New Zealand - A General History And Collection Of Voyages And Travels - Volume 14 - By Robert Kerr


I gave to each a hatchet and a knife, having nothing else with me: Perhaps
these were the most valuable - Page 43
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I Gave To Each A Hatchet And A Knife, Having Nothing Else With Me:

Perhaps these were the most valuable things I could give them, at least they were the most useful.

They wanted us to go to their habitation, telling us they would give us something to eat; and I was sorry that the tide and other circumstances would not permit me to accept of their invitation. More people were seen in the skirts of the wood, but none of them joined us: Probably these were their wives and children. When we took leave they followed us to our boat; and, seeing the musquets lying across the stern, they made signs for them to be taken away, which being done, they came alongside, and assisted us to launch her. At this time it was necessary for us to look well after them, for they wanted to take away every thing they could lay their hands upon, except the muskets. These they took care not to touch, being taught, by the slaughter they had seen us make among the wild- fowl, to look upon them as instruments of death.

We saw no canoes or other boats with them, two or three logs of wood tied together served the same purpose, and were indeed sufficient for the navigation of the river, on the banks of which they lived. There fish and fowl were in such plenty, that they had no occasion to go far for food; and they have but few neighbours to disturb them. The whole number at this place, I believe, does not exceed three families.

It was noon when we took leave of these two men, and proceeded down the north side of the bay, which I explored in my way, and the isles that lie in the middle. Night, however, overtook us, and obliged me to leave one arm unlooked into, and hasten to the ship, which we reached by eight o'clock. I then learnt that the man and his daughter stayed on board the day before till noon; and that having understood from our people what things were left in Cascade Cove, the place where they were first seen, he sent and took them away. He and his family remained near us till today, when they all went away, and we saw them no more; which was the more extraordinary, as he never left us empty-handed. From one or another he did not get less than nine or ten hatchets, three or four times that number of large spike-nails, besides many other articles. So far as these things may be counted riches in New Zealand, he exceeds every man there; being, at this time, possessed of more hatchets and axes than are in the whole country besides.

In the afternoon of the 21st, I went with a party out to the isles on seal- hunting. The surf ran so high that we could only land in one place, where we killed ten. These animals served us for three purposes; the skins we made use of for our rigging; the fat gave oil for our lamps; and the flesh we eat. Their haslets are equal to that of a hog, and the flesh of some of them eats little inferior to beef-steaks. The following day nothing worthy of notice was done.

In the morning of the 23d, Mr Pickersgill, Mr Gilbert, and two others, went to the Cascade Cove, in order to ascend one of the mountains, the summit of which they reached by two o'clock in the afternoon, as we could see by the fire they made. In the evening they returned on board, and reported that inland, nothing was to be seen but barren mountains, with huge craggy precipices, disjoined by valleys, or rather chasms, frightful to behold. On the southeast side of Cape West, four miles out at sea, they discovered a ridge of rocks, on which the waves broke very high. I believe these rocks to be the same we saw the evening we first fell in with the land.

Having five geese left out of those we brought from the Cape of Good Hope, I went with them next morning to Goose Cove (named so on this account,) where I left them. I chose this place for two reasons; first, here are no inhabitants to disturb them; and, secondly, here being the most food, I make no doubt but that they will breed, and may in time spread over the whole country, and fully answer my intention in leaving them. We spent the day shooting in and about the cove, and returned aboard about ten o'clock in the evening. One of the party shot a white hern, which agreed exactly with Mr Pennant's description, in his British Zoology, of the white herns that either now are, or were formerly, in England.

The 20th was the eighth fair day we had had successively; a circumstance, I believe, very uncommon in this place, especially at this season of the year. This fair weather gave us an opportunity to complete our wood and water, to overhaul the rigging, caulk the ship, and put her in a condition for sea. Fair weather was, however, now at an end; for it began to rain this evening, and continued without intermission till noon the next day, when we cast off the shore fasts, hove the ship out of the creek to her anchor, and steadied her with an hawser to the shore.

On the 27th, hazy weather, with showers of rain. In the morning I set out, accompanied by Mr Pickersgill and the two Mr Forsters, to explore the arm or inlet I discovered the day I returned from the head of the bay. After rowing about two leagues up it, or rather down, I found it to communicate with the sea, and to afford a better outlet for ships bound to the north than the one I came in by. After making this discovery, and refreshing ourselves on broiled fish and wild fowl, we set out for the ship, and got on board at eleven o'clock at night, leaving two arms we had discovered, and which ran into the east, unexplored.

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