Volume 10 1901 > Volume 10, No. 3, September 1901 > Niue or Savage Island, by W. H. S., p 168
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NIUE, OR SAVAGE ISLAND.

IN the Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. xxxi., 1901, Basil Thomson contributes an interesting article under the head of “Note upon the Natives of Savage Island, or Niue.” Our indefatigable secretary, and editor of this Journal—Mr. S. Percy Smith—is at present visiting this island, under instructions from the New Zealand Government, to formulate a system of local government amongst its people. During his stay on the island, Mr. Smith hopes to secure valuable information in connection with the early history of its people, and obtain more light on the “whence” of the Polynesian race.

It may interest many of our members if we gave Mr. Thomson's opening paragraph or “note.” He says:—“When Cook discovered Savage Island, he found it impossible to establish communication with the natives: ‘the endeavours we used to bring then to a parley where to no purpose; for they came with the ferocity of wild boars, and threw their darts.’ The Rev. John Williams, during his memorable voyage in the Messenger of Peace, in 1830, recruited two Niue boys, and subsequently sent them back to the island as teachers; but after a time, influenza having broken out among the natives, and the two youths being accused of bringing it from Tahiti, one was killed together with his father. The other escaped in company with the boy who returned as a christian teacher in 1848. Dr. Turner, who visited the island in 1848 and in 1859, writes: 'Natives of other islands who drifted there in distress, whether from Tonga, Samoa, or elsewhere, were invariably killed. Any of their own people who went away in a ship, and came back, were killed, and all this was occasioned by a dread of disease. For years after they began to venture out to ships they would not immediately use anything obtained, but hung it in the bush in quarantine for weeks.”

Mr. Thomson concludes by saying that, under English rule, these people promise to be the most contented and prosperous community in the Pacific.