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

Augustus Earle
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 197 pages of information about A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827.

The stillness of this extraordinary scene did not last long.  The Ngapuhis commenced a noisy and discordant song and dance, yelling, jumping, and making the most hideous faces.  This was soon answered by a loud shout from our party, who endeavoured to outdo the Ngapuhis in making horrible distortions of their countenances; then succeeded another dance from our visitors, after which our friends made a rush, and in a sort of rough joke set them running.  Then all joined in a pell-mell sort of encounter, in which numerous hard blows were given and received; then all the party fired their pieces in the air, and the ceremony of landing was thus deemed completed.  They then approached each other, and began rubbing noses; and those who were particular friends cried and lamented over each other.

The slaves now commenced the labour of making fires to cook the morning meal, while the chiefs, squatting down, formed a ring, or, rather, an oblong circle, on the ground; then one at a time rose up, and made long speeches, which they did in a manner peculiar to themselves.  The speaker, during his harangue, keeps running backwards and forwards within the oblong space, using the most violent but appropriate gesticulation; so expressive, indeed, of the subject on which he is speaking, that a spectator who does not understand their language can form a tolerable idea as to what the affair is then under debate.  The orator is never interrupted in his speech; but, when he finishes and sits down, another immediately rises up and takes his place, so that all who choose have an opportunity of delivering their sentiments, after which the assembly breaks up.

Though the meeting of these hostile tribes had thus ended more amicably than King George and his party could have expected, it was easily to be perceived that the Ngapuhis were determined on executing some atrocity or depredations before their return; they accordingly pretended to recollect some old offence committed by the English settlers at the other end of the beach.  They proceeded thither, and first attacked and broke open the house of a blacksmith, and carried off every article it contained.  They then marched to the residence of an English captain (who was in England), and plundered it of everything that could be taken away, and afterwards sent word they intended to return to our end of the beach.  Our fears were greatly increased by finding that our friends were not sufficiently strong to protect us from the superior force of the Ngapuhis, and our chief, George, being himself (we supposed) conscious of his inability, had left us to depend upon our own resources.


Burned out of house and home.

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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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