Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
When the Adventure (the sister ship to the Resolution) paid her double call at Tolaga Bay in November, 1773. William Bayly (in his journal) stated: “The natives behaved very friendly, bringing everything they had to sell except the greenstone Ads's and the greenstone Images hanging to their necks. Those they did not care to part with on any acc., notwithstanding that they were covetous of Iron to excess. We bought quantities of fine flax of them and great numbers of Ahooes, or mantles, made of fine flax exceedingly neat….”
None of the early convict vessels is known to have called in at the East Coast on her return journey from Botany Bay (N.S.W.) to England. Whalers began to appear off the northeast coast of the North Island in the early 1790's. If an anonymous account which appeared in the Weekly News (Auckland) in April, 1937, is authentic, a whaling brig named Mermaid made the East Coast in October, 1796. She is stated to have spent five days between Cape Palliser and East Cape, and to have sailed from the Bay of Islands on 14 March, 1797, “loaded to the scuppers.” No account of the voyage has been found elsewhere.
According to the narrator, the Mermaid, on her outward journey from England, fell in with the Bristol-owned barque England's Glory on 26 February, 1796, in the South Atlantic. The England's Glory had, it was stated, obtained 900 barrels of sperm oil and 7,800 sealskins off the coasts of New Zealand. It was further claimed that the Mermaid exchanged a boat-steerer suffering from scurvy for an Indian of New Zealand. The Maori was described as having a good knowledge not only of the coasts of New Zealand but also of the English language. It was even suggested that he had acted as a pilot for Cook during the visit of the Endeavour!
Mahia, 1831; Poverty Bay, 1832; Tolaga Bay, 1832–34.
John Rutherford (1816–26).
Erroneously supposed to have been held captive in or near Poverty Bay.
J. Williams Harris.
Settled in Poverly Bay as a trader in May, 1831.
Capt. G. E. Read.
Poverty Bay's most enterprising pioneer, 1852–78.
“I saw a native of the East Cape aboard the U.S. frigate Macedonian at New York,” he adds, “previous to her sailing [in 1838] on her South Seas exploring and surveying expedition. This man stated himself to be a superior chief in his own country, but I knew his master and the tribe to which he was a slave. He begged I would be silent on the subject, as he did not wish to be lowered in the estimation of the white man.”
In 1810 the whaler Mary (Captain W. Simmons) foundered off “East Cape.” Her master and crew were saved by the timely appearance of the Inspector (Captain Walker). It would, of course, not be safe to assume that the mishap occurred off Cook's East Cape. In the old whaling days, the whole of the coast between Cape Rodney and East Cape was known as “the East Cape.” Polack, on the other hand, was acquainted with every feature of the coast between the Bay of Islands and Hawke's Bay, and his reference to East Cape would be specific.