Maoria: A Sketch of the Manners and Customs of the Aboriginal Inhabitants of New Zealand.
6. (Page 135.)
6. (Page 135.)
A similar death occurred under the author's notice, precisely as here related. On another occasion he recollects hearing of a young Maori woman, when returning home in the dusk of the evening from a settler's house, being alarmed by a cow rising out of the fern. She reached her home much frightened, saying that she had seen a spirit. Her friends went to the place where she had been alarmed, and found a white cow, but it was impossible to pacify her; she had received a shock from which she died after a short illness. The reputed wizard who was supposed to have caused the death of Ora's prototype in the manner related, was not put to death, being a person of great rank; but the Maori war deprived him of his appointment of guardian of the great weir at the celebrated eel lake, and, if alive, he is now practising his arts of eel catching and witchcraft at the Court of the Maori King. The tragedy of strangling a supposed wizard and witch occurred a few years ago, six miles from the writer's house. Two old people, man and wife, who were accused of having bewitched, and thereby killed a son of die Maori magistrate of the district, who was in the receipt of a salary of £150 per annum from Government to keep him in good humour, were with the full consent of the tribe put to death in the manner related. The writer, feeling a natural dislike to such an atrocity being page 195perpetrated with impunity within sight of his own door, fully reported the matter to the Government, but received no reply. He was, however, given to understand that the authorities thought it in bad taste to notice the affair, and that the native minister, Mr. Donald McLean, was doubly opposed to inquiry being made into the matter. From a public point of view, he considered that the treaty of Waitangi ensured the natives the peaceful enjoyment of their rights and privileges, including the power of life and death to the chiefs; moreover, as a Highland gentleman, he had a great admiration for the native magistrate, as a very distinguished Maori warrior, for whom he had obtained a pension of £150 per annum, which an inquiry into the strangling and burning might have placed in jeopardy. There being no public opinion in the province of Auckland (it is otherwise in the southern provinces) the matter was hushed up.