was, in the estimation of the pakeha, 
a very worthless article, or he would not have 
given it into his hand and allowed him to put 
it to his head, the part most strongly infected 
by the tapu. Both parties would be sur- 
prised and displeased ; the native wondering 
what could have put the pakeha into such a 
taking, and the pakeha " wondering at the 
rascal's impudence, and what he meant by 
it ? " The proper line of conduct for the 
pakeha in the above case made and provided, 
supposing him to be of a hospitable and 
obliging disposition, would be to lay hold of 
some vessel containing about two gallons of 
water, (to allow for waste,) hold it up before 
the native's face, the native would then stoop 
down and put his hand bent into the shape 
of a funnel or conductor for the water to his 


mouth ; then, from the height of a foot or 
so, the pakeha would send a cataract of water 
into the said funnel, and continue the shower 
till the native gave a slight upward nod of 
the head, which meant " enough " by which 
time, from the awkwardness of the pakeha, 
the two gallons of water would be about ex- 
pended, half, at least, on the top of the 
native's head, who would not, however, 
appear to notice the circumstance, and would 
appreciate the civility of his pakeha friend. 
I have often drank in this way in the old 
times ; asking for a drink of water at a native 
village, a native would gravely approach with 
a calabash, and hold it up before me ready 
to pour forth its contents ; I, of course, 
cocked my hand and lip in the most knowing 
manner. If I had laid hold of the calabash 
and drank in the ordinary way as practised 
by pakehas, 1 would have at once fallen in 
the estimation of all by-standers, and been set 
down as a tutua, a nobody, who had no tap a 
or mana about him ; a mere scrub of a pakeha, 
who any one might eat or drink after without 
the slightest danger of being poisoned. These 
things are all changed now, and though I 
have often in the good old times been tabooed 
in the most diabolical and dignified manner, 


there are only a few old men left now who, 
by little unmistakable signs, I perceive con- 
sider it would be very uncivil to act in any 
way which would suppose iny tapu to have 
disappeared before the influx of new-fangled 
pakeha notions. Indeed I feel myself some- 
times as if I was somehow insensibly partially 
civilised. What it will all end in, I don't 

This same personal tapu would even hold 
its own in some cases against the muni, 
though not in a sufficiently general manner 
to seriously affect the operation of that well- 
enforced law. Its inconveniences were, on 
the other hand, many, and the expedients 
resorted to to avoid them were sometimes 
comical enough. I was once going on an 
excursion with a number of natives ; we had 
two canoes, and one of them started a little 
before the other. I was with the canoe which 
had been left behind, and just as we were 
setting off it was discovered that amongst 
twenty stout fellows my companions there 
was no one who had a back ! as they 
expressed it and consequently no one to 
carry our provisions into the canoe : all the 
lads, women, and slaves had gone off in the 
other canoe, all those who had backs, and 


so there we were left, a very disconsolate lot of 
rangatira, who could not carry their own pro- 
visions into the canoe, and who at the same 
time could not go without them. The pro- 
visions consisted of several heavy baskets of 
potatoes, some dried sharks, and a large pig 
baked whole. What was to be done ? We 
were all brought to a full stop, though in a 
great hurry to go on. We were beginning to 
think we must give up the expedition alto- 
gether, and were very much disappointed 
accordingly when a clever fellow, who, had 
he been bred a lawyer, would have made 
nothing of driving a mail coach through an 
act of parliament, set us all to rights in a 
moment. " I'll tell you what we must do," 
said he, " we will not carry fyikcui) the pro- 
visions, we will Jtiki them." (IFikl is the 
word in Maori which describes the act of 
carrying an infant in the arms.) This was a 
great discoveiy ! A huge handsome fellow 
seized on the baked pig and dandled it, or 
liikid it, in his arms like an infant ; another 
laid hold of a shark, others took baskets of 
potatoes, and carrying them in this way de- 
posited them in the canoe. And so, having 
thus evaded the law, we started on our 


I remember another amusing instance in 
which the inconvenience arising from the tap a 
was evaded. I must, however, notice that 
these instances were only evasions of the tapu 
of the ordinary kind, what I have called the 
personal tapu, not the more dangerous and 
dreadful kind connected with the mystic 
doings of the tohunga, or that other form of 
tapu connected with the handling of the dead. 
Indeed, my companions in the instance I have 
mentioned, though all rangatira, were young 
men on whom the personal tapu had not ar- 
rived at the fullest perfection ; it seemed, 
indeed, sometimes to sit very lightly on them, 
and I doubt very much if the play upon the 
words Tiiki and pikau would have reconciled 
any of the elders *of the tribe to carrying a 
roasted pig in their arms, or if they did do so, 
I feel quite certain that no amount of argu- 
ment would have persuaded the younger men 
to eat it ; as for slaves or women, to look at 
it would almost be dangerous to them. 

The other instance of dodging the law was 
as follows. 1 was the first pakeha who had 
ever arrived at a certain populous inland vil- 
lage. The whole of the inhabitants were in a 
great state of commotion and curiosity, for 
many of them had never seen a pakeha before. 


As I advanced, the whole juvenile population 
ran before me at a safe distance of about a 
hundred yards, eyeing me, as I perceived, with 
great terror and distrust. At last I suddenly 
made a charge at them, rolling my eyes and 
showing my teeth, and to see the small sav- 
ages tumbling over one another and running 
for their lives was something curious, and 
though my " demonstration " did not con- 
tinue more than twenty yards, I am sure 
some of the little villains ran a mile before 
looking behind to see whether the ferocious 
monster called a pakeha was gaining on 
them. They did run ! I arrived at the 
centre of the village and was conducted to 
a large house or shed, which had been con- 
structed as a place of reception for visitors, 
and as a general lounging place for all the 
inhabitants. It was a iclmrc noa, a house to 
which, from its general and temporary uses, 
the tj)U was not supposed to attach, 1 mean 
of course, the ordinary personal tt< or ti>n 
rangatira. Any person, however, infccfc^f 
with any of the more serious or extraordinary 
forms of the tapn entering it, would at once 
render it uninhabitable. 1 took my seat. The 
house was full, and nearly the whole of the 
rest of the population were blocking up tlu i 

K -2 


open front of the large shed, all striving to 
see the pakeha, and passing to the rear from 
man to man every word he happened to 
speak. I could hear them say to the people 
behind, " The pakeha has stood up ! " " Now 
he has sat down again ! " " He has said, how 
do you all do ? " " He has said, this is a nice 
place of yours ! " etc., etc. Now there hap- 
pened to be at a distance an old gentleman 
engaged in clearing the weeds from a kumera 
or sweet potato field, and as the kumera in 
the old times was the crop on which the natives 
depended chiefly for support, like all valuable 
things it was tapu, and the parties who 
entered the field to remove the weeds were 
tapu, pro tern., also. Now one of the effects 
of this temporary extra tapu was that the 
parties could not enter any regular dwelling 
house, or indeed any house used by others. 
Now the breach of this rule would not be 
dangerous in a personal sense, but the effect 
would be that the crop of sweet potatoes 
would fail. The industrious individual I have 
alluded to, hearing the cry of "A pakeha ! a 
pakeha ! " from many voices, and Having never 
had an opportunity to examine that variety 
of the species, or genus homo, flung down his 
wooden kaheru or weed exterminator and 


rushed towards the town house before men- 
tioned. What could he do ? The tapu forbid 
his entrance and the front was so completely 
blocked up by his admiring neighbours that 
he could not get sight of the wonderful guest. 
In these desperate circumstances a bright 
thought struck him. He would, by a bold 
and ingenious device, give the tapu the slip. 
He ran to the back of the house, made with 
some difficulty a hole in the padded raupo 
wall, and squeezed his head through it. The 
elastic wall of raupo closed again around his 
neck ; the tapu was fairly beaten ! No one 
could say he was in the house. He was cer- 
tainly more out than in, and there, seemingly 
hanging from or stuck against the wall, re- 
mained for hours, with open mouth and 
wondering eyes, this brazen head, till at last 
the shades of night obstructing its vision, a 
rustling noise in the wall of flags and reeds 
announced the departure of my bodyless 

Some of the forms of the tapu were not to 
be played with, and were of a most virulent 
kind. Of this kind was the tpu of those 
who handled the dead, or conveyed the body 
to its last resting-place. This tapu was, in 
fact, the uncleanness of the old Jewish law, 


and lasted about the same time, and was 
removed in almost the same way. It was a 
most serious affair. The person who came 
under this form of the tap it was cut off from 
all contact, and almost all communication, 
with the human race. He could not enter 
any house, or come in contact with any person 
or thing, without utterly bedeviling them. 
He could not even touch food with his hands, 
which had become so frightfully tapu or un- 
clean, as to be quite useless. Food would be 
placed for him on the ground, and he would 
then sit or kneel down, and, with his hands 
carefully held behind his back, would gnaw it 
in the best way he could. In some cases he 
would be fed by another person, who, with 
outstretched arm, would manage to do it 
without touching the tapud. individual ; but 
this feeder was subjected to many and severe 
restrictions, not much less onerous than those 
to which the other was subject. In almost 
every populous native village there was a 
person who, probably for the sake of im- 
munity from labour, or from being good for 
nothing else, took up the undertaking busi- 
ness as a regular profession, and, in conse- 
quence, was never for a moment, for years 
together, clear of the horrid inconveniences of 


the tcqtu, as well as its dangers. One of these 
people might be easily recognised, after a little 
experience, even by a pakelia. Old, withered, 
haggard, clothed in the most miserable rags, 
daubed all over from head to foot with red 
paint, (the native funereal colour,) made of 
stinking shark oil and red ochre mixed, keep- 
ing always at a distance, silent and solitary, 
often half insane, he might be seen sitting 
motionless all day at a distance, forty or fifty 
yards from the common path or thoroughfare 
of the village. There, under the " lee " of a 
bush, or tuft of fiax, gazing silently, and with 
" lack-lustre eye," on the busy doings of the 
Maori world, of which he was hardly to be 
called a member. Twice a-day some food 
would be thrown on the ground before him, 
to gnaw as best he might, without the use of 
hands ; and at night, tightening his greasy 
rags around him, he would crawl into some 
miserable lair of leaves and rubbish, there, 
cold, half starved, miserable, and dirty, to 
pass, in fitful ghost - haunted slumbers, a 
WTetched night, as prelude to another 
Avretched day. It requires, they say, all 
sorts of people to make a world ; and I have 
often thought, in observing one of these 
miserable objects, that his, or her's, was the 


very lowest ebb to which a human being's 
prospects in life could be brought by adverse 
fate. When I met, or rather saw, a female 
practitioner, I fairly ran for it ; and so, be- 
lieving my readers to be equally tender- 
hearted, I shall not venture on any more 
description, but merely say that the man 
undertaker, such as I have described him, 
would be taken for Apollo if seen in one 
of these hag's company. 

What will my kind reader say when I tell 
him that I myself once got tapu& with this 
same horrible, horrible, most horrible, style of 
tapu ? I hold it to be a fact that there is not 
one man in New Zealand but myself who has 
a clear understanding of what the word " ex- 
communication " means, and I did not under- 
stand what it meant till I got tapud.. I was 
returning with about sixty men from a 
journey along the west coast. I was a short 
distance in advance of the party, when I 
came to where the side of a hill had fallen 
down on to the beach and exposed a number 
of human bones. There was a large skull 
rolling about in the water. I took up this 
skull without consideration, carried it to the 
side of the hill, scraped a hole, and covered it 
up. Just as I had finished covering it up, up 


came my friends, and I saw at once, by the 
astonishment and dismay depicted on their 
countenances, that I had committed some 
most unfortunate act. They soon let me 
know that the hill had been a burying-place 
of their tribe, and jumped at once to the con- 
clusion that the skull was the skull of one of 
their most famous chiefs, whose name they 
told me, informing me also that I was no 
longer fit company for human beings, and 
begging me to fall to the rear and keep my 
distance. They told me all this from a very 
respectful distance, and if I made a step to- 
wards them, they all ran as if I had been 
infected by the plague. This was an awkward 
state of things, but as it could not be helped, 
I voted myself tapu, and kept clear of my 
friends till night. At night when they 
camped, I was obliged to take my solitary 
abode at a distance under shelter of a rock. 
When the evening meal was cooked, they 
brought me a fair allowance, and set it down 
at a respectful distance from where I sat, 
fully expecting, I suppose, that I should bob 
at it as Maori kai tango atua or undertakers 
are wont to do. I had, however, no idea of 
any such proceeding ; and pulling out my 
knife proceeded to operate in the usual 


manner. I was checked by an exclamation of 
horror and surprise from the whole band 
" Oh, what are you about, you are not 
going to touch food with your hands ? " 
" Indeed, but I am," said I, and stretched 
out xny hand. Here another scream " You 
must not do that, it's the worst of all things ; 
one of us will feed you ; it's wrong, wrong, 
very wrong!" "Oh, bother," said I, and 
fell too at once. I declare, positively, I had 
no sooner done so than I felt sorry. The 
expression of horror, contempt, and pity, 
observable in their faces, convinced me that 
I had not only offended and hurt their feel- 
ings, but that I had lowered myself greatly in 
their estimation. Certainly I was a pakeha, 
and pakehas will do most unaccountable 
things, and may be, in ordinary cases, 
excused ; but this, I saw at once, was an act 
which, to my friends, seemed the ne plus ultra 
of abomination. I now can well understand 
that I must have, sitting there eating my 
potatoes, appeared to them a ghoul, a vampire 
worse than even one of their own dreadful 
atua, who, at the command of a witch, or to 
avenge some breach of the tapu, enters into a 
man's body and slowly eats away his vitals. 
I can see it now, and understand what a 


frightful object I must have appeared. My 
friends broke up their camp at once, not 
feeling sure, after what I had done, but I 
might walk in amongst them, in the night, 
when they were asleep, and bedevil them all. 
They marched all night, and in the morning 
came to my house, where they spread conster- 
nation and dismay amongst my household by 
tellino- them in what a condition I was coming 

o o 

home. The whole of my establishment at 
this time being natives, they ran at once ; and 
when I got home next evening, hungry and 
vexed, there was not a soul to be seen. The 
house and kitchen were shut up, fires out, 
and, as 1 fancied, everything looked dreary 
and uncomfortable. If only a dog had come 
and wagged his tail in welcome, it would have 
been something ; but even my dog was gone. 
Certainly there was an old torn cat, but L 
hate cats, there is no sincerity in them, and 
so I had kicked this old torn on principle 
whenever he came in my way, and now, 
when he saw me, he ran for his life into the 
bush. The instinct of a hungry man sent me 
into the kitchen ; there was nothing eatable 
to be seen but a raw leg of pork, and the fire 
was out. I now began to suspect that this 
attempt of mine to look down the tap would 


fail, and that I should remain excommuni- 
cated for some frightfully indefinite period. 
I began to think of Robinson Crusoe, and to 
wonder if I could hold out as well as he did. 
Then I looked hard at the leg of pork. The 
idea that I must cook for myself, brought 
home to me the fact more forcibly than any- 
thing else how I had " fallen from my high 
estate " cooking being the very last thing a 
rangatira can turn his hand to. But why 
should I have anything more to do with 
cooking ? was I not cast off and repudiated 
by the human race ? (A horrible misanthropy 
was fast taking hold of me.) Why should I 
not tear my leg of pork raw, like a wolf? 
" I will run a muck ! " suddenly said I. "I 
wonder how many I can kill before they 
'bag' me? I will kill, kill, kill ! but- 
I must have some supper." 

I soon made a fire, and after a little rum- 
maging found the materiel for a good meal. 
My cooking was not so bad either, I thought ; 
but certainly hunger is not hard to please in 
this respect, and I had eaten nothing since 
the diabolical meal of the preceding evening, 
and had travelled more than twenty miles. I 
washed my hands six or seven times, scrub- 
bing away and muttering with an intonation 


that would have been a fortune to a tragic 
actor. " Out damned spot ;" and so, after 
having washed and dried my hands, looked 
at them, returned, and washed again, again 
washed, and so on, several times, I sat down 
and demolished two days' allowance. After 
which, reclining before the fire with my pipe, 
and a blanket over my shoulders, a more 
kindly feeling towards my fellow men stole 
gradually upon me. " I wonder," said I to 
myself, " how long this devilish tapu will last ! 
I wonder if there is to be any end at all to 
it ! I won't run a muck for a week, at all 
events, till I see what may turn up. Con- 
founded plague though to have to cook !" 
Having resolved as above, not to take any 
one's life for a week, I felt more patient. 
Four days passed somehow or another, and 
on the morning of the fifth, to my extreme 
delight, I saw a small canoe, pulled by one 
man, landing on the beach before the house. 
He fastened his canoe and advanced to- 
wards the kitchen, which was detached from 
the house, and which, in the late deplorable 
state of affairs, had become my regular resi- 
dence. I sat in the doorway, and soon per- 
ceived that my visitor was a famous tohunya, 
or priest, and who also had the reputation of 


being a witch of no ordinary dimensions. He 
was an old, grave, stolid-looking savage, with 
one eye, the other had been knocked out long 
ago in a fight before he turned parson. On 
he came, with a slow, measured step, slightly 
gesticulating with one hand, and holding in 
the other a very small basket, not more than 
nine or ten inches long. He came on, mumb- 
ling and grumbling a perfectly unintelligible 
karakia or incantation. I guessed at once he 
was coming to disenchant me, and prepared 
my mind to submit to any conditions or cere- 
monial he should think fit to impose. My old 
friend came gravely up, and putting his hand 
into the little basket pulled out a baked 
kumem-, saying, "He km maw" I of course 
accepted the offered food, took a bite, and as 
I ate he mumbled his incantation over me. 
I remember I felt a curious sensation at the 
time, like what I fancied a man must feel 
who had just sold himself, body and bones, to 
the devil. For a moment I asked myself the 
question whether I was not actually being 
then and there handed over to the powers of 
darkness. The thought startled me. There 
was I, an unworthy but believing member of 
the Church of England as by Parliament es- 
tablished, " knuckling down" abjectly to the 


ministration of a ferocious old cannibal, wizard, 
sorcerer, high priest, as it appeared very 
probable, to Satan himself. " Blacken his 
remaining eve ! knock him over and run the 

C3 v 

country !" whispered quite plainly in my ear 
my guardian angel, or else a little impul- 
sive sprite who often made suggestions to 
me in those days. For a couple of seconds 
the sorcerer's eye was in desperate danger ; 
but just in those moments the ceremony, 
or at least this most objectionable part of it, 
came to an end. He stood back and said, 
" Have you been in the house ?" Fortu- 
nately 1 had presence of mind enough to 
forget that 1 had, and said, "No." "Throw 
out all those pots and kettles." I saw it was 
no use to resist so out they went. " Fling 
out those dishes " was the next command. 
"The dishes? they will break." "I am 
going to break them all." Capital fun this. 
out go the dishes; "and may the - ." 
I fear I was about to say something bad. 
" Fling out those knives, and those things 
with sharp points"- (the old villain did not 
know what to call the forks!) "and those 
shells with handles to them" (spoons !) "out 
with everything." The last sweeping order is 
obeyed, and the kitchen is fairly empty. Tlu- 


worst is over now at last, thank goodness, 
said I to myself. " Strip off all your clothes." 
" What ? strip naked ! you desperate old 
thief mind your eye." Human patience 
could bear no more. Out I jumped. I did 
" strip." Off came my jacket. " How would 
you prefer being killed, old ruffian ? can you 
do anything in this way ?" (Here a pugilistic 
demonstration.) " Strip ! he doesn't mean to 
give me five dozen, does he ? " said I, rather 
bewildered, and looking sharp to see if he had 
anything like an instrument of flaggellation in 
his possession. " Come on ! what are you 
waiting for," said I. In those days, when 
labouring under what Dickens calls the " des- 
cription of temporary insanity which arises 
from a sense of injury," I always involuntarily 
fell back upon my mother tongue, which in 
this case was perhaps fortunate, as my necro- 
mantic old friend did not understand the full 
force of my eloquence. He could not, how- 
ever, mistake my warlike and rebellious atti- 
tude, and could see clearly I was going into 
one of those most unaccountable rages that 
pakehas were liable to fly into,* without any 
imaginable cause. " Boy," said he, gravely 
and quietly, and without seeming to notice 
my very noticeable declaration of war and 


independence, " don't act foolishly ; don't 
go mad. No one will ever come near you 
while you have those clothes. You will be 
miserable here by yourself. And what is the 
use of being angry ? what will anger do for 
you ? " The perfect coolness of my old friend, 
the complete disregard he paid to my ex- 
plosion of wrath, as well as his reasoning, 
bes^an to make me feel a little disconcerted. 


He evidently had come with the purpose and 
intention to get me out of a very awkward 
scrape. I began also to feel that, looking at 
the affair from his point of view, I was just 
possibly not making a "very respectable figure ; 
and then, if I understood him rightly, there 
would be no flocjcjiny. "Well," said I, at 
last, " Fate compels ; to fate, and not old 
Hurlo-thrumbo there, I yield so here goes." 
Let me not dwell upon the humiliating con- 
cession to the powers of lapu. Suffice it to 
say, I disrobed, and received permission to 
enter my own house in search of other gar- 
ments. When I came out again, my old 
friend was sitting down with a stone in his 
hand, battering the last pot to pieces, and 
looking as if he was performing a very 
meritorious action. He carried away all the 
smashed kitchen utensils and my clothes in 


baskets, and deposited them in a thicket at a 
considerable distance from the house. ([ 
stole the knives, forks, and spoons back again 
some time after, as he had not broken them.) 
He then bid me good bye ; and the same 
evening all my household came flocking back : 
but years passed before any one but myself 
would go into the kitchen, and I had to build 
another. And for several years also I could 
observe, by the respectable distance kept by 
young natives and servants, and the nervous 
manner with which they avoided my pipe in 
particular, that they considered I had not 
been as completely purified from the tapu 
tango atua as I might have been. I now am 
aware, that in consideration of my being a 
pakeha, and also perhaps, lest driven to des- 
peration, I should run away entirely, which 
would have been looked upon as a great mis- 
fortune to the tribe, I was let off very easy, 
and might therefore be supposed to retain 
some tinge of the dreadful infection. 

Besides these descriptions of tapu , there 
were many other. There was the war tapu, 
which in itself included fifty different " sacred 
customs," one of which was this that often 
when the fighting men left the pa or camp, 
they being themselves made tap-it, or sacred, 


as in this particular case the word means, all 
those who remained behind, old men, women, 
slaves, and all noncombatants were obliged 
strictly to fast while the warriors were fight- 
ing ; and, indeed, from the time they left the 
camp till their return, even to smoke a pipe 
would be a breach of this rule. These war 
customs, as well as other forms of the tapu, 
are evidently derived from a very ancient 
religion, and did not take their rise in this 
country. I shall, probably, some of these 
days, treat of them at more length, and 
endeavour to trace them to their source. 

Sacrifices were often made to the war 
demon, and I know of one instance in which, 
when a tribe were surrounded by an over- 
whelming force of their enemies, and had 
nothing but extermination immediate and 
unrelenting before them, the war chief cut 

O * 

out the heart of his own son as an offering 


for victory, and then he and his tribe, with 
the fury of despair and the courage of 
fanatics, rushed upon the foe, defeated them 
with terrific slaughter, and the war demon 
had much praise, and many men were eaten. 

The warriors, when on a dangerous expe- 
dition, also observed strictly the custom to 
which allusion is made. 1st Samuel, xxi., 4-5. 




THEN came the tapu tohunga, or priest's tapu, 
a quite different kind or form of tapu from 
those which I have spoken of. These tohunga 
presided over all those ceremonies and 
customs which had something approaching 
to a religious character. They also pre- 
tended to the power by means of certain 
familiar spirits to foretel future events, and 
even in some cases to control them. The 
belief in the power of these tohunga to foretel 
events was very strong, and the incredulous 
pakeha who laughed at them was thought a 
person quite incapable of understanding plain 
evidence. I must allow that some of their 
predictions were of a most daring nature, and 
happening to turn out perfectly successful, 
there may be some excuse for an ignorant 
people believing in them. Most of these 
predictions were, however, given like the 


oracles of old in terms which would admit 
a double meaning and secure the character 
of the soothsayer no matter how the event 
turned out. It is also remarkable that these 
tohunga did not pretend to divine future 
events by any knowledge or power existing 
in themselves ; they pretended to be for the 
time inspired by the familiar spirit, and pas- 
sive in his hands. This spirit " entered into" 
them, and, on being questioned, gave a res- 
ponse in a sort of half whistling half articu- 
late voice, supposed to be the proper language 
of spirits ; and I have known a tohunga who, 
having made a false prediction, laid the blame 
on the " tricksey spirit," who he said had 
purposely spoken false for certain good and 
sufficient spiritual reasons, which he then ex- 
plained. Amongst the fading customs and 
beliefs of the good old times the tohunga still 
holds his ground, and the oracle is as often 
consulted, though not so openly, as it was a 
hundred years ago, and is as firmly believed 
in ; and this by natives who are professed 
Christians ; and the enquiries are often on 
subjects of the most vital importance to the 
welfare of the colony. A certain tohunya has 
even quite lately, to my certain knowledge, 
been paid a large sum of money to do a 


miracle ! I saw the money paid, and I saw 
the miracle. And the miracle was a good 
enough sort of miracle, as miracles go in 
these times. The natives know we lausrh at 

' O 

their belief in these things. They would 
much rather we were angry, for then they 
would defy us ; but as we simply laugh at 
their credulity, they do all they can to conceal 
it from us ; but nevertheless the chiefs, on all 
matters of importance, continue to consult the 
Maori oracle. 

I shall give two instances of predictions 
which came under my own observation, and 
which will show how much the same priest- 
craft has been in all times. 

A man a petty chief had a serious quar- 
rel with his relations, left his tribe, and went 
to a distant part of the country, saying that 
he cast them off and would never return. 
After a time the relations became both un- 
easy at his absence and sorry for the disagree- 
ment. The presence of the head of the family 
was also of consequence to them. They 
therefore enquired of the oracle if he would 
return. At night the tohunga invoked the 
familiar spirit, he became inspired, and in a 
sort of hollow whistle came the words of 
fate : "He will return ; but yet not return." 


This response was given several times, and 
then the spirit departed, leaving the priest 
or tohunga to the guidance of his own unaided 
wits. No one could understand the meaning 
of the response. The priest himself said he 
could make nothing of it. The spirit of 
course knew his own meaning ; but all agreed 
that, whatever that meaning was, it would 
turn out true. Now the conclusion of this 
story is rather extraordinary. Some time 
after this several of the chief's relations went 
to offer reconciliation and to endeavour to 
persuade him to return home. Six months 
afterwards they returned, bringing him along 
with them a corpse : they had found him 
dying, and carried his body home. Now all 
knew the meaning of the words of the oracle, 
" He will return, but yet not return." 

Another instance, which I witnessed myself, 
Wits as follows : A captain of a large ship 
had run away with a Maori girl ; or a Maori 
girl had run away with a ship captain ; I 
should not like to swear which is the proper 
form of expression ; and the relations, as in 
such cases happens in most countries, thought 
it incumbent on them to get into a great 
taking, and make as much noise as possible 
about the matter. Oft' they set to the toh'inga, 


I happened to be at his place at the time, and 
saw and heard all I am about to recount. The 
relations of the girl did not merely confine 
themselves to asking questions, they de- 
manded active assistance. The ship had gone 
to sea loaded for a long voyage. The fugitives 
had fairly escaped ; and what the relations 
wanted was that the atua f or familiar spirit of 
the tohunga, should bring the ship back into 
port, so that they might have an opportunity 
to recover the lost ornament of the family. I 
heard the whole. The priest hummed and 
hawed. " He did not know, could not say. 
We should hear what the ' boy ' would say. 
He would do as he liked. Could not compel 
him ;" and so forth. At night all assembled 
in the house where the priest usually per- 
formed. All was expectation. I saw I was 
de trap in the opinion of our soothsayer ; in 
fact, I had got the name of an infidel, (which 
I have since taken care to get rid of,) and 
the spirit was unwilling to enter the company 
of unbelievers. My friend the priest hinted 
to me politely that a nice bed had been made 
for me in the next house. I thanked him in 
the most approved Maori fashion, but said I 
was " very comfortable where I was ; " and, 
suiting the action to the word, rolled my 


cloak about me, and lay down on the rushes 
with which the floor was covered. About 
midnight I heard the spirit saluting the guests, 
and they saluting him ; and I also noticed they 
hailed him as " relation," and then gravely 
preferred the request that he would " drive 
back the ship which had stolen his cousin." 
The response, after a short time, came in 
the hollow mysterious whistling voice, "The 
ship's nose I will batter out on the great sea." 
This answer was repeated several times, and 
then the spirit departed, and would not be re- 
called. The rest of the night Avas spent in 
conjecturing what could be the meaning of 
these words. All agreed that there must be 
more in them than met the ear ; but no one 
could say it was a clear concession of the 
request made. As for the priest, he said lie 
could not understand it, and that "the spirit 
was a great rogue " a koroke, liangareka. 
He, however, kept throwing out hints now 
and then that something more than common 
was meant, and talked generally in the " we 
shall see " style. Now here comes the end of 
the affair. About ten days after this in comes 
the ship. She had been " battered " with a 
vengeance. She had been met by a terrible 
gale when a couple of hundred miles off the 


land, and had sprung a leak in the bow. The 
bow in Maori is called the "nose" (ihu). The 
vessel had been in great danger, and had been 
actually forced to run for the nearest port, 
which happened to be the one she had left. 
Now, after such a coincidence as this, I can 
hardly blame the ignorant natives for be- 
lieving in the oracle, for I actually caught 
myself quoting, " Can the devil speak truth ? " 
Indeed I have in the good old times known 
several pakehas who "thought there was 
something in it," and two who formally and 
believingly consulted the oracle, and paid a 
high douceur to the priest. 

I shall give one more instance of the res- 
ponse of the Maori oracle. A certain northern 
tribe, noted for their valour, but not very 
numerous, sent the whole of their best men on 
a war expedition to the south. This hap- 
pened about forty years ago. Before the 
taua started the oracle was consulted, and the 
answer to the question, " Shall this expedition 
be successful ? " came. " A desolate country ! 
a desolate country ! a desolate country ! " 
This the eager warriors accepted as a most 
favourable response. They said the enemy's 
country would be desolated. It, however, so 
turned out that they were all exterminated to 


a man, and the miserable remnant of their 
tribe, weakened and rendered helpless by their 
loss, became a prey to their more immediate 
neighbours, lost their lands, and have ceased 
from that day to be heard of as an indepen- 
dent tribe. So, in fact, it was the country of 
the eager enquirers which was laid " desolate." 
Every one praised the oracle, and its character 
was held higher than ever. 



THESE priests or tohunga would, and do to 
this hour, undertake to call up the spirit of 
any dead person, if paid for the same. I have 
seen many of these exhibitions, but one in- 
stance will suffice as an example. 

A young chief, who had been very popular 
and greatly respected in his tribe, had been 
killed in battle ; and, at the request of several 
of his nearest friends, the tohunga had pro- 
mised on a certain night to call up his spirit 
to speak to them, and answer certain questions 
they wished to put. The priest was to come to 
the village of the relations, and the interview 
was to take place in a large house common to 
all the population. This young man had been 
a great friend of mine ; and so, the day before 
the event, I was sent to by his relations, and 
told that an opportunity offered of conversing 
with my friend once more. I was not much 


inclined to bear a part in such outrageous 
mummery, but curiosity caused me to go. 
Now it is necessary to remark that this young- 
chief was a man in advance of his times and 
people in many respects. He was the first of 
his tribe who could read and write ; and, 
amongst other unusual things for a native to 
do, he kept a register of deaths and births, 
and a journal of any remarkable events which 
happened in the tribe. Now this book was 
lost. No one could find it, although his 
friends had searched unceasingly for it, as it 
contained many matters of interest, and also 
they wished to preserve it for his sake. I also 
wished to get it, and had often inquired if it 
had been found, but had always been answered 
in the negative. The appointed time came, 
and at night we all met the priest in the large 
house I have mentioned. Fires were lit, 
which gave an uncertain flickering light. The 
priest retired to the darkest corner. All was 
expectation, and the silence was only broken 
by the sobbing of the sister, and other female 
relations of the dead man. They seemed to 
be, and indeed were, in an agony of excite- 
ment, agitation, and grief. This state of 
things continued for a long time, and I began 
to feel in a way surprising to myself, as if 


there was something real in the matter. The 
heart-breaking sobs of the women, and the 
grave and solemn silence of the men, con- 
vinced me, that to them at least, this was a 
serious matter. I saw the brother of the 
dead man now and then wiping the tears in 
silence from his eyes. I wished I had not 
come, for I felt that any unintentional 
symptom of incredulity on my part would 
shock and hurt the feelings of my friends 
extremely ; and yet, whilst feeling thus, I 
felt myself more and more near to believing 
in the deception about to be practised. The 
real grief, and also the general undoubting 
faith, in all around me, had this effect. We 
were all seated on the rush-strewn floor ; 
about thirty persons. The door was shut ; 
the fire had burnt down, leaving nothing but 
glowing charcoal. The room was oppressively 
hot. The light was little better than dark- 
ness ; and the part of the room in which the 
tohunga sat was now in perfect darkness. 
Suddenly, without the slightest warning, a 
voice came out of the darkness. " Saluta- 
tion ! salutation to you all ! salutation ! 
salutation to you my tribe ! family I salute 
you ! friends I salute you ! friend, my pakeha 
friend, I salute you ." The high-handed daring 


imposture was successful ; our feelings were 
taken by storm. A cry expressive of affection 
and despair, such as was not good to hear, 
came from the sister of the dead chief, a fine, 
stately, and really handsome woman of about 
five-and-twenty. She was rushing, with both 
arms extended, into the dark, in the direction 
from whence the voice came. She was in- 
stantly seized round the waist and restrained 
by her brother by main force, till moaning 
and fainting she lay still on the ground. At 
the same instant another female voice was 
heard from a young girl who was held by the 
wrists by two young men, her brothers. " Ls 
it you ? is it you ? truly is it you ? aue ! 
aue ! they hold me, they restrain me ; wonder 
not that I have not followed you ; they restrain 
me, they watch me, but I go to you. The 
sun shall not rise, the sun shall not rise, 
aue ! aue ! " Here she fell insensible on the 
rush floor, and with the sister was carried out. 
The remaining women were all weeping and 
exclaiming, but were silenced by the men 
who were themselves nearly as much excited, 
though not so clamorous. I, however, did 
notice two old men, who sat close to me, were 
not in the slightest degree moved hi any way, 
though they did not seem at all incredulous, 


but quite the contrary. The Spirit spoke 
again. " Speak to me, the tribe ! speak to me, 
the family ! speak to me the pakeha ! " The 
" pakeha," however, was not at the moment 
inclined for conversation. The deep distress 
of the two women, the evident belief of all 
around him of the presence of the spirit, the 
" darkness visible," the novelty of the scene, 
gave rise to a state of feeling not favourable 
to the conversational powers. Besides, I felt 
reluctant to give too much apparent credence 
to an imposture, which at the very same time, 
by some strange impulse, I felt half ready to 
give way to. At last the brother spoke 
" How is it with you ? is it well with you in 
that country?" The answer came (the 
voice all through, it is to be remembered, 
was not the voice of the tohunga but a 
strange melancholy sound, like the sound of 
the wind blowing into a hollow vessel,) "It 
is well with me my place is a good place." 
The brother spoke again " Have you seen 

, and , and ?" (I forget the 

names mentioned.) " Yes, they are all with 
me." A woman's voice now from another 
part of the room anxiously cried out " Have 
you seen my sister?" "Yes, I have seen 
her." "Tell her my love is great towards 


her and never will cease." " Yes, I will tell." 
Here the woman burst into tears and the 
pakeha felt a strange swelling of the chest, 
which he could in no way account for. 
The Spirit spoke again. " Give my large 
tame pig to the priest, (the pakeha was disen- 
chanted at once,) and my double-gun." Here 
the brother interrupted "Your gun is a 
maiiatunrja, I shall keep it." He is also dis- 
enchanted, thought I, but I was mistaken. 
He believed, but wished to keep the gun his 
brother had carried so long. An idea now 
struck me that I could expose the imposture 
without showing palpable disbelief. " We 
cannot find your book," said I, " where have 
you concealed it ? " The answer instantly 
came, " I concealed it between the tahiihu of my 
house and the thatch, straight over you as you 
go in at the door." Here the brother rushed 
out, all was silence till his return. In five 
minutes he came back with the book in his 
hand. I was beaten, but made another effort. 
" What have you written in that book?" said 
I. "A great many things." "Tell me some 
of them." " Which of them ? " " Any of 
them." " You are seeking for some infor- 


mation, what do you want to know ? I 
will tell you." Then suddenly " Farewell, 


tribe ! farewell, my family, I go ! " Here 
a general and impressive cry of " farewell " 
arose from every one in the house. " Fare- 
well," again cried the spirit, from deep be- 
neath the ground ! " Farewell," again from 
high in air ! " Farewell," once more came 
moaning through the distant darkness of the 
night. " Farewell ! " I was for a moment 
stunned. The deception was perfect. There 
was a dead silence at last. "A ventrilo- 
quist," saidl ! " or or perhaps the devil." 
I was fagged and confused. It was past 
midnight ; the company broke up, and I 
went to a house where a bed had been pre- 
pared for me. I wished to be quiet and 
alone ; but it was fated there should be little 
quiet that night. I was just falling asleep, 
after having thought for some time on the 
extraordinary scenes I had witnessed, when I 
heard the report of a musket at some little 
distance, followed by the shouting of men and 
the screams of women. Out I rushed. I 
had a presentiment of some horrible catas- 
trophe. Men were running by, hastily 
armed. I could get no information, so went 
with the stream. There was a bright flame 
beginning to spring up at a short distance, 
and every one 1 appeared going in that direc- 


tion : I was soon there. A house had been 
set on fire to make a light. Before another 
house, close at hand, a dense circle of human 
beings was formed. I pushed my way through, 
and then saw, by the bright light of the 
flaming house, a scene which is still fresh 
before me : there, in the verandah of the 
house, was an old grey-bearded man ; he 
knelt upon one knee, and on the other he 
supported the dead body of the young girl 
who had said she would follow the spirit to 
spirit land. The delicate-looking body from 
the waist upwards was bare and bloody ; 
the old man's right arm was under the neck, 
the lower part of his long grey beard was 
dabbled with blood, his left hand was twisting 
his matted hair ; he did not weep, he howled, 
and the sound was that of a heathen despair, 
knowing no hope. The young girl had 
secretly procured a loaded musket, tied a loop 
for her foot to the trigger, placed the muzzle 
to her tender breast, and blown herself to 
shatters. And the old man was her father, 
and a tohunga. A calm low voice now spoke 
close beside me, " She has followed her ranga- 
tira" it said. I looked round, and saw the 
famous tohunga of the night. 

Now, young ladies, I have promised not to 


frighten your little wits out with raw-head- 
and-bloody-bones stories, a sort of thing I 
detest, but which has been too much the 
fashion with folks who write of matters 
Maori. I have vowed not to draw a drop of 
blood except in a characteristic manner. But 
this story is tragedy, or I don't know what 
tragedy is, and the more tragic because, in 
every particular, literally true, and so if you 
cannot find some pity for the poor Maori girl 
who "followed her lord to spirit land," I 
shall make it my business not to fall in love 
with any of you any more for I won't say 
how long. 



A STORY-TELLER, like a poet or a pugilist, 
must be born, and not made, and I begin to 
fancy I have not been born under a story- 
tolling planet, for by no effort that I can make 
can I hold on to the thread of my story, and 
I am conscious the whole affair is fast becom- 
ing one great parenthesis. If I could only get 
clear of this tapu I would "try back." I be- 
lieve I ought to be just now completing the 
purchase of my estate. I am sure I have 
boon keeping house a long time before it 
is built, which is I believe clear against the 
rules, so I must get rid of this talk about 
the tapu the best way I can, after which I 
will start fair and try not to get before my 

Besides these different forms of the tapu 
which I have mentioned, there were endless 


others, but the temporary local tapus were the 
most tormenting to a pakeha, as well they 
might, seeing that even a native could not 
steer clear of them always. A place not tapu 
yesterday might be most horribly tapu to-day, 
and the consequences of trespassing thereon 
proportionately troublesome. Thus, sailing 
along a coast or a river bank, the most in- 
viting landing-place would be almost to a 
certainty the freehold property of the Tani- 
wha, a terrific sea monster, who would to a cer- 
tainty, if his landed property was trespassed 
on, upset the canoe of the trespassers and 
devour them all the very next time they put 
to sea. The place was tapu, and let the 
weather be as bad as it might, it was better 
to keep to sea at all risks than to land there. 
Even pakeha, though in some cases invulner- 
able, could not escape the fangs of the terrible 
Taniwha. " Was not little Jackey-j>0fo, the 
sailor, drowned by the Taniwha ? He would 
go on shore, in spite of every warning, to get 
some water to mix with his waipiro, and was 
not his canoe found next day floating about 
with his paddle and two empty case bottles in 
it ? a sure sign that the Taniwha had lifted 
him out bodily. And was not the body of 
the said Jackey found some days after with 


the Taniwha's mark on it, one eye taken 

These Taniwha would, however, sometimes 
attach themselves to a chief or warrior, 
and in the shape of a huge sea monster, a 
bird, or a fish, gambol round his canoe, and 
by their motions give presage of good or evil 

When the Ngati Kuri sailed on their last 
and fated expedition to the south, a huge 
Taniwha, attached to the famous warrior, Tiki 
Whenua, accompanied the expedition, playing 
about continually amongst the canoss, often 
coming close to the canoe of Tiki Whenua, so 
that the warrior could reach to pat him ap- 
provingly with his paddle, at which he seemed 
much pleased ; and when they came in sight 
of the island of Tuhua, this Taniwha chief 
called up the legions of the deep ! The sea 
was blackened by an army of monsters, who, 
with uncouth and awful floundering and wal- 
lowing, performed before the chief and his com- 
panions a hideous tit- ngarahu, and then disap- 
peared. The Ngati Kuri, elated, and accepting 
this as a presage of victory, landed on Tuhua, 
stormed the pa, and massacred its defenders. 
But they had mistaken the meaning of the 
monster review of the Taniwha. It was a leave- 


taking of his favourite warrior, for the Ngati 
Kuri were fated to die to a man on the next 
land they trod. A hundred and fifty men were 
they the pick and prime of their tribe. All 
rangatira, all warriors of name, few in num- 
bers, but desperately resolute, they thought it 
little to defeat the thousands of the south, and 
take the women and children as a prey ! Hav- 
ing feasted and rejoiced at Tuhua, they sail for 
Motiti. This world was too small for them. 
They were impatient for battle. They thought 
to make the name of Kuri strike against the 
skies'; but in the morning the sea is covered 
with war canoes. The thousands of the south 
are upon them ! Ngati Awa, with many an 
allied band, mad for revenge, come on. Fight 
now, oh Ngati Kuri ! not for victory, no, nor 
for life. Think only now of utii! for your 
time is come. That which you have dealt to 
many, you shall now receive. Fight ! fight ! 
Your tribe shall be exterminated, but you 
must leave a name ! Now came the tug of 
war on "bare Motiti." From early morning till 
the sun had well declined, that ruthless battle 
raged. Twice their own number had the 
Ngati Kuri slain ; and then Tiki Whenua, 
still living, saw around him his dead and 
dying tribe. A handful of bleeding warriors 


still resisted a last and momentary struggle. 
He thought of the utti ; it was great. He 
thought of the ruined remnant of the tribe 
at home, and then he remembered horrid 
thought that ere next day's setting sun, he 
and all the warriors of his tribe would be 
baked and eaten. (Tiki, my friend, thou art 
in trouble.) A cannon was close at hand a 
nine pound carronade. They had brought it 
in the canoes. Hurriedly he filled it half full 
of powder, seized a long fire brand, placed his 
breast to the cannon's mouth, fired with his 
own hand. Tiki Whenua, Good ni<>-ht I 

7 O 

Now I wonder if Brutus had had such a 
tiling as a nine-pounder about him at Phillippi, 
whether he would have thought of using it in 
this way. I really don't think he would. I 
have never looked upon Brutus as anything of 
an original genius, but Tiki Whenua most 
certainly was. I don't think there is another 
instance of a man blowing himself from a gun 
of course there are many examples of people 
blowing others from cannon, but that is quite 
a different tiling any blockhead can do that. 
But the I'.cit of Tiki Whenua has a smack of 
originality about it which I like, and so I 
have mentioned it here. 

But all this is digression on digression ; 


however, I suppose the reader is getting used 
to it, and I cannot help it ; besides I wanted 
to show them how poor Tiki " took arms 
against a sea of troubles," and for the want of 
a " bare bodkin" made shift with a carronade. 
I shall never cease to lament those nice lads 
who met with that little accident (poor fel- 
lows !) on Motiti. A fine, strapping, stalwart 
set of fellows, who believed in force. We 
don't see many such men now-a-days ; the 
present generation of Maori are a stunted, 
tobacco-smoking, grog-drinking, psalm-sing- 
ing, special-pleading, shilling-hunting set of 
wretches ; not above one in a dozen of them 
would know how to cut up a man secundem 
artem. 'Pshaw ! I am ashamed of them. 

I am getting tired of this tapu, so will give 
only one or two more instances of the local 
temporary tapu. In the autumn, when the 
great crop of kumera was gathered, all the 
paths leading to the village and cultivated 
lands were made tap it, and any one coming 
along them would have notice of this by 
finding a rope stretched across the road about 
breast-high ; when he saw this, his business 
must be very urgent indeed or he would go 
back, and it would have been taken as a very 
serious affront indeed, even in a near relation, 


supposing his ordinary residence was not in 
the village, to disregard the hint given by the 
rope, that for the present there was "no 
thoroughfare." Now, the reason of this 
blockade of the roads was this. The report of 
an unusually fine crop of kumera had often 
cost its cultivators and the whole tribe their 
lives. The news would spread about that 
Ngati so-and-so, living at so-and-so, had 
housed so many thousands of baskets of 
kumera. Exaggeration would multiply the 
truth by ten, the fertile land would be 
coveted, and very probably its owners, or 
rather its holders, would have to fight both 
for it and their lives before the year was out. 
For this reason strangers were not welcome 
at the Maori harvest home. The kumera 
were dug hurriedly by the whole strength of 
the working hands, thrown in scattered heaps, 
and concealed from any casual observation by 
strangers by being covered over with the 
leaves of the plants, and when all were dug 
then all hands set to work, at night, to fill the 
baskets and carry off the crop to the store- 
house or rua, and every effort was made to get 
all stored and out of sight before daylight, lest 
any one should be able to form any idea of 
the extent of the crop. When the digging of 


one field was completed another would be 
done in the same manner, and so on till the 
whole crop was housed in this stealthy man- 
ner. I have been at several of these midnight 
labours, and have admired the immense 
amount of work one family would do in a 
single night, working as it were for life and 
death. In consequence of this mode of pro- 
ceeding, even the families inhabiting the same 
village did not know what sort of a crop their 
neighbours had, and if a question was asked, 
(to do which was thought impertinent and 
very improper,) the invariable answer was, 
" Nothing at all ; barely got back the seed ; 
hardly that ; we shall be starved ; we shall 
have to eat fern root this year," &c. The last 
time I observed this custom was about twenty- 
seven years ago, and even then it was nearly 
discontinued and no longer general. 

Talking of by-gone habits and customs of 
the natives, I remember I have mentioned 
two cases of suicide. I shall, therefore, now 
take occasion to state that no more marked 
alteration in the habits of the natives has 
taken place than in the great decrease of 
cases of suicide. In the first years of my 
residence in the country, it was of almost 
daily occurrence. When a man died, it was 


almost a matter of course that his wife, or 
wives, hung themselves. When the wife died, 
the man very commonly shot himself. I have 
known young men, often on the most trifling 
affront or vexation, shoot themselves ; and I 
was acquainted with a man who, having been 
for two days plagued with the toothache cut 
his throat with a very blunt razor, without a 
handle, as a radical cure, which it certainly 
was. I do not believe that one case of 
suicide occurs now, for twenty when I first 
came into the country. Indeed, the last case 
I have heard of in a populous district, occurred 
several years ago. It Avas rather a remarkable 
one. A native owed another a few shillings ; 
the creditor kept continually asking for it ; 
but the debtor, somehow or other, never 
could raise the cash. At last, being out of 
patience, and not knowing anything of the 
Insolvent Court, he loaded his gun, went to 
the creditor's house, and called him out. Out 
came the creditor and his wife. The debtor 
then placed the gun to his own breast, and 
saying, " Here is your payment," pulled the 
trigger with his foot, and fell dead before 
them. I think tho reason suicide ha become 
so comparatively unfrequent is, that the 
minds of the natives are now filled and 


tated by a flood of new ideas, new wants and 
ambitions, which they knew not formerly, 
and which prevents them, from one single loss 
or disappointment, feeling as if there was 
nothing more to live for. 



THERE was a kind of variation on the tapu, 
called tapa, of this nature. For instance, if a 
chief said, a That axe is my head/' the axe 
became his to all intents and purposes, except, 
indeed, the owner of the axe was able to 
break his " head," in which case, I have reason 
to believe, the tapa would fall to the ground. 
It was, however, in a certain degree necessary 
to have some legal reason, or excuse, for 
making the tapa ; but to give some idea of 
what constituted the circumstances under 
which a man could fairly tapa anything, I 
must needs quote a case in point. 

When the Ngapuhi attacked the tribe of 
Ngati Wakawc, at Rotorua, the Ngati Wa- 
kawc retired to the island of Mokoia in the 
lake of Rotorua, which they fortified, thinking 
that, as the Ngapuhi canoes could not come 
nearer than Kaituna on the east coast, about 


thirty miles distant, that they in their island 
position would be safe. But in this they 
were fatally deceived, for the Ngapuhi 
dragged a whole fleet of war canoes over 
land. When, however, the advanced division 
of the Ngapuhi arrived at Rotorua, and en- 
camped on the shore of the lake, Ngati 
Wakawe were not aware that the canoes of 
the enemy were coming, so every morning 
they manned their large canoes, and leaving 
the island fort, would come dashing along the 
shore deriding the Ngapuhi, and crying, 
"Ma wai koe e kawe mai ki Rangitiki?'' 
" Who shall bring you, or how shall you 
arrive, at Rangitiki T Rangitiki was the 
name of one of their hill forts. The canoes were 
fine large ornamented totara canoes, very 
valuable, capable of carrying from fifty to 
seventy men each, and much coveted by the 
Ngapuhi. The Ngapuhi of course considered 
all these canoes as their own already, but the 
different chiefs and leaders, anxious to secure 
one or more of these fine canoes for them- 
selves and people, and not knowing who 
might be the first to lay hands on them in 
the confusion of the storming of Mokoia, 
which would take place when their own canoes 
arrived, each tapa'd one or more for himself, 


or as the native expression is to himself. 
Up jumped Pomare, and standing on the lake 
shore in front of the encampment of the di- 
vision of which he was leader, lie shouts 
pointing at the same time to a particular 
canoe at the time carrying about sixty men 
" That canoe is my back-bone." Then Tareha, 
in bulk like a sea elephant, and sinking to 
the ancles in the shore of the lake, with a 
hoarse croaking voice roars out, " That canoe I 
my skull shall be the bailer to bail it out." This 
was a horribly strong tapa. Then the soft 
voice of the famous Hongi Ika, surnamed 
"The eater of men," of Ilonyi Jcai tanyata, 
was heard, "Those two canoes are my two 
thighs." And so the whole flotilla was ap- 
propriated by the different cliiefs. Now it 
followed from this that in the storming and 
plunder of Mokoia, when a warrior clap't his 
hand on a canoe and shouted, " This canoe is 
mine," the seizure would not stand good if it 
was one of the canoes which were tapa-tapa, 
for it would be a frightful insult to Pomare to 
claim to be the owner of his " back-bone," or 
to Tareha to go on board a canoe which had 
been made sacred by the bare supposition that 
his "skull" should be a vessel to bail it with. 
Of course the first man laying his hand on 



any other canoe and claiming it secured it for 
himself and tribe, always provided that the 
number of men there present representing his 
tribe or Jiapu were sufficient to back his claim 
and render it dangerous to dispossess him. 
I have seen men shamefully robbed, for want 
of sufficient support, of their honest lawful 
gains, after all the trouble and risk they had 
gone to in killing the owners of their plunder. 
But dishonest people are to be found almost 
everywhere, and I will say this, that my 
friends the Maoris seldom act against law, 
and always try to be able to say what they do 
is "correct" (tika). 

This tapu is a bore, even to write about, 
and I fear the reader is beginning to think it 
a bore to read about. It began long before 
the time of Moses, and I think that steam 
navigation will be the death of it ; but lest it 
should kill my reader I will have done with it 
for the present, and "try back," for I have 
left my story behind completely. 




WHEN I purchased my land the payment 
was made on the ground, and immediately 
divided and subdivided amongst the different 
sellers. Some of them, who, according to their 
own representations formerly made to me, 
were the sole and only owners of the land, 
received for their share about the value of one 
shilling, and moreover, as I also observed, did 
not appear at all disappointed. 

One old rangatira, before whom a con- 
siderable portion of the payment had been 
laid as his share of the spoil, gave it a slight 
shove with his foot, expressive of refusal, and 
said, " I will not accept any of the payment, 
I will have the pakeha." I saw some of the 
magnates present seemed greatly disappointed 

N 2 


at this, for I dare say they had expected 
to have the pakeha as well as the payment. 
But the old gentleman had regularly check- 
mated them by refusing to accept any pay- 
ment, and being also a person of great respec- 
tability, i.e., a good fighting man, with twenty 
more at his back, he was allowed to have his 
way, and thereby, in the opinion of all the 
natives present, making a far better thing of 
the land sale than any of them, though he 
had received no part of the payment. 

I consequently was therefore a part, and 
by no means an inconsiderable one, of the 
payment for my own land ; but though now 
part and parcel of the property of the old 
rangatira aforementioned, a good deal of 
liberty was allowed me. The fact of my 
having become his pakeha made our respec- 
tive relations and duties to each other about 
as follows 

Firstly. At all times, places, and com- 
panies, my owner had the right to call me 
" his pakeha." 

Secondly. He had the general privilege 
of " pot-luck " whenever he chose to honour 
my establishment with a visit ; said pot-luck 
to be tumbled out to him on the ground before 
the house, he being far too great a man to eat 


out of plates or dishes, or any degenerate in- 
vention of that nature ; as, if he did, they 
would all become tapu and of no use to any 
one but himself, nor indeed to himself either, 
as he did not see the use of them. 

Thirdly. It was well understood that to 
avoid the unpleasant appearance of paying 
" black mail," and to keep up general kindly 
relations, my owner should from time to time 
make me small presents, and that in return 
I should make him presents of five or six 
times the value : all this to be done as if 
arising from mutual love and kindness, and 
not the slightest allusion to be ever made to 
the relative value of the gifts on either side, 
(an important article). 

Fourthly. It was to be a sine qud non 
that I must purchase everything the chief or 
his family had to sell, whether I wanted them 
or not, and give the highest market price, 
or rather more. (Another very important 

Fifthly. The chief's own particular pipe 
never to be allowed to become extinguished 
for want of the needful supply of tobacco. 

Sixthly. All desirable jobs of work, and 
all advantages of all kinds, to be offered first 
to the family of my ranyatira before letting 


anyone else have them ; payment for same 
to be about 25 per cent, more than to any- 
one else, exclusive of a douceur to the chief 
himself because he did not work. 

In return for these duties and customs, 
well and truly performed on my part, the 
chief was understood to 

Firstly. Stick up for me in a general way, 
and not let me be bullied or imposed upon by 
any one but himself, as far as he was able to 
prevent it. 

Secondly. In case of me being plundered 
or maltreated by any powerful marauder, it 
was the duty of my chief to come in hot haste 
with all his family, armed to the teeth, to my 
rescue, after all was over, and when it was too 
late to be of any service. He was also bound 
on such occasions to make a great noise, 
dance the war dance, and fire muskets, (I 
finding the powder,) and to declare loudly 
what he would have done had he only been in 
time. I, of course, on such occasions, for 
my own dignity, and in consideration of the 
spirited conduct of my friends, was bound to 
order two or three fat pigs to be killed, and 
lots of potatoes to be served out to the 
" army," who were always expected to be 
starving, as a general rule. A distribution of 


tobacco, iii the way of largess, was also a 
necessity of the case. 

Thirdly. In case of my losing anything 
of consequence by theft a thing which, as a 
veracious pakeha, I am bound to say, seldom 
happened ; the natives in those days being, 
as I have already mentioned, a very law-- 
observing people, (the law of muru,) had, 
indeed, little occasion to steal, the above- 
named law answering their purposes in a 
general way much better, and helping them 
pretty certainly to any little matter they 
coveted ; yet, as there are exceptions to all 
rules, theft would sometimes be committed ; 
and then, as I was saying, it became the 
bounden duty of my ratiyatira to get the 
stolen article back if he was able, and keep it 
for himself for his trouble, unless I gave him 
something of more value in lieu thereof. 

Under the above regulations things went on 
pleasantly enough, the chief being restrained, 
by public opinion and the danger of the 
pakeha running away, from pushing his 
prerogative to the utmost limit ; and the 
pakeha, on the other hand, making the com- 
monalty pay for the indirect taxation he was 
subjected to ; so that in general, after ten or 
fifteen years' residence, he would not be much 


poorer than when he arrived, unless, indeed, 
some unluckly accident happened, such as 
pakehas were liable to sometimes in the good 
old times. 

Mentioning " public opinion " as a restraint 
on the chiefs' acquisitiveness, I must explain 
that a chief possessing a pakeha was much 
envied by his neighbours, who, in conse- 
quence, took every opportunity of scandalising 
him, and blaming him for any rough plucking 
process he might submit the said pakeha to ; 
and should he, by any awkward handling of 
this sort, cause the pakeha at last to run for 
it, the chief would never hear the end of it 
from his own family and connections, pakehas 
being, in those glorious old times, considered 
to be geese who laid golden eggs, and it would 
be held to be the very extreme of foolishness 
and bad policy either to kill them, or, by too 
rough handling, to cause them to fly away. 

On the other hand, should the pakeha fail 
in a culpable manner in the performance of 
his duties, though he would not, as a rule, 
be subjected to any stated punishment, he 
would soon begin to find a most unaccount- 
able train of accidents and all sorts of un- 
pleasant occurrences happening, enough, in 
the aggregate, to drive Job himself out of his 


wits ; and, moreover, he would get a bad 
name, which, though he removed, would fol- 
low him from one end of the island to the 
other, and effectually prevent him having the 
slightest chance of doing any good, that is, 
holding his own in the country, as the natives, 
wherever he went, would consider him a 
person out of whom the most was to be made 
at once, as he was not to be depended on as a 
source of permanent revenue. I have known 
several industrious, active, and sober pakeha 
who never could do any good, and whose life, 
for a long series of years, was a mere train of 
mishaps, till at last they were reduced to 
extreme poverty, merely from having, in their 
first dealings with the natives, got a bad 
name, in consequence of not having been able 
to understand clearly the beauty of the set of 
regulations I have just mentioned, and from 
an inability to make them work smoothly. 
The bad name I have mentioned was short 
and expressive ; wherever they went, there 
would be sure to be some one who would 
introduce them to their new acquaintances as 
" a pakeha pakeke" a hard pakeha ; " a 
pakeha taehae"'8, miser ; or, to sum up all, 
"a pakeha kino.' 1 

The chief who claimed me- was a good 


specimen of the Maori rangatira. He was a 
very old man, and had fought the French 
when Marion, the French circumnavigator, 
was killed. He had killed a Frenchman him- 
self, and carried his thighs and legs many 
miles as a bonne bouche for his friends at home 
at the pa. This old gentleman was not head 
of his tribe. He was a man of good family, 
related to several high chiefs. He was head 
of a strong family, or liapu, which mustered a 
considerable number of fighting men, all his 
near relations. He had been himself a most 
celebrated fighting man, and a war chief ; 
and was altogether a highly respectable 
person, and of great weight in the councils 
of the tribe. I may say I was fortunate in 
having been appropriated by this old patrician. 
He gave me very little trouble ; did not 
press his rights and privileges too forcibly on 
my notice, and in fact behaved in all respects 
towards me in so liberal and friendly a 
mariner, that before long I began to have a 
very sincere regard for him, and he to take 
a sort of paternal interest in me, which was 
both gratifying to observe, and also extremely 
comical sometimes, when he, out of real 
anxiety to see me a perfectly accomplished 
rangatira, would lecture on good manners, 


etiquette, and the use of the spear. He was, 
indeed, a model of a ranyatira, and well worth 
beings described. He was a little man, with a 

O ' 

high massive head, and remarkably high square 
forehead, on which the tattooer had exhausted 
his art. Though, as I have said, of a great 
age. he was still nimble and active. He had 

O " 

evidently been one of those tough active men, 
who, though small in stature, are a match for 
any one. There was in my old friend's eyes a 
sort of dull fiery appearance, which, when any- 
thing excited him, or when he recounted some 
of those numerous battles, onslaughts, mas- 
sacres, or stormings, in which all the active 
part of his life had been spent, actually seemed 
to blaze up and give forth real fire. His 
breast was covered with spear wounds, and he 
also had two very severe spear wounds on his 
head ; but he boasted that no single man had 
ever been able to touch him with the point of 
a spear. It was in grand nwldes, where he 
would have sometimes six or eight antago- 
nists, that he had received these wounds. He 
was a great general, and I have heard him 
criticise closely the order and conduct of every 
battle of consequence which had been fought 
for fifty years before my arrival in the country. 
On these occasions the old "martialist" would 


draw on the sand the plan of the battle he 
was criticising and describing ; and, in the 
course of time I began to perceive that, 
before the introduction of the musket, the art 
of war had been brought to great perfection 
by the natives : and that, when large numbers 
were engaged in a pitched battle, the order of 
battle resembled, in a most striking manner, 
some of the most approved orders of battle of 
the ancients. Since the introduction of fire- 
arms the natives have entirely altered their 
tactics, and adopted a system better adapted 
to the new weapon and the nature of the 

My old friend had a great hatred for the 
musket. He said that in battles fought with 
the musket there were never so many men 
killed as when, in his young days, men fought 
hand to hand with the spear ; when a good 
warrior would kill six, eight, ten, or even 
twenty men in a single fight ; for when once 
the enemy broke and commenced to run, the 
combatants being so close together, a fast 
runner would knock a dozen on the head in a 
short time ; and the great aim of these fast- 
running warriors, of whom my old friend had 
been one, was to chase straight on and never 
stop, only striking one blow at one man, so 


as to cripple him, so that those behind should 
be sure to overtake and finish him. It was 
not uncommon for one man, strong and swift 
of foot, when the enemy were fairly routed, to 
stab with a light spear ten or a dozen men in 
such a way as to ensure their being overtaken 
and killed. On one occasion of this kind my 
old tutor had the misfortune to stab a running 
man in the back. He did it of course scien- 
tifically, so as to stop his running, and as he 
passed him by he perceived it was his wife's 
brother. He was finished immediately by the 
men close behind. I should have said the 
man was a brother of one of my friend's four 
wives, which being the case, I dare say he had 
a sufficient number of brothers-in-law to afford 
to kill one now and then. A worse mishap, 
however, occurred to him on another occasion. 
He was returning from a successful expedi- 
tion from the south, (in the course of which, 
by-the-bye, he and his men killed and cooked 
several men of the enemy in Shortland- 
crescent, and forced three others to jump 
over a cliff which is I think now called 
Soldier's-point), when oft' the Mahurangi a 
smoke was seen rising from amongst the trees 
near the beach. They at once concluded that it 
canie from the fires of people belonging to that 


part of the country, and who they considered 
as game ; they therefore waited till night, 
concealing their canoes behind some rocks, 
and when it became dark landed ; they then 
divided into two parties, took the supposed 
enemy completely by surprise, attacked, rush- 
ing upon them from two opposite directions 
at once. My rangatira, dashing furiously 
among them, and as I can well suppose- 
those eyes of his flashing fire, had the happi- 
ness of once again killing the first man, and 
being authorised to shout "Ki au te mataika!" 
A. few more blows, the parties recognise each 
other : they are friends ! men of the same 
tribe ! Who is the last mataika slain by this 
famous warrior ? Quick, bring a flaming 
brand here he lies dead ! Ha ! It is his 
father ! 

Now an ancient knight of romance, under 
similar awkward circumstances, would prob- 
ably have retired from public life, sought out 
some forest cave, where he would have hung 
up his armour, let his beard grow, flogged 
himself twice a day " regular," and lived on 
" pulse " which I suppose means pea-soup 
for the rest of his life. But my old rangatira 
and his companions had not a morsel of that 
sort of romance about them. The killing of 


my friend's father was looked upon as a very 
clever exploit in itself, though a very unlucky 
one. So after having scolded one another 
for some time, one party telling the other 
they were served right for not keeping a bet- 
ter look out, and the other answering that 
they should have been sure who they were 
going to attack before making the onset, 
they all held a tangi or lamentation for 
the old warrior who had just received his 
mittimus ; and then killing a prisoner, who 
they had brought in the canoes for fresh 
provisions, they had a good feast ; after which 
they returned all together to their own conn 
try, taking the body of their lamented relative 
along with them. This happened many years 
before I came to the country, and when my 
rangatira was one of the most famous fight- 
ing men in his tribe. 

This Maori ramjatira, who I am describing 
had passed his whole life, with but little inter- 
mission, in a scene of battle, murder, and 
blood-thirsty atrocities of the most terrific 
description, mixed with actions of the most 
heroic courage, self-sacrifice, and chivalric 
daring, as leaves one perfectly astounded to 
find them the deeds of one and the same 
people one day doing acts which had they 


been performed in ancient Greece would have 
immortalised the actors, and the next com- 
mitting barbarities too horrible for relation, 
and almost incredible. 

The effect of a life of this kind was observ- 
able, plainly enough, in my friend. He was 
utterly devoid of what weak mortals call 
" compassion." He seemed to have no more 
feeling for the pain, tortures, or death of 
others than a stone. Should one of his family 
be dying or wounded, he merely felt it as the 
loss of one fighting man. As for the death 
of a woman or any non-combatant, he did not 
feel it at all, though the person might have 
suffered horrid tortures ; indeed I have seen 
him scolding severely a fine young man, his 
near relative, when actually expiring, for 
being such a fool as to blow himself up by 
accident, and deprive his family of a fighting 
man. The last words the dying man heard 
were these : " It serves you right. There 
you are, looking very like a burnt stick ! It 
serves you right a burnt stick ! Serves you 
right ! " It really ivas vexatious. A fine 
stout young fellow to be wasted in that way. 
As for fear, I saw one or two instances to 
prove he knew very little about it ; and, 
indeed, to be killed in battle, seemed to him a 


natural death, and lie was always grumbling 
that the young men thought of nothing but 
trading : and whenever he proposed to them 
to take him where he might have a final 
battle (he riri ivakamutunga), where he might 
escape dying of old age, they always kept 
saying, " Wait till we get more muskets," or 
" more gunpowder," or more something or 
another, " as if men could not be killed with- 
out muskets ! " He was not cruel either ; he 
was only unfeeling. He had been guilty, it is 
true, in his time, of what we would call terrific 
atrocities to his prisoners, which he calmly and 
calculatingly perpetrated as utu or retalia- 
tion for similar barbarities committed by 
them or their tribe. And here I must re- 
tract the word guilty, which I see I have 
written inadvertently, for according to the 
morals and principles of the people of whom 
he was one, and of the time to which he be- 
longed, and the training he had received, so 
far from being guilty, he did a praiseworthy, 
glorious, and public-spirited action when he 
opened the jugular vein of a bound captive 
and sucked huge draughts of his blood. To 
say the truth he was a very nice old man, and 
I liked him very much. It would, not, how- 
ever, be advisable to put him in a passion ; not 



much good would be likely to arise from it, 
as indeed I could show by one or two very 
striking instances which came under my 
notice, though to say the truth he was not 
easily put out of temper. He had one great 
moral rule, it was indeed his rule of life, he 
held that every man had a right to do every- 
thing and anything he chose, provided he was 
able and willing to stand the consequences, 
though he thought some men fools for trying 
to do things which they could not carry out 
pleasantly, and which ended in getting them 
baked. I once hinted to him that, should 
every one reduce these principles to practice, 
he himself might find it awkward, particularly 
as he had so many mortal enemies. To wliich 
he replied, with a look which seemed to pity 
my ignorance, that every one did practice this 
rule to the best of their abilities, but that 
some were not so able as others ; and that 
as for his enemies, he should take care 
they never surprised him ; a surprise being, 
indeed, the only thing he seemed to 
have any fear at all of. In truth he had 
occasion to look out sharp ; he never was 
known to sleep more than three or four 
nights in the same place, and often, when 
there were ill omens, he would not sleep in a 


house at all, or two nights following in one 
place, for a month together, and I never saw 
him without both spear and tomahawk, and 
ready to defend himself at a second's notice, a 
state of preparation perfectly necessary, for 
though in -his own country and surrounded 
by his tribe, his death would have been such 
a triumph for hundreds, not of distant ene- 
mies, but of people within a day's journey, 
that none could tell at what moment some 
stout young fellow in search of utu and a 
" inyoa ton," (a warlike reputation) might rush 
upon him, determined to have his head or 
leave his own. The old buck himself had, 
indeed, performed several exploits of this 
nature, the last of which occurred just at the 
time I came into the country, but before I 
had the advantage of his acquaintance. His 
tribe were at war with some people at the 
distance of about a day's journey. One of 
their villages was on the border of a dense 
forest. My ran gat ira, then a very old man, 
started off alone, and without saying a word 
to any one, took his way through the forest 
which extended the whole way between his 
village and the enemy, crept like a lizard into 
the enemy's village, and then, shouting his 
war cry, dashed amongst a number of people 


he saw sitting together on the ground, and 
who little expected such a salute. In a minute 
he had run three men and one woman through 
the body, received five dangerous spear- 
wounds himself, and escaped to the forest, 
and finally got safe home to his own country 
and people. Truly my old rangatira was a 
man of a thousand, a model rangatira. This 
exploit, if possible, added to his reputation, 
and every one said his mana would never 
decline. The enemy had been panic stricken, 
thinking a whole tribe were upon them, and 
fled like a flock of sheep, except the three 
men who were killed. They all attacked my 
old chief at once, and were all disposed of 
in less than a minute, after, as I have said, 
giving him five desperate wounds. The 
woman was just "stuck," as a matter of 
course, as she came in his way. 

The natives are unanimous in affirming that 
they were much more numerous, in former 
.times, than they are now, and I am con- 
vinced that such was the case, for the follow- 
ing reasons. The old hill forts are many of 
them so large that an amount of labour must 
have been expended in trenching, terracing, 
and fencing them, and all without iron tools 
which increased the difficulty a hundred-fold, 


which must have required a vastly greater 
population to accomplish than can be now 
found in the surrounding districts. These 
forts were also of such an extent that, taking 
into consideration the system of attack and 
defence used necessarily in those times, they 
would have been utterly untenable unless 
held by at least ten times the number of men 
the whole surrounding districts, for two or 
three days' journey, can produce ; and yet, 
when we remember that in those times of 
constant war, being the two centuries pre- 
ceding the arrival of the Europeans, the 
natives always, as a rule, slept in these hill 
forts with closed gates, bridges over trenches 
removed, and ladders of terraces drawn up, 
we must come to the conclusion that the in- 
habitants of the fort, though so numerous, 
were merely the population of the country 
in the close vicinity. Now from the top 
of one of these pointed, trenched, and 
torraced hills, I have counted twenty others, 
all of equally large dimensions, and all within 
a distance, in every direction, of fifteen to 
twenty miles ; and native tradition affirms 
that each of these hills was the stronghold of a 
separate hapu or clan, bearing its distinctive 
name. There is also the most unmistakeable 


evidence that vast tracks of country, which 
have lain wild time out of mind, were once 
fully cultivated. The ditches for draining the 
land are still traceable, and large pits are to be 
seen in hundreds, on the tops of the dry hills, 
all over the northern part of the North Island, 
in which the kumera were once stored ; and 
these pits are, in the greatest number, found in 
the centre of great open tracts of uncultivated 
country, where a rat in the present day would 
hardly find subsistence. The old drains, and 
the peculiar growth of the timber, mark 
clearly the extent of these ancient cultiva- 
tions. It is also very observable that large 
tracts of very inferior land have been in 
cultivation, which would lead to the inference 
that either the population was pretty nearly 
proportioned to the extent of available land, 
or that the tracts of inferior land were cul- 
tivated merely because they were not too far 
removed from the fort ; for the shape of the 
hill, and its capability of defence and facility 
of fortification, was of more consequence than 
the fertility of the surrounding country. 
These kumera pits, being dug generally in the 
stiff clay on the hill tops, have, in most cases 
retained their shape perfectly, and many seem 
as fresh and new as if they had been dug but 


a few years. They are oblong in shape, with 
the sides regularly sloped. Many collections 
of these provision stores have outlived Maori 
tradition, and the natives can only conjecture 
who they belonged to. Out of the centre of 
one of them which I have seen, there is now 
growing a kauri tree one hundred and twenty 
feet high, and out of another a large totara. 
The outline of these pits is as perfect as the 
day they were dug, and the sides have not 
fallen in in the slightest degree, from which 
perhaps they have been preserved by the 
absence of frost, as well as by a beautiful 
coating of moss, by which they are every- 
where covered. The pit in which the kauri 
grew, had been partially filled up by the 
scaling off of the bark of the tree, which, fal- 
ling off in patches, as it is constantly doing, 
had raised a mound of decaying bark round 
the root of the tree. 

Another evidence of a very large number 
of people having once inhabited these hill 
forts is the number of houses they contained. 
Every native house, it appears, in former 
times as in the present, had a fire-place com- 
posed of four Hat stones or flags sunk on their 
edges into the ground, so as to form an oblong 
case or trunk, in which at night a fire to heat 


the house was made. Now, in two of the 
largest hill forts I have examined, though for 
ages no vestige of a house .had been seen, 
there remained the fire-places the four stones 
projecting like an oblong box slightly over 
the ground and from their position and 
number denoting clearly that, large as the 
circumference of the huge volcanic hill was 
which formed the fortress, the number of 
families inhabiting it necessitated the strict- 
est economy of room. The houses had been 
arranged in streets, or double rows, with a 
path between them, except in places where 
there had been only room on a terrace for a 
single row. The distances between the fire- 
places proved that the houses in the rows 
must have been as close together as it was 
possible to build them, and every spot, from 
the foot to the hill top, not required and 
specially planned for defensive purposes, had 
been built on in this regular manner. Even 
the small flat top, sixty yards long by forty 
wide, the citadel, on which the greatest 
care and labour had been bestowed to render 
it difficult of access, had been as full of houses 
as it could hold, leaving a small space all round 
the precipitous bank for the defenders *to 
stand on. 


These little fire-places, and the scarped and 
terraced conical hills, are the only mark the 
Maori of ancient times have left of their ex- 
istence. And I have reasons for believing 
that this country has been inhabited from a 
more remote period by far than is generally 
supposed. These reasons I found upon the 
dialect of the Maori language spoken by the 
Maori of New Zealand, as well as on many 
other circumstances. 

We may easily imagine that a hill of this 
kind, covered from bottom to top with houses 
thatched and built of reeds, rushes, and raupo, 
would be a mere mass of combustible matter, 
and such indeed was the case. When an 
enemy attacked one of these places a common 
practice was to shower red-hot stones from 
slings into the place, which, sinking into the 
dry thatch of the houses, would cause a 
general conflagration. Should this once occur 
the place was sure to be taken, and this mode 
of attack was much feared ; all hands not en- 
gaged at the outer defences, and all women 
and non-combatants, were employed guarding 
against this danger, and pouring water out of 
calabashes on every smoke that appeared. 
The natives also practised both mining and 
escalade in attacking a hill fort. 


The natives attribute their decrease in 
umbers, before the arrival of the Europeans, 
to war and sickness, disease possibly arising 
from the destruction of food and the forced 
neglect of cultivation caused by the constant 
and furious wars which devastated the 
country for a long period before the arrival 
of the Europeans, in such a manner that the 
natives at last believed that a constant state 
of warfare was the natural! condition of life, 
and their sentiments, feelings, and maxims 
became gradually formed on this belief. 
Nothing was so valuable or respectable as 
strength and courage, and to acquire property 
by war and plunder more honourable and 
also more desirable than by labour. Can- 
nibalism was glorious. The island was a 

A rugged wight, tlve worst of brutes, was man ; 

On his own wretched kind he ruthless prey'd. 
The strongest then the weakest oven-an, 

In every country mighty robbers sway'd, 
And guile and ruffian force was all their trade. 

Since the arrival of the Europeans the de- 
crease of the natives has also been rapid. In 
that part of the country where I have had 
means of accurate observation, they have 
decreased in number since my arrival rather 


more than one-third. I have, however, ob- 
served that this decrease has for the last ten 
years been very considerably checked, though 
I do not believe this improvement is general 
through the country, or even permanent 
where I have observed it. 

The first grand cause of the decrease of the 
natives since the arrival of the Europeans is 
the musket. The nature of the ancient Maori 
weapons prompted them to seek out vantage 
ground, and to take up positions on precipit- 
ous hill tops, and make those high, dry, 
airy situations their regular fixed residences. 
Their ordinary course of life, when not en- 
gaged in warfare, was regular, and not neces- 
sarily unhealthy. Their labour, though con- 
stant in one shape or other, and compelled by 
necessity, was not too heavy. In the morn- 
ing, but not early, they descended from the 
hill pa to the cultivations in the low ground ; 
they went in a body, armed like men going to 
battle, the spear or club in one hand, and the 
agricultural instrument in the other. The 
women followed. Long before night (it was 
counted unlucky to work till dark) they re- 
turned to the hill with a reversed order, the 
women now, and slaves, and lads, bearing fuel 
and water for the night, in front ; they also 


bore probably heavy loads of kumera or other 
provisions. In the time of year when the 
crops did not call for their attention, when they 
were planted and. growing, then the whole 
tribe would remove to some fortified hill, 
at the side of some river, or on the coast, 
where they would pass months, fishing, mak- 
ing nets, clubs, spears, and implements of 
various descriptions ; the women, in all spare 
time, making mats for clothing, or baskets to 
carry the crop of kumera in, when fit to dig. 
There was very little idleness ; and to be called 
" lazy " was a great reproach. It is to be 
observed that for several months the crops 
could be left thus unguarded with perfect 
safety, for the Maori, as a general rule, never 
destroyed growing crops or attacked their 
owners in a regular manner until the crops 
were nearly at full perfection, so that they 
might afford subsistence to the invaders, and 
consequently the end of the summer all over 
the country was a time of universal prepara- 
tion for battle, either offensive or defensive, 
the crops then being near maturity. 

Now when the natives became generally 
armed with the musket they at once aban- 
doned the hills, and, to save themselves the 
great labour and inconvenience occasioned by 


the necessity of continually carrying provisions, 
fuel, and water to these precipitous hill- 
castles which would be also, as a matter of 
necessity, at some inconvenient distance from 
at least some part of the extensive cultiva- 
tions descended to the low lands, and there, 
in the centre of the cultivations, erected a new 
kind of fortification adapted to the capabilities 
of the new weapon. This was their destruc- 
tion. There in mere swamps they built their 
oven-like houses, where the water even in 
summer sprung with the pressure of the foot, 
and where in winter the houses were often 
completely flooded. There, lying on the 
spongy soil, on beds of rushes which rotted 
under them in little, low, dens of houses, or 
kennels, heated like ovens at night and drip- 
ping with damp in the day full of noxious 
exhalations from the damp soil, and impos- 
sible to ventilate they were cut off by 
disease in a manner absolutely frightful. 
No advice would they take ; they could not 
see the enemy which killed them, and there- 
fore could not believe the Europeans who 
pointed out the cause of their destruction. 
This change of residence was universal and 
everywhere followed by the same conse- 
quences, more or less marked ; the strongest 


men were cut off and but few children were 
reared. And even now, after the dreadful 
experience they have had, and all the con- 
tinual remonstrances of their pakeha friends, 
they take but very little more precaution in 
choosing sites for their houses than at first ; 
and when a native village or a native house 
happens to be in a dry healthy situation, it 
is often more the effect of accident than 

Twenty years ago a hapu, in number just 
forty persons, removed their kainga from a 
dry healthy position, to the edge of a raupo 
swamp. I happened to be at the place a 
short time after the removal, and with me 
there was a medical gentleman who was tra- 
velling through the country. In creeping 
into one of the houses (the chief's) through 
the low door, I was obliged to put both my 
hands to the ground ; they both sunk into the 
swampy soil, making holes which immediately 
filled with water. The chief and his family 
were lying on the ground on rushes, and a 
fire was burning, which made the little den, 
not in the highest place more than five feet 
high, feel like an oven. I called the attention 
of my friend to the state of this place called 
a " house." He merely said, " men cannot 


live here." Eight years from that day the 
whole hapu were extinct ; but, as I remem- 
ber, two persons were shot for bewitching them 
and causing their deaths. 

Many other causes combined at the same 
time to work the destruction of the natives. 
Next to the change of residence from the 

hig'h and healthy hill forts to the low o-rounds 
" ) 

was the hardship, over-labour, exposure, 
and half-starvation, to which they submitted 
themselves firstly, to procure these very 
muskets which enabled them to make the 
fatal change of residence, and afterwards to 


procure the highly and justly valued iron im- 
plements of the Europeans. When we reflect 
that a ton of cleaned flax was the price paid 
for two muskets, and at an earlier date for 
one musket, we can see at once the dreadful 
exertion necessary to obtain it. But sup- 
posing a man to get a musket for half a ton of 
flax, another half ton would be required for 
ammunition ; and in consequence, as every 
man in a native hapu, of say a hundred men, 
was absolutely forced on pain of death to pro- 
cure a musket and ammunition at any cost, 
and at the earliest possible moment, (for if 
they did not procure them extermination was 
their doom by the hands of those of their 


countrymen who had), the effect was that 
this small hapu, or clan, had to manufacture, 
spurred by the penalty of death, in the short- 
est possible time, one hundred tons of flax, 
scraped by hand with a shell, bit by bit, 
morsel by morsel, half-quarter of an ounce 
at a time. Now as the natives, when undis- 
turbed and labouring regularly at their cul- 
tivations, were never far removed from 
necessity or scarcity of food, we may easily 
imagine the distress and hardship caused 
by this enormous imposition of extra labour. 
They were obliged to neglect their crops in a 
very serious degree, and for many months in 
the year were in a half-starving condition, 
working hard all the time in the flax swamps. 
The insufficient food, over exertion, and un- 
wholesome locality, killed them fast. As for 
the young children, they almost all died ; and 
this state of things continued for many years : 
for it was long after being supplied with arms 
and ammunition before the natives could 
purchase, by similar exertion, the various 
agricultural implements, and other iron tools 
so necessary to them ; and it must always 
be remembered, if we wish to understand 
the difficulties and over-labour the natives 
were subjected to, that while undergoing this 


immense extra toil, they were at the same 
time obliged to maintain themselves by culti- 
vating the ground with sharpened sticks, not 
being able to afford to purchase iron imple- 
ments in any useful quantity, till first the 
great, pressing, paramount, want of muskets 
and gunpowder had been supplied. Thus 
continual excitement, over-work, and insuf- 
ficient food, exposure, and unhealthy places of 
residence, together with a general breaking 
up of old habits of life, thinned their numbers. 
European diseases also assisted, but not to 
any very serious degree ; till in the part of 
the country in which, as I have before stated, 
I have had means to observe with exactitude, 
the natives have decreased in numbers over 
one-third since I first saw them. That this rapid 
decrease has been checked in some districts, I 
am sure, and the cause is not a mystery. The 
influx of Europeans has caused a competition 
in trading, which enables them to get the 
highest value for the produce of their labour, 
and at the same time opened to them a hun- 
dred new lines of industry, and also afforded 
them other opportunities of becoming pos- 
sessed of property. They have not at all 
improved these advantages as they might 
have done ; but are, nevertheless, as it were 


in spite of themselves, on the whole, richer 
i.e., better clothed, fed, and in some degree 
lodged, than in past years; and I see the 
plough now running where I once saw the 
rude pointed stick poking the ground. I do 
not, however, believe that this improvement 
exists in more than one or two districts in any 
remarkable degree, nor do I think it will be 
permanent where it does exist, insomuch as I 
have said that the improvement is not the 
result of providence, economy, or industry, 
but of a train of temporary circumstances 
favourable to the natives ; but which, if un- 
improved, as they most probably will be, will 
end in no permanent good result. 



FROM the years 1822 to 1826, the vessels 
trading for flax had, when at anchor, boarding 
nettings up to the tops. All the crew were 
armed, and, as a standing rule, not more than 
five natives, on any pretence, allowed on 
board at one time. Trading for flax in those 
days was to be undertaken by a man who had 
his wits about him ; and an old flax trader of 
those days, with his 150 ton schooner "out of 
Sydney," cruising all round the coast of New 
Zealand, picking up his five tons at one port, 
ten at another, twenty at another, and so on, 
had questions, commercial, diplomatic, and 
military, to solve every day, that would drive 
all the "native department," with the min- 
ister at their head, clean out of their senses. 
Talk to me of the "native difficulty " pooh ! I 
think it was in 1822 that an old friend of mine 
bought, at Kawhia, a woman who was just 

p 2 


going to be baked. He gave a cartridge-box 
full of cartridges for her, which was a great deal 
more than she was really worth ; but humanity 
does not stick at trifles. He took her back to 
her friends at Taranaki, from whence she had 
been taken, and her friends there gave him at 
once two tons of flax and eighteen pigs, and 
asked him to remain a few days longer till they 
should collect a still larger present in return 
for his kindness ; but, as he found out their 
intention was to take the schooner, and knock 
himself and crew on the head, he made off in 
the night. But he maintains, to this day, 
that " virtue is its own reward " " at least 'tis 
so at Taranaki." Virtue, however, must have 
been on a visit to some other country, (she 
does go out sometimes,) when I saw and 
heard a British subject, a slave to some 
natives on the West Coast, begging hard for 
somebody to buy him. The price asked was 
one musket, but the only person on board 
the vessel possessing those articles, preferred 
to invest in a different commodity. The con- 
sequence was, that the above-mentioned unit 
of the great British nation lived, and (" Rule 
Britannia" to the contrary notwithstanding) 
died a slave ; but whether he was buried, 
deponent sayeth not. 


My old rangatira at last began to show 
signs that his time to leave this world of care 
was approaching. He had arrived at a great 
age, and a rapid and general breaking up of 
his strength became plainly observable. He 
often grumbled that men should grow old, 
and oftener that no great war broke out in 
which he might make a final display, and die 
with ecldt. The last two years of his life 
were spent almost entirely at my house, 
which, however, he never entered. He would 
sit whole days on a fallen puriri near the 
house, with his spear sticking up beside him, 
and speaking to no one, but sometimes hum- 
ming in a low droning tone some old ditty 
which no one knew the meaning of but him- 
self, and at night he would disappear to some 
of the numerous nests or little sheds he had 
around the place. In summer he would roll 
himself in his blanket and sleep anywhere, 
but no one could tell exactly where. In the 
hot days of summer, when his blood I sup- 
pose got a little warm, he would sometimes 
become talkative, and recount the exploits of 
his youth. As he warmed to the subject he 
would seize his spear and go through all the 
incidents of some famous combat, repeating 
every thrust, blow, and parry as they actually 


occurred, and going through as much ex- 
ertion as if he was really and truly fighting 
for his life. He used to go through these 
pantomimic labours as a duty whenever he had 
an assemblage of the young men of the tribe 
around him, to whom, as well as to myself, he 
was most anxious to communicate that which 
he considered the most valuable of all know 
ledge, a correct idea of the uses of the spear, a 
weapon he really used in a most graceful and 
scientific manner ; but he would ignore the 
fact that " Young New Zealand" had laid 
down the weapon for ever, and already ma- 
tured a new system of warfare adapted to their 
new weapons, and only listened to his lectures 
out of respect to himself and not for his 
science. At last this old lion was taken 
seriously ill and removed permanently to the 
village, and one evening a smart handsome 
lad, of about twelve years of age, came to tell 
me that his tupuna was dying, and had said 
he would "go" to-morrow, and had sent for 
me to see him before he died. The boy also 
added that the tribe were Tea poto, or as- 
sembled, to the last man around the dying 
chief. I must here mention that, though this 
old rangatira was not the head of his tribe, 
he had been for about half a century the 


recognised war chief of almost all the sections 
or liapu of a very numerous and warlike iwi 
or tribe, who had now assembled from all 
their distant villages and pas to see him die. 
I could not, of course, neglect the invitation, 
so at daylight next morning I started on foot 
for the native village, which I, on my 
arrival about mid-day, found crowded by a 
great assemblage of natives. I was saluted 
by the usual hue re tnai ! and a volley of 
musketry, and I at once perceived that, out 
of respect to my old owner, the whole tribe 
from far and near, hundreds of whom I had 
never seen, considered it necessary to make 
much of me, at least for that day, and I 
found myself consequently at once in the 
position of a " personage." " Here comes the 
pakeha ! his pakeha ! make way for the 
pakeha ! kill those dogs that are barking at 
the pakeha S" Bang ! bang ! Here a double 
barrel nearly blew rny cap off by way of 
salute. I did for a moment tliiuk my head 
was oft* I, however, being quite an fait in 
Maori etiquette by this time, thanks to the 
instructions and example of my old friend, 
fixed my eyes with a vacant expression look- 
ing only straight before me, recognised no- 
body, and took notice of nothing, not even 


the muskets fired under my nose or close to 
my back at every step, and each, from having 
four or five charges of powder, making a re- 
port like a cannon. On I stalked, looking 
neither to the right or the left, with my spear 
walking-staff in my hand, to where I saw a 
great crowd, and where I of course knew the 
dying man was. I walked straight on, not 
even pretending to see the crowd, as was 
" correct" under the circumstances ; I being 
supposed to be entranced by the one absorb- 
ing thought of seeing " mataora," or once 
more in life my rangatira. The crowd 
divided as I came up, and closed again 
behind me as I stood in the front rank 
before the old chief, motionless, and, as in 
duty bound, trying to look the image of mute 
despair, which I flatter myself I did to the 
satisfaction of all parties. The old man I 
saw at once was at his last hour. He had 
dwindled to a mere skeleton. No food of any 
kind had been prepared for or offered to him 
for three days ; as he was dying it was of 
course considered unnecessary. At his right 
side lay his spear, tomahawk, and musket. (I 
never saw him with the musket in his hand 
all the time I knew him.) Over him was 
hanging his greenstone mere, and at his left 


side, close, and touching him, sat a stout 
athletic savage, with a countenance disgust- 
ingly expressive of cunning and ferocity, and 
who, as he stealthily marked me from the 
corner of his eye, I recognised as one of those 
limbs of Satan, a Maori tohunga. The old 
man was propped up in a reclining position, 
his face towards the assembled tribe, who 
were all there waiting to catch his last words. 
I stood before him and I thought I perceived 
he recognised me. Still all was silence, and 
for a full half hour we all stood there, waiting 
patiently for the closing scene. Once or 
twice the tohunga said to him in a very loud 
voice, " The tribe are assembled, you won't 
die silent ? " At last, after about half-an- 
hour, he became restless, his eyes rolled 
from side to side, and he tried to speak, 
but failed. The circle of men closed nearer, 
and there was evidence of anxiety and ex- 
pectation amongst them, but a dead silence 
was maintained. At last, suddenly with- 
out any apparent effort, and in a manner 
which startled me, the old man spoke clearly 
out, in the ringing metallic tone of voice 
for which he had been formerly so remark- 
able, particularly when excited. He spoke. 
"Hide my bones quickly where the enemy 


may not find them : hide them at once." 
He spoke again " Oh my tribe, be brave ! 
be brave that you may live. Listen to the 
words of my pakeha ; he will unfold the de- 
signs of his tribe." This was in allusion to a 
very general belief amongst the natives at the 
time, that the Europeans designed sooner or 
later to exterminate them and take the coun- 
try, a thing the old fellow had cross-ques- 
tioned me about a thousand times ; and the 
only way I could find to ease his mind was to 
tell him that if ever I heard any such proposal 
I would let him know, protesting at the same 
time that no such intention existed. This notion 
of the natives has since that time done much 
harm, and will do more, for it is not yet quite 
given up. He continued " I give my mere to 
my pakeha," " my two old wives will hang 
themselves," (here a howl of assent from the 
two old women in the rear rank) " I am going ; 
be brave, after I am gone." Here he began 
to rave ; he fancied himself in some desperate 
battle, for he began to call to celebrated com- 
rades who had been dead forty or fifty years. 
I remember every word " Charge ! " shouted 
he " Charge ! Wata, charge ! Tara, charge ! 
charge ! " Then after a short pause " Rescue ! 
rescue ! to my rescue ! ahau ! ahau ! rescue !" 


The last cry for " rescue " was in such a pier- 
cing tone of anguish and utter desperation, 
that involuntarily I advanced a foot and hand, 
as if starting to his assistance ; a movement, 
as I found afterwards, not unnoticed by the 
superstitious tribe. At the same instant that 
he gave the last despairing and most agonising 
cry for " rescue," I saw his eyes actually blaze, 
his square jaw locked, he set his teeth, and rose 
nearly to a sitting position, and then fell back 
dying. He only murmured " How sweet is 
man's flesh," and then the gasping breath and 
upturned eye announced the last moment. 
The tohtuiya now bending close to the dying 
man's ear, roared out " Kai kotahi ki te ao ! 
Kia kotahi ki te ao ! Kia kotahi ki te po ! " 
The poor savage was now, as I believe, past 
hearing, and gasping his last. "Kai kotahi 
ki te ao ! " shouted the devil priest again in 
his ear, and shaking his shoulder roughly 
with his hand " Kia kotalii ki te ao ! Kia 
kotahi ki te po ! Then giving a significant 
look to the surrounding hundreds of natives, 
a roar of musketry burst forth. Kai kotahi ki 
te ao ! Thus in a din like pandemonium, 
guns firing, women screaming, and the ac- 
cursed tohunga shouting in his ear, died 
" Lizard Skin/' as good a fighting man as 


ever worshipped force or trusted in the spear. 
His death on the whole was thought happy, 
for his last words were full of good omen : 
" How sweet is man's flesh." 

Next morning the body had disappeared. 
This was contrary to ordinary custom, but 
in accordance with the request of the old 
warrior. No one, even of his own tribe, knows 
where his body is concealed, but the two men 
who carried it off in the night. All I know 
is that it lies in a cave, with the spear and 
tomahawk beside it. 

The two old wives were hanging by the 
neck from a scaffold at a short distance, which 
had been made to place potatoes on out of the 
reach of rats. The shrivelled old creatures 
were quite dead. I was for a moment forget- 
ful of the " correct " thing, and called to an 
old chief, who was near, to cut them down. 
He said, in answer to my hurried call, "by- 
and-bye -; it is too soon yet ; they might re- 
cover" " Oh," said I, at once recalled to my 
sense of propriety, " I thought they had been 
hanging all night," and thus escaped the great 
risk of being thought a mere meddling pakeha. 
I now perceived the old chief was employed 
making a stretcher, or kauhoa, to carry the 
bodies on. At a short distance also were five old 


creatures of women, sitting in a row, crying, 
with their eyes fixed on the hanging objects, 
and everything was evidently going on selon 
le regies. I walked on. " E tika ana" said 
I, to myself. " It's all right, I dare say." 

The two young wives had also made a* 
desperate attempt in the night to hang them- 
selves, but had been prevented by two young 
men, who, by some unaccountable accident, 
had come upon them just as they were string- 
ing themselves up, and who, seeing that they 
were not actually "ordered for execution," 
by great exertion, and with the assistance of 
several female relations, who they called to 
their assistance, prevented them from killing 
themselves out of respect for their old lord. 
Perhaps it was to revenge themselves for this 
meddling interference that these two young 
women married the two young men before the 
year was out, and in consequence of which, 
and as a matter of course, they were robbed 
by the tribe of everything they had in the 
world, (which was not much,) except their 
arms. They also had to fight some half 
dozen duels each with spears, in which, how- 
ever, no one was killed, and no more blood 
drawn than could be well spared. All this 
they went through with commendable resig- 


nation ; and so, due respect having been paid to 
the memory of the old chief, and the appro- 
priators of his widows duly punished according 
to law, further proceedings were stayed, and 
everything went on comfortably. And so the 
world goes round. 



Ix the afternoon I went home musing on 
what I had heard and seen. " Surely," 
thought I, "if one half of the world does 
not know how the other half live, neither do 
they know how they die." 

Some days after this a deputation arrived 
to deliver up my old friend's mere. It 
was a weapon of great mana, and was 
delivered with some little ceremony. I per- 
ceive now I have wTitten this word mana 
several times, and think I may as well explain 
what it means. I think this the more necessary, 
as the word has been bandied about a good 
deal of late years, and meanings often at- 
tached to it by Europeans which are incorrect, 
but which the natives sometimes accept be- 
cause it suits their purpose. This same word 
mana has several different meanings, and the 


difference between these diverse meanings is 
sometimes very great, and sometimes only a 
mere shade of meaning, though one very 
necessary to observe ; and it is, therefore, 
quite impossible to find any one single word 
in English, or in any other language that I 
have any acquaintance with, which will give 
the meaning of mana. And, moreover, 
though I myself do know all the meanings 
and different shades of meaning, properly be- 
longing to the word, I find a great difficulty 
in explaining them ; but as I have begun, the 
thing must be done. It will also be a tough 
word disposed of to my hand, when I come 
to write my Maori dictionary, in a hundred 
volumes, which, if I begin soon, I hope to 
have finished before the Maori is a dead 

Now then for mana. Virtus, prestigg, 
authority, good fortune, influence, sanctity, 
luck, are all words which, under certain con- 
ditions, give something near the meaning of 
mana, though not one of them give it ex- 
actly ; but before I am done, the reader shall 
have a reasonable notion (for a pakeha) of 
what it is. 

Mana sometimes means a more than 
natural virtue or power attaching to some 


person or thing, different from and indepen- 
dent of the ordinary natural conditions of 
either, and capable of either increase or 
diminution, both from known and unknown 
causes The mana of a priest or tohitnya is 
proved by the truth of his predictions, as well 
as the success of his incantations, which same 
incantations, performed l>y another parson of 
inferior mana, would have no effect. Conse- 
quently, this description of mana is a virtue, 
or more than natural or ordinary condition 
attaching to the priest himself, and which he 
may become possessed of and also lose with- 
out any volition of his own. When 

"Apollo from his shrine, 
No longer could divine, 
The hollosv steep of Delphos sadly leaving/' 

Then the oracle had lost its -many. 

Then there is the doctors' mana. The 
Maori doctors in the old times did not deal 
much in " simples," but they administered 
large doses of mana. Now when most of a 
doctor's patients recovered, his mana was sup- 
posed to be in full feather ; but if, as will 
happen sometimes to the best practitioners, a 
number of patients should slip tlnough his 



fingers seriatim, then his mana was suspected 
to be getting weak, and he would not be 
liable to be " knocked up " as frequently as 

Mana in another sense is the accompany - 
ment of power, but not the power itself ; nor 
is it even in this sense exactly "authority," 
according to the strict meaning of that word, 
though it comes very near it. This is the 
chief's mana. Let him lose the power, and 
the mana is gone ; but mind you do not 
translate mana as power ; that won't do : 
they are two different things entirely. Of this 
nature also is the mana of a tribe ; but this is 
not considered to be the supernatural kind 
of mana. 

Then conies the mana of a warrior. Un- 
interrupted success in war proves it. It has a 
slight touch of the supernatural, but not much. 
Good fortune comes near the meaning, but is 
just a little too weak. The warrior's mana is 
just a little something more than bare good 
fortune ; a severe defeat would shake it 
terribly ; two or three in succession would 
show that it was gone : but before leaving 
him, some supernaturally ominous occurrence 
might be expected to take place, such as are said 


to have happened before the deaths of Julius 
Csesar, Marcus Antonius, or Brutus. Let 
not any one smile at my, even in the most 
distant way, comparing the old Maori war- 
riors with these illustrious Romans, for if 
they do, I shall answer that some of the old 
Maori Ton were thought as much of in their 
world, as any Greek or Roman of old was in 
his ; and, moreover, that it is my private 
opinion, that if the best of them could only 
have met my friend " Lizard Skin," in his 
best days, and would take oft' his armour and 
fight fair, that the aforesaid " Lizard Skin " 
would have tickled him to his heart's content 
with the point of his spear. 

A fortress often assailed but never taken 
has a m((na, and one of a high description too. 
The name of the fortress becomes a jK'jwha, a 
war boast or motto, and a war cry of en- 
couragement or defiance, like the slogan of the 
ancient Highlanders in Scotland. 

A spear, a club, or a in ere, may have a 
mana, which in most cases means that it is a 
lucky weapon which good fortune attends, if 
the bearer minds what he is about ; but some 
weapons of the old times had a stronger 
mana than this, like the mana of the enchanted 



weapons we read of in old romances or fairy 
tales. Let any one who likes give an English 
word for this kind of mana. I have done 
with it. 

I had once a tame pig, which, before heavy 
rain, would always cut extraordinary capers 
and squeak like mad. Every pakeha said he 
was " weather-wise ; " but all the Maori said 
it was a "pooka wliai mana," a pig possessed 
of mana ; it had more than natural powers 
and could foretell rain. 

If ever this talk about the good old times 
be printed and published, and every one buy 
it, and read it, and quote it, and believe every 
word in it, as they ought, seeing that every 
word is true, then it will be a pitka puka 
ivhai mana, a book of mana ; and I shall have 
a high opinion of the good sense and good 
taste of the New Zealand public. 

When the law of England is the law of 
New Zealand, and the Queen's writ will run, 
then both the Queen and the law will have 
great mana; but I don't think either will 
ever happen, and so neither \vill have any 
mana of consequence. 

If the reader has not some faint notion of 
mana by this time, I can't help it ; I can't do 


any better for him. T must confess I have 
not pleased myself. Any European language 
can be translated easily enough into any 
other ; but to translate Maori into English is 
much harder to do than is supposed by those 
who do it every day with ease, but who do 
not know their own language or any other 
but Maori perfectly. 

'1 am always blowing up " Young New 
Zealand," and calling them "reading, riting. 
rethmatiking " vagabonds, who will never 
equal their fathers ; but 1 mean it all for 
their own good (poor things !) like a father 
scolding his children. But one does get 
vexed sometimes. Their grandfathers, if they 
had no backs, had at least good legs, but the 
grandsons can't walk a day's journey to save 
their lives ; fltei/ must ride. The other day 
I saw a young chap on a good horse ; he had 
ci black hat and polished Wellingtons ; his hat 
was cocked knowingly to one side ; he was 
jogging along, with one hand jingling the 
money in his pocket ; and may 1 never see 
another war dance, if the hardened villain 
was not whistling " Pop goes the weasel ! " 
What will all this end in ? 

Mv only hope is in a handv wav (to o-ive 

vi' / t/ \ O 


them their due) which they have with a 
tupara; and this is why I don't think the law 
will have much mana here in my time, I 
mean the pakeha law ; for to say the worst of 
them, they are not yet so far demoralised as 
to stand any nonsense of that kind, which is a 
comfort to think of. T am a loyal subject to 
Queen Victoria, but I am also a member of a 
Maori tribe ; and I hope I may never see this 
country so enslaved and tamed that a single 
rascally policeman, with nothing but a bit of 
paper in his hand, can come and take a 
rangatira away from the middle of his 

and have him hanged for something of no 
consequence at all, except that it is against 
the law. What would old " Lizard Skin " 
say to it ? His grandson certainly is now a 
magistrate, and if anything is stolen from a 
pakeha, he will get it back, if he can, and 
Avon't stick to it, because he gets a salary in 
lieu thereof; but he has told me certain 
matters in confidence, and which I therefore 
cannot disclose. I can only hint there was 
something said about the law, and driving the 
pakeha into the sea. 

I must not trust myself to write on these 
matters. T get so confused, I feel just as if 


I was two different persons at the same time. 
Sometimes I find myself thinking on the 
Maori side, and then just afterwards 
wondering if "we" can lick the Maori, and 
set the law upon its legs, which is the only 
way to do it. I therefore hope the reader 
will make allowance for any little apparent 
inconsistency in my ideas, as T really cannot 
help it. 

I belong to both parties, and I don't care a 
straw which wins ; but I am sure we shall 
have fisfhtiner. Men iintxt fio-ht ; or else 

o o o 

what are they made for ? Twenty years 
ago, when 1 heard military men talking of 
" marching through New Zealand with fifty 
men," I was called a fool because 1 said they 
could not do it with five hundred. Now I 
am also thought foolish by civilians, because 
1 say we can conquer New Zealand with our 
present available means, if AVC set the right 
way about it, (which we won't). So hurrah 
again for the Maori ! We shall drive the 
pakeha into the sea, and scud the law 
after them! If we can do it, we are right ; 
and if the pakeha beat us, f/n>>/ will be right 
too. God save the Queen ! 

So now, my Maori tribe, and also mv 


pakeha countrymen, I shall conclude this 
book with good advice ; and be sure you take 
notice ; it is given to both parties. It is a 
sentence from the last speech of old " Lizard 
Skin." It is to you both. " Be brave, that 
you may live." 


G L S S A R Y. 


.A r y h'M Li terally, from whence ? Often \ised as a negative 
aniwer to an enquiry, in which case the words 
mean that the thing enquired for is not, or in 
fact is nowhere. 

PA<;K .",. 

Mann As the meaning of this word is explained in the 
course of the narrative, it is only necessary to 
say that in the sense in which it is used here, it 
means dominion or authority. 

Titinji A dirge, or sung of lamentation for the dead. It 
was the custom for the mourners, when .singing 
the t'tii'/i, to cut themselves severely on the face, 
breast, and arms, with sharp flints and shells, in 
token of their grief. This custom is still 
practised, though in a mitigated form. In 
past times, the mourners cut themselves dread- 
fully, and covered themselves with Mood from 
head to feet. See a description of a t>ni</i 
further on. 

r.VGK 4. 

l\>kvhn An Englishman ; a foreigner. 


PAGE 13. 

Tupara A double gun ; an article, in the old times, valued 
by the natives above all other earthly riches. 

PAGE 14. 

llaliwHja A hahunga was a funeral ceremony, at which 
the natives usually assembled in great numbers, 
and during which " baked meats " were disposed 
of with far less economy than Hamlet gives us 
to suppose was observed " in Denmark." 

Kainya A native town, or village : their princijud head 


llaere mai ! &c. Sufficiently explained as the native call 
of welcome. It is literally an invitation to 

PAGE 10. 

Titttta A low, worthless, and, above all, a poor, fellow a 
" nobody." 

A pakefta tntua A mean poor European. 

E aha 1e prti ( What is the good (or use) of him ? Said 
in contempt. 

PAGE 22. 

Rangatira A chief, a gentleman, a warrior. Hnngatira 
paktha A foreigner .who is a gentleman (not a 
tiitirn, or nobody, a* described above), a rich 

Tanmja Goods ; property. 



Mere iwnamu A native weapon made of a rare green 
stone, and much valued by the natives. 

PAGE 28. 

Taniii'hd A sea monster : more fully described further on. 
Utit Revenge, or satisfaction ; also payment. 

PAGE 32. 

Tiiio tanyata A "good man," in the language of the 
prize-ring ; a warrior ; or literally, a very, or per- 
fect man. 

PAGE 43. 
Ttnui A war party ; or war expedition. 

PAGE 58. 

Tenn koutou ; or Tenam ko kontoit The Maori form of 
salutation, equivalent to our " How do you do ?" 


Xn ! Na ! mute rawa ! Tliis is the battle cry by which a 
warrior proclaims, exultingly and tauntingly, the 
death of one of the enemy. 

PAGE 78. 

Torere, An unfathomable cave, or pit, in the rocky moun- 
tains, where the bones of the dead, after remain- 
ing a certain time in the first burying place, are 
removed to and thrown in, and so finally disposed 

PAGE 102. 
Euhn mau What's that to you. 

Jacky Poto. Short Jack ; or Stumpy Jack. 


PAGE 167. 

Tit nymihu. This is a muster, or review, made to ascer- 
tain the numbers and condition of a native force ; 
generally made before the starting of an expe- 
dition. It is, also, often held as a military 
spectacle, or exhibition, of the force of a tribe 
when they happen to be visited by strangers of 
importance : the war dance is gone through on 
these occasions, and speeches declaratory of war, 
or welcome, as the case may be, made to the 
visitors. The " review of the Taniwha," 
witnessed by the Ngati Kuri, was possibly a 
herd of sea lions, or sea elephants ; animals 
scarcely ever seen on the coast of that part of 
New Zealand, and, therefore, from their strange 
and hideous appearance, at once set down as an 
army of Taniwha. One man only was, at the 
defeat of the Ngati Kuri, on Motiti, rescued 
to tell the tale. 

PAGE 108. 

Bare Motiti. The island of Motiti is often called " Motiti 
wahiekore," as descriptive of the want of timber, 
or bareness of the island. A more fiercely 
contested battle, perhaps, was never fought than 
that on Motiti, in which the Ngati Kuri were 

PAGE 190. 

Ki <(>i te ni'ttaik-1 I have the m-ttaika. The first mail 
killed in a battle was called the nwtnika. To 
kill the m/ttttika, or first man, was counted a 
very high honor, and the moat extraordinary 
exertions were made to obtain it. The writer 
once saw a young warn or, when rushing with 


his tribe agaiust the enemy, rendered almost 
frantic by perceiving that another section of 
the tribe would, in spite of all his effoi-ts, be 
engaged first, and gain the honor of killing the 
mataika. In this emergency he, as he rushed 
on, cut down with a furious blow of his toma- 
hawk, a sapling which stood in his way, and 
gave the ciy which claims the mataiht. After the 
battle the circumstances of this question in 
Maori chivalry having been fully considered by 
the elder warriors, it was decided that the 
sapling tree should, in this case, be held to be 
the time mataika, and that the young man who 
cut it down should always claim, without ques- 
tion, to have killed, or as the natives say, 
" caught," the mataika of that battle. 

PAOE 19-5. 
T'Kt A warrior of preeminant courage ; a hero. 

PAGE 219. 

Kin Kotahi ki te ao ! Kin kotahi ki te }x> I A close trans- 
lation would not give the meaning to the 
English reader. By these words the dying j)er- 
son is conjured to cling to life, but as they are 
never spoken until the person to whom they are 
addressed is actually expiring, they seemed to me 
to contain a horrid mockery, though to the 
native they no doubt apjxjar the promptings of 
an affectionate and anxious solicitude. They 
are also supi>osed to contain a certain mystical 


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