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Parkinson's JournalVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
23 October 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Chiefs, warriors and war canoes &c.


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Chiefs, warriors and war canoes &c. (continued)

The country about the bay is agreeable beyond description, and, with proper cultivation, might be rendered a kind of second Paradise. The hills are covered with beautiful flowering shrubs, intermingled with a great number of tall and stately palms, which fill the air with a most grateful fragrant perfume.

We saw the tree that produces the cabbage, which ate well boiled. We also found some trees that yielded a fine transparent gum: and, between the hills, we discovered some fruitful valleys that are adapted either to cultivation or pasturage. The country abounds with different kinds of herbage fit for food; and, among such a variety of trees as are upon this land, there are, doubtless, many that pro-duce eatable fruit. Our botanists were agreeably employed in investigating them, as well as many other lesser plants with which the country abounds. Within land there were many scandent ferns and parasaitic plants; and, on the sea shore, Sali-cornias, Misembrean, Mums, and a variety of Fucuss. The plant, of which they make their cloth, is a sort of Hemerocallis, and the leaves yield a very strong and glossy flax, of which their garments and ropes are made. Adjoining to their houses are plantations of Koomarra * and Taro †: These grounds are cultivated with great care, and kept clean and neat.

The natives, who are not very numerous in this part of the country, behaved very civil to us: they are, in general, lean and tall, yet well shaped; have faces like Europeans; and, in general, the aquiline nose, with dark-coloured eyes, black hair, which is tied up on the crown of the head, and beards of a middling length. As to their tataowing, it is done very curiously in spiral and other figures; and, in many places, indented into their skins, which looks like carving; though, at a distance, it appears as if it had been only smeared with a black paint. This tataowing is peculiar to the principal men among them: servants and women content themselves with besmearing their faces with red paint or ochre; and, were it not for this nasty custom, would make no despicable appearance. Their cloth is white, and as glossy as silk, worked by hands, and wrought as even as if it had been done in a loom, and is chiefly worn by the men, though it is made by the women, who also carry burdens, and do all the drudgery. Their cloathing consists in a girdle of platted grass, which they wear round their loins, having some leaves hung upon it, and a kind of grass-rug cloak thrown over their shoulders. Many of the women, that we saw, had very good features, and not the savage countenance one might expect; [see pl. XIX.] their lips were, in general, stained of a blue colour, and several of them were scratched all over their faces as if it had been done with needles or pins. This, with a number of scars which we saw on the bodies of the men, was done upon the decease of their relations. The men have their hair tied up, but the womens hangs down; nor do they wear feathers in it, but adorn it with leaves. They seem to be proud of their sex, and expect you should give them every thing they desire, because they are women; but they take care to grant no favours in return, being very different from the women in the islands who were so free with our men.

* A sweet potatoe, which the Otaheiteans call Oomarra.

† Yams.

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© Derived from the London 1773 edition printed for Stanfield Parkinson, pages 97 - 98, 2004
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