The Discovery of New Zealand
A. Cook on His Chart
[Journals of Captain James Cook, I, pp. 274-6]
'The Northermost of these Islands, as I have before Observed is call'd by the Natives Aehei no mouwe and the Southermost Tovy Poenammu, the former name we were well assurd comprehended the whole of the Northern Island, but we were not so well satisfied with the latter whether it comprehended the whole of the Southern Island or only a part of it. This last according to the accounts of the Natives of Queen Charlottes Sound ought to consist of two Islands one of which at least we were to have saild round in a few days, but this was not verify[ed] by our own observations. I am inclinable to think that they know'd no more of this land than what came within the limets 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 [that] 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, begining at Cape Pallisser and proceed round Aehei no mouwe by the East Cape &ca. The Coast between these two Capes I believe to be laid down pretty accurate both in its figure and the Course and distance from point to point. The oppertunities I had and the methods I made use on to obtain these requesites were such as could hardly admit of an error; from the East Cape to Cape Maria Vandiemen 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 prick'd or broken line. From Cape Maria Vandiemen up as high as the Latitude of 36° 15' 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 occur'd 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 page 88figure 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 point[ed] 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 Charlottes Sound to Cape Campbel and as far to the S.W. as the Latitude 43° will be found to be pretty accurate, between this Latitude and the Latitude 44° 20' the coast is very doubtfully discribed, a part of which we hardly if att 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 ever were able to keep near the shore and were some times blowen off altogether. From the West Cape down to Cape Fare-well and even to Queen Charlottes Sound will in most places be found to differ not much from the truth.'
B. The Account of Cook's Visit By Te Horeta Taniwha
[White, Ancient History of the Maori, Vol. V, pp. 121-8. The version of these Maori reminiscences printed by White is the longest and the fullest, though the story was first taken down at Lieutenant-Governor Wynyard's direction at Coromandel during the gold-field negotiations with the natives in 1852. White gives the chief's name as Hore-ta-te-Taniwha; perhaps strictly it should be Te Horeta te Taniwha. Heaphy, the gold-field warden, who printed in Chapman's New Zealand Magazine (1862), pp. 4-7, a briefer version, calls him simply Taniwha. He was more familiarly known to the pakeha diggers as 'Old Hooknose'. Scholefield, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, has a short article on his career.
I have omitted White's parenthetical explanatory words where they do not seem called for, and one passage on later European ships in the neighbourhood. It should be noted that he uses the word 'mat' where we should say, more properly, 'cloak'.]
'In the days long past, when I was a very little boy, a vessel came page 89to Whitianga. Our tribe was living there at that time. We did not live there as our permanent home, but were there according to our custom of living for some time on each of our blocks of land, to keep our claim to each, and that our fire might be kept alight on each block, so that it might not be taken from us by some other tribe.1
'We lived at Whitianga, and a vessel came there, and when our old men saw the ship they said it was a tupua, a god,2 and the people on board were strange beings. The ship came to anchor, and the boats pulled on shore. As our old men looked at the manner in which they came on shore, the rowers pulling with their backs to the bows of the boat, the old people said, "Yes, it is so: these people are goblins; their eyes are at the back of their heads; they pull on shore with their backs to the land to which they are going." When these goblins came on shore we (the children and women) took notice of them, but we ran away from them into the forest, and the warriors alone stayed in the presence of those goblins; but, as the goblins stayed some time, and did not do any evil to our braves, we came back one by one, and gazed at them, and we stroked their garments with our hands, and we were pleased with the whiteness of their skins and the blue eyes of some of them.
1 This accounts for the absence of permanent habitations near Cook's anchorage commented upon by him.
2 White supplies the parenthetical gloss, 'some unknown thing'. Tupua is defined in the latest edition of h w Williams's Maori dictionary as (inter alia) 'Goblin, demon, object of terror'; and, as an adjective, 'strange'.
'After the ship had been lying at anchor some time, some of our warriors went on board, and saw many things there. When they came on shore, they gave our people an account of what they had seen. This made many of us desirous to go and see the home of the goblins. I went with the others; but I was a very little fellow in those days, so some of us boys went in the company of the warriors. Some of my playmates were afraid, and stayed on shore. When we got on board the ship we were welcomed by the goblins, whom our warriors answered in our language. We sat on the deck of the ship, where we were looked at by the goblins, who with their hands stroked our mats and the hair of the heads of us children; at the same time they made much gabbling noise in talking, which we thought was questions regarding our mats and the sharks' teeth we wore in our ears, and the hei-tiki we wore suspended on our chests; but as we could not understand them we laughed, and they laughed also. They held some garments up and showed them to us, touching ours at the same time; so we gave our mats for their mats, to which some of our warriors said "Ka pai", which words were repeated by some of the goblins, at which we laughed, and were joined in the laugh by the goblins.
1 Pumice-stone. It was ship's biscuit, or 'bread'.
1 The wahaika, like the mere, was a short striking weapon of the patu class.
2 Te Reinga, a rocky promontory near the North Cape whence departed spirits leapt into the ocean on their path to the underworld; sometimes the abode of the spirits itself.
'The goblin chief took some of his own things and went with them to our old chief, and gave him two handfuls of what we now know were seed-potatoes. At that time we thought they were parareka,2 and we called them by this name, as the things he gave to the old man were not unlike the bulb of the parareka, or like the lower end of that fern, at the part where it holds to the stem of the fern-tree. The old chief took the gift and planted it, and we have partaken of potatoes every year since that time. These things were first planted at a place in the Wairoa called the Hunua, half-way between Drury and the Taupo settlement, east of the entrance of the river Wairoa, opposite the island of Waiheke; and the old chief to whom the potatoes were given was of the Nga-ti-pou tribe, who occupied the Drury district at that time.
'After these parareka had been planted for three years, and there was a good quantity of them, a feast was given, at which some of the potatoes were eaten, and then a general distribution of seed parareka was made amongst the tribes of Waikato and Hauraki.
'The Nga-puhi tribes say they had the potato before any other tribes of New Zealand. This assertion is a fiction: we, the tribes of the Thames, first had potatoes, as we can show that even at this day the potato grows of its own accord in the Hunua district, from the fact that in the days of old the pa at the Hunua was attacked by a war-party, the pa was taken, all the people killed and eaten, their bones were broken and knocked like nails into the posts of the storehouses at their own home, and the place was sacred for a long time, not any one daring to go there, and was quite forsaken for years, but potatoes continued to grow there of their own accord on the banks of the streams, where the soil is carried by the freshes in the creeks, and potatoes are to be obtained there at this day. . . .
1 i.e. the nail.
2 The large horse-shoe fern, Marattia salicina, cultivated for its starchy rhizome, which was eaten.