Joseph Banks’s Brass Patu in New Zealand

Joseph Banks had 40 brass patu made in Eleanor Gyles’s brass foundry at 9 Shoe Lane, Fleet Street, London, in March 1772 in anticipation of taking them and other gift and trade items on Captain Cook’s second voyage of exploration to the Pacific. They were 14.43 inches (36.5 cm) long and were engraved by Thomas Orpin with Banks’s name, general family crest and the date 1772. When Banks did not go he “ordered everything belonging to [him] to be removed from the ship.” [Beaglehole, 1961: 937.] Charles Clerke, his protegé and friend, had been master’s mate in the Endeavour and was second lieutenant in the Resolution. He thanked Banks for his assistance on 31 May 1772, and added “Wish you’d send a Venture by me, of one of your small Cags [casks] of large nails, for by what I hear, they are much better than any of my freights.” Banks had ordered eight casks as nails were highly prized in the Pacific. They were flat spikes, usually four or five inches long, which Maori would grind to a fine edge to make chisels or to a point for drilling holes or use as spear points. While nails provided by the government would carry its broad arrow symbol, those taken privately by officers would not. Banks met the request and Clerke wrote from Sheerness on 17 June: “am very much oblig’d for the Cagg of Nails - think I am now set out completely freighted for the South Sea Marts, hope to make a good trading voyage of it ... and show away in a curious Cabinet of Miti curiosities at my return.” [Chambers, 2008: 121, 128.] He is the only officer, apart from Cook, whose correspondence with Banks has been published. There is nothing in his log of the voyage, or letters after it, to show that he (or anyone else) had any of the brass patu on this voyage.


For the third expedition in 1776 Banks gave “several of these instruments” to Clerke, who was then captain of the Discovery. [Archibald Menzies quoted in Coote, 2008: 56.]. Banks was at Gravesend in June 1776 during the fortnight the ships were there; “we had the honour of Lord Sandwich’s and several of the Nobility’s company to dine on board with Mr Banks and Dr Solander,” wrote Dr Samwell. [Fitzpatrick, 2007: 97.] At Queen Charlotte Sound, the only place visited in New Zealand by the Discovery and Resolution, Cook noted on 24 February 1777 that many Natives “came to take their leave of us, or rather to get what they could from us before we left them.” Only Second Lieutenant John Rickman recorded (in 1781) that Captain Clerke gave an old chief one of these engraved patu on the morning of 23 February in thanks for a complete set of Maori arms. Rickman wrote that it was engraved with “His Majesty’s name and arms, the names of the ships, the date of their departure from England, and the business they were sent on”, showing that they had been further engraved or stamped by the armourer on board. [Coote, 2008: 51-2.] The armourer, George Dixon was also a trained silversmith. Link to George Dixon. Re: West Indian and Bermudan Silver
Cook had set a precedent for engraving gifts, as on the island of Huahine he gave the king “a small pewter plate on which was stamped this inscription His Britannic Majestie’s ship Endeavour, Lieutenant James Cook Commander 16th July 1769 Huaheine.”
It could have been this brass patu that resurfaced in 1835, by which time the original Ngati Apa of the outer sound, where ships anchored, had been displaced by Ngati Awa (modern Te Ati Awa) and Ngati Toa from the lower west coast of the North Island. There was constant raiding between them and other tribes, in which European whalers in the area took part. One of these, James Heberley, (later known as ‘Worser’), recorded in his reminiscences a raid with Ngati Awa into adjacent Cloudy Bay: James Heberley1809


“[We] made a rush for the Pah for plunder. It was very dark and the first thing I fell over was a man’s leg and thigh… I got up and feeling around I found a double barrelled gun and a mere. The mere was one of three that Captain Cook brought out from England. I gave it to a native; his name was Reney Tokoro. The mere had a ship’s name on it and a date. The name and date was partly worn out. I could not make out the date distinctly but there was 1700 and another figure I could not make out.” [Heberley ms.]

Thus Heberley confirms Rickman’s description, but how he arrived at the figure of three such patu is not known (unless from an amanuensis). Patu is the general term for short striking, or cleaving, weapons, of which mere is a particular type.

During April 1778 Captain Clerke distributed at least four other brass patu in Nootka Sound, northwest America, of which one is known today. Archibald Menzies had seen one of them on the same coast in 1787 with the inscriptions “nearly worn off”, and three offered to John Meares the following year were also worn to varying degrees. [Coote, 2008: 57.] Presumably ‘Reney Tokoro’ was of Ngati Awa. While some of this tribe remained in Marlborough many crossed back to the lower North Island and/or returned to their original home in North Taranaki. If this brass patu survives it could be somewhere in this wide area, although it is also possible, as Coote noted [ibid], that it could have been buried with its owner.

But “how many of the patus had earlier been left in New Zealand is not known … [Clerke] presumably presented others to chiefs and other people he considered important, but there is no evidence for when and where he might have done so.” [Coote, 2008: 57.] If the argument presented in this paper is correct the only other known New Zealand example was seen near the mouth of the Waihou River in the Firth of Thames on 24 April 1801. Several London Missionary Society members were on their way to Tahiti and had called there in the Royal Admiral to procure timber. On the east side of “the river” [firth] they were “soon introduced to an old Man, and his Wife; the old man appeared to be a Chief, and had a Brass weapon with the name of Joseph Banks Esqr engraved on it.” Professor Anne Salmond identifies it as coming from Uawa or the South Island. [Salmond, 1997: 261-3.] The first suggestion is most unlikely. Cook and Banks had spent a fruitful week at Uawa, or Tolaga Bay, in October 1769 with Ngati Porou and the chief Te Whakatatare-o-te-Rangi, but Cook had only fleeting contact with North Island Maori in the second expedition. On 22 October 1773 as they were sailing southwards near Cape Kidnappers “three canoes reached us in which were about 18 people, the first that came were fishers and exchanged some fish for cloth and nails.” A chief was in a second canoe and he entered the cabin where Cook “presented him with several large nails which he coveted so much that he seized hold of all he could cast his eyes upon… I also gave him a piece of cloth and a looking glass.” He was not much interested in the gifts of two boars, two sows, four hens and seeds of wheat, cabbage, carrots, yams, etc, but was in “raptures when I gave him a spike nail half the length of his arm engraved with the broad arrow.” [Beaglehole, 1961:278-9.]

Only Captain Furneaux in the Adventure went to Uawa, Tolaga Bay, in 1773. He found it impossible to get around Cape Palliser - Burney called it ‘Cape turn and be damned’ - and with the sloop leaking and all the bedding wet he turned back. “On the 4th November we again got in shore near Cape Palliser and was visited by a number of the Natives in their canoes with a great quantity of Crayfish, which we bought of them for nails and Otaheiti Cloath.” The Adventure “anchored in Tolaga Bay on the 9th; it affords good riding…. wood and water is easily to be had.” The ‘Natives’ were more numerous than at Queen Charlotte Sound and more settled. They had plenty of sweet potatoes, other roots, cray and other fish “which we bought of them for Nails, beads and other trifles, at an easy rate.” [Beaglehole, 1961: 741-2.] Some men, including Lieutenant Burney, went ashore and Maori stole a gallon keg of brandy from the watering party. There is no mention of the gift of a brass patu, though this seems the most likely occasion for one to have been landed on the east coast of the North Island, had there been one on board. Furneaux may not have known if someone exchanged one for some Maori treasure though it is hard to believe that such an unusual item could have been kept secret. The Adventure sailed on the 12th of November but had to put back through bad weather the next day to repair damaged rigging and obtain more wood and water, before finally sailing for Queen Charlotte Sound on the 16th. They did not encounter Maori again till they anchored in Ship Cove.

J.S. Polack wrote that in June 1835 he obtained two spike nails from Te Kani-o-Takirau at Uawa that had been obtained from Captain Cook. One was five inches long and the other six and they had been ground and used as chisels for wood-carving. [Best, 1912: 329.] After nearly seventy years the local people may not have distinguished between Cook and Furneaux, who could equally have left them there, as could members of their crews. To have mana the objects needed to be associated with Rongo Toote - Captain Cook.

Returning to the Banks patu seen in the Hauraki Gulf in 1801, it was probably in possession of a leader of Ngati Paoa. When people from this area visited Nga Puhi in the Bay of Islands some time before 10 July 1816 the Rev. Thomas Kendall wrote to Banks “One of them produced a brass mere or war club, bearing ‘Joseph Banks Esq’ and your coat of arms engraved upon it.” He could not be persuaded to part with it “for any consideration whatever.” [Coote, 2008:57-8.]

Not long afterwards Hongi Hika of Nga Puhi gained a superiority of muskets and embarked on utu (revenge) for previous defeats at the hands of the Maru-tuahu - the combined four tribes of Hauraki, of which Ngati Paoa was one. Ngati Paoa were heavily defeated at Mauinaina Pa at the mouth of the Tamaki River in November 1821, when they lost 300 killed and ‘many’ taken captive into slavery. The remnant sought shelter with Ngati Maru near Thames, but their pa at Te Totara fell in December. [Ballara, 2003: 217-219.] “Some hapu of Ngati Paoa fled to Waikato and others with Ngati Maru travelled up the Piako and crossed over to Horotiu.” [Ballara, 2003: 220.] With them, in all likelihood, went the brass patu.

In April 1884 the Maori Land Court for Waikato-Maniapoto sat at Kihikihi for hearings into the ownership of the Manukatutahi ki Otau-tahanga Block in the vicinity of present day Cambridge. There were some thirty claimant tribes and hapu, including Ngati Raukawa, the original tribe of Rewi Maniapoto, and Ngati Koroki. A woman from the latter was the mother of the Waikato Maori King Koroki, who served from 1933 to 1966.

During the sitting on 7 May 1884 Piripi Whanatanga of Ngati Koroki told how the Waikato drove Ngati Maru and Ngati Paoa out of Waikato in the battle of Taumatawiwi “about 1829” [early 1831]. He said, in G. Puckey’s interpretation,:

“Then Ngati Werewere and Ngati Koroki came to Maungatautari. They found this weapon (a brass “mere”) produced. The weapon belonged to ________ Ngati Tamatira, the chief who carried it in battle was Moananui. Ngati Haua of Matamata were not present when this weapon was found. Ngati Haua of Kawekitiki were present, and Ngati Hourua (Mura section of), Ngati Kahukura also, and Ngati Pore accompanied Ngati Koroki and the others when they found this weapon. They then cut up this piece of land…” [Minute Book 12: 172.]

Meha Te Moananui links back to Ngati Paoa for he was a leading Hauraki chief. He was present at the battle of Gate Pa in 1864 and wounded afterwards. [Cowan, 1922 (I): 422, 433.] He spoke at a conference to open up the Ohinemuri Goldfields in February 1875. [Salmon, 1963: 241.]

Further reference was made to the patu on 19 May 1884 by Karauria Ngamu of Ngati Koroki:

“Maihi Nga Kuku laid down the first boundary at Te Warao-te-atua, digging a pit there. Te Hura fired a shot out of a gun at the mountain and said that he claimed the mountain [Maungatautari]. When we got to where the Ngati Paoa started from in their canoes [to cross the Waikato River to depart], we found the brass weapon (a “pounamu” already introduced) above.” [Minute Book 12: 228.]

Later in his evidence, on 23 May, he recalled that:

“It was within a year of Taumatawiwi we went on to the land, we found the potato crops planted by the Ngati Paoa still growing.” [Minute Book 12: 246.]

Karaka Tarawhiti said, on 6 June:

“Ngati Koroki lived at Maungatautari ever since 1830.” [Minute Book 12: 280.]

Charles Marshall, a flax trader in the Waikato from November 1830, said that the battle of Taumatawiwi took place in 1831 [A.J.H.R. 1881, G-2A: 25.] so the dates given may be one to two years early.

Something as precious as the Banks patu may still be a prized relic among them, unless this is the example in the British Museum. Harry G. Beasley, a London collector, claimed to have acquired one of these brass patu from New Zealand, which he donated to the Museum in 1936. It bears “the arms of Sir Joseph Banks”, which, from a photograph, appear only slightly worn on the left-hand side. The entry in the British Museum Merlin Collections Database has no more specific information as to where and when it was collected. [Eaton, 2002.]

Apparently in connection with the second expedition, Beasley says “It is recorded that Cook took some out as trade objects…” He does not give any reference, though his source may have been Elsdon Best. [Beasley, 1927: 297; Coote, 2008: 53.] Best surmised in 1918: “Evidently a number of these [brass patu] must have been brought, and it would be interesting to know if any of these weapons or medals have been found since the European settlement of the country” [Best, 1918: 17], and in 1924: “I am not aware that any of these brass patu are to be met with nowadays.” [Best, 1924 (II) : 257.] Beasley states they were made of gun-metal, which “even today, is peculiar to the Royal Navy, and it is therefore probable that they were cast in the Royal Dockyards for Cook’s particular use.” This has been superseded by later knowledge.

Peach Eaton, in her booklet Bronze Patu writes of a “bronze patu” that “was not engraved” being in an auction at Foxton in the 1960s. She had handled it, thought it “was the real McCoy” and persuaded a friend, Richard de Gruchy, to buy it. He shifted to Marton a few years later where it was stolen in a burglary of his home and never recovered. Some of the four brass patu in British Museums appear unworn and probably never left England.

If there is mystery about how a second brass patu, apparently without additional engraving, came into Maori hands there is even more puzzlement in trying to source an iron mere originating from the second expedition. It was part of a story collected by 19-year old William Baker, assistant to the Rev. Richard Taylor of Wanganui, among the upper river tribes, in 1848. They included Ngati Haua, originally from the Waikato. This was in reference to the “ship of Rongotute”, which I have shown elsewhere to be the cutter of the Adventure, cut off in Wharehunga Bay, Arapawa Island, on 17 December 1773. [Church, 2011: 104-5.] Burney recorded on 16 February 1777 from what Maori told him: “The Adventure’s cutter was soon after taken from the Indians of Charlotte Sound by those of Terrawitte [i.e from the ‘north’, really the east, side of the strait], a strong party of whom had come over on a visit to Charlotte Sound.” Cook wrote on 26 October 1774: “They described by actions how the ship [the cutter was meant] was beaten to pieces by going up and down against the rocks, till at last it was all scattered abroad.” The version of Baker’s story in Taylor’s notebook says:

“One article which they got [from the boat] is said to have been shaped like a mere and was consequently highly prized. It is now in the possession of some person belonging to the Nga ti hene tribe. The natives say this was the first time they ever saw iron. The spike nails they sharpened, and having fixed them on a handle like a native adze…” [Richards, 1993: 12.]

This was subsequently published by Taylor in Te Ika a Maui in 1855, page 207:

“… one thing taken is said to have been shaped like a mere, and was therefore highly prized. It is still in the possession of some-one belonging to the Nga-te-hine tribe. The natives say this was the first time they ever saw iron.”

John White in his 1888 Tainui volume of The Ancient History of the Maori changed this slightly, possibly from another source or simply in his editorial capacity, as was his wont:

“From this ship a weapon was obtained which was not unlike a Maori mere pounamu in shape, which is still in the possession of the chiefs of the tribe called Ngati-hine, and that was the first time that iron was seen by the Maori. The nails were rubbed on sharp stones to make them have a sharp point, these nails were then put on a long spear. Other pieces of iron were made into axes like our stone axes which we call kapu…” [Richards, 1993: 13. The ‘our’ and ‘we’ suggest a Maori informant.]

When Baker collected his story in 1848 the upper Whanganui Maori were well-acquainted with iron. They had iron hatchets cut from sheet iron and in the next decade they were observed cutting nephrite [pounamu or greenstone] with a cross-cut saw. [Best, 1912: 421, 69.] The fact that this was the first time the natives had seen iron lends credence to the story told to Burney, and to Cook in both 1774 and 1777, in Queen Charlotte Sound, that the cutter had been taken away by people from the north, for the local people had seen iron nails during Cook’s first expedition.

‘Nga ti hene’ could be the Ngati Hine, a hapu of Ngati Ruanui/Nga Rauru, the tribes to the west of the Whanganui River, but, given the Ngati Haua connection, it could be the tribe or hapu of that name in Waikato which was connected with Ngati Paoa. [Marshall, in St John, 1873: 26.]

It seems odd that a cutter sent away to cut scurvy grass and celery would have had an iron mere on board, not to mention plates and a red blanket also said to have been found in it. A possible explanation could be that the Northerners had loaded into the cutter all the booty that the local people had acquired honestly and dishonestly from the Resolution and Adventure and their camps on shore, or, less likely, that such booty had been stored in it. If an iron patu was stolen it could explain why no-one in the expedition mentioned one being given out. Pilfering was a constant problem to both Cook and Furneaux. The latter wrote in April while in the Sound:

“They are a bold, fearless race of beings, insensible of danger, are great thieves, will steal everything they can lay their hands on without being the least confused when caught, and will sometimes even dispute to return it as much as it was their own property.” [Beaglehole, 1961: 740.]

Though several references mention iron patu or mere far less is known about them. A replica adze made by Cook’s armourer is known from Tahiti [Coote, 2008: 63-4 n5.] and may have inspired Cook “to have his armourers make further replicas from time to time on all three voyages.” [Coote, 2008: 51.] Unfortunately it does not appear to have inspired Cook to record any such replicas. In the second expedition Edmund Ireland was the armourer in the Resolution; he had a set of armourers’ tools and a supply of “wyer, brass and iron”. [Beaglehole, 1961:913, 916, 923.] At Ship Cove on 4 November 1773 Lieutenant Pickersgill “set the armourers Forge up on board” and on the 22nd “struck the armourers Forge on board”. [McNab, 1914: 194-5.] But there are no references to any iron patu in the logs or surviving correspondence relating to the second expedition, or even the third.

John Nicholas saw an iron patu in the hands of Te Puhi at Whangaroa in December 1814. Describing a meeting with 150 chiefs he wrote:

“Others brandished in their hands long clubs made of whalebone, and all carried the pattoo pattoo, an instrument of no fixed dimensions, though generally about eleven or twelve inches long and four broad… Those I have seen were variously made of whalebone, the green jade, and a dark coloured stone susceptible of a high polish… Tippouie [Te Puhi], who, I must now observe, was the brother of George, had a weapon of this description which he had beat out of some bar iron, and the polish it displayed was so very fine, that I could not have thought it possible for it to have been effected by the simple process of a New Zealander, had I not many other proofs of the astonishing ingenuity of these people.” [Nicholas, 1817: 133-4.]

The Rev. Samuel Marsden, in his long account to the C.M.S. said he conversed with Te Puhi but he did not advert to his unorthodox weapon. [McNab, 1908; 357.] Incidentally Cook did not know that Whangaroa existed.

Beasley said that Hone Heke had an iron mere “beaten out of an iron bar” but he gave no reference and no such weapon is recorded by Frederick Manning in his nineteenth century account of Heke nor by Paul Moon in his recent biography. It has been suggested that a cold-hammered iron mere found by George Avery in a burial cave on the Cavalli Islands, Northland, and now in the Waikato Museum, could have been his. [Moana Davey Concept Leader Waikato Museum 2012] Elsdon Best wrote in 1924: “In modern times patu have occasionally been fashioned from a piece of iron.” [Best, 1924 (II): 254.], and, referring to early trade in the Bay of Plenty, he said that iron spikes, pieces of hoop iron and grid irons were “highly prized”. The bars of the latter were taken out and ground into barbed points for bird spears. “Heavier pieces of iron were formed into weapons, patu or spearheads.” [Best, 1925: 556-7.]

Beasley got “three cast-iron mere” from a junk shop in 1907; all had at one time been painted green in imitation of pounamu or greenstone. Two were from the same mould and were 15.75 inches long and weighed 5lb 5ozs, with relatively thin blades, a thong hole and well-defined reke or knob. The third was 14.875 inches long and weighed 9.5 lb, with a much thicker blade [indicating it was a copy of a stone mere], badly balanced and too heavy for a weapon. [Beasley, 1927: 297.] These have no provenance. One possibility is that they were props made for tattooed showmen, such as John Rutherford and Barnet Burns, who had spent time in New Zealand but who were unlikely to have possessed real greenstone patu for their stage performances. The third example from the Beasley Collection is now in Te Papa Museum, Wellington (WE001822), the bequest of collector Kenneth Athol Webster in 1971; it still has flakes of green paint showing. Another, weighing about 5lb (1740.50 g) and measuring 15.85 inches (416 mm) long (ME007684), has no provenance. Patu pora (iron hand weapon) - Collections Online - Museum of New ...

A ‘brass patu’ given by Clerke in Queen Charlotte Sound in 1777 is possibly the same as a worn one seen by James Heberley in 1835. There is no evidence of anyone else in the Resolution or Discovery having these replicas. The one seen in the Thames area in 1801, in the Bay of Islands in 1816 and in the Waikato in 1831, with a common thread of Ngati Paoa possession, probably also originated with Clerke during the third expedition. How it got from Queen Charlotte Sound to the Hauraki Gulf - whether through trade, gift or warfare - is unknown, but “Hauraki was a crossroads in pre-European as well as post contact times” [Salmond, 1997: 280] and there are ancestral links between Ngati Awa and Ngati Haua of both general areas. This could be the relatively unworn example in the British Museum if it truly came from New Zealand. British Museum - Replica of a Maori hand club


Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1881, G-2A, p. 25.

Ballara, Angela, 2003: Taua. ‘Musket wars’, ‘land wars’ or tikanga. Warfare in Maori Society in the Early Nineteenth Century. Penguin Books, Auckland.

Beaglehole, J.C. 1961: The Journals of Captain James Cook. The Voyage of the Resolution and Adventure, 1772-1775 Cambridge University Press for the Hakluyt Society.

Beasley, H.G. 1927: Metal Mere in the Journal of the Polynesian Society, No 143, September 1927, p. 297.

Best, Elsdon, 1912: The Stone Implements of the Maori, Dominion Museum Bulletin No 4, reprinted 1974, and in 2005 by Te Papa Press, Wellington.

Best, Eldon, 1918: The Discovery and Re-Discovery of Wellington Harbour, with Remarks by Early Voyagers on the Local Natives etc Wellington Harbour Board (reprinted 1989).

Best, Elsdon, 1924: The Maori (two volumes) Memoirs of the Polynesian Society Vol V, Wellington.

Best, Elsdon, 1925: Tuhoe, The Children of the Mist, a sketch of the origin, history, myths and beliefs of the Tuhoe tribe… A.H. & A.W. Reed for the Polynesian Society, Wellington (reprinted 1973)

Burns, Barnet, 1844: A Brief Narrative of a New Zealand Chief. The Author, Belfast.

Calder, Alex (ed), 2001: F.E. Maning “Old New Zealand” and Other Writings Leicester University Press, London.

Chambers, Neil (ed), 2008: The Indian and Pacific Correspondence of Sir Joseph Banks, 1768-1820, Vol 1 Letters 1768-1782 Pickering & Chatto, London.

Church, Ian, 2011: The Loss of the Adventure’s Cutter and Its Aftermath in Archaeology in New Zealand, 54 (2): 101-113.

Coote, Jeremy, 2008: Joseph Banks’s Forty Brass Patus in the Journal of Museum Ethnography No 20 (March) pp 49-68.

Cowan, James, 1922: The New Zealand Wars in the Pioneering Period. Vol I, Government Printer, Wellington.

Eaton, Peach, 2002: Bronze Patu. Self-published, Blenheim. (Copy in the Hocken Library)

Fitzpatrick, Martin, Nicholas Thomas and Jennifer Newell (eds): 2007 Dr Samwell: The Death of Captain Cook and Other Writings University of Wales Press, Cardiff.

Heberley, James: Reminiscences. Original ms in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.

McNab, Robert: 1908 Historical Records of New Zealand, Volume One, Government Printer, Wellington.

McNab, Robert: 1914 Historical Records of New Zealand, Volume Two, Government Printer, Wellington.

Maori Land Court, Waikato-Maniapoto: Minute Book 12, pp 134-417. (Hocken Library Micro 358/41, Reel 74.)

Moon, Paul, 2001: Hone Heke, Nga Puhi Warrior David Ling, Auckland.

Nicholas, J.L., 1817: Narrative of a Voyage to New Zealand Performed in the Years 1814 and 1815, in company with the Rev. Samuel Marsden, Principal Chaplain of New South Wales James Black and Son, London.

Richards, Rhys, 1993: Rongotute, Stivers and “Other Visitors” to New Zealand “Before Captain Cook” in the Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol 102, No 1, 7-38.

St John, J.H.H., 1873: Pakeha Rambles Through Maori Lands Robert Burrett (printer), Wellington. The reference is from the section written by Charles Marshall.

Salmon, J.H.M. 1963: A History of Goldmining in New Zealand. Government Printer, Wellington.

Salmond, Anne, 1997: Between Worlds, Early Exchanges Between Maori and Europeans, 1773-1815. Viking, Auckland.

Salmond, Anne, 2003: The Trial of the Cannibal Dog. Captain Cook in the South Seas. Allen Lane, London.

Taylor, Rev. Richard, 1855: Te Ika a Maui or New Zealand and Its Inhabitants Wertheim and MacIntosh, London.

Waikato Museum, accession record.

Acknowledgements: This account could not have been written without the assistance, prompting and questioning of Lynton Diggle of Titirangi, Auckland. He also visited Peach Eaton of Blenheim, who recorded the research of the late Ron Roach - it was this which provided the lead into the Maori Land Court Records. My own research was assisted by the ever-helpful staff of the Hocken Library, University of Otago.

Ian Church, Port Chalmers, 21 February 2012.


The following piece was found on a Blogsite for the Kirby family and is relevant to this article.


The " Patu"
As I indicated in my first post, I want to try to do some Geneology information sharing .
Following is a picture that has been in my family since the late 1800's I recently figured out what it is all about. The items shown were in my great great grandmothers collection of indian artifacts she gathered around her land at Umatilla Landing in the mid 1800's. In the 1890's she sold a lot of the collection off in pieces to support herself. I believe the picture matches fairly closely the items she listed in a letter to the Smithsonian. They had requested a photograph and maybe this is one she had taken to show what she had for sale. In the Picture on the top shelf to the right is a club (to the left of the "birdman" figure") This club and one other piece were purchased from Mrs. Helen Kunzie in the 1890's .


Patu in Kunzie CollectionPatu in Kunzie Collection


The club is called a "Patu", it is solid brass modled after a weapon of New Zealand natives. This particular "Patu" turns out to be made in England in the 1700's and sailed with captain cook as a trade item. It was traded on Cook's third voyage to natives in Nanook Bay in Alaska. Over the next 100 years it made its way to north eastern Oregon and into Mrs. Kunzies' collection via the Umatilla natives. It was then sold and shipped by train to the Smithsonian Institution and has been recently recommended for repatriation to the federated tribes of the Umatilla. Hopefully it will be displayed at their museum in Pendleton and I can go see it in person!


If anyone has more information of Brass Patu please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Joomla templates by a4joomla