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.

How greatly is it to be regretted that some arrangements are not made by our Government at Home, and that there are not orders given to commanders of ships of war touching here to pay attention to the chiefs, and to make some trifling presents amongst them; for there never were a people more anxious to cultivate a friendly intercourse with British subjects than the inhabitants of New Zealand:  and yet there is scarcely a Government vessel that puts into port here but the natives receive some insult, though they are sent for the express purpose of supporting the dignity of the English nation, and to cultivate the amicable feelings of the chiefs.

When a “King’s ship” comes to anchor, the chiefs (with all the glee of children going to a fair) collect together their wives, children, and friends, and pay a visit to the “fighting ships,” to see King George’s warriors (as they call them):  when they come alongside they are kept off by an armed sentry; and, after a long parley, they are informed the chief may come, but his family and friends must not.  In this case, the natives generally spit at the vessel, and, uttering execrations on their inhospitality, return on shore.

One of the savage chieftains who accompanied us to the vessel in question, on our way back remarked, “that the white warriors were afraid of admitting them, though they were unarmed and but a few; while the warriors in the ships were many, and armed with their great guns.”

Living entirely amongst these people so long as I had done, I felt the absurdity of such conduct, and the folly of treating them so harshly.  If ever individuals are so situated as to need either the esteem or the confidence of savages, they must bear with their prying and childish curiosity, and not be afraid of treating them too kindly; by this means they become the quietest and gentlest creatures in the world; but, if treated with contumely, and their wives and families repulsed from your ship, they become dangerous, vindictive, and cruel neighbours, as many a dreadful deed which has taken place in this vicinity will fully prove.



The South Sea whalers are the ships the natives are the most anxious to see on their coasts; and it is the crews of those vessels who have, in a manner, civilised these hardy islanders.  Captain Gardiner, of the Marianne (the vessel now in the harbour), is the oldest person in that trade; and he informed me, that not longer than twenty years back scarcely any vessel would dare to touch at New Zealand; and when, from particular circumstances, they were obliged so to do, they kept their boarding-nettings up, and kept a strict guard night and day:  their fears arose from a want of knowledge of the disposition of the people.  The vessels frequenting the island use no precautions now:  hundreds of natives are permitted

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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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