A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827 eBook

Augustus Earle
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 169 pages of information about A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827.

A few days after the departure of the brig I witnessed a specimen of their summary method of executing justice.  A chief, resident in the village, had proof of the infidelity of one of his wives; and, being perfectly sure of her guilt, he took his patoo-patoo (or stone hatchet) and proceeded to his hut, where this wretched woman was employed in household affairs.  Without mentioning the cause of his suspicion, or once upbraiding her, he deliberately aimed a blow at her head, which killed her on the spot; and, as she was a slave, he dragged the body to the outside of the village, and there left it to be devoured by the dogs.  The account of this transaction was soon brought to us, and we proceeded to the place to request permission to bury the body of the murdered woman, which was immediately granted.  Accordingly, we procured a couple of slaves, who assisted us to carry the corpse down to the beach, where we interred it in the most decent manner we could.

This was the second murder I was very nearly a witness to since my arrival; and the indifference with which each had been spoken of induced me to believe that such barbarities were events of frequent occurrence; yet the manners of all seemed kind and gentle towards each other; but infidelity in a wife is never forgiven here; and, in general, if the lover can be taken, he also is sacrificed along with the adulteress.  Truth obliges me to confess that, notwithstanding these horrors staring them in the face, they will, if opportunity offers, indulge in an intrigue.

CHAPTER XXIII.

Another journey to bay of islands.

As there were two roads across to the Bay of Islands, and I was anxious to see as much of the country as possible, I determined that my second journey should be by the longest route.  I set off, accompanied only by a native boy to carry a small portmanteau and to serve me as a guide.  As, on my former journey, we travelled many miles through thick tangled forests, fatiguing beyond description.  In the midst of our toilsome progress, night frequently overtook us; then, by means of my fowling-piece, I procured a light, the boy made a fire, and we passed the night in this vast wilderness, far from the habitation of any human being!  At daybreak we resumed our journey, and at length (about ten o’clock) we emerged from the wood, and entered upon extensive plains.  These were not naked deserts, similar to the ones I had passed through on my former route, but were diversified with bush and brake, with a number of small villages scattered in various directions.  At mid-day we arrived at what in New Zealand is considered a town of great size and importance, called Ty-a-my.  It is situated on the sides of a beautiful hill, the top surmounted by a pa, in the midst of a lonely and extensive plain, covered with plantations of Indian corn, Kumara and potatoes.  This is the principal inland settlement, and, in point of quiet beauty and fertility, it equalled any place I had ever seen in the various countries I have visited.  Its situation brought forcibly to my remembrance the scenery around Canterbury.

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A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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