Volume 10 1901 > Volume 10, No. 2, June 1901 > Notes and queries, p 104
                                                                                             Previous | Next   

- 104
NOTES AND QUERIES

[136] Old Marlborough.

We observe that Mr. T. Lindsay Buick, of Palmerston North (late M.H.R. for Marlborough), has recently published a very interesting work, entitled “Old Marlborough,” in which he traces the history of that Province of New Zealand from the earliest times. With great pleasure, we notice that Mr. Buick is not one of those who thinks the history of New Zealand commenced with the advent of the white man. He gives at considerable length the story of the native occupation of Aropawa (which is the general name given to the north end of the Middle Island), and treats at length of the early inhabitants, or “Pit Dwellers”—first brought to light by our fellow member, Mr. J. Rutland. Mr. Buick is inclined to identify these people with the Morioris of the Chatham Islands, in which he is probably right; but, at the same time, the subject is open to doubt. Owing to the massacre at various times of all the original inhabitants of those parts, no traditional history has come down to us, as is the case in most other parts of New Zealand. We are therefore left to speculation for the early history of Marl-borough. We must also compliment Mr. Buick on his capital geological description of the Province—which he aptly terms, “Divine Architecture.” It is given in concise and very clear wording, not overladen with technical detail, but just such as the general reader requires and which every inhabitant of Marlborough should be acquainted with. We can strongly recommend Mr. Buick's book to our members. It is published by Hart & Keeling, Palmerston North—is well illustrated and printed, and quite worth the price (12/6).—Editors.

[137] Traditions of Tasman's Visit.

So far as I am aware, there are no traditions extant, or at any rate that have been published, relating to Tasman's visit to the Middle Island of New Zealand in 1642. The reason of this is obvious; for at the time his two ships anchored in Massacre Bay, that part of the country was occupied by the Ngati-Tu-mata-kokiri tribe, which has since disappeared, owing to the conquest of their country by the Ati-awa tribes in the early years of the nineteenth century. The following meagre item, therefore, is worth placing on record:—Two years ago, Mr. James Mackay, the well-known native agent, who spent many years amongst the natives of Massacre Bay and the West Coast of the Middle Island, told me the following: Some time before the year 1859, when Mr. Mackay lived at Taitapu, or Golden Bay (the Massacre Bay of Tasman), he heard from a slave of Tama-i-hengia's (of Ngati-Toa), who was a member of the Ngati-Tu-mata-kokiri tribe, that his (the slave's) grandfather was, with others, blown away from the Taranaki coast whilst out fishing during a gale. The canoe, with ten bodies in it, was found drifted ashore on the north head of West Whanganui Harbour, at Nikonui, his grandfather alone being alive. He was found by a Ngati-Tu-mata-kokiri woman, who took him to a fire, and by her efforts brought the man back to life, as it were. The other bodies were eaten by Ngati-Tu-mata-kokiri. The woman took this man as her husband, and their grandson was Mr. Mackay's informant. He told Mr. Mackay that a few of the Ngati-Tu-mata-kokiri still lived at that time at Croisilles, or Whangarae, and on a later occasion Mr. Mackay had an opportunity of visiting these people. When he asked them if they had ever heard or seen of white men in former days, they replied that their ancestors had, and that they had killed some of them who came in a ship to Whanawhana (near Separation Point). This occurred a very long time ago. No doubt this was Tasman's visit on the occasion when he discovered (i.e., he was the first white man to discover) New Zealand.—S. Percy Smith.