J. S. Polack (1807-82) lived in New Zealand during 1831-7 and 1842-50. An enterprising businessman and land speculator, he traded in timber and flax, and in 1835 set up the first brewery in the country. He also learned the Maori language, and warned against the destructive effects on Maori society of urganized European settlement, while arguing for the benefits of systematic colonization. This two-volume work, published in 1838, was the first of two successful books by Polack about his experiences in New Zealand and is still regarded as an important and impartial source about the period immediately preceding the Treaty of Waitangi. Volume 1 outlines the discovery of the islands, their climate, geology, topography and fauna. It contains vivid descriptions of the Maori and their customs (including an account of an energetic haka) and details about family life, social status, food, tapu prohibitions, dress, and tattooing.