But the next day
four of his sailors were lost when Maori warriors overpowered an open
boat, and three more had to swim for their lives. What went wrong?
And why, days later, did Tasman fail to discover the strait between
the two islands?
This is the account
of Henrik Haelbos, ships surgeon and barber:
could see no sign on account of darkness: He only heard horrid noise
of harsh voices, and a shrill sound, not unlike a trumpet. The Dutch
sailors called out to them, blew on trumpets, and finally fired off
a cannon. Then the Southlanders began to rave terribly.....”
It is easy to
imagine the flash and boom of the cannon, the momentary silence of
amazement, then a furious haka and last defiant trumpet blast from
the warriors before they returned to shore. Maori were not always
intimidated by European weapons, as Cook was to discover. Perhaps
it seemed to them the strangers in Mohua were demons who commanded
thunder and lightning and were eager to fight.