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New Zealand (continued)

upon the open fire untill they are thouroughly hot and the bark of them burnt to a coal, they are then beat with a wooden hammer over a stone which causes all the bark to fly off and leaves the inside consisting of a small proportion of a glutinous pulp mixt with many fibres, which they generaly spit out after having suckd each mouthfull a long time. Strange and unheard of as it must appear to an Europaean to draw nourishment from a class of Plant which in Europe no animal, har[d]ly even insects, will taste, I am much inclind to think that it affords a nourishing and wholesome diet: these people eat but little and this is the foundation of their meals, all summer at least from the time that their roots are planted till the season for digging them up. Among them I have seen many very healthy old men and in general the whole of them are as vigorous a race as can be imagind.

To the Southward where little or nothing is planted Fern roots and fish must serve them all the Year. Here therefore we saw that they had made vast piles of Both, especialy the latter which were dryd in the sun very well, I suppose meant for winter stock when possibly Fish is not so plentifull or the trouble of catching it greater than in Winter.

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© Derived from State Library of NSW Transcription of Banks's Journal page (vol. 2) 192, February 2004
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