4th December 1769

Image: View of the Hippa on the island of Motuaro in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand (Sydney Parkinson)

[At Bay of Islands, North Island, New Zealand]
Gentle breezes at North-West, West-North-West, and West; very fair weather. P.M., Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and myself landed upon one of the Islands* (* Probably Motu-Rua) on the North side of the one the Ship lays under. This Island is about 3 Miles in Circuit, and hath upon it 40 or 50 Acres of Land cultivated and planted with roots; here are likewise several small streams of Excellent water. This Island, as well as most others in this Bay, seem to be well inhabited. At 4 a.m. sent the Long boat to the above Island for water and some hands to cut Grass, and at 9, I went with the Pinnace and Yawl over upon the Main, accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander. In our way we passed by a point of land on which stood a Hippa or Fortified Village, the inhabitants of which waved us to come ashore, and accordingly we landed, which we had no sooner done than the People came about us with Quantitys of various sorts of fish, which we purchased of them for meer Trifles. After this they shew'd us the Village, which was a neat Compact place, and its situation well Choose. There were 2 or 3 more near unto this, but these we did not go to.

We afterwards went a little way into the Country, and had some of the Natives along with us; we met with a good deal of Cultivated land, planted mostly with sweet potatoes. The face of the Country appear'd Green and pleasant, and the soil seem'd to be pretty rich and proper for Cultivation. The land is every where about this Bay of a moderate height, but full of small Hills and Vallies, and not much incumbered with wood. We met with about 1/2 a dozen Cloth plants, being the same as the inhabitants of the Islands lying within the Tropics make their finest Cloth on. This plant must be very scarce among them, as the Cloth made from it is only worn in small pieces by way of Ornaments at their ears, and even this we have seen but very seldom. Their knowing the use of this sort of Cloth doth in some measure account for the extraordinary fondness they have shew'd for it above every other thing we had to give them. Even a sheet of white paper is of more value than so much English Cloth of any sort whatever; but, as we have been at few places where I have not given away more or less of the latter, it's more than probable that they will soon learn to set a value upon it, and likewise upon Iron, a thing not one of them knows the use of or sets the least value upon; but was European commodities in ever such Esteem among them, they have no one thing of Equal value to give in return, at least that we have seen.

Joseph Banks Journal
Our Old man came on board and brought with him his brother who had been shot with small shot on the 29th; it had slanted along his thigh which I suppose had not less than 100 shotts in it. This wound was likewise without any application and seemd to give him little or no pain but was crusted over with a hard crust, natures plaister, equal maybe when she chuses to apply it to any that art has contrivd.

After breakfast we went ashore at a large Indian fort or heppah; a great number of people immediately crouded about us and sold almost a boat load of fish in a very short time. They then went and shewd us their plantations which were very large of Yamms, Cocos, and sweet potatoes; and after having a little laught at our seine, which was a common kings seine, shewd us one of theirs which was 5 fathom deep and its lengh we could only guess, as it was not stretchd out, but it could not from its bulk be less than 4 or 500 fathom. Fishing seems to be the cheif business of this part of the countrey; about all their towns are abundance of netts laid upon small heaps like hay cocks and thatchd over and almost every house you go into has netts in it making. After this they shewd us a great rarity 6 plants of what they calld Aouta from whence they made cloth like the Otahite cloth; the plant provd exactly the same, as the name is the same, as is usd in the Islands, Morus papyrifera Linn., the same plant as is usd by the Chinese to make paper. Whether the Climate does not well agree with it I do not know, but they seemd to value it very much and that it was very scarce among them I am inclind to beleive, as we have not yet seen among them peices large enough for any use but sticking into the holes of their Ears.

In the afternoon we went to a very distant part of the bay, the people here were very few. All but one old man ran away from us; he accompanied us where ever we went and seemd much pleasd with the little presents we made him. Near where we landed was a little fort built upon a small rock, surrounded by the sea at high water and accessible only by a ladder. We expressd a desire to go there; he said there was his wife but if we would promise to practice no indecencies towards her he would accompany us; this we most readily did and he was as good as his word. The ascent was so difficult that tho there were stepps and a pole we found it dangerous enough. When we came up there were in it 3 women who on our first coming cried, but presents soon put them into better humour. There were in all only 3 houses, but the situation as I have before describd was so steep that the inhabitants of them might easily defend themselves against almost any force that could be brought against them.

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