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The day after, as Cook recorded it

Opinion Piece

A fire burned all night on shore and, like the previous night after the Endeavour’s arrival and the shooting of Te Maro, loud voices were heard. The three youths pulled from the sea around the fishing canoe were clothed, fed and, according to botanist Joseph Banks, “put on chearfull and lively countenances and askd and answerd questions with a great deal of curiosity”.

The following is from Lt James Cook’s journal regarding the following day, 250 years ago today:

“In the morning as I intended to put our prisioners a shore and stay here the day to see what effect it might have upon the other natives, I sent an Officer aShore with the marines and a party of men to cut wood, and soon after followed my self accompaned by Mr Banks, Dr Solander and Tupia, takeing the three natives along with us whome we landed on the west side of the river before mentioned; they were very unwilling to leave us pretending that they should fall into the hands of their enimies who would kill and eat them; howver they at last of their own accords left us and hid themselves in some bushes. Soon after this we discover’d several bodies of the Natives marching towards us, upon which we retir’d a Cross the River and join’d the wooders and with us came the three natives we had just parted with, for we could not prevail upon them to go to their own people. We had no sooner got over the river than the others assembled on the other side to the number of 150 or 200 all arm’d. Tupia now began to parly with them and the three we had with us shew’d every thing we had given them, part of which they laid and left upon the body of the man that was killed the day before, these things seemed so far to convince them of our friendly intentions that one man came over to us while all the others set down upon the sand: we every one made this man a present and the three natives that were with us likewise him with such things as they had got from us, with which after a short stay he retired a cross the river. I now thought proper to take every body on board to prevent any more quarrels and with us came the three natives . . .

“In the PM as I intended to sail in the morning we put the three youths ashore seemingly very much againest their inclination . . . (fear of their enemies) seem’d to be ill founded for we saw them carried aCross the river in a Catamaran and walk leasurely off with the other natives.”