My [Maori] New Zealand: Hemp, Fashion, Cannabalism, & More
Part of the East [ed note: by "east" Cook means "west"] Coast of this Country was first discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642, and by him called New Zeland; he, however, never landed upon it; probably he was discouraged from it by the Natives killing 3 or 4 of his People at the first and only place he Anchor’d at. This country, which before now was thought to be a part of the imaginary Southern Continent, consists of 2 large Islands, divided from each other by a Strait or Passage of 4 or 5 Leagues broad. They are situated between the Latitude of 34 and 48 degrees South, and between the Longitude of 181 and 194 degrees West from the Meridian of Greenwich. The situation of few parts of the world are better determin’d than these Islands are, being settled by some hundreds of Observations of the Sun and Moon, and one of the Transit of Mercury made by Mr. Green, who was sent out by the Royal Society to observe the Transit of Venus.
The Northermost of these Islands, as I have before observed, is called by the Natives Aeheinomouwe and the Southermost Tovy Poenammu. The former name, we were well assured, comprehends the whole of the Northern Island; but we were not so well satisfied with the latter whether it comprehended the whole of the Southern Islands or only a part of it. This last, according to the Natives of Queen Charlotte’s Sound, ought to consist of 2 Islands, one of which at least we were to have sail’d round in a few days; but this was not verify’d by our own Observations. I am inclinable to think that they know’d no more of this land than what came within the Limits of their sight. The Chart which I have drawn will best point out the figure and Extent of these Islands, the situation of the Bays and Harbours they contain, and the lesser Islands lay about them.
And now I have mentioned the Chart, I shall point out such places as are drawn with sufficient accuracy to be depended upon and such as are not, beginning at Cape Pallisser and proceed round Aeheinomouwe by the East Cape, etc. The Coast between these 2 Capes I believe to be laid down pretty accurate, both in its figure and the Course and distance from point to point; the opportunities I had and the methods I made use on to obtain these requisites were such as could hardly admit of an Error. From the East Cape to Cape Maria Van Diemen, altho’ it cannot be perfectly true, yet it is without any very Material error; some few places, however, must be excepted, and these are very Doubtfull, and are not only here, but in every other part of the Chart pointed out by a Pricked or broken line. From Cape Maria Van Diemen up as high as the Latitude of 36 degrees 15 minutes we seldom were nearer the Shore than from 5 to 8 Leagues, and therefore the line of the Sea Coast may in some places be erroneous. From the above Latitude to nearly the Length of Entry Island we run along and near the shore all the way, and no circumstance occurd that made me liable to commit any Material error. Excepting Cape Teerawhitte, we never came near the Shore between Entry Island and Cape Pallisser, and therefore this part of the coast may be found to differ something from the truth; in Short, I believe that this Island will never be found to differ Materially from the figure I have given it, and that the Coast Affords few or no Harbours but what are either taken notice of in this Journal, or in some Measure pointed out in the Chart; but I cannot say so much for Tovy Poenammu. The Season of the Year and Circumstance of the Voyage would not permit me to spend so much time about this Island as I had done at the other, and the blowing weather we frequently met with made it both dangerous and difficult to keep upon the Coast. However, I shall point out the places that may be Erroneous in this as I have done in the other. From Queen Charlotte’s sound to Cape Campbell, and as far to the South-West as the Latitude 43 degrees, will be found to be pretty Accurate; between this Latitude and the Latitude 44 degrees 20 minutes the coast is very Doubtfully laid down, a part of which we hardly, if at all, saw. From this last mentioned Latitude to Cape Saunders we were generally at too great a distance to be Particular, and the weather at the same time was unfavourable. The Coast, as it is laid down from Cape Saunders to Cape South, and even to Cape West, is no doubt in many places very erroneous, as we hardly were ever able to keep near the Shore, and were sometimes blown off altogether. From the West Cape down to Cape Farewell, and even to Queen Charlotte’s sound, will in most places be found to differ not much from the truth. [ed. note: It only took Cook six-and-a-half months to draft the above "chart."]
Mention is likewise made in the Chart of the appearance or aspect of the face of the Country. With respect to Tovy Poenammu, it is for the most part very Mountainous, and to all appearance a barren Country. The people in Queen Charlotte’s sound–those that came off to us from under the Snowy Mountain, and the five we saw to the South-West of Cape Saunders–were all the inhabitants, or Signs of inhabitants, we saw upon the whole Island; but most part of the Sea Coast of Aeheinomouwe, except the South-West side, is well inhabited; and although it is a hilly, Mountainous Country, yet the very Hills and Mountains are many of them cover’d with wood, and the Soil of the plains and Valleys appear’d to be very rich and fertile, and such as we had an opportunity to examine we found to be so, and not very much incumber’d with woods.
It was the Opinion of every body on board that all sorts of European grain, fruit, Plants, etc., would thrive here; in short, was this Country settled by an industrious people they would very soon be supplied not only with the necessaries, but many of the Luxuries, of Life. The Sea, Bays, and Rivers abound with a great Variety of Excellent Fish, the most of them unknown in England, besides Lobsters, which were allowed by every one to be the best they ever had eat. Oysters and many other sorts of shell fish all Excellent in their kind. Sea and Water Fowls of all sorts are, however, in no great plenty; those known in Europe are Ducks, Shags, Gannets, and Gulls, all of which were Eat by us, and found exceeding good; indeed, hardly anything came Amiss to us that could be Eat by Man. Land fowl are likewise in no great plenty, and all of them, except Quails, are, I believe, unknown in Europe; these are exactly like those we have in England. The Country is certainly destitute of all sorts of beasts, either wild or tame, except dogs and Rats; the former are tame, and lived with the people, who breed and bring them up for no other purpose than to Eat, and rats are so scarce that not only I, but many others in the Ship, never see one. Altho’ we have seen some few Seals, and once a Sea Lion upon this Coast, yet I believe they are not only very scarce,but seldom or ever come ashore; for if they did the Natives would certainly find out some Method of Killing them, the Skins of which they no doubt would preserve for Cloathing, as well as the Skins of Dogs and birds, the only Skins we ever saw among them. But they must sometimes get Whales, because many of the Patta Pattoas are made of the bones of some such fish, and an Ornament they wear at their breast (on which they set great Value), which are supposed to be made of the Tooth of a Whale; and yet we know of no method or instrument they have to kill these Animals.
In the woods are plenty of Excellent Timber, fit for all purposes except Ships’ Masts; and perhaps upon a Close Examination some might be found not improper for that purpose. There grows spontainously everywhere a kind of very broad-bladed grass, like flags of the Nature of Hemp, of which might be made the very best of Cordage and Canvas, etc. There are 2 sorts, one finer than the other; of these the Natives make Cloth, rope, Lines, netts, etc. Iron Ore is undoubtedly to be found here, particularly about Mercury Bays, where we found great quantities of Iron sand; however, we met with no Ore of any Sort, neither did we ever see any sort of Metal with the Natives. We met with some stones at Admiralty Bay that appear’d to be Mineral in some degree, but Dr. Solander was of Opinion that they contain’d no Sort of Metal. The white stone we saw near the South Cape and some other parts to the Southward, which I took to be a kind of Marble, such as I had seen on one of the Hills I was upon in Mercury Bay, Mr. Banks–I afterwards found–was of Opinion that they were Mineral to the highest degree; he is certainly a much better Judge of these things than I am, and therefore I might be mistaken in my opinion, which was only founded on what I had before seen not only in this Country, but in other parts where I have been; and at the same time I must observe we were not less than 6 or 8 Leagues from the Land, and nearer it was not possible for us at that time to come without running the Ship into Apparent Danger. However, I am no Judge how far Mineral can be distinguished as such; certain it is that in Southern parts of this Country there are whole Mountains of Nothing Else but stone, some of which, no doubt, may be found to contain Metal.
Should it ever become an object of settling this Country, the best place for the first fixing of a Colony would be either in the River Thames or the Bay of Islands; for at either of these places they would have the advantage of a good Harbour, and by means of the former an Easy Communication would be had, and settlements might be extended into the inland parts of the Country. For a very little trouble and Expence small Vessels might be built in the River proper for the Navigation thereof. It is too much for me to assert how little water a Vessel ought to draw to Navigate this River, even so far up as I was in the Boat; this depends intirely upon the Depth of Water that is upon the bar or flat that lay before the narrow part of the River, which I had not an opportunity of making myself acquainted with, but I am of Opinion that a Vessel that draws not above 10 or 12 feet may do it with Ease. So far as I have been able to Judge of the Genius of these people it does not appear to me to be at all difficult for Strangers to form a settlement in this Country; they seem to be too much divided among themselves to unite in opposing, by which means, and kind and Gentle usage, the Colonists would be able to form strong parties among them.
The [Maori] Natives of this Country are a Strong, rawboned, well made, Active People, rather above than under the common size, especially the Men; they are of a very dark brown colour, with black hair, thin black beards, and white teeth, and such as do not disfigure their faces by tattowing, etc., have in general very good features. The Men generally were their Hair long, Coomb’d up, and tied upon the Crown of their Heads; some of the women were it long and loose upon their Shoulders, old women especially; others again were it crop’d short. Their coombs are made some of bones, and others of Wood; they sometimes Wear them as an Ornament stuck upright in their Hair. They seem to enjoy a good state of Health, and many of them live to a good old Age. Many of the old and some of the Middle aged Men have their faces mark’d or tattow’d with black, and some few we have seen who have had their buttocks, thighs, and other parts of their bodies marked, but this is less common. The figures they mostly use are spirals, drawn and connected together with great nicety and judgement. They are so exact in the application of these Figures that no difference can be found between the one side of the face and the other, if the whole is marked, for some have only one side, and some a little on both sides; hardly any but the old Men have the whole tattow’d. From this I conclude that it takes up some time, perhaps Years, to finish the Operation, which all Who have begun may not have perseverance enough to go through, as the manner in which it must be done must certainly cause intollerable pain, and may be the reason why so few are Marked at all–at least I know no other. The Women inlay the Colour of Black under the skins of their lips, and both sexes paint their faces and bodies at times more or less with red Oker, mixed with fish Oil.
Their common Cloathing are very much like square Thrumb’d Matts, that are made of rope Yarns, to lay at the doors or passages into houses to clean ones shoes upon. These they tie round their necks, the Thrumb’d side out, and are generally large enough to cover the body as low as the knee; they are made with very little Preparation of the broad Grass plant before mentioned. Beside the Thrumb’d Matts, as I call them, they have other much finer cloathing, made of the same plant after it is bleached and prepared in such a Manner that it is as white and almost as soft as flax, but much stronger. Of this they make pieces of cloth about 5 feet long and 4 broad; these are wove some pieces close and others very open; the former are as stout as the strongest sail cloth, and not unlike it, and yet it is all work’d or made by hand with no other Instrument than a Needle or Bodkin. To one end of every piece is generally work’d a very neat border of different colours of 4 or 6 inches broad, and they very often Trim them with pieces of Dog Skin or birds’ feathers. These pieces of Cloth they wear as they do the other, tying one End round their Necks with a piece of string, to one end of which is fixed a Needle or Bodkin made of Bone, by means of which they can easily fasten, or put the string through any part of the Cloth; they sometimes wear pieces of this kind of Cloth round their Middles, as well as over their Shoulders. But this is not common, especially with the Men, who hardly ever wear anything round their Middles, observing no sort of Decency in that respect; neither is it at all uncommon for them to go quite Naked without any one thing about them besides a belt round their waists, to which is generally fastened a small string, which they tye round the prepuse; in this manner I have seen hundreds of them come off to and on board the Ship, but they generally had their proper Cloathing in the boat along with them to put on if it rain’d, etc. The Women, on the other hand, always wear something round their Middle; generally a short, thrumbd Matt, which reaches as low as their Knees. Sometimes, indeed, I have seen them with only a Bunch of grass or plants before, tyed on with a piece of fine platting made of sweet-scented grass; they likewise wear a piece of cloth over their Shoulders as the Men do; this is generally of the Thrum kind. I hardly ever saw a Woman wear a piece of fine cloth. One day at Talago I saw a strong proof that the Women never appear naked, at least before strangers. Some of us hapned to land upon a small Island where several of them were Naked in the Water, gathering of Lobsters and shell fish; as soon as they saw us some of them hid themselves among the Rocks, and the rest remain’d in the Sea until they had made themselves Aprons of the Sea Weed; and even then, when they came out to us, they shew’d Manifest signs of Shame, and those who had no method of hiding their nakedness would by no means appear before us.
The Women have all very soft Voices, and may by that alone be known from the Men. The Making of cloth and all other Domestick work is, I believe, wholy done by them, and the more Labourious work, such as building Boats, Houses, Tilling the ground, etc., by the Men. Both men and women wear ornaments at their Ears and about their Necks; these are made of stone, bone, Shells, etc., and are variously shaped; and some I have seen wear human Teeth and finger Nails, and I think we were told that they did belong to their deceased friends. The Men, when they are dressed, generally wear 2 or 3 long white feathers stuck upright in their Hair, and at Queen Charlotte’s sound many, both men and women, wore Round Caps made of black feathers.
The old men are much respected by the younger, who seem to be govern’d and directed by them on most Occasions. We at first thought that they were united under one head or Chief, whose Name is Teeratu; we first heard of him in Poverty Bay, and he was own’d as Chief by every one we met with from Cape Kidnappers to the Northward and Westward as far as the Bay of Plenty, which is a great extent of territories for an Indian Prince. When we were upon the East Coast they always pointed inland to the Westward for the place of his residence, which I believe to be in the Bay of Plenty, and that those Hippas or fortified Towns are Barrier Towns either for or against him; but most likely the former, and if so, may be the utmost Extent of his Dominions to the Westwards, for at Mercury bay they did not own him as their Prince, nor no where else either to the Westward or Southward, or any other single person; for at whatever place we put in at, or whatever people we spoke with upon the Coast, they generally told us that those that were at a little distance from them were their Enemies; from which it appear’d to me that they were very much divided into Parties, which make war one with another, and all their Actions and behaviour towards us tended to prove that they are a brave, open, war-like people, and void of Treachery.
Whenever we were Visited by any number of them that had never heard or seen anything of us before they generally came off in the largest Canoe they had, some of which will carry 60, 80, or 100 people. They always brought their best Cloaths along with them, which they put on as soon as they came near the Ship. In each Canoe were generally an old Man, in some 2 or 3; these used always to direct the others, were better Cloathed, and generally carried a Halbard or Battle Axe in their hands, or some such like thing that distinguished them from the others. As soon as they came within about a Stone’s throw of the Ship they would there lay, and call out, “Haromoi harenta a patoo ago!” that is, “Come here, come ashore with us, and we will kill you with our patoo patoos!” and at the same time would shake them at us. At times they would dance the War dance, and other times they would trade with and talk to us, and Answer such Questions as were put to them with all the Calmness imaginable, and then again begin the War Dance, shaking their Paddles, Patoo patoos, etc., and make strange contortions at the same time. As soon as they had worked themselves up to a proper pitch they would begin to attack us with Stones and darts, and oblige us, wether we would or no, to fire upon them. Musquetry they never regarded unless they felt the Effect; but great Guns they did, because they threw stones farther than they could Comprehend. After they found that our Arms were so much superior to theirs, and that we took no advantage of that superiority, and a little time given them to reflect upon it, they ever after were our very good friends; and we never had an instance of their attempting to surprize or cut off any of our people when they were ashore; opportunity for so doing they must have had at one time or another.
It is hard to account for what we have every where been told, of their Eating their Enemies killed in Battle, which they most Certainly do; Circumstances enough we have seen to Convince us of the Truth of this. Tupia, who holds this Custom in great aversion, hath very often Argued with them against it, but they have always as streniously supported it, and never would own that it was wrong. It is reasonable to suppose that men with whom this custom is found, seldom, if ever, give Quarter to those they overcome in battle; and if so, they must fight desperately to the very last. A strong proof of this supposition we had from the People of Queen Charlotte’s sound, who told us, but a few days before we Arrived that they had kill’d and Eat a whole boat’s crew. Surely a single boat’s crew, or at least a part of them, when they found themselves beset and overpowered by numbers would have surrender’d themselves prisoners was such a thing practised among them. The heads of these unfortunate people they preserved as Trophies; 4 or 5 of them they brought off to shew to us, one of which Mr. Banks bought, or rather forced them to sell, for they parted with it with the utmost reluctancy, and afterwards would not so much as let us see one more for any thing we could offer them.
In the Article of Food these People have no great Variety; Fern roots, Dogs, Fish, and wild fowl is their Chief diet, for Cocos, Yams, and Sweet Potatoes is not Cultivated every where. They dress their Victuals in the same Manner as the people in the South Sea Islands; that is, dogs and Large fish they bake in a hole in the ground, and small fish, birds, and Shell fish, etc., they broil on the fire. Fern roots they likewise heat over the fire, then beat them out flat upon a stone with a wooden Mallet; after this they are fit for Eating, in the doing of which they suck out the Moist and Glutinous part, and Spit out the Fibrous parts. These ferns are much like, if not the same as, the mountain ferns in England.
They catch fish with Seans, Hooks and line, but more commonly with hooped netts very ingeniously made; in the middle of these they tie the bait, such as Sea Ears, fish Gutts, etc., then sink the Nett to the bottom with a stone; after it lays there a little time they haul it Gently up, and hardly ever without fish, and very often a large quantity. All their netts are made of the broad Grass plant before mentioned; generally with no other preparation than by Splitting the blade of the plant into threads. Their fish hooks are made of Crooked pieces of Wood, bones, and Shells.
WAR CANOE OF NEW ZEALAND
The people shew great ingenuity and good workmanship in the building and framing their boats or Canoes. They are long and Narrow, and shaped very much like a New England Whale boat. Their large Canoes are, I believe, built wholy for war, and will carry from 40 to 80 or 100 Men with their Arms, etc. I shall give the Dimensions of one which I measured that lay ashore at Tolago. Length 68 1/2 feet, breadth 5 feet, and Depths 3 1/2, the bottom sharp, inclining to a wedge, and was made of 3 pieces hollow’d out to about 2 Inches or an Inch and a half thick, and well fastned together with strong platting. Each side consisted of one Plank only, which was 63 feet long and 10 or 12 Inches broad, and about 1 1/4 Inch thick, and these were well fitted and lashed to the bottom part. There were a number of Thwarts laid a Cross and Lashed to each Gunwale as a strengthening to the boat. The head Ornament projected 5 or 6 feet without the body of the Boat, and was 4 feet high; the Stern Ornament was 14 feet high, about 2 feet broad, and about 1 1/2 inch thick; it was fixed upon the Stern of the Canoe like the Stern post of a Ship upon her Keel. The Ornaments of both head and Stern and the 2 side boards were of Carved Work, and, in my opinion, neither ill design’d nor executed. All their Canoes are built after this plan, and few are less than 20 feet long. Some of the small ones we have seen with Outriggers, but this is not Common. In their War Canoes they generally have a quantity of Birds’ feathers hung in Strings, and tied about the Head and stern as Additional Ornament. They are as various in the heads of their Canoes as we are in those of our Shipping; but what is most Common is an odd Design’d Figure of a man, with as ugly a face as can be conceived, a very large Tongue sticking out of his Mouth, and Large white Eyes made of the Shells of Sea Ears. Their paddles are small, light, and neatly made; they hardly ever make use of sails, at least that we saw, and those they have are but ill contrived, being generally a piece of netting spread between 2 poles, which serve for both Masts and Yards.
The Houses of these People are better calculated for a Cold than a Hot Climate; they are built low, and in the form of an oblong square. The framing is of wood or small sticks, and the sides and Covering of thatch made of long Grass. The door is generally at one end, and no bigger than to admit of a man to Creep in and out; just within the door is the fire place, and over the door, or on one side, is a small hole to let out the Smoke. These houses are 20 or 30 feet long, others not above half as long; this depends upon the largeness of the Family they are to contain, for I believe few familys are without such a House as these, altho’ they do not always live in them, especially in the summer season, when many of them live dispers’d up and down in little Temporary Hutts, that are not sufficient to shelter them from the weather.
The Tools which they work with in building their Canoes, Houses, etc., are adzes or Axes, some made of a hard black stone, and others of green Talk. They have Chiszels made of the same, but these are more commonly made of Human Bones. In working small work and carving I believe they use mostly peices of Jasper, breaking small pieces from a large Lump they have for that purpose; as soon as the small peice is blunted they throw it away and take another. To till or turn up the ground they have wooden spades (if I may so call them), made like stout pickets, with a piece of wood tied a Cross near the lower end, to put the foot upon to force them into the Ground. These Green Talk Axes that are whole and good they set much Value upon, and never would part with them for anything we could offer. I offer’d one day for one, One of the best Axes I had in the Ship, besides a number of Other things, but nothing would induce the owner to part with it; from this I infer’d that good ones were scarce among them.
Diversions and Musical instruments they have but few; the latter Consists of 2 or 3 sorts of Trumpets and a small Pipe or Whistle, and the former in singing and Dancing. Their songs are Harmonious enough, but very doleful to a European ear. In most of their dances they appear like mad men, Jumping and Stamping with their feet, making strange Contorsions with every part of the body, and a hideous noise at the same time; and if they happen to be in their Canoes they flourish with great Agility their Paddles, Pattoo Pattoos, various ways, in the doing of which, if there are ever so many boats and People, they all keep time and Motion together to a surprizing degree. It was in this manner that they work themselves to a proper Pitch of Courage before they used to attack us; and it was only from their after behaviour that we could tell whether they were in jest or in Earnest when they gave these Heivas, as they call them, of their own accord, especially at our first coming into a place. Their signs of Friendship is the waving the hand or a piece of Cloth, etc.
We were never able to learn with any degree of certainty in what manner they bury their dead; we were generally told that they put them in the ground; if so it must be in some secret or by place, for we never saw the least signs of a burying place in the whole Country. (ed. note: Maoris kept the locations of their burial lands secret. First, they buried a dead body; then they exhumed the corpse, cleaned the bones, and hid them in a cave or break in the rocks. It was important to hide bones, as people made weapons out of them.) Their Custom of mourning for a friend or relation is by cutting and Scarifying their bodys, particularly their Arms and breasts, in such a manner that the Scars remain indelible, and, I believe, have some signification such as to shew how near related the deceased was to them.
[Maori and Tahiti Lingo]
With respect to religion, I believe these people trouble themselves very little about it; they, however, believe that there is one Supream God, whom they call Tawney, (ed. note: Maoris did not pray, so this was probably the “creator” of animal and vegetables) and likewise a number of other inferior deities; but whether or no they worship or Pray to either one or the other we know not with any degree of certainty. It is reasonable to suppose that they do, and I believe it; yet I never saw the least Action or thing among them that tended to prove it. They have the same Notions of the Creation of the World, Mankind, etc., as the people of the South Sea Islands have; indeed, many of their notions and Customs are the very same. But nothing is so great a proof of their all having had one Source as their Language, which differ but in a very few words the one from the other, as will appear from the following specimens, which I had from Mr. Banks, who understands their Language as well, or better than, any one on board. [Ed. note: See Banks's linguistic codification below.]
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