Cannibal Jack, Jackie Marmon Pakeha-Maori

 

Jackie Marmon is believed to be Hokiangaís first white settler.  There exist many stories about this rough adventurer some more true than others.  He was a runaway convict from Australia and was lucky to get a job on the big boats.   One day,  in the early 1800s the ship on which Jackie was sailing was wrecked off the Hokianga Heads. The whole crew drowned except Jackie and two of his mates.  They made it to shore,  thankful to having survived,  but fate dealt them another blow.  Some wild Maori warriors fell on them at once and tomahawked Jackieís two mates,  but for some reason he could not guess,  they spared him.

This is probably where the legend about Jackie turning cannibal comes in.  The Maori warriors cooked and ate his two mates before his eyes. Not only that, but Jackie was forced to eat some of the flesh himself.  It is difficult to say what any man would do in those circumstances.    

From then on Jackie lived with those Maoris as one of them.  He eventually married a fine Maori woman who made him an excellent wife.  It wasnít until he had been living  amongst the tribe for some time and had got hold of the language,  that he found out why they did not kill him. It was all because he had received a wound on the head a few days before the ship was wrecked.  He tied a big rag around it and the Maoris took the unusual headband as a sign of his being a great chief. Obviously they did not want to mess with Jackieís Mana (Power of his Spirit).

Jackie Marmonís acquaintance with New Zealand and its people was certainly an early one,  apparently commencing in 1817.

It looks like  he was the first white man to come to live here on the Hokianga.  When the first known Traderís ship came into the harbour for water and food, there was a white man among the Maoris who came down to meet the shore party.  He spoke English too,  because he warned them not to drink the water of that place because it was tapu,  and they would be killed if they did so.  He refused to tell the sailors how he had got there or where he had come from.  But everything afterwards pointed to his being Marmon.

 

Some facts about Jackie Marmon:
He was an excellent builder with various clever tricks of his own.  The Horeke Tavern was partly built by him and he also built Judge Maningís home.

 

 

 

Reverence. Tides of Hokianga,   Page 68 to 73