“You” (said King George) “come from the interior; all of you think only of what you can get, without considering the consequences, which, indeed, are of little import to you, living, as you do, out of reach of the reproaches and vengeance of the white men. But look how differently I am situated. I live on the beach; this Bay is my residence; I invite the white men to come and trade here under the promise of my protection; they come; several years of profitable trading have passed between us. King George, they say, is a good man; now an accident has befallen one of their ships in my territory, what must King George do? Why, he must assist them; which he will do, and defend them against everyone who shall attempt to injure them.” In consequence of this speech, and his exertions, not a thing was taken from the wreck by the savages who had collected for that purpose.
[Footnote 4: The chief referred to by Mr. Earle as Shulitea, or King George, was a noted Bay of Islands chief named Whareumu. He was killed in a fight with the Hokianga tribes, in March, 1828. (See appendix.)]
This anecdote proves that King George and his people possessed feelings of honour and generosity, which, if properly cultivated, might lead to the most happy results. From the length of time these people have been known to the Europeans, it might naturally be expected that great changes would have taken place in their habits, manners, arts, and manufactures; but this is not the case. Their huts are of the same diminutive proportions as described by Captain Cook; their clothing and mats, their canoes and paddles, are precisely the same as when that navigator described them. When they can obtain English tools, they use them in preference to their own; still their work is not better done. The only material change that has taken place is in their mode of warfare.
The moment the New Zealanders became acquainted with the nature of firearms, their minds were directed but to one point, namely, to become possessed of them. After many ingenious and treacherous attempts to obtain these oft-coveted treasures, and which, for the most part, ended in their defeat, they had recourse to industry, and determined to create commodities which they might fairly barter for these envied muskets. Potatoes were planted, hogs were reared, and flax prepared, not for their own use or comfort, but to exchange with the Europeans for firearms. Their plans succeeded; and they have now fairly possessed themselves of those weapons, which at first made us so formidable in their eyes; and as they are in constant want of fresh supplies of ammunition, I feel convinced it will always be their wish to be on friendly terms with us, for the purpose of procuring these desirable stores. I have not heard of a single instance in which they have turned these arms against us, though they are often grossly insulted.