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Mémoire sur les opérations géographiques faites dans la campagne de la corvette de S. M. La Coquille, pendant les années 1822, 1823, 1824 et 1825
(Memoir of the geographical operations carried out during the cruise of His Majesty's corvette La Coquille during the years 1822, 1823, 1824 and 1825)
LOUIS ISIDOR DUPERREY
A note on Duperrey's memoir is given in the Introduction (pp 19-20). The New Zealand section of the memoir, translated by Professor K. J. Hollyman, comprises the immediately following section of the present book.
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VISIT TO NEW ZEALAND
We took leave of Governor Brisbane 1 on 20 March 1824, and set a course for the N part of New Zealand, the position of which we fixed on 2 April. We took bearings also on Cape Knuckle, 2 on the entrance to Oudoudou Bay (Lauriston of Surville), 3 on Aroliva Island, 4 located at the entrance to Port Wangaroa, 5 and on the Motou-Kawa or Cavalos Islands, 6 whence we proceeded into the port of Manawa, situated at the far end of the SW part of the Bay of Islands (Ipipiri of the natives) 7
Scarcely had the anchor touched bottom when from all directions canoes laden with natives came alongside. More than 400 New Zealanders climbed up on to the deck, where their curiosity gave rise to an unusual uproar. Toui, 8 paramount chief of the hippah of Kawera 9 and of the district in which we were about to stay, offered us his services and introduced his family to us, guaranteeing that we would never have cause to complain of the conduct of his fellow countrymen towards us. And indeed, during the whole stay we never felt any need to be on our guard. The natives came aboard daily unarmed, and accompanied us on our expeditions with great willingness.
On 4 April, the date of our arrival, 10 the observatory, entrusted to the care of MM. Jacquinot and Lottin, 11 was set up in the middle of Tangata-Maté Beach, 12 at the foot of the hippah of Kolokava, 13 on the very spot where Captain Marion was murdered in 1772. 14 MM. Bérard and Blois 15 were given the order to survey the E part
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of the Bay of Islands; M. de Blosseville 16 dealt with the W part, and included in his work a plan of the Kidikidi River, on which the missionaries' station is situated. 17
POSITION OF THE OBSERVATORY
Six series of altitudes of the sun and stars place the centre of Tangata-Maté Beach at........35° 15' 16. 7" S
Chronometer 26, correlated with the average of the daily rates observed at Port Jackson and during this last visit, places our observatory E of Port Macquarie 18 by.............23° 0' 57.5"
We placed Fort Macquarie at...........148° 50' 9" E
We have as the longitude of Tangata-Maté............171° 51' 6.5" E 19
We accept this result and will in future use only Chronometer 26, because it is the only one which maintained a perfectly regular rate from Port Jackson right up to our arrival in France.
To verify this longitude, I worked out the one which would result from the position we give further on to Oualan 20 Island (archipelago of the Caroline Islands) and the difference between the meridians measured by Chronometer 26, which was rated at both stopping places. This chronometer places Tangata-Maté E of Oualan by... 11° 9' 47.7" We place the observatory of La Coquille at Oualan at... 1600 40' 42.5"
We thus have, for Tangata-Maté...........171° 50' 30.2"
Which is a difference of only 36.3" from the longitude we accepted above. We may therefore regard our New Zealand meridian as adequately related to those of Port Jackson and of Oualan Island, which were fixed by observations independent of marine chronometers.
REMARKS ON THE NEW ZEALANDERS
The day after our arrival, Songhi, 21 chief of the hippah of Kidikidi, 22 close to which the main mission establishment is situated, came to visit us. He was accompanied by the principal warriors of his tribe, and during the whole evening they gave themselves up to dances and songs which were an image of their savagery. Songhi has travelled to England, but since his return is all the keener on warfare. The terror of his arms extends over the whole of New Zealand, which he scours with the single aim of making slaves and abandoning to the cruelty of his
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troops the corpses of those chiefs who cannot hold out against him. 23
Toui has also been to England; 24 he has adopted European dress, and his manners indicate a man used to our courtesies. Yet he does nothing to change the customs and beliefs of his tribe, but on the contrary he follows its principles as if he had learnt nothing in his travels; but he is discreet in religious matters and, although young, he does not give way to the turbulent nature which characterises his compatriots. In general he is deliberate, eager to learn, and never disagreeable.
The jurisdiction of these two Rangatiras 25 divides the Bay of Islands into two parts, the western sector belonging to Songhi, 26 who owes his rank only to his extreme bravery. 27 All the eastern part is subject to Toui, heir to the power of his brother Korokoro who died about a year ago. 28 He is descended from an ancient family, and on these grounds enjoys a great respect among the New Zealanders.
The two great tribes of the Bay of Islands have not waged war with each other for a great number of years, but they often unite under Songhi's influence to devastate the neighbouring regions. We learnt during our stay that they were going to join with a third chief, named Pomaré, who, at the head of 900 men armed with rifles, had been ravaging for two months the peoples of the Tamise River, of Lake Rotoudoua and of Hawkes Bay, where he was thought to be awaiting reinforcements. 29
The inhabitants of the N part of New Zealand seem to respect the missionaries; but they do not accept their rules of conduct, and they have not made any very noticeable change in their customs and character. Their bloodthirsty superstition and the state of hostility in which they take pleasure incite them to take from our arts only the means to destroy one another more successfully. Gunpowder and firearms, of which they already have ample provision, are the main articles they
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request in exchange for the produce of their soil; and we venture to declare that the desire of obtaining what they need to carry out their unspeakable plans is the sole reason for the safety which the Europeans find among them today.