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A Sketch of New Zealand part 1

This story was told in the Sydney Herald over some months in 1837. The author signed them M. The beginning had the first words of the column torn off, hence the blanks.
Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
The author may have been Chevalier Dillon or a friend of his. The style is not of a native English speaker to my mind. Also, Chevalier Dillon also did a series of drawings which he signed M. just like the signature on these passages and he was known to be in the Tauranga district. Still, I'm no expert. Let me know your thoughts.

A visit to Rotorua from Tauranga. While residing at Tauranga -------------- visited several that were worthy ---------. After leaving my residence I went to the Waihie River about a ---------- to the eastward of Mokatu or ------------ Point, in the Bay of Plenty and ----------- proceeding a considerable distance --------- that river, perhaps twenty miles, I -------------, and almost immediately entered a dense forest,throught which I travelled about six miles, at the termination of which I discovered Roto Ihu, or Lake ---------, a small but very pretty lake. On one side of this lake there is a hollow -------- formed on the banks, about four feet from the waters edge, apparently running a considerable way ------------ ground, out of which gushes a persistant stream of boiling water ; if ------ stand on the upper side of the hot stream, in the lake, which is here about four feet deep, for the purpose of bathing, you can approach near enough to -------- the front of your person while your back will be in cold water, and -------- descending below the hot stream you ----------- bathe in any temperature you please ; the bottom here is of a reddish -----, not very soft, and mixed with -------- of gravelly stone, which makes it ----------- and secure to the feet. A short distance from this, where the lake is shallower, about two feet deep, I have stood in the water where there was a hot --------- oozing out of the bottom, with a foot of where I sat, but could not --------- my hands or feet at the spring itself, as the temperature of heat was very great, but from mixing with the cold water of the lake immediately it was --------- it caused a very fine natural bath. The water here has a sulphury taste.

The whole of this part of the lake bounds with wild ducks of a very large size, but it is impossible to get near them, as the rushes which are numerous there will not allow a canoe to get near enough, and the mud among the rushes ----- of too warm and soft a nature for wading with your gun to get a shot at them ; the other parts also abounds in ducks of precisely the same species, but merely the common size of wild ducks, the same as are in all the rivers and creeks of New Zealand ; I did not observe any teal in this lake, the large species do not appear to approach near the cold part of the lake, not do the small species frequent the warm part. There is a small tribe of natives living here, perhaps about fifty or sixty families, who plant a large quantity of provisions and clean plenty of flax, most of which they dispose of at Mokatu to a person who calls himself the "White King of the East Coast," he is a Norwegian or a Swede, of the name of Charles Hans Forck, and has resided there for some years as agent for a merchant of Sydney.

The shores of this lake are very bold and precipitous, and are covered with wood to the waters edge ; the water is also pretty good for drinking, although they generally use the water of the small springs that run into it ; some parts of the lake appear to be very deep, and there are some perpendicular rocks on one side at least five hundred feet high, the water at this part is very deep, but shoals suddenly and ends in a small bushy swamp close to a gap or hollow among the hills, at which place I landed ; there is no visible inlet or outlet to this lake.

After landing I walked about a mile and a half, or two miles, through a passable road to New Zealand, in the midst of a thick forest, where I shot two or three very fine and large pigeons, as well as a Tooi, or parson bird, so called from its having a white tuft of feathers on its throat ; after coming out of the forest, I came on the shores of another lake called Roto Iti, or Lake Small ; although this is larger than the former lake, it has a very different appearance, the shores are not so bold or hilly, and there are many fine-looking places for cultivation, the soil appears good, and was covered with fern and weeds in rank luxuriance.

At one part of this lake is a small island, on which is a Pah, or native village, with a few natives ; this island has formerly been stormed and taken by an enemy in their internal wars, although if possessed by Europeans and one long six or nine-pounder placed on a pivot at top, it might easily be defended against the whole power and force of New Zealand. There is another tribe living at another part of this lake, also on a small island close to the main land, and on to which you may throw a stone ; the natives of this lake are a very thieving and desperate mob, and it is not perfectly safe to travel among them ; they excel in making Pitan Waka, or carved canoe, several that I saw there were of a very fine model, both for pulling and sailing ; they are also proficient in making the Wakiro Kete, or ornamental basket, which they used formerly to pack their flax in them, and now sell them separately for more than what was formerly
given for one full of flax.

 After proceeding up this lake about ten or twelve miles, you come to a small river through which the current runs very strong, and requires the utmost exertion of the natives to stem, it may be two miles long when you open the shores of Roto Roa. Roto Roa, or Lake Long, is by far the grandest lake, both for beauty of scenery and natural curiosity. In the first instance I proceeded to rather an extensive island called Mokoia, the nearest land to which may be two miles ; this is the grand place of strengh, where most of the inhabitants of the lakes resort
to in times of danger, being generally secure here from most attacks of their countrymen ; although about the year 1820, this island was the scene of a tremendous massacre, as the numerous Tapu, or sacred spots of ground, on it
abundantly testify ; the enemy who approached this isolated and apparently remote place of security was the Ngapuhi, from the Bay of Islands ; they were then just beginning to get a decent supply of European arms and ammunition ---------- them, and being flushed with their possession, and confident of their newly acquired strength, they repaired to Tauranga, a distance of perhaps two hundred miles, where they were joined by part of the natives who were then residing there, and who undertook to pilot them to the lakes with their canoes ; with this view, and accompanied by their new allies, they entered the Waihie River, about one mile to the eastward of Town Point, and ascended that river a considerable way, when they landed and dragged their canoes across the land for a distance of six miles through a forest, until they came to Roto Ihu, after crossing which and landing at the place I before mentioned, they again dragged their canoes across the land about two miles into Roto Iti, when they were of course in possession of the grand lake where the natives had all fled to. On approaching the island they commenced firing on the inhabitants, and as they were not in possession of any fire-arms they were picked off like so many wolves. (I should be guilty of falsity if I called them lambs, as they are far from having any likeness to the latter's meekness and innocence, but partake much more of the former's ravenous disposition, joined to a considerable deal more cunning.) After killing an immense number, they took the remainder prisoners, and after stopping as long they thought proper they departed again to their homes ; fully satisfied their unnatural and cannibal propensities by the success of the campaign. before departing they let an immense number of their prisoners remain at their own place without ransom ; besides a great many who ran away as soon as they got to the main land, and in consequence of this there is hardly a chief man among them at the present day but what has been taken prisoner, which degrades them considerably in their own eyes.

At the period I visited the lakes it was peaceable times, although just after the conclusion of the hot war with the very party who I was living with, and who piloted the Ngaphui to them in former times. The island has several villages on it, which are claimed by the different tribes who live on the lakes, and who although they are continually quarreling among themselves, generally unite together in cases of danger, for the common good of the community
; it has also several hot springs on it of a sulphury taste, though potatoes, which are constantly cooked in, does not appear to imbibe the same flavour, as I have eaten several that were cooked in them without perceiving anything extraordinary.

There are a number of small pebbles in the springs which are tinged of a gold color, and which the natives imagined to be gold having been told so, as they informed me, by some Missionaries who visited them some years prior to my visit ; they appeared to me to be tinged on the outside with sulphur. A very unfortunate accident occurred here a short time after my visit, to a young man of the name of Joseph Crampton, whose father or uncle is a market gardener at Deptford, near London ; he was residing at Tauranga, and chanced to visit Mokoia on business with his employer and two other Europeans for the purpose of removing some trade from the island, where one of the the other Europeans was living under the protection of a chief, by name Ikino, to another village on the Tumua River, which takes its rise from this lake, and where the said chief's flax station was ; the chief was previously asked if he had any objection to the trade being removed, and he expressed none. The trade was then removed out of the house, and placed in a canoe ; they then appeared to hesitate about letting the canoe proceed, and probably imagined that if the trade went to the flax station, there might be a chance of other tribes going there who lived near to see their flax, and thus they might run short of their customary supplies, at which are very jealous ; with this in their heads they rushed the canoe which contained the trade, and in which the unfortunate Joseph Crampton was in, and after throwing him out, proceeded to plunder the canoe of its contents ; this of course was a signal for further violence, and six or eight immediately surrounded the white man who was in the water, while his companions on shore were endeavouring to render him assistance by launching another canoe to his rescue ; they had nearly succeeded in their attempt when they perceived his body rise above the water without his head, having been thus murdered without any provocation whatever on his side ; the depth of water was about five feet, and they had held him under and cut his stomach open, and his throat across with a large knife. The state of mind which his companions were now in may be easily judged, with death plainly before their eyes, three only among as many hundreds ; they retreated immediately into the house and prepared to sell their lives dearly with what poor means of defense was left them.

The uproar now
outside was dreadful, while they expected every minute to see the broadside of the house fall in with the rush, or else to be enveloped in flames, a usual way when the parties they wish to kill are at bay ; as they, although so much superior in numbers were afraid to enter for fear of falling victims to their fancied temerity ; this noise continued above an hour, from the whole mob wishing to rush the premises and finish the work of death that was thus begun ; this was however prevented for a time by about a dozen who were more peaceably inclined, urging that it would cause the war that was just ended to break out again with fresh vigour ; they were however nearly beat down in their arguments, when the chief's wife ran among them exclaiming "Ekiro! Ekiro! taku tamiti, taku tamaiti," meaning "my child, my child," having just remembered that her daughter, a girl about twelve years of age, was then on a visit to Tauranga, and would be immediately murdered by the natives of that place in revenge for the death of their white men.

This decided the question the uproar ceased, and the hypocritical chief Ikiro went into the house with his crocodile tears and deplored what had taken place in the white men having lost their friend and disclaiming
having participated in or authorised the transaction ; his apology in that place, and situated as they were in his power, was of course accepted, but they urged the necessity of his immediately giving up the dead body ; this, after a deal more talking among themselves, was acceded to and the four quarters without his head was produced, which however was eventually brought forward out of the chief’s own house ; the heart was still missing and was never recovered, the natives affirming that they had quarreled among themselves while dividing the body in the water, and that the entrails were lost in the lake. In this mangled and mutilated state it was impossible that they could carry his murdered remains a distance of fifty miles, and knowing that if they buried him there that the body would be dug up again and eaten on their departure ; they therefore pulled down the whole fencing which surrounded the house and having made a large fire committed the body, with a silent prayer for the welfare of his soul to the devouring flames.

After the body was completely consumed they began to think about getting away, and at last the chief launched his canoe and landed them on another side of the lake for them to proceed overland to their homes. The road this way for above forty miles is a continuation of forest uphill and down dale but from the state of mind that they were in they accomplished the journey in twenty-four house ; although at other periods when going the same route it has usually taken three days, from the badness of the paths, and it was well for them that they made haste as fires were afterwards seen on the road, evidently from some party in pursuit who would have murdered them, and not having any relationship to the chief Ikiro, were reckless of the fate that might have attended his daughter. The girl was in the village with an old woman when the first news of the transaction arrived, but five minutes afterwards she was missed, and eventually made her escape. In this manner has several Europeans lost their lives in New Zealand ; not but what many have caused it through their own imprudence and selfishness, and have therefore deserved it ; and many have escaped who deserve to be given up to the New Zealanders in revenge for some horrid barbarities that has been committed by Englishmen, and who, if they ever revisit the scenes of their wickedness, will meet their doom.

In fact, I believe our own government are disposed, of some with whose transactions they are acquainted. In all cases, when speaking to the New Zealanders of their having killed Europeans, their reply is that,:"they were only slaves," and cite in proof of it that there has never been any party sent to them to seek Utu, or payment as they term it ; revenge for the death of a great person being religiously looked after by themselves, while for their slaves or common people they care but little. It afterwards appeared that it was a premeditated thing among them, having been agreed on from the very first day of the European going to live with them, that whenever there was any intention expressed to remove the trade to the other station that they would seize it and murder the Europeans that were present, well knowing that while the trade was on the island in the lake it was always in their power, but after it was once removed the opportunity of plunder would not be so easy ; and at the time of my visit with the gentleman who owned the trade, they then thought it was going to be removed ; and indeed it was merely a trivial circumstance that then prevented it, when I have no doubt we should all have fallen a sacrifice to their thirst of plunder.

After leaving the island I proceeded to Inu Motu, a village on one side of the lake inhabited by the principal tribe of those districts, the Natiwakan ; here there are a great many boiling springs, at one part of which there is an immense body of
water in a constant state of bubble, or Wai Koropupu as it is termed (boiling water), the steam from which is so great that it is impossible to get near the principal place, joined to which the ground for about two miles has the appearance of a burnt crust of brimstone, and is so hollow under your feet that you are in constant dread of its giving way under you ; small openings are continually forming and boiling water rushes out with great violence ; in one instance, where a party of the natives were sitting and conversing together, the ground suddenly opened and threw out a column of boiling water, which scalded a great many of them. A small distance from the village is a beach of pure sulphur for half-a-mile in extent, and there are several holes hereabouts, of from ten to one hundred feet in circumference, where the sulphur is in a state of fusion, as thick as batter pudding, and constantly bubbling up. I am not aware of their depth ; a stone on being thrown in causes the sulphur to fly up in the air ten or twelve feet. Another island is said to have existed formerly in this lake, but that suddenly fell in, probably from some convulsion of nature ; slight shocks of earthquakes are occasionally felt here.

The shores present a variety of aspects, being bold and precipitous in some places, low and swampy in others, and occasional good patches of level land ; there is plenty of wood in all parts,
principally Kiketia, Totara, Rima and Tawn. This lake, including the whole winding of the shores, may be about forty or fifty miles ; a very high sea frequently runs here, and is very dangerous to their canoes. A small kind of cray fish is here caught, called Koli, about as large as half-a-dozen prawns. There is a rise and fall in this lake of its waters of from four to six inches ; the water has nothing particular in its taste, and the natives who are continually bathing in the hot springs are of a much clearer complexion than those living on the sea coast ; those who live at Inu Motu are by far the best tribe of all who inhabit the lakes.

As I have related a melancholy occurrence connected with this part of New Zealand, I will relate one that ended better for one who played on their cupidity, as good luck had it for him with impunity. There was an Irishman of the name of Jemmy, who made his escape from the Wellington brig, which was taken some time ago by some prisoners, and who found his way to these lakes with a companion, and being put to their wit's end for a living he undertook to make the gunpowder ; with this view (and no doubt to gain time) he caused them to dig a large pit ; after commencing one and having dug some time, he informed them that the earth in that one would not do, and they therefore began another about twenty feet in diameter, and dug about ten or twelve feet deep, when they came to a rock ; this, of course was what Jemmy wanted, principally to gain time, and he told them that no
gunpowder would be forthcoming until they had dug through this rock ; this they commenced doing ; in the interim he caused a large canoe to be hauled up for the purpose of collecting a certain article in order to make saltpetre, and he also took occasional opportunities of planting small quantities of gunpowder in dry places, and then watched his chance of igniting it when any of the natives was near, and informed them that, that was a sample of the powder they might expect ; this elated them highly, and they dispatched a large party with all their best mats, pigs, calabashes of preserved birds, and every little curiosity they could collect, besides their flax, across the country, by the way of Taupo to Kapiti, to purchase muskets, and to invite other natives to come and sell their muskets for the gunpowder that was in embryo. Jemmy all this time was feasting better than "all King of the Cannibal Islands", pigs, potatoes, Koomeras, taro, calabashes, pumpkins, leeks and melons filled his house, choice mats, baskets, carved boxes, and wives as often and as many as he chose was given him. At last, the rock on which he had builded his hopes deceived him, for after they had actually cut near three foot through it they came to a spring of water which closed up the pit by filling it ; the natives were now tired of digging, so Jemmy watched his opportunity of stealing a cask of powder out of the house of Tipi Tipi, the head chief, during his abscence, and showed it them as having just made it, many however knew the cask, but was afraid to enter the house of Tipi Tipi as it was sacred ; Jemmy was now undone, but they would do nothing until the return of the chief ; of his near approach he managed to get information, and at night, he contrived to make a bolt of it ; he was pursued in the morning fifty or sixty miles, but effected his escape with impunity, leaving them minus a large quantity of provisions, mats, but adding a male child, the fruits of one of his numerous amours, which I am happy to say, they did not kill, but appear to be very careful of, althought the mother is a slave woman. They are now grown wiser and are first to shew you the pits and laugh at their own ignorance ; they have a song on the subject, the chorus of which is

E Henri Henri, Heria PauraKi raro ki ta wenua ; Horie! tetoe! uh-

The meaning of which is, that Jemmy dug in the ground for powder and that (Horie) George his companion assisted him. After visiting these curiosities, and enjoying a few days duck shooting, I proceeded on my journey to Roto Kaki. At the beginning of the road you have to cross a torrent running through an immense gully caused by the boiling water from the fountain head running into the lake, but from the circuitous route which it takes is perfectly cold at this place. While in the act of pulling off my shoes and stockings to cross, I was kept dancing on the sand from the intense heat of the beach, and was perfectly astonished to find the torrent itself so cold, although originating in a boiling spring, and the ground surrounding and under it evidently in an internal state of fire ; the torrent runs very rapid and with a deafening noise ; the water is as clear as crystal, and to a person not used to such places is rather dangerous from the slippery state of the stones at the crossing place, caused by the incessant run of water over them, which makes them as smooth as ice ; I was obliged to avail myself of the hands of the natives on each side of me, and luckily crossed it it safety, as if I had slipped off the stones, the water is deep in many places, and I might have been dashed with considerable violence by the force of the torrent against the huge stones that are everywhere in it.

I then travelled on about eight or ten miles through a hilly open country, until I came to a forest, after entering which about half a mile you suddenly open Roto Kaki. I cannot give any explanation of the word Kaki, as I could not discover from what it took its rise. This lake, although small, is very picturesque ; and is surrounded with hills which are covered with trees of the greatest luxuriance to the water's edge. In it is a small island on which is a native village, containing perhaps fifty families, who cultivate the surrounding vallies, which causes the lake to have a very beautiful appearance ; it is however too near the main land to be a place of much security, as an enemy can be on the hills surrounding it and completely command the whole of the village, by picking off the natives as they come out of

their houses. I doubt if the beauty of this lake would appear so great were it not for the numerous small patches of land which are in a state of cultivations around it, and which relieves the eye after travelling among barren hills and gloomy forests.

The natives appeared to be a middling tribe, but at the period of my visit they were anxious to get a white man among them to sell their flax and provisions to, and which perhaps caused them to entertain the friend with whom I traveled, and myself, with greater kindness and hospitality, which we otherwise might not have received. We were kept up by their dancing and singing in a middling sized house until two o'clock in the morning, when they retired and left us to our repose. After breakfasting in the morning, when they retired we retraced our steps to Roto Roa and after spending another day at Mokoia, we returned to Tauranga, and this finished my trip to the Lakes. There is one more lake near the ones which I visited, and which I was not aware of at the time, called Roto Ma, or Lake White, from the number of small white beaches that surround its shores. There are also some very extensive lakes at Taupo, a district considerably further in the interior, and to which I do not think it prudent to travel with safety, particularly as a boat's crew of six persons was taken by the natives of Taupo and three of them murdered and eaten, when they were down on the west coast on a visit in 1832 ; the others were taken up to Taupo where two of them remained in captivity about sixteen months.