Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
Whilst the Revs. J. H. Bumby and J. Hobbs, of the Wesleyan mission, were en route from the Bay of Islands to Kapiti late in 1838, they called in at [?] Hicks Bay [Te Araroa: the whole of the indentation between page 79 the Awatere River and Matakaoa Point is referred to by some early visitors as Hicks Bay]. A letter to the London Wesleyan Missions Committee (20/8/1839) states:
“Here, we had painful evidence of the disasters and desolation that war, coupled with unbridled passions, brings in its train. There had, at one time, been thousands of natives living in the neighbourhood. The Ngapuhi, having obtained firearms, came upon them in force whilst they dwelt in fancied security. A large pa on one of the hills overlooking the bay was besieged. Many were captured, killed and eaten. The remainder were reduced to such straits that families exchanged children in order not to eat their own offspring. In all, about 3,000 persons were cut off. The residue of the tribe, about 300, are now under the charge of native teachers of the Episcopal mission.”
What became of the Venus and her crew has never been satisfactorily cleared up. The captain of the schooner Mercury reported in Sydney that he had learned, whilst off the coasts of New Zealand, that the vessel had been taken by the natives, that her crew had been eaten, and that the hull had been burned.