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A. Phillip Tapsell, a Danish national born Hans Homman Jensen Falk in Copenhagen in the late 1770s, has claimed a place in New Zealand’s history books as one of the first settlers to integrate with Maori tribes of the period. His family members have gone on to become influential on both a local and national political level and are particularly famous in the Tauranga region of North Island New Zealand.
B. Tapsell lived in Copenhagen with his parents Jens Hansen Falk and Maria Dorothea Esmarck until his mother died when he was 8 years old, after which, he was sent to live with his grandparents for a period of two years before returning to his hometown for schooling. His employment in the shipping industry began in the early 1790s and a decade later he joined ships in England. It was there that he changed his name to Phillip Tapsell. It is said that his intention was to rename himself ‘Topsail’ after the topsail of a sailing ship but that this was routinely misinterpreted to Tapsell. His first experience of the southern hemisphere was on early whaling expeditions that regularly took him to the Bay of Islands in Northland, New Zealand.
C. By the mid 1820s, he was based in Sydney, Australia, though serving as a mate on regular whaling journeys to New Zealand waters. It was during this time that he showed his bravery and leadership skills for the first time when a ship of escaped prisoners was recaptured by a team under his command. A few years later he had settled permanently in Keri Keri, in Northland New Zealand and was married to a Maori woman known as Karuhi, a sister of the local and powerful chief of the Maori tribe Nga Puhi. This was his second marriage, his first having been relatively short-lived. The practice of marrying high-ranking Maori women was fairly common amongst early European arrivals at that time, as alliances and protection could be obtained by marriage into powerful Maori families; in addition, European women were scarce.
D. By the end of 1830, Tapsell and his wife had settled in a trading town called Maketu. Items of trade included foodstuffs such as potatoes, pigs and timber, the latter being in plentiful supply from the dense surrounding forests. However, business transactions were mainly focussed around flax; a light coloured textile fibre derived from an erect annual plant of the same name, which can be used to make fabric, dye, paper and medicine. Items were traded mainly for muskets (shoulder guns commonly used between the 16th and 18th centuries), and gunpowder. After the death of his second wife, Tapsell married for a third time, this time to a high ranking woman from the town of Rotorua; the marriage resulted in six children.
E. Tapsell’s business ventures prospered as he extended trading posts along the Bay of Plenty coast, and inland through Rotorua and Matamata which were both major flax producing regions. Generally traders during this period enjoyed wealthy lifestyles and in particular those such as Tapsell, with strong links with the Maori community, could source a seemingly endless supply of sought-after commodities such as seals, whales, timber, and flax. At the time, business opportunities were immense and organisations were able to operate without being required to comply with contemporary constraints such as government regulation and taxation. The local missionaries, who were in New Zealand with the purpose of promoting Christian belief, had mixed feelings toward Tapsell. They disapproved of his trading of muskets to local Maori, and yet his peacemaking efforts between conflicting Maori tribes Te Arawa and Ngai Te Rangi were respected.
F. In 1836, a famous Maori chief from Matamata allied himself with Ngai Te Rangi and launched a devastating attack on Maketu. Occupants and business owners were displaced, and Tapsell’s business and home were destroyed. One English official said that he felt Tapsell was responsible for the fighting between the two tribes, by facilitating their access to muskets. In 1864, Tapsell’s third wife, Hine-i-turama, was killed by British troops while she was visiting one of their daughters at Orakau Pa. Tapsell died in 1873 at the age of 95 having led a fit and healthy life and having throughout his life retained close bonds with his offspring and extended family.
Questions 1 – 5
The reading passage has six paragraphs, A-F.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
NB You may use any letter more than once.
1. Recognition of Tapsell’s courage
2. Justification of opposition from religious leaders
3. An account of actions which led to damage of Tapsell’s assets
4. Details of a primary and versatile trading commodity
5. How settlers often established security