The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume One]
3 Lobsters: the common New Zealand Crayfish, Jasus lalandi; mussels, no doubt Mytilus canaliculus. Pickersgill adds that the latter making some of the men sick when eaten they were suspected of being poisonous, ‘but this I do not believe as I eat very hearty of them and felt no bad effect’. We may suspect overeating and not poison. A pencil sketch of a small specimen of the crayfish is on the back of pl. 12 in Parkinson II.
Just at night fall we were under a small Island1 from whence came off a large double canoe,2 or rather 2 canoes lash'd together at the distance of about a foot which was coverd with boards so as to make a kind of deck; she came pretty near the ship and the people in her talkd with Tupia with much seeming freindship, but when it was just dark they ran their canoe close to the ship and threw in 3 or 4 stones after which they padled ashore.
1 Motuhora or Whale Island: running head ‘of Moutohora’.
2 The voyagers were used to double canoes in the islands, but not very many were seen in New Zealand seas.
3 Motiti or Flat Island.
4 Called by Cook Mount Edgcumbe—with some variety of spelling.
2 I have written at some length on the problem presented by this ‘chief, of territorial dominion so much greater than that of any otherwise known Maori historical figure, in my introduction to Cook I, pp. cli-iii. The conclusion there drawn, as at least a reasonable conjecture, is that Banks (among others) confused a personal name and a direction: the name of a minor chief—or of two minor chiefs, indeed—in the Poverty Bay district, Te Ratu, with the phrase te ra to, the westward (lit. the setting sun). It is difficult to see any other way in which Cook and Banks could have constructed the great king or prince of whom they write.
3 Castle Rock.
Late in the evening the ship came into a bay which appeard well shelterd by Islands2 and gave hopes for the morn. Several Canoes with people like the last came about the ship and talkd very civily to us. A bird was shot from the ship in their sight as it swam on the water, this they took up and tied to a fishing line that was towing astern for which they were rewarded with a peice of cloth. Notwisthstanding all this they became very saucy Just at night singing their song of Defiance and attempting to tow away the buoy of the anchor; 2 or 3 musquets were fird over them which had not the least effect, they threatned hard and promisd that tomorrow they would return with more force and kill us all and dispatchd a boat who told us that he was going to another part of the bay for assistance.
1 S has the note, ‘Washboard, a kind of additional edge or board to hinder the Sea from washing in so immediately as it otherwise would’.
5. This morn some canoes came off but brought nothing to sell.
1 The anchorage is exactly known from the extant charts, in Hawkesworth and elsewhere—a mile offshore from the mouth of the Purangi or Oyster river, almost at the eastern end of the beach of Cook Bay.
One old man whose name was Torava1 came on board; he seemd to be the cheif both today and yesterday but in all the transactions of yesterday he was observd to behave sensibly and well, laying in a small canoe always near the ship and at all times speaking civily to those on board. With some persuasion he venturd down into the cabbin and had presents, Cloth, Iron &c. given him; he told us that the Indians were now very much afraid of us, we promisd freindship if they would supply us with provision at their own price.
After breakfast we went ashore on the banks of a river.2 The Indians who were on one side made all the signs of freindship imaginable, beckoning to us to land among them; it suited our convenience for hawlmg the sein and shooting Birds of which there were great numbers to land on the other side and it was not without much persuasion that they about noon venturd over to us.
The Sein was hawld with no success but several Birds were shot, like sea pies but Black with red bills and feet,3 the trawl and drudge were also today employd and caught nothing but a few shells. The people who stayd by the boats saw two Indians fight on some quarrel of their own: they began with Lances which were soon taken from them by the old men but they were allowd to continue their battle, which they did like Englishmen with their fists for sometime after which all of them retird behind a little hill so that our people did not see the event of the combat.
6. Went ashore: Indians as yesterday very tame. Their habitations certainly were at a distance as they had no houses but slept under the bushes. The bay may be a place to which parties of them often resort for the sake of shell fish which are here very plentifull; indeed where ever we went, on hills or in valleys in woods or plains, we continualy met with vast heaps of shells often many waggon loads together, some appearing to be very old; where ever these were it is more than probable that Parties of Indians had at some time or other taken up their residence, as our Indians had made much such a pile about them. The countrey in general was very barren but the topps of the hills were coverd with very large Fern, the roots of which they had got together in large quantities as they said to carry away with them.4 We did not see any kind of cultivation.
2 The Purangi—from which was derived the name Opooragee, and its variants, used as a name for the whole bay in many of the logs and journals.
3 Probably the Black Oyster-catcher, Haematopus unicolor Forster, the descendants of which are found in the district still.
4 Again aruhe, the roots of Pteridium aquilinum.
In the evening I walkd up the river which at the mouth looks very fine and broad, it in 2 miles or less shoald to nothing. The countrey inland was still more barren than that near the sea side.
7. Rain and most disagreable weather all day kept us on board as well as the Indians from coming off to us.
8. Fine weather: many Canoes came off, in them our freind Torava. While he was along side he saw 2 Canoes coming from the opposite side of the bay on which he immediately went ashore with all the canoes, telling us that he was afraid; he however soon returnd finding I suppose that the canoes had not in them the people he expected. In the two boats came an amazing number of fish of the macarel kind1 which the people sold for little or nothing, so that all hands had today fish enough.
We went ashore and botanizd with our usual good success which could not be doubted in a countrey so totaly new. In the evening we went to our freinds the Indians that we might see the method in which they slept: it was as they had told us on the bare ground without more shelter than a few shrubbs over their heads, the women and children were placd innermost or farthest from the sea, the men lay in a kind of half-circle round them and on the trees close by them were rangd their arms in order, so no doubt they are afraid of an attack from some enemy not far off. They do not acknowledge any superior king which all we have before seen have done, so possibly these are a set of outlaws from Teratu's kingdom; their having no cultivation or houses makes it clear at least that it is either so or this is not their real habitation.2 They say however that they have houses and a fort somewhere at a distance but do not say that even there is any cultivation.
1 See n. 3 on this page.
2 It seems clear that they were at that particular beach for the fishing.
3 The Southern Mackerel, Pneumatophorus colias (Gm.), is rather similar to the English species. The other sort was perhaps Trachums novae-zelandicae Richardson; cf. II, p. 6.
About noon we were alarmd by the report of a great gun fird from the ship, the occasion of which was this: two canoes came to the ship very large and full of people, they shewd by their behaviour that they were quite strangers or at least so much so as not to be at all afraid; they soon enterd into trade and almost immediately cheated by taking the Cloth which was given to them without returning that which was bargaind for. On this they immediately began to sing their war song as if to defy any revenge those on board might chuse to take, this enragd the 2nd lieutenant so much that he leveld a musquet at the man who had still got the cloth in his hand and shot him dead. The canoes went off to some distance but did not go quite away. It was nescessary to send a boat ashore, so least they might atempt to revenge his death upon the boat A round shot was fird over them which had the desird Effect of putting them to flight immediately. The news of this event was immediately brought on shore to our Indians who were at first a little alarmd and retreated from us in a body; in a little time however they returnd on their own accords and acknowledgd that the dead man deservd his punishment — unaskd by us, who thought his fate severe knowing as we did that small shot would have had almost or quite as good an effect with little danger to his life, which tho forfeited to the laws of England we could not but wish to spare if it could be done without subjecting ourselves to the derision and consequently to the attacks of these people; which we have now learnt to fear not least they should kill us, but least we should be reducd to the nescessity of killing a number of them which must be the case should they ever in reality attack us.2
1 Cook and Hicks shared in these observations, though Green was rather scornful of their efforts.
2 Cf. the sober Cook, after giving his brief account: ‘I have here inserted the account of this affair just as I had it from Mr Gore but I must own that it did not meet with my approbation because I thought the punishment a little too severe for the Crime, and we had now been long enough acquainted with these People to know how to cliastise trifling faults like this without taking away their lives’.—I, p. 196. Gore was in charge of the ship while Cook and Hicks were on shore.
1 Called by Cook the River of Mangroves. The mangroves were Avicennia resinifera.
2 Several species of New Zealand shags nest in trees, and there is nothing to identify the victims of this feast.
11. Rain and blowing weather all this day so that no canoes came off nor did we go ashore. An oyster bank had been found at the river by the wooding place, about ½ a mile up on the starboard hand Just above a small Island which is coverd at high water; here the longboat was sent and soon returnd deep loaded with I sincerly beleive as good oysters as ever came from Colchester and about the same size.4 They were laid down under the booms and employd the ships company very well who I verily think did nothing but Eat from the time they came on board till night, by which time a large part were expended, but that gave us no kind of uneasiness as we well knew that not the boat only but the ship might be easily loaded in one tide almost, as they are dry at half Ebb.
1 Probably the Pipi, Amphidesma australe—perennially esteemed; as Banks has it, ‘most delicious food’.
2 E or he (the indefinite article) pa.
3 Pa Point.
4 Possibly, as the phrase ‘an oyster bank’ is used, they were Ostrea sinuata, which occurs throughout New Zealand, but in the largest beds in Foveaux Strait—whence its popular name of Stewart Island Oyster. But they may have been ‘Auckland Rock’ oysters, Ostrea glomerata Gould, an admirably delicate species.
5 Supplied from S. P fresh.
1 That is, they rowed across to the other side of the bay. Banks has here rather telescoped his impressions: the two pa he now describes were not in the same ‘bay’, but at the ends of different, though adjacent, stretches of beach.
2 This rock and pa were called Te Puta o Paretauhinau (puta, hole). When the pa next described was taken by the enemies of the Ngatihei people of Mercury Bay, in 1800, a small remnant escaped to safety on this impregnable rock. It is now much worn away.
3 haere mai, ‘welcome’, lit. ‘come hither’.
4 Whare-taewa. The words calld Wharretoowa are an interlineation, and the name is rather difficult to read; it is possibly Wharretoawa. I have printed it wrongly in Cook I, p. 198, n. 2, as ‘Wharretouwe’. There are certain discrepancies between Banks's and Cook's accounts of this great fortification, the remains of which are still visible in the grass-grown ditches on the bluff above the north-east end of Buffalo Beach. It has been made the subject of detailed study by Mr Leslie G. Kelly, ‘Whare-taewa Pa, Mercury Bay, 1952’ in Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 64 (1953), pp. 384–90, with interesting photographs. Best, op. cit., II, p. 315 has a diagram, but mistakenly calls the pa Wharekaho, the name of a village on the beach below.
5 puwhara or pourewa.
13. Rainy and blowing weather today so we did not go ashore, indeed there was little temptation for we hade got by much the greatest number or perhaps all the plants that the season afforded.
1 They did, and lack of water was often the cause of the downfall of a great pa such as this, which fell precisely because the besiegers in 1800 cut off the supply.
2 The hard rind of the gourd, Hue or Lagenaria siceraria, was much used as a container. It probably came to New Zealand with the Maoris.
3 Cook mentions landing on one of the islands off the south head of the bay on the evening of the 15th (Banks's 14th). Banks, who had collected names, writes in Grey MS 51, ‘the Island on which he landed is calld by the natives Poegaig [Poikeke] near it were two more called Motueike [Motu Iki, charted as Motueka] & Motucara [Motukorure] the rock like a castle seen in coming in is called Teruamahow [? Te rua mahau] and a remarkable steep clift spiring up like a Pillar Komutoro [Ko (it is) Moturoa]’—which illustrates his thirst for all available knowledge.
4 i.e. for Parkinson to draw on board. There are many of these drawings extant.
15. Little wind and that foul, sail however. Several canoes were on board and in one of them Torava who sayd that as soon as ever we are gone he must go to his heppah or fort, for the freinds of the man who was killd on the 9th threatend to revenge themselves upon him as being a freind to us.
16. Wind foul as yesterday. Many Islands were seen but neither the main or them appeard at all Fertile or well inhabited; only one town was seen all day and no people, indeed we were rather too far off.
17. Foul wind and blowing fresh, so that we did not come near enough to the land to make many observations.
2 Grey MS 51, ‘it was calld cape Colvil’ or Colville.
19. This morn two Canoes came from the land who said they knew Torava and calld Tupia by his name. We took some of them onboard who behavd very well. Afterwards canoes came from the other side of the bay who likewise mentiond Toravas name and sent a young man into the ship Who told us that he was the old mans grandson: we never suspected him to have had so much influence. In the evening it came on thick and misty so we came to an anchor not a little pleasd to find our selves at least in a peaceable countrey.
1 It was towards the bottom of the Hauraki Gulf: running-head ‘Ooohoorage or River Thames’.
1 Cook gives the circumference of this tree six feet above the ground as 19 feet 8 inches, and the height, taken with a quadrant, from the root to the first branch as 89 feet; ‘it was as streight as an arrow and taper'd but very little in proportion to its length, so that I judged that there was 356 solid feet of timber in this tree clear of the branches’.—Cook I, p. 206. Cook and Banks were in the great forest of Kahikatea or Podocarpus dacrydioides that then covered the valley of the Waihou or Thames river for about 25 miles—now alas! completely vanished. Mr Leslie G. Kelly tells me that their activities were watched by Maoris close by, and the tree remembered in tradition which in due course was passed on to Europeans. It was felled for milling a little before 1900, but abandoned as the trunk was hollow. Measurements taken by Mr Courtenay Kenny, surveyor, of Paeroa, and his brother, tallied with Cook's. The site of the tree is given by Mr Kenny as almost due west of the present Hikutaia railway station, on the west side of the river and close to the Cook Road. So close to, as well as so far from, the eighteenth century are we.
2 The description here given argues that the tree cut down was not one of ‘these’ trees at all, if ‘these’ were Kahikatea, but a Matai, Podocarpus spicatus. As a standing tree this would look much like the other. The timber of the Kahikatea is light. Furthermore the description of the leaf and berries given below, II, p. 10, pretty obviously refers to the Matal; see II, Pl. 12. I owe this piece of discrimination to Professor W. P. Morreli's Sir Joseph Banks in New Zealand (Wellington 1958), p. 80, n. 1.
3 … on account of its bearing some resemblence to that river in england’.—Cook. He was thinking of the lower readies of the Thames—‘broad as the Thames at Greenwich’, as Banks says above; and apparently of its estuary, for he extended the name in New Zealand to cover the whole of the Hauraki gulf.
21. Before daybreak we set out again. It still blew fresh with mizling rain and fog so that it was an hour after day before we got a sight of the ship. However we made shift to get on board by 7 tird enough, and lucky it was for us that we did, for before 9 it blew a fresh gale so that our boat could not have rowd ahead so that had we been out we must have either gone ashore or shelterd ourselves under it. Before evening however it moderated so that we got under way with the Ebb tide but did little or nothing.
22. This morn we weighd with the Ebb but breeze was so light that the Captn went into the boat and dr Solander with him. There were many Canoes about the ship with which I traded for their clothes, arms &c. of which I had got few so I stayd on board, they sold cheifly for paper. In the course of this commerce one young man who was upon Deck stole a half minute glass1 which was in the Binnacle and was catchd attempting to go off with it. The first Lieutenant took it into his head to flogg him for his crime. He was accordingly seezd but when they atempted to tie him to the shrowds the Indians on board made much resistance: I heard it and came upon deck: they then began to call for their arms which were handed them out of the boats and one canoe atempted to come up the ships side. Just then Tupia came upon deck, they ran to him immediately, he assurd them that their freind would not be killd he would only be whippd, on which they were well satisfied. He endurd the discipline and as soon as he was let go an old man who perhaps was his father beat him very soundly and sent him down into the canoes, into which they all went and dropd astern, saying that they were afraid to come any more near us. They venturd however at last but stayd a very short time promising however at their departure to return with fish which they never performd.
1 The half-minute glass, on the hour-glass principle, was used with a rope or ‘log-line’ knotted every fifty feet (at least in theory) and attached to a floating piece of wood to find the rate at which the ship was going. One half-minute was one 120th part of an hour; 50 feet was one 120th part of a nautical mile of 2000 feet. ‘Heaving the log’ consisted in flinging it overboard and noting how many knots ran off the reel while the sand in the glass ran, thus giving the ship's speed in nautical miles per hour—i.e. so many ‘knots’. In practice there were modifications both of the length of the line and of the ‘half-minute’ measured by the glass; but Cook always speaks of an unmodified 50 feet and half-minute. See Cook I, p. 57 for the effect of too much error in the division of the line. It was not for a light-fingered Maori to make free with half-minute glasses.
23. Very light breezes: we have got but little as yet by Tideing.1 In the morn 2 small canoes came off and promisd to return at night with fish but did not.
24. Strong breeze off the land so we soon got clear of the bay. Land in the morn appeard unfruitfull, few or no houses were seen; in the Evening large sands which extended some way into the countrey in little hills as I have seen in England. At night we came to an anchor in a small open bay;2 our fishing lines were tried and we soon caught a large number of fish which were calld by the seamen Sea bream,3 as many as I beleive the ships company could eat in 2 days.
25. The countrey had a tolerably good appearance. In the morn some stragling houses and 3 or 4 fortified towns were in sight, near which was a large quantity of Cultivation; in the Evening 7 large canoes came off carrying about 200 Indians. Two of them who said they had heard of us came on board and receivd our presents: this did not however hinder some of their companions from cheating as usual by offering to trade and keeping what they had got without sending up what they had offerd. Our usual punishment was inflicted, small shot, which made the offender immediately relinqu[i]sh his prize (an old pair of Black breches) which he threw into the water on seeing a second musquet presented. His companions however as soon as they thought themselves out of our reach began as usual to defy us which made us think it nescessary to shew them what we could do, a conduct surely most right when it can be done without hurting them: musquets were fird near them which made them draw a little farther off, a round shot was then fird over their heads on which they all set off for the shore most stoutly.
1 ‘by Tideing’—i.e. by drifting with the outgoing tide and anchoring when it turned, in the attempt to make some progress in spite of the absence of real wind.
2 Bream Bay. But the two outer points of the bay, Bream Head and Bream Tail, were estimated by Cook to be five leagues apart.
3 This haul was not of Snapper as has been suggested (Cook I, p. 210) but of Tarakihi, Dactylopagrus macropterus (Bloch and Schneider), a common and good food fish of New Zealand waters which was described by Solander as Sciaena abdominalis (Pisc. Aust. pp. 29–30) under this date. Solander refers to a painting which cannot now be found.
4 ‘Weapons of patoo patoos’: S reads ‘weapons, as patoo patoos’, which makes better sense. P follows the MS.
These people would not part with any of their arms &c. for any price we could offer; at last however one producd an axe of Talk and offerd it for Cloth, it was given and the Canoe immediately put off with it. A musquet ball was fird over their heads on which they immediately came back and returnd the cloth but soon after put off and went ashore.
In the afternoon other Canoes came off and from some inattention of the officers were sufferd to cheat unpunishd and unfrightned. This put one of the Midshipmen who had sufferd upon a droll tho rather mischeivous revenge. He got a fishing line and when the Canoe was close to the ship hove the lead at the man who had cheated, with so good success that he fastned the hook into his backside, on which he pulld with all his might and the Indian kept back, so the hook soon broke in the shank leaving its beard in his backside, no very agreable legacy.4
1 The ‘ribbs of whales’ were probably hoeroa, objects which have been generally taken to be weapons, but are now regarded as rather a sort of chiefly staff. The ‘imitations in wood’ were more likely to have been taiaha, a favourite two-handed striking-weapon, 5 to 6 feet long. For more detailed discussion, see II, p. 28, n. a below.
3 Variety was individual, not tribal.
4 These visits, and the midshipman's prank, were off Gape Brett.
28. Foul wind continued and this morn the ship was 2 leagues at least to leward of yesterday. The Continent rose in gentle hills but did not appear so fertile when near it as it did at a distance; several large heppas were in sight one the largest we have seen, to appearance far inland.
29. Wind as foul as ever and the ship moved more to leward, so we res[o]lvd to bear away for a bay which we had Passd. We did so and by 10 came to an anchor in a most spatious and well shelterd harbour or rather collection of harbours almost innumerable formd by Islands.1
Canoes crowded upon us from all quarters so that we soon had 37 large and small about us; the people in them traded very fairly for what they had and shewd much fear of us, especialy if they saw any thing like a gun which they were well acquainted with. They became however soon a little more bold and while we were at dinner one of them went to the Buoy which they atempted to tow away: a musquet was fird over them without effect [and?] small shot at them but they were too far off for that to take effect. A ball was then fird at them which was thought to strike one of them as they immediately threw out the Buoy which by this time they had got into their Canoe; a round shot was then fird over them which struck the water and then went ashore; 2 or 3 canoes landed immediately and the men ran about on the beach as if in search of it. After this we calld to them and in a little time they all returnd to the ship.
1 The Bay of Islands.
2 The ship was moored off the south-west end of the island called Motu Arohia, and it was on this island that the landing was made.
1 Hicks, left in command of the ship, and somewhat alarmed by the crowding of the natives on shore, had immediately manoeuvred her to bring her broadside to bear—a fortunate circumstance.
30. Several canoes came off to the ship very Early but sold little or nothing, indeed no merchandice that we can shew them seems to take with them. Our Island cloth which usd to be so much esteemd has now intirely lost its value: they have for some days told us that they have of it ashore and shewd us small peices in their Ears which they said was of their own manufacture, this at once accounts for their having been once so fond of it and now setting so little value upon it.1 Towards noon however they sold a little dryd fish for paper cheifly or very white Island Cloth. Among other things they told us that the man who was shot at with small shot on the 7th was dead, 3 shot they said struck his Eye and I suppose found there an easy passage to his brain.
In the Even we went ashore upon the Continent:2 the people receivd us very civily and as tame as we could wish. One general observation I here set down, that they Always after one nights consideration have acknowledgd our superiority but hardly before: I have often seen a man whose next neighbour was wounded or killd by our shot not give himself the trouble to enquire how or by what means he was hurt, so that at the time of their attacks they I beleive work themselves up into a kind of artificial Courage which does not allow them time to think much.
1 Cf. p. 412, n. 1 above, and II, p. 9 below.
2 Banks, as we shall see, was letting the continental theory go hard. Cf. Cook, p. 216: ‘At 3 PM the Boats having returnd from sounding, I went with them over to the south side of the Harbour and landed upon the Main, accompaned by Mr Banks and DT Solander’.