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On the Vegetable Food of the New Zealanders in Prehistoric Times

    Abstract

    WE are indebted to the now venerable Colenso for a deeply instructive and interesting treatise on the vegetable food of the Maoris in the days before Captain Cook's visit. After a residence of almost half a century among these people, during which he has most assiduously studied their ways, manners, and literature, none could write on any subject touching their history with more assurance. Two gross errors have largely and repeatedly been industriously published concerning these Maori—that they were ignorant of all art, and that they suffered from want of food; and from these assumed facts the deduction has been made that therefore they were when first discovered in a savage and starving state, out of which they have been raised by their intercourse with Europeans. As to the want of food, Mr. Colenso asserts that the natives of the North Island had at this time attained to even a high system of agriculture, and that they were passionately fond of cultivating their grounds.

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