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Tauranga and Rotorua.
TAURANGA STATION AND HARBOUR--THE PAPA--TONGA CHIEF AND FIJIANS---INLAND JOURNEY TO ROTORUA---METHOD OF OBTAINING FIRE---THE KAREAO---NIGHT TRAVELLING---AWAHO---FULL CANOE---ARRIVAL AT MOKOIA---GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF ROTORUA---BOILING SPRINGS---CRUEL USE OF THEM---ACCIDENTS---SINGULAR WARM BATHS---OINEMUTU SPRINGS--NATURAL HOT HOUSES---SULPHUR---SOIL---THE LAKES---THE MISSION HOUSE AT MOKOIA---OINEMUTU PA AND PEOPLE---WAR CANOES---CARVINGS---THE PATAKA---LAUGHING PROPENSITIES AND CRYING PRACTICES---SPRINGS NEAR THE PA---ROTOITI LAKE---HILL PAS---THE MORERE ---PATEKO---PROVISION STORES---BRIMSTONE VALLEY -- MORE HOT SPRINGS--WHITE ISLAND---A SUNDAY ROUND THE LAKE---REPULSE AT THE KAUAKAUA---MISSIONARY SUCCESS AT EAST CAPE---UNDEFINED BOUNDARIES---RETURN TO TAURANGA.
In the affairs of Tauranga I felt particularly interested, having been engaged in 1835-6 in the formation of the Mission settlement there. When we left the station, all Missionary work was suspended, in consequence of the breaking out of the Rotorua war, and the fall of Maketu and the Tumu. After many months' interruption, affairs began to resume their former tranquil aspect, and I now (1838) found every appearance of promising advancement. There were three comfortable rush dwellings for the Missionaries, and a new rush chapel, with a good portion of ground enclosed around them. Besides which, increased encroachments appeared to have been made on the
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mental and moral wilderness. The natives in the school had made gratifying progress, and the hearts of the Missionaries had been cheered by the hopefully advancing condition of a few. With old Tahuhu, of whom mention has already been made, 1 I was much pleased; and Peka, the petty chief of the Papa, gave me a cordial greeting, as one "who lighted the first Mission fire at Tauranga."
The harbours of Tauranga and Katikati may be regarded as parts of one inland sea, which is divided off from the main by a narrow indented island, fifteen or sixteen miles in length. One extremity of which island is a long flat, forming the western head of the Tauranga entrance; the other extremity, a much longer flat, forming one of the heads of Katikati. There is often a dangerous sea between Tauranga and Katikati, occasioned by the conflux of rivers and meeting of tides; but the harbour of Tauranga itself is pretty quiet and secure. The eastern head of the Tauranga entrance is formed by Maunganui, (great mountain,) a steep and solitary hill, rising abruptly from a level tongue of land, and serving as a landmark to vessels off the coast. The entrance itself is narrow, and the harbour shoaly. The general appearance of the country, as you enter, is that of an uninteresting flat; and we found the land around the Papa so extremely destitute of wood, that our supply of fuel and fencing was usually brought by canoes from other parts, and purchased from the natives.
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THE TONGA CHIEF.
Te Papa was the name of a pa, of which only the trenches and embankments remained, situated on a point of land at the entrance of the Kopurererua river. A spot not far from the old pa was selected as most eligible for a Mission settlement, being within convenient reach by boat of the two principal pas, --Otumoetai, said to contain the hundred natives, and Maungatapu, three hundred.
At Tauranga I learned that the report of the rebuilding of Maketu was perfectly correct, and moreover, that the Tumu was to be rebuilt also; but it was not true that Messrs. Chapman and Morgan had been detained; for we found that they, with their wives, had been allowed peaceably to proceed on to their station at Rotorua.
While on my visit to the Papa, the "Jess," Capt. Dillon, was at anchor in the harbour, having on board an interesting Tonga chief, named Tubou Toutai, and nine natives of the Fiji Islands. Tubou spent more than a day with us on shore. He was a man of dignified person, and intelligent countenance; and in manners very superior to the New Zealanders, behaving even with politeness at the dinner table. The name of Tubou is known as connected with one of the first families in Tonga. Mr. Marriner, the hero of "Marriner's Tonga Islands," lived with Tubou's father. When with us, his dress was exceedingly simple, being only a tapa cloth, slightly figured, fastened round his loins, and hanging down so as nearly to cover his feet; from the loins upward, being entirely uncovered. His head-dress consisted of an immense globular mass of frizzled hair, with a
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long white beaten cloth, as thin as muslin, tastily fastened as a band above the forehead, so as to leave its fringed scarf-like ends floating behind in the wind; or, the same cloth covering the globe of hair, so as to appear like a large turban. Braids of his own hair were hanging from the right ear over the shoulder: and he carried with him a well formed war club, of a heavy mahogany-coloured wood. When Capt. Dillon met with Tubou, he was staying with another Tongese at the Fiji Islands, and expressing a wish to visit other countries, he was taken on board the Jess, the other accompanying him as a servant. They had left the Fiji Islands, and were out at sea, when they felt in with a canoe manned by Fijians, --eight men and a little boy, --who had been driven out to sea by contrary winds and were in distress. These were the people now on board the Jess, and whom I went with the Papa Missionaries to visit. We found them almost entirely destitute of covering, and suffering greatly from change of climate. The hair of most of their heads was dyed red with some native preparation, and was more or less woolly. The poor shivering fellows by way of returning thanks for some blankets which we took them, all clapped their hands in a solemn and regular manner, finishing off their singular thanksgiving with a low murmuring noise. They afterwards gave us a specimen of their national singing, which certainly had more of melody in it than the ordinary singing of the New Zealanders. They commenced in a low tone; the young man who seemed to lead the air striking his thighs with both hands, the rest clapping their hands to beat time;
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ROAD TO ROTORUA.
and two of the party giving, occasionally, a loud burst of really good bass. A spherical vessel of brown ware, with a bottle neck, and having the upper part raised into a pattern and glazed, was shewn us as a sample of their pottery.
Hearing of an opportunity of returning by sea to the Bay of Islands in about a fortnight, I determined to employ the interval in a visit to Rotorua; and accordingly, on the 13th of February, I left Tauranga about noon for an inland journey.
The long, straight, level road, commenced in 1835, was now much overgrown, but still, for a New Zealand road, we found it comparatively easy travelling. When this road was clearing, and had extended to a distance of nearly four miles, the natives bitterly complained of its tedious straightness. The winding of the native paths through fern or brushwood adds greatly to the length of a journey; yet the natives declared that our road made their knees ache, the legs being much relieved by constantly turning about.
An insignificant rise or two, and a short swamp, were the only breaks in the level for several miles. We then came suddenly upon a wild broken country, whence we descended into a deep wooded dell, with a stream of water running through it: where we took up our quarters for the night. All the trees and broken branches having been saturated by the rain, which poured down while I was waiting at Tauranga, we had some difficulty ia procuring fire; as all my lucifers were expended.
In dry weather the obtaining of fire is an easy process to a native. A piece of suitable wood being
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MODE OF OBTAINING FIRE.
procured, it is held firmly down; while, with the pointed end of a smaller piece, rubbed briskly backwards and forwards, a groove is made in it. The wood dust caused by the friction is then gathered up to one end of the groove, and a sharp rubbing with the pointed stick is repeated till smoke is seen. A careful blowing will now raise sufficient fire to set light to tinder or dry litter. Thus the people, in journeying through a wood, are at no loss to light their pipes, or to obtain a fire for cooking. They commonly carry tinder-boxes with them, some of which are curiously carved; and sometimes they will make use of a large dry fungus, the inner substance of which will retain a mouldering fire for many hours.
Passing, the next morning early, through thick fern and underwood, I was soon wetted to the skin with the heavy dew. In rather more than an hour we entered the wood, through which lies the main part of the road to Rotorua, and at the first cleared place we stopped for breakfast. The path through the wood was much entangled by the Kareao, (ripogonum parviflorum,) well known to every traveller in an uncleared New Zealand forest. Its long flexible stems, hanging from tree to tree, and crossing in all directions, perpetually puts you in jeopardy, either of a trip up by the heels, or of being caught by the neck. In the wood we observed remarkably fine rata and tanekaha trees.
A few steep ascents and descents brought us, towards evening, to the Mangorewa river, which runs over a solid bed of flat stone, the sides in some places being as straight and regular as if artificially cut.
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The banks of the river are a solid stone pavement, irregularly broken by cracks and fissures, and in some places worn into circular cavities, which were filled with loose stones and water. It was now coming on dusk; but I resolved to keep on, though it was impossible to ascertain from the natives how far we were from Rotorua. More than once I had caught them describing a road as longer or shorter, to suit their own convenience or inclination. It grew at length quite dark, save here and there the glimmer of a glow-worm, or a pale line of light from some solitary piece of phosphorescent stick. One of the sticks which Paukena picked up and carried before us, served for a while, as a faint guide to our path; but when we could no longer discern any track, and were in danger of falling into unseen holes, we thought it best to put up with such night quarters as we could find; where, wrapped in blankets by the side of our fire, I found the refreshment of a sound night's rest.
We were on the move soon after five the next morning, as I hoped to breakfast with my esteemed friend Mr. Chapman. Exceedingly weary with our rough journey, I longed somewhat impatiently to be out of the wood; but, to my great disappointment, when we did leave it, we exchanged it for a road that was ten times more fatiguing, and which made me heartily wish for wood travelling again. Thus often in life do we impatiently long to be delivered from present troubles. Anything would seem better than the state we are in. Yet when the change comes, and deliverance is granted, we find ourselves worse off than before. Happy they who patiently make
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ARRIVAL AT MOKOIA.
the best of every trial, thankfully acknowledging the hand of the Lord, and leaning upon him for support in it. Besides the exhaustion of beating through entangled fern of an immense height, we had the benefit of a thorough soaking from the heavy dew. Happily our trouble was not of long duration: we passed through another short wood, and then entered upon open country, with an excellent road and the Rotorua lake before us. We soon reached Awaho, one of the pas on the margin of the lake.
At the pa we found only one canoe for the accommodation of our party; and that canoe was instantly filled almost to sinking by some of the people, who had flocked round us, and were anxious to get a piece of tobacco for pulling us across. It was with some difficulty they were convinced of the unreasonableness of filling the canoe before their passengers got into it. Some were persuaded to come out, but I was still obliged to urge others to leave, and when at length we did push off from the pa, the canoe was so low in the water, that the natives on shore gave us a comfortable parting assurance that we must inevitably be upset. In about an hour however, we safely reached Mokoia, the Island on which the Missionaries were living.
I had often desired to see Rotorua, having heard much of its hot springs, and of the genuine native character of the people. Mr. Chapman had kindly furnished me, in writing, with much interesting information relative to the district. Of which information I shall avail myself before passing on to the more immediate results of personal observation. Some
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of the particulars communicated were fully verified during my stay at the place: the rest refer to a greater extent of country than I was able to visit.
Rotorua, the district so called from the name of the lake, is an almost perfect amphitheatre, with a lake, of about seven miles across, covering its area. Mokoia Island, about two and a half miles in circumference, and of majestic height, rears its head proudly from near the centre of the lake, and gives finish to the landscape from whatever point it may be viewed. The waters of the lake are wrought into so dangerous a sea by a gale of wind, that it is unsafe for any but the largest sized row-boats to venture out during its continuance, except along the weather shore. The ground round the lake is generally low, rising gradually, and terminating in mountainous hills: whose tops alone, with few exceptions, are now covered with wood; though there are indications that the whole country, down to the margin of the lake, was once wooded. In a southerly direction, and rising high over the nearest hills are mountains of picturesque form, which are occasionally tipped with snow. The varying light and shade in showery weather, when the sun is partially shining, produce an indescribable effect, while volumes of steam, rising from the hot springs, especially in calm weather, strangely obscure the beauty of the scenery.
On the Oinemutu side of the lake, the boiling springs are very numerous, varying in character and size; but all, in warm and damp seasons, sending forth volumes of steam, which, from the larger caldrons, rise up in calm weather to a great height,
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THE BOILING SPRINGS
Some of the springs throw up a body of water, causing a continued running stream; others only boil over in warm still weather; while it may be observed that a very cold dry southerly wind will so lower the temperature of some of them, that you may bear to keep your hand in the water, which also sinks down eighteen inches below the boiling-over mark, and becomes quiescent. Others are always boiling: some with so much violence that the water throws itself out for several feet. All are more or less acted on by the weather; but the great change which takes place in some, with change of temperature, is a phenomenon worthy the enquiry of the scientific. Most of the springs are, to a great degree, sulphurous, or strongly impregnated with sulphuric acid. Some leave an aluminous deposit; and others are so powerfully alkaline, that flannel may be washed in them, with a slight appearance of lather, without soap, One large spring is so exceedingly soft, that the hands may, with great comfort, be washed in it, using very little soap. The air around the springs is strongly infected with an unpleasant smell, especially when the water is most sulphurous. Slight risings of bituminous matter may sometimes be faintly perceived, expanding with prismatic colours to the size of a crown piece, and then disappearing; but the water is never so covered as to give a distinct bituminous character to the pools. There are some pits, or caldrons where pipe clay in a muddy state is always boiling up; forming numerous rings, which, appearing and disappearing, running into each other, and always in motion, produce a very singular effect.
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The natives say that the boiling springs in days of yore were made instruments of cruelty. Enemies were thrown alive into them; and slaves who had become useless by sickness, and of whom their masters were tired, were thus horribly got rid of. A recent instance of this inhuman exercise of arbitrary power, came within the range of Mr. Chapman's own observation. To save all further trouble concerning the bodies of such slaves as died a natural death, they used to throw them into these terrific pits, some of which are full twenty feet deep.
Children are sometimes scalded to death, by falling into the boiling water: and sad accidents are of common occurrence among the people, through the earth giving way beneath them, and letting them down into the boiling mud below. If they sink up to the middle in hot mud it is seldom they recover; but cases, out of the reach of native hope, have been effectually cured by constantly dredging with flour. So evident and striking were these cures, that, during the war, the natives, finding flour in the store of an Englishman, in a pa which they took and plundered, many carried their portion home, for curing scalds; and it was afterwards used for that purpose.
Some of the springs are of such a temperature as to form a perpetual warm bath. In these, men, women, and children crowd together, regardless of all decency, chatting as they sit almost up to their chins in warm water; smoking their pipes, and taking their food as if they were on dry land. Mr. Chapman has seen them, in bitter cold and rainy seasons, take off and roll up their garments, to go and sit in the
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SPRINGS AT THE PA.
bath till they acquired sufficient warmth; when they would come out, wrap their single garments (perhaps half wet) about them, and sit down, or pursue their journey, without using the slightest precautionary measures. Yet it is a rare occurrence for them to take cold; although the water is generally warmer than would be quite comfortable to a European warm-bather. The people will often sit in these warm baths three or four hours at a time; and occasionally, in cold days of idleness, they will remain the whole day in the water, having food brought to them, and fire to light their pipes.
Oinemutu, the largest of the Rotorua pas, is situated on a peninsular projection, which may be said to be the very seat of the principal boiling springs. The houses of the natives stand on ground which is almost everywhere warm, and in some places hot: and the springs at their doors, or just at hand, serve as ever-boiling pots, in which they easily cook their food. Indian corn has been seen, placed with care in a calabash, quietly stewing in a still corner: and potatoes or kumaras are readily let into or drawn out of the boiling water, by means of baskets constructed for that purpose. From some of the springs there flow small running streams, of steaming, scalding water, which make travelling awkward. Slight scalds are too frequent to be noticed, and it is surprising that the children at all escape severe and even fatal scaldings.
If you go into the houses erected on warm spots, after the doors and windows, or apertures so called, have been shut, you are instantly reminded of the
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highest temperature of English hot-houses. This warmth is both grateful and useful to the natives, particularly in the winter season. Early in the spring, they place their kumaras in baskets, in these natural hot-houses, leaving them for a month or six weeks to grow out. The weather by that time being sufficiently warm to allow of their being planted out in prepared beds, the plants are then put into the ground in rows, and sheltered from the winds and morning frosts, by broom twigs, about three feet long, placed upright, so as to form a screen along the rows. In removing the kumaras, great care is taken not to injure the young shoots. By this method they gain a month or six weeks in the growth of the plant, the losing of which time would so shorten its summer advantages, as frequently to prevent its coming to perfection. The kumaras grown in the neighbourhood of the hot springs are very fine in quality and flavour. They seem to grow best in a soil almost entirely composed of pumice-stone sand, no kind of manure being used, except early turning in the grass and weeds of the previous year's fallow.
Many remains are to be seen of the hot springs of former days, all indicating a great extent of subterranean fire, or of plutonic action. Earthquakes now and then occur. The native account of them is, that "The high fences shake, and move from one side to the other, for a short time, with a strong tremulous motion."
The specimens of sulphur chrystals from some of the springs, are exquisitely beautiful; but so delicate, that their beauty is not easily preserved: as, with
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the greatest care in removing, you cannot avoid breaking many of the finest chrystals; and, in a measure, they all lose their vivid glow of freshness.
Upon the island in the middle of the lake there are two springs; one only rather warm, the other just too hot to allow of the hand being held in it. From the bed of the hotter spring of the two, you may turn up small smooth stones, which are completely bronzed, being apparently covered with a thin evanescent coat of sulphuret of iron.
The soil at Rotorua, and for many miles around, is generally of a pumice character, the appearance of barrenness increasing as you recede from the woods, till the land assumes the aspect of the completest sterility. The first Missionary house, which was destroyed during the protracted war, stood upon a spot that might have been cleared centuries ago. On clearing away for a foundation, the pumice below the first stratum was found of so light a nature that a long iron rod could, with perfect ease, be thrust into it, without meeting with any obstruction. Mr. Chapman, on digging down to form a rua, or potato store, in a spot where probably the hand of man had never disturbed the soil, found a thin stratum of cockle-shells, exactly such as are found in great quantities in the lake. Speaking with the natives on the subject, they wanted to persuade him that a hole had been dug and the shells placed there; but when shewn that they were perfect bivalves, the upper and under shells preserved in their respective pairs, and that the soil had not the slightest appearance of ever having been disturbed, they then said,
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"It must have been done when the world was overturned."
Rotorua is only one of the many lakes by which this part of the northern Island is characterized. At Taupo, three good days' journey from Rotorua, is a noble lake, lying near the foot of the celebrated Tongariro mountain. The Taupo lake is about thirty miles across, with beautifully wooded country around it. In another direction is a large lake called Waikare. Besides these, there are ten lakes in more immediate connexion with Rotorua, viz., Rotoiti, Rotoehu, Rotoma, Rotomahana, Rotokakahi, another Rotoiti, Ta-rawera, Okataina, Tikitapu, and Kareka. Rotoiti joins Rotorua, receiving its surplus waters through a connecting channel which forms a narrow and rapid stream. Rotoiti is about fifteen miles long, and from one to two miles broad, beautifully wooded on one side. It empties itself over a succession of falls into a stream which, in conjunction with two or three lesser streams, forms the Maketu river. A singular rocky Island in Rotoiti, and the boiling springs which abound near this lake, are worthy of particular notice. Rotoehu is still more beautiful than Rotoiti, forming an elbow of about three miles long, and a mile and a quarter broad, with many small, deep, richly wooded bays. Rotoma and Rotomahana are said greatly to resemble Rotoehu. Rotomahana, (warm lake,) has hot water, and hot sulphurous springs. Rotokakahi is a small lake, finely wooded. The second Rotoiti is also a small but lovely lake, in the neighbourhood of Matata. Tarawera, which is at the foot of a mountain, is of an irregular form, and about three
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MOKOIA MISSION HOUSE.
miles long, with rich wood scenery. Okataina forms a rude triangle of about two miles in length, and half a mile wide, wooded in parts. Tikitapu and Kareka are the two smallest of the lakes.
The Rotorua Mission station was first commenced at the Koutu, a place on the borders of the lake, not very far from Oinemutu. So complete had been the work of destruction in the war, that when I was there, the only memorials of a once promising beginning were a patch of green English clover, and a white stone chimney, standing, like Lot's wife in the wilderness, a pillar of remembrance. Of a nourishing garden which had been Mr. Chapman's special care, not a vestige remained.
At the temporary station on the Island Mokoia, which had proved a secure place of refuge in the midst of surrounding alarms, the Missionaries had one of the handsomest and most substantial native-built houses I ever saw. Its external appearance had nothing imposing about it; but internally, the spacious rooms, and compact ornamented partitions, far exceeded our Tauranga houses. On the broad Totara slabs which formed the strength of the partitions, the adze had been so skilfully used, as almost to do the work of a plane. Between these slabs there was--first, upon the frame-work, a coat of reeds; the elegant reed, (arundo Australis,) being much used for lining work, --and over them a covering of small laths, in portions alternately stained black and red; the white grass, or kiekie, (Freycinesia Banksii,) with which the laths were tied together, being crossed into a pattern. A fancy staining, on the broad rafters,
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CONVENIENT WARM BATH.
in forms by no means inelegant, gave the interior of the roof the appearance of an ornamented ceiling.
The common dwelling houses of the natives are low, and destitute of all ornament, having an aperture just large enough for you to crawl in. But, sometimes, the better sort of chiefs have large houses, low, but well built, with deep verandahs, and decorated with reeding and carved work.
The Mission house on Mokoia stood in a commanding situation, sheltered at the back by the high land, crowned with basaltic rock, which forms the centre of the island. Just below the settlement there was a hot spring, affording at all times a supply of boiling water, without an expenditure of fuel, so that for clothes washing, pig scalding, house cleaning, and other purposes requiring hot water, you could always have as many pails full as you pleased to send down for. The natives had ingeniously divided the pool of water into two compartments, connected with each other by a narrow channel, and each having an outlet to the lake. It was so contrived that they could always keep the larger compartment as a constant warm bath, regulating its temperature by letting in hot or cold water, as required. I only saw one old woman comfortably sitting in it; but Mr. Chapman informed me that he had seen it crammed full, with about fifty naked natives, men, women and children, thus keeping up their animal warmth on a cold evening.
With Mr. Chapman and Mr. Morgan I visited the large pa, which was thickly populated. On landing from our boat, we were soon surrounded, and
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I could not but remark the superiority of the people, as to dress and cleanliness, over any that I had seen. The garments they wore, the canoes on the beach, and their neat plantations, all indicated a degree of creditable industry; while, at the same time, there was more of the untamed independence of savage life in their manners, than we had been accustomed to among the Ngapuhis. Indeed, they had rendered themselves, except for fire-arms and ammunition, almost independent of foreigners. I found that they even made their own pipes, and grew their own tobacco. The pipes were cut out of a solid mass of indurated pipe clay, in connexion with the boiling springs, and were so well formed, as to be even a fair model for an English pipe maker. Two varieties of the tobacco plant were growing in the pa. The natives dry the leaves in the sun, and afterwards twist them together, in imitation of negrohead tobacco. Their cooking and bathing in hot or warm water impregnated with sulphur, did not appear to have been in the least prejudicial to their health. I never saw a more plump, healthy, cleanly assemblage of native children in New Zealand: and, compared with the Waikato tribes, they were all well clad. The only detrimental effect of their singular mode of living, appeared in the universal yellowness of their teeth; the natives of other parts having remarkably white teeth.
I was much struck with their war canoes, which were arranged with regularity in a sort of dock-yard, outside the pa; some of them unfinished, but completing for the expected renewal of war. One of the
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canoes measured sixty feet long; another, of a broader and more boat-like build than usual, was six feet six inches in the beam. One day, in crossing the lake, we were accompanied by three or four natives in a small fancy canoe, perfectly finished, in imitation of a war vessel; but as disproportionate in size to the persons who were in it, as Raphael's boat in the cartoon of the draught of fishes: it could only be used on very calm days, and was attended by another canoe, in case of accident.
The high fence of Oinemutu exhibited a variety of hideous figures, as carved tops to the posts. The larger carvings of the New Zealanders are of the rudest cast, and often highly indelicate; but their smaller and more finished pieces of workmanship display much ingenuity. Their carved spear heads, and club handles, their tinder boxes, and boxes for carrying their feathers, the head and stern posts of their canoes, their best paddles, the elaborate work in front of some of their houses, as well as their efforts in a variety of other ways, both in wood and stone, all shew their capabilities.
In the pa, a large elaborately carved pataka, or kumara store, supported on four strong wooden pillars, attracted my attention. The broad boards which formed the upper angle, and most conspicuous part of the verandah of the pataka, were curiously wrought, and surmounted at the angular point by a small uncouth figure. The inner front and small doorway, also abounded in grotesque carvings. We were glad to turn the elevated verandah into a dining room; to get a little clear of the people, while we partook of
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our meal. In doing this, however, we degraded ourselves into the perfect similitude of puppets or mountebanks in a travelling show; the mob of natives below, giving, every now and then, a hearty burst of laughter, at our civilized deviations from native manners. Their minds were so determinately set upon the ridiculous, that we could find no place for the introduction of better things, and really were compelled to laugh with them.
The laughing propensities of the New Zealanders are thus humourously and graphically described by one who visited the Island when we were there:-- "The New Zealanders have well nigh converted one to the doctrine of the Mahomedans, who account laughing a sure criterion of folly. Look at a New Zealander when one will, he laughs; say what one will, he laughs. One would be apt to think them the wittiest and merriest people in the world. Often have I been induced to ask an interpretation of the joke, but there was none. They laugh, in defiance of all order, like ladies or monkeys, just to shew their teeth. While I am writing this, in tumbles a huge dirty fellow, in a greasy blanket, down he squats opposite to me, looks me in the face, and bursts out into a loud guffaw: etiquette requires from me also a grin of acknowledgment; he grins again: another fellow thrusts in his shaggy head at the window, and he laughs: outside, I hear from all quarters the same sound: and, really, I wish myself among the Turks." 2
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AND CRYING PRACTICES.
The same individual gives an equally characteristic description of another, and opposite practice, which may be mentioned here. He says, --"It may seem odd, immediately on the heels of the above, to say that the New Zealanders are always crying; yet it is perfectly true. On almost every occasion of meeting after any lengthened absence, as well as on occasions of mourning, they have their tangi. This does not take place at the moment when it might be supposed that the parties were under the influence of some strong feeling. On the contrary, the most usual course is, first, quietly to despatch all matters of business, and then deliberately to adjourn to some named place, and there compose themselves to their weeping. Frequently, regular invitations are issued. The performers squat together, generally in a circle, and go through a quantity of grief proportioned to the occasion. I know nothing at all approaching to the perfection of acting which these parties exhibit. The tears stream down in gutters, and fall in big round drops from the extremity of the nose, in the fullest exemplification of what school-boys term snivelling; while all, in the most perfect unison, keep up a low moaning, now swelling, now dying away, in most exact cadence. A stranger would suppose them to be in an agony of grief. Indeed, I have heard of some who have been so moved by the spectacle, as themselves to weep in honest earnest. Yet these mourners, at the very time, are criticising one another's mode of weeping, and are sure, after it is over, to have a laugh at any deficiency of style. Now, is it possible to conceive of any thing more absolutely
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artificial? Or, is there any practice in civilized life one iota more so? And yet, theorizing men will persuade themselves that savage life is distinguished, at least, by a happy freedom from the artifices of civilization."
This is perfectly correct. I have known parties to commence a desperate tangi: just at that moment, the opening of the oven happening to be announced, they put in the incongruous parenthesis of a laugh and a gossip, over a smoking hot heap of potatoes, and then returned to renew the piteous cry and rolling tears which they had left unfinished. Their formal acts of tangi on special occasions, are truly theatrical. The old women standing in an eastern attitude of adoration, --the back bowed down almost to form a right angle with the legs, and the hands resting on the knees, --are certainly, with their haggard looks, their well greased skins, their wretched garments, and their melancholy unison, the most admirable and eligible actresses for producing the effect intended.
In the immediate neighbourhood of the boiling springs in the pa, we were obliged to pick our way very carefully, lest the hollow ground on which we were walking should give way beneath us. The principal pools, in which the water boils with tremendous fury, empty themselves into the lake by narrow channels, the course of the scalding current being marked by the steam which rises from it as it runs.
From the pa we proceeded to a valley of hot springs at no great distance. On approaching the unearthly looking spot, extreme caution was required in picking our steps. The strong sulphurous steam, issuing from
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HOT SPRINGS AGAIN.
numerous cracks and holes in the grey incrustation on which we were walking, produced a very unpleasant sensation. On the edges of some of the smaller cracks a white aluminous salt was forming, which we collected for examination. We came at length to several large pools of boiling water terminating in a pond or hot lake, backed by hilly banks, which were sometimes entirely hid by the thick volumes of steam. Through a fissure in the bed of one of the pools the water was bubbling furiously. One of the lads removed a dry branch which was lying over it: the water immediately rushed out with great force, rising in a thick column to the height of three or four feet, and diverging, in lighter streams or jets, to the height of six or seven feet. Another boiling fountain not more than a foot or two in height burst out at intervals. In some places there were holes, from which steam constantly issued; and, though nothing but steam was to be seen, you might hear the water boiling and bubbling at a furious rate beneath. These holes are a singular convenience to the natives, who lay fern top or other litter over them so as to condense the steam, and then place their garments at the top to get rid, by an easy process, of all vermin; as animal life is speedily destroyed by the sulphurous vapour. Beyond, we could see other springs sending up dense columns of steam; but we could not persuade our conductors to venture near them, and we did not think it safe to go alone. On our return we passed several spots where ngawas (boiling springs) had formerly been in active operation, though now exhausted. In all cases, the ground around was covered
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with a grey incrustation, formed of an impure sulphur deposit; and on breaking up the little hollow mounds, which had once been steam vents, we procured some beautiful chrystals of the purest sublimated sulphur. We did not get back to Mokoia till after dark.
It was a delightful morning and the scenery around the lake wearing its loveliest appearance, when we pushed off, with a native boat's crew, for Rotoiti, the lake which is joined to Rotorua by a narrow winding stream. The stream, or strait, first brings you into a small basin, separated from the main lake by two projecting head lands. You then open upon the lake, which, compared with Rotorua, is long and narrow.
We first put in at a pa on the water's edge, the lower part of which belonged to a chief named Weri. The pa, or collection of pas, lay scattered over very irregular ground; the extreme point of the land being formed by a steep conical hill called Motuoha, on the successive shelvings of which the native huts rose one above another with the usual disregard of all order; and two other contiguous steep ascents being in like manner sprinkled over with miserable habitations. Two little boys offered to conduct me up Motuoha, which I ascended with difficulty; and was repaid by a fine view of the lake and country. Descending by another path to the beach, I found several natives repairing their canoes in readiness for Waharoa's expected attack.
I had left Mr. Morgan at the lower pa, where preparations had been making for our dinner. We could nowhere find so convenient a dining room as our own boat, which was lying among some canoes close in
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shore. It requires time to reconcile a European to the filthy associations, which annoy the eye and nose and affect the taste, when he first squats down to take a meal in good native earnest with a groupe of New Zealanders. But time performs wonders; and he who can overcome all squeamishness possesses great advantage as to free communication with the people.
There was a shed close to the place where our boat was moored; and a short distance from the front of the shed, there projected over the water a pole, raised by a strong post in the lake, to an angle of twenty-five or thirty degrees from the level of the water, the outer and higher end of the pole being finished off underneath with an indecent piece of carving. This raised pole, we were informed, was for the exercise of a native sport, and called by the several names of Moari, Kokiri, and Morere. With women and children the morere is a favourite amusement. Some of them good-naturedly gave us an example of the sport. The boys and girls stark-naked, and the women with only a rough garment round the loins, run up the pole as readily as monkeys. Having reached the head, which is just flattened to form a standing place, they make a momentary stay, and then jump down into the water, from a height of fourteen or fifteen feet; swimming directly back and re-ascending the pole for another jump. Each follows the other pretty briskly, and in this way they keep up the exercise till they are tired of it.
When we again took to our oars, we put across to view a singular island called Pateko, lying off Motuoha point. The island is high and rocky; but a good
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part of it, on the side facing Motuoha, covered with verdure. Its steep sides had been perforated by the people to form ruas or caves for the storing of kumaras or potatoes. The mouths of some of the ruas were open, others closed by square wooden doors. A few natives were living on the rock as guardians of the stores. On one side, just above a native hovel, there was a cavity larger than the rest, having a semicircular range of smaller ruas just above it, and appearing at a distance like the ruined entrance of an old monastery. After lying to for a sketch of the island, we rowed round it, and found the back side nothing but perpendicular rock without perforations. The wata has already been mentioned as one form of provision store, 3 as also the pataka. 4 In districts where the ground is pretty constantly saturated with moisture, the wata is adopted as the preferable mode, the potato or kumara being liable to rot in moist underground ruas; but in drier districts, or where the soil is less porous, the rua is common. There are two forms of rua. One form is a quadrangular hole, about three feet deep, dug in the ground, with the frame-work of a sloping roof erected over it, and covered in with strong thatch; the entrance being by a small door in the front. The other form is a cave dug in the earth, and entered by a hole from the top, or sometimes, as at Pateko, from the side. At the time of our residence at Tauranga, the site of the old pa at the Papa was so full of underground ruas, mostly overgrown, that it was hardly safe to walk over it.
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More than once a poor calf from our herd had to be extricated from the pit into which it had fallen.
Leaving Pateko, and turning the head of the boat towards Rotorua, we put ashore, about half-way to the entrance of Rotoiti, to visit some hot springs of which we had heard. The boat we sent home to Mokoia, with instructions where it was to meet us at night; and one native accompanied us as a guide.
Ascending a steep and rugged path, we turned short to the left, and perceived beneath us a most dismal looking brimstone valley. In the midst of the valley were boiling pools, the water in the largest pool being perfectly black, with a black boiling column thrown up from the centre to the height of six or seven feet; while steaming sulphurous streams issued from the pools, winding their way through the desolate and horrible-looking place; which superstition might appropriately set down as a by-entrance to the infernal regions. We durst not venture down to take a near view of the springs, as the descent was steep and hazardous; besides, we were wishing to hasten onward to a collection of springs, which might be about a mile further. On our way we saw several spots where springs had formerly been in action, but were now either entirely spent or only slightly steaming in the sterile valleys of brimstone, to tell that some prodigious unseen engine was still at work.
As we approached the main springs, a singular and striking prospect opened before us. In a valley, surrounded by hills more or less covered with verdure, you could perceive a level patch, of some extent and of a greyish white colour, with a dense cloud of steam
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constantly upon it. On descending we first came to a number of small mounds from holes in which the steam was issuing as if from a chimney. Our attention was rivetted by the splendid interior of one of these miniature caves. Its overhanging sides were covered by a most brilliant coat of pendant sulphur chrystals, some of them about two inches in length. The chrystals, of recent formation, and still warm, were of an indescribably lovely colour; but so delicate in texture, and so firmly attached to the solid mass of volcanic matter under which they had condensed, that, with the means we possessed, it was impossible to remove any portion without utterly destroying its exquisite beauty. We were able, however, by the help of some natives who met us here, to procure from other mounds some beautiful specimens, in a good state of preservation. There was one steam-vent on the edge of which we could stand with safety and hear the tremendous bubbling as of a great boiler immediately under our feet. The principal pools were large, being in part quiescent, and in part furiously in motion. Crossing to the other side of these pools, we came to a roaring cavern, whose terrific aspect and thick pestiferous vapour compelled us to keep at a respectful distance.
We were now under the necessity of hastening homeward, as the evening was drawing on apace. Crossing a few rivulets and swamps, we reached the place where the boat was to meet us. After we had waited half an hour in the dark, listening to catch the plash of oars upon the silent lake, the lads arrived, and an hour's, pull brought us to our snug quarters at Mokoia.
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While Rotorua and some of the other lakes may be regarded as peculiarly the district of ngawas, there are hot springs also in other parts of the Island. At the mouth of a creek about five miles south of Mahurangi, in the Thames, "the main spring gushes out from a high cliff, about two feet from its base; and successive jets, apparently from the same source, bubble up through the sand, along a line of about a hundred yards, from south to north, all covered at high water. Approaching the springs, the atmosphere is strongly impregnated with sulphur. The natives have recourse to these springs for the cure of different cutaneous disorders with which they are commonly affected. The cliff-spring is always accessible; the others only at low water. When any person wishes to bathe, he digs himself a pool in the sand, sufficiently deep to allow of his lying down, lining it with branches, to prevent the sand from re-filling it. He may then enjoy a comfortable bath, though exposed to the disadvantage of a sudden transition from considerable heat to cold, the general temperature of the water being about one hundred and twenty degrees; and, immediately over the jets, almost too hot for the naked foot." 5
Beyond Taiamai, and about seven miles from the Waimate, there are sulphurous lakes, warm near the margin, with adjoining pools of warm or boiling water. These I once visited. They lie in a district remarkable for its volcanic appearance. There is every indication of an enormous crater, divided into,
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or containing two lesser craters: and we could distinctly trace a broad outline of the history of the spot in the smaller branches, leaves, and catkins of kauri, which were embedded in a sulphur deposit on the edge of one of the lakes. The awful fires of the original volcano must long have been extinct, before the sloping surface of its sides could have been covered with the verdure of a kauri forest; and there must have been subsequently a tremendous re-action, spreading destruction around, and depositing, in the place of forest vegetation, the deadly waters of the lakes, which now occupy the two craters. The springs at this place are resorted to by diseased natives from the Bay of Islands, who bring baskets of provisions with them, and remain on the spot to use the sulphur warm-bath till a cure is effected.
On White Island, in the Bay of Plenty, there is always. a dense cloud of steam resting. The vapours of the ngawas mingle with the smoke of a still unextinguished volcano; and the whole island is said to wear a most forbidding and unearthly aspect. But I have never visited it.
On the only Sunday during my stay at Rotorua I went with Mr, Morgan to visit the natives round the lake. The first place we landed at was Kaikaitahuna, where there is a native-built rush chapel. We collected a hundred and fifty natives in the chapel and many remained outside who would not attend. After addressing them, and having some conversation with the principal men, we pulled over to Awaho; where we soon had a congregation of about a hundred and forty, in the open air, within one of the enclosures of the
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pa. Mr. Morgan addressed them. One of the chiefs, in conversation, pressed very strongly that a Missionary should come and stay among them at the pa, as their own pakeha--(white man); --meaning, that they might have him all to themselves. This is a very common request, arising from the jealousies which exist between one petty tribe and another; so that although there may be no more than forty or fifty persons in the party, they must needs have their own exclusive pakeha. So strong is this feeling, that I have known a party at one end of a place refuse to meet in the same chapel with those of the other end. And when natives have come from a distance to stay over Sunday with the Missionaries, it has been found necessary for them to have separate and distinct kaingas (unfortified collections of houses whether few or many) in which to abide; although willing to meet on common ground for worship. Nothing we could say would satisfy the Awaho people, that they might equally enjoy the benefit of instruction by sharing it in common with the inhabitants of Oinemutu. From Awaho we proceeded to Oinemutu. On landing, a crowd immediately gathered about us; and some gave directions for the bell to be rung. We retired a little way inland to a sheltered spot, and soon had about three hundred natives close round us: thirty or forty more sitting a short distance off. After I had spoken to them, Hamuera, from Tauranga, backed my address by some appropriate remarks of his own.
Mr. Morgan and I had not always experienced so favourable a reception in our visits to the natives;
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as will be seen by an extract from my journal of an earlier date, in reference to a Sunday in the Bay of Islands.
July 12, 1835. -- Put off about half-past seven o'clock A.M. with Mr. Morgan, for Kauakaua. Delightful row, of about two hours, up the Kauakaua river. The village lies a short distance from the landing place, in a country which has every appearance of fertility. At the sound of the native bell, i.e. a hoe, a hundred and thirty natives assembled in the open air; a chair and table having been previously placed for our accommodation. Mr. Morgan addressed them at some length. Was much pleased with their conduct. After a hasty meal, we took to our boat again. Stopped on our return at Pomare's pa, and immediately proceeded to the house in which Mr. Baker held service on the 28th ultimo. In front of the house we found a considerable party of natives sitting; among whom were Kiwikiwi, and a great lady from the Thames, named Urumahia, who formerly lived with Kiwikiwi as his wife. Plenty of food lay on the ground, to welcome Urumahia and the Thames natives. Not far from the front of the house sat a pretty strong party of the Thames people, perched on the edge of a suddenly rising ground; and behind and above them, sat another, and similar party. Mr. Morgan, at first, called to these upper groupes to come down and join with us in worship; but his call was unheeded, and we therefore thought it best first to ascend to them, and afterwards come down again to those below. We ascended; but no sooner did we begin to speak than several of them set up a
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AT THE KAUAKAUA.
native song in concert; and as Mr. Morgan continued speaking, they endeavoured by noise and gesture to put him down. I left Mr. Morgan still trying to get in a word; and went into a house to address four or five Europeans of the pa, who had met for service. While engaged with them I could hear the mob of natives without continuing and increasing their uproar. Mr. Morgan came in before we concluded. He had succeeded in getting a few natives to appoint a meeting at their own place in the pa. When we came out, the mob had dispersed; and we went, with the above-mentioned few, into an enclosure in another part of the pa. As we commenced service in the usual way by singing a hymn, other natives were attracted, some of whom came in to listen, while others stood outside the fence, and frequently interrupted us. One or two, however, were better disposed. Leaving them, we returned to the place where Kiwikiwi and the old lady were sitting, with a small muster of natives, and food in abundance. No sooner did Mr. Morgan begin to speak than he was again interrupted. After a little conversation with one man who was very earnestly opposing, Kiwikiwi was personally addressed. Speaking of the consequences and effects of sin, the final doom of the wicked was alluded to; which Kiwikiwi heard with great indignation, and commanded Mr. Morgan instantly to leave the place, and when there was no disposition shewn to make a move, the angry chief rose, trembling with excitement to the very finger ends, and, seizing hold of a stick, threatened a terrible blow. But my companion was not to be bullied out
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of his position, maintaining his ground till fairly taken by the shoulder and unceremoniously shoved back. It was evidently useless to persevere talking to the man: but that we might not appear as if driven away by his talk, Mr. Morgan went quietly to a pile of food close by, and helped himself to a kumara. This soon brought a native to us, with two small baskets of kumaras and potatoes; a dirty piece of cooked pork being liberally thrown on the top. Declining the pork, we partook of a kumara or two, gave the rest to our natives, and then made a move to go. Kiwikiwi's rage had cooled by this time, and both he and the old lady shook hands with us before we parted.
The numbers we met at Rotorua exceeded those of our congregations at the Waimate and the Bay of Islands; but, in an after journey, staying at Kaitaia, the most northerly station of the Church Missionary Society, I addressed as many as five hundred in the rush chapel there. The largest numbers of which I have heard, as being connected with Missionaries in one place, are in the more recently formed Mission station which embraces the East Cape, and thence along the east coast in a southerly direction. More appears to have been done among the natives there, during the short residence of the Missionaries among them than many years had been able to effect in the older established stations. The following account from the letter of a Missionary, received a few days since, will be read with interest: --"I was much pleased and surprised at the work going on in the neighbourhood of the East Cape, and thence onwards to Turanga.
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AT THE EAST CAPE.
The size and beauty of the chapels; the numbers, including many grey-headed men, who can read; the earnest enquiry after scriptural knowledge, were very gratifying. Especially too, when we consider that in my last trip that way, there was not one who knew how to read; nor a chapel; nor a school. Congregations of from three hundred to a thousand, and twelve hundred, are commonly seen. Schools of from two hundred to seven hundred, and that daily. At one pa, on a week day, I had near seven hundred at school, and their order was, to me, most surprising. The native Teachers have great influence." Hitherto, the district spoken of in the above extract, has been but little under the influence of colonization; and it will be an unspeakable blessing to the natives, if Bible truth, producing its genuine effects upon their hearts and lives, should prevail to counteract those evils which have seemed to threaten their gradual and final extinction as a people.
While I was out with Mr. Morgan at the Rotoiti springs, Mr. Chapman received intelligence from Tauranga respecting the movements of the natives, which hastened my return to the Papa; as it appeared doubtful how long it might be safe to travel between Rotorua and Tauranga.
Mr. Chapman arranged to accompany me on my return. In the mean while we went together to view I a spot which he had fixed on as a permanent locality , for the Mission settlement.
The undefined number of claimants, renders it, in many cases, a matter of great perplexity to know how to satisfy the people from whom you purchase
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land. This our Rotorua friends had already experienced. The larger boundaries of districts, held by distinct tribes, are marked with sufficient precision; but minor boundaries, --affecting the petty tribes into which the larger tribes are sub-divided, --are very indefinite. To give an instance. A very worthy chief named Barnabas, came one day to me at the Waimate, to say that he had thoughts of removing from Otuhere, as the place was about to be sold to Mr. Busby. He complained that Kamera had taken upon himself to part with the land belonging to their tribe, without consulting them: that they did not wish their place to go to Mr. Busby, who had power to bring soldiers among them: that it was not so before blankets and other articles of barter were introduced: the chiefs did not formerly get up and say, "This land all belongs to me." Mr. Clarke had suggested their dividing off the piece which actually belonged to their little party: "But," said Barnabas, "we have no fixed boundaries." On inquiring if it were not the case that the boundaries of land belonging to a whole tribe were distinctly known, while that which appertained to individuals, families, or petty tribes was not so definitely marked, he said--"It is so: the sons of the people to whom the land belongs marry into another tribe, and bring the children resulting from that marriage to sit down on the land. Who then can know what portion of the land belongs to him?" So confusion ensues.
Nothing particular occurred on the journey back to Tauranga, till the evening, as we drew near to the Papa; when our party shewed symptoms of great
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WAITING FOR A PASSAGE HOME.
alarm. By the dim twilight they fancied they could see a large hostile party sitting in the valley to our right; and their minds were not relieved till two Maungatapu natives happened to come from near the spot to meet us. The little cutter "Glatton," by which I was to return to the Bay of Islands, did not come into the harbour till a full week after our arrival from Rotorua.