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No. 52 (September 1965)
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A Little Boy Meets Captain Cook

Is the last issue of ‘Te Ao Hou’ there was published a Maori account of Captain Cook's first visit to the Bay of Islands.

Several other stories tell of Cook's visits to other places, and of the first reactions to the strange customs and possessions of the Pakeha.

This story of Cook's visit to Whitianga, on the Coromandel Peninsula, appears in John White's ‘Ancient History of the Maori’, volume V. It was originally told by Te Horeta Te Taniwha, who had been a small boy at the time of the visit. But since White publishes two similar versions of the story, apparently written by different people. it seems that Te Horeta Te Taniwha's account was known to a number of story-tellers and had become part of the folklore of this people.

For reasons of space one episode in the story is omitted here.

I ngā rā o mua noa atu, i a au e tino taitamaiti ana, ka o mai te kaipuke ki Whitianga; e noho ana hoki mātou ko taku iwi i reira. Ehara i te tino noho tupu; he haere nō mātou ki reira, ki ērā whenua o mātou, whakauruwhenua ai, i te mea hoki, he tikanga tēnei nō ō mātou tūpuna iho, arā, ka noho mātou i tētahi wāhi o ō mātou whenua, ā, ka heke te iwi ki tētahi wāhi noho ai, ngaki ai, kia mau ai te mana o ō mātou whenua i a mātou, kia kā tonu ai ā mātou ahi i te nuku o ō mātou whenua, kei riro aua whenua i ētahi iwi kē.

Ka noho rā mātou i Whitianga, ka puta taua kaipuke nei ki reira, ka kite atu ā mātou kaumātua i taua kaipuke. Ka mea rātou he atua. ā. he tupua ngā tāngata o taua kaipuke. ā, ka tū te kaipuke, ā, ka hoe mai ngā poti ki uta.

Ka mea aua kaumātua, ‘Koia anō he tupua, he kanohi kei ngā muri-kokai, inō e hoe tuarā mai ana ki uta.’

Ka ū mai aua tupua ki uta, ka mataku atu mātou ngā wāhine me ngā tamariki, ā, ka oma mātou ki te tahora (ngahere). Ko ngā toa anake i noho i ārō atu ki aua tupua. A nō ka roa. ā. kāhore kau he hē o aua tupua ki ō mātou toa, ka taki hokihoki mai mātou, ā, ka mātakitaki aua tupua, ā, ka mirimiri ō mātou ringa ki ō rātou kākahu, ā, ka mihi mātou ki te mā o ō rātou kiri me te kahurangi o ngā kanohi o ētahi.

Ka mahi ka kohi tio aua tupua, ā, ka hoatu he kūmara, he ika, he roi e mātou ki aua tupua; pai tonu mai rātou, ā, ka noho mātou ngā wāhine me ngā tamariki, ka tunu pipi mā

It was a long It was a long time ago, when I was a very little boy, that the ship came to Whitianga. Our people were living there at the time, though it was not our permanent home; we were there to preserve our title to the land. In this we followed the custom of our ancestors, staying for a while in one part of our territory then shifting to another place, living there and cultivating our gardens so that the mana of our land would remain with us, and our fires would stay alight throughout our lands. This was to prevent them being taken by other tribes.

While we were at Whitianga this vessel came there. When our elders saw it they said it was an unearthly thing, and that the men in it were spirits. Then the ship came to anchor and the boats were rowed to the shore. ‘Yes. these must certainly be spirits,’ our elders said then, ‘for they have eyes at the back of their heads; see how they paddle with their backs towards the shore!'

When these strange creatures landed we children were frightened, and so were the women; we ran away into the bush. Only the warriors stayed there, face to face with the foreigners. But when they had been there for some time and had not harmed our warriors at all, we came back one by one, and gazed at them, stroking their garments with our hands, and admiring the whiteness of their skins and the beautiful colour of the eyes of some of them.*

* The word used to describe their blue eyes is ‘kahurangi’. This has the meaning of ‘prized, precious’, and is also used to refer to the colour of a light-toned variety of greenstone.

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aua tupua, ā, ka kite atu mātou e kai ana taua hunga i te kūmara, me te ika me te pipi, ka oho mauri mātou, ka mea, ‘Ehara pea i te tupua pēnei me ngā atua māori nei, inō hoki e kai ana i ngā kai o te ao māori nei.

Ka haere aua tupua ki te ngahere, piki haere ai ki tō mātou pā i Whitianga, me te kohi otaota i ngā pari, me te pātōtō haere i ngā kōhatu o te ākau, ka mea mātou, ‘Hei aha rā aua mea mā aua tupua?’ ā, ka kohia atu hoki e mātou, e ngā wāhine me ngā tamariki. ngā kōhatu noa, ngā tarutaru noa, ka hoatu ki aua tupua; he kōhatu i paingia, ā, ka kohia ki ā rātou pūtea, he mea i makā ko ngā tarutaru me ngā peka rākau i hoatu. Ka tū, ka kōrero, he ui pea, ko te reo koa. kīhai i mōhiotia; kata atu ai mātou, ā, ka kata hoki aua tupua, ā, pai noa iho mātou. Ko ngā toa me ngā kaumātua nohopuku ai me te mātakitaki ki aua tupua.

Ka kai nei aua tupua i ngā kai i hoatu ai e mātou, me te kīnakia ki ā rātou kai i mau mai ai, ā, ka haere mātou ko aua tupua ki roto ki te awa o Whitianga: nei koa, he toko-toko i te ringaringa o ētahi o rātou mau haere ai. A nō ka tae mātou ki te wāhi rākau māmore e nohoia ana e le kawau, ka whakaaria aua tokotoko e aua tupua ki aua manu. Roa kau anō, ka papa te whatitiri, ā, ka rapa te uira, ka taka iho te kawau. Ka whati mātou, ka papahoro ki te nehenehe (ngahere), ā. ka mahue ko aua tupua rā anake. Ka kata aua tupua, ā, ka karanga rātou, ā, ka tāwhiri ngā ringa ki a mātou. Roa kau iho anō, ka hoki ngā mea māia o mātou ki aua tupua. ā, ka mau ki aua manu rā. ka titiro kua male—i mate rā i te aha?

Ka noho tūpato ō mātou kaumātua, ā, ka hoki ki te kāinga, ā, ka hoki mai anō hoki aua tupua rā, ā, ka noho pai noa iho i a mātou, ā, ka hōmai ētahi o ā rātou kai i mau mai ai; nei koa he pakeke, arā ko te reka. Ka mea ō mātou kaumātua, he pungapunga taua kai nō te whenua o aua tupua, ā, ka hōmai te kai matu (ngako); ka mea anō aua kaumātua, he tohora, ko te mātaitai koa kakati ana ki te korokoro, a, kīhai i manakohia taua matu e mātou.

Ka tū te kaipuke rā i reira, ā, i roa noa kaeke atu ētahi o ō mātou toa ki te kaipuke, ā, ka kite i ngā mea o reira, ā, ka hoki mai ki uta, ka kōrero ki te iwi, ā, ka minamina haere atu hoki ētahi kia kite i te puni o taua ope tupua. ā, ka haere tahi atu hoki ahau. He iti rawa nei au i aua rā, ā, ka haere tahi

The foreigners began to gather oysters, and we gave them some kumara, fish and fernroot. They accepted this gift with much pleasure, and we (the children and the women) roasted some pipis for them. When we saw them eating the kumara, fish and pipis we were startled, and said, ‘Perhaps they are not spirits like those that we know of; for they are eating the foods of this world.

The foreigners went into the forest, and also climbed up to our pa at Whitianga. They gathered grass and small plants from the cliffs and kept knocking at the rocks on the shore. We said, ‘Why are they doing this?’ And we and the women also gathered up stones and grasses of all sorts, and offered them to the foreigners. They were pleased with some of the stones, and put them in their bags, but they threw away the grasses and branches of trees.

After this they spoke to us, perhaps asking us questions, but we could not understand anything that they said. So we started laughing, and they laughed too, and we were pleased. But our warriors and elders still gazed in silence at the foreigners.

These people ate the food we had given them. flavouring it with a food that they had brought with them. Then we accompanied them up the Whitianga River.

Now some of the foreigners had rods in their hands, and when we came to the place with bare dead trees, where the shags were living, they pointed these rods at the birds. Soon afterwards there was a peal of thunder and a flash of lightning. and a shag fell from the trees. We were terrified and rushed away into the forest, leaving the foreigners on their own.

They laughed and called to us, beckoning to us to come back. After a little while the braver ones amongst us went back to them and picked up the birds. We saw that they were dead—but what had killed them?

Our elders were still suspicious, and returned to the village, as did also the foreigners. They continued to be very friendly towards us, and gave us some of the food that they had with them; some of it was very hard, but sweet. Our elders said that it was pumice-stone from the land where those foreigners lived. They also gave us some fat food, which our elders said was whale-meat. But its saltiness nipped our throats and we did not care for this food.

After the ship had been lying at anchor for some time, some of our warriors went on

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mātou ko ētahi o aku hoa i ngā toa. Ko ētahi o aku hoa i wehi, ā, noho ana i uta.

Ka eke atu mātou ki te kaipuke, ka mihi mai aua tini tupua ki a mātou, me te mihi atu hoki ō mātou toa ki a rātou, ā, ka noho mātou i te papatakahi o te kaipuke, ā, ka mātakitaki aua tupua ki a mātou, me te miri-miri ngā ringa ki ō mātou kākahu, me ngā māhunga ō mātou, o ngā tamariki, me te kowhetewhete mai, he ui kōrero pea ki ō mātou kākahu, me ō mātou mako, me ō mātou heitiki, ā, tē mōhiotia atu. Ka kata mātou, ā, ka kata hoki aua tupua. me te whakaari mai i ō rātou kākahu, me te tango-tango ki ō mātou kākahu, ā, hoatu ana hoki ō mātou kākahu mō ō rātou, ā, ka mea ētahi o ō mātou toa, ‘Ka pai,’ ā, ka whakatau mai aua tupua ki aua kupu, ā, ka kata anō mātou, me te kata mai anō hoki aua tupua.

Kotahi te tino tangata o taua kaipuke; i mōhiotia ko ia te ariki no te mea, he tangata rangatira, he pai nō tana tū, ā, he hāngū, arā, kōrero nui ai ētahi o aua tupua, ko taua tangata kihai i maha ana kupu. Heoi anō tāna ko te whāwhā ki ō mātou kākahu, me te tangotango i ā mātou mere, me ngā tao, me ngā wahaika, me ngā hou o ō mātou māhunga. He tangata tino pai a ia; ka tae mai a ia ki a mātou, ki ngā mea tamariki, ka pakipaki i ō mātou paparinga, me te pōpō i ō mātou māhunga, me te kuihi te waha, he kōrero pea i ana kupu mō mātou, ā, tē mōhiotia kautia atu.

Roa kau ihō mātou i te kaipuke o aua tupua, ka kōrero taua rangatira, ka mau ki te ngarahu ka haehaea ki te papatakahi o te kaipuke, ā, ka tohutohu ki uta, me te titiro mai ki ō mātou toa, ā, ka mea tētahi o ō mātou kaumātua. ‘E ui ana ki te āhua o te whenua nei,’ ā, ka whakatika atu taua kaumātua, ka haea te āhua o te Ika a Māui, mai rā anō i Muriwhenua, ā, te ngutu atu anō o te Ika i Wairarapa, ā, ka tū, ka tohutohu taua kaumātua ki taua rangatira rā, me te tū mātakitaki ngā tupua me ngā Māori ki a rāua. Roa noa, ka mau taua rangatira rā ki te mea mā, ka mau ki te rākau iti, ka tuhia ki taua mea mā rā te haenga a taua kaumātua Māori, ā, ka kōrero mai ki taua kaumātua Māori, ka kōrero hoki te Māori rā ki te take o te Reinga. Tē mātau kau te tupua rā, ā, ka tohutohu te kaumātua Māori rā, ka takoto. ā, moe a ia i te papatakahi o te kaipuke, ā, ka tohu hoki ki te Reinga i Muriwhenua, ā. ka tāhurihuri taua rangatira

board and saw what was there. When they came back on shore they told our people what they had seen, and some of the people greatly desired to see the place where this company of foreigners were living.

I went with them; at that time I was only a little boy. Some of my friends also went with the warriors, but others were frightened, and stayed on shore.

We went on board the ship, and our warriors exchanged greetings with the great number of foreigners there. We sai on the deck of the ship, and the foreigners gazed at us, touching our garments with their hands and patting us children on the head. At the same time they were jabbering away, apparently asking us questions about our clothes, our earrings of mako sharks' teeth, and our greenstone tiki. But as we could not understand them we laughed, and so did they. Then they held up some clothes, showing them to us and at the same time touching our own clothes. We exchanged some of our clothes for their ones, and some of our warriors said ‘Very good—very good!’ Some of the foreigners repeated it after them—‘Very good!’ And we all laughed again.

There was one who was the supreme man on that ship. We could tell by his noble conduct and demeanour that he was their lord. Some of the foreigners spoke a great deal, but this man did not say very much; he merely took our garments in his hands and touched our clubs and spears, and the feathers that we wore in our hair. He was a very good man; he came up to us children and patted our cheeks and gently touched our heads, while he spoke in a quiet voice. Perhaps he was talking to us; but we could understand nothing at all.

Soon after we came on board the foreigners' ship. this leader spoke to our party, and took some charcoal and made some marks on the ship's deck, at the same time pointing towards the shore, and looking at our warriors. One of our elders said, ‘He is asking about the shape of the land;' and he stood up and drew the shape of the Fish of Maui [the North Island], from Northland to the Wairarapa, the mouth of the Fish. And our elder explained the meaning of this to their leader, while the foreigners and our people sat watching them. After some time the leader took some white stuff and a little stick, and drew on the white stuff the map made by our elder. They con

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rā, ka kōrero ki ētahi o ana hoa, ā, roa noa e kōrero ana, ka titiro taua tini tupua ki te āhua o te motu nei i haea e taua kaumātua Māori, ā, ka wawara noa atu aua tupua ki ā rātou haere noa atu.

Kīhai mātou ko aku hoa tokorua i haereere i taua kaipuke, he wehi hoki nō mātou kei mate i aua tupua te mākutu, ā, ka noho mātou ka mātakitaki i te puni o aua tupua. Roa noa e ngaro atu ana taua rangatira rā ki tana wāhi o tō rātou kaipuke, ka puta ake anō a ia, ā, ka haere mai ki a mātou ko aku hoa tokorua, ā, ka pōpō anō i ō mātou māhunga, ā, ka toro mai tana ringa ki a au, me te whao anō i tana ringa, ka kōrero mai ki a mātou me te toro mai anō tana ringa me te whao. I wehi aku hoa, ā, nohopuku ana. Ka kata atu ahau, ā, ka hōmai taua whao e ia ki a au, ka mau taku ringa, ka kī atu au, ‘Ka pai.’ Ka whakatau mai hoki a ia i aku kupu, ā, ka pōpō anō a ia i ō mātou māhunga, ā, haere ana. Ka mea aku hoa, ‘Koia nei te tino rangatira o te kaipuke nei, iNō hoki te oha ki a tātou, ā, tētahi ōna he pai nōna ki te tamariki; e kore te tino tangata e ngaro i roto i te tokomaha.'

Ka mau au ki taku whao, ā, ka manakohia e au, ko taku hoa haere hoki ia, hei koinga mō taku tao, ā, hei purupuru oreore puta mō ngā niao o ngā waka. I a au taua whao nei, ā, ka taka ki taua rā ka tahuri tō mātou waka, ka ngaro taku atua i a au.

Ka tae anō taua rangatira rā anō ki ana mea, ka maua atu e ia ki tō mātou tino kaumātua, ā, ka opehia atu e ia e rua aohanga ringa, nō muri nei i mōhiotia ai he rāwai, arā, i aua wā i kīia e ō mātou koroheke he parareka, he mea hoki i tū-a-rite ki te para a te Māori. Ka mau taua kaumātua rā, ka tiria ki te whenua, ā, mau tonu taua kai ki a mātou i ngā tau katoa. He mea tiri (ngaki) aua kai nei i Te Hunua, nō te mea nō Ngati Pou taua kaumātua i a ia aua kai. A, e toru ngā tau i tiria ai aua kai nei, ka karangatia te hākari, ā, ka kainga aua kai, me te tohia ki ētahi iwi anō o Waikato, ā, o Hauraki.

Four hundred Maoris from Taranaki, Waikato and Wanganui will take part in a spectacular outdoor production telling the legend of Hinemoa and Tutanekai, which is to be held as part of New Plymouth's Festival of the Pines next February.

tinued to speak to each other, and our elder told him of the significance of Te Reinga. As the foreigner did not understand what he meant, our elder explained it again, lying down on the ship's deck, shutting his eyes, then pointing once more to Te Reinga in the north. However the leader of the foreigners turned away and spoke to some of his companions. and after they had talked for some time all of them stood looking at the map which our elder had drawn. Then they went off in different directions, murmuring to each other as they did so.

I and my two friends did not go wandering about the ship, for fear that we should be bewitched by the foreigners; we sat where we were, staring at the foreigners' home.

The leader disappeared for a while into his own part of the ship, then he came up on deck again, and approached my two friends and myself. He patted our heads, said something, and put out his hand towards me, holding the nail. My friends were afraid and said nothing, but I laughed, and he gave the nail to me. I took it in my hand, saying, ‘Very good.’ He repeated this after me, patted our heads again, and went away.

My friends said, ‘His gift to us shows his nobility; he is indeed the leader of the ship. Also, he is very fond of children. A noble man—one of high birth and standing—cannot be lost in a crowd.'

I took my nail, and looked after it very carefully; it went with me everywhere as my companion. I used it as the point of my spear, and also to make holes in the sideboards of canoes, to bind them to the canoe. I kept it until one day our canoe was capsized at sea, and my precious possession [literally, ‘object with supernatural powers’] was lost to me.

The leader of the foreigners again brought some of his possessions to our chief elder, and presented him with two handfuls of what we now know to be potatoes. At that time our elders thought that they were parareka (a kind of fern-root). for they were similar in appearance to this. Our elder took them and planted them in the earth, and every year since then we have had a supply of this food. They were first planted at Te Hunua [in the Wairoa district] because the chief who grew them belonged to Ngati Pou. After they had been planted for three years, a feast was given. The guests ate of this food, and seed potatoes were distributed among other Waikato and Hauraki tribes.