1840 - Polack, J. S. Manners and Customs of the New Zealanders [Capper reprint, 1976] - Appendix

E N Z B       
       Home   |  Browse  |  Search  |  Variant Spellings  |  Links  |  EPUB Downloads
Feedback  |  Conditions of Use      
  1840 - Polack, J. S. Manners and Customs of the New Zealanders [Capper reprint, 1976] - Appendix
Previous section | Next section      


[Image of page 245]


IN consequence of the Second Edition of Travels and Adventures in New Zealand being out of print, we deem it necessary for the benefit of emigrants, in choosing the localities of their future residence in the country, to insert the following table of Geographical positions, which we have carefully collated and compared from a variety of sources, public and private, to which we have had access. The Islands are situated between the degrees of 34 deg. and 48 deg. south latitude; and 181 deg. to 194 deg. west longitude. The following data is the result of innumerable nautical observations and practical deductions.


  Latitude, S. Longitude, E.
Manawatawe, or Three Kings'  
N. E. Island, N. E. pt........ 34 12 8 172 22 48 W.
    "      "      " 34 13 35 169 49 50 E.
Reinga, or North Cape....... 34 26 30 170 18 0
    "      "      " 34 24 29 173 9 48
Hohora, or Mount Camel.... 34 49 0 170 48 25
Piroa, or Doubtless Bay, Pt.
34 54 55 171 14 20

[Image of page 246]


  Latitude, S. Longitude, E.
Wangaroa Entrance.......... 35 2 30 171 25 40
Cavalhoes Islands, N. Pt, Mo-
tu Kawa..................
34 58 28 -- -- --
Tokirou, or Bay of Islands, the
Sentinel Rock............
35 9 28 171 49 40
Ditto, middle of the Entrance.. 35 15 6 171 5 16
Motu Kokoko, or Percy Island. 35 10 0 171 1 20
Nunuki, Whale Eock........ 35 14 2 171 35 25
Port Tipuna................ 35 11 40 171 43 28
Kororarika Bay (Herd)...... 35 15 45 174 15 55
    "(Laplace).... 35 14 36 171 49 7
Rakou, or Cape Brett, South
35 10 20 172 0 40
Wangari, or Bream Bay, Tewara,
N. Pt.....................
35 50 40 172 14 30
    "      "      " 35 51 32 -- -- --
Horeke, or Thames, Pt. Rodney 36 20 26 -- -- --
Pt. Colville................. 36 26 29 175 22 0
Thames River, four feet anchor-
37 5 45 175 25 30
Waiheke Island.............. 36 42 30 172 50 6
Port Charles, E. Pt........... 36 29 48 173 7 45
Mercury Bay, entrance...... 36 48 1 173 26 25
Tuhua, or Mayor Island, N. Pt. 37 16 10 173 54 30
Tauranga Harbour.......... 37 37 0 174 51 30
Makutu ditto, or Town Point.. 37 46 30 174 7 20
Putawaki, or Mount Edgecumbe 37 59 40 174 41 25
Te Kaha, or Cape Runaway 37 33 0 175 47 40
Puhia Wakari, or White Island 37 30 46 177 14 45 W.
Ware Kahika, or Hicks' Bay.. 37 36 0 176 7 0 E.
Wai Appu, or East Cape...... 37 44 30 178 36 15 W.

[Image of page 247]


Latitude, S. Longitude, E.
Wanga Okino, East Cape Islet.. 37 42 20 176 20 35 E.
Mountain of Ikorangi........ 37 55 30 175 55 25
Tokomaru, or Tegadoo, N. Pt... 38 5 0 176 8 25
Uwoua, or Tolaga Bay, S. Pt.. 38 21 0 178 37 O E.
    "      "N. Pt.. 38 20 45 176 4 50 W.
Parre nui te ra, or Gable-End
38 30 52 175 5 27
Kuri, or Young Nick's Head,
S. Pt......................
38 47 25 175 46 35
Turunga, or (Head of) Poverty
38 43 30 178 O 19 E.
Nukutourua, or Table Cape, S.
39 20 0 175 35 15 W.
Cape Kidnapper........... 39 40 55 174 48 20
KouaKoua, or Cape Palliser.. 41 37 40 173 1 5
Wanga nui Atera, or Port Ni-
42 22 7 174 51 15
Taranaki, or Cape Egmont.... 39 24 0 -- -- --
Kawia Harbour............ 38 40 0 -- -- --
Waingaroa ditto.............. 38 24 0 -- -- --
Waikato River............. 37 59 0 -- -- --
Manukou Port.............. 37 39 37 -- -- --
Kaipara Harbour............ 36 35 37 -- -- --
Hokianga, S. Head, or Araite-
35 32 3 173 31 45 W.
Ditto N. Head, or Tawu...... 35 31 22 173 31 45
Wangape Harbour.......... 35 17 19 173 22 17
Columbia Reef Point, or Waro.. 35 10 25 173 12 47


Tasman's first anchorage...... 42 10 0 189 3 0 E.
Cape Tierrawiti, or Poriwero.. 41 18 47 174 42 45 W.
Queen Charlotte's Sound...... 41 5 30 174 25 45

[Image of page 248]


  Latitude, S. Longitude, E.
Ship Cove anchorage........ 41 7 5 174 20 0
Ditto entrance.............. 41 5 56 174 25 7 E.
Maunga nui................ 41 19 4 174 5 0 W.
Cloudy Bay, N. Pt........... 41 26 45 171 58 25 E.
------------ S. ditto.......... 41 32 41 171 56 28
Cape Koamaru.............. 41 7 15 172 7 30
Cape Campbell.............. 41 40 0 172 7 12
Banks' Peninsula............ 43 32 0 186 30 0 E.
Port Otago.................. 45 46 28 170 36 45 W.
Saddle Hill................. 45 57 0 170 15 0
Cape Saunders............. 45 53 55 170 33 30
Dusky Bay.................. 45 47 0 -- -- --
Ditto, North Pt............ 45 38 0 -- -- --
Pickersgill Harbour......... 45 47 26 166 18 0
Rocky Point............... 40 54 0  
Cape Foulwind.............. 41 46 5 169 8 40
Cape Farewell.............. 40 33 0 186 0 0
Ditto..................... 40 30 55 170 26 30

Rau Koua, or Cook's Straits.

Stephen's Island............ 0 0 0 171 50 19
TWO miles N. E. of ditto...... 40 37 0 185 6 0
Entry Island, or Kapiti........ 0 0 0 172 34 21


Southern Point, S. Island.... 47 11 31 167 26 45
Broad Passage.............. 47 11 0 -- -- --
Sugar Loaf Island.......... 47 13 46 -- -- --
Cable Island................ 47 12 55 167 26 30
South Cape.................. 47 17 25 167 18 30
South-west Cape........... 47 16 37 167 14 30
South Trap Rock............ 47 29 43 167 36 30
North Trap................ 47 23 7 167 42 30
Snares Islands anchorage.... 48 3 48 166 20 15

[Image of page 249]


  Latitude, S. Longitude, E.
Anchor Island.............. 0 0 0 166 15 0
Solander's Island, or Codfish.. 46 31 0 192 49 0
West Cape................. 45 54 0 193 17 0
Chatham Islands........... 45 54 0 176 13 0 E.
Norfolk Island.............. 29 2 30 168 18 0


We had purposed to omit a detailed description of the timber-trees of New Zealand, but a knowledge of this subject is all important to the colonist, whether he contemplates the erecting of his house, forming of his furniture, laying down a vessel, or only a boat; and determining the value of the natural produce of his territory, whether for domestic use, or inland and outward export. In furnishing this list, we have alluded to the most serviceable only out of an abundant catalogue we had formerly collected, and our remarks are solely the results of practical experience, derived from purchasing the trees (from the Chiefs), as they stood erect on their native soil; a further payment on their being felled, conveyed to the water, and floated to our settlement, previously to being cut up into plank, quartering or scantling, boat and ship planks, house timber, furniture, etc.

Many of the trees we have enumerated, were allowed to take root, grow to maturity, and fall to decay, without being converted to any manner of use by the natives; and the irastonishment has exceeded all bounds, on our producing a handsome polished chimney-piece, and table, from the beautifully grained Pohuto-

[Image of page 250]


kawa, that rivalled the most handsome woods of Europe.

1. The tree which has hitherto attracted most attention, has been the Kauri or yellow pine (Pinus Australis), g. coniferae; which will challenge comparison for beauty and tapering height, with any forest-tree at present known. Its bark is very smooth, with leaves small and narrow, giving with its well-clothed head, an umbrageous shade below, causing a continual twilight of gloomy grandeur. This tree exudes a large quantity of gum. The trunk grows to the height of from fifty to nearly one hundred feet without a branch protruding.

The western coast produces the best timber and largest of the tribe, from the effect of stormy winds, which have a serviceable effect in stopping its hasty growth.

This timber has much diminished in quantity, in almost every district, and for many years past, large ships have loaded with spars of this staple article.

The growth of the Kauri is confined, on the east coast, to the forests of Mercury Bay (Witianga,) and to Port Manukou on the opposite side of the island.

In every forest worthy of the name, to the north of the above places, this tree is found. The natives have hitherto only made use of those that have bordered the edges of rivers, for the forming of their canoes, having no mechanical knowledge, to remove such solid weights of timber to the water. Thus the innumerable forests of these trees inland, would not be made use of by natives in their present state, for

[Image of page 251]


twenty generations to come. These forests many miles from the sea-coast have been well trodden, but never touched for useful purposes by the hands of man.

The attention of the British Government was first called to the value of the timber of the country by Cook; but an attempt to procure a cargo, was not made until 1820, when the store-ships "Dromedary and Coromandel," were sent expressly for this purpose from England, and a small vessel the "Prince Regent" from Sydney. Few of the Kauri pine spars were procured by these vessels, their lading principally consisting of the inferior white pine, called Kahikatea; this injured the name of the yellow pine, which has since been found, on long trial, to equal in flexibility the best northern firs, and has been made use of as main and top masts in some of our largest frigates in the navy. It is very buoyant in the water, tough, stringy, and often twisted; it has a handsome close grain, lightly tinged yellow, and a strong odour, peculiar to itself; it has been much used for sawing purposes by the English residents located for the last thirty years in the country. As such it is admirably adapted for boards, plank-scantlings, either for house-building or planking a ship's sides, decks, &c.

A house built of this wood, with proper attention, will remain in order for fifty years; for treenails, bulwarks, wedges, it is also serviceable. It planes smooth, but for oars it has not the flexibility of our ash. It would be much superior to the best Riga spars, but for its being somewhat brittle. The young Kouri's have an ungraceful appearance, but few trees

[Image of page 252]


equal it in outward beauty when grown to maturity. The bark requires to be knocked off the trunk, soon after the tree is felled, when it easily peels off by being beat with a stick; otherwise it hardens, and becomes very tenacious. Many of these trees have been seen forty feet in circumference. The sap inclines to that side of the tree which is most shaded from the rays of the sun, and is found from three to seven inches thick. When the tree is felled, this matter soon rots, and is early reduced to powder by a small worm that feeds on it. The gum, called by the natives Kapia, is not soluble in water; it has a strong taste of turpentine, it may be serviceable as a varnish, but hitherto it has resisted every method made use of to destroy its brittleness.

The spars of this timber contracted to be furnished by respectable traders in Hokianga and the river Thames, or Mercury bay, to the British Government, are required to be in length, from seventy-four to eighty-four feet long, from twenty-one to twenty-four inches in diameter, perfectly straight, without the knots caused by branches interfering, and ready squared for stowage on board.

2. The Kahikatea (Treniperus Novae Zelandicae) g. coniferae, is very similar in outward appearance to the Kouri, for which it has been often mistaken by strangers, and the superficial observer will find some practice necessary, to discriminate between the difference Of these trees. The name by which it is distinguished, is that of white pine; it is found in forests, but principally in alluvial or swampy soils. It has a majestic

[Image of page 253]


appearance when surrounded by the smaller, and less aspiring trees of the forest. The leaves are sharp, similar to the yew, and a berry, which, when ripe, has a red hue, are held in much esteem, as a fruit by the natives. The timber is very light in colour and weight, and exceedingly sappy, and the weather produces on the plank of this tree a barometrical effect, for after it has been worked up as inside lining for rooms, for which it is most calculated, it shrinks and gives with every change of weather, even after the lapse of years.

From the scarcity of the Kouri in the sawing districts, Kahikatea is much used. The jovial fraternity of sawyers, who, when they commence, which is whenever they have the opportunity afforded them, "drink deep ere they depart" admire this wood, from its softness, and the ease with which they can cut it up. The following occurrence will best illustrate the want of tenacity in this wood, on a change in the season. One of the bedrooms in our residence at Parramatta, in the Bay of Islands, was lined with the Kahikatea that had been left to season some time in the wind and rain, after being sawn from the log, and previously to its being planed, as a lining for the room, it had been nailed or half lapped, as it is termed, when a groove is made in planks to join together.

Mr. Richard Cunningham, a gentleman of profound botanical knowledge, who had quitted Sydney, where he enjoyed the place of Colonial botanist, to pursue for a few weeks similar avocations in New Zealand, had favoured us with a visit, and took up his quarters for the night; in the evening, after arranging his hair, he

[Image of page 254]


placed (fancifully enough) the comb between the lining and the wall, the crevice being caused by the dryness of the weather, but during the night, a quantity of rain having fallen, the planks had compressed to such a degree, that the comb could not be dislodged for some days, until renewed dry weather again unloosed the unexpected embrace.

3. Tanikaha (pinus asplenifolius) g. coniferae, is a very valuable species of pine, and extremely serviceable to the shipwright and general builder. This wood is hard and tough. Unlike the preceding tree, it is less affected by change of season, than any other pine in the country; it seldom is seen beyond the height of fifty feet, with a circumference of twelve feet. It is remarkably durable, but suffers much from worms, when exposed to mud or water, and though we have seen it perforated like unto a honeycomb, yet it retained its pristine hardness.

The bark is curiously ringed by natural distinct projections, about the distance of six inches from each other. The leaves are similar to those of the Tamarind tree, of the East and West Indies. It is in much request for quarterings, staunchions and exposed flooring, such as for ships' decks, verandas, threshing floors, &c. It exudes less gum than others of its tribe, has less sap, and of a darker hue.

5. Totara (Taxus australis) g. coniferae, is similar in colour to the former wood, and is known as the red pine. It grows to the height of sixty feet, with a circumference often above twenty feet. The timber is brittle, snapping short, and consequently splits well

[Image of page 255]


into shingles, and is very serviceable to the builder. This tree is a great favourite among the natives, especially to the southward of the River Thames, who make their canoes principally of the Totara. It flourishes best on the west coast, where it often grows thirty feet in circumference. It is found on the banks of rivers of a size so immense, as to give a name to the locality in which perhaps a single tree only is to be found.

The Totara is very hardy, the roots spread themselves in all directions, very much elevated from the adjacent soil which the rains wash away. The trunk has a smooth surface, and the sun splits the outer bark in appearance, as if chopped by an axe. This tree has but little sap, and works well, though the grain often runs uneven; it is very heavy, and not much affected by change of weather after being seasoned.

A forest in New Zealand, is often a penible path to the pedestrian, from the nature of the tree-roots growing above the soil, and causing deep holes that lodge the rain, and retain the moisture that gathers on the trees from mists and humidity. This cause renders some forests a marsh during one half the year.

The Rata (Calistemon Zelandicae,} is an invaluable wood to the shipwright. The branches of this tree are twisted in a natural manner, that form, when dressed, excellent timbers and knees for the largest ships. It grows to the height of sixty feet, and the head and branches extend very far; the wood is close grained and stringy, and when polished, of a deep mahogany red: the grain is remarkably handsome, and well fitted for furniture.

[Image of page 256]


The girth of this timber is often full twenty feet, growing at the base remarkably large, with straggling tough roots, that run above ground. The leaves only appear at the extremities of the branches, which give an umbrageous shade. It is a very hardy tree, and will prove invaluable to the colonist; they grow very numerously in the forests.

6. The Pohutokaua or Potikama (Metrosideros excelsa,} is of the same genus as the preceding, solely differing from the exposed situation of the latter. This is the hardiest of timber-trees, and is found jutting out in immense crooked limbs from every nook however craggy, or exposed rocky headlands on the sea-side, and often surprises the traveller, that so many cubical feet of heavy timber can be attached to its station, with the extremely scanty proportion of soil around its stem. It is well adapted for ship timbers, is crooked, close grained, brittle, tough, and of a deep brown colour. It is difficult to work up by the joiner, for its extreme hardness, but when polished, forms a beautiful and durable article for furniture.

Early in the summer the polypetalous branches are clothed with large flowers, of a lake or crimson hue, of the polyandria species, with a quantity of stamens, covered on the extremities with a light yellow dust; the limbs often equal the trunk in diameter. Its appearance in flower is splendid.

7. The Puriri (Quercus Australis,} is a wood whose durability equals any of the timbers in the country; it is very tough and close grained, and has been termed the Oak of the Pacific; but the Teak would be

[Image of page 257]


more appropriate, as its properties more resemble the latter wood; as similar to that eastern production, it does not lessen in value by lying exposed in salt water, it is equally hard, and of a pale olive colour. This wood has been taken by us out of a river, where it had been used as a stake to fasten canoes, for perhaps upwards of twenty years, and we found it to be in no degree affected by the immersion or by the worms.

This timber has but little sap, being of an oleaginous nature. The trunk grows often to the height of thirty feet without a branch protruding, which are crooked, and of large size in diameter, and extend far distant from the parent stem, it is usually faulty at heart; but except causing it to be cut as plank to disadvantage, it does not injure the wood; it is well adapted as blocks under houses, sleepers for wharfs, ground sills, timbers for the largest shipping, and any work in which durability and strength are required. As blocks for shipping and beams, this wood is unsurpassed; it is very heavy, and has an odour peculiar to itself when cut green.

The Puriri, similar to the Totara, is often found by itself on the banks of rivers, giving, from its immense size and profusion of umbrageous leaves, an appellation to the district in its vicinity. The latter are frontated, and it flowers in spring. In colour it resembles lignum vitae.

8. The Rimu, (Cupressinum,} is one of the most graceful trees of the country. The wood is tough and brittle; the grain very beautiful when polished, and will be much admired by future connoisseurs in orna-

[Image of page 258]


mental woods. Its appearance inclines most to the cypress; the branches are similarly pensile to that symbol of sacred sorrow. The tree grows to the height of sixty and seventy feet, with a circumference of about twelve feet. It has minute asperifolious leaves, and thrives best in alluvial soil. Its bark is rough, and the trunk geniculated; but the nodules do not project much. This tree is common in the land; it exudes a hard gum, strongly impregnated with turpentine.

9. The Kaikatoa, (Philadelphus Australis,} a polyanthus, also called the tea-plant from its leaves possessing the same myrtiform character. This petalous shrub grows in clayey soils on the most barren plains, and is invariably found covering jutting headlands, exposed to the fury of the heavy gales that blow from every quarter. In such places it grows from three to six feet; but in well-sheltered forests, it attains the height of thirty feet. It is denuded of branch-leaves below; but towards the top it is well covered; in addition to innumerable buds, which flower throughout the year, bearing white and pink blossoms. This flosculous appearance embellishes the plains, and emits an odour that renders fragrant the country in its vicinity. The leaves also possess a strong aroma, and are used by resident Europeans. An infusion of this herb is regarded as peculiarly serviceable to persons in a reduced state, whose previous moralities will not admit of the strictest investigation. It is very astringent.

This wood, called by the southern tribes, Manuka, is remarkable hard and durable, and throughout the

[Image of page 259]


country is an especial favourite with the natives, who make their spears, paddles, fishing-rods, &c., of this useful timber. It has an oleaginous moisture, scarcely any sap, and similar in colour to our oak. The small shrub is used in abundance as broom-stuff by residents and shipping, and when green, burns, perhaps, with a greater rapidity than when dry.

The Kaikatoa, in the Island of Victoria, grows often to the height of fifty feet, the temperature being more agreeable to this hardy tree. A very similar wood exists to the southward, called Rohito, of which carved boxes, for holding small trinkets and feathers, are made by the people.

10. The Hinou is a handsome tree. Its plank is very frangible on exposure to the sun or air. It is in much request by the native tribes, who make use of the bark for dyeing jet black the threads of the muka or dressed flax, of which they either wholly make, or interweave with, their superior garments. The bark, which is easily pulverised, is kept some time immersed in water, and this infusion forms the dye. The leaves terminate in a point, and in colour are of a deep green.

11. Towa, or Taua, (a laurus,} is a useful timber for boarding the interior of houses; and though entirely differing in genus or outward appearance from the graceful Kahikatea, is of similar short-lived service to that wood. It attains a large size; its branches are irregular; leaves pointed, and the colour of chrysolite; it cuts easily.

12. The Towai, (a podocarpus,} is but a small tree compared with those preceding. Its wood is very

[Image of page 260]


serviceable, being tough and close grained. It has a handsome deep red colour when polished. It grows to the height of twenty-five feet, and then is richly furnished with dark green leaves. The wood is heavy, and but little used hitherto.

13. The Rewa rewa, (a pine, g. conif.,) is a handsome grained wood, very serviceable to the builder, and yet more so to the joiner. Until well seasoned it is much given to shrinking. It is of a white (or slightly tinged with yellow) cast, and admits of being used as an inside lining to rooms, to which it adds a handsome appearance. It works freely, and planes smooth. The grain is very variegated, and when polished resembles the maple. It flowers in spring, with serrated leaves somewhat frontated. It grows to the height of sixty feet; but from its small diameter compared to other timber in its vicinity, it has hitherto been seldom made use of.

14. Tarairi, (a laurel,) is among the least valuable of the timber trees. It bears a dark purple berry, on which the wild pigeon feeds heartily. The taste is particularly acrid. The leaves are frontated, with the polished surface and size of the handsomest laurel.

15. The Kowai, (Edwardsia microphylla,) is met with principally on the banks of rivers: it is a serviceable wood, growing to the height of fifty feet, and five feet in circumference. In the season of spring this tree makes a beautiful appearance, being entirely covered with bright chrome or golden-coloured flowers, which hang corymbiated, and succeeded by long pendulated pods, the especial food of the Tui and

[Image of page 261]


other birds. Its beauty is not dimmed by the reflection in the adjacent stream. It has but little sap, with straggling branches. It flowers in September. The timber is hard and durable; and is used for paddles, &c.

16. Mairi or maidi, (a native cedar,} is the closest grained and toughest of woods in the country. It is found to grow largest on the west coast, where it attains the height of sixty feet. It is extremely durable, and so very hard as to turn the edge of the tools applied to it.

In ship-building it is very servicable, but very brittle. It has a pointed leaf, and its limbs branch out very irregularly. The grain is not unlike the European beech. It has little or no sap, is very heavy, and not affected by the climate, as the trees of the pine tribe are.

17. The Kawaka grows to the height of thirty feet. It is a handsome dark-coloured wood when polished; serviceable to the joiner; and from its small diameter, about two feet at most, it has not been hitherto much sought after; as the most useful and not ornamental has been hitherto required.

18. The Kahika is a useful wood, but little known from a similar cause with the above.

19. The Ti is a useful close-grained wood, well adapted for handspikes and similar articles, that require toughness and durability. It grows to the height of forty feet with crooked branches.

20. The Akki a species of lignum vitae, when young is much used for boat-timbers, and when cut

[Image of page 262]


fresh from the bush, it can easily, with the aid of the spoke-shave, be put into any shape; and when it dries in a few hours, it will adhere to the form it may be placed in. The tree grows crooked, with a diameter of nine inches. It admits of a polish, and has a beautiful deep red grain. Few woods are better fitted for cabinet work. It has little sap, and works easily when green; but from its many nodules, which render it very brittle when dry, it is found of difficult workmanship.

21. The Kohikohi another of the many laurel-trees of the soil, grows to the height of fifty feet. This tree may be regarded as one of the ornamental woods that has yet to come into use. The leaves are similar in shape and polish to our laurel, and of this tribe, is remarkable for spreading its roots to a great distance. The wood is of deep red colour, and works well. For paling it splits free.

22. Manawa and Tuputupu, two varieties of the well-known mangrove, cover the mud-banks of the rivers and creeks of the country in which they flourish most. These trees sometimes grow to the height of twenty-six feet before they branch, eight feet of which is often submerged in salt water during the flood-tides, which, retreating at the ebb, leave the trees and roots uncovered. Often the branches, leaves, and seed, are under water several hours twice per diem. When these trees commence to grow they are often entirely under salt water for years. Oysters and other shellfish, muscles especially, feed in these banks, and fasten in the branches of the Manawa at flood-tide,

[Image of page 263]


and on the ebb, are left pendent from them in clusters, exposed in the air, so that shell-fish may be said to grow from these trees. The same acridity of the leaves, impart an unpleasant taste to the fish, who also feed on the pericarpium of the seed which the latter deciduously casts off on arriving at maturity.

The Manawa is serviceable for many things, its ashes are not the least valuable as an alkali in the preparation of soap.

23. The Mahoi is an elegant tree, growing to the height of fifty feet; its wood is light in substance, of a reddish hue, admitting, when polished, of being converted into furniture.

24. The Matia is a durable wood growing often to the height of sixty-feet; it has similar properties to the red pine or Totara, but grows less bulky.

25. The Tipau is a similar wood to the Towai.

26. The Pongo and Wou, (achroma pentandria Zelandica) are varieties of the cork-tree; when cut down an adhesive juice, exudes in some quantity, and are of much service to the natives in their fishing-nets. The fronds are five feet long, virent, with a circumference of trunk of one-and-a-half foot, covered with chaffy scales.

27. Karaka maori, a laurel, grows to the height of forty-feet, with handsome frontated polished leaves. The wood is close grained, but from its ornamental appearance and usefulness as a fruit tree, it has never been brought into use.

Karaka is the generic name for fruit. Karaka-

[Image of page 264]


pakaha signifying European fruit, to distinguish it from Karaka maori, or that indigenous to the country.

The fruit of this tree grows in clusters about the size and form of the Spanish olive, of a light yellow when ripe. Of pulp there is but little, the seed and pericarpium occupying two-thirds of the fruit. The flavour is feeble, but pleasant when fully ripe; the perfection arising from the locality and soil in which it flourishes.

The taste in its favour is only acquired by time. The seed in its crude state is reported as being of a poisonous quality, but is a favourite among the natives after being steamed in the oven. The stones are consequently preserved for this purpose, baskets of which (in a cooked state) are interchanged as esteemed presents.

28. Horoeka, (aralia Zelandica), is generally found on elevated lands, grows to the height of thirty feet, leaves dark green, in tufts ternated in short stalks growing from the trunk, which is wanting in branches; it is found in shaded situations.

29. Pate (Aralia polygama}, trunk slender, and pithy, grows to twenty feet, leaves virent, digitated and epinated at the edges; this wood is made use of for procuring fire by friction.

The forests in New Zealand are particularly distinguished by the numerous parasitical plants, that spread themselves on the limbs and trunks of trees, that add much to the beautiful appearance of such portions of the scene, as would otherwise be denuded of leaves.

[Image of page 265]


The origin of these curious productions probably arises from seeds being deposited in the excrement of birds, that find sufficient soil either in the decay of the branches of trees, or from the dust moistened by rain and lodged in the angular crevices.

Several wild fruits have thus obtained a local habitation, such as the Tawara, Korai, Koutuhutu, Miro, and Putuhutu, that were formerly in much repute among the natives.


Gums and bituminous resins exude in large quantities from the indigenous vegetation of the forest, and in some trees to such an extent, that the former is found to ooze forth, not only from the lowest stem to the uppermost twigs and branches; but, (as in the Kouri,) from the tips of the most extreme leaves.

The natives have but one generic name for gums and resins, but separate appellations are given to bituminous substances discovered in the earth. Te Kapia no te Kouri, or Kouri-gum, is the only article of its kind made use of by the New Zealanders, as a masticatory, not for any medicinal properties which doubtless it possesses, or for its fragrance, which is tinctured too much of turpentine to be gratifying to the palate. But early habit has inured them to its pungent flavour, and a company was rarely assembled in by-gone times, without a lump being handed round, the delectable treat of chewing it, was partaken of by each person in rotation.

For this purpose it was taken from the tree after

[Image of page 266]


its recent exudation, and in this semi-liquid state, after being dentally operated on, acquired the consistence and appearance of India-rubber (caoutchouc).

The resin of the Kouri flows from the trunk of the stately tree, on any incision being made. When placed in fire, it burns quickly and brilliantly; but on a piece being held up, ignited, no residue drops from it; it emits a thick smoke, as from pitch or Stockholm tar, with a strong resinous odour.

In its native state it is found covering the long extended roots of the tree, flowing from the trunk until it congeals into the form it is arrested in, often of stalactites. The colour is varied; when exuding, it is of a light straw colour, approaching to amber, and free from stain as gum-copal. Other portions, that have been exposed some days to the air, are tinged deep yellow and red, it is found incrusting flies, ants, pieces of wood, and leaves, which, in flowing, it has overwhelmed. When pulverized it is perfectly white.

Unlike gums it will not dissolve in water, but is found to do so in aether and fat oils, and partly in alcohol. From its extreme brittleness, when unmixed with any other kindred substance, its uses are limited; but, though friable at every stage, it can be obtained in large blocks of several hundred weight to the size of a marble.

It is transparent, but principally so, when just exuded.

In a variety of ways it will be found serviceable to the colonists. It has often been tried as a sheathing for small craft and boats, to protect their bottoms

[Image of page 267]


from marine animalculae, but from want of experience in mixing other substances with it, the brittleness of its nature rendered the application useless.

As a varnish it will equal that of mastic, from the lightness of its colour, the cheapness at which it can be furnished, and the dissolving in alcohol. From its inflammatory properties it can be convertible into sealing-wax; but manufacturers of this article will require experimental knowledge of the quantities of lac and resin to obviate its want of freely dropping in its crude state. The articles required for this purpose are, say of Kouri, lac, and common resin, and vermilion, an ounce each; the three first require to be well pounded and mixed; afterwards, the vermilion should be added, which should be gently melted in half an ounce of oil of turpentine in a pipkin. For this purpose, it is immaterial what colour or state the Kapia may be, but for a varnish, that most recently obtained from the tree is to be preferred.

From the brilliant flame it emits, it would doubtless make a splendid gas; but when it is considered, that in ten years a vast quantity of forest-lands will be cleared away, as civilization and agriculture progress, and that its growth is confined to the latitude of the north side of the Bay of Plenty, (though it may now be obtained in abundance,) yet a few years we affirm will make so decreasing a difference, that the expense would be found too considerable; otherwise its especial service as a gas is undeniable, and the only drawback, that might materially effect its disuse, would be caused by the volumes of black smoke that would in all probability ascend from it.

[Image of page 268]


Around bright flames of the Kouri resin, we oft-times held an evening conversazione with the natives in front of our mansion when residing on the banks of the flowing tributaries of the Hokianga. At these nocturnal meetings, the chiefs either lying on the ground which was covered with their outstretched mats of the flax-plant, with their youngest children ensconced between their knees, or in upright sitting postures, leaning against the walls of the house, and railing of the verandah enclosure, would wile away the time in relating tales of by-gone feuds, the ferocious daring and constitutional recklessness of warriors that in their time had carried rapine and destruction into the villages of their enemies and covered themselves with victorious laurels and deathless renown, not oblivious as to feasting right heartily on the vanquished people.

Tales of surprise and terror evinced by the simple natives on first beholding white men, and subsequent quarrels between the two races, or among the former for precedence in trade, would occupy the volubility of others. Ever and anon, the clamorous risibility of the females, who accompanying their husbands, form a party apart by themselves, would break in on the thread of a narrative as oft told and worn out as the venerable reciter himself. Others would be gossiping over the events of the day, or the occurrences at past festivities, present employment, or future plans. Among other subjects that elicited applause, was probably, the stoical indifference exhibited by an old dictator of the village, at the return of his son after an absence of several years passed on board whaling ships that had circumnavigated the globe.

[Image of page 269]


The detailed manner how he deported himself, not a muscle in the face being moved, until the ban over the natural feelings of the father, as established by native ton and etiquette, were removed; when the stoic was lost in the overpowering adoration of the parent.

The traditionary fascination formerly exercised by some nondescript diavolo with a "local habitation," but nameless, would also be related for the thousandth time, but from privileged departure from the original germ of the tale, would be as good as new, and the intent auditors would occupy a portion of the time at these "at homes," and if the narrator possessed any tact at doling forth recitations of the wild and wonderful, he would easily paralyze his greedy listeners, while the more intent devourers of the legendary theme would be shaken into fits, that approaches our ideas of the supposed powers of the cockatrice, and modern suppositions of the cobra di capello and rattlesnake in fascinating animate objects, who, spell-bound in terror, are deprived of exercising the means of self-defence or flight.

Other tales, of successful fraud or fascination of another kind, would then occupy the attention of the tremor-struck audience. A fowler would narrate how by means of local imitation he would with well-practised subtilty entice the winged tribes of the forest into his net, or decoy with a well-trained bird, its simple species into the power of its master.

This subject would lead to anecdotes of the fishery, the hunting of the bush-pig, the docility, affection,

[Image of page 270]


and instinctive sagacity of the dogs, etc. One anecdote of successful cowardice, we remember as having met with the most approving applauses. The narrator had been hunting the cochon maron or bush-pig, but in the ardour of the chase he found he had entered close to a forest-encampment of the enemy to his tribe. With great caution he peered about, but found, to his great delight, that the place was left in the possession of an old woman, literally of that genus, who was employed scraping flax. After carefully concealing himself in an adjoining thicket, and carefully priming his piece, he hoisted a small mat which he wore, on a stick that casually lay on the ground, which he placed upright on the soil; he then gently imitated the whining of a dog when in a state of physical embarrassment.

At this uncommon sound breaking on the lone stillness of the place, the aged sibyl raised her head in great trepidation, and the dogs of the place, without whom society in New Zealand would not be select, began to raise their war-whoop, but the adventurous imitator had gone too far to retreat, he therefore repeated the uneasy whine, when the old woman, turning in that direction, espied the mat. Unconscious that an enemy could lurk in the vicinity of the forest, and curiosity being excited, she approached to the object, but probably from some mental misgiving, turned suddenly about; however, with much caution she again approached the suspicious object, and when stooping in the act to lift it up, the villain concealed, pulled the trigger of his piece, and she fell a mutilated corpse.

[Image of page 271]


He was about to dismember a part of the body to carry it away as a trophy of his successful daring, but suddenly recollecting that the report of his weapon might have alarmed some stragglers of the encampment, and that his track would be betrayed by the blood of the murdered woman, he turned away, in greater haste than he had approached the place, and launching a bundle of dried bulrushes in the adjacent river, that divided the enemies' territory from that of his own tribe, succeeded in reaching the opposite shore in safety.

The surprise of the friends of the poor murdered creature, on discovering her body weltering in blood, did not long subsist, as the perpetrator boasted of the valour of his misdeed, and as such an act of cowardice is termed consummate bravery on a prudent basis, and is admitted on all sides during war-time, he escaped unpunished. The woman being a slave, the enemy were less implacable, but had she been of the rank of chieftainship, the glory of the murderer would have been greater, as the vengeance of the enemy had been more settled and determined.

The appearance presented around by the bright flickering flames was romantic in the extreme. The narrator of the tale was the only animated person in the circle. When action or the passions were described, especially when the egotistical speaker was also the hero of his subject, he would start on his feet, dart forth his arms, the better to render his audience alive to actual facts related, and shouldering his hani or hand-spear, "to show how fields are won," crying

[Image of page 272]


aloud in strains rivalling a Stentor, the indomitable bravery that had actuated his past prowess. 1 The audience sat in attentive silence, with their eyes alone visible, scanning the ground, or the action of the animated speaker, the nether portion of their faces being covered with their mats or blankets, a favourite attitude among those people, when the tobacco pipe, or meals are laid aside.

A profusion of red paint, with blue and black stains of pigment round the eyes, their bodies habited in fantastic dresses, added to the effect of the wild nature of the surrounding scenery, enshrouded by the sombre hue of night, or the fleecy fogs and mists that rise from the mud-banks that line either shore of the river, and which are exposed on the ebb-tide.

On the bank, below the house, was a series of saw-pits, placed thus conveniently at the water-side, to parbuckle or raise by capstan bars and ropes, logs of timber, for cutting up by the sawyers, to the right of which a portion of the mud-bank was enclosed in with stakes, let deep into the oozy matter, as a dock for containing the timber, cut down by the natives and floated with the tide up or down the river (accord-

[Image of page 273]


ing to the locality from whence they were obtained,) and sold to the European traders.

On the opposite side of the river the hills rise to some height, with varying undulations, covered with inferior timber and young pines; the most valuable of those trees growing in perfection in the forest-lands, through which flow various creeks.

In the dock, during the flood-tide, the rails were two-thirds under water, in which the logs and spars of the Kouri, Kahikatea, Rewa-rewa, and similar light pines, floated on the surface, some spars of these trees were thus buoyant, though in length some exceeded seventy feet, ready squared for export; but the Totara, Tanikaha, Pohutokaua, Rata, and similar heavy woods of the pine tribe remained below half buried in the oozy mud. At the ebb-tide, the dock was laid bare, adding to the humidity of the atmosphere, until the returning flood covered the place, and lifted on its tranquil bosom the lightest trees.

The night-scenes at our homestead on the Hokianga, which we have attempted to depict, were much relished by the natives of the neighbouring villages, as a soiree at which they could not only unburden their own views, but obtain the most recent news, as the spot on which we were located was regarded as the half-way-house between the lower and upper villages on the banks of the river.

Canoes on their progress to and fro, would put in here for the night, and their owners would join the party assembled on the height above; news was thus interchanged, and mutual civilities exchanged. The

[Image of page 274]


tastes of these people sometimes led them to exercise the vocal art, which was always followed by a chorus in a nasal key, in which they particularly delight.

This was the routine of these evening parties, by the light of the Kouri gum, unless some native traveller who had visited foreign lands had lately arrived, by way of the Bay of Islands, on which he became tacitly elected "lion of the party." That "travellers see strange things," was vouched by the new-comer to the life, and what with the relation of new scenes as striking a mind unused to civilization, aided with the magical dressing of a discursive imagination, rendered the individual an important addition to the monotonous society of the village.

In justice to the mental abilities of his audience, it must be observed that all flaming accounts and "accidents by flood and field," were not regarded true as proofs of holy writ, as on any flourishing reminiscence being narrated, the old sages with covered mouths, winked with an arch significance at each other, pregnant with meaning, in addition to which, faces painted as arranged for a pantomime, gave to them an air so indescribably comical, as rendered it impossible for the European to refrain from laughter.

In addition to the timber-trees, whose value, such as we have enumerated, will be apparent to the colonist, a large catalogue of palm cabbage and bacciferous or berry-bearing trees and shrubs are indigenous to New Zealand, growing with a luxuriance that would excite to ecstasies the fanciful tastes of the landscape gardener.

[Image of page 275]


But what is of more especial value to the colonists are the barks of several trees that will be found of especial service to the tanner and dyer.


The only edible, traditionally stated as growing in New Zealand, coeval with its earliest inhabitants, is the Kumara or indigenous sweet potato.

Of this vegetable a great variety exist, caused by the united influence of climate, soil, attention paid to its culture, exposure, &c. In taste and size they equally differ, some being the size and shape of the finger on a human body, and extremely farinaceous and nutritious, while other varieties, especially the Kai pakeha or white man's food, is as large as a yam, weighing several pounds, and containing more saccharine than farinaceous properties. It is planted in small mounds after the land has been well broken up with the hoe, and after a few days' exposure to the sun and air, the clods are well beaten, and the seed, to which the natives attach many superstitious notions, from its having been the food of the gods, alias their earliest progenitors, is planted, and the earth around hollowed.

On this vegetable arriving at perfection, a hakari or feast of harvest-home is given, when the priests, in their devoted anxiety to officiate as servants to the gods, swallow a large portion of this much-esteemed vegetable with a religious determination, until satiety wholly vanquishes the unsubdued inclination.

[Image of page 276]


The potato of South America and Europe is too well known to admit of our giving any advice for its culture; suffice it, that when allowed to attain their full growth, in flavour and size they yield to no vegetable of its kind grown in any part of the globe, but the natives hitherto, in their anxious and infantile avidity to obtain a payment or possession of some valued article, dig the root often previously to its having flowered, green and stunted in growth; the taste in consequence must be acrid and unwholesome.

This antiscorbutic has preserved the lives and rapid declining health of numberless seamen who have been fortunate to make New Zealand in the season. There are several varieties cultivated.

The summer potato, or the Kapana is as farinaceous as the Uwhi, or winter species is the contrary.

The colonists residing north of the river Thames and Manukau may produce new potatoes every month in the year.

Wheat and barley grow to great perfection; even on the cold and hard clay soil of the hills exposed to strong winds, the ears attain to a large size and full.

Indian corn (Holcus indicus) is cultivated by the natives, to whom it is specially accounted a grateful article of food. Several varieties are grown, and is planted in hills, two or three seeds being put in the ground. It grows to a large size, the seeds are extremely farinaceous and plump, and a more nutritious food is scarcely known. The colonists of Australia import and grow large quantities of maize, another name by which it is known, and in all our slave colonies it is held in especial repute.

[Image of page 277]


The New Zealanders have a filthy method of eating the corn, by steeping it some days in water, when it acquires so nauseous an odour, that a traveller, having any respect for his nasal organs, will feel gratefully relieved by keeping to windward. Pumpkins, gourds, calabashes, cucumbers, vegetable marrow, squashes, and the whole family of this serviceable tribe in culinary vegetation, grow abundantly, and attain a large size; so much does the first-named of these edibles progress, that a person rejoicing in an obese temperament, is often surnamed Pupu paukina, or pumpkin stomach.

Among other esteemed vegetables that grow as if indigenous to the soil, though importations from Australia and India, are turnips, that grow wild in such abundance, that in the deserted districts about the north of the Bay of Plenty, the bright yellow and fragrant flowers of the Keha or turnip, may be seen for miles, waving on its slight stalks as the breeze floats over the silent wastes.

Shalots, onions, some of which weigh upwards of two lbs., garlic, beet-root, endive, celery, growing wild throughout the country, as also leeks, parsley, purslain, radishes. New Zealand spinach, Spanish and European radishes, cabbages, greens, cauliflowers, broccoli, artichokes, nasturtiums, chili peppers, capsicums, mustard, cresses, and such vegetables as arrive at healthy perfection in Devonshire, and sheltered places in the South of England, flourish to excess in the above locality.

[Image of page 278]



The soil and variety in climate of New Zealand is especially adapted for the healthy perfection of fruits now indigenous to Great Britain. To the northward of the River Thames and Kaipara, grapes have been cultivated for some years past, and in our garden at Parramatta, a sketch of which precedes the title page of this volume, olives, pomegranates, nectarine-plants, brought from the botanical garden in Sydney, by the late Mr. Cunningham, and presented to us, grew to great advantage. Figs and peaches, both of large size, are common to the latitudes north of the Bay of Plenty, and apples, quinces, pears, gooseberries, currants, Cape gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, mulberries, &c., thrive well, and return an abundance. At Parramatta, we have two peach-trees that were planted several years since, that annually give an immense quantity of fruit, almost unequalled in size and flavour. This is stated, simply to show the progression to perfection of fruit in the northern parts of the country, when the said trees, for a series of years, had been left in all the wildness of nature, with no pruning hand to attend to their growth.

Peach-trees are found among the native villages especially up the Rivers Kawakawa Waikere and Waitangi, and around the Waimate settlement growing spontaneously from seeds, that had carelessly been thrown to the right and left of a road, without having been planted or subsequently cultured.

[Image of page 279]


A variety of exotics will nourish to the north of the River Thames, that will not flower in Van Diemen's Land; the fruits of South Africa, a portion of those indigenous to central South America. Chinese and Cape bulbs, including fencing-roots such as the prickly Cactus Indicus in its strange varieties, will also bear the climate of the north, and to be brief, the horticulturalist, market gardener, and practical farmer, are alone required to assist the valuable capabilities united of the climates and soils in New Zealand.

To the experimental colonist, the myrtiform-leaved Kaikatoa, will enable him to assert its properties with the newly-introduced tea of Assam, while indigo, the hop-plant, mimosa-barks, and other vegetable articles for dyes, will pay well for their careful culture.

In 1835, we introduced the first foreign manufacture in New Zealand; viz., a brewery, as a preventive to the then rapid spread of deleterious spirits that were consumed, less probably from taste, than the want of an invigorating substitute. A house was erected for this purpose (the first building in centre of the sketch of Parramatta in the frontispiece) and we were indebted to Sydney for the hops required for the article.

The natives after some little practice in quaffing, soon became to relish it, and baskets of potatoes, packages offish, etc., soon found conveyance to Parramatta, in exchange for pierian draughts of New Zealand beer.

There are two streams on the settlement, of clear pellucid water, that run throughout the year, each capable of affording sufficient water for all the shipping that anchor in the harbour. It was found excellently well adapted for the purpose it was now applied to. An

[Image of page 280]


able brewer from Hobart Town, superintended the little establishment, and had we continued to reside without intermission in the country, it must have eventually proved extremely profitable.

Though our occupation in the Bay of Islands, was for the supplying of shipping with stores, generally termed ship-chandlery, disposing of what is termed by nautical men, from a needle to an anchor, yet the possession of a brewery was not incompatible with the said occupation.

To distinguish what are termed grog-shops and ship-stores, we may as well observe, that the former is a small place where spirits reduced below proof are sold by the glass, whereas, in the latter, spirits are never sold less than one-fifth of a gallon, old measure.

In all colonial stores throughout the Canadas, etc., spirits are thus sold whosesale and retail, and in the United States, it is common to see captains of either service, majors, colonels, etc., personally retailing spirits in their stores. The domestic system of trade in our new colonies, is conducted wholly different from the systematic customs in England. Thus a gentleman uniting in his own person, the distinguished offices of a member of the Colonial legislative council, Bank-director, and President of various societies, will be found in his stores, personally disposing, invoices of cordage and ribands, sail-cloth and sheetings, shovels and spoons, knives and forks, scythes and pitchforks, head-combs and curry-combs, highly-scented perfumery, and pitch, tar, resin, etc., ladies' millinery, tarpaulins and Flushing shirts, la Rose veritable pour les Dames, with paints of colours ready mixed, Row-

[Image of page 281]


land's Kalydor, with sperm, black, and linseed-oils, log-books and albums, ladies' cordials, and spirits in bond, whiting and blacking, kid-gloves and pump-leather, sugars and saur-kraut, hot chillies and cold-drawn castor-oil, tarred twine and sewing threads, stay-ropes and stay-laces, ratline of various threads, and rat-traps of various sizes, medicines, arsenics, antidotes, etc.


For a more detailed account of mosses, lichens, fungi, ferns, creeping plants, barks, palms, marine vegetation, and of the extensive marsh lands, &c., we must refer the reader to our former narrative.

As also that of the feathered tribes of whom we can only now observe as being numerous, but the generality of small size. In vocal sweetness, tone, and ability, many of them equal the British woodland songsters. They generally commence their concert before the dawn of day, which is swelled in sound by fresh choristers as they shake off the repose of night, continuing the chant until sunrise, when they separate, each to pursue his winged labours for the day, in providing sustenance for themselves and their young.

As the industrious colonist who pursues the same lesson of nature, in providing like the birds for their bills, it can give but very little interest, whether the feathered tribes are clothed in red, like military Britons, or blue, similar to the French, yellow, as the Austrians, black, like the Brunswickers, green, conformable to the Turks, or white, as the Chinese, or whether in fashion they rejoice in the swallow-tail cut, or breadth a

[Image of page 282]


posteriori of quakerism, such details we leave to historians of more soaring temperaments than we possess, and give a list of the birds that are now habitants of the country, with the remark, that many tribes even of those animals are extinct, who have easily become prey to the earlier natives from natural causes, and physical slowness in their movements.

We may place the Kukupa, or wood-pigeon at the head of the list, as affording a delectable treat to the connoisseur. When in good condition a mass of fat is found near the tail which the native ladies apply to the hair. Those veritable dealers in the fat of the affectionate Bruin, whose unwieldy embrace represents love at the Poles, would hide their diminished heads in comparing the two adipous matters together. From January to May, the native pigeon forms a delicious nutriment. Parrots, also worthy the attentive consideration of a Mrs. Glasse, or the auto-biographical Kitchener, are also very plentiful. From letters we have seen from South Australia, the writers deliver their opinions on the merits of parrot and parroquet pies, with expressions of rapturous ecstasy, that throw the fragmental thoughts of Heliogabalus, Apicius, Lucullus, and a host of similar worthies in the shade. A visible decrease of the birds is fast taking place, or we might expect to hear that the fate of Hardicanute had overtaken some of these colonists in their career. The Tui bird so termed from its silvery note resembling that sound, is the mocking-bird of the country, even these little fellows, who are very blue, very restless, and very shortlived, find mausoleums in the stomachs of the more rational bipeds.

[Image of page 283]


Nightingales, cuckoos, who, according to the authority of Shakspeare, "mock married men," kingfishers, and wood-peckers, that live in the holes and decayed trunks of trees, the titmouse, swallows, wagtails, cockrobins, thrushes, wattle-birds, larks, hawks, sparrow-hawks, crows, are as numerous as varied in their species.

Colonists will find the hawks a destructive neighbour to the poultry-yard, being, like the native dogs, a source of much annoyance, but the happy conceit of employing scarecrows is yet to be tried.

A great number of small birds whose insignificant size (about the dimensions of a walnut) has proved their saving clause, are found hopping with unceasing movements from twig to spray, abound among the bushes, and from these birds issue the melodious notes that enliven so delightfully the native woodlands and stream-coursing glades.

Many of these little fellows evince particular care of themselves, keeping their "at home," nestled in the bushes during the prevalence of the chilling winds that blow in heavy gusts from the south.

Owls, with or without spectacles, are very numerous, their beaks are about as enormous, and their eyes, and not less in shape to their brethren in Europe. The gallinaceous or poultry-yard order of birds have been long acclimated to New Zealand. Of the palmipede or web-footed genus, the duck or pareira, formerly frequented the bosom of the silent rivers in vast numbers, so numerous that we have often chased them with paddles.

On the sea coasts, the most common to be met

[Image of page 284]


with are shags, gulls, blue petrels, red sea-pies, black divers, white herons, green gannets, yellow sand-plover, brown noddies, cream-coloured albatrosses, speckled sand-larks, striped cormorants, tall pelicans, short auks, variegated rails, varied oyster-catchers, fat water-hens, and the scaly penguin that partakes both of piscivorous and ornithological properties.

We have already enumerated the finny tribes that the emigrant will find in the salt waters laving the shores of the country.

In bygone years seals were extremely numerous in all the southern bays around the country. Some gentlemen resident in Sydney, procured by means of sealing parties, (a race of hardy fearnought kind of fellows,) the furry jackets of 100,000 of those amphibious animals in one year. Mr. Simeon Lord, an old colonist, and a gentleman highly respected, obtained, it is said, an annual tribute of this description and amount. But as is generally the case where success is unbounded, the reckless sealers cut up, without prudence or mercy, both the young cubs that were useless to them, as well as the old whigs, (not political ones,) and their destruction has been complete. These animals are disappearing fast from creation, the only place known where they yet congregate in large flocks is at the New South Shetlands, and the Ultima Thule of the terrestrial globe.

Among the reptiles, a few harmless lizards frequenting the sun-lit meadows exist in the Northern Island, but guanas', a gigantic species of this frigid animal, exist in recesses of the forest and mountain gorges of the heights of the Island of Victoria.

From the entomology, (narara,) of New Zealand, the

[Image of page 285]


colonist will receive but little annoyance as is experienced by the habitants of more tropical climes. The spiders are the most numerous, weaving meshes of great extent among the bushes of Kaikakoa and tu pakihi, or elderberries. They form a conical nest round various other shrubs of the plain, and the wiwi and raupo of the marshes. 2 Within those filmy substances, the little spiders abound in great numbers, and with the instinctive feelings of nature, put themselves in motion the instant they are liberated.

Snails, grubs, earthworms of great length, and caterpillars, various as numerous, require the prudence and experience of the farmer to extirpate from his produce. The roots of the vegetation, is often covered at morn-

[Image of page 286]


ing with the intrusive vermin. There are several kind of birds that feast on them, and serve to decrease their numbers.

A bird called the martin, originally brought from India to the Mauritius, might be introduced into New Zealand, as of important service in aiding towards their destruction.

Scorpions, centipedes, and millepedes, we have discovered ensconced within the excoriated bark of the forest-trees, but their powers are as feeble as the bodies are insignificant, their forms are the same as those we have seen in Africa.

Among other articles of domestic consumption and lucrative export, will be found the salting, pickling, and drying of fish, which, as we have stated, abounds in the seas and salt-water rivers. Pearl shell may be obtained from the pawa or mutton-fish, and several other varieties in conchology that cling to the rocks.

Sponges also abound on the coast, but small in size.

All the numerous mud and sand banks that line the rivers, creeks, &c., abound in shell-fish, such as we have enumerated. To the naturalist an unfailing source of amusement in untrodden paths lies open before him, and as we felt scientifically communicative in our previous labours, he will excuse our repetition in the present instance. He will not only discover shells on the rocks, and under water, but deeply embedded in the highest mountains.

[Image of page 287]



To the geologist we appeal in like manner, simply observing that volcanic evidences of the primeval origin of the country will arrest his attention in every portion of the territory.

Some of those terrestrial phenomena are yet in active ignition. Such as Wakari, an island thirty miles N. N. W. of Te Kaka, or Cape Runaway, the Southern extremity of the Bay of Plenty.

In 1835, we were becalmed six days in a small vessel we had chartered, opposite to this solitary isle, and during the night strong lurid flames were without intermission ejected from the central crater, and during the day thick black smoke rose in perpendicular clouds, high in the boundless space, that pointed to us the locality long after its loom had disappeared to our vision in the clear horizon. The lava (punga rea] is found on the shores of this coast far distant from the spot from whence they are ejected, and is made use of by the natives for polishing the steel barrel and locks, as also the brass-work of their ammunition. Active volcanoes also exist in the interior parts of the North Islands, causing a numerous quantity of boiling springs possessing properties as serviceable to future colonists, as various in their nature. From this natural agency, sulphur may be obtained in large quantities, as brilliant in colour as that article is found to be in Europe.

It will prove profitable as an export to India, after it has undergone fusion and refinement, one third of the

[Image of page 288]


substance being dross or impure matter. 3 As a soil, the mouldering lava and similar debris, will be found an excellent compost for unproductive districts. The form of many detached masses of lava, arrested on the subtile liquid suddenly cooling, may be classed among the most prominent curiosities in nature, as also we may mention the numerous caverns and submarine hollows, imbricated by the sea, in its lashing fury during a tropical storm.

A variety of marbles in immense blocks will be found of productive value to the colonists. They are found throughout the country, but the green talc is confined to the South-east extremity of the island of Victoria.

The cornelians hitherto discovered in the sand-hills, though numerous, have possessed but little worth. Coal is embedded in various parts of the country, and if geologists do not err as to its primitive formation, it must be abundantly situated in every district.

The bases of the hills are of whinstone, surmounted by hard indurated clay, in which large pieces of white

[Image of page 289]


chert are found. We have often discovered small blocks of obsidian or volcanic glass, on some garden ground being turned up, or trench dug for a row of stakes or water-course, but doubtless they had originally been brought from the southward by former natives, the sharp angular particles being used in the absence of steel chisels and similar implements, and lost in time, or buried for safety by the suspicious owners previously to leaving the place on an excursion--martial or otherwise--when relentless death prevented their return. Among other geological and mineral resources will be found sandstone, marcasite, bismuth, quartz, granite, enclosing pieces of cyanite, freestone, basalt rocks, jaspers, and pigments of various colours, manganese, metallic limations, silica, and ochreous earths, iron stone, and iron pyrites of sizes, chalks, marls, corals, fossils, and singular formations in fossil substances, ambergris, petrifactions, ostracites, resins, &c.

In reviewing the preceding productions indigenous to New Zealand, the timber must be accounted the most valuable of the exports. From the forests can also be obtained barilla, pot-ashes, alkali's, rattans, and beautifully grained woods, for veneering, and the general purposes of furniture and domestic use, including barks for tanning, &c.

The flax plant follows, the most to be regarded, as next in value. Fish can be procured in large quantities, for pickling and salting, which would meet with ready sale in the Australian colonies as rations in part for the assigned servants of the government and farmers located in the interior. In the Mauritius, it would meet with ready sale as the principal sustenance

[Image of page 290]


to the coloured class (after rice) is the poisson sale, and might be forwarded in barter for sugar. Sharks' fins and tails, a fishery for which in the season, might be profitably carried on by small craft in the Frith of Thames, would meet with an immediate sale among the Chinese at the rate of from four to six shillings per lb. and might be bartered in exchange for the commodities of that celestial market.

Seal-skins cannot be had in sufficient quantity to be serviceable, but for some few years, the sperm and black whale species that abound on the coasts, will ensure a profitable result as a commercial speculation, but the time is approaching when these leviathans of the deep, will be unknown in the vicinity, from the ruthless extermination that is carrying on against them.

Mother of pearl will sell in China, but the shell from Ceylon and other parts of India, and the Brazilian coast in South America, are infinitely superior.

A valuable trade is yet to be opened in the marine animal called the trepang, beche de la mer, and sea snail or slug. This article abounds on the reefs of the coasts of New South Wales, and the Archipelagoes to the eastward. The expenses of this speculation would be trifling compared with the profits that attend it, the superior black species selling at upwards of one hundred pounds the ton among the Chinese, who drench themselves (when able to afford the luxurious treat) in glutinous soups composed of the trepang-- shark tails, fins, and the nest of a swallow bird that is built amid solitary precipices and marine caverns, as fearful an occupation as that of the gatherer of samphire, touchingly described by our immortal poet.

[Image of page 291]



That our account of the indigenous productions of the country may not be incomplete, we append that of the celebrated Flax, or Korari plant, many tons of which we have purchased from the native manufacturers.

It is singular that among the many inventions for the cleaning of flax, made by European machinists, none has been found to answer the purpose equal to the slow method of scraping it by muscle-shells as used by the natives.

The future inventor of mechanism that will only equal the latter primitive mode, tending to save manual labour and time, deserves a free patent, as a reward for the national importance of his discovery.

New Zealand Flax, or PHORMIUM TENAX, in allusion to the leaves of this plant, being converted, among other uses, into that of baskets, flourishes in great abundance throughout the country, of which it is indigenous. It is found most plenteously in the vicinity of swamps, which abound throughout the interior, and does not perish by the salt-water tide washing its roots.

There are a variety of the species; principally caused by climate and soil; some flax-plants, to the northward, scarcely attaining the height of six feet; others, we have observed, to the southward, attained the height of sixteen feet. Portions of flax are to be seen adjoining almost every village; it is of incalculable service to the natives. In its natural state it is called korari or korali; when scraped or dressed, the common or inferior is called mooka; the superior sort,

[Image of page 292]


hunga hunga; the latter term is but rarely made use of. The natives make all their valuable apparel of the leaves of this plant; they also manufacture their fishing lines and every kind of cordage, and by splitting the leaves into strips, the fishing nets and seines are made, simply, by tying these strips together; some of the latter are of an enormous size.

Sir Joseph Banks was the first discoverer of this staple, and says, "A plant, which, with such advantages, might be applied to so many useful and important purposes, would certainly be a great acquisition to England, where it would probably thrive with very little trouble, as it seems to be hardy, and to affect no particular soil, being found equally in hill and valley, in the driest mould and the deepest bogs."

It has been growing in France for the last forty years, and has withstood the severity of a Parisian winter, and in the South of France, as might be expected, it has flourished with great success. In the west also, near to Cherbourg, it has perfectly succeeded and yielded ripe fruit. It readily increases by dividing the roots.

M. Faujas de St. Fond prepared the fibre in the following manner: he dissolved three pounds of soap in a sufficient quantity of water, together with twenty-five pounds of the split leaves of the flax, tied up in bundles. All were then boiled during the space of five hours, until the leaves were deprived of the tenacious gluten at the lateral end of the leaf, but which is not removed by the ordinary process employed in the preparation of hemp; after which, they were carefully washed in running water.

[Image of page 293]


Flax-plants have flourished in various gardens throughout England, and at Inverness in Scotland, without any shelter against the inclemency of a northern winter. The South of Ireland would be peculiarly adapted for this plant. The Phormium tenax is now an inhabitant of various parts of the Continent. It is also indigenous to Norfolk Island, where it is seen along the cliffs within the influence of the salt-water spray, rising from the heavy surfs which beat against the rocky coast of that beautiful garden of the Pacific. It is also a native of the Chatham Islands, and is of similar service to the people of that valuable little group.

From the experiments of M. Labillardiere, the strength of the fibre of this plant, as compared with that of the Agave Americana, flax, hemp, and silk, is as follows:

The fibre of the Agave breaks under a weight of 7
       "      Flax      "     "     11 1/2
       "      Phormium  "     "     23 7-11
       "      Silk      "     "     24

Thus it appears of all vegetable fibres, the phormium is the strongest. It possesses this advantage over the hemp and flax, that it is of a brilliant whiteness, which gives it a satiny appearance; so that the clothes made of it do not need to be bleached by a tedious process, or through those other means by which flax is injured. Flax is prepared in New Zealand by the females and slaves. The separating of the silky fibre from the flag-like leaf is thus performed: the apex is hold between the toes; a transverse section is then made

[Image of page 294]


through the succulent matter at that end with a common muscle-shell, which is inserted between that substance and the fibre, which readily effects its separation by drawing the shell through the whole of the leaf. It has been attempted in Sydney to withdraw the filaments from the leaves by maceration; but the large proportion of succulent matter rendered it impossible to effect the separation by decomposition in water, without materially injuring the strength of the fibre.

Leaves of this plant are generally scraped as early as cut, as the thick gum is enclosed at the lower part of the leaf, rising from either side in a pyramidal form, and adheres strongly when drying. The late celebrated botanist, Peter Cunningham, Esq., observes: "Simple as appears this mode of separating the flax from the leaf by a shell in the hands of those savages, still the European has not succeeded in his endeavours to prepare the fibre for himself, either by that, or any other means that have been tried; nor has any instrument or piece of machinery yet been invented to enable him to strip off and prepare this valuable filament for the English market. The Port Jackson traders must still be dependent on the native women and their shells for the cargoes they obtain."

The flax thus obtained by the merchants of Sydney undergoes no heckling, cleaning, or other preparation, previously to its being shipped for the English market; but is merely made into bales, by being put into a press and screwed down. It is subsequently manufactured into every species of cordage, excepting cables, and its superiority of strength to the hemp of

[Image of page 295]


the Baltic has been attested both by experiments made at Sydney and in the King's yards at Deptford.

The phormium has been in use for many years past, made up into tacks, sheets, braces, stays, &c., and its superiority in bearing a great strain over hemp has been well attested. It is very elastic and strong.

Mr. Cunningham made a professional trip with Captain P. P. King, in an exploring expedition on the coast of New Holland, in the colonial cutter, "Mermaid;" he says: "We bent a new main sheet at Port Jackson, which, in a cutter, is a rope on which there is ever much stress, and after nine months, returned from the north-west coast, and the rope was still good and serviceable, whereas of Baltic hemp, a main sheet by friction and strain would have been so worn at the close of our surveys on that coast, that it would have become indispensable to bend another to carry us back from that shore to Port Jackson, the voyage being seven or eight weeks."

Some attempts have been made to fabricate cloth of the phormium; but it has hitherto failed in every instance. Equally unfavourable have been the results on boiling the phormium with potash, the substance becomes too much reduced in strength, so as scarce to bear even weaving. The strength of the phormium doubtless is mainly assisted by the gum which bathes every fibre.

The root of the phormium is fleshy; a tuberiform root-stock, creeping beneath the surface of the soil, sending up many tufts of luxuriously growing leaves, from four to twelve feet long, and from two to three

[Image of page 296]


inches in diameter. They are (to describe them botanically) distichous, vertical, coriaceous, and deep green, finely striated, ensiform; the margin and nerve, somewhat orange-red; at the base, the inner edge has a deep furrow, which sheathes the leaf immediately within it; and upon various parts of the surface a gummy substance flakes off in whitish spots; from the centre of these tufts arises a scape, often eighteen feet in height, bearing several branches, containing a number of beautiful crimson flowers, which contain a saccharine juice much esteemed by the natives. It is a handsome and vigorous plant.

According to the statistical returns of New South Wales for 1828, the flax of the country, to the extent of sixty tons, was exported from Sydney to England, valued at 2600 pounds; in 1830, eight hundred and forty-one tons were exported; and in 1831, one thousand and sixty-two tons. Since which period, it has decreased every year.

Its superiority over the Baltic hemp is established among rope-manufacturers, and there is only required the invention of machinery, obviating the present most expensive mode of its manufacture; to obtain for it a remunerating price and universal demand.

The flax-houses are covered with rushes and wire-grass to prevent the intrusion of rain or damp, as the flax turns black when saturated. At present it takes tar very indifferently, that substance coming off on the hand when the ropes are hauled over, this is a palpable defect in running rigging, but experience may produce a method to obviate it.

[Image of page 297]



In addition to our geographical table, we have condensed a description of the following Islands in the vicinity of New Zealand, as subsequent marts, worthy the attention of such emigrants who may be desirous of trading by means of small vessels in seal-skins, fish, oil, and agricultural produce. They are more or less inhabited by Europeans. We commence with the most southerly group, for the sake of geographical perspicuity. It was first discovered accidentally in 1831, by a Sealing Master, who procured a cargo of eighty thousand skins of that amphibious animal, and were named MACQUARIE ISLANDS, after the governor of the colony of New South Wales. The principal island is about nineteen miles long, and six miles in breadth, containing two open anchorages. Notwithstanding the high latitude in which the group is situated, Macquarie Island is covered with vegetation, but the land is uneven, indented by bights and ravines. At a little distance to the northward lie two rocky islets named the JUDGE and CLERK, two similar sterile islets lie to the south, that figure under the ecclesiastical appellation of the BISHOP and CLERK, the middle of the group is situated in 54 deg. 39' South latitude, 156 deg. 21' East longitude.

CAMPBELL'S ISLAND was discovered in 1810 by the master of the ship "Perseverance." The land is high, about thirty miles in circumference; the coast is of a very rocky character, the interior is elevated land,

[Image of page 298]


from which emerge peaks of a very considerable height; the principal has a conical shape rising in a straight line from the surrounding mountains, various parts are covered with verdure, but producing only stunted trees. It is situated in 52 deg. 43' South latitude, 167 deg. 2' East longitude.

THE AUCKLAND GROUP was first visited by Captain Bristow in the whale-ship "Ocean." They are well covered with vegetation, from which several forests of trees of a large growth, and variety of species, flourish to a large size. These Isles were formerly a favourite resort of sealing gangs, and are at present much frequented by whalers. Tile spars that are produced in the forests, are serviceable for ships' masts, and a quantity of other timber of the pine tribe fitted for the shipwright is abundant; much of the indigenous shrubbery is similar to the productions in New Zealand. The only quadrupeds are rats; birds of beautiful plumage are very plentiful, whose melody resounds through the woods, which contain pigeons, parrots, parroquets, cuckoos, hawks, flycatchers, and a variety of the palmipede genus. Fish are plentiful around the shores, and among the shell-fish a muscle is particularly noticed as being fifteen inches in length. The climate is temperate and salubrious; the clothing of the forest perennial; good anchorage is also found. The principal island is twenty miles from north to south, in breadth eight miles. The western coast is the most elevated; one mountain that rises to some height on this side, is visible fifty miles distant at sea in clear weather; the smaller islands are called Enderby, Dis-

[Image of page 299]


appointment, Adam's Islands; geographical position in centre of the group, 50 deg. 40' South latitude, 164 deg. East longitude.

ANTIPODES ISLAND was discovered by Captain Pendleton of the sealing vessel "Union" in 1800, and received this appellative from being nearly antipodal of London. The land is of middling height, situated in 45 deg. 40' South latitude, 177 deg. 20' East longitude.

The BOUNTY GROUP was discovered by Bligh in 1788, on his passage to Tahiti; it has since been visited by sealing gangs, and whalemen. The group comprises thirteen islets, within a space of three and a half miles from north to south, 47 deg. 44' South latitude, 176 deg. 47' East longitude.

All the above groups were originally deserted, and until within a few years, the favourite resort of sealers, who in former years were very successful. A far more interesting archipelago than any of the preceding is furnished for our contemplation in the CHATHAM ISLANDS, discovered on the 23rd of November 1791, by Lieut. Broughton, who accompanied Vancouver in his survey of the north-west coast of the American Continent, and named the country after the vessel that first conveyed Europeans in sight of its shores. Broughton anchored in the bay on the north side of the principal island. The natives assembled in numbers on the beach, though from the absence of any houses in the vicinity, the people were supposed to have been on a fishing excursion. The presents given by the Englishmen met with no returns in exchange, and though pressingly invited to land by the islanders, their visitors

[Image of page 300]


hesitated, but thought proper after some time to do so, and took possession of the island by the fancied right of discovery in the name of his Majesty George the Third. The natives were armed with clubs and lances; between thirty and forty of them surrounded the Lieutenant, and began to show unequivocal signs of hostility, when that officer was obliged to discharge his piece in self-defence: upon the report of the musket, they were greatly astonished and alarmed; but as early as their fears abated they recommenced their menacing positions, when Broughton ordered the boat in shore, and prepared to embark. An officer named Johnson had his piece taken out of his hand, but he hastily recovered it, and on the natives hemming him in a circle with threatening gestures, to avoid being struck by a savage who aimed a blow at him, he fired, the Englishmen were pushed into the water, and on getting into the boat, a shower of lances and stones were hurled at them, but two persons only were hurt. One of the savages was killed. Broughton, to make evident his peaceable intentions, left in a canoe the various trifles he had brought with him on shore to conciliate the islanders.

The natives of the Chatham Islands are at present better known; they are descended from the New Zealanders, but have degenerated much from that people. Their manners, habits, laws and customs, are much the same; chieftainship is equally venerated; the priesthood have similar sway, and the signs of joy grief, anger, salutation, &c. bear an equal resemblance. Tattooing is not used. The stature of the people is

[Image of page 301]


smaller than that of the New Zealanders, with similar features and complexion; the dress is formed of sealskins, the hairy side being worn outwards. The hair is worn in similar fashions to their progenitors, and they delight in ornamenting themselves with feathers; they are vigorous and well made. Shells and teeth are accounted the ne plus ultra of ornaments, as bracelets, ear-rings, collars, &c. They are a lively, but timid people; the language is much the same as the dialect in New Zealand, either people understanding each other. The inhabitants were numerous; the account of the misfortunes that have been entailed on them by the reckless rapacity of an English trading master, we formerly detailed, and unless some friendly government put a stop to the plan of extermination by cannibalism, now pursued by the New Zealanders located among them, not a single aborigine of the country will exist within a very few years.

The forests are well wooded, containing many large trees, and penetrable to the traveller. The phormium is also abundant, and is made use of for fishing lines, dresses, etc. The villages contain many houses similar to those of the inferior class, put together of bulrushes, in New Zealand. The canoes are also similar, and carving designs on wood is practised. Lances form the weapons of war, some of them are seven feet in length; stones (without slings) and heavy clubs with knobs carved at the end. The cookery is by heated stones; the fern-root, which grows to a large size, is also made use of as an article of food, as is the kumara. Birds, which are very numerous,, were formerly seen to hover around the natives without

[Image of page 302]


fear. Fish is their principal sustenance, and hogs, fowls, goats, dogs, rats, etc., are common in the country; ducks, pigeons, parrots, hawks, and a variety of the palmipede tribe, are common to the shores of their islands. The largest of the group is about thirty-six miles long from east to west; the others are less considerable: viz., the Two SISTERS, PYRAMID and CORNWALLIS ISLANDS; this little archipel extends one hundred and twenty miles from S. E. to N. E., and is situated from 43 deg. 38' to 44 deg. 40' South lat., 179 to 177 West long. These Islands will doubtless be declared as dependencies to the colony of New South Wales.

A smaller group, bearing north of New Zealand, comprises the ISLANDS of CURTIS and MACAULEY, discovered by Captain Watts in the "Penrhyn" in 1788, and Raoul and Esperance, first seen by d'Entrecasteaux in 1793, called SUNDAY and HOPE ISLANDS in the English charts. These lands are moderately high; that of Sunday is the most elevated; it is about three leagues in circuit, and well wooded; it has two small beaches on either side, and this group is the resort of the whale-ships in the season; no less than thirty sail of shipping has been seen from one islet, called the French Rock, employed in the sperm-whale fishery. A few sailors reside on the islands which are situated in the space of from 29 deg. 20' to 31 deg. 28' South latitude, from 178 deg. 43' to 179 deg. 36' East longitude, about three hundred miles due east of Banks' Peninsula, in the Island of Victoria.

NORFOLK ISLAND, which lies within three days' sail of New Zealand, is both beautiful and romantic, and has not been inaptly termed the garden of the Pacific.

[Image of page 303]


The only quadrupeds are the cats and rats which were introduced. 4

The military establishment is situated on the south side of the island. Landing is extremely difficult in the attainment, in consequence of a heavy surf continually lashing these rocky shores. Ships have been sailing on and off the island for several weeks together, unable to land the passengers or freight; the want of even a roadstead must ever prove a sensible drawback to the prosperity of these islands. This quarter of the globe is subjected to the infliction of hurricanes that blow with a fury that is scarcely to be conceived; the heaviest proceed from the southward, that often tear up large trees by the roots. This Island, similar to Port Phillip and New Zealand is a territory apportioned to the government of New South Wales.

The small group of HOWE'S ISLANDS closes the account of the minor archipelagoes in the vicinity of New Zealand, and included together with Australia under the title of Melanesie by modern French geographers.

It is composed of two small islands, discovered by Captain Ball in 1788. The land is very high, the space they occupy is six miles from N. N. W. to S. S. E. At the distance of nine miles a very remarkable conical-shaped rock rises directly from the ocean; the shore is steep, it is known as BALL'S PYRAMID. The principal land is inhabited by some seamen; good anchorage is afforded, it is situated in 31 deg. 31' South latitude, 156 deg. 50' East longitude. The natives inhabiting this group, are descended from the Polynesian islanders. Their treachery was fearfully proved last year (1839), by

[Image of page 304]


their cutting off the crew of the "Harmony" whale-ship of Sydney, and butchering the commander and his crew. They had also treated the people of the "John Bull," Captain Bartens, also a whaler of the same port, in the same manner, and destroyed the ship, after plundering the most valued of its stores, oil, etc. Another ship similarly destroyed, and its people barbarously murdered, are charged with absolute certainty to their atrocious account, and having tasted of success in their infamous treachery, for it was by this means they accomplished their ends, they had determined to persist in plundering and subsequently burning every ship that touched at the isles for water and provisions, and murder the crews that none should survive to betray them. These facts were made known by one or two of the Harmony's crew escaping to an American ship, that luckily appeared in the offing, and thus saved them from a similar fate. The government at Sydney intended to adopt coercive measures.

MIDDLETON ISLAND was discovered by Lieutenant Shortland, in 1788. It is elevated land; a remarkable peak rises from the interior that is visible in clear weather at sea to the distance of twenty miles. Its position is S. S. E. to N. N. W. in 20 deg. 10' South latitude, 157 deg. 30' East longitude. Between the above islands are situated the dangerous reefs of MIDDLETON and SERINGAPATAM.


E. VARTY, Printer, 27, Camomile Street, Bishopsgate.

1   All nations in a state of incivilization enunciate in strains as clamorous as if the auricular organs of their auditors were impeded by the roaring of an adjacent cataract. This accounts for the cracked tones and inharmonious throats of the elderly females, who screech forth their opinions and desires in similar strains from earliest infancy. A discourse between two lovers in a state of barbarism, may be likened to the tones of the distracted Orpheus, clamorous for his Eurydice, and interrupted by the legions of diablerie around him.
2   The raupo or bulrush will be found extremely useful as covering for barns, roofs of outhouses, &c. It grows to the height of from six to twelve feet in the marshes--and should be cut within a few inches of the roots at the close of spring--and left to dry--packed in bundles--during the summer. The long sheaves are extremely pithy and form a thick covering.
The wiwi is a wiry kind of grass that is pulled up in tufts, it also is the produce of the marsh, and is placed over the raupo-- both of which are kept down by long stakes or small poles fastened with a creeping liand called torotoro, that is found plentifully running up the giant trunks of the forest-trees.
This covering is perfectly weather-tight, and we have found it to resist a storm of rain of many days' duration--and in more than one instance after weather boarding our outhouses with planks put on in various ways--half-lapping, dovetailing, horizontally and longitudinally with three-inch laths to cover the seams --and strips of cloth or tapa soaked in a solution of pitch and tar, beneath, and a thick coating of tar and ashes, or sand over all, we found our experiments fail, and were obliged to cover our mechanical mishaps with a clothing of raupo and wiwi--at which the natives not unfrequently laughed at our failures--boasting of the superiority of the native materials indigenous to a country that could only produce canoes and dark men, over the na kainga no Uropi or the settlements of Europe--that sent forth to the world, great ships, iron implements, and witless white men.
3   The article Sulphur, of which vast quantities may be obtained in New Zealand, will probably appear to the reader as an unimportant item in the exports of the colonists; but Lord Lyndhurst, in a discussion on the subject in the House of Lords (March 2, 1840), observed, in the course of the debate which arose on the monopoly of this article by Sicilian royalty, contrary to existing treaties on the subject, that the imports from Sicily alone, into Great Britain, amounted to 4000 tons in 1826, and from that period to the year 1837, no less a quantity than 44,000 tons of sulphur had been imported, and that British merchants were suffering, in consequence, a loss of 1000 pounds per diem.
The pugnacity of the Indian and Persian princes, aided by Russian strategy, will render India the most productive mart for New Zealand Sulphur.
4   Our former work gives a fuller detail of this Island

Previous section | Next section