Copy a link to this page Cite this record

"M" (J.I. Montefiore), 1837, 27 April. Sketches of New Zealand. The Sydney Herald : 2-3

Reference document

Click to collapse Notes Info

Chatham Islands.

Writer relates conviction of "natives of Tauranga" that Chatham Islands were settled by people from Tuua (Mayor Island) about fifty or sixty years previously, about the time of Cook; 9 canoes of about 100 people.

"both parties [Maori informants and Europeans] agree that there is plenty of flax on the islands, but that they do not know how to clean it. Now, it is very strange, that if the Chatham Islands were peopled from New Zealand, even as late as one hundred years ago, that they should forget in that short space of time how to clean their flax and make garments for themselves. Fern-root, which is the staple food of the New Zealanders, is abundant there, and seals formerly abounded on the coast.

The only kind of clothing which the Natives wear is the flax nearly in its natural state - it is soaked a little in the water, not sufficient to separate the husk and then rubbed to soften it, when it is knitted together in the shape of a mat, what the New Zealandors call a Puriki, and is generally worn as an outside covering or overall - it is the lowest and commonest description of mat, and cannot be properly termed dressed flax ... "

Writer describes how Maori from Port Nicholson went to Chathams in brig Lord Rodney in 1835-36 (five to six hundred). "I have no doubt, that if the flax trade should revive again, a very good thing might be made by going there to purchase flax"

Description of Mayor Island continues.

Click to collapse Bibliographic details Info

Sketches of New Zealand

1837, 27 April
"M" (J.I. Montefiore)
The Sydney Herald

Click to collapse Metadata Info

24 May 2011
18 June 2020
Click to go back to the top of the page