Saturday, 21 June 2008

First ever Kapa haka tour to England?

Kapa haka perhaps, but under duress. In the story which follows, it becomes apparent that that the advertisement at left calling for religious people to attend backfired on the promoter.

I've never heard of this story before, and trying to work out the men's real names would take a linguistic expert. How do you get anything sounding remotely Maori from "Feedee/Phede" and "Adic"? "Feedee" might be "Whiti" (the Northern Maori accent pronounces "wh" sort of like an English "ph"), but "Adic" has me beat. "Whiti" means to cross over. So even if not his real name, it may be that the man had taken it on as a traveller.

This story has all the hallmarks of a tragic Opera: People on hard times get treated badly over a long period, they are rescued by good samaritans, and just when all is going well, everyone dies.
Big ups to the people of Derby, in England's heartland. It would not have been cheap to get these men back to New Zealand, and they were keen to keep abreast of Feedee and Adic's fates.
The place referred to Py Lea is Paihia in the Bay of Islands, where a Wesleyan Mission had been set up by Samuel Marsden. On the other side of the bay was the settlement/trading post of Kororareka, which is now known as Russell, and picturesquely known at the time as "Hell". It was famous up to the 1830s as being the most unlawful, drunken, human trafficking, murdering place in the Pacific, and perhaps the world (until San Fransisco got going). It was peopled by beachcombers, runaway convicts and sailors, and Maori traders in kauri, flax, women and preserved heads. Aside from receiving some Maori protection, there was no government or order for Europeans until the late 1830s when the Kororareka Association was set up. This was a loose vigilante type group of grogshop owners, small-time chandlers and traders who meted out their own justice until 1840. Not even missionaries would go there! I'll write more on the Association soon.

I didn't find the log of the ship Lloyds at the British library, though it may exist elsewhere. With such a name, it may even be at Lloyds of London.

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