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Conversion of the Maoris





Copyright, 1899, by

The Trustees of the Presbyterian Board of Publication

AND Sabbath-School Work.

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Preface ix



The origin of the Maoris. — Recent researches. — Physiology.
— Tattooing. — Habitations. — Maori house in the museum
at Wellington. — Occupation. — Maori canoe, and relics in
the Auckland museum. — The Moa I



Tasman. — Cook. — Horrifying stories. — Tohungas' stories. —
Sailors married Maori women. — Maori chiefs visited
Australia and England. — The " Boyd " massacre. — Pov-
erty Bay massacre. — P'eeling of revenge. — Cruelties. — Im-
provements in dress, home and living




Language. — Polynesian dialect. — Orators at land court
VVanganui. — Legends.— Songs. — Proverbs. — Rowers. —
Atua— native god.— Tapu.— Muru.— The supernatural
power of the Tohunga— (S. P. Smith).— Maori supersti-
tions. — Maoris had no temple, no priestly robe, no sac-
rifice, no conception of a Supreme Being. — Souls of the
departed not worshiped. — Baby named when eight days
old. — Traits of character. — Moral side dark. — Canniy)al-
ism. — How they told the years, months, and days. . . . 17





Maoris constituted three communities — nations — tribes

families. — Marriage civil act. — Polygamy common. —
Domestic atilection not strong. — Tribes clannish. — War
custom. — War dance. — Cruelties inflicted on the van-
quished. — Poem on a Maori chief 30



His early life. — His voyage to New South Wales. — Arrival at
Sydney. — Assuming duties and increasing responsibilities.
— Opposition. — Loss of his boys. — Chief Te Pahi. — Mr,
Marsden in England advocating a Maori mission. — Suc-
cessful. — Returned to Sydney. — Ruatara. — Sent as pioneer
to New Zealand. — Maori mission suspended for five years
owing to the " Boyd " massacre. — The ship "Active." —
Wall and Rendall sent to New Zealand. — Returned. —
Maori chiefs in Sydney. — Marsden sails in the " Active "
for New Zealand. — Acted as peacemaker at Wangaroa. —
Landed at Bay of Islands. — Reception. — Land secured.
— Deed signed. — Meetingliouse. — P~lagstaff. — Marsden's
first sermon in New Zealand. — Returned to Sydney with
young chiefs. — Much encouraged. — The prospect of the
mission. — Death of Ruatara. — Marsden's influence over
the natives. — Their devotion and kindness. — Missionaries'
trials. — Their fidelity. — Marsden's graphic picture of the
effective power of the gospel. — Rangi the first convert. —
Confessions and desires. — The Scriptures and the printing
press. — The fruit of the mission. — Death of the apostle . 35


Hongi the Napoleon of New Zealand. — Pomare. — Te Whoro
Whoro. — Ruaparaha. — His conversion. — Barriers to the
early progress of the mission. — Bishop William Williams'
testimony 59




Rev. Henry Williams. — His traits of character. — Christianity
among the New Zealanders. — Chapman's experience. —
The three mighty men. — Bishop G. A. Selwyn. — His
work. — Bishop J. F. Pompalier. — A Maori's opinion of
the differing Churches 66



Rev. Samuel Leigh. — Experience. — Wangaroa chosen as mis-
sion station. — The mission staff. — Destruction of the mis-
sion property. — Maugungu selected as a mission station. —
The mission church and station. — Missionaries, — Great
awakening. — Days of blessing. — Visible fruit. — Rev.
James Buller's journey to Cook's Strait. — Happy deaths.
— Native martyrs. — Conversion of chiefs — Pita — Kaitoke
— Patene. — Effect of baptism. — Chief Ngakuku's advice
to his tribes. — Conversion of rival chiefs. — Puna and Pan-
apa. — French sailors.-i<Thirty-rive thousand Maoris out of
fifty-six thousand nominal Christians. — Testimonies. —
Governor Hobson. — Judge Fenton. — Dr. Thompson. — Sir
George Grey. — Rescue of the crew of the •• Delaware " by
a gallant chief and wife. — Maoris' regard for the Sabbath.
— Maoris' kindness to sailors. — Fond of feasts 75



Attempt to colonize. — Failure. — Lawlessness and disobedience.
— Scheme to establish an independent native government.
— Maoris claimed New Zealand by conquest and inherit-
ance. — New Zealand Land Company. — Col. Wakefield
anrl thirty-five passengers arrived in ship "Troy" at Port
Nicholson. — Purchased land. — Arrival of several ships. —
Hobson. — The growth of Wellington. — Captain Hobson's



mission to New Zealand. — The treaty of Waitangi. — Hob-
son first governor of New Zealand. — New Zealand Com-
pany, — Hone Heke and the government. — The Waikato
tribe. — The Maori king. — Lesson from the candle and the
wick. — Wm. Thompson. — The war. — Sir George Grey. —
King Tawhiao's speech. — Maoris subjects of the (jueen.
— Hau Hau apostasy. — Te Kooti. — The demoralizing
effect of war 91



Premier Sedden's influence. — Surveyor's experience. — Hone
Heke. — Parahaka. — Prophet Ti White. — Who is respon-
sible ? — The Maori population. — Hon. Wm. P. Reeves. —
Why the Maoris are dying out. — Maoris fond of horses. —
Fond of Europeans. — Law and justice. — Churches. — Maori
sermon. — Schools. — Members of Parliament. — Queen's
jubilee. — Customs and habits. — Marriages. — Hospitable.
— What the Gospel has done for the Maoris 108

Religion in New Zealand 121

Education in New Zealand 130

Samoa 136


I. — From Sydney to Wellington 157

II. — Auckland 196

III. — Christ Church 200

IV. — Otago — Dunedin 207


Profoundly convinced, by what I have seen
and learned while in New Zealand of the tri-
umph of the gospel of Christ, in the conversion
of the Maoris from cannibalism to Christianity,
that it is a stronger and more cogent argument
for the power of the gospel than any statement
I have ever read in apologetic books ; and also
quickened by the hope that this brief story of
the wonderful conversion of these cannibals
may convince others of the living power of
modern missions, and hasten the coming of our
Lord, I now offer this book to all who long for
the conversion of the Avorld.

Donald MacDougall.


The Conversion of the Maoris.



The origin of the Maoris, or first settlers in
New Zealand, is lost in a cloud of obscurity.
There is, however, a legend which states that in
the year 1400 such bitter quarrels arose among
the inhabitants of Hawaiki, an island in the
South Pacific Ocean, that a chief Te Kupe (or
Ngahue) sailed away from it in his canoe to
Astearoa — long day, which he called the North
island of New Zealand. He was so charmed
with it that he went back to Hawaiki, and in-
duced some of the settlers there to return with
him to this new-found land. They fitted up a
fleet of canoes named Aotea, Arana, Taiuni,
Mata, Atua, Tabitunui, Takamaru, Kurahaupo,
each manned by a separate cliief, and started for
New Zealand. These canoes, taking as part of
tlioir cargo the kumara (sweet potato), tora
(bread fruit), hue (gourd), dogs, pahiko and j^ar-
rots, landed at the North island, and scattered a



tribal race of Maoris, each with its separate chief,
over the land. The names of these chiefs are
carefully preserved. The proverb, " The seed of
our coming is from IlaAvaiki the seed of man,"
now common among the Maoris, originated from
this emigration from the "land left behind."
Each tribe had its own legendary tradition,
transmitted from father to son, by the sacred
tohungas, — the wise men of strong memory,
who could trace their genealogy from generation
to generation. And though for centuries sepa-
rated from each other by feuds and wars, yet
their traditions are trustworthy. They all agree
that their ancestors came from some island in the
Pacific. So strong was their conviction of the
existence of Hawaiki that some fifty years
ago a large double canoe was fitted up by an ex-
ploring party who went in search of it, but they
never returned. Their traditions, legends and
language, undoubtedly designate that they are a
branch of the Polynesian family.

" I arrive where an unknown earth is under my feet,
I arrive where a new sky is above me,
I arrive at this land, a resting place for me,
O spirit of the earth !
The stranger offers his heart as food for thee."

Kecent researches point to India, to the plains
and foothills of the Himalayas — stretching to the


Persian Gulf — as being the early home of the
Polynesians of which race the Maoris form an
important factor. It is supposed, that they were
gradually forced to leave India, by the Aryans —
a more numerous and powerful force. The Poly-
nesians being great navigators, extended their
voyages to the Pacific and the North ; about the
second century they came in contact with the
Malay race — which obliged them to proceed
further to the Ilitiinga or rising sun, until they
reached the Fiji Islands, inhabited by the Mela-
nesian and Papuan, and finally reached Samoa or
Ilawaiki. Combinations of tribes took place
between the Fiji-Polynesians ; and their warriors
and sailors spread far and wide over the Pacific,
conquering and occupying other islands, until at
last they turned their faces southwestward and
arrived in a fleet of canoes in New Zealand in

"These are the people who are generally
termed Maoris, and who on tlieir arrival and
after settling down in the land, by their master-
ful ways, greater intelligence, force of character
and superior ])hysique, eventually became the
con(|uerors of the people belonging to the ])i"i<)r
migration into the Pacific, whom they found in
ocfMijiMtion of these islands." (New Zealand
Ollici;d Year Pook, ISOS, p. ICO.)

These early Maoris had brown faces, Ijroad


noses, large dark eyes, regular white teeth, and
black, wavy hair. The head was large and well
developed. The men were broad and solidly
built, of medium height. Some of them were as
tall as six feet, and six feet and a half. The
chiefs were proud and dignified in their deport-
ment, and quick in their movements. Maoris
had large, long bodies and short legs, the face
calm and composed, free of any excitement ; they
lived to old age.

The young girls were good-looking ; they ma-
tured early and became prematurely old, and
after being tattooed they lost their beauty. The
painful process of tattooing was undergone at the
age of puberty. The men's faces, hips and thighs
were tattooed in blue spurts, rings and curves.
The designs of the chiefs were very elaborate.
The tattoo or the moko, forms a part of their dress
and mark of rank. The women were tattooed
on their lips, chins, and the upper part of their
faces. They had little crosses on their hands,
arms and breasts. The patient was laid on his
back, and a pattern was sketched with charcoal.
Then while he was held, the lines were marked
by a sharp instrument of bone, or chisel. The
blood which came from the cuts was wiped off,
and a pigment was rubbed in. Sometimes it
took two years to complete the design, during
which time the patient suffered intensely from


the pain and inflammation. He was also not
permitted to handle any food or live in a dwell-
ing house. Later on, when some of the chiefs
signed the title deeds of estates which the mis-
sionaries had bought from them they drew little
pictures of their moko on their faces, saying,
" That is me and no one else." Tattooing, since
their conversion to Christianity, has become ex-

Clad in a breechcloth only, these savage Ma-
oris made their huts out of the material which
grew on the island. They were about four feet
high and built of tall poles with broad grass
leaves woven between them. The roofs were
thatched, and the doorways not more than three
feet high. The mothers had to stoop so much,
going through these entrances, that the spines
of their little children, who were strapped upon
their backs, were often hunched. The earthen
floors of these homes were hollowed out in the
center so that a person could stand upright in
them. ]\Iats were spread upon them, and on
these the whole family slept at night with their
heads to the Avails, and their feet to the center,
and the fire in a corner burning all night. They
had wide piazzas round their houses which formed
nice dining rooms for their family circles. A
cluster of these dwellings on a hill, with ditches
between them, and surrounded by high fences,


formed a Maori pa. In battle days, the Maoris
used to fight in these ditches with their javelins
and slings.

In the Museum at Wellington is a famous
Maori house ; which was built at Turanga in 1842,
by a Maori tribe who were noted throughout
'New Zealand for their excellent carving. It was
designed by a native, and eighteen different na-
tives were employed in carving the figures. In
1866 it was bought by the government and
brought to Wellington. The outside is covered
with wood and iron, but the interior is about as
it was when built. The house is forty-three feet
long, and eighteen feet wide. The roof is twelve
feet from the floor, and the walls are seven and
fourteen feet high. There are thirty-two figures
carved in totara wood on the sides of the house.
These represent the ancestors of the tribe. The
ridge pole is of heavy wood. The house is a
very imposing edifice.

So in the long ago, before a white man's
canoe grated on the sands of New Zealand, the
wild Maori roamed at large, savage, untaught,
unchristianized. The men fished in the sea and
lakes and caught eels, seals and sharks. The
flesh of the last they dried in the sun. They
hunted and ate the Avild birds. The soil was dry
and sandy, and they put fine gravel from the
river beds on it. They carried this in close



"^OYen baskets on their backs. After the gar-
dens were ready, they planted the sweet potato,
lily roots, and the gourd from which they had
made their dishes ; they then screened them in from
the pigs. When Captain Cook landed in New
Zealand, he saw two hundred acres under crop.
One of the principal foods of the Maoris was lit-
tle cakes made of flour from dried fern roots.
Human flesh was a great delicacy. The way
they cooked an eel was quite appetizing. It
was wound round a stick, and then covered
with fragrant leaves fastened to the stick so no
air could get in. The stick was placed on the
ground before a blazing fire, and turned about
until the eel was ready to be eaten.

Besides their house carpentering and farming,
the Maoris made their canoes, paddles, fish-
hooks, com])s, flutes, spears, etc. They also did
fine carving. The women cooked, wove baskets,
caught and cleaned shellfish, gathered wood,
prepared flax, and made drinks of the shrubs and
berries which grew on the island.

Among the Maori relics found in the Auckland
Museum, is a war canoe, eighty feet long, accom-
modating one liundred rowers. It was black
and red and tlio carving on it was skillfully done.
There are many s|)ears and wefij)ons of war of
various kinds. There is a carved building for
storing corn and potatoes and erected on high


posts to show how the Maoris used to build so as
to prevent rats getting in and eating the corn.
Among other things there are preserved heads
of Maoris, hardened in some preparation, which
with their grinding teeth, are hideous to look
at. Some of the carved combs, knives and forks
are really beautiful.

When at work they were happy, stimulating
each other with songs and by sallies of wit.
They cut down large trees for building houses
and making canoes and other things. Their
canoes were of all sizes. The war canoe would
carry many warriors. They cooked their food
with good taste and cleanliness. They were ex-
pert yveavers. The Museums of New Zealand
have large collections of articles made by the
Maoris. Some of them are very fine and show
great ingenuity and fine perception of the har-
mony of color. White predominates, as it was
their favorite color.

There was one occupant of New Zealand which
was very much disturbed by the arrival of the
Maoris. This was a big, wingless bird called the
Moa. Nothing remains of it but its skeleton and
eggs which can be seen in Christ Church Museum.
It was of a brown color, and as an old Maori ex-
pressed it, " as high as one man standing on the
shoulders of another man." The average height
of the largest was about thirteen feet. Its neck


was like that of a horse. Its head was small
with one bright red patch on each side. It had
long, strong legs, and its feet were black and
shiny. It ate the tall tender shoots of the cab-
bage trees, and laid eggs twelve inches long. It
was very fat and lazy, but could fight desperately
with its feet. The Maoris used to drive the bird
from one group of natives to another, until it was
tired out. They then killed and ate it.



For nearly two hundred and fifty years this
native race lived alone in this sequestered spot,
working, eating, fighting among themselves, and
often feasting on the dead bodies of their slain.

One December day, in the summer of 1642, there
was a great excitement on the South island, for the
faint speck in the horizon, which the natives had
been watching for some time, greAV larger and
larger until it assumed the proportions of a boat
full of sailors, with a white man at its bow. Be-
fore it reached the shore, four canoes filled with
Maoris paddled out to see it. They screamed at
the passengers, and blew on an instrument like a
trumpet. Then they went back to their huts to
plan how they could drive away these intruders.
The next day they surrounded the anchored boat,
and fought with the Dutchman's crew (Tasman,
the discoverer), until they killed and wounded
several. While they were dragging away the
corpses to be eaten, the terrified remnant in the
" Ileemskisk " weighed anchor and sailed away



as fast as they could from this bloody Murderer's
Bay. The savages went back to their inhuman
feast, and the retreating boat became once more
an indistinct dot in the distant sky.

The years rolled on, a century and a quarter
went by, and a new population, tainted with the
barbarous instinct of the former, now inhabited
New Zealand. Captain Cook, who made 11\-b
visits to New Zealand, was greeted by the na-
tives with a threat to slaughter him if he landed.
Heroic in nature, he fought, he lost, he gave
presents of pigs, potatoes and garden seeds, and
as the consummation of his bravery erected a
flagstaff, on the top of which he hoisted the Union
Jack, and took possession of the country in the
name of George III. After this time white
faces became a more frequent sight, but every
navigator Avho touched at the shores of this new
country met with the same cannibal reception.
Not only had the Dutch and English their horri-
fying stories recorded of " Murderer's Bay " and
" Poverty Bay," and of the savagery and can-
nibalism of the natives of the newly-discoverod
country, but the French and Americans also liad
their sad experiences registered of "Doubtless
Bay," "Bay of Treachery" and "Bay of
Islands." "They treated us," said a French offi-
cer in command of a vessel at tlie I>av of
Treachery, " with every show of fi-i(m(isliii> I'ov


thirty-three clays, with the intention of eating us
on the thirty-fourth,"

But the version of the tohungas (wise men) re-
lates a different story of the shocking conduct of
the early discoverers toward the New Zealanders,
in killing and shooting them like wild beasts for
any trifling offense. One of Captain Cook's offi-
cers shot a man because he cheated him out of a
piece of calico. A chief was enticed on board a
French vessel and put in irons and carried away
from his family and tribe. The poor man died
of a broken heart within a week. When the dis-
coverer, Marion du Fresne, reached the Bay of
Islands there sprang up a strong friendship be-
tween him and the natives, but before the French
departed they treated the Maoris shamefully.
They violated the sacred places, cooked food
with tabued (sacred) wood, and put the chiefs in
prison. In revenge, the New Zealanders killed
Marion and sixteen of his men, and in the same
spirit the French burned villages and shot hun-
dreds of the defenseless natives. But still the
boats came, and among them a number of whal-
ing vessels, whose sailors settled on the island,
married the Maori women and introduced a
population of half-caste children. There was a
chief called Te Paki, who had a daughter that
married a sailor named George Bruce. He set-
tled in the tribe, was tattooed and became the


first of the Pakeka Maoris, or white men who
lived in Maori style.

When the people of New South Wales, in Aus-
tralia, discovered that first-class timber could be
found in New Zealand and carried to India and
the Cape of Good Hope, their cargo boats came,
and a few respectable white men began to settle
in the country. This led several chiefs to visit
England and Australia to learn more about the
white man and his country. Although the Ma-
oris were pleased to have the Euroj)eans come to
their island home, and exchange their clothes,
seeds, potatoes, iron tools, domestic utensils, pigs,
corn, poultry, guns and powder, for flax, whale
oil, seal skins, kauri gum and land, they still cher-
ished their old appetite for human flesh and

The Boyd massacre in 1809 is noted in history
as one of the bloodiest occurrences of this revolt-
ing practice among these savage cannibals. A
ship named "Boyd," with seventy persons on
board, started out from Sydney, and on its way
to England sto])ped at New Zealand to get some
kauri spars. There were five Maoris aboard of
her working their passage to New Zealand. One
of them, Tarra, (or George) a son of a Wangaroa
cliief, refusing to do what the captain ordered,
was whipi)od. AVHicn the ship anchored off New
Zealand this man went ashore and showed to


his tribe the marks on his back. They enticed
the captain and some of the men ashore, killed
them, went back to the boat and slaughtered all
on board except a boy and a little girl. An old
chief captured the girl. When she was found with
him years afterwards she had on an old linen gar-
ment and her hair was ornamented with feathers.
When questioned about her mother, who was
slain on the " Boyd," she would draw her hand
across her throat and say the Maoris cut her up
and ate her like victuals.

After an interval of seven years occurred the
Poverty Bay massacre — beginning of peaceable
trading between Europeans and Maoris, a fright-
ful native war dance, a murder of eight ship
passengers, a capturing of the remainder, and
a horrible cannibal feast, Avhich the prisoners
were compelled to witness. Eight large, round
holes, one foot deep, were dug in the ground.
Dry wood was placed in these, and stones laid
on top. The wood was set on fire and allowed to
burn until the stones became thoroughly heated.
After the clothing had been taken from the dead
bodies, they were cut up, washed, the pieces laid
on the hot stones, and covered over with green
leaves. This oven of human remains was then
surrounded by green boughs cut from the trees
and dipped in water. When the bodies were

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