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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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Of the Canoes and Navigation of New Zealand


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Of the Canoes and Navigation of New Zealand (continued)

Tillage, weaving, and the other arts of peace, seem to be best known and most practised in the northern part of this country; for there is little appearance of any of them in the South: but the arts of war flourish equally through the whole coast.

Of weapons they have no great variety, but such as they have are well fitted for destruction; they have spears, darts, battle-axes, and the Patoo-Patoo. The spear is fourteen or fifteen feet long, pointed at both ends, and sometimes headed with bone: these are grasped by the middle, so that the part behind balancing that before, makes a push more difficult to be parried, than that of a weapon which is held by the end. The dart and other weapons have been sufficiently described already; and it has also been remarked, that these people have neither sling nor bow. They throw the dart by hand, and so they do stones; but darts and stones are seldom used except in defending their forts. Their battles, whether in boats or on shore, are generally hand to hand, and the slaughter must consequently be great, as a second blow with any of their weapons is unnecessary, if the first takes place: their trust, however, seems to be principally placed in the Patoo-Patoo, which is fastened to their wrists by a strong strap, lest it should be wrenched from them, and which the principal people generally wear sticking in their girdles, considering it as a military ornament, and part of their dress, like the poinard of the Asiatic, and the sword of the European. They have no defensive armour; but, besides their weapons, the Chiefs carried a staff of distinction, in the same manner as our officers do the spontoon: this was generally the rib of a whale, as white as show, with many ornaments of carved work, dog’s hair, and feathers; but sometimes it was a stick, about six feet long, adorned in the same manner, and inlaid with a shell like mother-of-pearl. Those who bore this mark of distinction were generally old, at least past the middle age, and were also more marked with the Amoco than the rest.


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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 466 - 467, 2004
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