1971 - Sharp, A (ed.) Duperrey's visit to New Zealand in 1824. - [DUPERREY] p 25-30

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  1971 - Sharp, A (ed.) Duperrey's visit to New Zealand in 1824. - [DUPERREY] p 25-30
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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)


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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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


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.


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.

1   Governor of New South Wales.
2   Cape Knuckle derived its name from Cook's 'Knockle point', given to part or all of the peninsula on the north side of Doubtless Bay, some distance north of the Bay of Islands. J. C. Beaglehole (ed), The Journals of Captain James Cook, vol i (Cambridge, 1955), p 221. Duperrey no doubt meant Cape Karikari, at the end of the peninsula.
3   Doubtless Bay. The Maori name was Ururu. Jean de Surville, commander of the French vessel Saint Jean Baptiste, stayed from 17 to 31 December 1769 in Doubtless Bay, which he named after Lauriston, Governor of French India. J. Dunmore, French Explorers in the Pacific, vol 1 (Oxford, 1965), pp 114-65.
4   Stephenson Island.
5   Whangaroa Harbour.
6   Cavalli Islands.
7   See map at back of book. The Maori name for the bay at the entrance to which Duperrey anchored is Manawaora. Ipipiri is spelt Ipiripi by Lesson (see pp 64, 67). This name for the Bay of Islands was presumably given to the Frenchmen by some Bay Maoris.
8   Tuai. See Introduction, p 19.
9   Pa, fortified village. The Maori name of Tuai's pa was Kahuwera. See p 45 n 40, and map at back of book.
10   The date of their arrival at the main anchorage off the south side of the Bay, the day after they entered the Bay. Lesson gives more details of their movements on these two days (see pp 53-4).
11   See Introduction, p 14.
12   See map at back of book.
13   Orokawa. See map at back of book, where the name is spelt Kolokava.
14   Marion du Fresne. See Introduction, pp 16-7. Two extant charts from Marion's expedition indicate that he was killed in Te Hue Cove, on the south side of the narrow neck of Orokawa Peninsula. (These charts are reproduced in L. G. Kelly, Marion du Fresne at the Bay of Islands (Wellington, 1951), between pp 40-1 and 56-7.)
15   See Introduction, pp 14-5.
16   See Introduction, p 14.
17   The map at the back of the book combines Bérard's, Blois's and Blosseville's observations. Blosseville's report of his visit to Kidikidi (Kerikeri) is given on pp 113-6.
18   At Port Jackson.
19   This longitude is E of Paris which is 20 20' E of Greenwich. The location of the observatory in the map at the back of the book, so far as can be judged from the equivalent location in modern large-scale maps, shows that Duperrey's figure is accurate within a few seconds.
20   Ualan (Kusaie), the easternmost of the Caroline Islands.
21   Hongi. See Introduction, pp 17-8.
22   Kerikeri.
23   There do not appear to be any records of forays by Hongi beyond the middle parts of the North Island.
24   Tuai visited England in 1818-9. Missionary Register, 1819, pp 44-5.
25   Persons of chiefly rank.
26   Hongi's territory was the north-western sector. While he was the foremost chief of these parts, they were not possessed by him, the tenure of Maori land being rather in common.
27   Nevertheless Hongi was the son of a chief of distinguished lineage. S. P. Smith, Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century (Christchurch, 1910), p 28 n; An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand (Wellington, 1966), vol 2, p III.
28   See Introduction, p 19.
29   Pomare, chief of Matauwhi, a short distance south of Kororareka, on the south side of the Bay, in company with Hongi and other northern chiefs, had in 1823 fought against the Maoris of Rotorua, the Urewera, and the Bay of Plenty. Duperrey's suggestion that he was away from the Bay of Islands when the Frenchmen were there is evidently wrong. Thus Lesson says that Pomare accompanied Hongi on his visit to La Coquille (see p 60), and was told by Tuai that his warriors had left for Kororareka to join Pomare, who was going to wage war against a chief of Hawkes Bay (see p 73). The 'Tamise River' was the Thames River of Cook at the head of the Hauraki Gulf, used by Duperrey to signify the Hauraki area, and 'Lake Rotoudoua' was Lake Rotorua. The campaigns of the Bay Maoris in 1823 and 1824 against the Maoris farther south are described in Smith, op cit, pp 243-53, 263-78, 310-11, 314-28.

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