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The New Zealand Journal, Saturday, May 02 (1840)

74

The Systematic Colonization of New Zealand is a Duty.

The following article is from the Sydney Herald. Although, perhaps, somewhat coloured, there can be no doubt of the fact, that the present outcast British population of New Zealand has exercised a most pernicious influence upon the character and habits of the New Zealanders. Among a small portion of the natives, the missionaries have, perhaps, somewhat neutralised the ill effects of the bad influences, but, in many cases, unhappily, the lay-missionary system has been productive of unmixed evil, and nothing can work an amendment but a complete swamping of the bad population by a large emigration. The Church Missionary Society have hitherto opposed the colonization of New Zealand,* under the fallacious plea that the natives would suffer from colonization in the same way they have done in Van Diemen's Land. If it were possible to stop colonization, the argument would, at all events, be specious; but the missionaries all know that the colonization of New Zealand is inevitable, so that to oppose colonization of the best kind is to oppose the transfusion of a sound population, which, sooner or later, will reduce the bad to a small and uninfluential minority, easily restrained by law. To oppose the systematic colonization of New Zealand, then, is to promote the state of society described below, and to provide for the speedy extermination of a noble race of men peculiarly fitted for civilisation.
As for the grog-sellers described in the extract, we must observe that the Bay of Islands grog-seller is not one atom worse than the same class in our other Colonies. In Quebec, for instance, the same practice prevails, perhaps to a greater extent than in any other part of the world. There is a long street stretching up the river St. Lawrence, filled with these low grog-shops; and the only difference between the two cases is, that in Quebec "civilised" white women supply the place of the poor ignorant native girl, who is perhaps less demoralised by the course she pursues, because she is not degraded thereby in her own estimation and that of her tribe.
In conclusion, we would observe that the Aborigines Protection Society should at once take up the question of the systematic colonization of New Zealand, in order to neutralise—for we defy them to prevent—the shocking state of society—we scarcely dare call it society, which the following extract depicts:—
"The Bay of Islands is inhabited by three distinct tribes of natives —
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one at Tepunga, the Chiefs of which are Ware, Poaka, and Waikatto—one at Kororaika headed by Pilori, Peria, Warerahi, Eriwa, and Emoka—and one at the Kana Kana, headed by Ranwiti, Kiwi Kiwi, and Pomari. The whole of these Chiefs, as well as the taibes to which they belong, have one end the same distinguishing features, of which a rapacious, thieving, and greedy disposition is a principal one. They are continually on board some of the numerous vessels that frequent their harbour, either to sell their produce, or begging a glass of spirits, of which, they are inordinately fond; but principally to see what payment they can obtain from the master and crew of the vessels by the sale, for the time being, of their daughters, sisters, or female slaves. This species of traffic is carried on to an immense extent, and not only are many thousands of pounds annually given to them for this branch of commerce, but the owners of vessels also auffer greatly by the bread cask being continually open to them, as well as by the waste and destruction of quantities of fresh provisions, which are daily given to their relations, principally from the cabin, in order to ensure the continuance on board, during the stay of the; ship, of temporary wives for the officers. The owners, on examining their accounts, no doubt, imagine that their crews have been well refreshed, but far from it, for at least one-third of the provisions purchased during the time the vessel may remain at the Bay, is returned to the natives in the manner described; indeed, out of the numerous English, Colonial, and American whalers, that are continually there, it is seldom that you board one without meeting with six or eight women and girls, with at least as many of their relations continually in the cabin, while every foremast-man has his wife. Independent of this, the men's clothing is robbed from them by the native girls, and handed over the side of the vessel into a canoe, where their relations are ready to receive it; high or low, Chief or slave, this is the constant practice, and even his Highness Tilore (as he is styled by the letter which he shows you, as having received from his present Majesty, and which is signed by the Earl of Aberdeen, together with a present: of a suit of armour) is continually pandering to the wandering appetite of Civilised Europeans, for the sake of a musket, cartouch-box, or blanket; and although not actually a thief himself, will protect his slaves in thieving, provided they be not caught in the fact. I should say that the natives of the Bay of Islands—receive a revenue by the sale of their women and what they steal, of at least seven thousand pounds annually, independent of the sale of their provisions, which amounts to another four thousand, making eleven thousand pounds from the shipping alone. There is no rule without an exception, and assuming the number of vessels that annually visit the Bay of Islands at one hundred and fifty, there are perhaps one in ten that may be excepted from this description. All of them are undoubtedly obliged to court the favour a little of the Chiefs to ensure supplies: but the generality of them are so captivated with the dirty brown skin of a New Zealand beauty, adorned with shark's teeth in one ear, and a large black pipe in the other, joined to their breath stinking with the fumes of tobacco and rum, as to forego every idea of comfort and cleanliness, by having fifty or sixty of them continually onboard their vessels. The men are also strangely taken with a liking of remaining on shore for a month or two—principally for the sake of women and grog, to which they are enticed and decoyed by that race of blackguards of the lowest grade, called grog-sellers. These men, of whom there are abont seventeen in the Bay, are a complete set of bullying thieves; they endeavour tor insinuate themselves into the good graces of the crew by inquiring how their provisions are P—In most instances sailors will grumble, and they immediately offer them a home until they can procure another vessel; an opportunity is then taken to get their clothes out of the vessel by degrees, in which they generally succeed, and if the men have any pay due to them, and the master refuses to pay them off, it is ten chances to one but a coil of rope, spare harpoons, lances, boat sails, and a variety of other small articles are made away with, and a boat set adrift, which probably gets stove on the rocks in consequence, and when recovered from the natives, an exorbitant ransom is asked and obliged to be given. After the man comes ashore he is charged eight shillings a week for his board and lodging, the former consisting of pork and potatoes only; tea and sugar are two shillings a week extra. Of course a wife is indispensable; Jack is then made drunk, and when his bill is shown him he is informed that he asked every one in the room to drink with him, and was supplied accordingly; this soon swallows up every article of clothing which he may be possessed of; his credit may then hold good for a fortnight, when he is sold, as they term it, for an advance of four, five, or six pounds, and his removal makes way for more,-perhaps from the very ship he is sold to. The scenes of immorality and drunkenness which are thus exhibited to the natives, are truly shocking; in the shipping season, of a Sunday, when the men have liberty of going ashore, it is no uncommon Bight to see near one hundred sailors roving about Kororarika beach, most of whom are drunk, and about ten or twelve pitched battles are the inseparable consequence.
"As New Zealand has never been known to be subject, like New Holland and Van Diemen's Land, to droughts, it will eventually become of immense importance to the Colonies, not only as a corn country, but for its timber and flax; and it therefore remains to be investigated whether it would not be advisable to take formal possession of it at once, in order to put some check on the demoralising scenes which are daily taking place, ana to encourage the natives to industry and civilisation; particularly as it is fully ascertained that the conflicting jealousies of the Chiefs among themselves prevents any one of them from assuming any superior power, even under the direction of their civilised friends, and which might thereby prevent many bloody wars at a future period.
"These remarks were made during a residence of eighteen months at the place, and may be be relied on as a true picture of the Bay of Islands."

*

See the pamphlet of Mr. Dandeson Coates, quoted in our last.

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