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A Sketch of New Zealand part 3

This story was told in the Sydney Herald over some months in 1837. The author signed them M.
Part 1, Part 2, 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.


Islands in the Bay of Plenty.
Motu Iti or small Island, named on the European charts as Flat Island, is situated about five miles to the north-west of Mokatu, or Town Point, on the east coast of New Zealand. This island may be about six miles long by three broad, and has a very flat appearance from a vessel's deck and from which circumstance it takes its name. There is a large quantity of Kokowai, a kind of red ochre, to be obtained at this island, and with which the natives paint their bodies and canoes ; it has previous to preparation the appearance of sun-dried brick, but after being well burned it turns a dingy red colour ; it has been tried in this country as a paint, and found to be a very passable article in the absence of red ochre ; the natives however, are not very expeditious in procuring it for sale, as it is attended with a good deal of trouble, so that it would be rather expensive to procure any quantity of it. There is something in the salt water at one part of this island, of a petrifying nature, for small branches of trees are numerous in a petrescent state, and the natives frequently hook up pieces while pursing their piscatroy avocations. Cray fish are fine and large, and of a very superior flavour ; there are two landing places, at which you can land at any time ; the soil of the island has a good appearance, but potatoes and Kumera, which are grown there, will not keep above six weeks after being dug up, turning completely rotten. Karaka trees, and the shrub Tuku abound, and there is plenty of good fern. The island was the scene of a great massacre in the years 1828-9. The Ngaphui, or Bay of Islanders had landed there from the Bay of Islands on a war expedition, still thinking themselves the only persons who had plenty of European arms and ammunition, but the natives of Tauranga had by that time got well supplied, and being flushed with the possession, and anxious to try the importance of their newly acquired strength, on learning where the Ngaphui were, they immediately launched seventeen canoes, and proceeded to Motu Iti, where they arrived about day break in the morning ; there were about four hundred of them, and about two hundred Ngaphui. They commenced fighting on the instant that they landed, and were very soon left conquerors of the field having killed the whole of their enemies with very little loss on their side. The bodies were conveyed to Tauranga, and many of them were not finished eating for near three months after ; this was about the first serious check the Ngapuhi had ever received, and that tribe has fought rather shy, in consequence, every since.

The next island of any importance, is Motuora or Island of Life, called by and named on European charts, Whale Island. It was at this island that the brig Hawse, Captain James of Sydney, was taken by the natives of Wakatani, a settlement about seven miles to the southward and eastward of it, and who, if their account of the transaction is to be believed, were not so much to blame in that business, particularly when uncivilized notions are contrasted against civilised ones - be it however as it will, vengeance was taken on them afterwards by the master of another Sydney vessel, who had no authority for so doing, by poisoning and shooting a chief man of the Wakatani tribe, and which afterwards caused the death of another European of the name of Taylor, who had been landed at the East Cape for the purposes of trading and who was killed as payment in revenge for the death of their chief man. There are three small beaches on the south side of this island, the middle one of which is in a burning state, large quantities of brimstone are there to be found ; and water hot enough for scalding pigs, by merely digging a hole in the sand, where the hot water collects in sufficient abundance for scalding, and at which the master and crew of the brig Hawse were employed when she was taken by the natives. A large vessel with good ground tackle might ride out any gale of wind that blows here, by anchoring opposite the middle beach, close in shore, where there is good holding ground, and not less than ten fathom water, and passing the end of a hawser round one trees at the corner of the beach. This side of the island forms a half moon, of which the east and west points are its two horns, the island rises like a cone in the middle to the height of 1000 to 1200 feet, and may be six to eight miles in circumference ; about one and half miles to the westward of it, is a small rocky eminence evidently of a volcanic origin, and appears formerly to have formed part of the island of Motuora, one part of it was crusted with brimstone, which was burning in 1832. The channel-way between the island and the reef is rocky, though there is seven fathom water in many parts, and, indeed a schooner which drew ten feet water has beat through several parts of it. About half a mile to the southward of the western most point of the reef in a line with a bluff rocky head, which forms the entrance on the main-land to Awa te Atua, (or River of God), lies a half tide rock, quite flat, unless it happens to be a dead calm, the waters may easily be perceived breaking on it.

About twelve or fifteen miles to the north north-east lies Motu Wakari, called by the Europeans Whites Island, which is constanty on fire, large volumes of smoke are continually rising from its summit and form an excellent beacon for parties living on shore as to the true state of the wind ; this island I have not visited, but I believe there is a reef about two miles in shore of it, there are very heavy surfs on the whole of this part of the coast which, I should think may be attributed to the unevenness and volcanic nature of the ground. There appears to be complete chain of volcanic matter from these islands through the main land, by the way of Rotoroa and Taupo, to the west coast of New Zealand. M.
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