1807 - Savage, John. Some Account Of New Zealand [Hocken Library facsim., 1966] - Account Of Moyhanger

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  1807 - Savage, John. Some Account Of New Zealand [Hocken Library facsim., 1966] - Account Of Moyhanger
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Moyhanger, the native of New Zealand, whom I brought to England, I have before spoken, in order to shew the affectionate disposition of the natives of this island: I shall now add some account of his conduct upon and subsequently to his departure from his own country.

Our sailing from the bay was, for several days, prevented by adverse winds, after Moyhanger and his friends had taken a formal leave of each other, during which time their visits were several times repeated.

A day or two previously to our departure I had him equipped in European clothing; it was coarse, and such as is usually worn

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by sailors at sea; but however it pleased him and all his kindred: he appeared to assume a sort of superiority over his matted acquaintance, and they eyed him in a manner expressive of their idea of his being highly favoured by the fickle goddess. Moyhanger bore up against the last farewel with much resolution; but as our distance from the land increased, his feelings suffered exceedingly. The sun set beautifully over his native island, and his eye dwelt steadfastly upon it till darkness concealed it from further view. The recollection of scenes of youthful happiness, which he was leaving to traverse an element that affords but little of pleasure or repose, frequently brought the big tear into his eye; but Moyhanger was determined to be a man: he sung his evening song and retired to rest.

For several days following Moyhanger looked anxiously to the westward, the direction in which his native land had disappeared, but he soon recovered his spirits,

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and was not only merry himself but the cause of mirth in others.

During the long and dreary course between New Zealand and Cape Horn, Moyhanger preserved a great degree of cheerfulness--his morning and evening song were never forgotten: he amused himself among the sailors, and frequently exercised his talent for mimicry at their expense.

The distant view of Cape Horn gave him much satisfaction; I believe indeed that he began to apprehend that he had embarked on a world of waters in the literal sense of the word.

When we approached the land, and discovered it covered with snow, he appeared to be a good deal disappointed, and concluded that he had done wrong in leaving a fine fertile country for one that appeared to be sterile in the extreme.

They estimate the value of land by the quantity of potatoes it produces, and as there were no signs of cultivation here,

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Moyhanger was very glad to turn his back upon it, and we proceeded on our way to St. Helena. Many sea birds seen on our passage were new to him, and attracted his attention; and the flying fish afforded him much amusement. He swam uncommonly well, as may be supposed; and in warm weather, the ship proceeding but slowly, he frequently indulged in bathing: upon one of these occasions a very large shark had nearly put a stop to poor Moyhanger's travels: we saw his danger and alarmed him, and he narrowly escaped the jaws of the ravenous monster. The shark followed the ship for some time: Moyhanger contemplated it with horror, frequently pronouncing the words kiooda eka, matta matta, Moyhanger--very bad fish to destroy Moyhanger At length, to his great joy, we made the island of St. Helena.

The fine climate, the buildings on shore, and the numerous ships in the road, rendered the scene exhilarating to all on board; but Moyhanger was perfectly delighted: he

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danced and sung, and exclaimed, piannah-miti, very good, very fine, repeatedly; and when I informed him that the island produced abundance of excellent potatoes, I believe his native country was almost forgotten.

During the interval between our coming to an anchor, and my taking him on shore, a salute was fired from the battery on Ladder-hill; his fear and astonishment were now excessive; he lay down on the deck, stopped his ears, and I believe thought that his final dissolution was at hand; however, as the firing continued, and he still remained unhurt, he gradually acquired courage and confidence: but upon all similar occasions he expressed some uneasiness, and constantly stopped his ears, saying, matta matta teringa, it gives pain to my ears..

We now went on shore, and nothing escaped Moyhanger's observation. The quantity of large anchors, ordnance, and other articles formed of iron, astonished him; he seemed to have hitherto entertain-

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ed no adequate idea of our national wealth. The military attracted much of his attention: he had a disposition to quiz whenever an opportunity presented itself, whether in the person or attire of individuals, and the dress of the garrison enabled him to exercise his propensity: he would sometimes make so free in this respect, that in all probability he would have been roughly handled, had I not been present to assure the offended party that no insult could be intended, and that his rudeness proceeded entirely from his ignorance of our manners and customs.

He approved very much of the buildings at St. Helena, but of the island itself he had a very unfavourable opinion, frequently saying, Kiooda oota, very bad land.

The first time he saw a yoke of oxen his wonder was very great, having no idea of an animal of that size; and he soon after saw a man on horseback, which so much pleased him that he laughed heartily, and when the animal set off at a moderate

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canter, Moyhanger accompanied him up the valley: he then returned to me and expressed his approbation of that mode of conveyance. The regimental band delighted him exceedingly; indeed, for music of any kind, he had a very strong passion; I have seen him in raptures at a violin. Every thing was new, and most things pleased him. I introduced him to Governor Patten, who, I told him, was chief of the island: he was much pleased with the governor, and frequently repeated to me, Piannah tippeehee-piannah.

St. Helena does not abound in great variety, and Moyhanger, in a short time after our arrival, preferred the ship to the shore. He had acquaintances on board, and he found great amusement in fishing, at which he was very expert. During our stay here he had another narrow escape from a shark: he was bathing one morning, when one of these voracious animals entered the road, and was within a short distance of Moyhanger, who reached the ship in time to

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save himself from destruction: unfortunately this monster of the deep was more fortunate upon another occasion: an officer of dragoons, on his passage from India, fell a victim to his rapaciousness. We proceeded on our passage to England, and nothing material occurred to excite the attention of Moyhanger: it was however worthy of remark how much his sight and hearing were superior to other persons on board the ship: the sound of a distant gun was distinctly heard, or a strange sail readily discernable by Moyhanger, when no other man on board could hear or perceive them.

At length the long wished for land, the land of promise to Moyhanger, appeared in view, and the abundant supply offish, meat, and vegetables of an Irish port made a favourable impression upon him respecting our country. The number of ships, from which he estimated our wealth and population, was a constant source of wonder, which upon sailing up to the port of London became perfect astonishment.

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I had dispatches for government, and it was necessary I should proceed to London from Cork, by way of Dublin and Holyhead. The ship was detained several days by contrary winds, during which time Moyhanger regretted my absence in a most affectionate manner.

Upon the arrival of the ship in the River Thames, I went to meet Moyhanger, who was very much pleased to see me. The great quantity of shipping, and the appearance of London altogether excited a degree of surprise greater than any he had heretofore experienced; but it gave rise to a reflection that cast a gloom upon his countenance. He told me that in New Zealand he was a man of some consequence, but he saw that in such a country as he was now in, his consideration must be entirely lost: however, Moyhanger never took any thing to heart for any length of time, and he accompanied me to the shore with great cheerfulness.

This immense metropolis has amazed the

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most enlightened; it will not therefore appear extraordinary that an uncultivated native of the antipodes should be struck with the greatest possible degree of wonder. We landed at the easternmost part of the town, and had some distance to walk before we could procure a hackney coach: he had during this perambulation something to admire in every thing he saw. The shops with immense stores of ironmongery excited much of his attention; as we passed houses where those articles were presented for sale, he always observed to me, Piannah Oota nue nue tokee--very good country, plenty of iron. Commodities of real utility uniformly claimed his first consideration. The shops that exhibited articles of dress and ornamental finery excited his laughter; while those that displayed substantial cloathing appeared to give him real satisfaction. Through the part of the town we had to walk, there are many shops of the latter description; whenever he passed one, he observed to me, Piannah, nue nue

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Kakahow--This is very good, there is plenty of cloathing.

The sailors had learnt him the familiar mode of address, --How do you do, my boy? Moyhanger found it useful in his walk, for the singularity of his appearance attracted much notice from the passengers: they frequently stood to gaze at him. Moyhanger had a vast deal of good nature, and whenever he observed this, he faced about and offered his hand, with, How do you do, my boy? His appearance intimidated many, and they withdrew from his proffered kind shake by the hand.

The coach gave him great satisfaction: when the horses first started off, the motion seemed to alarm him a little; but with me he soon gained confidence. He looked out on each side--then in front--then appeared thoughtful. I asked him how he liked our present situation: he replied, Piannah wurrie nuenue yaieda--Very good house, it walks very fast.

As we passed through a number of streets

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in our way to my lodgings, at the west end of the town, nothing escaped his observation. The church steeples--the shops-- the passengers--the horses and carriages, all called forth some singular remark. Of the height of the steeples he observed, Piannah wurrie tuwittee tuwittee paucoora-- Very good house, it goes up to the clouds. On noticing any singularities, decripitude, lameness, or infirmity, in a passenger, he always remarked, Kiooda tungata, or Kiooda wyeena--Good for nothing man or woman. His eye was constantly seeking articles of iron, cloathing, or food. Of some of the streets he observed, Nue nue tungata, nue nue wurrie, ittee ittee eka, ittee ittee potatoe--Plenty of men, plenty of houses, but very little fish, and very few potatoes.

I never could make Moyhanger pronounce the word England, therefore I was content to allow him to make use of Europe in its stead, which he pronounced without difficulty. Some times on our way he

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would draw a comparison between this country and his own, which appeared to give rise to melancholy reflections. He would say, Nue nue Europe, ittee ittee NEW Zealand.

We arrived at my lodging, where Moyhanger joined my servant boy, who had been his companion during our passage to England, and he appeared perfectly happy. Soon after my arrival I introduced Moyhanger to Earl Fitzwilliam. I told him that his lordship was a chief, and Moyhanger entered the mansion with becoming respect. The furniture and paintings pleased him highly, but with the affability of his lordship, and the Countess Fitzwilliam, he was quite delighted. Lord Milton and some noble relatives of Lord Fitzwilliam's were present, who all shared in Moyhanger's approbation. He was a great physiognomist, and approved or disliked at a first interview. The lines of his lordship's face pleased him more than those, of any man, of whom I had yet heard his opinion. A

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marble bust which represented his lordship, engrossed the whole of his attention for many minutes; he placed himself in a chair opposite to it, and contemplated the features with great admiration. He said, on his return to New Zealand he should endeavour to carve a figure in imitation of it. He whispered me whenever Lord Fitzwilliam turned his back, Piannah tippeehee-- Very good chief; and with her ladyship and the company he was equally pleased.

The ornamental parts of the furniture did not make such an impression upon him, as might be imagined: Of the mirrors, and other splendid ornaments, he merely observed, Miti--they are very fine; and while I thought he was admiring the more striking objects, I found he was counting the chairs. He had procured a small piece of stick, which he had broken into a number of pieces to assist his recollection. He observed, Nue nue tungata noho tippeehee--A great number of men sit with the chief.

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Moyhanger departed highly delighted with his visit; he frequently requested me to repeat it, and often enquired after the health of the chief and his family.

It was extremely inconvenient to take Moyhanger to public exhibitions, or even to walk with him in the streets, on account of John Bull's curiosity: I therefore did not shew him so many of the lions as I otherwise should have done. I accompanied him to St. Paul's cathedral: the vast dimensions of this pile of building appeared to astonish him: the space beneath the dome he contemplated with much satisfaction, but he dwelt with infinite pleasure upon the monuments of our great men.

A great source of entertainment to this native was observing the passengers, making a variety of observations upon their faces and persons, and not unfrequently laughing heartily at their expense.

Wooden legs amused him very much. -- One day he saw a man with two; he called

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me in great haste to observe the unfortunate fellow, saying, Tungata cadooa poona poona racoo--Here is a man with two wooden legs.

Noise or scolding he very much disliked"; the dissonance of the London cries consequently displeased him; he would, upon these occasions, express himself, Kiooda tungata, or kiooda wyeena nue une mum mum mum--Bad man or woman to make such a noise.

Our markets afforded him much satisfaction, by enabling him to perceive that we were abundantly supplied with food; indeed the appearance of many of the passengers relieved him from any apprehension of want, if he had previously entertained any such ideas. Whenever he saw a corpulent man pass by he would say, Tungata nue nue kikie--That man has plenty to eat. How such an immense population could be fed was to him, at first, a mystery, seeing no appearance of cattle or cultivation; but the arrival of some droves

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of oxen, and the waggon loads of vegetables that constantly passed our house, soon relieved him from any apprehension on our account.

I have mentioned my reasons for sending Moyhanger home in so short a time after his arrival, and the affectionate manner in which he took leave of me, in the body of the work. When he arrives in his own country he will be a very superior man in point of riches and useful knowledge. The use of carpenters' and coopers' tools he is tolerably well acquainted with, and I have no doubt if he remains in New Zealand, that he will remember his visit to Europe with peculiar satisfaction fop the remainder of his life.


W. Wilson, Printer, St. John's Square.

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