Thursday, June 7, 2007
In the spotlight 4: Jacky Marmon
Jackie Marmon was one of the earliest settlers to the Hokianga, commonly known as "Cannibal Jack" he appears at different times in the history of Hokianga as a renegade, cannibal, tohunga, prophet, scoundrel, pioneer, husband and father. Marmon arrived in Hokianga sometime in the early 1820’s and upon landing was adopted by the chief Muriwai, quickly becoming a very valuable middle man helping to negotiate between the Settlers and Maori.Between 1881 – 1882 Marmon's story ran in the Auckland Weekly News (and later the New Zealand Herald and Auckland Star) in an exciting series running over a month. The actual papers in which Marmon tells his story can be viewed at Auckland City Libraries. It is a fascinating tale, giving a fresh view of how Hokianga looked in a much simpler time, with fantastic stories of the people and places he experienced first hand.The full truth of Marmon and his story may never be told. What we do have is a rousing blend of fact and fiction, one thing that is beyond doubt is that he integrated fully with Maori, he himself is quoted as saying “That is the last time I put faith in my own race – the Pakehas, henceforth I am Maori in thought, word and deed since among the savages I have found more true faithfulness man to man then in the boasted European; there is no honour in them”. Jackie Marmon died in 1880 after living as a recluse for years, but lives on in his decendants, and the story he has left behind.