The Project Gutenberg EBook of New Zealand, by Reginald Horsley

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Title: New Zealand

Author: Reginald Horsley

Illustrator: A. D. M'Cormick

Release Date: April 1, 2017 [EBook #54474]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Romance of Empire Series
Edited by JOHN LANG




Heke fells the flagstaff at Kororareka
(Page 169)










[Pg v]


This book does not contain a history of New Zealand, but something of the story of many full and stirring days. Almost like the ghost the Maori thought him, Tasman came swiftly out of the rosy West, struck a blow which harmed his country more than it hurt those upon whom it fell, and yet more swiftly sailed away. Notable enough were his coming and going, but only as the prologue to the drama which began after an interval of one hundred and twenty-seven years. Then there steps upon the stage of Maoriland that well-graced actor, Captain Cook; and so the play goes on until the fall of the curtain upon the peace which closed the long struggle of the brave tribesmen with settlers, soldiers and colonists. Another interval, not so long, and then, fitting epilogue, the Dominion.

The years since 1870 have no doubt held romance enough of their own. Books have been written and may still be written of the romance of peaceful settlement, of sport, of mountaineering in New[Pg vi] Zealand, or of soldiering by New Zealanders in other lands; but, save for a few episodes, one may say that the romance of the history of New Zealand ended for the present with the vanishing of Te Kooti. Then, at least, ended the era of turbulence, and began the fat years of progress and prosperity, and it is as difficult for a State as for an individual to be romantic when "with good capon lined."

Yet so crowded with incident is the brief period named that I have practically confined the story to the most prominent of the facts indexed in the New Zealand Official Year Book for 1906. Even with this limitation there is not space enough in which to tell the whole romantic story. At most, an impression of the vivid happenings of the past can be presented, and this is what I have tried to do.

I gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness to those who, being dead, yet speak—Thomson, Gudgeon, "A Pakeha Maori," and others,—whose vanished hands picturesquely chronicled some of the events with which this story is concerned. From Sir George Grey, the gentle "Knight of the Kawan," I had the legend of the Loves of Heaven and Earth and the defiance of their rebellious sons. To the Honourable William Pember Reeves, High Commissioner for New Zealand in London, I am greatly[Pg vii] obliged for books of reference and the loan of valuable photographs.

If I am not one of them, I yet claim the consideration of the Children of the Dominion, since I am connected with them by ties of kin and happy memories of childhood and youth lived under the Southern Cross, here and there among the islands on both sides of the Tasman Sea. Also the Dominion has already given me some of the facts of her colonial days as a basis for fiction. So it is permissible to hope that the shortcomings of this book will be forgiven, and that those of the Dominion who may read will recognise throughout its pages a whole-hearted admiration for their country and all that belongs to it.

If I please some, I shall be rewarded. For the rest, since "'tis not in mortals to command success," then, est quadam prodire tenus, si non datur ultra.


[Pg viii]



[Pg ix]


The Coming of the Race 3
The Men who Came 10
The Land to which they Came 20
The Growth of the Race 35
The Life of Every Day 48
Grim-visaged War[Pg x] 55
The Dutchman's Loss 69
The Briton's Gain 79
Clouds at Dawn 89
Rongo Pai! 101
The Wars of Hongi Ika 108
Various Rulers 119
Great Britain Wins[Pg xi] 133
Independence and Argument 143
Te Rauparaha and Honi Heke 158
The Fall of Kororareka 172
Heke and Kawiti on the Warpath 177
The Fall of the Bat's Nest 192
The War in the South 201
Building and Upsetting 215
O'erclouded Skies 225
The Queen Moves 239
The Black Knight Gives Check[Pg xii] 244
Pai Marire, or the Hauhau Sect 254
Murder most Foul 262
Alarms! Excursions! 272
Poverty Bay 280
The Last Rally 288
The Sun of Peace 307
The Dominion of New Zealand 318

[Pg xiii]


Heke fells the Flagstaff at Kororareka

Farewell to Hawaiki

Victors in the Fight

The Fight in Massacre Bay

Hongi's last "Word" to his People

A Dreadful Recognition

Signing the Treaty of Waitangi

Phillpotts at Oheawai

A Boy's Heroism. "Awake! Awake!"

Major Witchell's Charge at Nukumaru

The Frenzy of the Hauhau. The Incantation

Butters gives the Alarm—Poverty Bay


New Zealand



[Pg 3]



The voice of lamentation and the noise of weeping were heard in Hawaiki;[1] for men's hands were lifted up to slay their own kin: so that father slew son, and son smote father, and brother strove against brother, until nowhere in all that pleasant land was there peace. Wherefore, little children hid themselves for fear; and women, having cut their cheeks with sharks' teeth, and gashed their bosoms with sharp shells and pieces of tuhua[2], raised the tangi[3] for the warriors who every day passed through the portals which give upon the Waters of Reinga.[4]

But Ngahue, being a great chief, might not weep; so he sat apart in his whare,[5] neither eating nor drinking, while he prayed to the gods and to his ancestors that they would make a way of escape from the threatening doom. For Ngahue was sore[Pg 4] stricken, having been worsted in the fight, and well he knew that for the conquered was no mercy. Wherefore, he sat with bowed head and covered face, and prayed for light.

And light came; for the gods had pity upon Ngahue, who was ever their faithful servant.

So Ngahue arose in the black darkness, bidding his wife be of good cheer and patiently await his return, and with noiseless tread stole forth from his whare.

Softly called Ngahue unto him his best-beloved friend, Te Turi, the Stubborn One, and Te Turi's friends, Te Weri, the Centipede, and Te Waerau, the Crab,[6] together with certain warriors, proved in many a fight. He compelled also to his side a sufficiency of tutua[7] and, being come to the beach, launched a great canoe. Then, having commended themselves to the gods, they sailed whithersoever Atua[8] chose to lead them.

Many days sailed they over the placid bosom of moana,[9] passing fair islands whereon they were fain to rest, but for fear of club and cooking-pot dared not land. So they kept on the course which Atua had set, praying ever that they might come to the land which Ngahue had seen in a vision what time the gods gave him light.

But all things have an end. Neither Ngahue, nor his friends, nor his followers, nor the tutua complained or murmured at the hardships they[Pg 5] underwent, or reviled the gods; wherefore the Six Great Brethren had compassion upon them.

So the Great Six sat in council—Tumatauenga, god and father of men and war; Haumiatikitiki, god of the food which springs of itself from the earth; Rongomatane, god of the food which men prepare for themselves; Tangaroa, god of fish and reptiles; Tawhiri-Ma-Tea, god of winds and storms; Tane-Mahuta, god of forests and of the birds therein—all were there.

Then spake Tumatauenga, saying, "Behold! I will send ahead of Ngahue my youngest son, Mauitikitiki o Taranga; and I will give him the jawbone of one of his ancestors, whereof he shall fashion a great hook, wherewith he shall fish up a land out of moana for Ngahue; and the name thereof shall be Te Ika a Maui.[10] Behold! I have spoken."

Then spake in turn the rest of the Great Brethren, sons all of Rangi and Papa,[11] promising good gifts to Ngahue and them with him. But Maui, obedient to his father's word, went forth and fished diligently in the sea until, lo! he drew up a land, which, by the might of the Six Brethren, was covered in an instant with forests and plains and mountains and valleys. And birds flew high and low and sang among the trees, and rivers rushed through deep woods, and silver streams flashed by quiet lawns, and the bays and straits abounded in fish, and the earth with good things to eat. All was of the best for Ngahue and his friends when they should arrive.

[Pg 6]

So Maui gave to Ngahue the new land, which was a land beautiful, a land rich and abounding in all things good and needful; and he and his friends, beholding this fair and gracious land and knowing it their own, gave thanks to the Six Great Brethren and were filled with joy.

Then Ngahue, calling upon the gods, drave the great canoe into a beautiful bay, and made fast to a tree which hung low over the water and flung its red blossoms on the tide; whereafter the wanderers stepped ashore and stood upon the land which Maui had fished up from the sea, and which the Six Great Brethren had given them for their own.

Then, all most reverently standing still, Ngahue gathered a little soil and scattered it to the four quarters of the earth and, having cast his most cherished ornament into the sea in propitiation, he chanted this prayer to the Spirit of the Land:—

We arrive where an unknown earth is under our feet;
We arrive where a new sky is above us.
We arrive at this land,
A resting-place for us.
O Spirit of the Earth! We strangers now humbly
Offer our hearts as food for thee.[12]

And Ngahue loved the new land, for the forest trees were tall and splendid, and the flowers beautiful and radiant as kahukura[13] in the sky. Great eels swarmed in the rivers, fish in plenty swam in the sea,[Pg 7] and sharks, whose teeth are for ornament and for women when they raise the tangi. Whales, also, played in the near seas, and seals basked upon the rocks. Birds of song and birds for food flew in the air or ran along the ground or swam upon the lakes and rivers. But one giant bird with feeble wings stalked with long legs over the hills; and, though this bird was twice the height of an ordinary man, and of a strength prodigious, yet did Ngahue slay one such in his wanderings about the new land.[14]

Earth, too, gave of her treasures a most beautiful stone, green of hue and clear as light at dawn or dense as a storm-cloud, and so hard withal that a club which Ngahue fashioned from it cracked the skull of one of his foes, yet itself brake not in pieces.

So, looked Ngahue north or south or east or west; looked he inland where the tall mountains hid their snowy peaks in the bosoms of the rosy clouds, or looked he upon the "many dimpled smile of ocean," behold, the land was very good.

Then Ngahue, having gathered many things which would not perish by the way, called his friends and said, "See now; let us return to Hawaiki, taking these our treasures, which, when our kinsmen see, they will eagerly follow us hither. So shall they gain a peaceful home, and so shall the land the gods have given us be filled with stout hearts, and our seed increase and multiply. What say ye, O my brothers?"

And Te Weri and Te Waerau joyously cried,[Pg 8] "Kapai!"[15] and the warriors shouted their war-cry; but the tutua raised their voices and wept for happiness that they should be free of war's alarms.

So they came again after many days to Hawaiki, whence all their kinsmen were willing to go with them to the new and beautiful land which had been given to Ngahue. Moreover, strife still raged; wherefore, they of the weaker side came privately to Ngahue and begged that they might go with him; to which the chief willingly consented, knowing that the more the folk the better for the new land.

But one of the gods—no man knoweth which—angry because Ngahue persuaded so many to leave the land of their birth, set fire to Hawaiki to destroy all therein. But Rangi sent a storm of rain upon the land, so that the fire was utterly killed, save for certain few sparks which hid among the trees where the rain could not reach them, and there abode for ever. Wherefore it is that, if a man rub together two pieces of wood, fire will issue therefrom.

And now, a fleet having been built—some say at one place, some at another, but most at Rarotonga—a great company assembled and filled the double canoes, whereof the names were Arawa, Matatua, Tainui, Takitumu, Kurahaupo, Tokomaru, Matawhaorua, Aotea, and more whose names are forgotten.


Farewell to Hawaiki

Family by family they embarked, taking great store of seeds of kumara,[16] karaka[17] berries and gourds, together with pukeko,[18] dogs, and rats. Thus[Pg 9] they set sail in company from the land of their birth.

But an evil spirit let loose a tempest upon them, so that the fleet was scattered, and each canoe must sail upon its own course, its captain having no pilot, but only the knowledge which Ngahue had imparted to the high chiefs. Yet by the grace of Atua they all came safe to the land which Maui had fished up from the sea.

Aotea, Arawa, Tainui, and the rest, all were beached at last, and the exiles bade one another farewell and wandered here and there over the land, each family making choice where they would dwell. Nor was the choice too easy, since every place was so beautiful and inviting. But at last they came to rest, and thus from the beginning was Te Ika a Maui peopled by the friends and followers of Ngahue; and their seed, multiplying as the spores upon the fern, founded and established the nations which compose the Maori Race.

Note.—According to another tradition, the first Maori explorer was Rakahaitu, a chief, who landed in the South Island about one thousand years ago. Other traditions, again, give the credit of discovery to Kupe. In August of this year, an interesting find was made on the south coast of the North Island, in the shape of an ancient stone anchor. This is held by experts to have been used by Kupe, whose canoes, buried under huge mounds of earth, still rest upon the heights to which the adventurers dragged them after landing.


[1] The island—true site unknown—whence the ancestors of the Maori emigrated, according to tradition, to New Zealand.

[2] Obsidian, or volcanic glass.

[3] The Lament for the Dead.

[4] The Abode of the Shades.

[5] House. In Maori there are no silent vowels. Thus whare="wharry," not "whar"; kupe="ku-pe," not "koop."

[6] Maori names were frequently bestowed on account of mental or physical peculiarities, or of real or fancied resemblance to natural objects.

[7] Poor, low-born men to do menial work.

[8] The gods collectively. Fate.

[9] The ocean.

[10] Literally, "The Fish of Maui."

[11] Heaven and Earth. Short for Papa-tu-a-nuku.

[12] This prayer, preserved by tradition, was actually uttered by a chief upon the landing of the exiles from Hawaiki, after Ngahue's second, and final, voyage from his old home.

[13] The rainbow.

[14] The reference is to the gigantic, wingless bird, now extinct, the Moa—Dinornis moa.

[15] Good! Hurrah!

[16] Sweet potato—Ipomoea batatas.

[17] Corynocarpus laevigata.

[18] Water-hen—Porphyrio melanotus.

[Pg 10]



The foregoing is more or less traditional among the Maori as to their migration from some other place and settlement in New Zealand. Some facts have been handed down for generations, but the traditions are confused. When the first Pakeha[19] arrived, every Maori believed that certain events had happened in the far past; but there was little agreement as to the manner or sequence in which those events had occurred.

Many investigators—notably Sir George Grey—have inquired in the truest spirit of antiquarian research into the traditions of the Maori; and what between the discoveries of such trained observers, the dabblings of the amateur, and the luck of the "rolling-stones," who have picked up a tale here and a legend there, we have a fairly clear account of the coming of the Maori to New Zealand, as far as it is uncertainly known and hazily remembered among themselves.

One fact, at least, is established. The Maori pertain to the Polynesian section of the great southern[Pg 11] archipelago, not to the Melanesian. Most eminent ethnologists agree that the pure Polynesians are descended through the Malays from a very remote Asiatic stock.

No bolder navigators, no more merciless pirates than the Malays ever sailed the sea, and, as they skimmed over the blue in their queer proas, their fierce eyes searching the horizon for the sail of some helpless trader, they not infrequently made some hitherto unknown island. Adventurers all, they occupied the place if it were their whim, and mixed with or exterminated the original inhabitants. Thus their stock spread in the course of centuries over all Polynesia, giving populations to Tonga, to the Samoan, Sandwich, Society and other islands, and, more important to our theme, to New Zealand.

It is reasonably certain that, apart from haphazard adventure, there was once an emigration on a large scale, and it would seem that the pioneers of Polynesian colonisation left their home in Sumatra for the islands of their choice some nine or ten hundred years ago.

Centuries go on their appointed course and become the Past; the immigrants, long acclimatised, have only vague memories and fanciful traditions of their origin. They are no longer Malays; they are Polynesians. Climate, associations, food have worked an alteration in them; their skin is browner, their eyes less sleepy, their figures taller and more symmetrical, their features handsomer than in the forgotten days in Sumatra, cradle of their race. Their language, too, has undergone a marked change,[Pg 12] and only traces of the parent stock are discoverable in their customs. One practice, occasional amongst their ancestors, they have unhappily not forgotten; for the Polynesians have established the flesh of their enemies—when they can get it—as the prime article in their dietary. They are not so abandoned in this respect as their neighbours of Melanesia; but they are smirched with the same pitch, and an unpleasant defilement it is.

More centuries roll on; in Europe the night of the Middle Ages is at its darkest, but in far-off Polynesia the dawn is at hand. On an unnamed island within that vast area there is unrest and tribulation, out of which a nation is presently to be born.

Where this island of Hawaiki was situated not even the Maori tradition can certainly determine. Some will have it that Rarotonga in the Cook Islands was once Hawaiki; but all that can be said with accuracy is that, some five or six hundred years ago, a company of Polynesians, perhaps a thousand strong, left the island on which they had been born and sailed the sea in search of a new home.

In time they made the North Island of New Zealand, which, delighted with its beauty and fertility, they decided to occupy. They landed at various points and wandered ever farther south, increasing and multiplying in numbers, until at last some of the most adventurous crossed Cook Strait and began to people the Middle Island. And these Polynesian immigrants were the ancestors of the race of men whom we now know as Maori.

[Pg 13]

Some recent investigators hold that the North Island was then possessed by peaceable folk calling themselves Moriori, who were speedily subdued by the warriors from Hawaiki. A remnant of the Moriori escaped, it is said, to the Chatham Islands, hoping to dwell in peace; but their evil fate pursued them, for the Ngati-Awa tribe migrated in 1835 to the same place, and the unfortunate Moriori were again conquered and enslaved.

Wherever the birthplace of the Maori, it lay within the tropics. The nearer the equator, the shorter the interval between day and night, and thus it was that the Maori, struck by the beauty of a phenomenon wholly unfamiliar, styled their new home in affectionate admiration, Ao-tea-roa, "The Land of the Long Lingering Day," or "The Land of Twilight." Always poetical, others called it Aotea, or "The Land of the Dawn." These charming subtitles did not displace the original name, Te Ika A Maui, or, as some have it, Eaheinomawe,[20] but they serve to show the poetic mind of the Maori. Later on, the Middle Island received its native appellation, Te Wai Pounamou, or "The Waters of Greenstone," while Ra Ki Ura, "In the Glow of the Sun," denoted Stewart Island, the small triangle which forms the southern extremity of New Zealand.

So they came to their own, these handsome, stalwart men, and "black, but comely" women. You may see a group of them there upon the western beach, led by Te Turi, one of the pioneer chiefs who received this new jewel among countries from[Pg 14] the hands of the gods. Perhaps they landed at dawn, for Te Turi called the place of disembarkation Aotea, which is literally "The White Day"; but he may have named the harbour out of compliment to the canoe which had carried them so far in safety, for it, too, was Aotea.

The white day swiftly turns to blue and gold, and all fatigue is forgotten for pure joy of being. The glory of summer is everywhere, and over all is that exquisite charm which belongs to Ao-tea-roa more than to any of the isles of the iridescent Southern Sea. Westward, the great ocean heaves and sparkles in the morning sun—not a cloud that way from zenith to horizon. Southward, far away, Ruapehu lifts his time-worn, snowy head three thousand feet above grim Tongariro's sullen, smoking cones, gazing ever where his ancient comrade, hoary Taranaki,[21] dwells in solitude by the thundering sea.

Long ago, these mighty ones stood shoulder to shoulder; but Taranaki, forgetting friendship, seized Pihinga, Tongariro's love, and strove to bear her away. Then Tongariro arose in his wrath, belching forth smoke and flames and red-hot stones, and smote Taranaki such a buffet that the giant reeled away, nor stopped until he reached the sea. Never did Taranaki return to his comrades. Alone he broods, rearing his great body eight thousand feet above the tide, his stricken head hidden under a veil of perennial snow.

Inland, the forest. But what a forest! Not the light emerald of waving palms of their almost[Pg 15] unregretted Hawaiki, but a forest grand, obscure, a very twilight of verdure. Yet not all gloom; for the rata[22] are abloom, and splash the dark-green front with vivid crimson, and the white cornucopias of the "morning-glory," and the gorgeous, scarlet "beaks" of the kowhai[23] bejewel the undergrowth. Up from the ground the little "wild rose" twines the great stems to their topmost boughs, falling back to earth, a cascade of blossom; while, festooning and garlanding tall trunks and leafy tops, are flung the long tendrils of the puawananga,[24] its myriad white stars shining in the green night.

As they gaze, entranced, flocks of parakeets, screaming a harsh welcome, dash from the shimmering sky athwart the sombre front, like a rainbow shivered into fragments. There is a burst of appreciation, a hundred poetic expressions of delight, and Te Turi's company crowd about him, invoking blessings upon his head for his share in the discovery of this earthly paradise.

They are worth looking at, these jubilant Maori: the men strong and well built about the chest and shoulders, and carrying themselves as men should. Their hair is slightly wavy or curls freely, and matches well the steady, piercing eyes, stern lips, pronounced noses and haughty carriage of the head we are accustomed to style "Roman." The Malay type is fully evident, while others recall the Jew, and[Pg 16] a very few approach the colour of the negro, but miss his characteristic features and woolly hair.

They are grave, dignified and impressed by the solemnity of the occasion; and the Light is shining in the darkness of their minds, for they stand in reverential attitudes while their great chief chants a thanksgiving to the gods and a short prayer of propitiation to the Spirit of the Land.

Most of the women and girls are weeping, for tears come easily to the Maori wahine (woman) even in moments of joy. But bright smiles presently flash out everywhere, showing dazzling teeth, while, though all are talking at once, their voices are so melodious that the babel is rather pleasant than otherwise.

Considering them more closely, we know that we are looking at a people exceptional, if not unique among savages.

Their intelligence is obvious; the voyage demonstrates their enterprise, and they will later prove their courage upon many a stricken field. Prudent they are, for they have brought the seeds of food-plants, while for companionship and, to some extent, for food, they gave their dogs a place in the canoes. Perhaps the rat, always a bit of an adventurer, stole aboard as a stowaway.

They are emotional, but not less brave because tears stood in their eyes as they listened to Te Turi's prayer. Their great chiefs solemn chant and the exclamations which greeted the forest in its summer dress show their poetic mind and their capacity for felicitous speech. Moreover, they are fond of fun[Pg 17] and have a trenchant wit, if not a very lightsome humour. They are quick at repartee, and eloquent in discourse.

When their villages are built, you shall note how kind and hospitable they are to strangers of whatever race. Also, you shall be convinced that among the gentlemen of their tribes a lie is a thing abominable and abhorred, and the word of a chief, once passed, most rarely broken.

Are they then faultless, these newcomers to the land which Maui fished up from the sea? No; for they are men, and men yet stumbling in the night of paganism. There is no need to catalogue their faults; they are those common to savages, and too many of them will show clearly as this narrative progresses. Till then let us pass them over.

Take one more look at the faces of these old-time Maori. They differ from those of their descendants, for they are unmarked by tattoo.

The Maori of the immediate past were noted for the extraordinarily elaborate tattooing or, rather, carving, which embellished their faces and, sometimes, their hips. When the Pakeha arrived a Maori with beard, whiskers or moustache was as rare as the moa; for tattooing necessitated a smooth face, and each warrior was careful to pull out every offending hair from cheek, lips and chin.[25] Thus, neither the process nor the result was interfered with, and this was important, for every line, curve or mark of any kind had its significance.

[Pg 18]

Tattooing was by no means universal among the Polynesians, and the Maori tradition is firm that the faces of the immigrants from Hawaiki were innocent of tattoo, or moko, as the Maori method is styled, while beards were worn or not, according to individual taste.

It has always been a principle with savages to frighten their enemies by noise, facial contortions, masks, weird head-dresses and so on. When the Maori began to quarrel and fight, it occurred to one genius that a tremendous moral effect would be produced upon the enemy if he—the genius—were to blacken his face before going into battle. One would hardly suppose that a shade only two or three degrees deeper than the original would bring about any startling result; but our genius evidently succeeded, for the next time his tribe took the field the faces of all were black as the back of Tui, the Parson-bird.

Then it occurred to a wise old chief, named Rauru, that, if something permanent could be devised, much time and trouble would be saved. Remembering a visit he had paid to an island where tattooing was in force, he called a council and vigorously advocated the adoption of the practice. The suggestion was accepted and, as the process of moko is decidedly painful, there must have been many wry faces while it was being carried into effect.

No doubt, when their faces had been rendered sufficiently terrifying, this particular tribe had things all their own way for a time. But there is a sincere form of flattery known as imitation and, once the[Pg 19] secret leaked out, matters took a turn. Before Te Ika A Maui was many moons older, every able-bodied man on the Island had tricked out his face in the new style, and was ready to meet the inventors upon equal terms.

Note.—Tattoo is a Polynesian word, not in use among the Maori. A skilful professor of the art of moko and whakairo (face and body decoration) was held in rare esteem. Instances are on record of slaves having vastly improved their status by the artistic use of the lancet and mallet employed in tattooing.


[19] White man. Literally, "stranger," as opposed to Maori, "native."

[20] Really, He mea hi no Maui, "A thing fished up by Maui."

[21] Mount Egmont.

[22] Metrosideros robusta. It belongs to the myrtle order, and is one of the most ornamental trees in the New Zealand bush.

[23] Clianthus puniceus. New Zealand pea.

[24] A variety of clematis. In the flowering season the effect of the white stars amid the dark green of the overhead foliage is most beautiful.

[25] This was done with a pair of cockle-shells, which in Maoriland represented the volsellae of the Romans, and our modern tweezers.

[Pg 20]



Where Nature is constantly in a tempestuous mood, where volcanoes spout and earthquakes convulse, and where, on the other hand, "Man comes in with his strife" against Nature herself, comparatively few years may suffice to bring about great changes and to alter the face of a country almost beyond recognition.

Thus, the New Zealand on whose shores the Maori landed differed materially from the New Zealand of to-day. Not only has Nature cruelly destroyed some of the most beautiful of the vestiges of creation, but the white man has cleared off scrubs, eradicated forests, said with effect to the sea, "thus far and no farther," and, by radically altering the original features of the country, has actually influenced the climate.

New Zealand is a land in every way desirable. Save for a trick Nature has of tumbling into convulsions now and then, it is hard to see how any land could have been created more beautiful, more comfortable, more blessed. Not large; indeed, a kind of "Pocket Venus" among countries; for,[Pg 21] though there have been smaller, there have been none more beguiling to the senses, more charming to the eye, more responsive to the attentions of its lords. Surely, from such a soil must spring a worthy race.

Before colonisation, and for some time after, New Zealand included only the North Island, the Middle Island,[26] and Stewart Island, and was in area about one-seventh less than that of the United Kingdom. No; not a large country; but packed to overflowing with good and desirable things, and lacking much that is undesirable.

Early in the present century the Cook, or Hervey, Islands were included in the colony; an interesting addition, because Rarotonga, the largest of the group, is said to be the island where the emigrating Maori built some of their canoes for the voyage to Te Ika A Maui, and where they rested when Hawaiki lay far behind them. The new boundaries of the Dominion of New Zealand embrace several other island groups.

Hawaiki lay within the tropics, while the northern extremity of New Zealand is a clear eleven degrees south of Capricorn. As the country tails southward, it falls more within the temperate zone, until, as Stewart Island is reached, the latitude corresponds almost exactly with that of Cornwall in England.

Coming thus from a hot climate to one warm indeed, but cooler than that to which they had been accustomed, it behoved the Maori without delay to make some alteration in their dress. At first they used coverings made from the skins of their dogs;[Pg 22] but this was expensive, so they presently began to look elsewhere for what they wanted. Like most peoples unvexed by over-education, they were keen observers, and it was not long before they found the very thing they required.

One day, a certain Te Matanga,[27] The Knowing One, took matters in hand. Winter was coming, and girdles of cocoa-nut fibre would scarcely suffice to keep out the cold. For some time he discovered nothing likely to be useful, and it was in a disconsolate mood that he stood at the edge of an extensive swamp and wondered what was to become of his friends and himself.

The swamp was covered with plants whose like Te Matanga had never seen. Each grew in the fashion of a thick bush; but the leaves—there were no branches—were flat and tapering, yet stiff and irrefragable, while they towered, upstanding, half as high again as the height of a man. Moreover, the leaves were so tough, that Te Matanga had some ado to cut through one with his flint knife. Flowers upon long stalks were in the bushes, and the plant with a red blossom was larger than that which bore a yellow blossom, though both were stately. And, perceiving that there were two varieties of the plant, Te Matanga named the finer Tihore and the larger Harakeke.[Pg 23][28]

When he had prodded here and sliced there, and observed the leaves to be full of strong fibre, Te Matanga immediately perceived that he had found that which he had set out to seek and, his anxiety upon the score of clothing relieved, he began to feel hungry and thirsty. The swamp water did not look inviting and, while he deliberated, he aimlessly plucked a flower and regarded it.

What was this? At the bottom of the floral cup was a considerable quantity of fluid, resembling limpid water.

Not without a qualm, the Knowing One tasted the liquid and found it delicious, resembling water sweetened with honey, or the eau sucrée beloved of Frenchmen. He hesitated no longer, drank off the delightful draught, smacked his lips and drained another flower-cup of its nectar.

Having found so much, Te Matanga told himself that more should be got from so accommodating a plant and, sure enough, he discovered an edible gum in the roots and leaves. What wonder that, with a winter outfit in view, his thirst quenched and his hunger stayed, clever Te Matanga should assume a few excusable airs when telling his joyous news.

Thus, that Providence which they had not yet learned to know, gave to the Maori food, drink and clothing, all within the compass of one specimen of God's marvellous handiwork.

The plant which Te Matanga found is not related[Pg 24] to the true flax, though it serves every purpose to which the other is put. The Pakeha speedily recognised its virtues; in 1906 twenty-eight thousand tons of the fibre were exported from New Zealand.

Great ingenuity was displayed by the Maori in the manipulation of the fibre and its manufacture into many useful articles, from the little baskets in which food was served, and which were never used twice, to the magnificent robe, or "mat," known as the kaitaka, which occupied nearly a year in the making. This was peculiarly the costume of people of consideration, and the gift of one was regarded as a mark of high favour.

Among the many varieties of flax mats, the pureki had an interest all its own, for the makers managed to render it rain-proof, so that it was in a sense the prototype of our mackintosh. One might also say that it was the Maori substitute for khaki; for a native, wrapped in his pureki and squatting upon a barren hillside, was scarcely distinguishable from the boulders surrounding him.

Te Matanga went to work again and experimented with the berries of the tutu or Coronaria, extracting thence a beverage as grateful as that which he had quaffed from the chalice of the flax-flowers. Yet the berries, eaten whole, are poisonous.

The beverages which Te Matanga gave to his countrymen were neither noxious nor degrading. It was the civilised Christian who introduced to the pagan savage that "enemy which steals away men's brains." Left to themselves, the Maori showed no inclination towards intoxicating liquors. Even in[Pg 25] later days they proved remarkably temperate, their barter with the Pakeha rarely including a supply of what they characteristically designated "stink-water." They did not even brew the highly stimulating yaqona, so popular with the South Sea Islanders; which is remarkable, since the plant (Piper methysticum) grows wild in New Zealand.

Our wise man also taught his compatriots the value of the edible fern, Pteris esculenta, whose bright-green fronds waved ten feet or more above the ground. The underground stem was cut into plugs and matured, and, this done, was eaten plain, or cakes were baked of the flour beaten out of it.

It was not ordained that the Maori should subsist entirely upon a vegetable diet. Te Matanga searched for something more stimulating and readily found it. He showed his people fat eels in creek and river, while from the sea they drew Mango, the shark, Tawatawa, the mackerel, Hapuku, the cod (not that of northern waters) and a hundred other varieties of fish, which they cooked or dried or smoked. It was sometimes their good fortune to slay great Ikamoana, the whale, and Kekeno, the seal, both of which they ate with relish; while for sauce, Tio, the oyster, sat upon the rocks and gaped while they scooped him from his shell.

The dwellers inland had eels and the delicious little green, whitebait-like Inanga of the lakes to eat with their fern-root and kumara. And well for them it was so; for, with the exception of Pekapeka, the bat, who swept by them in eerie flight when the long-lingering day grew pale about them, not a[Pg 26] mammal roamed the plains or haunted the deep woods. Kuri, the dog, and Maungarua, the rat, they also ate; for Maungarua[29] multiplied exceedingly, while Kuri took to the bush and ran wild.

Ngara,[30] the lizard, frisked in the sunshine; but no son of Maui looked upon him if it could be avoided; for Ngara were dread beasts, in whose bodies the spirits of the dead found an abiding-place. Even such stalwarts as Ngahue and Te Turi would blanch at sight of any of that terrible race. Moreover, Taniwha,[31] the great, the horrible, whom to mention was unsafe, and to set eyes upon was to perish, was not he, too, a lizard? Nay; close the eyes and mutter a karakia[32] should Ngara cross your path.

How blessed the Maori were in the absence of other reptiles they did not learn till much later. Australia abounds in snakes, from the huge carpet-snake, cousin to the boa, to the "deaf-adder," whose bite is almost certainly fatal; but in New Zealand, as in Ireland, not even a toad is to be found wherewith to point the sweetness of the "uses of adversity."

The clever men now sought food among the birds, and found on land pigeons, plovers, rails,[Pg 27] ducks, quails and parrots innumerable. Of these last, one, the kakapo, was almost as big as a fowl, like which it ran about the ground, feeding; for its wings were short and feeble, and it rarely used them except to fly from a bough to the earth and up again. Conscious of its weakness, it chose the late twilight or the night for its rambles, hiding away during the day. Like so many of the interesting birds of New Zealand, it is now nearly extinct.

Among sea-birds, many of which were eaten, particular choice was made of Titi,[33] the Mutton-bird. These birds flew inland at night, and the Maori, anticipating their coming, would choose a likely spot upon the verge of a cliff and build a row of fires. Behind these they lurked, armed with sticks and, as the birds, attracted by the light, flew past, they were knocked over in immense numbers. As the flesh was oily, they were preserved in their own fat, packed in baskets of seaweed and stored until winter, when they formed a staple and highly flavoured dish. The inland tribes made annual pilgrimages to the coast for the purpose of procuring a supply of mutton-birds.

Of all the birds which the Maori found on their arrival the most singular were those which are either extinct or fast becoming so. These were the Struthidae, or wingless birds,—such as the ostrich, the rhea, and the emu,—which were represented in New Zealand by the gigantic moa[34] and the kiwi.[35]

The moa was long ago exterminated by the Maori,[Pg 28] who saw in its huge bulk magnificent prospect of a feast of meat. All that is left of it to-day are bones in various museums, one or two complete skeletons, and a few immense eggs.

There were several species of this bird, the largest of them from twelve to fourteen feet in height; but, huge as they were, they appear to have possessed little power of self-defence, though a kick from one of their enormous legs and long-clawed feet would have killed a man. But, like all wingless birds, they were shy and timid, never coming to a knowledge of their strength; so they fell before a weaker animal, but one of infinitely greater ingenuity.

The bones of birds are filled with air, for the sake of warmth and lightness; but the leg bones of the moa, like those of a beast, and unlike those of any known bird, were filled with marrow.

Diminutive in size, and in appearance even more extraordinary than its cousin, the moa, is the kiwi, as the Maori named the apteryx from its peculiar cry. Several species were plentiful in the Islands, but some of them have become extinct, and the rest are fast disappearing. The Maori attract the bird by imitating its call and, as it is rather stupid, it is easily caught and killed.

The kiwi was served up at table, as were most things in New Zealand which walked or swam or flew; but what gave it surpassing value in Maori eyes was its plumage of short, silky feathers, whose beauty they were quick to recognise, and which they employed in fashioning one of the rarest and most ornamental of their mats (kahu-kiwi).

[Pg 29]

There was little difficulty about the erection of houses and forts, the building of canoes, the shaping of spears and clubs. Given the ability to construct, there was material in plenty. Throughout the land spread magnificent forests, whose plumed tops waved above trunks uprearing one hundred feet, or more, some of them of an age well-nigh incredible. Few and short appeared the years of man beside the life of the giant kauri[36] which for close upon four thousand years had towered there, stately emperors in a company of kings.[37] How brief the age of their forest court compared with their own—the totara[38] with its eight hundred years of life, the rimu[39] with its six hundred, the matai[40] with its four hundred. What are they beside the dominant kauri? Mortals, looking up to an immortal.

Crowded in those forests primeval were trees bearing wood with capacity for every class of work to which man could put his hand. Trees with wood of iron hardness; trees with wood so soft that it fell away in silky flakes at the touch of the knife; trees with wood of medium consistence, durable as stone; trees whose wood under the hands of the artist-polisher took on a beauty indescribable; trees whose bark was rich in all that the tanner needs; trees which yielded invaluable resin and turpentine; trees which gave up no less valuable tar and pitch; trees which could be reduced to wood-pulp for the making of paper when the time for that should come: all these there were, and more.

[Pg 30]

So the Maori set to work, building houses and forts, and hewing out canoes. For the last, those who dwelt in the north chose the great trunks of the kauri, often forty feet in circumference, and of such diameter that a tall man with outspread arms could not stretch from rim to rim of the cross section. In the south they used the totara, likewise a pine, and great, but a pigmy beside the imperial kauri.

While the builders built, explorers traced the swiftly flowing rivers from source to sea, or gazed with awe at the snow-capped peaks and glimmering glaciers. Others moved northwards towards those giant mountains from whose cones poured tall pillars of smoke, threatening shadows of dire events to come, or stood upon the shore of a lake, marvelling to find the water hot instead of cold.

Imagine one, agape with curiosity, holding in his hand a dead kuri, designed for dinner. Suddenly, with hiss and roar, a column of water shoots hundreds of feet into the air, almost at his elbow. With a cry of terror he starts back, losing his grip of the dog, which drops into an adjacent pool. Too much afraid to run, our Maori stands trembling, and the spouting column presently falls back into the bowels of the earth. Marvelling, he gropes in the pool for his dinner, and with another yell withdraws his hand and arm, badly scalded. But he has got his dog and, to his amazement, it is cooked to perfection.

Small wonder if the Maori muttered a karakia, deeming the miracle the work of the demon of the lake. But their fear departed as time went on, and the hot springs and lakes became health-resorts,[Pg 31] where they bathed and strove to be rid of the pains and aches their flesh was heir to. Those who dwelt within reach of this marvellous region soon became familiar with its phenomena, and made full use of the natural sanatorium and kitchen.

Other immigrants gathered for ornament the precious greenstone from the Middle Island, with blocks of jade and serpentine; the snow-white breast of the albatross; the wings of birds; the tail plumes of the infrequent huia;[41] the cruel teeth of the shark. They found another use for the greenstone, fashioning it with infinite toil into war-clubs, or mere, too valuable to be used in the shock of battle without safeguard against possible loss. So a hole was drilled through the handle, and a loop of flax passed through, by which the club was secured to the wrist.

How in the world could they pierce that defiant mineral—they, who had neither iron nor diamonds with which to drill a hole? Their method was as ingenious as it was simple. They took a sharp-pointed stick of hard wood and half-way up secured two stones, which acted after the manner of a flywheel. Above the stones two pieces of string were attached, and these, alternately pulled, imparted a rotatory movement to the stick, whose sharpened point at length pierced the sullen stone.

Their travels over, the pioneers returned, to be welcomed with tears of joy, while prayers were chanted and cherished ornaments offered to the gods in thanksgiving for their safe home-coming. They neither embraced nor kissed; nor did they shake[Pg 32] hands after the European fashion. They saluted one another in a manner all their own. Bending forward, they pressed their noses together, sniffing strongly the while; and this act of friendly greeting they called the hongi—the verb hongi signifying "to smell."

One drawback to residence in these fortunate islands was the scarcity of animal food—of red meat there was none, save when a dog was slain for the pot. Still, there was food enough—vegetables and fruit, birds and fish, so that starvation was not a common fate, except a man were lost in the dense bush, where never sight or sound of life was seen or heard.

A real evil was the tendency of the earth to tremble, shake and gape, sometimes overthrowing the evidence of years of toil on the part of man, and occasionally slapping Nature herself in the face. In other words, a large part of New Zealand being within the "earthquake zone," the country is convulsed from time to time by shocks of greater or less severity. Since the arrival of the Pakeha there have been severe disturbances, and one or two heavy shocks have occurred, greatly disfiguring the beautiful face of the land.

In the North Island are many dormant craters, which have on occasion sprung into fierce activity, resulting in widespread devastation and some loss of life. The early Maori were fortunate in escaping eruptions of any magnitude, but the North Island, long before their arrival, must have been in a state of intense unrest. The hot springs and lakes, the[Pg 33] geysers of Rotomahana and Rotorua, the more than boiling mud among the smouldering hills, the fiercely smoking cones of giant Tongariro, are so many evidences of that terrible time of earth-pang and convulsion, of belching out of smoke and flame and rended rocks, with vomitings of broad rivers of molten lava, which flowed over the land, effacing everything in their course.

This was the land to which the Maori came; a land of "mountain, lake, and stream," which, could it have remained as the Children of Maui found it, must have endured "a thing of beauty and a joy for ever." But the blind forces of Nature and the needs of the white population have done much to alter the face of the country, and have shorn it of some of that loveliness which once was almost universal, but of which much—very much still remains.

If New Zealand is now so surpassingly beautiful, what must it not have been before thousands of acres of noble forest fell before axe and flame; before the mountain, clad from base to summit in primeval growth, stood bare and grey and grim, pierced with a thousand unsightly wounds, deep in which man bends his back and delves for mineral wealth; before the valleys, radiant with the beauty of fern and flower, were trodden into mud by the marching feet of the "army of occupation"; before the rivers, racing towards the shining sea, tumbling merrily among rapids, glissading recklessly over the falls, were chained to the log of commerce, their banks shorn of the fringing green to make way for the houses of the moderns, their pure and limpid waters polluted by[Pg 34] the refuse of factories and the filth of towns? If those who have seen it now and love its loveliness could but have seen Maoriland as it was then! There is no help for it. It is inevitable that, when Man steps in, Nature must in large measure lose her sceptre and resign her sway.

Such was the land to which the Maori came—a land with no extremes of heat or cold, though it sometimes showed a little ill-humour and shook down a house or two; a land which gave them most that they could desire and all they really needed, if it denied them overmuch strong animal food; a land in which, but for their turbulent passions and their lust for war, they might have lived out their lives in peace and comfort and almost unqualified happiness; a land of unsurpassed magnificence, of radiant beauty, of unbounded fertility.


[26] Designated South Island in New Zealand Official Year-Book for 1907.

[27] Te Matanga never had existence outside these pages. He typifies those energetic men, found in every nation, who devote themselves to the service of their fellows. The discoveries attributed to Te Matanga were the outcome of the application of many minds to various problems, as the Maori spread over the country and became acquainted with its capacity and products.

[28] Phormium tenax, the so-called New Zealand flax, flourishes in swampy ground. In appearance it is a collection of broad, stiff, upstanding leaves, tough enough to stop a bullet, dense enough to conceal a man. Many a fugitive has escaped by dodging from the heart of one bush into that of another. Both of the varieties come to highest perfection in the north.

[29] The grey rat, which accompanied the Pakeha, exterminated the native rat, and was never eaten by the Maori. Curiously enough, during the wars, the Maori were accustomed to speak of the "Pakeha Rat" just as in the days of the first George, Englishmen spoke of the "Hanoverian Rat," and with the same significance.

[30] Not any particular species of lizard, but a generic term for the whole family.

[31] A mythical monster, presumed to have had the shape of a saurian, inhabited the sea and, according to some, the depths of vast forests. The powers of this demon for ill were boundless, and it was regarded with the deepest awe by every Maori.

[32] A charm.

[33] Oestrelata neglecta (Schlegel's Petrel).

[34] Dinornis moa.

[35] Apteryx.

[36] Dammara australis, the kauri pine.

[37] This is no exaggeration.

[38] A pine.

[39] Red pine.

[40] Black pine.

[41] Heteralocha acutirostris.

[Pg 35]



The various Maori tribes were not bound by any common tie save that of race, nor did they own allegiance to a chief chosen by all to rule over the whole nation. Their laws and customs were for the most part similar; but cohesion between them gradually dissolved as each tribe realised its ability to stand alone.

The tribes (iwi) took origin in the family,[42] and were subdivided into sub-tribes (hapu), and, if the latter were large, into family groups, also termed hapu. Every division had its acknowledged chief, and the ariki, or chief of the highest class, who by right of birth stood at the head of the whole, was styled the Paramount Chief.

Powerful though such a man was, his actions did not go unchecked; for that ancient principle, noblesse oblige, was strongly implanted in Maori of rank. For a chief to be convicted of lying, of cowardice, of tyranny was black disgrace, and were these vices proved against a lord paramount or the head of a[Pg 36] sub-tribe or hapu, action was at once taken. The offender was not deposed, but another man of rank quietly took his place for all practical purposes, save one.

A second check upon the chiefs was that mighty power which has been styled "the voice of God," namely, the voice of the people. General assemblies were from time to time convened, at which every man, and woman too, had the right to express opinions.[43] So, if only to escape the shame of exposure, the chiefs strove to conform to the established code of honour; but it is fair to say that they seem to have been animated by higher motives than concern for public opinion.

Each tribe was thus practically a republic, governed by a perpetual President, whose dignity and office were hereditary, but who was obeyed by the people only so long as he continued to deserve their allegiance.

The ariki was hereditary chief priest as well as chief citizen, and was a man apart. His back was not bent, nor his hands gnarled with toil, his person was inviolable, his sanctity great, and he was all in all to his people. He helped and consoled them in time of trouble, read their fate in the stars, their future in a host of natural objects, and interpreted their dreams. On one day he saw visions and prophesied; on the next he was busy with the work of a Lord Lyon or[Pg 37] Garter King-of-Arms, instructing the Master of the Moko on behalf of some lusty warrior desirous of commemorating his own doughty deeds;[44] while he selected on a third a name for an infant, or presided at the obsequies of some notable chief or rangatira.

In Maori mythology Rangi, Heaven, and Papa, Earth, long ago dwelt in happiness with their six children, but the brothers, with the exception of the god of winds and storms, rebelled against their parents, and cruelly dragged them apart.

Yet their love remains unshaken, and Earth's sighs of longing, draped in clinging mist, every day ascend to Heaven; while Heaven's tears, a rain of refreshing dew, fall all night long upon Earth's sorrowful breast.

Rangi and Papa were in part avenged. Their dutiful son, Tawhiri-ma-tea, rushed against the rebels, thunder rolling, lightning flashing, hailstones rattling and hurricanes raging in his van. Scared by this stupendous manifestation of wrathful force, Tangaroa hurled himself into the sea, Rongomatane and Haumiatikitiki buried themselves under the earth they had insulted, and Tane Mahuta called upon his forests to cover him. Only Tumatauenga, father of men and god of war, stood firm, scowling defiance at his brother of the storm.

[Pg 38]

So has it been ever since, and Tawhiri-ma-tea, unable to overthrow his brother, continues to take a bitter vengeance upon the war-god's children. Men, whom he pursues on sea and land with tempest and tornado, ever seeking to slay and make an end.

Under the collective name of Atua, the above were the principal gods of the Maori. Every tribe possessed an honoured tohunga-whakairo, or woodcarver; but the quaint finial figures upon the gables of their houses were not adored as gods, the Children of Maui never having been idolaters.

The Maori looked forward to a future existence wherein their state and condition would remain very much as they had been in this world. A slave in life continued a slave after death, and, when a great chief died, several of his slaves were slain, that he might not go unattended among his fellow shades.

The abodes of the departed were Rangi, occupied on different planes by gods and men of heroic type, and Reinga, under the sea at the extreme north of the North Island, where dwelt only the spirits of men.

There was no question of reward or punishment. The dead simply continued to exist in spirit form, occasionally revisiting the scenes of their former life. These visitors preferably occupied the bodies of lizards, which explains the abhorrence in which these reptiles were held by the Maori, who, though they revered and prayed to their ancestors, were terribly afraid of meeting their pale ghosts, or transmigrated souls.

[Pg 39]

The tohunga, or sorcerers, exercised unbounded influence over the minds of the Maori. Their duties on occasion coincided with those of the ariki, and their position, too, was hereditary; but, while men revered, and often loved their chief, their respect for the tohunga was tinctured with fear and, not seldom, with hate. The chief could lay tapu upon a man, which was bad enough; but the tohunga could bewitch him outright, condemning the poor wretch to loss of worldly gear, aches and pains, and even to death itself. The ariki thought it no shame to go in dread of the tohunga, while, let the tutua, or common fellow, be once convinced that the malign eye of the wizard had bewitched him, and he not infrequently laid him down and died.

There did not exist among the Maori a middle class as we understand the term. Every Maori whose birth placed him in a position between the aristocracy and the tutua class was a warrior by choice. Among such were men of property, poets, philosophers, literary men who did not write, but told their stories to eager audiences—in a word, gentlemen of leisure until the need for fighting arose. In the infrequent intervals of peace these, if you will, represented the middle class; but, once "let slip the dogs of war," and they cried "havoc" with the best of them. The Maori warrior, or toa, unlike the Japanese Samurai, did not live for war alone, but was ever ready when it came.

When speaking of the conduct and character of the high chiefs, it was mentioned that they were rarely deposed. The reason why, may be expressed in one[Pg 40] word—land. Bad or good, the chief had a fuller knowledge with regard to land than any other person concerned.

It is necessary clearly to comprehend what follows; for the misunderstandings which arose between the Maori and the colonists over the tenure of land had much to do with the origin of the long strife between them.

When the canoes from Hawaiki had discharged their passengers at the various spots selected by the chiefs in command, each one of the latter took possession of a district which became his property, and the property of all his followers, every free male and female among them being part proprietor. In other words, the land was common to the tribe.

In consequence of this community of ownership every additional person born claimed ownership by right of descent. As time went on only the few could have told exactly what their rights were; but every Maori was assured that the land belonged to him and that it could not be disposed of without his sanction.

The chiefs share was the largest, because of his direct descent from the chief who originally took possession of the district; but even in this distinguished instance the voice of the people made itself heard, and the chief himself could not part absolutely with the land unless by common consent. The land might be leased to strangers, but the only way in which the owners could be dispossessed was by conquest.

As with chiefs, so with humbler folk. The land[Pg 41] held by a family was not theirs to dispose of without the consent of the tribe. A family of one tribe might lease to a family of another tribe; or an entire tribe might transfer its holding; but the land was not given away for ever, and could be reclaimed at a future date.

The colonists could never understand this principle; nor could the Maori comprehend that land, once exchanged for money or goods, had for ever passed away from them. Endless difficulties arose with the Pakeha, because every descendant of the original possessor of land claimed a share of the property and of the price. It is indubitable that this conflict of the laws of one race with the law of another caused much of the bitter strife which arose later.

The position of the chief thus rendered him the person of most importance with regard to land. In his family were kept records, such as they were; in his memory were stored facts concerning the district, which he had received from his father, who, in his day, had received them from his father.

Who, then, so well fitted to decide an argument, adjust disputes, settle the right and wrong of any questions concerning land? The deposition of such a man might have been followed by his withdrawal from the hapu, perhaps from the tribe itself, an irreparable loss to those who relied upon him for correct information respecting their landed property.

The origin of tapu, that tremendous engine of power, that law above the law, is lost in obscurity, so very ancient is the custom, and all that we know about its curious working is derived from observations[Pg 42] made in the South Sea Islands, where alone it is now found in anything like its old power.

The law of tapu served as a fairly efficient, if vexatious, promoter of law and order. Broadly stated, tapu stood for two principles—protection and punishment, and the person or thing affected by it was a person or thing apart, not even to be touched under pains and penalties the most severe.

Chiefs were permanently tapu, as it was necessary that their exalted state should be clearly recognisable; so they were placed upon a pinnacle of isolation which extended to their property as well as to themselves.

Food of many kinds was permanently tapu; for animal food was always scarce, and choice vegetables could be cultivated only after a tough struggle with the land. Therefore, since one tribe frequently infringed the rights of another it became necessary to render the common stock of provisions secure against depredators from within. Ordinary food which happened to come in contact with anything tapu, was instantly thrown away, lest by touching or eating it some innocent person should himself become tapu.

Swift retribution fell on him who with greed in his heart stole, or even touched with itching fingers, the succulent kumara, if the mark of tapu were upon them. Such a fellow was stripped of his possessions, cast out, perhaps, of the tribe, or, for the worst offence of all, had his brains deftly scattered by order of his chief.

The plight of the poor wretch who touched the dead, accidentally or in the way of business, was[Pg 43] dismal in the extreme. For the dead were tapu in an extraordinary degree, and who touched a corpse became as a leper, shunned by all, lest they, too, should be tainted. Among other disabilities, such an one must not touch food with his hands. Did he so, the food became tapu, and was thrown away from the very jaws of the hungry one, who was consequently obliged to put his mouth to the platter and eat like a dog, or else submit to be fed with a very long spoon by some friend more sympathetic, or less timid than the majority.

This principle of noli me tangere was also applied temporarily. Trees from which canoes could be made were tapu, while stretches of coast abounding in shell-fish, the haunts of sea-birds and rich fishing-grounds were preserved for the common good. Many customs, related to tapu, were followed in time of war by the warriors, while non-combatants by prayer, fasting, and the practice of severe austerities, proved how closely the idea of tapu was allied with that of religion.

Tapu was simply imposed, but its removal was a serious business. Prayers were chanted, water freely sprinkled over the person or thing to be released, and the ovens were busy cooking food during the whole time of the proceedings. Here it seems possible to trace a connection between tapu and parts of the Jewish ceremonial law. As sacrifices and burnt-offerings were required before an unclean Jew could be pronounced clean, so among the Maori it was impossible to lift tapu without the simultaneous cooking of food. How, if ever, the Jews influenced[Pg 44] the Malays, Polynesians, and Maori, antiquaries may be able some day to determine.

When the Pakeha first came to New Zealand, they often ignorantly violated tapu, and how much they suffered in consequence depended upon the character and temper of the community. The Maori were not ungenerous, and in cases of inadvertence frequently made allowances and spared accordingly. On the other hand, two great navigators, Captain Cook and Marion du Fresne, were slain because of their trespass on ground which was tapu, and sacred in the eyes of the South Sea Islanders.

Tapa—to command—was in effect the law of might against right, that

Good old rule, the simple plan,
That they should take who have the power,
And they should keep who can.

In practice it consisted in commanding, or, as we might say, "commandeering" anything one fancied to one's own use.

Indicating the desired object, the claimant would observe, "That club"—or tree, or canoe, or whatever it happened to be, "is tapa to me. It is my skull," or "my eye," or "my backbone. I command it to myself."

The article thus denominated was held to belong to the claimant, since no one could justly urge that a man's skull, eye or backbone was not his own. Yet, if the practice were abused, an appeal could be made, and a chief had power to undo the tapa and order restitution of the property claimed. After a[Pg 45] battle, disputes frequently arose between those who claimed priority in having applied the tapa to articles in possession of a foe whom they had then still to vanquish.

This was the law of muru, which the Maori accepted philosophically enough, because, though vexatious, it fell with equal severity upon all.

If a man committed an offence against the community, he was punished by the community, his fellow-tribesmen adjusting the fine and collecting it with a generous appreciation of their individual requirements.

For example, if one accidentally killed another, he was punished for depriving the community of a useful member. If a man carelessly damaged public property, he was punished by the loss of his own. Even if the damage done merely affected another private person, compensation was assessed by means of muru, and, as no money circulated in those days, the fine was exacted in goods.

The victim of his own indiscretion, sighing at the crookedness of fate, always made provision against the day of reckoning and, having politely inquired on what day muru was to be enforced, issued instructions to the ladies of his family to prepare the best feast possible in the time at their command.

On the appointed day the avengers arrived, yelling "Murua! Murua!" An idea of the justice of what followed may be gathered when it is stated that muru means "plunder."

Each member of the party is armed, and so is[Pg 46] the rueful sinner who awaits developments with sensations much resembling those of the Jew in presence of King John and his rough-and-ready dentists.

A lull occurs in the yelling, and the dolorous knight inquires ingenuously, "What is this, O my friends? Why do you brandish spear and club as though to point the road to Reinga?"

"You killed my brother!" a tall fellow shouts in return. "Now I am going to kill you. Step forward at once to be killed!"

With horrid grimaces the bereaved gentleman capers before the doomed one, who divests himself of his mat, flourishes his spear, and replies with great fervour, "Since you so greatly desire to be made mince-meat of, you shall not be disappointed. I am for you!"

With that the two fall upon one another with frightful ferocity—or so it seems. Blows are dealt and thrusts exchanged amid the continuous howling of the champion's bodyguard, who, singularly enough, make no offer to rush his antagonist.

Why not? Because it is point of honour that no great harm is to be done. A gentleman is to receive punishment at the hands of his peers, but life must be left him, though almost everything which makes it worth the living is to be snatched from him. So, after a few bruises and scratches have been given and taken, the mimic combat ceases.

There is a short pause while the champion recovers his breath. Then he shouts at the top of his voice, "Murua! Murua!" which, freely trans[Pg 47]lated, means "Loot! Loot!"—advice which is promptly followed.

As the sack proceeds the principals chat cheerfully, the plundered taking no notice whatever of the plunderers; for to betray the disgust he feels would be the height of ill-breeding.

At last, when every article which their unwilling host has thought it injudicious to conceal has been secured, the "collectors" reappear, laughing and eagerly expectant of an invitation to dinner.

It comes. The stricken gentleman courteously expresses his delight at this "unexpected" visit. Had he but known earlier he would have made adequate preparation. As it is—he waves his hand in the direction of the feast—there it is; and he bids his "dear friends" fall to.

Gorged and happy, the myrmidons of this queer law depart by and by, having carried out the muru, and left behind them a sorrowful gentleman, stripped of worldly gear. However, the unfortunate has the consoling knowledge that he has comported himself under trying circumstances as a man of breeding should, and also that, when opportunity shall arise, he will be entitled to go and do unto others as they have just done unto him.


[42] Shown by the frequency of the prefix Ngati, "children of." Thus, Ngati-Porou, Ngati-Awa, etc.

[43] New Zealand was one of the first countries—if not the first—to admit women to the franchise and to represent their fellow-citizens in municipal affairs. The first instance of a woman having been elected "mayor" occurred in New Zealand, where, perhaps, the spirit of some old-time Maori is awake and influencing his Pakeha successors.

[44] The Maori, not content with ordinary tattooing, cut and carved intricate designs upon brow and cheek and chin (sometimes also on the hips), thus making it easy for all to read their personal history and the record of their deeds of derring-do. The absence of such scars indicated extreme youth, or a lack of courage exceedingly rare among the men of the race. Each line had its own significance; and a celebrated chief who visited England early in the nineteenth century, directed the artist who painted his portrait to "be sure to copy accurately every single mark" upon his face.

[Pg 48]



The Maori of old had two habitations—the kainga, or village, wherein they dwelt in "piping time of peace," and the pa, or fortress, in which they shut themselves up when harassed by war's alarms. Fire-eaters though they were, they had their moons of peace, during which they accomplished some astonishing results, considering their ignorance of iron, and that their tools were fashioned out of hard wood and yet harder stone. With incredible patience they ground and rubbed and sand-polished, until from lumps of greenstone, jasper, or granite they produced bevelled edge and rounded back. The head was drilled and fitted to a hardwood handle, and there was axe or adze. Imagine the labour of it, you who put down a piece of money and receive the perfected tool of iron!

Axe and adze were blunt enough; yet with them the Maori hewed through the mighty bole of the kauri-pine; and it was with tools of stone that they chopped and gouged and scooped, until there lay before them the shell of a canoe, eighty feet in[Pg 49] length, and capable of holding close upon a hundred men.

To work again with knife and awl and chisel, each of stone, and presently the stern-post, ornately carved, rises in an elegant curve to a height of fifteen feet. The prow, too, rises in a curve, but not so high, and is adorned by a huge, grinning head, correctly tattooed, with goggle eyes and defiantly protruded tongue.

Paddles are shaped from the tough wood of the ti-tree, one for each of the rowers, who kneel in equal numbers on each side, facing the prow, while the steersman wields an oar nine feet in length.

The canoe is finished—begun, wrought at and completed with never an iron tool, with not one iron bolt to stay or strengthen. Yet it is beautiful and strong and serviceable, and will skim the stormiest sea as safely as would a gull.

The whare was often rendered attractive on the outside by elaborate carving, and quaint by the grotesque figures surmounting the gables. It was within only a wide, low room, with roof of raupo-thatch[45] and eaves within three feet of the ground. A stone-lined hole served as a fireplace, the floor was strewn with fern upon which were thrown the sleeping-mats, and a sliding panel formed a door, which was blocked when privacy or warmth was desired. Furniture there was none; but this mattered little, since the house was rarely used save as a dormitory, or a shelter during cold or wet weather.

Within the village a piece of ground was set apart[Pg 50] for the marae, or public square, whither folk repaired for gossip or recreation when the work of the day was done. Without the enclosure were home fields of kumara and taro, where the women laboured as many women labour in the potato and turnip-fields in Scotland.

The heavy tasks as a rule fell to the men, and were undertaken cheerfully enough, though the Maori became less careful in this respect after years of intercourse with the Pakeha. To the men also belonged the duty of supplying the commissariat and, while some hunted or fished, others cleared the forest trails, upon which the undergrowth reproduced itself with extraordinary rapidity. The question of animal food was always a vital one in the days before the poaka, or pig, rioted through the bush, and there were many days on which the Maori were forced to content themselves with fern-root and kanini berries for the two meals in which they daily indulged.

Though they had neither books nor writings upon parchment, stone or papyrus, the Maori were not without a literature of their own. Great deeds of heroic ancestors, notable events of the past were immortalised in song and story, and handed down from generation to generation. On summer nights an eager audience thronged the marae, listening, rapt, to some "divine-voiced singer," or to some other, who told with every trick and charm of the finished orator the story of "the brave days of old," when Ngahue fought in far Hawaiki, or sailed the sea with Te Turi to find the land of Maui.

Always decorous, the listeners applauded dis[Pg 51]creetly, and chewed incessantly the hardened juice of the sow-thistle, the precious gum of the kauri, or the mimiha, bitumen from the under-sea springs of the west. None of these was harmful like the opium of the Chinaman or the kava of the Polynesian. The Maori chewed his gum much as the fair American chews hers, or as the youthful Scot surreptitiously sucks his peppermint during the Sunday sermon in the kirk.

As night fell quiet reigned for a time, for night is the council-time of the Maori. Encircled by pineknot torches, chiefs and rangatira sat together, gravely discussing the common weal, or planning great schemes of attack or defence. One after another, each stern-visaged councillor arose, and with dignified gesture and speech rich in metaphor expressed his views, his fellows hearkening with respectful attention, expecting, and receiving, the same when their own turn came to speak. So the discussion went on until the council broke up and the senators dispersed, stalking through the double row of armed guards who, themselves out of earshot, had stood like bronze statues throughout the deliberations.

When the need for quiet had passed, the warriors gathered together and fought their battles o'er again, while those more peacefully inclined applauded the efforts of a flautist and a trumpeter, whose instruments were limited to five and two notes respectively.

Careless youth sat here and there, asking and guessing riddles or playing that most ancient game, familiar alike to the English child and the aboriginal[Pg 52] of Australia, "cat's cradle." Youngsters stalked upon stilts, played at "knuckle-bones," or gambled at "odd or even," and, in strong contrast, a group of philosophers discussed abstruse questions with a keenness and cleverness which amply proved the capacity of the Maori brain. Some, too, there were who wandered off, as young folks will, youth and maid together, to whisper of matters unconcerned with logic or philosophy.

The fires burnt low, the torches sputtered towards extinction, the various groups dissolved and, as a last good-night, the warriors raised their voices in a swelling chant, and from a thousand throats the chorus of triumph or defiance rose and rolled from hill to distant hill. A few short moments later the village was hushed and still, only the vigilant sentries giving evidence of the life which slumbered within its crowded whare.

So the Maori rose and toiled and played and fought, until at last came the time, inevitable for all, when must "the silver cord be loosed and the golden bowl be broken," and potent chief, in common with meanest slave, yield up his life to God who gave it.

No tangi was raised for the slave; but how different when the chief set his face to the north and walked with slow and solemn step towards the gates of Reinga. Even as their muffled clang resounded and the breath went out of the chieftain's body, the crowd of mourners who had till then been repeating with fervour the "last words" of the dying man, burst into noisy lamentations, many of the[Pg 53] women gashing their arms and breasts. In some instances slaves were immediately slain, so that the dead man might not plunge alone into the waters of Reinga, or go unattended in the next world.

The dead body was exorcised by the priests, dressed in its best, and allowed to sit in state. The dried heads and skulls of ancestors grinned from their pedestals at the latest addition to their ranks, who, with face painted, head befeathered, his costly ornaments upon him, his clubs and spears set ready to his hand, stared back at them with unseeing eyes, a lifelike figure enough among those musty relics of the long-ago dead.

The pihe, or dirge, was sung, the choir standing before the body, and days went by, during which the long procession of relatives, friends, subjects and delegates from other tribes paid their respects to the mighty dead, grasping his cold hand, talking to him as though he were alive, speaking panegyrics and chanting laments, often of singular beauty, in his honour.

Then followed the last act but one in the drama of death. "No useless coffin enclosed the breast" of the dead man, whose body, wrapped in flax mats, was either buried beneath the floor of his house, or hoisted to a high stage in the vicinity of the village and allowed to remain there for a twelvemonth.

The year of mourning over, the dead man's effects, his valuable greenstone clubs, other weapons and ornaments were distributed amongst his heirs.[Pg 54][46] A great feast was also arranged and, while the attention of all was occupied with eating and drinking, the priests stole away, bearing the remains with them, to hide them for ever in some solitary sepulchre within the scarred bosom of the hills, or deep in the green twilight of the silent forests.[47]


[45] Typha angustifolia.

[46] Some remained undistributed, tapu for ever.

[47] In the case of chiefs of great fame, the remains were twice or thrice exposed to the veneration of the tribe before the final sepulture, which might then be delayed longer than is stated above.

[Pg 55]



Animated, for all one knows, by mere lust of strife, the men of Waikato on the west soon after their arrival in New Zealand marched across the North Island to Maketu on the Bay of Plenty, and burned the Arawa canoe.

From this outrage arose a war, the end of which was not until generations later, and from which, as a forest conflagration from a spark, arose other wars between tribe and tribe, until from end to end of Te Ika A Maui men were in arms against one another.

Peace there was, but more often war; and by the time Captain Cook visited the Islands the village was deserted and the pa predominant. Later, peace again prevailed; then wars again; and, as the quarrel with the Pakeha developed, strife filled the land till matters were adjusted at the end of the long struggle between Maori and colonist.

The conditions under which the Maori lived furnished them with plenty of excuses to appeal to arms. There was always that burning question of[Pg 56] animal food, and no more flagrant outrage could be perpetrated by one tribe than to poach upon the hunting or fishing-grounds of another.

A man might insult one of another tribe by rude word or inconsiderate deed, and the aggrieved party might wipe out the injury by means of utu—payment or revenge—which was more or less the lex talionis of the Romans. But the individual usually carried his wrongs to his chief, when the matter became a tribal affair and, unless compensation were quickly forthcoming, war resulted between the disputants. Thus, what originated in a petty difference between two hot-headed fellows, might, and often did, result in a quarrel which brought hundreds—perhaps thousands—into the field.

The Maori were a military race in which every able-bodied man became a warrior because he possessed an arm strong enough to strike. To lack courage to deliver the blow was to expose himself to the pointing finger of scorn. The man who shirked his military duties could not escape exposure. His face betrayed him. If that were bare of designs, he had small chance to establish his claim to be a man of valour, and smaller still to live in honour among his fellows.

Few were courageous enough to be cowards in a race so uniformly brave. Few, however much they might prefer peace, ventured to skulk at home when the war-gong clattered and the huge trumpet brayed its summons. The man who remained deaf to the call to arms incurred the contempt of his fellow-men, and knew that the meanest slave would not change[Pg 57] places with him. A solitary life, an unlamented death, his lonely passage to Reinga "unwept, unhonoured, and unsung"—such was the lot of the Maori who dared to be a coward.

The Maori fought with frightful ferocity when once the battle was joined, but went to work leisurely enough over the preliminaries, occupying the time with councils, dances, orations and embassies from one set of contestants to the other.

The council was presided over by the principal chief, or by the paramount chief when a tribe's interests were involved. If age or physical infirmity prevented him from leading in the day of battle, his place would be filled by one of the "fighting chiefs," men of little use in the Maori "War Office," but terrible in the field.

The council over, the tohunga was sought and requested to ascertain whether success would attend the arms of the inquirers. As this was a very important function, the rules of Maori etiquette were rigidly observed in dress and demeanour.

The high chief was splendidly arrayed. His fine, Roman face, scarred with records of his daring, was set and stern; his dark hair, combed and oiled, supported a coronet of huia plumes, and from the lobe of each ear dangled a gleaming tooth of the tiger-shark. Around his loins he wore the customary katika, or kilt, while a vest of closely woven flax covered as with mail the upper part of his body.

A collar of sharks' teeth, or of the teeth of slain foes, encircled the massive column of his neck, and[Pg 58] from the former was suspended his household heitiki,[48] which lay like a locket upon his broad chest. In his hand he held a long spear, elaborately carved, like the rest of his wooden weapons, and from his right wrist dangled his favourite mere, or war-club, of purest greenstone. Upon his shoulders, fastened so as to leave the right arm free, he wore the kaitaka, the valuable robe of flax already referred to.

But no matter how sumptuously garbed before the fight began, every particle of clothing was usually discarded at the moment of onset, and the Maori rushed into the fray naked and unashamed.

The war-dance usually followed a favourable augury, and was heralded by a terrific commotion, which drew every inhabitant of the village to the marae, in the midst of which a cleared space was occupied by a hundred or more lusty warriors.

Stripped to the skin, their brown, muscular bodies gleaming, their scarred faces aglow with excitement, the warriors stand in two long lines awaiting the signal. Suddenly the long-drawn wail of a tetere[49] sounds, and a hush falls upon the crowd. A moment, and with a wild yell a magnificent savage rushes from the rear of the column to the front, brandishing his spear and hideously contorting his face. For a short minute he leaps and capers at the head of the column; then, abruptly coming to rest, sings in a rich bass the first words of the war-song.

Another short pause and the warriors behind him[Pg 59] leap from the ground with a pealing shout, flourish their weapons and set off at the double round the court, while from their open throats comes the roaring chorus of the chant.

Twice they circle the marae; then, forming once more in column, with, or without, the soloist for fugleman, they dance in perfect time, but with furious energy, gesticulating, rolling their eyes and protruding their tongues, while the ground trembles under the heavy tread of so many strong men.

At last, with a shout so horrible and menacing that the hearts of the watchers beat faster as they hear it, the dance comes to an end as abruptly as it began, and on all sides are heard prophecies of success, since no one among the dancers has fallen under the exhausting strain.

For some time after the opposing forces had come within striking distance of one another, jeers and insults were freely exchanged. The chiefs on either side would harangue their men; but rarely were the initial speeches so inflammatory, the early gibes so stinging as to precipitate the conflict. It was almost a point of etiquette to measure the stabbing power of that unruly member, the tongue, before proceeding to test the keenness of spear-point, the smashing capacity of club.

But the tongue was put to another use; for, while eyes were rolled and faces contorted in hideous grimaces, Arero, The Little, was poked farther and farther out of the mouth with telescopic power of elongation, till it rested almost upon the broad, scarred chest below its proper frontier, the lips. The[Pg 60] visage of a Maori at such a moment was indescribably hideous, and would probably have scared away the enemy, had it not been that their faces were equally appalling.

Arero, the tongue, having played its part in facial distortion, was now drawn back into its proper territory and again put to its legitimate use, abuse of the enemy. Once more the wordy war raged, till some taunt too savage, some sneer too biting, some gesture too insulting, brought the long preliminaries to a sudden, dreadful close, and the men of war with startling swiftness broke ranks, and with howls of fury clashed together in mortal combat.

For a few moments all other sounds were drowned by the rattle of spear-shafts and the crash and crack of stone axes and clubs, mingled with a ferocious roaring; but a yell of triumph soon rang high above the din, "Ki au te Mataika! Mataika! Mataika!"[50] The combatants for a single instant held back, while hundreds of envious eyes glared towards the spot whence came the cry. The next, as a huge warrior, seizing his opponent's hair with his left hand, dragged back the head and with one shrewd blow clubbed out the brains, the roar of battle swelled again, and the fight raged with redoubled fury.

"Vae victis!" growled the old Roman, and these brown men with the stern, Roman faces made good the sinister words. A defeat meant not a rout, but a slaughter of those who fled and were[Pg 61] overtaken, a massacre of those who lay wounded, awaiting the death-stroke with a composure not less superb than that of the stricken gladiators in Rome's arena.

The lives of the wounded were too often taken to the accompaniment of shocking barbarities and, when the breath was out of their bodies, their heads were hacked off and borne away in triumph, to grin from spiked palisades at the foe who refused to respect them even in death.

The victors were careful to decapitate their own dead, whose heads were carried home with every mark of respect and handed over to the nearest relatives of the deceased. It was no disgrace to be slain in battle; but if your head were not returned to the bosom of your family, then your own, and with it the family mana, or honour, was gone.

Were a man forced to flee, it was considered an act of the greatest friendship if he delayed to decapitate a dead or wounded comrade, so that, though the latter's body might be rent in pieces, and very likely swallowed, his head might suffer no dishonour, and the family mana be saved.

The heads thus rescued were subjected to prolonged exposure to air and steam and smoke, after which they underwent treatment at the hands of experts. The final result was that the head retained a wonderfully lifelike appearance, the moko marks remaining plainly visible. The heads were set up in places of honour, with that ceremony which these paladins of the South Seas invariably observed, to be handed down from generation to generation along[Pg 62] with stirring tales of the valorous warriors upon whose shoulders they had once sat.

We are learning that our brown hero was by no means faultless. He was not above insulting his vanquished foe, and saw no reason why he should not do a brave and helpless man to death with revolting tortures. The extinction of life did not satisfy him; he must mutilate the bodies of the slain and spurn the dishonoured corpse.

Surely his appetite for revenge must now be glutted; his ingenuity can suggest nothing more in the way of utu; his passion-inflamed mind devise no further stroke of insolent hate.

Alas! The violent climax is yet to be reached; the abysmal depth of degradation to be plumbed; the savage nature to be laid bare in all its hideousness.

The pity of it! This man, so strong, so brave, so keen of intelligence; this man with brain so clever and hand so deft that he can fashion that wonderful thing, a war-canoe, with nought but tools wrenched from the unwilling earth; this man who is a loving husband, a fond father; who in future years is destined to take his place beside the white invader of his dominion; this man can sink to the level of the beast, which, having slain, must fall to and eat. Lower, indeed, he descends; for the brute kills that it may satisfy its hunger, but the Maori that he may inflict the crowning dishonour upon his dead foe and upon the children of the slain.

Cannibalism, if not a respectable, is a very ancient practice, for Homer and Herodotus mention the anthropophagi; but it is impossible to say when it[Pg 63] originated, and the why and wherefore of the horrid custom can be still less easily come at. Some have argued that it began in a craving for animal food; but these seem to have lost sight of the fact that there are in Africa cannibals who live in regions teeming with game, just as in the South Sea Islands there are cannibals who till modern times were forced to content themselves with an almost purely vegetable diet. If the same motive animated both of these in their adoption of the practice, that motive can obviously not have been a hankering after animal food.

Neither does the name throw any light upon the origin of the custom; for the word "cannibal" is presumed to be a corruption of "Caribal," that is, "pertaining to the Caribs," a West Indian tribe of man-eaters, discovered by Columbus in 1493.

The Malays, or some of them, were cannibals, and the Maori offshoots of that race indulged in the habit in those far-off days before they adventured to New Zealand. Their traditions shew that they had abandoned the practice before, and that they did not resume it for several generations after their emigration. Even then they were cannibals side by side with the fact that they were warriors and, in the beginning at least, consumed their species less from appetite than from a desire to humiliate the kindred of the vanquished.

The Zulus, who used to eat but little meat, were accustomed when in view of war to gorge themselves with the flesh of beeves. Then, intoxicated, as it were, with the unaccustomed nitrogenous food,[Pg 64] they swung into battle, careless of disaster or death. The Maori, on the other hand, after days of preparation, during which their rule of life was ascetic, urged on the battle fever by rhetoric and oratory of a very high order. They showed so far only their intellectual side; when once the fight was over, cramming themselves with loathsome food, they sank below the level of the ravening brute.

It must be granted, then, that the Maori did not wholly abstain from human flesh. Against this—save for some notable exceptions—they were not habitually cannibals when at peace. After the shock of war they swallowed portions of their dead foes, as much to incorporate the others' courage with their own as from any radical hankering after the ghastly dish. Let it go at that.

There is at length a lull in the strife. The stronger are weary of dealing blows, the weaker faint with taking them. The time is come when both may rest awhile, if only to husband their strength, so that some day they may fight again. After all, one cannot be for ever upon the war-path. The fern-root is maturing, the kumara are ripening in the fields, the eels fattening in the creeks. Home-voices are calling, and fierce men of war grow sick with longing for sight of wife and child. Yes; there has been enough of war. Let peace prevail; if not for ever, at least until rage, cool now, has had time to blaze up once more; until arms, stiff and sore with hammering skulls and splitting hearts, again renew their strength. Yes, peace is good. Let us have peace.

So a herald went forth, bearing a leafy bough,[Pg 65] a sign that his mission was Hohou i te rongo—to make peace. Takawaenga, or "go-betweens," had been busily engaged over the matter for some days past, and the herald's very presence proved that the result of his visit was a foregone conclusion.

Still, the Maori must always be dramatic, so the herald was met with great respect and ceremony, and his argument seriously considered with much show of dissent. Then, when the orator had listened with becoming patience to numerous speakers on the other side, and exhausted every trick of voice and gesture on his own, all opposition suddenly collapsed, and peace was concluded amid general rejoicing.

Not many captives were taken in war as a general rule; but, if a man's life were spared, he became a slave. Save that such a man lost all social status, and was set to tasks to which he had been unaccustomed, his lot was not necessarily very hard. He might, perhaps, be exchanged for some captive taken by his own tribe; but, having once become a slave, he usually preferred to remain one; for he was treated with rough kindness and consideration. Curiously enough, if he returned to his own tribe, he was invariably slighted because of the experience it had been his misfortune to undergo.

Peace ratified, preparations were made for returning home and, as they had left their village with ceremony, so the victors marched into it again with all the pomp and circumstance of war.

Some few paces in front of the column a single Maori banged lustily with a heavy stick upon a very small drum, while immediately in his rear another[Pg 66] evoked a succession of jerky notes from a flute formed from a human thigh-bone. Next in order marched a grim company, who bore aloft upon rough-hewn pikes the severed heads of foemen. Close behind this grisly vanguard stalked, with heads erect and dignified bearing, the "Fighting Chiefs," their stern, Roman faces heavily scored with records of their valour, and after them strode the Captain-general, "pride in his port, defiance in his eye," a very "lord of human-kind" as he "passed by." Behind the great leader swaggered the warriors, marching not in step, but with a firm tread and swinging gait, impressive enough. Last of all, laden with spoil, or carrying the arms of their masters, the tutua and slaves brought up the rear.

As the army came within sight of the village, the men broke into a roaring chorus anent the land of their birth, that dearly loved land which they fondly prophesied would be theirs till the end of time.

The battle-scarred veteran who has led them in so many victorious campaigns turns at the sound, and with a single proud gesture indicates the village. It is enough. The buglers blow discordant blasts, the garrison yell shrilly, and with a thunderous roar of triumph the impatient warriors surge forward, breast the slope and charge furiously into the marae. They have returned victorious; they are once more at peace—and at home.

Note.—The Maori science of defensive warfare in their pa is dealt with in Part III.


Victors in the fight


[48] An ornament in the form of an image. Regarded as a most valuable heirloom and, probably, as a talisman.

[49] A wooden trumpet, six feet in length.

[50] The first man to be killed in a fight was called the mataika. "I have the mataika!" was the cry of the successful slayer, and duels often arose after a battle, owing to disputes among the claimants to the honour.



[Pg 69]




It wanted a couple of hours to sunset. All the way from the rim of the world the blue Pacific waves heaved slumberously towards the shore, thundered against the iron rocks, and rolled lazily eastwards into the gathering night. The long cloud-shadows chased one another across the fern, the silver-winged gulls circled the blue bay, ready to chorus a harsh "good-night," and the sinking sun, flinging a challenge to the coming darkness, set the sky ablaze.

Night, swift, inexorable, was not far away; there would be no moon, and the Patupaiarehe, imps of evil, wander in the dark in search of mischief. Luckless the Maori who walks through forest glade or over fern-clad hill when they flit on their wicked way.

So, lest they should be caught by the tricksy sprites, the Maori, who were chatting in the marae, rose to disperse. Suddenly, one who had been looking carelessly about him, uttered a loud yell.

"He! He!" he cried. "Titira! Titira!" (Look! Look!).

[Pg 70]

The clamour which followed brought the chief—a splendid figure in his kaitaka and coronet of huia plumes. Hurried question and excited answer gave him the reason of the commotion, and he, too, looked out to sea.

A cry escaped him. Amazement, incredulity, fear were in the tone. "A whale with white wings![51] What can it mean? It is magic or——"

He broke off, staring at his men. His lips were trembling, his eyes round. Great chief though he was, fear wrapped him as a garment.

None answered. Some looked under their lids at the oncoming Thing; some fastened their gaze upon the chief, and every man there muttered a karakia, if so he might avert impending doom.

On came the marvel, growing ever more distinct, and upon the polished decks the astounded Maori could see beings who looked like men, though their outward seeming was strangely different from any men whom the Sons of Maui had ever encountered.

Then a voice was heard, calling something in a strange, harsh tongue. A whistle shrilled; a score or so of the odd forms raced from end to end of what the bewildered Maori now decided must be a canoe of some sort, and with magical swiftness the "white wings" collapsed and lay folded upon the long spars. Another call, a loud, rattling noise, something fell with a mighty splash into the sea, and the mysterious vessel came to rest.

[Pg 71]

One minute of tense silence. Then a scream went up from the watching Maori.

The strangely garbed forms were human. But their faces! Their faces were white!

In the extremity of their terror the Maori fled into their whare and covered their heads. It was now only too plain that the Patupaiarehe were abroad upon that awful night of nights.

Yet worse was to come upon the morrow.


On the 14th of August, 1642, the distinguished circumnavigator, Abel Janssen Tasman, left Batavia in his yacht Heemskirk with a fly-boat, Zeehaen (Sea-hen), dancing in his wake, to investigate the polar continent which Schouten and Le Maire, his countrymen, claimed to have found, and which they had named Staaten Land. It was on the 13th of December in the same year that, after discovering Tasmania, the commodore came one radiant evening within long sight of what he calls a "high, mountainous country."

This was the west coast of the Middle Island, then for the first time seen by the eyes of white men, or so it is reasonable to believe; for the claims made by France and Spain to priority of discovery are based upon wholly insufficient grounds.

A few days later Tasman cast anchor in the bay to the west of that bay which bears his name, and at whose south-eastern extremity the town of Nelson now flourishes. Tasman himself gave a name to the[Pg 72] bay in which he anchored, but not until he was about to leave it. A glance at the map will make it clear that both of these bays wash the northern shore of the Middle Island, Te Wai Pounamou, "The Waters of Greenstone."


The sun had not yet set when Tasman's anchors splashed into the bay and the sight of the strange white faces sent the Maori scurrying into their whare. An hour must elapse before the long-lingering day faded into night, and an hour is time and to spare for brave men to recover their confidence, however badly their nerves have been shaken. So it came about that, before nightfall, the chief and his warriors issued from their whare, and low voices muttered questions which no one could answer.

One thing, however, had become clear in that time of fear and hesitancy. So at length:

"They are men like ourselves," the chief said reassuringly. "There is no doubt about it, for I have been watching them from my matapihi.[52] Their faces are white and their canoes differ from ours, but they have no desire to quarrel. On the other hand, they continually signal, inviting us to visit them. I believe them to be friendly. My children, let us take a nearer look at these Pakeha. Fear nought. Atua fights for the Maori. Come!"

Accustomed to obey the word of their chief, the Maori manned a couple of canoes and paddled out towards the ships.

[Pg 73]

But the chief was aware that, for all their calm exterior, fear—that worst fear of all, fear of the unknown—tugged at his children's hearts, and he had no intention of trying them too far. So at his word the huge tetere brayed, "in sound," says Tasman, "like a Moorish trumpet," the Maori shouted, splashing the water with their paddles, but giving no hostile challenge, and the sailors crowded their bulwarks, making signs of amity and displaying attractive articles to the brown men.

But twilight was fading now, and the chief hastened ashore to see his hapu safely housed, and to set a guard, lest these queer white fellows should land during the night. The tetere brayed again an unmusical "Lights out!" and with a great clamour of tongues the Maori withdrew behind their stockade to discuss the most surprising event of their lives.

Then the day died and the curtain of night came heavily down, to rise upon the tragedy of the morning.


The day was not far advanced when a single, small canoe rapidly approached the ships, where officers and men ran eagerly to the rail to observe the oncoming Maori.

But Abel Tasman knew nothing of the addiction of the Sons of Maui to forms and ceremonies, nor did the latter allow for their visitor's ignorance. Consequently, there arose at the very outset a misunderstanding, which was to bring about fatal consequences.

[Pg 74]

One of the thirteen occupants of the canoe must have been the herald,[53] come to announce that his chief would immediately visit the strangers. The rowers lay on their oars within easy distance of the Heemskirk, while the envoy delivered his message.

Making no attempt to discover the Maori's meaning, the Dutchmen rather stupidly "kept up a great shouting throughout his oration," while they displayed food, drink and trinkets to the admiring eyes of the rowers, who were sorely tempted to take risks and clamber aboard. But loyalty to their chief restrained them, and with dignified gestures and in musical speech they signified their regret at being obliged to decline the Pakeha's invitation. Then, conceiving their message understood, they paddled back to the shore, much to the disappointment of the Dutchmen.

No sooner did the solitary canoe swing away from the ship than seven others put off from the shore. As they drew near, six of them slackened speed, while one came on confidently to the Heemskirk.

After a momentary hesitation, half-a-dozen Maori clambered up the side with, according to Tasman, "fear writ upon their faces." This is probable; for here was a clear case of omne ignotum pro magnifico; but that these were brave men is proved by the fact that, "with fear writ upon their faces," they showed a bold front to the cause of that fear, and boarded the Heemskirk.

Scarcely had the feet of the brown men touched[Pg 75] the deck than Tasman seems to have taken fright and, as far as one may judge, lost his head and committed a deplorable error.


The fight in Massacre Bay

He was, he says, aboard the Sea-hen when the Maori boarded the Heemskirk and, without awaiting developments, he manned a boat with seven men, whom he sent off to the yacht with a warning to guard against treachery.

Fatal mistake! The kettle of misunderstanding was full to the spout, and it now boiled over. Tasman feared that the six attendant canoes meant to attack; the Maori, observing the hurrying boat, instantly imagined that their comrades were to be detained on board the yacht as hostages.

Stirred to action by the cries of their alarmed friends, who had also observed Tasman's action with apprehension, those in the canoes dashed to intercept the boat.

Whether by accident or design, the boat crashed into one of the canoes, and the Maori, their worst fears confirmed, struck to kill, and did kill outright three Dutchmen, mortally wounding a fourth. One poor corpse they carried off, and the Maori on the ship leapt without delay into their own canoe and raced for the shore.

"We shall get neither wood nor water from this accursed spot," said Tasman, "for the savages be too adventurous and bloody-minded." So he pricked off the place upon his chart, naming it "Murderers' Bay,"[54] weighed anchor, and made off in disgust.

While he was yet in the bay, a fleet of two-and-[Pg 76]twenty canoes, crowded with men, put out after him, with what intention is not known. Tasman does not appear to have feared an attack, for he tells us that a man in the leading canoe carried a flag of truce. The Maori really held in his hand a spear with a pennon of bleached flax; but, if Tasman believed this to be a flag of truce, his action was the more reprehensible.

For he stopped the pursuit, if pursuit it were, by delivering a broadside which probably equalised the loss he had sustained. At all events, the man with the flag went down, and the Maori, terrified by the noise of the discharge and its deadly effect, turned and sped to the shore.

So began and ended in bloodshed the first authentic meeting of Maori and Pakeha. Had Tasman not been so quick to take alarm, had he allowed his visitors time to realise his friendly intentions, it is highly probable that New Zealand would to-day have been a Dutch colony instead of a Dominion of the Empire.

Away went the Dutchman, nursing his wrath and jotting down in his journal all sorts of uncomplimentary remarks about the "bloodthirsty aborigines," and in due course rounded the north of the North Island, naming one of its prominent headlands "Cape Maria Van Diemen," in compliment to the daughter of his patron, Anthony Van Diemen, governor of the Dutch East Indies.

A little farther north he made the islands which he charted under the name of "The Three Kings," since he discovered them upon the Epiphany, and he[Pg 77] again endeavoured to obtain "rest and refreshment." But he was disappointed once more, for the same cautiousness which had led him so precipitately to launch the boat on that unhappy day in Massacre Bay, now caused him to sheer off from The Three Kings. Small wonder, though, that he did not stop there to investigate.

"For we did see," he records in his journal, "thirty-five natives of immense size, who advanced with prodigious long strides, bearing great clubs in their hands."

"Valentine," "Jack," or any other historic destroyer of the race of giants might well have been excused for showing a clean pair of heels in face of such odds. Thirty-five of them! It was too much for Tasman, who, without more ado, bore away for Cocos, where he obtained the "rest and refreshment" of which he stood so much in need.

So Abel Tasman never set foot in New Zealand. Having mistaken the southern extremity of Tasmania for that of Australia, he now fell into the error of believing the land at which he had touched to be part of the polar continent, or Staaten Land. Months later, the mistake was corrected, and Tasman's newest discovery received the name by which it has ever since been known—New Zealand.

In this manner came the first Pakeha to the country of the Maori, and fled in fear, learning nought of the land or of its people. The Children of Maui watched for the return of the men with the strange white faces; but they came not, neither Tasman nor any other. So the visit of the Pakeha[Pg 78] became a memory ever growing fainter, until at last it died, not even tradition keeping it alive.

Then, one hundred and twenty-seven years after Abel Tasman had found and seen and gone away, there came a greater than he, one not so easily turned back—the captain of the Endeavour, James Cook of undying memory.


[51] Captain Cook's ship was thus characterised by the Maori who first caught sight of it.

[52] Window.

[53] This, at least, is the writer's view.

[54] Now Massacre Bay.


[Pg 79]


In the year 1741 a lad was apprenticed to a haberdasher in a small town near Whitby in Yorkshire. His name was James Cook, and he was from the first an example of the square peg in the round hole. So loose was the fit that the peg presently fell out and rolled away. In other words, young Cook, not being cut out for a haberdasher, got himself apprenticed aboard a collier. His ability to hand, reef and steer was so much greater than his aptitude for wielding a yardstick that, as soon as his time was out, he was raised to the position of mate.

In 1755, before he was twenty-seven, this remarkable youth joined the King's navy as an ordinary seaman. Observe what he accomplished before ten years were out by his own industry.

Strictly attentive to duty, he rose rapidly, and thrice in succession was master on a sloop of war, the last occasion being when Quebec was wrested from the French. That done, he surveyed and charted the St. Lawrence from Quebec to the sea, although "up to that time" he had "scarcely ever used a pencil, and had no knowledge of drawing."[Pg 80] But he had "read Euclid" ever since he joined the navy, and for recreation enjoyed "the study of astronomy and kindred sciences." Think of it—the haberdasher's boy, the collier's mate!

The ten years are not yet past. Our hero helped in 1762 to recapture Newfoundland from the French, and before 1763 was out he was back in those cold seas, surveying the coasts. Another twelvemonth saw him appointed Marine Surveyor of Newfoundland and Labrador, under the orders of his old captain, Sir Hugh Palliser.

Mr. Cook's astronomical studies now began to bear fruit, and he received in 1768 his commission as lieutenant and the command of an expedition to the South Seas to observe the transit of Venus. With this and other ends in view, Cook, now forty-one, left England in the Endeavour, accompanied by the great botanist, Joseph Banks, and other men of science.

The narrative of the voyages of this famous circumnavigator is so easily accessible to all who care to follow "our rough island story," that there is no need to epitomise it here. It is sufficient to say that Cook disproved all which had been previously held proved with regard to the "polar continent," and in so doing came into direct and notable relation with the country whose history we are tracing.

It was the 6th of October, 1769, when the lookout on the Endeavour sighted the bluff of Kuri—North Island—now known as "Young Nick's Head." Supposing the land to be part of that "Terra Australis Incognita" which he had come to investi[Pg 81]gate, Cook cast anchor two days later in the Bay of Turanga, or, as he saw fit to designate it owing to the inhospitality of the natives, "Poverty Bay."

At Otaheite, where he had observed the transit of Venus, Cook had shipped a chief named Tupia, who on many occasions proved of the greatest use. He had already voyaged hundreds of miles in the great canoes of the Tahitians, and his father had been an even more intrepid sailor. It was Tupia who pointed the way to this island and that, and who, owing to the limitations of his own knowledge, related his father's experiences to Cook, assuring him that land lay still farther to the south.

It was Tupia, too, who landed with his leader on the shore at Turanga, and addressed the natives in Tahitian, a language which proved sufficiently like their own to enable them to understand most of what was said.

But though Cook offered presents, and though Tupia charmed never so wisely with his Tahitian tongue, the Maori would have none of the Pakeha. They no doubt feared these white visitors. Te Tanewha, a chief who was a boy when Cook paid his first visit, described many years later the astonishment of the Maori at the approach of what they took to be "a whale with wings." Then, as the Endeavour's boats were pulled ashore, the bewilderment of the natives deepened; for it appeared to them that the Pakeha had eyes in the back of their heads. This, of course, was due to the position of the rowers, which was exactly the reverse of that assumed by the Maori in propelling their canoes.

[Pg 82]

The appearance of the natives became threatening, and some of them tried to make off with one of the calves of the "whale with wings," that is, with the ship's pinnace. Tupia warned them that they ran the risk of being severely dealt with, but the words of a man of their own colour moved them not at all. Their hostile demonstrations continued, and Cook—who was determined to pursue his researches—very reluctantly drove them back with violence.

Cook was so kindly, so humane, so unused to oppress another merely because his skin was coloured, that his action caused comment even in his own day. That the great navigator himself regretted the impulse which had led him to depart from his usual magnanimous methods, is evident from the excuses he afterwards put forward in explanation of his conduct.

During the next six months Cook circumnavigated the islands, discovering the strait which bears his name between the North and the Middle Island. Stewart Island he presumed to be the southern extremity of the Middle Island and, as regards the country, this was one of the very few errors he made.

Fully alive to the warlike disposition of the Maori, Captain Cook yet recognised their generosity, their agreeable behaviour to strangers who did not presume too far, and the unusual gentleness of their attitude towards their women. "The Englishman who marries a Maori," he tells us, "must first obtain the consent of her parents and, this done, ... is obliged to treat her with at least as much delicacy[Pg 83] as in England." In many passages Cook shows how clearly he perceived the superiority of these "Indians" over ordinary savages. Moreover, despite certain pronounced faults, and the prevalence of one odious custom, he readily admits their chivalrous nature.

Yet he occasionally fell into the common error of crediting the race with the disposition of the individual, so that, if one lied or thieved, the natives in that particular part are set down as "lying and thievish." But, though they opposed his efforts to explore the interior of the country, and so disappointed him, Captain Cook's experience among the Maori left him little to complain of; while the failings they displayed might well have been recognised as, first, the faults of their age and race, and second, the faults common to all men, white, brown, yellow, or black.

Still, for all his criticisms, Captain Cook was never personally harsh in his dealings with the Maori, and it would have been well had his subordinates imitated more exactly his fine magnanimity. The following account of an Englishman's hasty temper, and the cool judgment, not to say generosity, of the Maori chiefs, is very instructive.

On one occasion, when a party of Maori visitors were leaving the ship, Lieutenant Gore missed a piece of calico, which he was possibly endeavouring to exchange for native articles. Confident that a certain Maori had stolen the stuff, Gore deliberately fired at the man as he sat in the canoe, and killed him. The lieutenant was right in his belief, for, when the canoe reached the shore, the blood-stained[Pg 84] calico was found beneath the dead man; but his action was that of a savage—worse, since he, no doubt, claimed a higher order of mind. The only excuse that can be offered for Gore is that he lived at a time when even children were hanged for stealing trifles, and he may have believed himself entitled to mete out this rough-and-ready justice.

What followed? The Maori—admittedly savages—did not at once return and clamour for revenge; though an eye for an eye and blood for blood was one of the strongest articles in their creed. No; the chiefs took the matter in hand, calmly and dispassionately judged the dead man and found him guilty of theft. Therefore, they determined that utu should not be exacted on account of the killing of their tribesman. That they were perfectly sincere, and did not seek to disguise sentiments of hatred and desire for revenge under a mask of forgiveness, is entirely proved by the fact that Captain Cook landed after this unhappy occurrence and went about among them just as if nothing had happened.

It is right to say that Captain Cook was no party to his subordinate's impetuous action, for violence was foreign to his methods. Says one of his biographers—"It was impossible for any one to excel Captain Cook in kindness of disposition, as is evident from the whole tenor of his behaviour, both to his own men and to the many savage tribes with whom he had occasion to interfere."

So convinced was Captain Cook of the advantage this beautiful country must some day prove to Britain,[Pg 85] that he took nominal possession of the islands in the name of King George the Third. Yet it was not until 1787, eight years after the death of Cook, that New Zealand was included by royal commission within the British dominions, while another quarter of a century elapsed before Europe, at the Peace of 1814, recognised Great Britain's claim.

How good a use Captain Cook made of the six months he spent in New Zealand before he sailed to gather fresh laurels in Australia, any one may read for himself in the story of his voyages. On each occasion he introduced useful plants and animals into the islands, and it was due to him that the animal food which the Maori had always lacked, became so readily procurable in the shape of pigs, which soon after their introduction ran wild and multiplied. The sweet potato was there already; but it is to Cook that New Zealand owes the ordinary potato, the turnip, cabbage, and other vegetables and fruit.

Te Tanewha described Captain Cook as a reserved man who "constantly walked apart, swinging his right arm from side to side." This has been held to mean that, whenever Captain Cook landed, he scattered the seeds of useful plants, in the hope that they would grow and fructify.

There were further misunderstandings when Cook revisited the Islands in 1779, the worst of them being wholly due to the wicked action of an English sailor who first robbed and then shot a Maori. With the slaughter of the natives which followed Cook had nothing to do; more, the great navigator, who was as true and generous a gentle[Pg 86]man as ever stepped, completely absolved the Maori from blame.

This was happily the last difficulty; for Cook arrived at a better understanding with the Maori and a clearer conception of the fine character which underlay their faults. The natives, too, showed an ever-increasing confidence in their famous visitor, whom they affectionately styled "Cookie." Notwithstanding their regard, they never allowed him to penetrate far inland.

Had Cook not been the just and temperate man he was, he might have pierced the interior with an armed force, composed of his own men and aborigines, and depopulated the land.

During the period of Captain Cook's visits the Maori were constantly at war, and the unwillingness of the coast tribes to allow him to proceed inland was probably due to their fear that he would aid the chiefs there, return, and exterminate them. So they first obstructed the progress of the explorer, and then made certain grim, but exceedingly practical, proposals to him.

These in effect were that Captain Cook should join forces with this tribe or that, proceed inland, and duly exterminate—everybody. This excellent scheme, properly carried through, would have left certain of the coast tribes supreme until civil strife began again to divide them. But what if Cook had turned upon them in their turn?

Fortunately this was not Captain Cook's way; but that he recognised what was at the bottom of all these requests for help is clear from his own words:—

[Pg 87]

"Had I acted as some members of almost every tribe with whom we had dealings would have had me act, I might have extirpated the entire New Zealand race."

Could any words more distinctly show the good disposition of Captain Cook, and at the same time prove how plagued the Maori were with internecine wars?

The day came at length when this great and good man, who did so much for Britain, must say a last farewell to the country towards which he seemed so singularly drawn. For it was written that he should never again see the Waters of Greenstone or the land of his birth, but should fall a victim to his own humanity at the hands of savages whom he was endeavouring to protect.

Such was the admiration which this great navigator and good man inspired that, when war was declared between England and France in 1779, the French Minister of Marine issued orders to the navy that, if encountered at sea, the ship of Captain Cook was to be treated with courtesy. "For," said he, "honour, reason, and even interest, dictate this act of respect for humanity; nor should we treat as an enemy the common benefactor of every European nation." The Americans, then at the height of their struggle for freedom, had already anticipated this generous action by the mouth of their famous citizen, Benjamin Franklin.

Captain Cook was dead before knowledge of this splendid tribute to his services and to his virtues could reach him; but, being dead, he was not[Pg 88] forgotten, for the whole world mourned his loss and honoured his memory, as it has done ever since.

When Captain Cook died Britain was just awaking to a realisation of the evils of slavery, and beginning to recognise and endeavour to obviate the fact that, when and wherever the white man appeared among the coloured races, the latter invariably suffered. How intensely Captain Cook realised this, how earnestly he set himself to afford a good example to those who should come after him, and how his countrymen appreciated his aims and his success, these lines from Hannah More's poem on "Slavery" show:—

Had those advent'rous spirits who explore,
Thro' ocean's trackless wastes, the far-sought shore,
Whether of wealth insatiate, or of power,
Conquerors who waste, or ruffians who devour;
Had these possessed, O Cook, thy gentle mind,
Thy love of arts, thy love of human-kind;
Had these pursu'd thy mild and gentle plan,
Discoverers had not been a curse to man!

[Pg 89]



As Captain Cook sailed from Doubtless Bay in the North Island to pursue his survey of the coast, Admiral de Surville, of the French navy, cast anchor therein. Unlike his great rival, De Surville remained only long enough to quarrel with the natives and to kidnap the chief who had hospitably entertained him.

Three years later, in 1772, Captain Marion du Fresne, with Captain Crozet as his second in command, anchored in the Bay of Islands. Du Fresne, or Marion, as he is usually styled, was received with great friendliness, and for a month Maori and Pakeha excelled one another in politeness and generosity. Then, quite unexpectedly occurred a shocking tragedy.

Marion landed one morning with sixteen officers and men, intent upon pleasure, and with no foreboding of evil. Night fell, morning broke again, and found them still absent. Yet Crozet felt no suspicion, for there had been no quarrel. But there had been a clear sign that something was gravely wrong; only neither Marion nor Crozet[Pg 90] was familiar enough with the Maori mind to perceive it.

The light brightened and, ere the day was many hours old, twelve men went ashore for wood and water. There was no appearance of unrest; everything seemed at peace. So the day wore on.

Suddenly all was violently changed. The restful quiet vanished in a whirl of wild commotion. What had happened? Who was the terrified creature who, dripping wet, with torn clothes and blood-streaked face, wearily dragged himself over the rail and dropped exhausted upon the deck?

He was the sole survivor of the twelve who had gone so confidently ashore; and he told a dreadful tale.

The natives on the beach, he said, received the boat's crew with their usual kindliness, chatting and laughing till the sailormen dispersed and got to work. Then the blow fell. The wretched Frenchmen had scarce time to become aware of their murderers ere club and spear had done their work, and all but one lay dead.

This one hid himself, but could not hide from his sight the horrid sequel; and he told with shaking voice how the Maori had dismembered his unhappy comrades, taken each his load of human flesh and hurried from the scene.

Incredible all this sounded in face of that pleasant month of dalliance; yet the proof was there in that terrified wretch, and incredulity gave way to wrath and sentiments of vengeance. The prolonged absence of the commander now took on a sinister aspect, and[Pg 91] Crozet, too, with sixty men, was gone inland to procure a kauri-pine. With such a force he could defy attack; but he must be advised of what had happened.

A boat crowded with armed men was pulled ashore, and the march began to the spot where Crozet was making a road for the hauling of the giant pine. One can imagine his feelings when his comrades arrived with their intelligence—the ghastly certainty, the terrible hypothesis.

Sorrowful, but grim, the company marched back to the boats, unmolested by the mob of natives who shouted the dreadful news that Marion du Fresne and his escort of sixteen had all been killed and eaten.

Not a word said Crozet until he reached the beach. Then, as the dusky crowd surged forward, he drew a line upon the sand with the butt of a musket. "Cross that and die!" he cried. No Maori dared to brave the dreaded "fire-tubes," and the Frenchmen embarked and pulled out from the beach.

Then began Crozet's revenge. Safe now from attack, he poured volley after volley into the mob of Islanders, until the last of them had fled, shrieking, beyond range. This was not enough. Day followed day and Maori were shot and villages burned, until Crozet, his vengeance only partially satisfied, turned in wrath and disgust from the land he had begun to love.

It all sounds very dreadful. It seems an act of atrocious treachery on the part of the Maori to have[Pg 92] masked their hideous design under an appearance of friendship; and this was Crozet's view. But was it the correct view?

The sign which he and his unfortunate commander had failed to read was this: the Maori, after a month of uninterrupted intercourse, suddenly ceased to visit the ships. It was equivalent to the withdrawal of an ambassador before the declaration of war. Captain Cook, if he had not understood, would at least have noticed the sign and been on his guard.

Crozet professed to know of no cause of quarrel, yet the Maori had found one, though not until many years later did the truth come out. The French, both officers and men, had carelessly—in some cases wantonly—intruded upon sacred places, destroyed sacred objects, treated with disrespect certain sacred persons. In other words, they had violated tapu, and the Maori of that day viewed such behaviour as unpardonable and only to be atoned for by death. Bad as the horrid business was at the best, it is well to remember the old advice, "Hear the other side."

Crozet's utterances against the Maori were charged with such bitter execration, that for decades no French ship ventured near the island homes of those fierce and terrible cannibals. More, the lurid story spread across the Channel, effectually checking any desire on the part of the British for closer acquaintance with the wild men of the south. The reputation of the Maori still had power nearly ten years later to scare off all but the boldest intruders. Even the worst of criminals were held undeserving of so outrageous a fate as exposure to the chance of being[Pg 93] devoured by cannibals; and a motion to establish convict settlements in New Zealand was strongly denounced in the House of Commons and defeated.

So New Zealand, fortunately for herself, never knew the convict stain, and rogues were packed off to Australia with leave to reform if they could. Some, perhaps, did. Others, pestilential ruffians who could not be tamed even by five hundred lashes on the bare back, were weeded out and sent to Norfolk Island, another of Captain Cook's discoveries, lying some three days' sail to the north of New Zealand.

This charming island ought also to have escaped the convict infamy, for it was already occupied by honest settlers. Oddly enough, it was this very occupation, associated with the needs of commerce, which helped to overcome the shyness with which men regarded New Zealand, and eventually induced them to people her beautiful bays and fertile valleys.

The new product, the now famous Phormium tenax or New Zealand flax, samples of which had aroused the greatest enthusiasm in England, set manufacturers longing for a substance which would lend itself to so many useful purposes.

The manufacturers had to go longing for many years; for the prospect of forming the pièce de résistance at the dinner-table of a Maori chief failed to attract traders, who left New Zealand severely alone. Then came the settlement of Norfolk Island, and men of commerce were immensely cheered; for the much-desired Phormium tenax was found growing there, wild and in profusion.

[Pg 94]

But the Norfolk Island people failed utterly to manipulate the fibre as cleverly as the brown men to the south of them, and there was little use in exporting the fibre in the rough. Besides, their failure rendered them uncertain whether they had the right plant.

Twenty years after the death of Marion the effect of his tragic story had not worn off; but instruction being absolutely necessary, and as only Maori could give it, a couple of them were coolly kidnapped and carried off to Norfolk Island.

But the biters were bit. One Maori is very like another in the eyes of the Pakeha, and the kidnapper ignorantly carried off an ariki and a rangatira, men utterly unused to manual work. During the six months they spent among their abductors not a word had these two to say upon the all-important subject of cleansing flax-fibre.

"It is women's work," they declared with lofty contempt. "What should we know of it?"

Governor King had some compunction at the manner in which things had been managed, and at last redressed the wrong. He had treated the chief and the gentleman with scrupulous courtesy and unvarying kindness during their enforced stay, and now, after heaping presents upon them—not the least of which were a bag of seed corn and a drove of pigs—he took them back with honour to the Bay of Islands.

Generous themselves, the Maori responded heartily to Captain King's advances, and their behaviour, together with his own perception of their[Pg 95] unusual intellectuality, induced the Governor to write home glowing accounts of the New Zealanders, and warmly recommend the establishment of friendly relations with them. For this good man was far-seeing, and recognised the capacity for civilisation which lay beneath the crust of savagery. Therefore, in agreement with Benjamin Franklin's previously expressed opinion, he strongly advised that shiploads of useful iron articles be sent to induce the Maori to barter, and not beads and such gewgaws, which they most surely despised.

So "out of evil came forth good" and, as the news of the better disposition of Maori towards Pakeha spread, it was not long before it began to take effect. And here also Commerce had her say.

Ever since the days of Cook a few bold fellows had ventured upon an occasional visit to the Dangerous Land in search of whales; for the regular fishery had not come so far south. Others now began to follow these adventurers, feeling their way to the good graces of the coast tribes. There were no more massacres, whales were found in plenty, and word went forth presently that seals, too, abounded on the coast of this new and wondrous land.

The news brought more hardy fellows in pursuit of fortune, until, whereas in 1790 scarce a white man dared show his face off the coast, the earliest years of the nineteenth century saw a regular trade established between the whalers and the Maori. The whalers brought the delighted Islanders iron nails, fish-hooks, knives, axes, bracelets of metal and many other articles which pleased them well.[Pg 96] The Maori in return brought pigs, fresh vegetables, flax and tall, straight trees for masts and spars.

Always brave and bold, delighting to ride the waves in their canoes, and in some cases taking a positive delight in danger, the coast Maori showed the keenest interest in whaling, regarding it as splendid sport, to enjoy which they readily shipped as harpooners.

There is no doubt about their aptitude; none about their enjoyment in the pursuit of the monstrous sea mammal. More than one tale is current of impatient Maori, fearing to miss the whale even at close quarters, hurling themselves astride the creature and driving the harpoon deep into the yielding blubber as the animal dived in a frenzy of terror. Then from the reddened foam that crested the tumbling waves the brown men would emerge, clamber aboard the boat and sit dripping, but happy, while the line ran out like lightning as the stricken whale raced to its death.

So there were bold fellows on either side, each compelling the other's respect and admiration by acts of high courage. In this way confidence grew and friendship followed; so that some of the whites took to themselves Maori women, and dwelt with the tribes to which their wives belonged.

Coarse though this particular variety often was, there is no doubt that these adventurous Pakeha-Maori (or Strangers turned into Maori) sowed the earliest seeds of civilisation among the Maori, though it was long before the plant became acclimatised and brought forth good fruit.

[Pg 97]

It is often the fate of a new country to receive at first the very worst elements, and this was the experience of New Zealand. As soon as it became known that a man might enter her gates without thereby qualifying for the cooking-pot, an eager crowd of depraved humanity rushed jostling through. The sealers and whalers were rough, but not a few were honest fellows, while, as a class, they were refined gentlemen beside the mob of escaped murderers, thieves, and panderers to moral filth, which overflowed from the convict-swamped shores of New South Wales. Had not the Maori, despite their grave faults, been capable of much better things, they could never have shaken free from the garments of impurity in which some of the earliest settlers endeavoured to clothe them. But there was good stuff in the Maori, and, though they fell often, they continually rose again. One innate virtue they possessed—that of sobriety. It was rarely that the Pakeha could induce them to indulge in the "fire-water"—"stink-water" was their name for it—which has been the ruin of more than one coloured race.

But many years were yet to elapse before the Maori threw off the worst of their own bad manners, much less improved upon those of their white instructors, and scenes of violence and bloodshed were to be enacted before the sons of Maui should dwell together in peace among themselves, or bend their stubborn necks beneath the yoke of the Pakeha. From time to time there were terrible outbreaks, and one of the worst of these was that which is evilly remembered as "The Massacre of the Boyd."

[Pg 98]

As early as 1805 an English gentleman had induced an adventurous Maori to accompany him to London, and not a few chiefs had since then paid visits to Sydney, while others of lower rank had embarked under the masters of vessels which touched at the Islands. These last were, of course, subject to the same discipline as the sailors; but, free and independent as they had always been, this seems to have been a hard lesson for them to learn. Hence arose misunderstandings, and from one such was developed the tragedy of the Boyd.

On her voyage from Sydney to London in 1809 the ship was to call at Whangaroa, near the Bay of Islands, to load wood for masts and spars. Consequently, several Maori who were stranded in Sydney embraced the opportunity to work their passage back to their own country.

Among these was Tarra, a chief's son, and he, too proud or, as he averred, too ill to work, refused to do his duty. Starvation was tried as a means of cure; but this failing, young Tarra was twice tied up and soundly flogged.

Boadicea, bleeding from the rods of the Romans, had not more indignation than had Tarra when he showed his scars and called upon his tribe to avenge him upon those who had inflicted them.

Ready enough was the response, for the law of the Maori required them to take revenge for every injury. The lure was spread, the master of the Boyd went ashore at Whangaroa with part of his crew, and every man of them was slain and eaten.

Even then Tarra's vengeance was not glutted.[Pg 99] With his tribe at his back he boarded the Boyd and killed every person on the ship with the exception of four. A woman and two children hid themselves, and Tarra spared the cabin-boy because of some kindness the youngster had once done him.

Singular contrast! The savage, who could go to the most appalling extremes to satisfy his hate, was, even at the very height of his murderous wrath, capable of gratitude.

This awful massacre set back for years the clock which had seemed about to strike the hour for beginning Maori civilisation, while the resentment of the whites led to a slaughter as wholesale as that which it was intended to revenge.

On hearing of the massacre of the Boyd a chief named Te Pahi, whose daughter was wedded to an English sailor, hurried to Whangaroa, and was instrumental in saving the lives of the woman and two children. His good deed done, Te Pahi returned to the Bay of Islands, where he lived.

Terrible danger menaced him. In some unexplained way he had got the credit of having engineered the Boyd affair, and the crews of five whaling ships, accepting the rumour for truth, condemned the unfortunate chief unheard, and took bitter vengeance upon him.

Their task was easy, for the village was unfortified and the Maori wholly unsuspicious. Fully armed, the whalers fell upon the innocent people, sorely wounded the chief, and slew some two-score persons without regard to age or sex. Te Pahi himself escaped in the confusion, only to be killed[Pg 100] not long afterwards by some of his own race because of the help he had given to the survivors of the Boyd. Doubly unfortunate was poor Te Pahi.

Thus bad began and worse remained behind. During the next decade numbers of tribesmen fell beneath the weapons of casual white visitors, while the Maori, on their side, smote with club and spear, and gathered as deadly a toll.

The country seemed drifting back into that state of savagery whence it had promised a short time before to emerge. It might have done so, but that at this juncture occurred an event which laid the true foundations of civilisation, and heralded that peace which, though long in coming, came at last.

[Pg 101]



In spite of the tragedy of the Boyd, in spite of the war of individuals which vexed the coast—though murder was added to murder, revenge piled upon revenge,—more Pakeha filtered into New Zealand, content to brave death for the chance of obtaining a home and wealth.

On their part, more Maori deserted their hapu for the great world outside their little islands and, needless to say, were gazed at with shuddering curiosity. Such as these, taught by experience that there existed a race superior to their own, convinced their countrymen of the advantages to be gained by permanent friendship with the British Pakeha.

So these played their part in watering the tree of civilisation, whose roots now began to take firm hold of the soil; while the white men, ever improving in type and conduct, helped along the great work.

As yet there was no attempt at systematic colonisation. Scattered over the Islands and wholly[Pg 102] dependent upon the good will of their hosts, the Pakeha kept as friendly with the natives as circumstances would allow, while they saw to it that musket or rifle stood ever handy to their grip.

The taste which the Maori had acquired for wandering outside their own country at length brought about a remarkable conjunction, destined to bear most importantly upon the future of New Zealand. It was nothing else than the formation of a friendship between a Christian Englishman of singular nobility of character and a Maori of sanguinary disposition, a warrior notable among a race of warriors and, withal, a cannibal of cannibals.

In the first decade of the years when George the Third was king there was born in Yorkshire a boy who was brought up as a blacksmith. For some time he followed his trade; but, having a strong inclination towards a missionary life, he was ordained a clergyman of the Church of England, and in due course found himself senior chaplain of the colony of New South Wales.

This man, whose name must be ever honoured in the history of New Zealand, was Samuel Marsden, who was the first to desire to bring, and who did actually bring the tidings of the Gospel to the land of the Maori.

There were missionaries at work in Tahiti, in the Marquesas and in Tonga; but New Zealand, the land of the ferocious warrior and savage cannibal, had been esteemed an impossible country, or, at all events, as not yet prepared for the sowing. So it was left to itself.

[Pg 103]

Then came a day when Samuel Marsden, walking through the narrow streets of Sydney, stopped to gaze at a novel sight. Not far from him stalked proudly three splendid-looking men, types of a race with which he was unfamiliar.

They were not Australian aboriginals. That was instantly evident. Their faces were strangely scarred, their heads, held high, were plumed with rare feathers, and the outer garment they wore, of some soft, buff material, suggested the Roman toga. There was, indeed, something Roman about their appearance, with their fine features, strong noses, and sternly compressed lips.

Mr. Marsden was from the first strongly attracted to these men and, being informed that they were New Zealand chiefs, come on a visit to Sydney, the good man grew sad. That such noble-looking men should be heathen and cannibals inexpressibly shocked him, and he determined then and there that what one of God's servants might do for the salvation of that proud, intellectual race, that, by the grace of God, he would do.

A man so deeply religious as Samuel Marsden was not likely to waste time over a matter in his judgment so supremely important. The chiefs readily admitted the anarchy induced by the constant friction between brown men and white, though it was not to be expected that they should realise at once their own spiritual darkness. Mr. Marsden was not discouraged, and set in train a scheme whereby a number of missionaries were to be sent out immediately by the Church Missionary[Pg 104] Society, to attempt the conversion of the Maori to Christianity.

Twenty-five of these reached Sydney, where men's ears were tingling with the awful details of the massacre of the Boyd, and judged the risk too great. So they stayed where they were, and the conversion of New Zealand was delayed for a season.

The residence of meek and peaceable men among such intractable savages was deemed to be outside the bounds of possibility; but Marsden firmly believed that the way would be opened in God's good time, and waited and watched and prayed, possessing his soul in patience. The opportunity which he so confidently expected arrived in 1814.

Some ten years after the birth of Samuel Marsden another boy was born on the other side of the world. Hongi[56] Ika was his name, a chief and a chief's son of the great tribe of the Nga-Puhi in the north. Marsden had swung his hammer over the glowing iron and beaten out horse-shoes and ploughshares. Hongi, too, swung his hammer; but it was the Hammer of Thor. And every time that Hongi's hammer fell, it beat out brains and broke men's bones, until none could be found to stand against him. Yet Hongi had a hard knock or two now and then and, being as yet untravelled, gladly assented when his friend Ruatara—who had seen King George of England—suggested a visit to Sydney.

Hongi found plenty to interest him, and also took a philosopher's delight in arguing the great questions of religion with Mr. Marsden, in whose[Pg 105] house he and Ruatara abode. Marsden knew the man for what he was, a warrior and a cannibal; but so tactful and persuasive was he that, before his visit ended, Hongi agreed to allow the establishment of a missionary settlement at the Bay of Islands, and promised it his protection.

So the first great step was taken, and Marsden planted his vineyard. He was a wise man and, knowing by report the shortcomings of the land he desired to Christianise, took with him a good supply of animal food, and provision for future needs as well, in the shape of sheep and oxen. With a view to the requirements of his lieutenants, he also introduced a horse or two.

What impression the sight of a man on horseback made upon the Maori may be gathered from the experience of Mr. Edward Wakefield twenty-seven years later at Whanganui. In this district, which is on the opposite side of the Island to that on which Mr. Marsden landed, and considerably farther south, the natives had never seen a horse. Result—"They fled," writes Mr. Wakefield, "in all directions, and, as I galloped past those who were running, they fairly lay down on their faces and gave themselves up for lost. I dismounted, and they plucked up courage to come and take a look at the kuri nui, or 'large dog.' 'Can he talk?' said one. 'Does he like boiled potatoes?' said another. And a third, 'Mustn't he have a blanket to lie down on at night?' This unbounded respect and adoration lasted all the time that I remained. A dozen hands were always offering him Indian corn (maize) and grass, and sow[Pg 106]thistles, when they had learned what he really did eat; and a wooden bowl of water was kept constantly replenished close to him; and little knots of curious observers sat round the circle of his tether rope, remarking and conjecturing and disputing about the meaning and intention of every whisk of his tail or shake of his ears."

It was for long all endeavour and little result. But other missionaries arrived, new stations were erected in various parts of the north, and the Wesleyans, seven years later, imitated the example of the Church Missionary Society and sent their contingent to the front.

To the fighting line these went indeed; for they settled at Whangaroa, where the sunken hull of the Boyd recalled the horror of twelve years before. Tarra himself was still there, the memory of his stripes as green as though he had but yesterday endured the poignant suffering. He rendered vain for five long years the efforts of the missionaries, and from his very deathbed cursed them, urging his tribe to drive them out; so that they fled, thankful to escape with their lives—for they saved nought else.

The missionaries of the Church Missionary Society nine years later endured a similar hard experience, and were forced to flee from their stations at Tauranga and Rotorua. A bishop and a company of priests, sent by Pope Gregory XVI., arrived at Hokianga in the year 1838, and these, too, presently learned what it was to suffer for their faith.

But in spite of hardships—whether stripped of their possessions, whether driven from their homes,[Pg 107] whether death met them at every turn, the missionaries, no matter what their creed, persevered. They looked not back to the evil days which lay behind; but faint, yet pursuing, pushed onward, until the North Island was sprinkled with the white houses of their missions, over which floated the flag of the Prince of Peace, emblazoned with His message, "Rongo Pai!"

Then came the crossing of Cook Strait, and the spiritual conquest of the Middle Island. New missionaries constantly arrived, fresh recruits ever enrolled under the banner of the Cross; until, a bare two-and-twenty years from that Christmas Day when Samuel Marsden preached his first sermon in a land where Christianity was not even a name, four thousand Maori converts knelt in the House of God.

This was not accomplished without strenuous effort. The difficulties and dangers which confronted the earliest mihonari would have driven back all but the most earnest and faithful men. The record of their sufferings and struggles would of itself fill a volume. Indeed, only the least suggestion has been made here of what they bore for Christ's sake. But their works do follow them, gone to their rest as all of them are; and what prouder epitaph can be theirs than this: They came; they saw; and they conquered at last!


[55] Good Tidings!

[56] By his own tribe pronounced "Shongi."


[Pg 108]


It was necessary to steal a march on time in order to give a connected, though imperfect account of the foundation of Christianity in New Zealand. Return we to Hongi Ika and his doings.

If Mr. Marsden hoped to turn the philosopher-warrior-cannibal from the error of his ways, the good man must have been grievously disappointed. Hongi remained a pagan; but he never broke his promise to the missionary. He was a terrible fellow, but he was not a liar. His word was sacred, and he regretted on his deathbed that the men of Whangaroa had been too strong for him when they drove the Wesleyan missionaries from their station.

Leaving Mr. Marsden and his colleagues at Rangihoua, Hongi returned to his trade of war, and for five years or so enjoyed himself in his own way. Then, tiring again of strife, his thoughts turned once more upon foreign travel.

This time his ambition soared high, and with a fellow chief he sailed for London under the wing of a missionary. He was exceedingly well received, for the horror and fright with which the New Zealanders[Pg 109] had been regarded was greatly diminished in 1820, and Britons were again looking longingly towards a country so rich in commercial possibilities.

So Hongi found himself a "lion," and with the adaptability of his race so comported himself, that it occurred to few to identify the bright-eyed little fellow with the ample forehead and keen brain with the lusty warrior and ferocious cannibal of whom startling tales had been told.

Even His Majesty, George the Fourth, did not disdain to receive the "Napoleon of New Zealand," and being, perhaps, in a prophetic mood, presented the great little man with a suit of armour.

Hongi would have preferred a present of the offensive kind in the shape of guns and ammunition; for the Nga-Puhi had early gauged the value of such weapons in settling tribal disputes, and had managed to acquire a few, though not nearly enough to meet the views of Hongi Ika.

The king had set the fashion, and his subjects followed suit so lavishly, that, if Hongi had chosen to lay aside his dignity and open a curio shop, he could have done so. The little man was overjoyed. He was rich now, and he gloated over his presents as a means to an end. What a war he could wage, if he could only find a pretext. Pretexts did not, as a rule, trouble Hongi; but the eyes of the great were upon him, and it would be just as well to consider appearances. As he recrossed the ocean his active brain was at work planning, planning. Ah, if he could but find a pretext!

Hongi had been absent for two years, and with[Pg 110] right good will the tribes of the north-east wished that he might never return. However, with the dominant personality of the little man lacking to the all-conquering Nga-Puhi, there was no knowing what might happen; so the tribes around about the Thames river, whose frith is that thing of beauty, the Hauraki Gulf, took heart of grace, marched to the fight, and slew, among other folk, no less a person than Hongi's son-in-law.

Here was indeed a pretext. Hongi clung to it as a dog to his bone. In Sydney he had melted down, so to speak, his great pile of presents into three hundred stand of arms, which included a goodly share of the coveted tupara, or double-barrelled guns. Ammunition was added, and thus, with a very arsenal at his command, Hongi Ika came again to his native land.

He came armed cap-à-pie; for he wore the armour which the king had given him—and the good mihonari stood aghast at sight of him. "Even now the tribes are fighting," they groaned. "When is this bitter strife to cease?"

Pretext, indeed! To avenge his son-in-law was all very well. Utu should be exacted to the full. But here was a pretext beyond all others, and the wily Hongi instantly seized upon it.

"Fighting! Are they?" He grinned as only a Maori can grin. "I will stop these dogs in their worrying. They shall have their fill of fighting." He grinned again. "That will be the surest way, my mihonari friends. I will keep them fighting until they have no more stomach for it, and so shall there[Pg 111] be an end." He muttered under his breath, "because their tribes shall be even as the moa."[57] As the moa was extinct, the significance of the addition should be sufficiently clear.

Hongi kept his word—he always did that—and sailed for the front in the proudest of his fleet of war-canoes, with a thousand warriors behind him, armed with mere and patu and spear, while in his van went a garde de corps of three hundred picked men, fondling—so pleased were they—the three hundred muskets and tupara for which their chief's presents had been exchanged.

Southward, through the Hauraki Gulf, he sails into the estuary of the Thames, into the Thames itself. One halt and the Totara pa is demolished, and with five hundred of its defenders dead in his rear Hongi sweeps on, southward still, to Matakitaki. Four to one against him! What care Hongi Ika and his three hundred musketeers? It is the same story—fierce attack and sudden victory, ruthless slaughter of twice a thousand foes, and Hongi, grinning in triumph, ever keeps his face to the south and drives his enemies before him as far as the Lake of Rotorua.

At Kawhia, on the west, there lived, when Hongi scourged the land, the hereditary chief, Te Rauparaha, a notable fighter, but a better diplomate. On Te Rauparaha men's eyes were now turned. He will know how to deal with the proud Nga-Puhi. Hongi's triumphal progress is nearing its end.

No. Hongi, at Mauinaina, is too close. Besides,[Pg 112] he is a demon. He carries a charm which renders him invulnerable. That shining headpiece, that sparkling plate upon his chest—what are they, if not charms to keep him whole and sound? At Totara did not some strong arm deal him a buffet which would have scattered the brains of any mere man? Yet he did but stagger, while all around heard the sullen clang which was the howl of the evil spirit protecting his head. At Matakitaki was not a spear driven against his breast which should have split his heart and let out his villainous blood? Yet the point was blunted against the chest charm, and the spearman, poor wretch, slain. These things being so, who can stand against Hongi?

Not Te Rauparaha. The bold raider's nerves give way, and with black rage and hatred in his heart he gathers his followers together and flees southward to Otaki, giving as he goes the measure he has received, and leaving a trail of blood and fire behind him.

Hongi "has made a solitude and calls it—peace"; he is satisfied for the time being with what he has done and won, and must go home with his slaves and his heads and his loot, to enter his village in triumph like a general of old Rome.

Te Rauparaha, fleeing south, takes vengeance for the wrongs done him by Hongi upon all who come in his way. To be sure, it is not their affair; but Te Rauparaha cares nothing for that. Vengeance he wants; so hews a bloody path from north to south, till stayed by the rippling streak at the end of the land. Beyond that lies Te Wai Pounamou, The[Pg 113] Waters of Greenstone, the Middle Island, washed by the Tasman Sea.

Te Rauparaha's smouldering rage blazes up again. What! Shall that strip of water stop him? Not while he has an arm to strike, and there is a canoe to be had for the striking.

So again the fearful drama—murder and rapine. The canoes are seized, the owners left stark upon the beach. Then across the strait, where a wondering crowd await his coming, not without apprehension. They have reason.

"Who is it that comes?" "It is Te Rauparaha!" In a moment the chief is among them. Blood flows again. Te Rauparaha is once more the victor. Will it never end?

Not yet. Hongi Ika comes not here to stop fighting by fighting, and Te Rauparaha has learned the lesson of the tupara, for he now has guns. Once more tearing a leaf from Hongi's book, he springs at the cowering population upon the great plain. Some he slaughters, some he enslaves; some, frantic with terror, braving the heaving Pacific, speed eastwards to Wari Kauri (Chatham Islands) six hundred miles away.

Again we have been obliged to fly ahead of time in order to give full impression—not a complete picture—of these sinister happenings; for the wars of Hongi in the north, and Te Rauparaha's sanguinary progress to the south were not over and done with in a month or a year. It was in 1821 that Hongi started upon his self-imposed mission to cure like with like, and for the next twenty years—long after[Pg 114] the death of Hongi—quarrel was piled upon quarrel, war led to war, till the whole of the north was involved.

We left Hongi marching home in triumph, unconcerned that his hammering of the north had turned loose in the south a devil in the shape of Te Rauparaha. He had sustained no serious losses, and for some time continued pre-eminent. But his many and powerful foes had by now appreciated the reason of his success, and provided themselves with firearms. From that time Hongi, though victorious, paid more dearly for his victories.

Hongi, when in battle, as a rule shone resplendent in the armour which George the Fourth had given him, and which was supposed to render him invulnerable. The belief received justification from the issue of Hongi's last fight at Hokianga in 1827.

For some reason the great chief wore only his helmet upon that fatal day.

Ill fared it then with Roderick Dhu,
When on the field his targe he threw.

Ill fared it with Hongi when he rushed into the fight without his shining breastplate; for hardly was the battle joined when a bullet passed through his body, and the day of the great Hongi, the Lion of the North, was done.


Hongi's last "word" to his people

Fifteen months later, as he lay upon his death mats at Whangaroa, feasting his glazing eyes upon the array of clubs, battleaxes, muskets, and tupara set around the bed, he called to him his relatives, his dearest friends, and his fighting-chiefs, and spoke to them this word:—

[Pg 115]

"Children, and you who have carried my arms to victory, this is my word to you. I promised long ago to be kind to the mihonari, and I have kept my promise. It is not my fault if they have not been well treated by others. Do as I have done. Let them dwell in peace; for they do no harm, and some good.

"Hear ye this word also. The ends of the world draw together, and men of a strong race come ever over the sea to this our land. Let these likewise dwell in peace. Trade with them. Give them your daughters in marriage. Good shall come of it.

"But, if there come over the sea men in red coats, who neither sow nor reap, but ever carry arms in their hands, beware of them. Their trade is war and they are paid to kill. Make you war upon them and drive them out. Otherwise evil will come of it.

"Children, and you, my old comrades, be brave and strong in your country's cause. Let not the land of your ancestors pass into the hands of the Pakeha. Behold! I have spoken."

With that the mighty chief Hongi drew the corner of his mat across his face and passed through the gates to the waters of Reinga.

So died Hongi Ika, aged fifty-five, or thereabouts, who had made his influence felt from his youth until his death, and whose words and acts deeply swayed the fortunes of his country. Paradoxical as it may sound, these combined with the spread of Christianity to render colonisation possible, while they helped to foment the discontent with which Hongi's successors[Pg 116] viewed the coming of armed forces, and the gradual absorption of their land by the Pakeha.

In the first place, Hongi protected the missionaries. In the second place, during his wars and the wars they induced, more than twenty thousand Maori fell in the score of years occupied in civil strife. Concerned with their own wars, and with numbers thinned, the Maori left the white settlers time and opportunity to increase, whereby they grew daily better able to resist the power of the brown men when this was at last sternly directed against them. In the third place, Hongi's dying advice was without the shadow of a doubt the part cause of Honi Heke's outbreak at Kororareka fifteen years later, and of the strife which immediately followed it.

After the death of Hongi the leading spirits among the warriors in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Islands were the chiefs Pomare and Kawiti—the latter a thorn in the colonials' flesh for many a long year; while the Waikato tribe boasted a leader of no ordinary parts in Te Wherowhero, whose descendant, the Honourable Mahuta Tawhiao Potatau te Wherowhero, sits to-day in the Legislative Council of the Dominion of New Zealand.

Te Wherowhero had himself captained the Waikato on that day when Hongi decimated them and cooked two thousand of their slain to celebrate his victory, and a memory so red would not, one would have said, be likely soon to pale. Yet Te Wherowhero led his men not against his old enemies, but against the men of Taranaki.

Both Waikato and Taranaki owed Nga-Puhi a[Pg 117] grudge, and reasonable men would have combined against a common foe. But the Maori were ever unreasonable where war was concerned, holding tribal grudges more important than unification of the nation; so, instead of combining against Nga-Puhi, Waikato and Taranaki warred the one against the other.

This disunion among the tribes materially assisted the colonists in their own long struggle for supremacy; for the "friendly" Maori often helped their cause not so much from love of them, as from hate of some tribe in opposition to British rule.

Even a particular tribe sometimes divided against itself. A civil strife of this nature broke out in 1827 among the Bay of Islands folk. It was a small affair, and is mentioned only to illustrate the chivalry with which the Maori could behave on occasion.

A European settlement had been established at a charming spot, known as Kororareka. There were decent people there, and a missionary station stood hard by; but for the most part drunkenness and profligacy prevailed, while Pomare, whose village lay close at hand, pandered to the vices of the whites in return for the coveted tupara.

Bad as many of the settlers were, they were white men; so when news of the war reached Sydney, Captain Hobson's ship was ordered to Kororareka to afford the residents what protection they might require.

But when H.M.S. Rattlesnake entered the Bay, her decks cleared for action, guns frowning through their ports, bare-armed, bare-footed tars at quarters,[Pg 118] lo! all was peace. Captain Hobson at once went ashore to make inquiries, and was amazed at the information he received.

Not one white settler had been inconvenienced, much less injured. The contending parties, fearing lest one side or the other might be forced back upon the settlement, and so bring disaster upon its inhabitants, had by mutual agreement transferred the theatre of war to a spot too remote to allow of such a contingency.

After this, who shall say that the Maori were deficient in generosity, destitute of chivalry?

Note.—Mr. Augustus Earle, Draughtsman to H.M. Surveying Ship Beagle, in 1827, relates that the pagan Maori in the Bay of Islands used to rise at daybreak on Sunday to finish their canoe-building and other work before the whites were astir, thus showing their respect for the reverence in which the Pakeha held the Day. Mr. Earle adds: "It was more respect than we Europeans pay to any religious ceremony we do not understand. Even their tabooed grounds would not be so respected by us, if we were not quite certain they possessed the power instantly to revenge any affront offered to their sacred places."


[57] Maori proverb.


[Pg 119]


These wars and rumours of wars had small effect in stopping immigration. Most of the settlers were British; for, though no systematic colonisation had as yet been attempted, the right of Great Britain's sovereignty over New Zealand had been recognised at the Peace of 1814.

New South Wales being the nearest approach to a centre of civilisation, the Government in Sydney watched the interests of the settlers on the eastern edge of the Tasman Sea; but, because of the distance between the two countries, the New Zealand settlers had really to protect themselves from annoyance as best they could. The Maori, predominant in power, found little difficulty in safeguarding their own interests.

Apart from the efforts of the missionaries, what did most to keep the peace was the desire of commercial adventurers to tap the resources of the country. On their side, the Maori were anxious to bargain with the Pakeha for guns, and very soon learned that any serious breach with the white men was followed by interruption of profitable intercourse.

[Pg 120]

The Pakeha at first took shameful advantage of the natives, purchasing a shipload of flax for a few old muskets, while a fig of tobacco was esteemed by the latter worth almost as much as a gun. But the Maori were never fools, whatever else their failings, and they quickly grew instructed in the commercial value of the articles they had for disposal, for which they were prompt to demand a more adequate return.

The one point in which they seemed hopelessly to fail was in estimating the value of land. This was because they and the white men approached the subject from absolutely different standpoints, and what the Pakeha concluded they had bought, the Maori imagined they had leased. For the most sacred article in the creed of the Maori was, perhaps, that precluding them from parting in perpetuity with the land which had descended to them from their ancestors.

An abominable traffic in which the baser sort of white men engaged was that in human heads. The marvellous preservation of the heads of dead Maori had excited great interest among scientists, and European museums clamoured for specimens. But the loss of the head of one of its male members brought a peculiar grief and shame to a Maori family, for it meant also the loss of mana, or reputation. Consequently, the demand for heads greatly exceeded the supply.

But if there were base men among the Pakeha, so were there among the Maori, and such fellows made nothing of filching the heads of other persons'[Pg 121] ancestors or defunct relatives, and selling them to the sailors frequenting the coast.

This was bad enough; but, since theft could not accomplish enough, murder stalked upon its heels, and many a wretched slave was slain in order that his head might grin from the shelf of a museum, or "grace" the library of some curio-hunter.

Efforts were made to stop the disgusting traffic with its lurid accompaniments; but the offenders were not easily reached and, had New Zealand remained uncolonised, the Maori race might by this time have become extirpated by a gradual process of decapitation. Fortunately, as the white population grew more respectable and responsible, their own sense of what was due to themselves choked off the practice.

Such a shocking story reached the ears of Governor Darling in Sydney, that he issued a proclamation, threatening those engaged in the trade with heavy fines and exposure in the public prints.

Theft and murder accounted for a certain number of heads; but the conquerors in battle presently began to offer them in exchange for—as always—guns and ammunition. In the year 1830 a tribe living on the shores of the Bay of Plenty defeated certain Nga-Puhi, and sold such heads as were in proper condition to the master of the next vessel which touched at Tauranga. The brig proceeded to the Bay of Islands—whence had come the original owners of the heads—and was boarded by some of the natives there. The skipper, who seems to have been drunk, appeared on deck, carrying a large sack, and the Maori shrank back, growling and muttering,[Pg 122] as the besotted Pakeha tumbled out of the bag a dozen human heads. Worse was to come. Some of the Maori present were related to those who had gone out to fight and had never returned, and a cry of bitter lamentation arose as these recognised the faces of their dead—one a father, another a brother, a third a son. Others, too, knew their friends, and amid a scene of the utmost horror, the outraged Maori, wailing, weeping, howling, rushed over the side of the ship and paddled swiftly towards their bewildered comrades who lined the shore, marvelling at the commotion. Drunk or sober, the brutal shipmaster knew that he had gone too far, for he slipped his cable and fled for his life.

When His Excellency heard this atrocious story, he insisted that all who had bought heads from this savage trader should give them up to him, in order that they might be returned to the tribes at the Bay of Islands. How far he succeeded in his endeavour to soothe the grief-stricken and offended Maori is uncertain.

About the time of Hongi's visit to Europe a rage for land speculation arose, and people of all sorts and conditions hastened to offer axes, guns, and such merchandise as the Maori valued in exchange for broad acres. How far this traffic went is shown by the official statement that one million acres of land were "purchased" between 1825 and 1830 from the natives by Sydney speculators. Further, twenty-seven thousand square miles in the most fertile part of the north were acquired between 1830 and 1835 by missionaries.


A dreadful recognition

[Pg 123]

News of these transactions excited in England a more active interest in New Zealand, and in 1825 a Company was formed in London with the object of colonising the latter country. Sixty people did actually emigrate, and on arrival settled around the Hauraki Gulf; but no more followed; the settlement melted away, and with it the aspirations of the Company.

"He who aims at the sun will shoot higher than he who aims at a bush, though he hit never his mark," quaintly says Bacon, and Baron Charles Hyppolyte de Thierry perhaps had this apophthegm in mind when he proclaimed himself "Sovereign Chief of New Zealand and King of Nukahiva"—one of the Marquesas Islands.

Baron de Thierry—a naturalised Englishman—met the Rev. Mr. Kendall and Hongi when the pair were in England, and entrusted the former with merchandise to the value of one thousand pounds, wherewith to purchase for him one of the most valuable areas in New Zealand—the Hokianga district, in which flourishes the invaluable kauri-pine. The would-be sovereign was greatly disappointed to learn that his agent had acquired only forty thousand acres of this superb country, while he was at the same time cheered to know that the immense tract had been "purchased" at the not excessive price of thirty-six axes!

Is it any wonder that the Maori could not later realise that they had parted for ever with their lands for such ridiculous—to use no harsher word—equivalents? The land was in their own opinion[Pg 124] leased, not sold, and the leasing of land was a common enough practice among themselves, each party to the transaction thoroughly understanding its nature.

Baron de Thierry neglected his purchase until 1835, when he drifted as far as Tahiti. Thence he forwarded to Mr. Busby, the Resident, a copy of his "proclamation," along with the intimation that his "ship of war" would presently convey him to his kingdom. The Bay of Islands dovecote was considerably fluttered.

But Monsieur the "Sovereign Chief" did not arrive for three years, and then he suddenly appeared in Hokianga with nearly a hundred followers. Settlers and Maori beheld with apprehension this select company; but when the invader claimed royal honours and nominated the master of the vessel in which he had arrived his "Lord High Admiral," everybody laughed—except the "Sovereign Chief and King."

The baron soon had reason to weep; for of a sudden came information that Mr. Kendall's thirty-six axes, paid for the forty thousand acres, had been merely a deposit. One is relieved to learn this, but it must have been very depressing news for the would-be proprietor. For the Royal Exchequer was very low, and as the great officers of state could get no pay for the arduous duties they performed, they promptly resigned. So, too, did the "Sovereign Chief," and vanished, to reappear later, without the "purple," in the guise of an ordinary and very excellent citizen.

The settlement at Kororareka has already been[Pg 125] referred to as a place in which the orgies of white and brown justified the epithet "scandalous." It was not the only spot in this Eden over which lay the trail of the serpent; so, for the sake of morality, as well as for political reasons, the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Richard Bourke, appealed to the British Government to appoint a Resident at the Bay of Islands.

Many years had elapsed between the murder of Captain Marion du Fresne and the visit of the next French ship. At rare intervals a vessel dropped anchor in one of the bays; but there was little sustained intercourse. Even as late as 1834, so bitter were their memories of the "Wi-Wi" (Oui-Oui) that the Nga-Puhi chiefs took alarm at the persistent rumour of a French occupation of New Zealand, and induced the missionaries to draw up a petition to the "Gracious Chief of England," William the Fourth, to protect them from "the tribe of Marion."

The Maori had also begun to recognise that the British Pakeha were not over clean-handed in their dealings with them; for, in addition to the above, they prayed the "Gracious Chief" to prevent his own people from depriving them of their lands.

The result of this unrest was the appointment of Mr. Busby as British Resident. He arrived at the Bay of Islands in 1833, and led off in great style by proposing that all New Zealand should be ruled by a Parliament of Chiefs, and that the country should adopt a national flag to signify its independence.

[Pg 126]

The idea caught the fancy of some; the flag arrived from Sydney in H.M.S. Alligator, and was inaugurated with a salute of twenty-one guns. The Parliament of Chiefs took shape a little later, when thirty-five hereditary chiefs declared their independence, and received the designation of the "United Tribes of New Zealand."

Barely a year after Mr. Busby's appointment, a "regrettable incident" occurred, which compelled him to assume the character of "Vindex," in which neither he, nor those associated with him, showed to advantage.

The affair gave rise to the employment of British troops for the first time in New Zealand, and arose out of the shipwreck of the Harriet at Cape Egmont, Taranaki. The sailormen lodged for a fortnight in a Maori village, and then a quarrel arose. A fight followed, and twelve sailors and twice as many Maori were killed.

Since the Maori loss was double that of the ship's company, the account could only be balanced by utu; so the surviving whites were held to ransom, and Guard, the shipmaster, was sent to procure the same.

Five months later, the Government of New South Wales despatched H.M.S. Alligator with a company of soldiers on board to bring away the prisoners. On her arrival off the scene of the disaster, Guard went ashore, accompanied by the military, when the Maori at once gave up the sailors. All was going well—for Guard was assured of the safety and well-being of his wife and two little ones—when an officer, perhaps deceived by gestures[Pg 127] incomprehensible to him, hurled an unfortunate chief into the boat and bayoneted him.

This wrong-headed act was not immediately followed by hostilities, though it interrupted the progress of negotiations. Matters were at last smoothed over, the wounded chief was sent ashore, and Mrs. Guard and one of her children brought down to the boat. Then, as the ransom was still unpaid, the second child was carried to the shore upon the shoulder of the chief who had cared for it.

This chief not unreasonably requested permission to carry the child aboard, and himself receive the stipulated payment; but, when curtly informed that no ransom would be paid, he turned away, still carrying the child. It is dreadful to be obliged to relate that the Maori was shot in the back at close quarters, and fell dying to the ground with the little child in his arms. As if this were not enough, his corpse was insulted.

Following upon this tragedy, a shot was fired, by whom or from whence no one could or would say. The Alligator immediately began to shell the Waimate Pa, and the troops played their part. When sufficient punishment had been inflicted, the dogs of war were called off and the ship sailed away.

Unpleasant as is the task, it is right that these dark pictures of mistakes and injustice should now and then be shown, if only to induce those whose duty brings them in contact with primitive races to remember that the rights of man belong to the coloured as well as to the white. It is not denied that the Maori treated their prisoners with[Pg 128] consideration, and it is pitiful to learn that Mrs. Guard identified the chief who was the first to be slain as one who had behaved with unvarying kindness to her and to her children. Nor is there any doubt that the British disregarded every claim of justice and humanity. Not even common honesty was exhibited; for, although the prisoners were given up, the ransom agreed upon was refused.

The one bright spot in the whole affair was the decision of a committee of the House of Commons, condemning the incident, and pointing out that, while the Maori had fulfilled their contract, the British had broken theirs. The committee might with propriety have said a good deal more in the opinion of those whose view was not that of the chief witness, Guard—shipmaster and ex-convict—that "a musket ball for every Maori was the best method of civilising the country."

These various happenings, good and bad alike, showed that the wind blew towards Britain and British sovereignty. This was bound to come; and come it did at last through the agency of Kororareka of all places in the world!

Things had been going from bad to worse in the "Cyprus of the South Sea," and its orgies, brawls and revellings had become the scandal of a community not easily scandalised. Law-breakers laughed at the law, and Kororareka at last became too bad even for the Kororarekans. The inhabitants of the better sort then drew up a set of rules and banded themselves together under the title of the "Kororarekan Association." The Association[Pg 129] approached the Resident, as in duty bound; but when Mr. Busby would have none of them they resolved to act independently of him.

The Association went trenchantly to work in quite an American spirit—tarring and feathering, riding obnoxious individuals out of the town on rails, and purging the place of its worst elements. The scared Resident portrayed it in such vivid colours that the Home Government took alarm, and came to the somewhat belated conclusion that it was time for Britain to assert the rights she had possessed by discovery since 1769, and by the recognition of Europe since the Peace of 1814.

Another factor had meanwhile arisen which still further demonstrated the necessity for expedition on the part of the British Government.

The New Zealand Association had been formed in 1836, but had received little support; for it was suspected that their motives were not so pure as they declared them to be. The missionaries hailed invective upon them, the Duke of Wellington asserted in his "iron" way that "Britain had enough colonies already," and so violent was the general opposition that the Association was dissolved.

Another Company was formed with very little delay under the title of the New Zealand Land Company, whose Directors determined to act independently of the Crown, and to establish settlements wheresoever they chose in the country which Britain seemed unable or disinclined to appreciate at its proper worth. Their ship had actually sailed before the astonished Government were informed[Pg 130] by the London Directors of the intentions of the Company.

There were some big names controlling this venture. At the head of the list stood that of the Earl of Durham, Governor of the Company and, until just before its formation, Governor-General of Canada. Colonel Wakefield, one of an indefatigable family, was the Company's agent; and the long list of Directors included the names of Petre, Baring, Boulcott, Hutt, Molesworth, and others destined to influence the future of New Zealand.

The Government were at last roused to action. They informed the Directors that it was for the Crown to make colonies, not for private individuals, and without more ado sent Captain Hobson of the Royal Navy to New Zealand as "Consul." He was instructed to consider himself subordinate to the Governor of New South Wales; and he carried with him his commission as Lieutenant-Governor.

Thus, after many vicissitudes, New Zealand found herself, in the year of grace 1839, within measurable distance of becoming a British Colony. But she had still to run the gauntlet of one more danger, which, had she not escaped it, must have changed the whole course of her history.



[Pg 133]



We are arrived at a pass when the good ship Tory is hurrying southwards, bearing to the goal of all their hopes the preliminary expedition of the New Zealand Land Company. On the track of the Tory follows in dignified pursuit Her Majesty's ship Druid, proud of her distinguished burden, the first Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony that is soon to be. The air is filled with rumours of the impending formation of a colony by France; and, indeed, a French ship presently flies in the wake of the Tory and the Druid, bound, they say, for Akaroa in the Middle Island, where many thousands of goodly acres are already in one Frenchman's hands. New Zealand herself, precious object of the desire of so many, sits upon her sea-girt throne and lifts anxious eyes to the scales of Fate, watching the quivering balance. One arm must soon descend, weighted with her destiny. Which?

Fortunately for New Zealand, Britain had a fair start of France in the race for possession. Unfortunately for many colonists, then and to be, the New Zealand Company ran well ahead of the British[Pg 134] Government in the race for the acquisition of land. Most fortunately for all concerned, Her Majesty's representatives were men not afraid to undo the tangle caused by the early dealings in land. They were men determined to adjust upon an equitable basis all land transactions between the white population and the brown. They were men who insisted that the Maori, ignorant at first of the value of that with which they parted so lightly, should not be driven from their ancestral possessions for the price of a few old muskets, a handful of red sealing-wax, or even an orchestra of Jew's-harps and tin bugles.

It would be improper to refer otherwise than delicately to a past so recent. Something must be said, but not without consideration for the feelings of others. Moreover, the subject of the proceedings of the New Zealand Land Company is so difficult and involved, that, save in the briefest manner, it does not fall to be dealt with in a history of this nature.

While the Tory was ploughing through girdling oceans north and south, the Directors of the New Zealand Company were doing all they could to attract a good class of emigrants. They described in glowing terms the situation, scenery, and climate of the country, eulogised their system of colonisation, and offered, by lottery, land at popular prices, which included the passage out of the emigrant and his household.

Fifty thousand acres in the North Island were at first offered by the Company for purchase, and over eleven hundred emigrants—purchasers, labourers, and[Pg 135] their families—sailed within six months for New Zealand, full of hope in the future.

The startling feature of the story is that the Company had no title to land in New Zealand, nor any right to sell it. The significant lines did not occur to them, "The man that once did sell the lion's skin while the beast lived, was killed with hunting him."

After a voyage of four months, the Tory dropped anchor in Port Nicholson on the 20th of September, 1839. The shores of Cook Strait had been for many a year the scene of fighting among the Maori and, as first one and then another tribe came uppermost in the struggle, the question of the actual ownership of the land became decidedly matter for argument. It will be remembered that, by Maori law, conquest of land constituted ownership. True; but if the conquerors of to-day were likely to be turned out to-morrow by the recently vanquished, or by another set of combatants, it does not need much demonstration to show that intending purchasers would require to be very careful as to the soundness of their own right and title, or entirely careless of any law but that of possession.

The Company's agent stayed not to inquire as to Maori disputes regarding land. He ascertained through an interpreter the names of this cape, that river, those islands, and yonder mountain, and asked the chiefs Epuni and Wharepori of the Ngati-Awa, who had come aboard, whether they would sell the entire landscape.

"Yes," answered the chiefs, who had little better[Pg 136] title to the land than had the Company who had sold it before buying it. And so, for a collection of articles which included blankets, guns of various sorts, axes, spades, and fish-hooks—not to speak of Jew's-harps, soap, trousers, pencils, sealing-wax and cartridge-paper, the Company acquired (justly, perhaps, in their opinion) a territory about the size of Ireland, embracing both the east and west coasts of New Zealand.

This astonishing bargain, begun on the deck of the Tory, took some months to complete, and by that time the agent had taken formal possession of the fine bay known as Port Nicholson—Poneki in the Maori tongue—and planned out the settlement of Britannia at the entrance to the charming valley of the Eritonga, better known now—if not so musically named—as the Hutt river.

Fast in the wake of the Tory followed the Aurora with the first instalment of immigrants, whose feelings may be imagined, when they realised that nobody could give or sell to them the right and title to the lands they desired to call their own. They learned this much in March 1840 from the Maori themselves, when, owing to its faulty position, the settlement on the Hutt was abandoned, and the town of Wellington founded upon the flats of Thorndon and Te Aro, which lay in a more sheltered bay of the great basin of Port Nicholson.

Other emigrants from England and elsewhere soon arrived; the first steamer puffed and churned its way into the harbour; and the astounded Maori demanded anxiously whether "all the tribes had left England[Pg 137] and come to settle among them?" They were not disinclined to welcome the settlers; but Puakawa and other chiefs strongly objected to part with their lands, which they averred had been sold by people who had no right to dispose of them.

This was sad hearing; but, if a Company choose to "buy" twenty million acres from some fifty people whose right to sell them is hotly disputed, it is to be expected that the ten thousand or so who claim ownership of those acres will have something to say on the subject.

Mercifully for the settlers, the Maori near Wellington had no objection to their lands being occupied, but merely wished to make it clear that they had not been sold outright. So the settlers became aware before long that the Company's purchases were not good, and that, if they, the immigrants, bought land of the Company, their own title to it would be equally not good, and would in the natural course of events become liable to investigation.

But why this concern about right and title? On the one hand are white men desirous of acquiring land, and, on the other, coloured men who have felt the touch of civilisation without having been greatly influenced thereby, and who, while undeniably owning the land, use but little of it. Why bother about their rights? Why not oppose to the protests of the brown man the impudence of the white man, whose argument has too often been, "What I desire I take, and what I have I hold"?

Because—and it is with keen pleasure that one[Pg 138] can write this truth—the story of colonisation in New Zealand is honourably distinguished from that in some other portions of the globe, by the righteous attitude of most of the early settlers towards the native population in possession, and by the fact that the rights of the original owners of the soil were clearly recognised, and forcibly insisted upon by those in power. And the same principle is at work to-day.

True, there were many who shamelessly swindled the Maori out of their land; but with a number of these the Crown eventually dealt very effectually. True, also, there were not wanting those who—as ever in a new country—advocated lead and steel as the best means of combating objections to land transfer, and, incidentally, of "civilising" the Maori. But of such there were too few thoroughly to leaven the lump, and the general attitude of the white men was one of honest desire to deal justly with the brown. Serious differences arose, but the guiding principle was there and, despite wars and contentions, there was never abroad that spirit of hatred which has marked some contests between the white and the coloured races. Pakeha and Maori as a rule fought out their quarrel fairly, with the result that they now live at peace, the white men respecting and caring for the needs of the brown, the brown men content to recognise the superiority of the white, and taking an intelligent share with them in the ruling of their ancient heritage.

The Maori have been represented for many years in the Parliament of New Zealand by men of their own race; men, too, directly descended from power[Pg 139]ful chiefs who strenuously opposed the Pakeha's rule. The newspapers announced a few months ago[58] that a full-blooded Red Indian had for the first time in the history of the United States taken his seat in Congress. Comment is needless.

Whatever their title, the Company's settlers remained where they were for the present, and for the better ordering of matters in which all were concerned, quickly formed a "Provisional Government," with the energetic and sunny-tempered Colonel Wakefield as its first president.

So, leaving the Company's settlers in Wellington to argue questions of title with their keen-witted opponents, let us follow the fortunes of Lieutenant-Governor Hobson from the time of his arrival in Sydney.

Having paid his respects to his chief, Sir George Gipps, Governor of New South Wales, Captain Hobson sailed for the Bay of Islands, where he arrived on the 29th of January, 1840. He immediately exhibited three documents, which gave the settlers plenty to think about.

The first was his commission as Lieutenant-Governor over whatever parts of New Zealand might be thereafter added to Queen Victoria's dominions; the second asserted Her Majesty's authority over all her subjects then resident in New Zealand; the third—note it well—proclaimed that the Queen would acknowledge no titles to land other than those derived from Crown grants, that to purchase land from the natives would after that date be illegal,[Pg 140] and that a Commission would investigate all land purchases already made.

While Lieutenant-Governor Hobson was familiarising the Kororarekans with this last intimation, the agent of the New Zealand Company at Wellington continued to acquire land from the Maori, irrespective of native right and title; while immigrants as eagerly besieged genial Colonel Wakefield for town lots and country lands, careless of his right and title and, apparently, of their own insecure tenure.

So, with Captain Hobson proclaiming himself Governor over territory yet to be acquired; with the Company selling, and the immigrants buying, land to which neither had a proper title, the materials for the production of a very difficult and unpleasant situation were apparent even to inexperienced eyes.

They were so apparent to Captain Hobson, that he took with creditable promptitude two decided steps. First, he convened at Waitangi—the lovely "Weeping Water" in the Bay of Islands—a meeting of powerful hereditary chiefs, to whom he proposed an agreement, historically known as the Treaty of Waitangi.

The chiefs of the United Tribes of New Zealand by this treaty ceded to Queen Victoria the sovereignty of their territories, and agreed to sell lands to no other purchaser than the Crown. Queen Victoria, in consideration of this cession of sovereignty, agreed to extend her royal protection to the Maori, and to confer upon them all the privileges of British subjects.


Signing the Treaty of Waitangi

This important treaty was not carried through off-hand. Shrewd chiefs opposed it, though the[Pg 141] greater number present argued in its favour, among them Hongi's veteran lieutenant, Tomati Waka Nene (Thomas Walker), afterwards our strong ally. No conclusion was come to until next day, when forty-six prominent chiefs signed the treaty in presence of a great following.

Forty-six being a small proportion of the number of chiefs of rank in the North Island, Governor Hobson circulated the treaty by the hands of trusted agents. The first signatures were appended early in February, 1840, and over five hundred chiefs had signed before the end of June, very few of them accepting the presents offered by the agents, lest it should be considered that they had been bribed into taking so important a step.

Thus encouraged, the Governor executed the great measure which caution had bidden him postpone, and on the 21st of May, 1840, proclaimed Queen Victoria's sovereignty over the Islands of New Zealand. To make matters sure, sovereignty over the Middle Island was separately proclaimed on the 17th of June.

Governor Hobson now took his second step. The proclamation of the sole right of the Crown to purchase land from the natives plainly gave him control of the acquisitions of the New Zealand Company; the proclamation of the Queen's sovereignty over the Islands justified him in repudiating the Provisional Government formed at Wellington. Of the latter he made short work, sending Mr. Shortland, R.N., the Colonial Secretary, and a company of soldiers to haul down the Company's flag and[Pg 142] replace it by the standard of Britain. The act was natural and inevitable; but it made the Company and their representative very bitter against Captain Hobson.

The declaration of sovereignty over the Middle Island came none too soon; for the French emigrant ship Comte de Paris, convoyed by the frigate L'Aube, arrived less than two months later at Akaroa, and fifty-seven immigrants disembarked. The British flag had been hoisted forty-eight hours earlier by Captain Stanley, R.N., and when, in face of this, the French frigate landed six field-pieces, the captain of H.M.S. Britomart thought it time to protest. He protested so effectually, that the French commander acknowledged his immigrants to be settlers in a British Colony, reshipped his twenty-four pounders, and the incident closed.

Thus New Zealand, after long delays, became a British Colony, with her status established not only before her own motherland, but in the eyes of Europe as well. It remained for her to shake off the partial allegiance she owed to New South Wales, and then, with all the confidence of youth and sturdy independence, go proudly down the path of the future to the high destiny which awaited her.


[58] Autumn, 1907.


[Pg 143]


Most people agree that the method adopted by the New Zealand Company in their anxiety to acquire land might have been improved upon, but few will deny them the credit which is theirs in the matter of actual colonisation. They were the first to colonise systematically; they were careful in the selection of their colonists, striving after the finer types of manhood; and they planted settlements with extraordinary rapidity, considering the difficulties of transit and transport.

It was the destiny of the Islands of the South to be colonised by the people of Great Britain and, since this was so, it was best that the infant colonies should be cared for by those capable of the task. Australia—in part—and Tasmania suffered from the obnoxious policy which used them as pits into which was swept the refuse of the British people. From this fate, its terrible results, and the long purification it necessitated, New Zealand happily escaped. That she did so was in no small measure due to the efforts of the Company, whose powerful Directors strenuously opposed the project in their day, just as the humane[Pg 144] impulse of the British had opposed it in cannibal days.

The Company were very active in the first year of their existence. A twelvemonth after the founding of Wellington they had three new settlements to their credit and, before two years were out, they had added a fourth. There might have been a fifth, but, owing to the inability of the Company to furnish titles, only one shipload of immigrants disembarked at Manukau, and the idea of forming a settlement there was abandoned. Manukau is six miles west of, and almost opposite to, Auckland, to which it forms a second harbour, the land portage between the two inlets being barely a mile across.

Afraid to purchase land without a title, yet receiving from the Company the offer of no other in that locality, a couple of hundred immigrants removed themselves to Whanganui, on the west coast, one hundred and twenty miles north of Wellington. If the Company owned the land which the settlers took up there, the latter were hardly allowed to possess it in peace; for Whanganui was for years after its settlement in a state of unrest, and the pages of its history contain the record of at least one dreadful tragedy. The beautiful river—the Rhine of New Zealand—enters the sea close by the town, forming a waterway by which the Maori of the interior could easily approach and as easily withdraw; a condition of things of which they took full advantage in turbulent times. The Company's settlers called the town they founded "Petre," but the picturesque Maori name has survived.

[Pg 145]

The Company presently turned their attention to the Middle Island, and there decided upon two hundred thousand acres of land bordering Tasman Bay and its neighbourhood. The lots were eagerly bought in England; Captain Arthur Wakefield, R.N., a brother of the tactful Colonel, was appointed commander of the expedition and resident agent, and two shiploads of emigrants sailed for the new settlement, which was to be named Nelson.

While these preliminaries were being arranged, more immigrants arrived at Taranaki, or New Plymouth, the "Garden of New Zealand," where the Company claimed ownership of sixty miles of coast by a stretch of twenty miles inland. We saw this place when we stood with Te Turi and his followers and gazed from afar at the snowpeak of Mount Egmont. Hither, too, came Hongi and his conquering Nga-Puhi and, after him, Waikato's champion, Te Wherowhero of the red robe, who between them made an end of the men of Taranaki, enslaving those they left alive.

Even while the new arrivals were parcelling out the land and grumbling at the lack of a good harbour, back came the manumitted slaves, ancient owners of Taranaki, and stood aghast to see what changes time had wrought. Their feeble protest availed them nothing. Whether the Company had purchased the land or not, Governor Hobson now owned it under the Crown's right of preemption, and the poor men of Taranaki were forced to hide their twice diminished heads.

The ships bound for the Middle Island had by[Pg 146] this time arrived at Wellington, whence, after some delay, the immigrants were carried across the strait to Tasman Bay. The native chiefs courteously received them; but, when Captain Wakefield promised gifts as soon as the land bought by the Colonel should be occupied, the Maori stood silent. Had they said aught, it would probably have been a Maori version of Timemus exules, et dona ferentes.

However, they professed to welcome the white men; whereupon the agent smiled, the anxious would-be settlers cheered, surveyors were landed, and the town of Nelson was founded on the 1st of February, 1842.

Do you who read remember how, when Hongi pressed him hard, Te Rauparaha of the Ngati-Toa fled headlong with his tribe along a path of blood to the south, and how he crossed the strait, and burned and slew and ate? He is still a force to be reckoned with, this Te Rauparaha. He is getting on in years, and lives with his tribe in the neighbourhood of Otaki on the west, north of Wellington. But he can look thence across the strait towards the lands he conquered not so long ago, and dissentingly shakes his head as the Nelson-bound ships pass on their way, while he openly expresses his disgust at the coming of so many more Pakeha.

As Captain Wakefield parted from the little warrior-diplomatist with the twinkling eyes and broad forehead, no prophetic vision came to him of the fearful scene to be enacted a year later in the valley of the Wairau, when the price of the land was to be exacted in blood—his own.

[Pg 147]

As at Wellington, as at Whanganui, as at Taranaki, so at Nelson disputes soon began between Maori and colonist, the theme being ever the ownership of the land. Words led to blows, blows to sullen mutterings of utu and, so far as the Company's settlers were concerned, it seemed as if harmonious intercourse and continued agreement with the natives were outside the range of possible things.

While this bickering was going on, Governor Hobson had founded a town at his end of the North Island. Auckland he named the city in embryo; Akarana the Maori called it; and from first to last the Company had nothing to do with it. They were, in fact, extremely jealous of its progress.

The site of a capital had not been selected till then. The seat of government was where the Governor happened to reside; but a spot was chosen at the head of the beautiful Hauraki Gulf, where the British flag was hoisted on the 18th of September, 1840, and the Governor's residence established at what has grown to be the splendid city of Auckland.

A finer or more charming situation could hardly have been found than this on the right of the Waitemata, or "Glittering Water," with the superb Hauraki Gulf to the east, the harbour of Manukau to the west, and waterways in all directions to the south. How wise was this choice of a site is proved to-day by the great and prosperous city, in touch with all the world, which now gives a home to eighty thousand of Britain's sons.

There was clamour over the Governor's selection.[Pg 148] Wellington urged its elder birth, its central position, its magnificent harbour; but Captain Hobson abode by his choice. Russell, hard by Kororareka, made bitter plaint; for the glory of becoming the chief city of the State had been dangled before it, and visions of political prominence had intoxicated it. Now that its chance was irretrievably gone, the fickle crowd deserted it and pitched their tents in Auckland. So Russell wilted away. Once again it was to blaze into brief, and rather ghastly, notoriety, and then to sink into oblivion.

While these rival cities were in the making, Captain Hobson rigorously enforced the right of the Crown to be the sole purchaser of land from the natives, and set going the examination into purchases already made. As usual, the innocent suffered with the guilty, and many who had bought land in perfect good faith found their purchases diminished by half, or altogether invalid.

These were consequently ruined; but their sufferings did not affect the forward movement. Systematic colonisation had begun, and in the capable hands of the Anglo-Saxon was bound to go on. A check here, a dispute there, a few hundred ruined in the process, never yet stopped the expansion of the British Empire, and, unless the character of her sons changes greatly, never will.

Queen Victoria's sovereignty over the islands was formally proclaimed in 1840 and, before the end of 1842, eleven thousand settlers had cast their fortunes in the colony, distributing themselves among the eight settlements of Wellington, Auck[Pg 149]land, Nelson, Taranaki (New Plymouth), Russell (or Kororareka), Hokianga, Whanganui, and Akaroa, which was largely French.

The long civil war originated by Hongi was now over, the Maori were looking favourably upon the white men, and were growing inclined to adopt their ways and imitate their methods. Yet, though Christianity and its milder influences were spreading, the brown men had still to tread a long path before they reached the goal of civilisation. The Pakeha appreciated this, and noted with apprehension that the Maori seldom visited the settlements unless armed with the guns which the folly or greed of commercial adventurers had placed within their reach.

Yet "ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew," and, as ship followed ship, bringing new settlers, every day saw the Pakeha grow stronger, though the natives were still predominant.

A new country is usually "go-ahead," but New Zealand was remarkably so, nor has she in this respect ever fallen short of her beginning.

Within a year of her "declaration of independence," though things were very much in the rough, there was promise of that colonial splendour which has since—in the short space of sixty-eight years—been amply fulfilled.

The difficulties were grave indeed. The land question was a source of constant friction, and of ready money there was little or none. Notwithstanding fairly substantial help from the mother[Pg 150] country, in spite of the newly imposed customs dues and the sale of Crown lands, the new country's imports surpassed the exports nearly ten times over. No wonder money was scarce and, owing to the paucity of meat other than pork, food very dear.

But these drawbacks could not stifle enthusiasm, and in each of the towns—now rapidly casting behind them the character of mere settlements—growth was steady, and the energy of the inhabitants astonishing.

The mineral wealth of the colony was attracting attention—iron, copper, manganese, coal and lime were known to exist; the great variety of magnificent timber trees promised to become an important source of revenue, and New Zealand flax had already established a reputation which it has never lost. The character of the land in parts was such as led some even then to prophesy that New Zealand would become one of the grazing grounds of the world; though it is doubtful if the prophets foresaw the immense revenue which was to be derived later from the exportation of meat for consumption by the hungry folk in the northern hemisphere. With the future so rose-tinted, it is no wonder that the shadows of the present had little power to depress the sanguine colonists.

The Legislative Council had lost no time in passing beneficial Acts, the citizens were inclined to be law-abiding, and trade, of a sort, flourished. The architecture in the towns was not exactly classic; but all looked confidently forward to the time when the weather-board house with from two to six rooms[Pg 151] should be replaced by the mansion, and the tiny general store make way for the splendid palace of the merchant prince. Compare pictures of a street in Auckland or Wellington in 1842 with photographs of the same street to-day, and admit that the expectation has been fulfilled.

The children who had accompanied their parents to the new land were not allowed to run wild, and education was not entirely neglected. The power of the Press, too, had already made itself felt by the issue of nine newspapers. These had neither the dignity nor the imposing size of the mighty dailies of to-day, being for the most part smaller than a single page of any of them, while one, at least, was printed in a mangle! Yet there they were and, if most of them died, they have left descendants to be proud of.

Keeping in view that these forward steps of the infant colony were made within one year of her assumption of independence, that the colonists had to struggle against real financial troubles, that, in many cases, their claim to the land they had bought was disputed, and—most sinister obstacle of all—that they were face to face with a proud, intellectual, warlike race, not altogether friendly, and outnumbering them by five to one,—keeping all this in view, is it not admirable that those strenuous men of yesterday and their worthy descendants of to-day should, in little more than half a century, have raised New Zealand from a tiny colony of eight scattered settlements to a dominion of the Empire?

We have seen how Governor Hobson opposed[Pg 152] what he held to be the illegal acts of a Company engineered by men not likely to take blows "lying down." The Directors in England represented their case as just, and claimed some twenty million acres as fairly purchased. The British Government accepted their statement, allowed the claim, and on the 12th of February, 1841, gave the Company a Royal Charter of Incorporation.

The Company were jubilant. It now mattered not if grumbling Maori should declare that their lands had been unfairly acquired, and aver, as they did aver, that the purchases of the Company were "thievish bargains"; the power of Britain was behind the Company, who could henceforth defy opponents of whatever colour.

Not quite. There was Governor Hobson to be reckoned with, and his counterblast was terribly effective. He refused—under the proclamation of the previous year—to give the Company Crown grants for any of their purchases.

The long wrangle began again, and the upshot of it all was that, after interminable argument, the British Government peremptorily extinguished the Company's title to all land acquired from the Maori, and a commissioner was appointed to examine all claims of purchasers of land from the Company. There could be only one result to action of this sort. The Company fought hard for existence, but in 1850 surrendered to the Imperial Government their charter and all their interests in the Colony of New Zealand, and died hard after a turbulent life.

[Pg 153]

We have anticipated somewhat, for we are still at the point where the Company received a Charter of Incorporation. But the exultation of the Company was as nothing beside that of the young colony on the 3rd of May, 1841, when New Zealand, till then but an extension of New South Wales, was declared by the Imperial Government independent of the older colony, and given permission to steer her own course through the difficult shallows of organisation to the distant ocean of completion and greatness.

In the first flush of joy at escaping from control, very little heed was taken of difficulties. It seemed as if the infant State had only waited for its independence in order to make a forward bound; for all that pertained to the old order of things was, as far as possible, swept away.

The three islands were renamed New Ulster, New Munster, and New Leinster. The Governor became Commander-in-Chief of the one hundred and fifty men of the 80th Regiment who formed the "standing army." Two Councils were nominated—an Executive and a Legislative, with His Excellency at the head of each; a Chief Justice was appointed and the great offices of the Law filled; while the then predominance of the Church of England was recognised by the creation of a bishop, whose see was the colony.

The first bishop, Dr. Selwyn, was a remarkable man, and it is probable that among all the English clergy no one could have been found so well suited for the pioneer work and rough experiences insepar[Pg 154]able from the lot of the first Bishop of New Zealand. He was in very truth a missionary bishop, and his athletic youth and manhood had served to prepare him for the duties he was now called upon to perform, which were by no means confined to the wearing of lawn sleeves, gaiters, and apron.

Dr. Selwyn's Eton training stood him in good stead in the wilds, and very soon after his arrival in May, 1842, he convinced men that he was a man as well as a divine. Who worked with Selwyn must work with all their might; nor did he shirk his own share. He worked with his coat off, literally as well as metaphorically, though no man living possessed a finer dignity of appearance and manner. Hardy settlers, Maori inured to effort and fatigue, confessed that, when they accompanied the stalwart pikopo (bishop) on his expeditions by mountain, bush, or river, it was their legs, not his, which first gave out, their muscular frames which clamoured for rest, while his was as yet untired.

As an example of his energy, it is only necessary to point out that, within five years of his arrival, he founded, built, and got into first-rate working order at Auckland the College of St. John, for the education of youth of both races, and had already instituted those pilgrimages among the islands which later made his name so famous and beloved.

The rejoicings over New Zealand's improved status were barely over before there were ominous signs that contact with his white brother had not yet completely softened the Maori. Moreover, a dispute between two Maori tribes, occurring, as it did, under[Pg 155] the very shadow of the new Executive, showed that the chiefs were not yet wholly prepared to acknowledge the sovereignty of Britain, nor to tolerate the interference of the Pakeha in their own quarrels.

Taraia, a chief of a tribe in the neighbourhood of the Thames river, having successfully assaulted the pa of a Tauranga tribe, cooked and ate the bodies of two of the slain chiefs, after the old manner of the Maori at the conclusion of a successful battle.

The Tauranga folk were Christians, while Taraia and his party were not. Returning home, drunk with success—the Maori were not often drunk with the products of grape or corn—Taraia and his people desecrated the small church in their neighbourhood. The Christian congregation were gathered together for evening prayer when, to the horror of all, two hideous objects rolled into their midst, came to rest and grinned up at them. They were the heads of the chiefs who had been slain at Tauranga.

Bloodthirsty as he must appear to those long since emerged from savagery, Taraia's behaviour at the pa of Erongo was neither savage nor illegal from his point of view. He merely claimed utu, as his race had done from time immemorial, his contention being that, whatever the law of the white man, the Maori had their own law and meant to abide by it. He actually put his views before the Governor, who was about to despatch a punitive expedition, and demanded by what right His Excellency proposed to interfere in a purely native quarrel. "Your wisest plan will be to let the matter drop," advised Taraia, "considering how very few Maori chiefs in the[Pg 156] interior have signed the Treaty of Waitangi and admitted the sovereignty of Queen Wikitoria."

This was a palpable hit; the Governor altered his mind, and sent missionaries instead of soldiers. Taraia readily expressed his willingness to compensate the Tauranga people for the slaughter of their relatives; "but first," said he, "let them compensate me. Did they not eat my mother?" The argument was incontrovertible, and the dreadful incident closed.

Taraia's defiance took on a new significance when it was realised how many chiefs were opposed to the dominion of the Pakeha. Besides, numbers of Maori in the north remembered the words of the dying Hongi, and viewed with sullen disapproval the transference of so much land to the white men. Captain Hobson had neither the will nor the power to operate upon a large scale and so enforce submission, and his disappointment at the failure of his hopes was keen indeed.

The Governor's pacific demeanour pleased nobody; and even in Auckland, where his attitude towards the Company had at first won him general esteem, men now turned upon him and blamed his policy for almost every disagreeable thing which happened. "He will neither allow the Company to buy from the natives, nor will he himself buy," they snarled; and petitions, representations to the Home Government, and even threats of personal violence, made the Governor's life miserable.

He was not long so tried, for he died on the 10th of September, 1842, and after his death some, at[Pg 157] least, had the grace to be ashamed of their behaviour towards a man who had honestly striven to do his best in a most difficult situation. The Maori, with clearer vision than the self-swayed Pakeha, saw the good that was in Captain Hobson. It is significant that, when petitioning Her Majesty for a new Governor, the friendly chiefs wrote, "Give us a good man, like him who is dead."

[Pg 158]



Captain Hobson was succeeded as Acting-Governor by Lieutenant Shortland, R.N., the Colonial Secretary, whose administration was marked by one awful tragedy, which stained blood-red the short chapter of New Zealand's history with which he was concerned.

At Nelson, as over the whole of the Company's domain, disputes constantly arose between Maori and Pakeha. The Company's settlers appealed to the law, which had little choice but to decide against them; the natives went about their operations in a manner peculiar to themselves.

Finding it impossible to prevent the newcomers from occupying land which they insisted had been bought, the Maori took to destroying the habitations of the invaders, though they rarely used violence towards individuals, and scrupulously abstained from theft. It was unlikely that this system of incessant pin-pricking by either side would result in anything but poisoned wounds, and the fears of those who had anticipated this result presently received fearful justification.

The turbulent Te Rauparaha was, by right of[Pg 159] conquest, one of the great landowners on the southern side of the strait, and with him was his son-in-law, Rangihaeata, a chief of fierce, untamed passions, obsessed by an intense, almost insane, hatred of the Pakeha, and the last man to submit tamely to their aggression. Rangihaeata had, too, a bitter grievance against the whites, since a woman related to him had been killed by a settler, whom the Supreme Court acquitted of wilful murder. With two such men in opposition to the business-like unsentimental Company, a peaceful solution of the difficult land question was not likely to be found.

Some sixty miles east of Nelson is the fertile valley of the Wairau, abutting on the shores of Cloudy Bay. Having distributed the town sections at Nelson, the Company decided upon this valley as suitable for country lots, and sent their surveyors to fix boundaries and prepare the land for delivery to colonists. Though instantly warned off by the natives occupying the land, the Company's officials proceeded with their work.

What makes the singular persistence of the Company in this case so difficult to understand is the fact that Te Rauparaha and his ally, Rangihaeata, were at that very time attending the Court of the Commissioner of Land Claims at Wellington, and they had agreed to meet this high functionary a few days later at Cloudy Bay, in order that the dispute about this particular valley might be adjusted. Naturally, on hearing of the presence of surveyors on the land they regarded as their own, the two chiefs hastened across the strait and gave the officials the[Pg 160] choice between suspending operations, pending the Commissioner's decision, or being turned off.

As no attention was paid to them, Rauparaha and Rangihaeata burned down the hut of the chief surveyor; but, in order to show that they had no desire to deal unjustly with men who were, after all, only carrying out their employers' orders, the two Maori collected the property of the operators and rendered it to the owners. A warrant against the chiefs for robbery and arson was immediately issued, and Mr. Thompson, the police magistrate, determined to execute the same in person.

A day or two later Mr. Thompson started for the Wairau with fifty persons, including the Company's agent, Captain Wakefield, R.N.; Captain England, J.P.; Mr. Richardson, Crown Prosecutor; Mr. Howard, the Company's store-keeper; Mr. Cotterell, assistant surveyor; an interpreter, four constables, twelve special constables, and some armed labourers. The aspect of the expedition was aggressive, and from the Maori point of view constituted a taua, or war-party.

As the boats conveying the force up the Wairau river came within hostile country, all through the long day Maori scouts watched their course, and runners continually sped to the headquarters of the chiefs, carrying the news of the approach of Pakeha with guns.

On the following day, Friday, the 16th of June, 1843, the Maori camp was reached and, as usual, was found to have been chosen with consummate skill; for its front was protected by a fairly deep, if narrow[Pg 161] stream, while the flanks and rear were covered by dense scrub.

The white men—whose boats had been left some six miles in their rear—halted upon the left bank, opposite to the watchful Maori. Puaha, a Christian native, who had all along attempted to dissuade Mr. Thompson from bearding Te Rauparaha in his den, made a last effort to induce the magistrate to turn back, but was impatiently waved aside. The escort were then formed in two divisions under Captain England and Mr. Howard, their instructions being that no one was to fire without orders.

Athwart the stream lay a large canoe and, being permitted to use this as a bridge, Mr. Thompson, Captain Wakefield and others crossed over. The magistrate then produced his warrant and called upon Te Rauparaha to surrender and yield to his authority.

"Why so?" demanded the chief.

"For burning the surveyor's hut," was the answer.

"I will not," replied Te Rauparaha. "The huts were my property, and whatever within them belonged to the surveyors I was careful to restore. I do not wish to fight, as you must know, since I have already referred my claim to the Commissioner for adjustment."

"Then I shall compel you to come with me," Mr. Thompson cried excitedly. "I have the means, you see," and he pointed to the escort across the stream.

Te Rauparaha growled. "Nevertheless, I will not go," he began, when Rangihaeata, his passion in[Pg 162] strong contrast to Te Rauparaha's coolness, burst into view and dared Mr. Thompson to do his worst.

"Advance with your men, Captain England," shouted Mr. Thompson, "and teach these——"

Before he could say more every Maori there leaped to his feet, and with defiant shouts vanished into the bush.

Then followed one of those fatal errors by which great catastrophes have often been precipitated. As Mr. Thompson's party hurried towards the canoe-bridge, the escort rushing down to meet them, some one—probably highly excited and unconscious of what he was about—fired a shot.

Not a Maori was to be seen; but from the dark scrub came a rattling volley, which was instantly responded to by the whites. The action at once became general, and men fell on both sides of the stream. According to the natives' version, one of the first to be slain—by a chance shot—was one of Rangihaeata's wives, and this misfortune inflamed to madness the already incensed chief.

The escort was mostly composed of civilians who had never seen a shot fired in anger, so that it is less remarkable that they should have yielded to panic fear and fled, leaving their comrades to shift for themselves. Had they even for a few minutes shown a bold front, the affair would probably have ended disastrously, but not so tragically.

But the chance was gone; and when Rauparaha and Rangihaeata—the battle fever on them now—rushed pell-mell over the canoe and made for the[Pg 163] deserted leaders, these had no choice but to throw down their arms and yield to a superior force.

Te Rauparaha, who was somewhat in advance, checked his rush as he noted this, and Mr. Thompson, extending empty hands, called out, "Let there be peace!"

Diplomatist that he was, Te Rauparaha, even in the flush of successful fight, probably realised the danger to the Maori cause which further violence must entail; for he came to a halt with a growl, "It is peace!"

But Rangihaeata dashed by him, yelling, "This is the second time the Pakeha have wounded me by slaying my relatives. Rauparaha, remember my wife, your daughter!" flung himself at Captain England and slew him with one stroke of his tomahawk.

Then the rage of the Maori broke forth in all its dreadful force. Rangihaeata, an enormously powerful man, went mad with battle fury and with his own hand killed Captain Wakefield, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Cotterell, John Brooks, and others, while his men rushed right and left among the defenceless crowd and smote to slay.

Twenty-two of Mr. Thompson's expedition were slain in this terrible affair, seventeen of them in the massacre which followed the fight. A few days later a Wesleyan clergyman, escorted by two boats' crews of whalers, arrived at the scene of the tragedy, and buried the dead who had fallen in the fight where they lay on the banks of the Tau Marina. For the others, who had gone down before the murderous[Pg 164] rage of Rangihaeata, another resting-place was chosen on a gentle rise, whence can be seen the valley of the Wairau, cause of all the trouble and its melancholy end.

There could be only one issue to an affair of this sort. The prestige of the white men was lost for the time being, and the Maori mind became inflamed with hope that the Pakeha would realise the futility of further contention, and leave the land to those who had originally owned it.

The colonists were divided in opinion as to the apportionment of the blame. In and about Nelson there was, of course, only one view; but the local authorities were elsewhere censured for their too precipitate action. The Acting-Governor, reporting the affair to the British Government, distinctly stated that Mr. Thompson had acted not only without his sanction, but in direct opposition to his instructions; that the measures taken were in the highest degree unjustifiable, inasmuch as the question of ownership of the Wairau land was unsettled, and actually on the point of being considered by the Commissioner.

All this is true; but no one will feel disposed to blame the rash Englishmen, considering the price they paid for their indiscretion, while, all other sentiments apart, nothing bad enough can be said of Rangihaeata for his savage slaughter of a band of helpless men—men who had flung down their arms and begged for peace.

When the news of the Wairau fight and massacre reached England, a condition of mind was produced[Pg 165] something similar to that which followed the arrival of Crozet in France after the murder of Marion. Emigration was for a time suspended; for Te Rauparaha's threat, that if reprisals were attempted, they would be countered by the massacre of every settler in the colony, did not encourage those who had thought of making New Zealand their home.

To all this confusion of circumstance was added the distress of something very like a financial crisis. The colony had no money, and lenders were nowhere forthcoming. There were many brave hearts who faced these and other difficulties staunchly enough; but even these admitted that New Zealand, as a settler's country, was in a parlous state, and that very little capital except Hope remained upon which to come and go.

It was hardly to be expected that those who had acquired land under the Company should see eye to eye with those who argued that, even after an affair so shocking as that of the Wairau, the Maori had still a claim to receive justice at the hands of the Pakeha. So, when the new Governor, Captain Robert Fitzroy, R.N., personally inquired into the incident, seven months after its occurrence, it was not wonderful that the address which the colonists presented to him at Wellington should have been charged with the gall of bitterness. Nor was it surprising that the natives, on their part, should have accused their white neighbours of studied hostility towards them. Lastly, when it was understood that the Governor laid the weight of the blame upon the Company and their settlers, and almost exonerated[Pg 166] Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, the indignation of the former knew no bounds, and was expressed in language both foolish and unjust.

Captain Fitzroy undoubtedly decided according to his conscience, and with a view to safeguard the interests of the colonists, whom he correctly judged to be too weak to risk a conflict with well-armed natives, thoroughly versed in their own methods of warfare. Unfortunately, the Governor's choice of words when conveying his decision, while it irritated the whites, conveyed to the Maori an impression that fear, not policy, had dictated clemency, and their bearing in consequence became arrogant.

The Maori were now alive to the value of their land, and of money as a purchasing agent. Skilled mind-readers, they played upon the Governor's fears, and compelled him to allow the colonists to buy land direct from them instead of through the Crown. Captain Fitzroy yielded; but, as he endeavoured to compromise by extracting a tax on every acre purchased, the Maori did not make as much as they had hoped to make, and the unfortunate Viceroy again managed to please nobody. What between the Maori, who used him for their own ends, and the colonists, who called him mad, the Governor's lot was anything but happy.

For all their shrewdness and intelligence, the Maori were not yet sufficiently educated in the ways of the Pakeha to appreciate the niceties of civil government, which, it seemed to them, drove away the flourishing trade which had been theirs while yet their ports were all in their own hands, and when[Pg 167] every port was free. These sentiments, skilfully fostered by unscrupulous traders, paved the way for an outbreak. And as Kororareka had furnished excuse for the establishment of British sovereignty, so it now provided an occasion of war, and witnessed the first determined act of opposition to the power of the British rule.

It was a bitter blow to traders, who had been accustomed to traffic without let or hindrance in the Bay of Islands, to find Kororareka flaunting the British flag and demanding customs dues. Nor were the Maori any more contented; for they had now to pay a higher price for tobacco, blankets, and other luxuries which they had once acquired so cheaply. Therefore, since political economy was still beyond them, they looked elsewhere for the explanation of the change, and found it—in the flagstaff on the hill outside Kororareka.

The flag which floated there was indeed the symbol of British authority, and on that account sufficiently hated by the more intelligent of the patriotic Maori, who desired to preserve their independence; but among the ignorant natives there were not a few who were convinced that the flagstaff itself was the very cause of the customs dues and the irritating restrictions placed upon trade.

Therefore, when Honi (John) Heke, who had married the beautiful daughter of the famous Hongi Ika, announced his intention of cutting down the hated staff, he did not lack volunteers to help him in what he, at least, intended as a deliberate defiance of Britain. For Honi Heke was far too astute to look[Pg 168] upon the flagstaff as anything but what it was—a wooden pole.

Under the old Maori law a woman who married beneath her raised her husband to her level; wherefore Honi Heke, though not himself a chief, became elevated to the ranks of the aristocracy upon his marriage with the "daughter of a hundred earls." The upstart was not received with open arms by the true nobility, though they tolerated him for his father-in-law's sake. Had he been one of themselves, and thus able to command their allegiance, Heke, skilled as he was in war, might have brought the hated Pakeha face to face with fearful odds and, perhaps, changed the course of history in New Zealand.

Heke, like his predecessor Hongi, was a born soldier. In his boyhood he fell into Mr. Marsden's hands, who took him to Sydney and endeavoured to teach him a trade. But trade was not for Heke, who was often found in the barrack-square feasting his eyes upon the soldiers, and keenly watching their drill. Association with Mr. Marsden and the tuition he received from the missionary enabled Heke to read and write, and developed a mind already dangerously rich in qualities which make for leadership.

Returning to his native land, Heke joined himself to Hongi, who, finding him an apt pupil, gladly instructed him in a sterner science than any which good Mr. Marsden had taught him. So pleased was Hongi with his protégé that he gave him his daughter in marriage, and it was upon Heke that the great[Pg 169] chief's dying eyes were turned when he faltered out his last advice to his followers and bade them beware of the Pakeha in red. Deep into Heke's heart sank that advice, and it was with Hongi's "word" upon his lips that he struck his first blow against the might of Britain.

But he had a yet more sinister word of his own for the ears of the Pakeha, hardly recovered from the shock of the Wairau massacre. "Is Te Rauparaha to have all the honour of killing the Pakeha?" he exclaimed as he marched his men to the flagstaff hill. "We shall see!"

This insulting speech was, perhaps, uttered deliberately, in order to sting the Kororarekans into resistance, and thus provide Heke with excuse and opportunity to rival the southern leader. If that were so, he was disappointed; for, at the earnest insistence of the Police Magistrate, the residents looked on from afar while Heke and his two hundred malcontents hewed down the obnoxious staff and carried off the signal balls, used to communicate with shipping outside the bay.

Wroth at this reception of his policy of conciliation, Captain Fitzroy sent an urgent appeal for help to the Governor of New South Wales. The answer came at once and, less than five weeks after the fall of the flagstaff, one hundred and fifty men of the 99th Regiment, with two field guns, landed at Kororareka and encamped there. H.M.S. Hazard presently lent all the sailors who could be spared, and the little army prepared to invade Heke's country.

And now the little influence which Hongi's son-[Pg 170]in-law possessed over the great chiefs was speedily and fortunately demonstrated. Instead of flocking to his aid, the high chiefs besought the Governor not to engage in war, and offered to keep Heke in order for the future. They probably overestimated their power in this direction; but the Governor was satisfied, and Thomas Walker Nene and twenty-three other chiefs of note made orations at a great korero,[59] and declared their loyalty to Queen Wikitoria.

The flagstaff was then re-erected, the borrowed troops returned to Sydney, Kororareka was again made a free port and, as the year 1844 drew to a close, the country reeled to the very edge of the pit of bankruptcy.

Extraordinary efforts were made to avert this calamity. Auckland, like Kororareka, was declared a free port, thousands of pounds' worth of debentures were issued and declared a legal tender and, as a last resource, the Governor abolished the customs dues all over the colony.

It seemed as if no one, either on the spot or in England, quite knew what to do for or with New Zealand and, to crown all the trouble, the sempiternal land question once more poked up its ugly head. The natives grew suspicious and resentful; settlers were ejected and their homes destroyed, on the ground that they occupied debatable land, or land actually claimed by the Maori, and everywhere was unrest and apprehension.

Heke, who knew very much better, pointed to the flagstaff at Kororareka as the cause of all this[Pg 171] worry and, barely six months after his first exploit, back he came with his merry men, and for the second time levelled the detested pole. Though he was not expected—as he had been on the first occasion,—the signal station was guarded by friendly natives. These, however, belonged to the tribe of the turbulent Heke; so they merely made a show of resistance, and retired to protest that it would have been a sin and a shame to shed any man's blood for the sake of a bit of wood. So Honi Heke triumphed for the second time.

The belligerent operations at Kororareka had so far been in themselves, apart from their consequences, somewhat farcical; but the "curtain-raisers" were over, and tragic drama was to be presented after an interval of little more than a month.

Note.—The private soldiers, who found a nickname for everybody, styled Honi Heke "Johnny Hicky." From this arose an absurd story that Heke was an Irishman, who had taken service with the Maori in order to avenge his country's wrongs!


[59] "Palaver."


[Pg 172]


Governor Fitzroy once again appealed to New South Wales for aid and, on the very day on which the soldiers sailed from Sydney, Heke opened his campaign and scored his first success at Kororareka.

A serious attack does not seem to have been anticipated; but a stockade had been erected for the benefit of the women and children, some light guns had been mounted, and the place garrisoned by half a company of regulars and a number of settlers. In addition, H.M.S. Hazard was in the bay, her guns trained upon the approaches to the town.

Heke first gave evidence of his presence by capturing Lieutenant G. Phillpotts of the Hazard, though he almost immediately released the gallant officer, in proof, he said, of his pacific intentions. Then, in spite of the watch kept upon his movements, the Maori warrior out-generalled the watchers, and sprung a surprise upon the town.

Late on the night of the 10th of March, 1845, two columns of Maori under Heke and old Kawiti—Hongi's fighting chief—landed at Onoroa and Matavia, close by Kororareka. Heke ambushed[Pg 173] his men amid the deep fern in rear of Signal Hill, almost within touch of the blockhouse, while Kawiti disposed his party about the Matavia Pass, on the opposite side of the town. So quietly were these manœuvres executed, that neither the soldiers in the upper blockhouse, nor the sailors under Captain Robertson of the Hazard on the Matavia side, nor the civilians in the stockade and lower blockhouse had any idea that they were ringed round by a cordon of fighting men under two of the most experienced warriors of their day. Not by the slightest sound did the Maori indicate their presence; not even for the sake of capturing one of the officers who walked through their lines, wholly unsuspicious of their proximity. It was Heke's intention to surprise his foes, and he succeeded perfectly.

As day broke, cloudy and raw, on the 11th, the lieutenant of the regulars went to the barracks to turn out his men. His second in command, a young ensign, who was in charge of the upper blockhouse, by the flagstaff, thereupon left his post under guard of a corporal and fifteen men, and proceeded with a few soldiers to complete an earthwork overlooking Onoroa Bay. Captain Robertson occupied a similar position on an opposite hill overlooking Matavia Bay.

No sooner was the ensign out of sight than a sham attack was begun on the Matavia side, and the young soldier very properly fell back towards the blockhouse. At the same moment the corporal, believing his officer trapped, left three or four men in the blockhouse, and raced with the rest to the ensign's support. He soon realised that the firing[Pg 174] was from the Matavia side of the town, wheeled his men and hurried back towards Signal Hill.

But a cloud of Maori sprang without the least warning from the fern and, yelling discordantly, began to harass the little company. Others rushed the blockhouse and slew the few defenders, while their heavy fire convinced the corporal that to regain the place was impossible, and that his wisest move would be to join forces with the ensign. He effected this; but when the officer endeavoured to retake the blockhouse, he was not only held off by the captors of the post, but had much ado to break through the Maori who were stealing round to cut him off from the lower blockhouse.

The action had by this time become general, and the British, though fighting bravely, were getting the worst of it, owing to inferiority of numbers and lack of ammunition.

The British fought sturdily and with dogged persistence, after their usual fashion, and the Maori, brave themselves, never hesitated to give credit to their valorous foes. For years after this historic engagement they told the story of Captain Robertson's fight, how he felled with his own hand five stalwart Maori, one of them a chief of note. Then the gallant sailor dropped to the ground, sorely wounded, while Lieutenant Barclay very reluctantly fell back just in time upon the town, and thence reached the lower blockhouse.

For the Maori had seized the barracks and, surging round the blockhouse, threatened to make an end. But the "Tommies" and the "handy men"[Pg 175] were not yet done with, and these, sweeping out without orders, cleared their front of the triumphant foe.

"So all day long the noise of battle rolled"; but nightfall saw the town evacuated, and the women and children safe on board the Hazard and other ships in harbour, whose crews had looked on wonderingly at the success of primitive warriors against disciplined soldiers. Numbers must always count for something; but the "way of the Britisher," which is ever to underrate a foe, particularly if he be of dark complexion, accounts for the success of the Maori that day.

Victory was no sooner assured than the Maori swept down upon the town, looted and burnt it to ashes. Yet so generous—or so stupid, from the soldiers' point of view—were they that they allowed many of the townspeople, with whom they considered they had no quarrel, to take what goods they could and go unhindered. It was as if they had said, "Our dispute is with the authorities. Go you in peace, and learn that the savage Maori can be as chivalrous as the civilised Briton."

Were there present at the sack of the town any of the grosser sort of Maori, who might have been inclined to defy their chiefs and commit those excesses too often associated with the victory of the savage, there were yet two men there to hold their passions in check. For, in and out of the flaming houses, and here and there among the wounded, unmoved by the riot and confusion around them, went all day long Bishop Selwyn of the English and Bishop Pompallier of the Catholic Church, their differences forgot as[Pg 176] they united in acts of Christian charity and corporal works of mercy.

So fell Kororareka, with the loss of a dozen killed and a score or so wounded on the side of the defenders, while the Maori lost—so they said—ten or twelve more. But, in addition, the town was destroyed, and along with it fifty thousand pounds' worth of property. It was a signal triumph for Heke and Kawiti, and, worse than all, it taught the Maori to disbelieve in the invincibility of the Pakeha.

So fell Kororareka, one of the oldest settlements—if not the oldest—in New Zealand; nor were there wanting those who averred that the place had brought its fate upon itself and, like a latter-day "city of the plain," thoroughly deserved its downfall.

[Pg 177]



Kororareka was done with; but not so Honi Heke, outlawed now with his comrade old Kawiti, and the whites around Auckland went in terror of the victorious pair. For Heke had threatened to assault the capital at the next full moon. Some watched for his coming as apprehensively as did ever Roman for the approach of Lars Porsena and his Etruscans, while to others the mention of the Black Douglas was not more prophetic of disaster than was that of Honi Heke. Many of these last migrated to more peaceful shores, despairing of rest anywhere in the land where the Maori were predominant.

After all, Heke never came. The Maori leader had his hands full; for Tomati Waka Nene, throwing in his lot with the British, marched into Heke's country, and kept the victor busy while the Pakeha drew breath.

The Governor, worried almost out of his senses by the bitter attacks made upon him, hurriedly collected all the soldiers who could be spared and despatched them under the command of Colonel Hulme of the 99th Regiment to the support of[Pg 178] Waka Nene. The expedition reached the Bay of Islands on the 28th of April, 1845, a guard of honour disembarked, and the British flag was once more hoisted over what remained of Kororareka.

Then came Waka Nene, advising immediate advance upon Heke, to which Colonel Hulme agreed; but he made before starting one of those errors which have more than once lowered our character for absolutely fair dealing in the eyes of native races. The chief, Pomare, was taken prisoner under a flag of truce and packed off to Auckland, while his pa was burnt. It is useless to reproach savages with treachery if we ourselves are guilty of it. When the story came to his ears, the much-abused Governor released Pomare with an apology, and soothed his injured feelings by the gift of a sailing-boat, always a delightful present to a Maori.

Heke had established himself at Te Ahuahu, not far from Okaihau, in a pa belonging to Kawiti; and here he waited till early in May for Colonel Hulme, whose force of white men, swollen by the addition of seamen and marines from the Hazard, had increased to four hundred. Heke was said to have twelve hundred fighting men; but Waka Nene's eight hundred "friendlies" equalised matters as far as numbers went.

As soon as Heke had ascertained that Colonel Hulme had left Auckland, he withdrew from Te Ahuahu and built a new pa near Taumata Tutu, significantly enough, on the spot where the famous Hongi had spoken his last "word" to his people.[Pg 179] This pa he named Te Kahika, or the "White Pine Pa."

There was a good deal of the pagan left in Heke, or, at least, he still preserved a considerable respect for the old religion. It is, therefore, not wonderful that Te Atua Wera, the famous tohunga of the Nga-Puhi, should have been with him in camp, or that the commander should have prayed the magician to put heart into his men. This Te Atua Wera proceeded to do very diplomatically, advising the pagans to stick to paganism, the Christians to Christianity, and impressing upon each the absolute necessity for making no mistakes. "Do nothing," he cautioned, "to make the European God angry, and be careful not to offend the Maori gods. It is good to have more than one god to trust to." On these conditions he promised success and guaranteed to turn aside the shot from the big guns.

There were no big guns, as it happened; for when Colonel Hulme's column arrived at Okaihau on the 7th of May, they had only a few rockets. It was resolved to use these for the moral effect it was hoped they would produce.

Waka Nene's Maori had mounted a white headband to distinguish them from the foe; but, as a matter of fact, they took little part in the conflict, their superstitious fears having been aroused by the carelessness of the soldiers and sailors regarding omens.

"They are eating their breakfast standing up!" one Maori exclaimed in horror. "Don't they know how unlucky it is to eat standing just before a battle?"

[Pg 180]

"They have no tohunga with them," another remarked, shaking his head. "I threw a rakau (divining dart) for them this morning," a third said gloomily, "and it turned wrong side up as it fell. Many will die to-day."

"True," assented a fourth. "Look at them now. They are carrying litters, as if they were already dead. They ought to be told how unlucky that is."

And Nene's fighting chiefs did actually warn the British officers that they were behaving very foolishly and, being laughed at for their pains, begged the soldiers to throw away the litters, by carrying which they were really asking for death. But the soldiers, too, laughed and marched on, as the Maori fully believed, to their death.

This was too much for the friendlies. "We are not going to take part in a funeral procession," they declared and, with the exception of a score or two of Nene's relations, withdrew to the top of Taumata Kakaramu, a neighbouring hill, to watch the fight.

"If the soldiers win to-day," they declared, "we will always help them. But how can they possibly win?"

The reasons given by the friendlies for their abstention were genuine; but underlying them was another, unconfessed. Like those with Heke, they were Nga-Puhi, and in times of stress the claims of kinship have a way of making themselves heard.

Heke had taken the precaution to cover the roofs within the pa with flax to protect them from the sparks of the rockets, and the first of these presently came roaring and hissing at its mark. All held their[Pg 181] breath; for the friendlies, watching from the hill-top, knew as well as those within the pa that the tohunga had promised immunity from this very danger.

Heke came out just at this moment to observe the effect of the missiles. Determined to be on the safe side, he had put up a Christian supplication, and now stood repeating with great unction a Maori prayer.

On came the rocket; but Heke never moved. Many thought that he must be hit; but the missile struck the ground and ricochetted over the fort—greatly, no doubt, to the relief of the venturesome leader, who, when a second shot behaved in like manner, yelled defiance and stalked under cover.

Kawiti had meanwhile laid a clever ambush. When the rockets had been fired, a rush was made on the rear of the pa, and Heke, leaving sufficient to defend the walls, sallied from the front and had nearly succeeded in effecting a junction with Kawiti, when a friendly saw him stealing through the bush and yelled an alarm. In consequence, Kawiti's flank attack was repulsed, his son being among the slain.

The old warrior attempted a second flank attack, but was driven back by the British, who, as they chased the Maori, swore at them after the immemorial fashion of Thomas Atkins. This annoyed the Maori more than any drubbing; for they complained that they had done nothing wrong, and to be treated to such vulgar abuse was an outrage. Such behaviour was indeed utterly opposed to the Maori idea of courtesy, and a deputation once approached the Governor, protesting against the Pakeha's habit[Pg 182] of swearing at them, and praying His Excellency to discourage the offensive practice!

Colonel Hulme concluded as night fell that he could not take the pa with the force at his command. He believed that he had punished the enemy in the open; but his own loss was fourteen killed and thirty-two wounded. Having neither ammunition nor food remaining, the colonel marched away, leaving Heke in possession of the field.

The Maori chief some days later received a visit from Archdeacon Williams, who urged him to yield and go into exile for a year, after which his offences might possibly be pardoned. Heke declined the missionary's kind offices, and wrote the Governor a letter which was very far from being that of a fool.

"Friend, the Governor," said Heke, "where is the good will of England? In her great guns? In her Congreve rockets?... Is it shown in Englishmen calling us slaves? Or in their regard for our sacred places?... The Europeans taunt us. They say, 'Port Jackson, China, the Islands are but a precedent for this country. That flag of England which takes your country is the commencement.' The French and, after them, the Americans, told us the same thing.... We said, 'We will die for the country which God has given us.' ... If you demand our land, where are we to go?... Waka Nene's fighting for you is nothing. He is coaxing you for land, that you may say he is faithful.... Were anything to happen to me, the natives would kill in all directions. I alone restrain them. If you say fight, I am agreeable; if you say make peace, I[Pg 183] am equally agreeable.... I say to you, leave Waka and me to fight. We are both Maori. You fight your own colour. Peace must be determined by you, the Governor.—From me, John William Pokai[60] (Heke)."

Public confidence in the security of life and property was by no means increased by the retreat of the British from Okaihau, while the Maori not unnaturally assumed airs which intensely irritated the colonists, though they wisely ignored them.

The Governor, standing at bay between the scornful Maori and the indignant colonists, who gave him a large share of the blame for the misfortunes which had befallen the colony, made vigorous efforts to organise another expedition which must crush Heke and Kawiti. While this was preparing, Heke kept his hand in by attacking Waka Nene's pa, where he received a bullet in the thigh. The British, not to be outdone, went in boats up the Waikari river, to find the fort they designed to attack deserted by the nimble foe.

All was ready by the 16th of June, and Colonel Despard of the 99th Regiment began the second campaign against Heke, who had withdrawn to a pa of immense strength at Oheawai, sixteen miles inland from the Bay of Islands. The colonel, an experienced soldier, commanded a force of six hundred and forty regulars from the 58th, 96th, and 99th Regiments; sailors from the Hazard; a company of one hundred volunteers, and two hundred and fifty friendly Maori. Four guns were with infinite pains[Pg 184] hauled along the difficult track, through mud of a depth rarely seen in Britain, and over creeks and rivers with steep, defiant banks, between which the water often rushed in flood. June is midwinter in New Zealand, and no worse time could have been chosen for the expedition. Yet, in the judgment of those most deeply concerned with the colony's fortunes, it had to be undertaken.

The force encamped near the mission-station on the Waimate or River of Tears, and on the 23rd of June marched to Oheawai, where a small garrison under Kawiti and Pene awaited their attack. Heke was still incapacitated.

The night was spent in preparing batteries for the "potato pots," as the Maori styled the mortars with which it was intended on the morrow to breach the palisades of the pa,—four barricades of massive logs,[61] twenty feet in height, with a broad ditch between the first and the second. Some heavy hammering would be necessary before a path could be smashed through those tremendous defences. Yet it was confidently expected that the mortars would accomplish their part of the programme of attack.

When they had turned in, the experience of the rest of the night must have been weird to the unseasoned British. Throughout the long, dark watches the comforting "All's well!" of the sentinels was drowned by the oft-repeated challenge, thundered by the guards in the pa, "Come on, O hoia![Pg 185][62] Come on and revenge your dead of Okaihau! Come on! Come on!" And the deep-toned, defiant watch-cry of Waka Nene's men from their hill, "Come on, O Nga-Puhi! Come on for your revenge! We have slain you in heaps ere now! Come on! Come on!"

The bombardment began on the morning of the 24th, and for six days thereafter was continued. The round shot bowled through palisades one, two, three and four, or stuck fast in the giant posts; but never a trunk was shaken down, never one so hopelessly smashed as to open the door of that much-desired way. The enemy, safe in their cunningly contrived rifle-pits, meantime kept up a galling fire, which more than once caused a shifting of the positions of the batteries.

This ineffectual bombardment went on day after day, till Colonel Despard lost patience and suggested an assault, breach or no breach. But to this talk the Maori would not listen, and Waka Nene, wise in war, implored the colonel not to dream of an attempt which must result in the slaughter of almost every one concerned in it. The officers, brave though they proved themselves to be, supported Waka. Then Colonel Despard, angry, ashamed—for it was known how small a force held the pa,—and well-nigh disheartened, was cheered by a gleam of hope. Why not send to the Hazard for a thirty-two-pounder gun, which would certainly breach those defiant palisades? And send he did.

We know what bluejackets can do; but it is difficult for any one unfamiliar with the country to realise the enormous pains and labour expended in[Pg 186] dragging that thirty-two-pounder the fifteen miles which lay between the ship and the camp. It was done, though, and the great gun crowned the hill and frowned down upon the pa, threatening terrible probabilities for the morrow.

At ten o'clock next morning the new gun roared its first message. It was posted only a hundred yards from the fort; yet, astonishing to relate, those massive trunks groaned and quivered under the shock of impact, but as sullenly as ever refused to fall, declined to be smashed. But the defenders must have been apprehensive for the fate of their stockade; for, while the great gun went on booming, Kawiti and a chosen band of thirty stole out of the pa, and made their way unperceived to a thick wood close to, and in rear of the battery.

No one was prepared for this, even the friendlies' sharp ears and keen eyes being occupied with the banging of the guns, the thumping of the heavy shot against the palisades, and the splinters flying in all directions from the stubborn trunks. Wild, indeed, was the surprise of those on the hill, when old Kawiti and his band burst from the wood and charged down upon them.

Back reeled Waka's irregulars; down the hill in headlong flight raced gallant Colonel Despard and his officers, forced to "run away" in order that they might "live to fight another day," and upon that thundering monster and his small six-pounder orderly swooped Kawiti and his men. A few minutes more and the guns would have gone off in a fashion unusual with them; but a number of the brave 58th[Pg 187] came charging up the hill, flung themselves upon the assailants, and drove them back with nothing but a small union-jack for their pains.

Yet the sight of that little flag, hoisted below the Maori colours in the pa, stung Colonel Despard to madness, or, rather, into issuing a mad order which cost the lives of many brave men. Twenty-six shot had been fired from the big gun which Commander Johnston had brought, and, though an impression had been made upon the palisades, the Maori maintained that much remained to be done before it would be safe to assault the pa. Waka Nene threw his influence into the scale against the proposition, but, finding the colonel determined, very generously offered to lead a simultaneous attack upon another face of the pa—which was built in parallelogram. Twenty bold spirits among his men asked leave to accompany the soldiers; but the colonel refused all help from his friendlies on the ground that, when they got inside the pa, the soldiers might mistake them for hostiles. Thus, the men who had had most experience in assaulting a pa, and who were willing for once "to walk in a funeral procession," were forced to remain spectators of an assault which they knew could have but one issue.

One made his last charge that fatal afternoon whom the hostile Maori would fain have spared if they could. He was Lieutenant Phillpotts of the Hazard, or "Toby," as the Maori affectionately styled him. Here, at Oheawai, he showed his usual cool courage, walking up to the stockade and along it, examining as he went, and all the time under[Pg 188] fire of the sharpshooters in the pits. When these recognised the bold intruder, they ceased firing, calling out, "Kapai, Toby! Hurrah for Toby! Go back, Toby! We don't want to hurt you." But the lieutenant finished his examination, returned and reported to Colonel Despard that without further breaching assault was impossible. But the colonel was adamant.

The assault by escalade was fixed for three in the afternoon of the 1st of July, and one hundred and sixty gallant fellows under Majors Macpherson and Bridge, along with forty eager tars under brave Phillpotts, paraded at eighty yards from the pa, and stood staring at death.

For a few minutes the silence is intense. Even the Maori in the pa cease firing, unable to believe their eyes as they note the axes and ropes in the hands of the men. Then the hush is broken by a pealing bugle-call—"Advance!" A roaring chorus of cheers bursts from the devoted band—"Ave, Desparde! Morituri te salutant!" it should have sounded to the colonel,—and they race to cover those eighty yards and reach what is indeed the "imminent, deadly breach."

Where is the brave fellow who a moment ago gave his bluejackets a last cheering word? Where is Phillpotts? There he is—back behind the big gun, thumping in a few more shots at the palisade, if so he may give his men a chance for their lives.

He recoils suddenly from the gun, staring. Is he dreaming? The storming party is not making for that part of the palisade at which the monster[Pg 189] has been hurling its iron wrath, but for the strongest section of the pa, at which never a shot has been fired, whence never a spicule of wood has been torn. What can it mean? "Are they all gone mad?" he groans; and a wrathful growl answers him, "Colonel's orders, sir."[63]

Phillpotts scarcely hears. If his men are to be sent to death in that fashion, he is not going to lag behind. On he runs. His men have covered half of the distance; but he is close upon them, and catches back his breath for an encouraging shout, when a line of light sparkles along the ground in front, and from under the pekerangi, or outer fence, a hundred balls of lead, invisible, but whining viciously, speed towards their billets.

The foremost soldiers are down. Some of the sailors go down, too. But Phillpotts is up with them now; no—ahead of them, where he wished to be, and his cheery voice comes to them through the din, "Keep at it, men! Down with those palisades!" And with one long, strong pull the tars bring down full fifty feet of the pekerangi.

Alas! that does but little good; for they are face to face with those mighty tree-trunks, whose fellows not even the great gun has been able to demolish. This fence is set so deeply in the soil that human strength avails not to pull it down. It is loopholed, too, and every aperture spits death at the brave fellows who fall and fall and fall; but will not run.

Ah! What is that? A roar, as of a wild beast springing upon its prey, and a big gun, unsuspected[Pg 190] before, belches from an embrasure round shot and chain and scrap iron almost in the faces of the bewildered men. The space between the two fences is a shambles now; but they will not run, and Phillpotts is on his feet still.

They might go now. They have done enough for honour. Why does not the bugler blow the "Retire"? If he does, those stern fighters do not hear it; or, if they hear, they do not heed; for Phillpotts is running along that impassable fence, seeking for a way through.

By Heaven! He has found one! But what a way! The embrasure through which but now a heavy gun poked its ugly muzzle. Hardly large enough for a child to climb through, much less a man. But with a shout to his tars Phillpotts is up and wriggling through, and his cheering men are under him, each striving to be the first up and after his leader.

Phillpotts is almost through, and a dozen muskets are emptied in his face. But such is the perturbation of the Maori at sight of that solitary, well-known figure, threatening now to leap into their midst, and shouting "Follow, lads! Follow!" that every man there misses him. And still he struggles in that narrow way, shouting "Follow!"

A single shot rings out, clearly heard in a momentary cessation of the hideous din. It is fired by a mere boy; but it does its work, and Phillpotts without a cry falls dead, still grasping his sword.


Phillpotts at Oheawai

He lies somewhat apart; but Captain Grant of the 58th is not far away, a ball in his heart, and[Pg 191] Beattie, subaltern of the 99th, is dying. Two sergeants have fought their last fight, and thirty of rank and file—the brave unnamed—will never charge again. Macpherson, leader of this forlornest of forlorn hopes, is grievously wounded; so are Ensign O'Reilly and Interpreter Clarke. Three sergeants and seventy-five of the rank and file are down. Not ten minutes at it, and three-fourths of the one hundred and sixty who started have fallen, dead or wounded; and of them all not one has passed that cruel fence. Will that bugle never blow?

Ah! At last—"Retire!" The man watching from the hill, the man who commands, realises now that he has demanded the impossible, has set his men to take an impregnable fortress. And again, as if imploring them to obey, the bugle wails—"Retire!"

The assault by escalade upon Oheawai is over, and the Maori has once again repulsed the Briton.

But whose is the fault?


[60] His father's name.

[61] Some of which required thirty men to raise them by means of ropes.

[62] Soldiers.

[63] Statement of one who fought on that day.


[Pg 192]


When Colonel Despard about a fortnight later turned his back upon Oheawai, he left the pa in flames behind him. At no time had much been seen of the enemy, except during Kawiti's dash and that fatal ten minutes of assault; so the quiet aspect of the pa attracted no particular attention. Then Waka's men noticed one night that their challenging watch-cries were not answered, though the howling of dogs suggested that the place was still occupied. Cautious investigation before dawn revealed the state of matters. Several dogs were tied up to posts, so that their howling might deceive the besiegers; but the enemy had stolen away, leaving an immense amount of material behind them, probably with the intention of tempting Waka's men and so checking immediate pursuit. Without more ado the pa was burnt and the return to Waimate begun.

The storm of popular indignation now broke out anew, not only on account of Colonel Despard's failure—for it was failure, the Maori counting as nothing the evacuation of a pa in time of war,—but because the Governor listened to the advice of[Pg 193] Mr. George Clarke, Chief Protector of Aborigines, and refused to prosecute the war until it should be seen whether Heke and Kawiti would sue for peace. They did nothing of the sort and, when it became known that Kawiti was building a pa which he boasted would defy any number of big guns, the Governor was popularly called upon to resign.

Captain Fitzroy refused to resign, and it was not long before petitions reached England, praying the Colonial Office to deal with him and to relieve the depressed state of the colony.

No one in England had any very clear idea of what to do for New Zealand; but Lord Stanley shook his head when the New Zealand Company suggested the establishment of a proprietary government on the model of the early colonies in North America. Captain Fitzroy was, however, relieved of his office and, when the colonists learned that Captain George Grey, Governor of South Australia, was to take his place, there was general jubilation; "for now," people said, "they have at last sent us a man!"

For George Grey was not untried in the art of governing men of different races, living in the same land; nor was he without experience of troubles such as were then oppressing New Zealand. He had dealt in South Australia with precisely such problems, and had in five years brought order out of chaos. Nor would he come unprepared to argue matters with the New Zealand Company; for the South Australian Colonisation Association oddly enough derived its existence, and in a measure took its[Pg 194] methods, from Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield, the right-hand man of the New Zealand Land Company.

When Captain Grey became Governor of South Australia in 1839, the country was almost bankrupt from much the same causes (the native question excepted) as had brought New Zealand to the verge of ruin. Before the Governor left, South Australia was in a flourishing condition; by the aid and liberality of their chief the colonists had overcome their difficulties, and the prosperity of the colony seemed established. Is it any wonder, then, that the New Zealanders joyfully anticipated Captain Grey's arrival, and looked to him to do for them what he had done for their cousins on the other side of the Tasman Sea?

Moreover, Captain George Grey was believed to know more than any man living about native races, and how to induce them to adopt the manners and customs of civilised man. If there were some who shook their heads and declared that George Grey was "too much inclined to see that niggers got their rights," their growls were lost in the shriller chorus of satisfaction.

Captain Grey arrived on the 14th of November, 1845, at Auckland. Without loss of time he quieted the financial panic, smoothed away for the moment the land difficulty, and assured all loyal natives of the Queen's favour and protection. Then, having ascertained that Heke and Kawiti were still in arms, he sent them a message that, unless they sued for peace before a fixed date, he would again set the war dogs at their throats. As a gentle hint to all[Pg 195] concerned, he immediately passed a bill to prevent Maori from purchasing munitions of war.

While Heke and Kawiti, unused to such swift decision, debated the question, the time limit expired, and their spies raced to them with the news that the Kawana (Governor) was sending against them the greatest "war-party" which the "Pakeha Chiefs" had ever put together. Heke was still forced by his wound to abstain from active participation; but old Kawiti had finished his strong pa, Ruapekapeka—"The Bat's Nest,"—and retired thither, convinced that it would be impossible for the British to dislodge him.

Kawiti felt both complacent and apprehensive. The pa he had built was immensely strong and provided with every means of scientific defence, and five hundred good fighting men lay behind its massive fences. Colonel Despard, on the other hand, commanded close upon twelve hundred men, with eleven guns, two of them being thirty-two-pounders. For the odds Kawiti cared not at all; but the prospect of so many guns pounding at him all at once did not please him. There was no help for it. The war-party was at his gates, which he did not mean to open without a struggle.

Colonel Despard, getting his first glimpse of "The Bat's Nest," made up his mind that he would reduce it by means of regular sap work, if it cost him a year. He had not to wait nearly so long; but neither he nor Kawiti had the least presentiment how swift was to be the fall of a fortress which at first sight looked impregnable.

[Pg 196]

It was now summer, and the dreadful mud and angry rivers were no longer to be feared; yet there were difficulties in getting into position, for old Kawiti had chosen his site with consummate skill. The troops left Kororareka on the 8th of December, and four days later reached the pa of a friendly chief, Tamati Pukutetu, whence Ruapekapeka could be seen, nine miles away. Only nine miles; yet it cost those twelve hundred men nine days to cross the intervening strip of country between Pukutetu's pa and their camp before Ruapekapeka, and another nine days elapsed before the whole of the guns and ammunition could be got up. Kawiti made no attempt to harass the troops. The country fought for him and, besides, he was in no hurry to begin. No Maori ever was.

The British camp lay distant eight hundred yards from Ruapekapeka, which stood on the side of a hill, surrounded by dense forest. A quarter of a mile of space had been cleared all around of bush, leaving a formidable glacis, which must be crossed before the massive palisades could be reached. Not that the colonel intended to cross it until he had sent ahead of him a good many iron notes of interrogation.

For the pa itself, with its one hundred and seventy yards of frontage and seventy yards of depth, all broken into flanks, if a purely technical description were to be given of its figure—the stockaded divisions of the enceinte, the curtains with their huge piquets, the trenches and covered ways, the loopholes on the ground-level for musket fire, the traverses, the subtle division of the interior into compartments so that[Pg 197] the loss of one should not necessitate the loss of the rest, the subterranean cells, the bomb-proof shelters,—were these to be detailed, even a soldier would stare and, while still his wonder grew, ask not only how old Kawiti's head could carry all it knew of the science of defensive warfare, but also, to adapt a famous query, "Where the deuce got he that knowledge?"

The bombardment began long before all the guns were up. Moses Tawhai, one of the allied chiefs, just before daylight on the 29th of December stole through the thick bush with his men to a position six hundred yards from the pa. Ere the enemy detected their daring approach, they had "rushed up" a temporary stockade, and into this two hundred soldiers and a couple of guns were promptly conveyed.

Two days later, even as the enemy, as if inviting a beginning, hoisted their standard, every British gun in position—big guns, brass guns, little guns, mortars, rockets—roared, banged, cracked and fizzed an instant response. When the very first shot—fired from the gun served by the contingent from H.M.S. Racehorse, under Lieutenant Bland—cut the flagstaff in two and brought down the flag, "even the ranks of Tuscany could scarce forbear to cheer." Which is to say, the chivalrous gentlemen defending the pa were as ungrudging in their admiration of the successful marksman as were the besiegers.

Next day, the 1st of January, 1846, the guns again roared out in chorus, this time in salute to the New Year; and old Kawiti, on the 2nd, tried one of his famous flank rushes. But the British were ready[Pg 198] for him and drove him back with loss, so that he kept behind his defences for the remainder of the siege.

So the days wore on until the 10th, by which time every gun, heavy and light, was in position. All day long they thundered and crashed, and shot and shell thumped and smacked against the wooden walls with much more visible effect than at Oheawai, so that two very obvious breaches had been made by nightfall.

Heke arrived that night with a reinforcement, having dodged a column of friendlies who were blocking him in his home at Okerangi. When he saw the condition of things, he gave the very sound advice that the pa should be evacuated before further mischief was done. "There is no sense in remaining here to be killed," he urged. "Let them have the pa and, if they follow us into the bush, we shall have them; for they cannot bring their big guns there."

People who have for nearly a fortnight endured a bombardment do not require much persuasion to change their quarters, and the majority then and there followed Heke out into the dense bush in rear of the pa.

But it was different with old Kawiti. Ruapekapeka was his very own, the offspring of his own science and skill. He would not leave the pa while hope remained of saving it. So he threw his oratory into the scale against Heke's arguments, and prevailed upon a few devoted adherents to share his fortune for good or ill.

So the 10th of January closed without the British[Pg 199] being aware that Heke and the bulk of the garrison had slipped away to safety.

The end came on the next day, and from one point of view rather pathetically. It was Sunday, and if there was one principle more than another which the mihonari had impressed upon their converts, it was that no work of any kind must be done upon God's Day of Rest. Most of those who were left in Ruapekapeka were Christians, and these, believing that the British would be similarly employed, assembled for divine service under cover of some rising ground outside, and in rear of the pa. Kawiti and the few who remained inside were asleep in the trenches; for they, too, had assumed that no attack would be delivered on that Day of days. Heke might have warned them; for he had read the lives of Wellington and Napoleon, and knew that Sunday never yet stopped a fight. But Heke and his people were also busy at their devotions in the shelter of the forest.

Had the British been alone nothing might have happened; but the friendlies made a shrewd guess at the cause of the unusual quietude within the pa, and Wiremu Waka Turau (William Walker), Waka Nene's brother, stole up to the breaches and cautiously peeped through. As he had expected, he could see no one; so signalled his brother.

Nene communicated the news, and Captain Denny and men of the 58th instantly hurried up with the hapu of Nene and Tao Nui at their heels. As they burst into the silent fortress, old Kawiti awoke and with a handful of followers made a brief defence.[Pg 200] But the assailants poured in, the odds were too great, and the old warrior, knowing that the game was up, turned and fled out at the rear of the pa and joined Heke in the bush, calling upon him to return with his Nga-Puhi and retake Ruapekapeka.

The face of the situation was thus entirely changed. The fort was occupied by the British and their allies, and the Nga-Puhi were hopelessly attempting to re-enter it at the rear. Their attack was really a feint, intended to lure the soldiers to Heke's ambush; but when the Nga-Puhi skirmishers at last fell back towards the bush, strict orders were given against pursuit. Here, again, it was the advice of the friendly chiefs which prevented the conversion of an unexpected success into a disaster.

"Ah! The soldiers care nothing for Sunday when there's any fighting to be done," observed a rueful Nga-Puhi prisoner after the fight. "It's only when there's nothing else to do that they go and say their prayers!"

So, on the 11th of January, 1846, fell Ruapekapeka pa, "The Bat's Nest," at a cost to the British of twelve killed and thirty-one wounded—how different from those ten awful minutes at Oheawai!—and with it fell the hopes of Heke and Kawiti, who presently tendered their submission and swore allegiance to Britain.

And so ended the first sustained war between Maori and Pakeha.

[Pg 201]



"Luck!" said the stupid. "Foresight!" declared the wise. "George Grey all over!" chuckled the knowing ones. But the fact remained that Captain Grey had in less than two months partially disentangled the economic knot, had done something towards smoothing the political situation, and had brought about the end of a war which for a year and a half had vexed the peace of New Zealand.

There were not wanting malcontents who prophesied all sorts of evil because Captain Grey had accepted the submission of Kawiti and Heke, pardoned them unconditionally, relieved the north of martial law, and left only a nominal garrison at the Bay of Islands.

But the Governor already knew the Maori well enough to feel sure that a generous confidence in their honour would strongly appeal to them. And, besides, when George Grey had resolved upon a course, he held to his resolution, unstimulated by the smiles of flatterers, unvexed by the sneers of the envious, undeterred by the expressed opinion, good, bad, or indifferent, of any living being.

[Pg 202]

Kawiti was seventy-two when he rushed the British with his favourite flank attacks. A week after the destruction of his famous fortress, Ruapekapeka, he wrote to the Governor, proposing peace in a letter very characteristic of himself, and particularly impressing one fact upon His Excellency. "Let us have peace between you and me," he wrote, "for I am filled with your riches" (he meant, "I have had enough of your cannon-balls"). "Therefore, I say, let you and I make peace. Will you not? Yes!"

Honi Heke professed not to wish to make peace, and so long as he actually refused submission, so long was there danger that, if opportunity served, he would break out again. Once he had submitted, that possibility would cease to exist; for he had never been known to break his pledged word.

Waka Nene paid him a visit one day and attempted to talk him over. Heke admitted that he had every desire for peace, but that, as he was a great chief (which he was not, save by marriage, as Waka knew very well), and as he had only fought in defence of his land and his liberty, which no one should convince him was wrong, he would only submit if the Kawana came and asked him to do so.

Perhaps no one was more surprised than Heke when the Governor came and frankly offered him his hand. In the Maori code, the chief who goes first to the other, or who first sends a "go-between," is held to be the one who sues for peace. So Heke shook hands with the Governor and tried to be condescending. But he knew in his heart that he was[Pg 203] dealing with a shrewder man than himself, and one who would never hesitate to make a small and not dishonourable concession for the sake of a great public good. Heke knew that he had received the shadow, and looked content; Governor Grey was fully aware that he had gained the substance, and was content.

The conclusion of the whole matter came in May, when old Kawiti boarded H.M.S. Diver, then in the Bay of Islands, and formally tendered his submission to the Governor, expressing his regret for the trouble he had given, and his gratitude for the consideration with which he had been treated. The scene was watched by Waka Nene and other chiefs who had helped to lay the axe to the root of this venerable tree; but, true to his course, Governor Grey's reception of him was so cordial and kind, that the old warrior soon forgot his humiliation, and remembered only that he stood in the presence of a friend. O si sic semper!

"Jack" Maori did not allow the Governor much breathing time. The south was seething with discontent. Some of the colonists had never forgiven the Executive for treating the Massacre of the Wairau as a political rather than as a personal incident and, since Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata were living in the neighbourhood of Wellington, people there were apprehensive of similar happenings. The Maori, too—and particularly the restless pair just mentioned—continually grumbled, and the burden of their lament was, as ever, "Land! Land! Land!" Moreover, men of their type were not[Pg 204] likely to be heedless of the doings farther north. Colonists knew this, and conceived their fears well grounded.

They were indeed. Neither Te Rauparaha nor his friend, Rangihaeata, were men to be trusted should power, linked with opportunity, come their way. They had already scored heavily off the Pakeha, and their attitude was closely watched and imitated by their countrymen. A few miles outside Wellington settlers were treated with an insolence which enraged them, but which they dared not resent as they would have done had their numbers been greater and their dwellings less scattered. Their indignation at the behaviour of the Maori was the greater, because they now felt it to be justified; for the land most in dispute—the valley of the Hutt—had been bought by Governor Fitzroy, and the money paid over to Te Rauparaha. Whether he had or had not made a fair division with Rangihaeata was not the settlers' affair.

But the "Tiger of the Wairau," as Rangihaeata had come to be styled, chose to think otherwise and, having secured a partner to his liking in his friend Mamaku, demonstrated his views in his own objectionable way. Te Rauparaha, the diplomatist, kept himself in the background, though it is certain that his advice counted for much; and even Rangihaeata did not at first make himself conspicuous, allowing his brigadier, Mamaku, to harass the settlers in the valley of the Hutt and its neighbourhood.

Perhaps too close a watch was kept upon Rangihaeata, and Mamaku reckoned at less than his[Pg 205] proper value. At all events, after a few months of desultory fighting, it was Mamaku with a hundred men who attacked a force of British regulars with a dash and spirit seldom seen in the wars between Maori and Pakeha.

Boulcott's Farm was the advanced post of the British stockade of Fort Richmond, on the Hutt, and was held in May, 1846, by Lieutenant Page of the 58th Regiment and fifty men. The post consisted of a wooden cottage, several huts and a barn adjoining, which last had been rendered bullet-proof, and was the only fortified portion of the cluster of buildings. The ground had been cleared for some little distance all around, and beyond, on every side, spread the noble forest for which this region was then famous. The River Hutt was not far away, and somewhere in the thick scrub beyond the opposite bank lurked the enemy. So Boulcott's Farm kept wide awake.

The night of the 15th of May passed quietly. The careful officer made his rounds, and to every challenge had for answer, "All's well!" For none could know that from the fringing scrub on the other side of the river dark faces peered, and fierce eyes watched the glimmering lantern as the rounds swung back to quarters, thankful for the prospect of a quiet night's rest.

But so it was. Mamaku and his stalwarts were there, watching and waiting their opportunity to cross the stream and spring upon an easy prey.

The night wore on; a new day was born, but still the darkness lingered. The song of a bird, the[Pg 206] ring of a settler's axe, the crash of some giant tree falling from the ranks of its comrades, these were the few and infrequent sounds which broke the silence of the Hutt at that date; but, as the stars began to pale before the dawn of the 16th, the stillness seemed intensified. The men of the inlying picket felt the influence of the deep silence of the bush as they had never felt it before.

The sentry, suspicious of he knew not what, peered at the forms of his comrades, indistinct in the gloom, and his nerves thrilled as he caught sight of a standing figure in their rear. The challenge was on his lips when the figure slowly, but not stealthily, advanced a pace or two, and the sentry recognised Allen, the bugler, a boy of fifteen. With a sigh of relief the sentry turned and peered again into the darkness of the clearing to his front.

Paler grew the stars, some flickered out low down upon the horizon; but still the darkness and the silence held and—— What was that?

That deep silence was broken at last, but by a sound so faint that only tensely strained nerves could have caught it. A rustle, nothing more, as if the first light breath of the morning wind stirred the tiniest fronds of the fern. Yet the sentry heard it and, with his musket at the ready, stared into the gloom and prayed for light.

Again! This time he was sure it was no wind, and his eyeballs ached with the effort to discover the cause of that gentle and, it might be, ominous rustling. But absolute silence had fallen again.

He glanced at Allen. The lad's figure was more[Pg 207] distinct, and the sentry saw that he was leaning slightly forward, his hand to his ear. So he, too, had heard that soft stir, and was still unsatisfied.

Then, as the sentry watched his young comrade, the thick darkness yielded to the touch of the invisible day, and the black curtain was changed to sullen grey.

Again a sigh of relief passed the sentry's lips as he swung round to his front. Light was coming at last and—— Ah! Look!

No sound this time. Something crept stealthily, slowly—how slowly!—towards him. Something crouched close to the cleared ground and moved with infinite patience through the fern.

"My God! They're on us!"

With the exclamation—perhaps it was also a prayer—the sentry threw forward his musket and fired—hurriedly, blindly, hitting no one; and the report was almost drowned in the wild uproar which instantly followed.

The sentry shrieked a warning; the men of the picket discharged their muskets and swung them up by the barrel, as half a hundred naked Maori, upspringing from the fern, yelled and howled with fury, realising that they had been seen just a moment too soon.

But one sound topped all others. Clear and shrill on the air of that pallid morning rang the notes of the "alarm," as young Allen blew with all the power of his lungs—not so much to summon, as to save, his sleeping comrades.

Down went the sentry with a bullet in his brain.[Pg 208] The men of the picket reeled to the ground shot, or stabbed, or tomahawked, and still young Allen blew—"Awake! Awake!"

A huge Maori rushed at him and snatched at the bugle. Still holding the mouthpiece to his lips, Allen dodged him and—ran? No; stood still and blew, clear and sharp, "Awake! Awake!"

With a grunt of wrath the savage raised his tomahawk and smote strongly downwards. The keen steel almost shore the lad's arm from his shoulder, and the bugle dropped from his nerveless fingers. But, ere it fell, the brave boy caught it in his left hand, set it again to his lips, and for the last time blew the quavering notes—"Awake! Awake!"

Then the Maori struck once more, and Allen died.

Many a brave man wears the proud cross "For Valour." Was it ever better deserved than by the boy who sleeps forgotten in a far-off land, and who simply did his duty?

While this tragedy was being enacted, a fierce attack was made upon the defenceless quarter of the farm, whence Lieutenant Page, aroused by poor Allen's last bugle call, rushed with two of his startled men. They were immediately driven back; but presently, while the sergeant with a handful kept the Maori at bay, Page and six men, carrying three wounded under a hot fire, managed to reach the stockaded barn and join forces with the bulk of the command. The end of the affair soon came after that. The British poured out of the barn, led by their officer, and Mamaku and his Maori, having no liking for cold steel, scampered across the river,[Pg 209] having killed six and wounded four of the small company of soldiers. Lieutenant Page was subsequently promoted for his gallantry in beating off a force twice as great as his own.


A boy's heroism. "Awake! Awake!"

Whether "Ould Rapparee," as the soldiers called Te Rauparaha, was really Rangihaeata's chief adviser in all this mischief, the "Fighting Governor"[64] suspected him of being so, and determined to put him where he could do no more harm for a time. "Ould Rap" was living not far from Porirua, near Wellington on the west, without the faintest suspicion that the Kawana's keen eye was upon him, and a most indignant man was he when he awoke in the grey of a winter dawn to find himself in the grasp of a number of sturdy tars. The little old fellow wriggled like an eel, fought, kicked, and bit, shouting lustily the while, "Ngati-Toa! Ngati-Toa to the rescue!" But the Ngati-Toa, seeing what was toward, judged it wiser to remain a little longer on their sleeping mats, and the warrior was carried off into what he chose to consider durance vile. Since he was treated as a State prisoner, and merely detained on board a ship of war for a year, he had only the fact of his captivity to complain of; and for this he had himself to thank.

Governor Grey now turned his attention to Rangihaeata, who had withdrawn to the Horokiwi valley, a most impracticable region, densely wooded, midway between Porirua and Pahatanui. Here he[Pg 210] had retired behind a stockade of immense strength, upon which, by Captain Grey's advice, no assault was made. New tactics of blockade were tried, a method of warfare which the Tiger of the Wairau relished as little as he had expected it: for there had been no time to lay in supplies. Consequently, he and his men were soon starved out and dispersed; nor did Rangihaeata ever again appear in arms against the Government.

Trouble arose early in 1847 at Whanganui. Disputes regarding land tenure had been frequent and acute; but it would not be fair to ascribe to that ever-burning question the shocking massacre and the outbreak which followed it. It was a boyish prank which this time fired the train of events and once more set Maori and Pakeha face to face in armed opposition.

On the 18th of April a youthful midshipman of the Calliope was "fooling" with a pistol, which exploded and wounded a Putiki chief in the face. The wound was attended to by the English surgeon, and the chief made light of the matter; but certain "irreconcilables" proclaimed the middy's act an attempt at deliberate murder, and swore to take utu. That these men were actuated by sheer hate of the Pakeha is clear from the fact that, not being related to the Putiki chief, they had no right to exact vengeance on his behalf. Yet revenge him they did, and in atrocious fashion.

A settler named Gilfinnan, his wife and eight children, lived at Matarana, a lonely spot five miles from Whanganui. Six natives descended upon[Pg 211] this solitary homestead two days after the midshipman's unlucky prank, and barbarously murdered Mrs. Gilfinnan, two young boys and a girl of fourteen. The eldest daughter was severely injured and Gilfinnan, bleeding from a tomahawk gash in the neck, staggered into the town with the dismal information.

Then Honi Wiremu (John Williams), a Christian chief, called upon six other young men to follow him, and without an hour's delay sped up the river in pursuit of those who had dishonoured the Maori name. The murderers had made fifty miles when the canoe of the avengers dashed into sight and swiftly came abreast of their own. Before the assassins could lift a hand, Patapo, a young chief, gripping his tomahawk between his teeth, sprang into their canoe, instantly upsetting it, and in a few minutes the ruffians were dragged from the water, handcuffed and carried prisoners to Whanganui.

The district being at that time under martial law, Captain Laye of the 58th Regiment made short work of the murderers, four of whom he hanged out of hand, after general court-martial, while the fifth, a mere boy, was transported for life.

The torch was alight now: but it was three weeks later before the settlers saw the surrounding hills dark with hostile Maori, who opened fire on the town, the stockade and, impudently enough, on the gunboat in the river. The defence was too weak to allow of operations by daylight; but, after nightfall, when the natives thought that they might safely loot outlying houses, the soldiers, undismayed by superior numbers, chased them from the town, routing them[Pg 212] utterly and slaying, with many more, their old chief, Maketu, a man of note.

Early in June reinforcements were dispatched to the Whanganui post, and the "Fighting Governor" himself arrived. How useful Captain Grey could be in a crisis such as this, and how intimate was his knowledge of human nature, is evidenced by what occurred shortly after his arrival, when a deputation waited on him with the request that he would remove the inhabitants from Whanganui and transfer them to Wellington.

Captain Grey studied the faces of the men for a few moments, and then replied, "How many of you really wish to effect this change? Let all who desire to run away from the natives cross to the other side of the room."

Not a man stirred from his place and, though some did eventually leave Whanganui, the settlement was not deserted. To-day Whanganui is the centre of one of the finest pastoral districts in New Zealand.

Throughout June, Colonel McCleverty tried without success to lure the Maori from their strong entrenchments; but towards the end of the month he made a demonstration in their front and, after some skirmishing, played the old trick of seeming to retreat in disorder. The enemy were outside their works in a twinkling, yelling triumphantly; but the soldiers turned at bay and drove them back over their breastworks at the point of the bayonet. This was the last of it. Winter had set in and the Maori, having had enough of fighting combined with semi-[Pg 213]starvation, came in under a flag of truce and proposed peace on the ground that they considered they had killed sufficient soldiers!

Knowing the Maori mind, the Governor appeared to resent this remark and replied that, though he would discontinue fighting, he would blockade the river until peace was sued for in more seemly phrase. Spring was well advanced before the haughty chiefs crushed down their pride, and not a craft of any sort had been allowed up stream since the Kawana's fiat went forth. So, being unable to obtain tobacco, tea, sugar, and other luxuries, they swallowed humble pie, and wrote begging His Excellency to proclaim peace.

Numbers of Maori could by this time read and write their own language, and many had become proficient in English. A news-sheet in their own language gave them information regarding current events; the Bible and some other books had been rendered into Maori, and in spite of wars and rumours of wars, civilisation advanced apace.

With the conflicts round Whanganui terminated the first period of the long struggle between Maori and Pakeha. It had lasted over two years, it had made its influence felt from Auckland in the north to Wellington in the south, and it had demonstrated to the Pakeha that there were more ways of fighting than were to be found between the covers of the Red Book. Would the Pakeha remember that lesson when they next met the Maori in the field?

The meeting was to come; but not until eleven years of fruitful peace had passed, bringing with them all the beneficial changes which make for the[Pg 214] future greatness of a young country. And for those quiet years with all their opportunities, he would be ungenerous indeed who would not give the credit and the thanks in large—perhaps in largest—measure to the Governor, Captain George Grey.

He had not yet been two years in the colony which he had found in such a parlous state; yet, as once before, in South Australia, he had brought order out of disorder, and by his firmness and consummate tact effected a by no means sham reconciliation between his own proud race and the equally proud, and far more turbulent, Maori folk. So far his greatest honours had been won in time of war. Let us see how he comported himself during the next six years which remained to him of that peace which he had done so much to bring about.


[64] Captain Grey was styled the "Fighting Governor" by the Maori because of his frequent presence at the military operations against them, where, it was said of him, "he carried the spirit of peace into the councils of war."


[Pg 215]


In August, 1846, the Imperial Parliament passed "The New Zealand Government Act," dividing the colony into two provinces and granting representative institutions. It was on New Year's Day, 1848, that the Queen's will was made known to her people in her youngest colony, and Captain Grey was sworn in anew—this time as Governor-in-Chief of the Islands of New Zealand, and also as Governor of the Province of New Ulster and New Munster, the new division of New Zealand proper. In the same month Major-General Pitt and Mr. E.J. Eyre were appointed Lieutenant-Governors of New Ulster and New Munster respectively.

The exultation of the colonists over their improved status was suddenly checked when they learned that Sir George Grey—now a Knight Commander of the Bath—had determined to withhold the franchise from them for a reason which seemed to him to justify this serious step.

The new Act conferred the franchise upon all who could read and write English, which, of course, excluded the great majority of Maori. Sir George[Pg 216] Grey feared that, when the natives appreciated the great power which the exercise of the franchise would confer upon the white population, still greatly in the minority, and realised the disadvantages to themselves, discontent would be excited amongst them, and trouble break out afresh. For this reason he suspended that part of the charter dealing with the franchise until he should receive an answer from the Colonial Office to the communication he had made on the subject.

Strong man as he was, Sir George Grey was forced to bow before the storm of popular indignation which his action aroused. He held out until November; but he was one, and his opponents were very many, so in that month he wrote again to the Colonial Secretary, withdrawing from the position he had taken up. Meantime, he gave the public a portion of what was demanded in the shape of a provincial representative ordinance.

This came to nothing, for the Imperial Parliament was preparing a fresh charter for New Zealand. But, owing to the time which must elapse on each occasion before those so far divided could learn one another's views, it was not until the 30th of June, 1852, that the Constitution Act for New Zealand was passed. As in those days the voyage to New Zealand was a much longer affair than it is now, the new Constitution was not promulgated in the colony until January, 1853, in March of which year Sir George Grey assumed his new duties.

The Constitution Act gave representative institutions to the colony, which was divided anew into the[Pg 217] six Provinces of Auckland, Wellington and Taranaki in the North Island, and Nelson, Otago and Canterbury in the Middle Island. The Chief Executive was to be the Governor of the colony, and the office of Lieutenant-Governor was done away with.

Each Province was to be administered by a Superintendent, whose election the Governor had power to veto. Each Province was to make its own laws (save those which affected the colony as a whole) by means of an elected council. The whole colony was to be ruled by a Governor; a Legislative Council of ten, appointed for life by the Crown; and a House of Representatives of from twenty-four to forty members, to be elected every five years by the people. The Governor possessed the right to veto laws made by the Provincial Councils, while the Crown might exercise the same right with regard to the Colonial Parliament. The franchise included all British subjects—irrespective of colour—twenty-one years of age and having certain very easy property qualifications.

There were many more clauses, and, of course, the Constitution did not suit everybody. Still, it was on the whole a large and liberal measure, and time would show its working and where the need for alteration lay.

While all this was under discussion, matters were not standing still in other directions. Emigration revived upon the establishment of peace, and New Zealand became once more the Mecca of many a poor man's hopes. So firm, indeed, was faith in the future of the colony that within three years of the cessation[Pg 218] of trouble in Whanganui, two new settlements had been planted in the Middle Island.

The earlier of these, Otago, was founded in March, 1848, under the auspices of the Free Church of Scotland, itself a new institution, formed by secession from the Established Church. The Company had a hand in the matter; but it was now a chastened Company, and the scheme which was drafted in view of founding Otago was not marked by such imperfections as had marred the success of earlier operations.

The agent, in this instance, was a man whose memory is yet green in Otago—Captain William Cargill of the 74th Regiment, retired, who had served with distinction in the Peninsular wars, and was reputed a descendant of David Cargill, the Covenanter. Otago never knew the desolation which had been the lot of her northern sisters and, in no very long time, the chief city had been founded under the reminiscent name of Dunedin, while the Port was called "Chalmers," after the great leader of the Disruption.

The principle of imitation possibly influenced the Church of England to follow the example of the Scotch seceders. Canterbury was founded in December, 1850, under the auspices of the Establishment, and it was Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield who obtained for the Canterbury Association a ten years' charter of incorporation from Her Majesty's Government. Moreover, land was purchased from the not yet defunct Company, and the emigrants, who were styled in England "Canterbury Pilgrims,"[Pg 219] arrived in due course. As a whole, they were as fine a set of people as ever young colony could desire. Their ideas were at first a little high-flown; but they soon got rid of initial absurdities, and Canterbury is to-day not the least in the Dominion of New Zealand.

Everything was going very well indeed, and men began to tell one another that, now that the native trouble was over, there was nothing more to be feared, nothing to prevent active colonisation, nothing to interfere with the rapid growth of the towns already founded. One might almost assert that New Zealand was a land without drawbacks. So they talked and hoped and planned, forgetting all the while that they lived—or some of them—within that sinister belt which straggles round the globe under the name of the "earthquake zone." They were sharply reminded of it on the 16th of October, 1848.

It was about two in the morning when people were suddenly awakened by—they knew not what. Simply, they were awakened. Some lay still, wondering why sleep had so abruptly departed; others, suspicious of trouble, rose and began to dress; only the few were aware of the true cause of that untimely awakening, and these rushed out of their dwellings and shouted an alarm. As the cries were in their mouths, there came a dull, far-away rumbling, a shudder shook the earth, and every house in Wellington rocked to and fro. Then people knew what was happening, and for a time all was confusion. The earth-pang was upon them, and folk ran hither and thither, crying aloud in their terror, seeking aid[Pg 220] of those who sought it as eagerly, bewailing their ruined homes while shock after shock convulsed the earth, shaking down walls, splitting gaps in houses and cleaving fissures in the solid ground.

From Banks Peninsula on the east of the Middle Island to the Peninsula of Taranaki on the west and White Island on the east of the North Island, the two "isles shivered and shook like a man in a mortal affright." The plains gaped, the mountains reverberated to the crash of great masses of rock thundering down into their valleys, and for nearly a month from the time of the first tremor this whole area was full of diminishing unrest.

Most of the houses in the Wellington district were built of wood, though not a few were of brick, and it was discovered that those of wood which were built upon a brick foundation resisted the shocks better than those where only one of these materials had been used. Wellington suffered most, losing some sixteen thousand pounds' worth of property, while the fall of the ordnance store there buried in its ruins Sergeant Lovell and his two children.[65]

This was bad enough; but, as many of us know, it takes more than an earthquake to drive people from the land in which they have made their home. So most folk stayed where they were, and a shock of a more pleasurable kind presently confirmed them in their judgment.

[Pg 221]

This was nothing less than the discovery of gold. Men rejoiced, because they knew that, with such a magnet, it would not be long ere the colony attracted to her shores the increased population which she required for her better development.

There was reason to rejoice over the finding of gold at home, the more because, when news arrived of the Californian discoveries in 1849, no fewer than a thousand colonists had emigrated thither from New Zealand, whence so many able-bodied men could ill be spared. Two years later came the story of the marvellous finds in the river-beds of New South Wales and the gullies of Victoria, and the young colony suffered a further drain of her stalwarts. Many intending immigrants, too, had shifted their helm and, instead of keeping a course for Maoriland, steered for one or other of the gold-bearing colonies. So people were heartily glad from every point of view when Mr. Charles Ring in 1852 found unmistakable traces of gold at Coromandel, forty miles north of Auckland.

The Coromandel territory belonged to old Te Tanewha, or "Hooknose," the contemporary of Captain Cook; and Lieutenant-Colonel Wynyard, Acting Governor, would allow no invasion of his land without his permission. Old Hookinoë, as he pronounced his nickname, proved most gracious in the matter of cheap licences; but his land was soon exhausted, and his neighbour, Taraia, positively refused to allow either digging or prospecting. Five years later gold was discovered in paying quantities at Collingwood, in the Nelson Province, and four[Pg 222] years after that there was a further find at Gabriel's Gully, Otago; but it was not until June, 1862, that Coromandel, where the metal had been originally unearthed, was declared available as a goldfield.

Though Sir George Grey had now a House of Representatives and a Legislative Council, he did not summon the General Assembly. He had already applied to the British Government to remove him from a position in which he had spent thirteen years of strenuous life—five in South Australia, eight in New Zealand—battling with, and for the most part overcoming, formidable difficulties; setting one colony upon the high road to success, relieving another of many of her burdens, bringing to her much-needed peace, and providing her with a Constitution and Representative Government. After such a long period of arduous toil he felt that he had a right to crave leave to rest awhile.

He left New Zealand on the 31st of December, 1853, carrying with him the best wishes of the best of the colonial population, and the whole-hearted devotion of the Maori race. It was not only as Governor that Sir George had gained the respect of the Maori; his qualities as a man—not the least of them his manliness—had won their regard, and they admitted yet another debt. He had learned their language, and had set down in that wonderful thing, a printed book, some of their most cherished traditions and legends, which must otherwise have been lost to them and to the world.

Sir George Grey being gone—having no presentiment that, as "Fighting Governor," he was to return[Pg 223] to his ancient battlefields,—the honour of opening the first session of the General Assembly fell to Lieutenant-Colonel Wynyard, who had assumed the administration of the Government. Auckland was, of course, the place of meeting; and there New Zealand's first Parliament assembled for the first time on the 27th of May, 1854, just fifty-four years ago. The second Parliament met in April, 1856, after the new Governor, Colonel Thomas Gore Browne, C.B., had assumed office.

The early months of Colonel Wynyard's administration were marked by a sad calamity. Measles broke out at the Bay of Islands and, finding virgin soil, spread, like a rank weed, from end to end of the land. Four thousand Maori died before the epidemic was stamped out, among them old Kawiti, at the age of eighty-four. He had fought more than one good fight against the British leaders; but this time there came a captain he could not defeat, so he drew his mat across his face and slept with his fathers.

As this is not a political history, it is unnecessary to deal with the struggles of the first Parliament to shape itself and to bring about responsible government. But it is well to remember that New Zealand was now subdivided into six Provinces, each empowered to manage its internal affairs; and also that there were men who from the first saw danger in this splitting up of interests, and did not hesitate to declare that there must be one Central Government, and one only. Otherwise, they insisted, there must be inevitably developed a number of small republics,[Pg 224] each jealous of its own privileges, yet envious of its neighbours' success; each desiring the advantage of itself, all careless of the general good.

It was union, not separation, which all true men desired—a union which, while it left a man free to indulge in honest pride that his fate had made him a Wellingtonian, an Aucklander, a Cantuarian, or what not, should compel him to the larger boast, "I am a New Zealander!"


[65] Another very severe earthquake, which caused great damage to life and property and was felt on both sides of Cook Strait, occurred in January, 1855, on the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of Wellington. The sentry on guard over the ruins of Government House there, stood to attention during the height of a convulsion and cried, "All's well!"


[Pg 225]


There was no session of Parliament between April, 1858, and the end of July, 1860, and the colonists were consequently justified in believing that the machinery of Government was moving smoothly throughout the Islands, and that the chief engineers required no help from their subordinates. Had they been told that they stood upon the dividing line between peace and war; had they been told that it required but one forward step in order to plunge them into a strife which should endure almost without intermission for just so many years as the peace they had enjoyed, they would have laughed in their informant's face.

From the earliest days certain tribes had maintained an attitude of reserve towards the Pakeha. If the white intruders chose to found a settlement or two on the coast and remain there, well and good; the Maori might find their presence useful commercially and for purposes of war. It was another matter when the strangers absorbed the land, divided the country into provinces, and founded not only capital cities, but numbers of smaller towns and villages as[Pg 226] well. If this sort of thing were to go on, the Maori might as well evacuate the island at once; for, as Heke had said to the Governor, "If you take our land, where are we to go?"

This was the view taken by the Waikato, one of the most famous and most warlike of the Maori iwi, who about the year 1848 formed a Land League, which they strove to induce the other tribes to join. The leading principle of the League was obstinate refusal to sell land under any conditions to the Pakeha.

Confined to the Waikato alone, this movement would have been serious enough, threatening, as it did, to preserve in the midst of the Pakeha settlements numerous fierce and resolute men, opposed to the domination of Britain. When other tribes associated themselves with the founders of the League, it should have been evident that some day, and before long, white and brown must stand foot to foot to decide which was to be for ever supreme.

It mattered not to the Leaguers that the Government desired them to participate in the beneficent legislation designed on behalf of their countrymen. If they were to be governed at all, they preferred to choose the means and the way. To this end they devised a grotesque scheme, blending British institutions with the monarchical system of the ancient Jews. This done, they elected a king, called a "parliament," hoisted the flag which William the Fourth had granted to the "United Tribes of New Zealand," and inscribed it "Potatau, King of New Zealand."

Ridicule might have killed the movement, had it[Pg 227] stopped there; but danger loomed very near when the irreconcilable chief of the "Boiling Water" tribes, Iwikau Te Heu Heu, demanded total separation between the two races, pointing to his great ancestor, the slumbering volcano, Tongariro, as the centre of a district through which no road should be made, where no white man should settle, and wherein Queen Wikitoria should not be prayed for.

Governor Browne held, notwithstanding, that "Kingism" should be allowed to die a natural death, and most unwisely repealed the Act which Sir George Grey had brought in, which prevented the sale of arms to natives. It was not until six months after this unaccountable step, by which time the Maori had acquired several thousand stand of arms, that the Governor listened to the anxious settlers and made the purchase of guns and ammunition somewhat more difficult by increasing the duty upon them. The whirlwind of the wind thus sown was to be reaped later; but the immediate result was a series of small civil strifes between different tribes during the years 1857 and 1858.

Peace was still unbroken when 1859 came in, nor did the colonists even then pay much attention to the mutterings of the Land Leaguers or the growls of the King party. Yet they were really sitting over a powder magazine, and a very small spark must at any moment cause a terrible explosion.

Before the explosion comes, let one last word be said regarding the attitude of the contending parties towards one another.

Every one knows the shocking story of the retreat[Pg 228] of the red men before the advance of civilisation, during which deeds were done, not once, not twice, but over and over again, upon both sides which cannot be named for the horror of them. We have not always been too careful of the black man's rights in Africa, and when he has turned upon us in his despair, have smitten him hip and thigh, decimating his tribe, burning his kraal and laying waste his fields.

The Maori experienced little, indeed, of this in comparison with those others. Misunderstanding there was, and some, perhaps, were too quick to judge. Misunderstanding added to hasty judgment led to strife; but that strife, keen as it was, and bitter too, sometimes, was never a combat à outrance.

Pakeha and Maori met and fought, slew and were slain, won or lost. Feeling now and again ran very high, the Maori smarting under a sense of loss and injustice, the Pakeha furious at some treacherous murder. Then there were reprisals. Such lamentable happenings there were; but at no time, not in the very depth of the war, existed generally that intense bitterness of spirit, that fierce racial jealousy, that consuming hatred, which distinguished the conflict between Paleface and Redskin. As the limits of the Pakeha's territory were extended, at no time did there arise such a band of bloody murderers as the "Indian Runners" of the western frontier of the United States. With these men it was an abiding principle to shoot an Indian on sight, innocent though he might be of any deed of blood. The strongest article in the creed of the Runner was,[Pg 229] "There is only one good Injun, and that's a dead Injun."

Nothing like this wicked spirit ever animated the white community in New Zealand. One might almost say that they waged war in generous mood, and there were certainly instances of extreme generosity and high-mindedness on the Maori side. Where in the world in a campaign against "savages" has one heard of the savage calling a warning to his white foe? Yet this is what the Maori did. "Go back, Toby!" they cried to Lieutenant Phillpotts at Oheawai. "Lie down, icky-fif; we're goin' to shoot!" they frequently shouted to the soldiers of the 65th Regiment, who had somehow gained their regard. Where in the world will you hear of converted "savages," having been taught the sanctity of the Sabbath, respecting the same when at war with their instructors? Yet this is what the Maori did. Remember the pa of Ruapekapeka! Great and simple souls! What must have been their feelings when a volley from those who had taught them the holy lesson laid many of them low? There is no implication intended that the Maori were uniformly chivalrous and the Pakeha uniformly the opposite—the records of the war would never justify such,—but it ought not to be difficult for the civilised white man to be generous and chivalrous, whereas such instances as those just quoted are probably unique in the annals of war between the white and the coloured races.

The wars in New Zealand had for the most part their origin in agrarian questions, and were concluded[Pg 230] by diplomatic negotiations. They were not—nor was it ever contemplated that they should be—wars of extermination. The Pakeha strove by means more or less legal, if not legitimate, to push the Maori from the soil on which their feet had been firmly planted for six hundred years. The old owners resented the attempt and, in some instances, the manner in which the attempt was made. When argument was exhausted, then, and then only, came the final appeal to arms, and a war resulted which has brought about lasting peace.

When the war began there were 170,000 whites in New Zealand, while the Maori population was reckoned at 32,000, of whom about 20,000 were available as fighting men. Remember, the Maori of 1859 were very different from even their immediate forebears. Cannibalism was as extinct as the moa. The intelligent natives had recognised the value of the Pakeha methods and studied them with advantage. Many possessed their own holdings, farmed their own ground, and progressed in the education which was freely offered them. There were Maori assessors in the Courts of the Superintendents, and a Maori chief was attached to the Governor's staff as adviser on purely native questions. The two races were distinctly drawn to one another about this period, and the white portion at any rate hardly looked for trouble.

What gave the colonists an added sense of security was their knowledge that the great leaders of the past were all dead, or nearing their end. Heke had died of consumption in 1850. Te Rauparaha preceded[Pg 231] him to Reinga in 1849, being buried by his son, Thompson Rauparaha, who had been educated in England and was a lay-reader. Rangihaeata helped to bury his old friend, and followed him seven years later to the shades, having never during the whole of his seventy years abated his hatred of the Pakeha.

Rangihaeata was a man of great strength and splendid presence, and it is told that, when on one occasion he met Sir George Grey at a korero, or palaver, his costume was entirely and markedly Maori, in contrast to that of many of his countrymen, who wore blankets instead of mats, or were clothed in ordinary European dress. In reply to the Governor, Rangihaeata assumed his proudest, sternest expression, and spoke defiantly. "I want nothing of the white men," he concluded, and, with a sneer at his compatriots, "I wear nothing of their work." Sir George smilingly indicated a peacock's feather which surmounted the chief's carefully dressed hair. "Ah! True; that is European," said Rangihaeata with vehement scorn, plucking the feather from his hair and casting it on the ground.

Of the rest of the stern warriors who had been in grips with the Pakeha, Pomare was dead, Te Tanewha was gone to join the long line of his ancestors, and Waka Nene, their reliable friend, was growing old. In the opinion of many the great past had died with the dead heroes, and was dead for ever.

It was in November, 1859, that Governor Gore Browne arrived at Taranaki and announced that, if any native had land to sell, along with a good title, he was there to buy for the Crown. A Maori named[Pg 232] Teira—the nearest approach he could make to "Taylor"—offered to part with six hundred acres at Waitara, and this block the Governor agreed to buy, if Teira's title were proved good. The Commissioner was satisfied as to the title; surveyors were sent to mark boundaries, and were promptly ordered off by Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake (William King), the chief of Teira's tribe, who had already declared that he would not allow the land to be sold.

Governor Browne was a soldier, and diplomacy was not for him. He at once sent a force to compel Wiremu Kingi to withdraw his opposition, and these found the Maori strongly entrenched, and quite willing to take up the gage of battle.

The Taranaki settlers retired with the soldiers to New Plymouth, and the Maori ravaged the settlement, which extended twenty miles north and south, and eight or ten inland. The fighting which followed during the ensuing months was chiefly remarkable for the first appearance of the colonial force in the field, where they then and afterwards did such good work.

For most obvious reasons—were they known—the writer would be the last to disparage the regular forces; but they were hampered by method, and the bush fighting of the Maori was a style of warfare to which they were quite unused. Not a few, without intending disrespect to the regular forces, strongly hold that, had the conduct of military operations been left to McDonnell, Von Tempsky, Whitmore, Atkinson, and a few others, they, with their militia and volunteers, would have brought the war to a successful close in half the time, at half the cost, and[Pg 233] with infinitely less loss to their own side. For these fought the Maori in the Maori style, and the natives feared these men, who knew them and the bush, with a fear they never felt for the redcoats, whom, in their queer way, they often expressed themselves sorry to be obliged to shoot.

One example will show the difference in method. General Cameron, a man of great experience—elsewhere—and proved courage, one day in 1865 marched from Whanganui with drums beating, colours flying, and bands playing, at the head of as gallant a company of regulars and volunteers as ever went out to war. After a march of fifteen miles they came to the lake of Nukumaru, five miles from the rebel pa of Wereroa, and here the General gave orders to encamp.

At this, Major Witchell, who was in command of the military train, most of his men being mounted colonials, rode up and said, with a salute, "General, don't you think that we are rather too near the bush?"

General Cameron glanced towards the bush, distant half a mile, the interval being covered with high toë-toë, a grass something like that called "pampas," and replied, "Do you imagine, Major, that any number of natives would dare to attack two thousand of Her Majesty's troops?"

The Major thought it very likely; but he could say no more. He was confident that there were Maori in the bush, and the high grass offered excellent cover to such skilled guerilla. He probably realised also how much depended upon his own initiative, for, though he ordered his men to dismount, he bade them not offsaddle.

[Pg 234]

Suddenly the roar of musketry broke out, and the toë-toë was violently agitated as the Maori, still unseen, dodged hither and thither. That one discharge accounted for sixteen men, among them Adjutant-General Johnston, a capable officer; but, thanks to Major Witchell, that was the sum of the disaster.

"Mount!" he shouted, and his men, riding as they knew how to ride, chased the Maori back into the bush, save thirty-six who lay dead among the grass to balance the account of the sixteen. How narrow was the General's own escape is shown by the fact that a Maori was shot hard by his tent, in the centre of the camp. It was not until he had allowed himself to be surprised again next day and lost five more men that General Cameron concluded that the bush was too close, and that the Maori would actually attack two thousand of Her Majesty's troops.

This incident belonged to a later stage of the war. We are still with the troops in Taranaki, in the autumn of 1860, when General Pratt, who had arrived to take command, was about to besiege one of the Maori strongholds in the orthodox manner.

Before this could be done, a truce was negotiated by the Christian Waikato chief, Wiremu Tamihana Te Whaharoa (William Thompson), who represented the King faction. Waikato had sent a contingent to the aid of Taranaki—in the old days it would have been very different—although they had no personal interest in the dispute; but these had been repulsed[Pg 235] with loss, and it was then that Tamihana suggested a truce. This was in May, 1861, fourteen months after the Governor's soldiers had marched against Wiremu Kingi.


Major Witchell's charge at Nukumaru

Men were everywhere satisfied that nothing more would come of this year of skirmishing, and few, if any, regarded it as preliminary to a long and dreadful war. Things fell again into their places; three new provinces—Hawke's Bay or Napier, Marlborough and Southland—were added to the rest, the Bank of New Zealand was incorporated, and only those within the innermost circle knew that underneath the seeming calm was deep-rooted unrest.

But so it was. Governor Browne demanded, very much in the imperative mood, the submission of all concerned in the late rising, and a general oath of allegiance to the Crown. The Maori said neither yea nor nay; they simply did nothing. Whereon the Governor, wroth at their contumacy, declared his intention to invade Waikato and bring the insolent rebels to their knees. It is hard to see how one who has never taken an oath of allegiance can be a rebel; but that may pass.

The colonists who heard the Governor's fulmination could not believe their ears, called his attention to the state of unpreparedness throughout the colony, and urged that to invade Waikato would be to invite an alliance of the sympathisers with that powerful tribe against the British. But the Governor had the power, believed that he had the means, and reiterated his determination.

At this critical juncture Britain intervened to[Pg 236] give her youngest child breathing time. Sir George Grey, Governor of Cape Colony, was instructed to proceed to New Zealand, and there resume the reins of government; and, when Governor Browne understood this, he held his hand, much to the relief of the colonists.

For the next two years Governor Sir George Grey tried by every means short of war to bring about a peaceful solution of the difficulty which had arisen out of the Waitara block of land. He had the powerful aid of Bishop Selwyn; but all was useless, for the Waikato declined to submit the question to arbitration. And then the face of the situation was suddenly changed, and the natives placed entirely in the wrong.

The district of Tataraimaka, fifteen miles south of New Plymouth, had been for fifteen years in undisputed possession of European settlers, even the Maori admitting their title to be good. The natives had ravaged this block during the trouble of 1860-1861 and, as they now refused to withdraw from it, Sir George Grey cut the knot of the difficulty by declaring his intention to abandon all claim to the Waitara block and to drive the Taranaki tribes out of Tataraimaka. Sir George never allowed "I dare not" to "wait upon I would," and the military were soon on their way.

Confident of the support of the Waikato, the men of Taranaki sent to the king's headquarters for instructions. The answer came back at once, sternly laconic: "Begin your shooting!"

An escort party were ambushed on the 4th of[Pg 237] May, 1863, and the Taranaki began their shooting by murdering—for war was not declared—Lieutenant Tragett, Dr. Hope, and five soldiers of the 57th Regiment. Apart from this, the Waikato showed their determination to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Taranaki tribes and force a contest.

Only a month earlier Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Gorst, resident magistrate in the heart of the Waikato country, had been expelled by the leaders, and the printing-press whence he had issued literature opposed to Kingism seized. The Waikato had a press of their own, which had been presented to them by the Emperor of Austria, and they issued a news-sheet which they called Hokioi, after a fabulous bird of great power. Mr. Gorst, on his side, published the Pihohoi, which is the name of a tiny lark; and, as the principles of "The Lark" were dead against Kingism, the king's men suppressed the paper with an alacrity worthy of Russian censors.

The King party immediately after this came into direct conflict with Sir George Grey himself. Marching in force to a spot on the lower Waikato upon which Sir George proposed to build a court-house and police barracks, the malcontents hurled all the ready-fitted timbers into the river, declaring the district outside British jurisdiction.

After this exhibition of power and determination, the Waikato despatched war-runners in all directions to rouse the Maori and inspire them to "drive the Pakeha Rat into the sea." The runners carried a circular letter exhorting the natives to "sweep out their yard" and to remember the national whakatauki,[Pg 238] or motto, "Me mate te tangata me mate mo te whenua" (the death of the warrior is to die for the land). "We will sweep out our yard," went on the letter, and concluded with a line from a stirring war-song, well known throughout the North Island: "Grasp firm your weapons! Strike! Fire!"

Though skirmishing was going on, neither side actually admitted being at war; but Auckland itself being threatened, General Cameron was hurriedly called north with every available man of his command.

A glance at the map will show that the Waikato river makes a bend where the Maungatawhiri creek falls into it, and then pursues a course almost due west to the sea. At this junction, some forty miles south of Auckland, and east of the river's mouth, was the frontier line of the defiant Waikato. The King tribes had long ago said that the crossing of this line would be regarded by them as a belligerent act, and when General Cameron, on the 13th of July, 1863, led his troops across it, the Waikato war began without any more formal notice.

[Pg 239]



First blood was to the Maori on the 17th of July at Koheroa, near that rectangular bend just referred to which the Waikato river makes towards the sea. The tribesmen had cleverly divided into two columns, one of which swung round through the dense forest on the Wairoa ranges and attacked the British rear, where they forced an escort of the Royal Irish under Captain Ring to retire with the loss of one killed and four wounded. A sharper fight, later in the day, left the advantage once more with the British.

Colonel Austin was in command of the advance post at Koheroa, General Cameron occupying a redoubt on the ranges overlooking the river. The colonel, observing large masses of natives gathering on the ranges to his front, immediately advanced in skirmishing order. The enemy retired towards the Maramarua creek in their rear, but, when two miles had been covered in a running fight, suddenly made a stand in a very difficult position, which they had already fortified with breastworks and rifle-pits, and which, from the nature of the ground, it was impossible to turn.

[Pg 240]

So terrific a volley was poured upon a detachment of the 14th, which had never till then been under fire, that for all their pluck the lads wavered. General Cameron had just arrived to take command and, seeing the unsteadiness of the leading files, ran to the front, twenty paces in advance of all, and stood there, a mark for every bullet, cheering on his men. British soldiers never yet failed to answer a call like that. The slight hesitation disappeared in a moment, and the men rushed forward and drove the enemy out of their pits at the point of the bayonet. The pursuit was maintained for five miles, the Maori making defiant stands at one prepared position after another—much as the Boers used to do at a later period,—but they were finally driven into headlong flight, with a loss of between sixty and eighty.

The colonists were greatly disappointed when, instead of following up his victory, General Cameron sat down at Wangamirino creek and watched the rebels while they strongly fortified Meri-Meri, three miles distant, making no attempt to dislodge them. Alleging that his transport service must be thoroughly organised, General Cameron remained where he was until the end of October, and all through the long weeks over a thousand horses panted and strained, dragging the heavy commissariat waggons along the forty-mile metalled road between Auckland and the Waikato. The transport service ran grave risk of traps and ambuscades, but, as no vessels suitable for river navigation were available, the military stores could be sent by no other way.

The General at last considered himself ready to[Pg 241] advance; but first very properly reconnoitred Meri-Meri in one of the iron-screened steamers which the Governor had sent him. Then, on the 31st of October, he moved forward over six hundred men, left them in position, and returned for another detachment with which to attack the Maori fortification both front and rear. But when he arrived with detachment number two, there were no Maori there to fight. They had abandoned Meri-Meri under the very eyes of detachment number one, instead of remaining, as they clearly ought to have done, to be surrounded. It was as well; for Meri-Meri was very strongly entrenched, and great loss of life must have attended an assault.

The Maori rarely fought as they were expected to fight, and, as in the case of the Boers, their personnel was constantly changing, some of them going home, and others, who had so far done no fighting, taking their places. After the evacuation of Meri-Meri, a considerable number withdrew temporarily from the field, while the rest, reinforced by a fresh contingent, set to work to fortify Rangiriri, twelve miles higher up the Waikato.

Against this General Cameron advanced on the 20th of November with a land force of eight hundred men, five hundred more on board two river steamers, two Armstrong guns and two gunboats, whose duty it would be to pitch shell into the pa from their position on the river. The fort, trenched and pitted, had a formidable look; but the Maori had for once omitted to leave open a way of escape in their rear,[Pg 242] and, besides, they were numerically too weak to defend the long line of fortification.

From three o'clock until five that afternoon the gunners poured shot and shell into the entrenchments at a range of six hundred yards, and then the troops, led by the gallant 65th, drove the enemy from the trenches into a central redoubt, which defied all efforts to take it. The men of the red and white roses swung raging back to make way for a contingent of the Royal Artillery and, when these, too, were beaten off, Commander Mayne of H.M.S. Eclipse twice in succession led his jolly tars against the impregnable redoubt. Not even they could succeed, and night closed in on the combatants, putting an end to the slaughter, and leaving the Maori still in possession.

All night long the sappers laboured at a trench, and all night long the Maori within the redoubt kept up a terrific howling, flinging challenges, and occasionally something more practical, at the besiegers; but, when morning dawned, there stood on the fatal parapet a chief of note, and asked for an interpreter. In a few moments one hundred and eighty-three warriors and one hundred and seventy-five stand of arms were surrendered to General Cameron.

The mistakes of Oheawai were repeated at Rangiriri, and the wonder is that the troops got off as cheaply as they did; a fact only to be accounted for by the numerical weakness of the Maori. These knew well the courage of the men arrayed against them; but the desperate valour with which they[Pg 243] defended their works helped to convince the British General that they, too, were foemen not to be despised.

The battle of Rangiriri had this great advantage, that it opened the gorge of Taupiri, where disaster might well have overtaken the troops, had the Maori been in a position to defend it. As it was, General Cameron was able to push forward, and on the 6th of December to occupy Ngaruawahia, where King Matutaere had established his headquarters, and where his father, old Potatau, was buried. Matutaere had not waited for General Cameron and, unduly fearful of desecration, had carried away with him the mouldering remains of the old king. One thing he had left behind, as being too heavy for a flying column, and that was a flagstaff of most exalted height, from the peak of which his royal standard had lately floated. The standard was gone, but the flagstaff had not been cut down, and the Union Jack soon proclaimed to any watching Waikato that the first game of the rubber had been won by the British.

[Pg 244]



Shortly before the occupation of Ngaruawahia the New Zealand Settlements Act was passed, giving the Governor power to confiscate the lands of insurgent Maori, the Imperial Government having relinquished control of native affairs. These were now entirely in the hands of the colonists, and it was hoped that their knowledge of the requirements of the Maori, together with the success which had attended General Cameron's arms, would combine to bring about lasting peace.

There was, indeed, talk of peace between Sir George Grey and Wiremu Tamihana; but it came to nothing, and the Maori meanwhile threw up fortifications at Pikopiko and Paterangi, on the Waipa, a branch of the Waikato. Dislodged thence, and severely handled in a skirmish on the Mangapiko river, in which Captain Heaphy of the New Zealand forces gained the Victoria Cross, the Maori, commanded by their great fighting chief, Rewi, were again defeated at Rangiaohia. This was late in February, 1864, and the Waikato, undismayed at their numerous disasters, entrenched[Pg 245] themselves at Orakau, in the heavily-wooded Taranaki country.

Orakau was unusually strong, and General Carey, with great judgment, completely surrounded it before opening his attack. Even so, he fell at dawn on the 30th of March into the old mistake of attempting to storm the impregnable. After three unsuccessful assaults by regulars and colonials, the General determined to approach the defences by the less costly, if slower method of sap and trench. All was ready by the 2nd of April, and the Armstrong guns soon silenced the enemy's fire, while the soldiers managed to burn no less than 48,000 rounds of ammunition.

General Cameron at this stage very humanely ordered a parley, as there were many women and children within the pa; but to his summons to surrender the Waikato sent back the defiant answer, "This is the word of the Maori: We will fight for ever and ever and ever!" (Ka whawhai tonu; Ake, Ake, Ake!) "Send out the women and children," urged General Cameron. "No; the women also will fight for their country," was the heroic response, and the General had no choice but to order the troops to assault.

The first men up, some twenty in number, led by Captain Hertford of the Colonial Force, were received with a volley which put the captain and ten of his men hors de combat, while on the other side of the pa the 65th had no better success. But the Maori were worn out with the three days' struggle; they had lost heavily, and Rewi now gave the order[Pg 246] to evacuate the pa, which was, it will be remembered, completely invested.

How the Maori managed to escape has never been satisfactorily explained. In the words of an eye-witness, "a solid column of Maori, the women, children and great chiefs in the centre, marched out as cool and steady as if they had been going to church." A double line of the 40th Regiment lay on the side the defenders chose for their escape, the first under a bank sheltering them from the fire from the pa. It is almost incredible that, before any one had gathered the significance of what was going on, the Maori jumped over the heads of the first line, and walked through the second line.

The war correspondent of the Auckland Southern Cross wrote of this extraordinary happening: "The cry was heard that the rebels were escaping, and a scene baffling description ensued. General Cameron, Brigadier-General Carey, aides and gallant colonels of the staff were rushing about to warn and gather men from the sap.... This occupied minutes, and all this time not a man of the 40th appears to have seen the Maori, who must have jumped over the heads of the soldiers lining the road cut out of the steep embankment, and so passed into the swamp and Ti-tree scrub, wounding two or three of the 40th as a remembrance of their passing."

The Maori must have escaped unharmed, had it not been for a small corps of colonial cavalry, who, led by Captains Jackson and Von Tempsky, worked round the scrub and inflicted great loss upon the natives as they emerged. Owing to the blunder,[Pg 247] Rewi escaped along with numbers of his countrymen.

The scene was now suddenly shifted to the Tauranga district on the east, in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Plenty. The Maori here had nothing to do with the quarrel, but emissaries from the Waikato had constantly approached them, and many of the tribes were deeply disaffected. No great distance separated the two districts; Wiremu Tamihana owned considerable land in the Tauranga country, and, it was well known, the Tauranga men had materially helped their western neighbours. Fortunately, the Arawa tribes, which had an immemorial feud with the Waikato,[66] took our side and, led by Captain McDonnell of the Colonial Forces, defeated the tribes of the Rawhiti at Maketu. A week later this initial success was forgotten in view of the disaster which overtook the British at Tauranga.

General Cameron had towards the end of April transferred his headquarters to Tauranga, and established himself with two thousand men before a strong fortification of the enemy, which is remembered as the "Gate Pa." This fort was built upon a neck of land which fell away on each side to a swamp. On the summit of the neck the chief redoubt had been constructed and, flanking it, were lines of rifle-pits and shelters, covered with wattle or earth, rendering the place almost impregnable.

The position had been completely invested, and the bombardment opened on the morning of the[Pg 248] 28th of April, 1864. The Maori lay grimly silent behind their defences while our great guns banged and boomed, belching their storm of shot and shell at—emptiness! The cunning foe had planted their standard one hundred yards in rear of their pa, while the besiegers fondly imagined it to be placed in the centre. For two hours the waste of ammunition went on before the mistake was discovered; but, even when the great guns roared furiously at the redoubt, as if wroth at the saturnine jest played upon them, the Maori made no sign; so that none could tell whether they were lying close, like scared rabbits in their burrows, or whether—though this was not likely—they had already stolen away and escaped.

The afternoon was advanced when, with their reserves well up, the troops poured through a wide breach in an angle of the redoubt. They met with little opposition, and those on the plain actually believed the pa to be taken.

Not so. In the very moment of victory occurred one of those inexplicable panics which, rarely enough, seize the most seasoned troops; the positions were reversed in an instant, and the Maori masters of the situation.

As the troops dashed cheering through the breach, the Maori attempted to slip out at the rear of the pa; but, seeing the men of the 65th, the whole mass of them surged back and came face to face with the foremost of those who had entered from the front. These, startled at sight of so many savage foes rushing furiously upon them, pressed[Pg 249] upon their comrades, who in turn faltered, and the troops in another moment turned and ran, shouting, "They are there in thousands!"

Undaunted by this terrible sight, the reserves dashed up to encourage their dismayed comrades, but to no purpose. The Maori, momentarily inactive from sheer astonishment, recovered and poured a disastrous fire upon the mob of struggling men, twenty-seven of whom were killed and sixty-six wounded.

It is useless to try to explain away this unhappy incident. It is enough to say that the men of the 43rd Regiment two months later atoned for their behaviour, and wiped out their defeat by utterly routing the Maori at Te Ranga, where the position was not at all unlike that at the Gate Pa.

Despite the fact that there were now arrayed against them some ten thousand British regulars, and five thousand colonial troops, the Maori made no overtures of surrender—save for a few at Tauranga. Instead, they withdrew from the Waikato plain, as well as from those parts occupied by the soldiers, and joined forces with the Whanganui rebels in the fastnesses of the latter's country, where they were able to indulge in their favourite bush-fighting and guerilla warfare. Here, too, their resistance was strengthened by the growth of a shocking superstition, which bred in them a fanatical hate, and lent to their methods a brutality never previously exhibited in their conflicts with the Pakeha.

Another development which strongly influenced[Pg 250] the remainder of the war occurred about the time when the operations at Tauranga were brought to a close. Until the early part of 1864 the Colonial Forces had played a subordinate part in the war—not from choice—though their conduct had been invariably deserving of the highest praise. The time was now at hand when they were to become principals instead of supernumeraries, and by their own strenuous efforts bring about the end of a struggle which General Cameron had more than once frankly despaired of finishing.

"The nature of the country forbids the idea of a decisive blow being struck in the Whanganui district," he once wrote to Sir George Grey, "and if Her Majesty's troops are to be detained in the colony until one is struck, I confess I see no prospect of their leaving New Zealand."

No doubt General Cameron was right in considering the country indicated as probably the most difficult in New Zealand in which to engage in military operations; but, even in the more accessible Waikato plains, he had not conducted the war with that dash which the colonists knew to be necessary for the speedy subjugation of the natives. Even the Maori considered him slow and, notwithstanding his personal courage, contemptuously styled him "the sea-gull with the broken wing," because of his tendency to avoid the bush and encamp upon or near the shore. Lastly, his Fabian policy had cost the colony an enormous sum, and the British Government, irritated by the expense of its generous response to the colony's appeal for aid, now demanded[Pg 251] £40 per head per annum for all soldiers kept in New Zealand at the request of the Colonial Government, after the 1st of January, 1865. The answer of the colony to this was to beg the Home Government to remove the Imperial troops to the last man, declaring the colony ready and able to undertake its own defence.

This "self-relying" policy of the Weld Ministry relieved the colonists of a great burden; for the poll-tax was to be paid only for soldiers remaining at the request of the New Zealand Government. Furthermore, the relations between Sir George Grey and General Cameron had for long been none too cordial, and one thing added to another brought about the departure of some of the British regiments.

To put the matter in a nutshell, the Governor asked the soldier to dare and do more than the latter believed he could accomplish with the troops at his disposal; so he refused point blank. The Governor thereupon dared and did on his own initiative, and proved the soldier wrong.

Here is an outstanding example. After General Cameron had been surprised at Nukumaru,[67] he passed on up the coast, leaving unreduced the strong Wereroa pa, which was occupied in force by the Maori. His reason, given to the Governor, was that he had only fifteen hundred troops with him, and to attack the fort with less than two thousand would be to court disaster. When five hundred friendly Whanganui natives offered to take the pa, the General sneered at their offer as "mere bounce" and,[Pg 252] further, insisted that the Governor knew it to be "mere bounce."

The Governor's reply was to collect a mixed force of five hundred men, including three hundred of the "bouncing" friendlies, and borrow two hundred regulars from General Waddy for moral support. With these he marched upon the pa about which such a pother had been raised. The Queen's troops, who were not allowed to fight—though the enemy did not know that—acted as a camp guard, while the colonials and friendlies worked by a circuitous and very difficult route to the rear of the pa. Here they took a strong redoubt, which commanded the fort, and captured fifty Maori on their way to join the garrison. All this was effected without the loss of a man, and the enemy, seeing themselves, as they supposed, surrounded, evacuated the pa by the front. Had the regulars been allowed to fight, the hostile force must have been annihilated; but, much to their astonishment, they were allowed to walk off unopposed. The numerically insignificant contingent of colonials and friendlies entered the pa next day, having accomplished in two days, under the Governor's eye, that which the commander-in-chief had for six months declared to be impossible of accomplishment with less than two thousand regulars. Perhaps, however, he was right.

As one result of this constant friction and of General Cameron's representations to the British Government, there remained in the colony in 1865 only five regiments, and these were employed in guarding the districts which had been reduced.[Pg 253] After March, 1865, the Colonial Forces for the most part conducted the war in their own way; but it would be absurd to deny that, but for the regulars who remained, the conquered tribes would have reassembled and obliged the war to be fought over again, or necessitated an increase in the strength of the colonials proportional to that of the Imperial troops withdrawn. As it was, while the regulars stood on guard, the colonials fought their fight unhampered by reviving sedition—fought and, as we shall see, conquered.


[66] See p. 55.

[67] See p. 233.


[Pg 254]


The early months of the year 1864 saw the first appearance of the fanatical sect of the Pai Marire, or Hauhau. Various opinions exist as to its cause of origin, but no member of it has put his own views on record for the benefit of posterity. Some believe that the sect was founded as a deliberate attempt to strengthen the weakening attachment of the natives to the national cause, by giving them the powerful bond of a common religion—so to call it. Others maintain that the inception of the movement was in a madman's brain, and that it was used for political purposes only when it was perceived how readily the more ignorant and superstitious of the Maori accepted it. Lastly, not a few insist that such a religious development was the natural outcome of instilling half-a-dozen views of Christianity into the receptive brain of an intelligent race, able and accustomed to think for themselves. These last argue that, when the Maori had listened to (in order of sequence) the Anglican, Wesleyan, Baptist, and Catholic versions of the "faith once delivered," the[Pg 255] various contentions became so jumbled up in some minds that their owners began to study the Bible for themselves. The result of the research of some of the less enlightened was the formation of a "religion" which was a grotesque blend of Judaism, Paganism, and elementary Christianity (very little of this last) which was used as a means to an end by those who utterly scorned it—the end being the destruction of British supremacy.

The author of the creed, one Te Ua, does indeed seem to have been a mild-mannered lunatic. He broke out rather violently about the time of a shipwreck on the Taranaki coast, and, while tied and bound for the good of the community, indulged in a madman's dream which he subsequently proclaimed as a "revelation."

Having managed to free himself, Te Ua declared that the archangels Michael and Gabriel, together with many spirits, had landed from the wreck and given him power to burst his bonds. His companions, finding this story hard to believe, again secured Te Ua, and this time with a chain. No use. With an effort of that strength which sometimes appears in the insane, Te Ua snapped the chain and leaped at a bound into the position of a seer.

Te Ua's muddled brain recalling something of the story of Abraham and Isaac, he went out and began to break his son's legs in obedience to a divine command to kill the youth. He was presently stopped by Gabriel, who restored the boy whole and sound to his father, and gave the latter orders to assemble all believers round a niu, or sacred pole. Grouped[Pg 256] there in a circle, they must dance, apostrophise the Trinity, sing hymns and what not, in return for which, those found worthy—note the saving clause—should receive the gift of tongues and be invulnerable in battle. While praying, dancing or fighting, the sectaries were constantly to ejaculate the syllables "Hauhau," forming a word supposed to mean the wind (hau), by which the angels were wafted from the wreck when first they communicated with the great Te Ua.

Te Ua was not long in making converts to his strange faith; and on the 4th of April, 1864, a body of them fell upon a detachment of the 57th and military settlers, who were destroying crops in the Kaitaka ranges. Captain Lloyd, who was in command, fought most bravely when cut off from his men, and died fighting. His body and the bodies of seven other white men were discovered a few days later, all minus the heads, which had been carried away. No one knew what to make of this innovation; but it was afterwards ascertained that Captain Lloyd's head had been preserved after the Maori fashion, and was being carried throughout the North Island, and exhibited to tribe after tribe as the medium through which God would occasionally speak to his people.


The frenzy of the Hauhau. The Incantation

The tribes were also informed that legions of angels would some day appear and assist the Hauhau to annihilate the Pakeha. Once that degenerate lot had been got rid of, the angels would escort from heaven an entirely new brand of men, who should teach the Maori all the Europeans knew, and more.[Pg 257] Unconsciously prophetic, the final promise in this farrago of nonsense was that all Maori who fulfilled certain conditions should be instantly endowed with power to understand and speak the English language. The new men were evidently to resemble the Briton!

Notwithstanding its blasphemous absurdities, the Pai Marire sect gained so many converts, and spread so far and fast, that it seemed at one time as if all the Maori in the North Island would rebel. It is well, however, to keep in mind that many of those who followed the prophet's drum did so for their own purposes, and privately mocked at his uninspired ravings.

The wonder is that the new faith did not immediately wither away; for the Hauhau lost at the very outset so many killed and wounded at Sentry Hill, near Taranaki, that all conceit as to their invulnerability should have been driven out of them. Among the dead was a prominent sub-prophet, Hepanaia, and the story was circulated and believed that the reverse was wholly due to this man's faulty behaviour—a very convenient way of accounting for the non-fulfilment of the archangel's promises.

Wishful to counterbalance the effect of this defeat, the Hauhau determined to attack Whanganui. The prophet Matene (Martin) sent a conciliatory message to the Whanganui tribe of Ngati-Hau, and with a number of disaffected Waikato swept down the river in war-canoes, intent to wipe out the settlement and the town.

But the Ngati-Hau, being friendly to the Pakeha, made alliance with the Ngati-Apa, and paddled up[Pg 258]-stream to meet the advancing Hauhau. They were three hundred, and the prophet checked his advance at sight of them. A parley ensued, one side demanding, the other refusing, permission to pass down the river. Matene threatening violence, the Ngati-Hau challenged him to make good his bold words, and it was presently arranged that the two companies should meet next morning on the island of Moutoa—scene of many a fight—and decide the question by ordeal of battle. It was agreed that neither party should ambush or surprise the other, and the Hauhau landed at dawn on Moutoa to find the Ngati-Hau awaiting them.

The Whanganui, with mistaken generosity, opposed only a hundred of their number to one hundred and thirty Hauhau. They were divided into an advanced guard of fifty men, and an equal number in support, while the remainder stood upon the river bank as spectators. The vanguard, under Tamihana Te Aewa, was subdivided into three parties, each headed by a fighting chief, Riwai Tawhitorangi, Hemi Nape, and Kereti, while the chief, Haimona, led the supports.

Matene and his Hauhau, uttering their harsh, barking howl, were allowed to land and form up unopposed, when they immediately began their incantations, howling fragments of Scripture and making passes after the manner of a hypnotist. The Whanganui, convinced of the invulnerability of their foe, waited until the latter, still incanting, had advanced within thirty paces, and then fired. Not one Hauhau fell.

[Pg 259]

At this moment a Christian Maori rushed in between the two parties and beseeched them not to fight. As he stood there, the Hauhau returned a volley; the mediator fell dead and, worse still, so did Riwai, Kereti, and several others. The vanguard began to retreat, shouting, "It is absurd to fire at those who cannot be wounded," and only Hemi Nape stood firm, giving back shot for shot, and bringing down more than one of the "invulnerables." To him rushed Tamihana Te Aewa, forcing forward a few whom he had been able to rally; but, even as they reached his side, Hemi Nape fell dead.

Then Tamihana roared his battle-cry, and with his tupara shot two grinning Hauhau, whose spirits plunged so suddenly into the waters of Reinga that their bodies knew not of their departure, but ran on for several paces ere they realised their condition and fell. A third half halted, amazed at the extraordinary sight, and him Tamihana brained with the stock of his empty gun, sending him with a splash into the dark waters after his comrades. A fourth came at him, howling like a wild dog; but Tamihana seized a spear and drove it so deep into the man's heart, that even his great strength could not withdraw it. And while he tugged and wrenched, lo! a bullet shattered his arm, and a fifth Hauhau rushed upon him to slay him. But Tamihana, stooping swiftly, caught up Hemi Nape's gun and, swinging it round his head with one hand, smote his enemy such a blow that the man's skull cracked like an egg-shell, and his brains gushed out. Truly, the guardian of the portals of Reinga had no time[Pg 260] that day to close them while Tamihana was at work.

Yet more might Tamihana have slain; but, even as he slew, single-handed, his fifth man, he fell to the ground with a broken knee.

By this time, those who ran had come to the tail of the island, whence, looking back, they saw their chief upon the ground, and the Hauhau rushing up to finish him. Then was Haimona Hiroti shame-smitten and, driving his spear into the earth, he cried aloud, "I go no farther! Back with me, all who would not live with shame upon their faces!" And twenty brave men followed Haimona, and all together they charged home, some calling upon Atua for aid, and some invoking the Christians' God. But the Hauhau, having only one god to cry to, became struck with fear, and in their turn broke and fled to their canoes. Few there were who reached them, so mightily did Haimona Hiroti and his score smite, and so many did they slay; but some ran very fast, and these escaped, taking no thought of those behind.

Then Matene, their prophet, finding himself abandoned, cast himself into the river and swam for the bank opposite to that whereon the men of Ngati-Hau and others were gathered, watching the fight and shouting lustily.

Up to the very head of the island charged Haimona Hiroti, seeking still to slay. But not one was left. Then, when he saw the swimmer and knew him for Matene, Haimona cried aloud to Te Moro, "See! there swims your fish!" and thrust his bone mere into his hand. And Te Moro plunged[Pg 261] into the stream and, swimming very fast, overtook the "fish" before he reached the bank and seized him by the hair, which he wore long, after the manner of the Hauhau. Then Matene turned in the water and, making passes in the air with his hands, barked at Te Moro, "Hauhau! Hauhau! Hau! Hau! Hau!" as is the way with these people. But Te Moro, swimming round him, drew back his head and smote him with the bone mere only one blow; but it was enough.

Then Te Moro swam back and, having laid Matene at Haimona's feet, offered him his bone mere. But Haimona said, "Keep it"; and Te Moro very gladly kept it, for there were two notches in it where it had suffered owing to the thickness of Matene's skull. And, when Te Moro's children's children shall show the mere to their children and tell the tale of it, should any doubt, there will the notches be to prove that their ancestor slew Matene, and with that very weapon.

Note.—It is pleasant to record that this signal service on the part of the Whanganui did not go unrecognised at the time, nor has posterity been allowed to forget it. The bodies of the dead chiefs were brought into Whanganui on the day following the battle, and accorded a military funeral, which was attended by Colonel Logan and the officers and men of the garrison, the Government officials, and many residents, while all the shops were closed. A monument has since been raised at Whanganui in memory of the friendly Maori who fell at Moutoa.


[68] Pai Marire means "Good and Peaceful."


[Pg 262]


The year 1865 was full of incident. Fifteen years had gone by since Russell had bewailed the choice of Auckland as the capital, since Wellington had stormily asserted her right of elder birth, since men here and there with nothing better to suggest had demanded petulantly, "Why should it be Auckland, any way?" It was now Auckland's turn to lament; for, in the opinion of those qualified to judge, the central position of Wellington justified the transference thither of the seat of Government.

There is no way yet discovered of pleasing everybody; but, in order that the choice might be strictly impartial, the Governors of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania were requested to decide upon the best site for the capital, while they were given to understand that the spot selected must be somewhere on the shores of Cook Strait, that being the geographical centre of the colony.

The Governors inspected the region without prejudice in favour of existing towns, and unanimously decided that "Wellington, in Port Nicholson, was the site upon the shores of Cook Strait which[Pg 263] presented the greatest advantages for the administration of the government of the colony." No method of selection could have been more just, and in February, 1865, the seat of Government was removed from Auckland to Wellington.

The second notable event—the third in order of sequence—was the surrender of the celebrated Waikato chief, Wiremu Tamihana Te Waharoa (William Thompson), whose persistent energy had put so much heart into the insurgents. With his submission the Waikato war proper ended, and this although many Waikato joined the Hauhau movement. The conflict was not over; but the Waikato as a tribe withdrew from it. Some of their land had been confiscated, they had got the worst of the fight, and, though they still clung to their principles regarding the sale of land and the establishment of a Maori dynasty, they now acknowledged the might of the Government to be something beyond their power to overthrow.

The submission of Wiremu Tamihana influenced not the wild fanatics who were being recruited from almost every tribe of note in the North Island, and whose expressed determination it was to drive the Pakeha Rat into the sea. They would fight and die for Maoriland, if need be; but they would never give in. Not all of them believed the horrible creed which Te Ua had invented; but even these were content to be classed as Hauhau, if so they might help to free their country from the domination of the Pakeha.

"Good wine needs no bush," and if ever a cause[Pg 264] was spoiled by the character and behaviour of its adherents, it was this; if ever a body of men in arms in the sacred name of patriotism earned, and rightly earned, the detestation and vengeance of their foes, the Hauhau did so at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of their war. The very Maori loathed their name and character, and these, concerned for the honour of their race, fought as strenuously against their degraded countrymen as did the whites with whom they were allied.

Between February, when Wellington became the capital, and June the 17th, when Wiremu Tamihana surrendered, an innocent missionary was murdered by his own flock under circumstances which served to show that, even at that late day, there were Maori who required but little persuasion to induce them to slip back into the pit of savagery out of which they had, it was hoped, climbed for all time.

The Church of England Mission Station at Opotiki (Bay of Plenty) had been for some years presided over by the Rev. C.S. Voelkner, an energetic and successful missionary. His station was among some of the wildest, least civilised tribes of the Maori; but his devotion had gained him the respect, and even the goodwill, of the fierce, untamed fellows in whose midst he dwelt.

When the war rolled almost to his door, Mr. Voelkner judged it wise to take his wife to Auckland; but he himself came backwards and forwards to the disturbed district. In February, during the missionary's absence, Opotiki was visited by two prophets, Patara of the Taranaki, and Kereopa of[Pg 265] the Ngati-Porou, with a number of Taranaki Hauhau at their heels. The Whakatohea were ripe for any mischief as it was, and readily embraced the new creed, their conversion being accompanied by much revolting ritual.

Feeling already ran high against the absent missionary, the Whakatohea having allowed themselves to be persuaded that he was hostile to the Maori cause, and desirous of breaking up the tribes.

Patara, who cannot have been all bad, wrote warning Mr. Voelkner not to return to Opotiki; but the missionary unfortunately arrived on the very next day, in a schooner, accompanied by a colleague, the Rev. Mr. Grace.

Mr. Voelkner was at once informed that he was to be killed, but refused to believe that the people among whom he had laboured would prove false to his teaching. A few hearts were softened towards him; but Kereopa would brook neither denial nor delay, and on the following day took out Mr. Voelkner and hanged him upon a willow-tree, shooting him through the body before life was extinct. The fierce Hauhau then swallowed the eyes and drank the blood of his victim.

Mr. Grace was in great danger; for the fanatics, having literally tasted blood, clamoured for more. For fourteen days the unfortunate man endured agonies of suspense, and his relief must have been intense when H.M.S. Eclipse appeared outside the bar. Owing to Patara's influence, the missionary was free to wander within the boundaries of the Opotiki plain, and this circumstance, along with the[Pg 266] absence of most of the Hauhau at a feast, helped to effect his escape.

As he was watching the crew of the schooner shifting cargo, one of the sailors murmured, "Go down to the point, and we will get you off." Mr. Grace obeyed with assumed carelessness, and a moment later was in the schooner's boat, speeding towards the Eclipse. Two of the boats from the man-of-war dashed up the river immediately afterwards and towed the schooner over the bar, when no time was lost in leaving Opotiki of tragic memory.

Three months later the ruffians at Opotiki again drenched themselves with blood, murdering the crew of a cutter and Mr. Fulloon, a Government agent, who was on board as a passenger. Mr. Fulloon was a Maori of distinguished lineage on his mother's side; but, nevertheless, at the order of Horomona, the Hauhau, one Kirimangu shot the poor man while asleep with his own revolver. Kirimangu was captured and hanged; but Kereopa managed to evade his doom for seven years, when justice, long disappointed, made sure of him.

Kereopa and his Hauhau were not allowed to pursue their wicked way unchecked. As soon as they could be spared from Whanganui, five hundred men of the Military Settlers, the Bush Rangers, the Native Contingent, and the Whanganui Yeomen Cavalry were ordered to Opotiki, under Majors Brassey and McDonnell, the latter of whom could effect things with the Native Contingent which few other officers could bring about. Not only was McDonnell familiar with the Maori, but he knew[Pg 267] their language and their country, so that he met them on their own ground in their own manner. He was brave to rashness, but this was hardly a fault in Maori eyes.

The column accomplished some good, and captured Moko Moko and Hakaraia, who were immediately informed that they could not be treated as prisoners of war, but would be tried for the murder of Mr. Voelkner, in which they had been concerned. After a good deal of successful skirmishing, the force returned to Whanganui, their chief casualty occurring on the way.

The mate of the transport loaded a small cannon for the amusement of some friendlies, but the gun would not "go off," whereupon the searchers after entertainment peeped inquiringly down the muzzle. The humoursome cannon chose that particular moment to indulge in a belated explosion, which fortunately did no more than wound the mate and two of the Maori. The outcome of the accident was the refusal of the Native Contingent to proceed after so evil an omen.

The superstitious fellows actually surrounded the capstan and prevented the weighing of the anchor, until one of themselves, Lieutenant Wirihana, an exceptionally strong man and one of the best officers in the contingent, swung the ringleader up in his arms and made to heave him overboard. A round dozen of the offender's relatives rushed the officer, and even then with difficulty prevented disaster to their cousin.

Kereopa, tired of dodging about the region round[Pg 268] Opotiki, struck across country for Poverty Bay, preaching his perverted gospel as he went. Behind him followed Patara, intent to prevent his fellow-prophet from too free an indulgence in his lust for blood. Patara more than suspected his colleague of an intention to murder Bishop Williams, and this he was determined not to allow. Kereopa had good ground in which to sow his evil seed, yet many of the leading chiefs among the Ngati-Porou not only refused to join him, but requested the Government to supply them with firearms, so that they might adequately deal with the monster. The request was sensibly granted, and Ropata and his chiefs kept the Hauhau busy until the arrival of Captain Fraser and his colonials.

Ropata showed the manner of man he was in the fights which followed. A dozen of his own sub-tribe (Aowera, of the iwi of Ngati-Porou) had been taken, fighting among the Hauhau. Ropata set them before him in a row and said, more in sorrow than in anger, "This is my word to you, O foolish children. You are about to die. I do not kill you because you fought against me, but because you disobeyed my orders and joined the Hauhau." He then shot every man of the twelve with his own hand.

Like master, like man. On one occasion a couple of fleeing Hauhau encountered one of Ropata's dispatch-bearers and, delighted to make a capture, haled him in the direction of Patara's camp. But they had caught a Tartar, though they were left little time to realise it. Ropata's man, with every sense alert, noticed that the tupara carried by one of his[Pg 269] captors was capped and cocked. Assuming the gun to be loaded, the prisoner suddenly snatched it, wheeled like lightning and shot the other guard. Number one could, of course, make no resistance, and was almost immediately shot dead with the second barrel of his own gun. The cleverness of the prisoner in first shooting the armed guard illustrates very well the quick-wittedness of the average Maori.

In September, Sir George Grey formally proclaimed that the war which had begun at the time of the murders at Oakura was at an end, and that, the rebels having been punished enough by their disasters in the field and the confiscation of part of their lands, he pardoned all who had taken up arms, save those responsible for certain murders. The Governor further announced that he would confiscate no more lands on account of the war, and that he would release all prisoners as soon as the rebels should return in peace to their homes. The proclamation gave great offence to numbers of colonists, who jeered at the idea of peace while so many Maori were in arms; but Sir George Grey's statement that "the war was at an end" had no reference to the Hauhau, neither were they included in his pardon—unless, indeed, they chose promptly to submit, which they did not.

The Hauhau on the west coast made clear their decision in a most atrocious fashion. The Governor dispatched the proclamation to Patea, near Whanganui, by a Maori, who was shot, but lived long enough to warn the Government interpreter, Mr.[Pg 270] Broughton, who was coming up behind him, to put no trust in the Hauhau.

Mr. Broughton was doubly deceived. He believed in his own influence over the Maori, and he was quite unaware that the Hauhau were predetermined to kill any messengers bringing overtures of peace. Their treachery went further; for, in order to be sure of a victim, they had begged that an interpreter might be sent to explain to them certain passages in the Governor's message which they professed not to understand.

After such a beginning, the end was inevitable, should Mr. Broughton persist in delivering himself into the power of the Hauhau. And this, deaf to advice and persuasion, he did. Three Hauhau came out from the pa to meet him when he arrived on the 30th of September, and even then he was offered a last chance of escape; for one of the three had formerly been in his service, and now implored his old master not to trust himself within the pa. Mr. Broughton persisted, and was received in sullen silence. Striving to seem unconcerned, he took no notice of the incivility, and moved towards a fire which was burning in the marae. As he reached it, a Hauhau shot him in the back, and the poor man fell dying into the blaze, where he lay until some of his murderers pulled him out and flung him, still alive, over the cliff into the Patea.

The hatred of the Hauhau for the Pakeha was intense, and their attitude to the whites differed completely from that of the Maori in previous wars. They seemed to be obsessed with evil spirits, whose[Pg 271] mission was to promote in their victims a lust for blood and a disposition for cruelty of the most appalling kind. They were as men who had swallowed a drug having power to kill goodness and purity and generosity, and to fill the soul in their stead with malice, hatred and vices too degrading to be named.

It was fortunate for New Zealand that the evil seed which Te Ua sowed fell only here and there on soil whence it sprang rank and poisonous as the deadly upas tree; for, had it taken root universally, there is no saying at what bitter cost the colonists must have weeded it out. But, though almost every tribe in the north sent its recruits to the fanatics, there yet remained in most of them a remnant who refused "to bow the knee to Baal," and who, if they did not fight for the Pakeha, at least gave no aid to the Hauhau.

[Pg 272]



Though the war occupied her supreme attention, it must not be supposed that New Zealand stood still. The plucky little daughter of Great Britain kept her eyes open and, though her hands were reasonably full of swords and guns, found other work for them to do. June, 1866, saw the commencement of a mail service to Panama, which vastly accelerated communication with the northern hemisphere; and, before August was out, the Government had laid a submarine cable across Cook Strait, bringing the extreme north of the North Island and the extreme south of the Middle Island within a few minutes of one another.

In October, 1867, the Board of Revenue rejoiced at the passing of an Act imposing stamp duties; the scholarly and aesthetic were gladdened by another Act which provided for an institute for the promotion of Science and Art in the colony; and, lastly, the Maori were rendered happy by an Act which, while it showed great wisdom, proved conclusively the desire of the British Pakeha to deal in most generous spirit with their native fellow-subjects. This Act provided for the division of the colony into four[Pg 273] Maori electorates, and the admission of four Maori members to the House of Representatives. When it is remembered that a large number of the native population were at the very moment in arms against the State, the lavish generosity of this measure must excite profound admiration.

The intellectual and high-minded Maori were quick to learn, and as quick to put in practice the knowledge they acquired. From the first, although they quarrelled with them, they admired the Pakeha and recognised their superiority. Indeed, but for their ruling passion, they would probably have much earlier amalgamated with the whites. This, as we have seen, was their attachment to their land, which they regarded as sacrosanct and inalienable; and from this Naboth-like devotion sprang much of the trouble between them and the Pakeha.

The theatre of war having shifted again to the west coast, General Chute took command on the retirement of General Cameron. There was nothing of Fabius in General Chute, who was accustomed to follow up as speedily as possible whatever advantage he might gain. Quot homines, tot sententiae; so many men, so many ways of doing things; and it is just as well. Had General Chute commanded from the first, the war might have been sooner over; but there would never have arisen the need for the colonists to take their own part, and they must have been much longer in learning their good qualities of strength and self-reliance.

Throughout January, 1866, General Chute with his regulars, colonials and the Maori contingent[Pg 274] punished the Hauhau, who had learned by painful experience that they were not invulnerable. He beat them at Okotuku, and chased them out of Putahi, where Major McDonnell was so severely wounded in the foot as to be rendered unfit for active work during the remainder of the campaign. Yet, so indispensable was the Major because of his immense influence with the Maori, that, despite his suffering, he remained with the force lest, finding him absent, his men should march off home until their leader was able to rejoin them.

Notwithstanding the experiences of others in the not very remote past, General Chute determined to assault the well-garrisoned pa of Otapawa, and on the 12th of January the Armstrong gun roared a challenge to the Hauhau. Grimly silent, the defenders kept so strictly to cover, that General Chute, half-inclined to believe that they had escaped, thought it unnecessary to wait until the Native Contingent and volunteers (kupapa) had worked completely round to the rear. So he ordered Colonel Butler and his "Die Hards" (57th), supported by the 14th, to storm the stockade.

He had barely finished speaking when he received a practical hint that the pa was not empty; for a bullet carried away one of the buttons of his tunic. "Aha! The beggars seem to have found me out," General Chute coolly observed. "Go on, Colonel Butler."

Colonel Butler went on, Lieutenant-Colonel Hassard beside him, and the "Die Hards" close behind them. The Hauhau had removed every[Pg 275] vestige of cover from the front of the pa—which fact alone should have warned the General that the place was occupied, and by a skilful foe—and, as the 57th came on, they were greeted with a volley from the covered rifle-pits which staggered them, veterans of Sebastopol though they were.

"Come on, Die Hards!" shouted Colonel Butler, and the gallant fellows charged over the glacis, dropping fast and losing Colonel Hassard on the way. Enraged, the men tore down the palisades with their bare hands and drove the enemy helter-skelter out at the rear of the pa into the clutch of Von Tempsky and his Forest Rangers. Thirty-two of the Hauhau fell, while General Chute lost a colonel and eleven men, not to speak of twenty wounded. A little patience, siege instead of assault, and the stronghold might have been reduced without loss. As it is, the action is memorable as being the only occasion during these wars upon which a well-defended pa was ever taken by assault.

Whereas General Cameron would never go near the bush, General Chute now determined to march through it a distance of sixty miles to Taranaki, and sweep the enemy out of his path. But General Cameron despised the native levies, while General Chute realised their value, particularly when led by such a man as Major McDonnell, and it cannot be gainsaid that their presence greatly contributed to the success of the bush march.

But for McDonnell and another, General Chute must either have chosen another route, or have marched without the Native Contingent, for the[Pg 276] Maori, men of the Whanganui district, decided not to go to Taranaki, alleging that "it was too far from home!" Nor would they have yielded either to advice or persuasion, but for the timely arrival in camp of Major McDonnell and Dr. Featherston, the Superintendent of the Wellington Province, who, like the major, exercised unbounded influence over the Maori, and particularly over the men of Whanganui.

These two, upon whom the fortunes of the Colony more than once depended, summoned to their tent the aged paramount chief, Hori Kingi Te Anaua, and bluntly asked him whether the friendship which had for years existed between him and Dr. Featherston was to be broken. The old man looked for a long time in silence at his questioners, and then left the tent without a word. His voice presently reached them as he addressed the crowd of Maori thronging there to learn the result of the interview:—

"Listen, you who have refused to march with the Pakeha. This is my word to you. I will go with them, though I go alone. But hearken! If you desert me and them, never more will I dwell with you in Whanganui. I have spoken!"

There was a moment of silence, and then the words of the old lion-heart prevailed and yells of "Kapai! Kapai!" were blent with shouts of "We will go! We will go!" The situation was saved; General Chute marched through the bush in nine days (January 17th to 25th) skirmishing as he went, reached Taranaki, and the campaign came to an end.[Pg 277] With it practically ended the employment of the regular forces in New Zealand, as far as active service went.

How valuable was the aid which the friendly Maori gave is illustrated by the following incident, related by Lieutenant Gudgeon in his reminiscences.

At the close of General Chute's operations a detachment of the Native Contingent stationed at Pipiriki, a most picturesque spot on the upper Whanganui, made themselves so agreeable to the rebels, that the Hauhau chief, Pehi Turoa, invited the friendlies to meet him at Mangaio and discuss the situation. Some four hundred accepted the invitation and, led by their chief, Mete Kingi, went up-stream in their beautiful canoes to the conference.

As they neared the rebel pa, Mete Kingi said characteristically, "Once these men were Whanganui like ourselves, and then they were good; but no faith can now be placed in them. For who would trust the word of a Hauhau? You know, my children, it is Maori etiquette to show confidence in your hosts; therefore, fire off your guns, that they may see our faith in them; but load them as quickly and quietly as you can, in case they mean us harm."

So said, so done. The Whanganui discharged their guns with deafening clatter and, before they landed, unobtrusively reloaded them. There was fortunately no breach of faith, and the upshot of the conference was that the contracting parties swore to maintain an eternal peace on the Whanganui river, but reserved the right to fight in any other part of New Zealand. Thus, entirely in their own manner,[Pg 278] did the friendly Whanganui bring peace to an important district, long convulsed with war.

McDonnell, now colonel, continued operations on the west coast, particularly against the Nga-Ruahini, one of whose chiefs, Titokowaru, then and afterwards gave much trouble. The colonel was very successful, and the Hauhau learned that his methods were not those of the military, for he employed their own tricks against them. One of their captured chiefs grumblingly said to him, "We thought that we were fighting a man; but we find that he is a rat, who moves only by night." "Nay, O Toi, you thought that you were fighting soldiers," returned McDonnell, probably with unintentional sarcasm, "whereas you find that we are Pakeha Maori."

The war swung round to the east, and the Province of Hawke's Bay, hitherto almost immune from "alarms and excursions," found itself in the thick of it. The Ngati-Hineuru and other tribes had joined the new sect; but, when they broke out, the Superintendent, Sir Donald McLean, was ready for them. With the help of Colonel Whitmore, Major Fraser and Captain Gordon with his volunteer cavalry, he stamped out the spreading flame, and Hawke's Bay once more grew calm after its brief flurry.

The year 1867 was for some reason styled by the Hauhau "the Year of the Lamb," that is, of peace, and, save for a skirmish or two, and some fell murders here and there in true Hauhau style, they remained quiet They were terrible folk, and their behaviour differed unpleasantly from that of the ordinary Maori[Pg 279] in time of war; but some of them had not altogether lost that simplicity which, despite their intelligence, is characteristic of the race.

For instance, having declared the year to be one of peace, they failed to understand why their confiscated lands should not be restored to them. Some, too, observing that the friendly Maori were rewarded with pensions and land, complained that they were omitted, when they also had fought (against the Pakeha!) much as a child grumbles because he does not receive a prize for his misdirected efforts. One Hauhau gentleman did actually apply to the Commissioner for a pension, and was mortally offended when the great man dismissed him in terms more forcible than polite.

The hopes raised by all this talk of peace were falsified, not only by the activity of Titokowaru and his Nga-Ruahini, but by the sudden and quite unexpected appearance of a man who was destined to set the country ablaze, and to incur the bitter execration of thousands in the war-worn North Island.

[Pg 280]



During 1866 the New Zealand Government had deported a batch of political prisoners to the Chatham Islands. Amongst them was one Te Kooti, whose offence was said to be that, while ostensibly in alliance with the Pakeha, he had acted as a spy for the Hauhau. Te Kooti then and ever afterwards denied this charge, averring that he was at the time mentioned one hundred miles away from either belligerent. This denial has never been accepted, and most people frankly regret that Te Kooti was not hanged out of hand. This would certainly have prevented many hideous outrages; but to punish in anticipation of proof, however satisfactory, is not yet the Briton's way. So Te Kooti was deported to Chatham Island, there to eat out his heart in longing for the day when he should be able to repay the Pakeha an hundredfold for the insults and injustice (according to him) which had been inflicted upon him.

Te Kooti was a clever man, and his wits had been sharpened by much intercourse with the whites, so it was natural that he should scheme and plan ways of[Pg 281] escape from a hateful bondage, and means to deal a return blow to the detested Pakeha.

He found and seized his opportunity when the schooner Rifleman visited the island with stores; for he engineered a mutiny, out-generalled Captain Thomas, R.N., the Governor, seized the schooner and sailed on the 4th of July, 1868, for New Zealand. To obviate pursuit he set adrift a ketch, the only vessel the authorities owned, and with consummate cleverness spared the lives of the crew of the schooner on condition that they navigated her to Poverty Bay. The voyage passed without incident, save that Te Kooti strove, during a spell of contrary weather, to propitiate the wind-god by the sacrifice of his aged uncle, whom he callously cast overboard.

On the 10th of July the Rifleman arrived at Whareongaonga, a point some fifteen miles south of Poverty Bay, and here the prisoners disembarked and, after looting the vessel of her cargo, arms and ammunition, set free the crew. The successful plotter then struck inland, marching, so he said, upon Waikato, there to dethrone the king, with whose conduct he professed himself dissatisfied.

News of his arrival had spread, and a mixed company of whites and friendlies under Captain Westrupp set off in chase of him, encountering him on the 20th at Paparatu. After a fight lasting all day, Te Kooti surrounded his opponents and forced them to retire with the loss of their horses, baggage and ammunition, while their casualties were two killed and ten wounded.

Colonel Whitmore at once organised the pursuit,[Pg 282] but it was the 8th of August before he came up with Te Kooti, to whose standard more Hauhau had flocked, and who had chosen a strong position in the gorge of the Ruake Ture river, about twenty miles due west of Poverty Bay.

Colonel Whitmore had only one hundred and thirty tired and not too contented men with whom to do battle against over two hundred well-armed warriors; but his courage took no more heed of this than it had taken of the difficulties of the pursuit, which had been through country the nature of which it is hard for the untravelled Briton to imagine.

When the column struck Te Kooti's last camp, where the fires were still burning, the track led thence along the bed of the river between high cliffs, which were fortunately not occupied by the foe. Heartened by the knowledge that they were at last to come to grips with the wily fellows they had held in dreary chase for nearly three weeks, the column went cheerfully forward, and in time came where the track left the river and climbed through a gap in the cliffs into the hills. There the advance was suddenly checked by a volley which had no worse effect than to send the men scurrying to cover, whence they replied to the concealed enemy, who were nearer than they supposed.

Each side fired as the chance came. Some one fell back dead and the nearest man to him shouted down the line, "Captain Carr's gone," and himself fell dead. Mr. Canning, a volunteer, had dodged behind the trunk of a fallen tree and, anxious for opportunity, peeped cautiously over the great bole,[Pg 283] seeking a target. He was instantly shot dead by some Hauhau who were lurking, quite unsuspected, on the other side of the tree. Two other men fell, and then the advanced guard retired on the main body, who had meantime been deserted by a number of lukewarm Maori volunteers, while some of the Pakeha were themselves in retreat. To make matters worse it poured with rain, and it was but a remnant of the column which that night reached the bivouac at Reinga, some miles down the river. It was well for them that Te Kooti, wounded in the foot, could not pursue.

The victorious Hauhau encamped at Puketapu, hard by the scene of the fight, and thence sent his runners all over the island, calling on the tribes to join him, and announcing himself the chosen of God to sweep the Pakeha into the sea. The worst of it was, the road to Poverty Bay was now practically open to the Hauhau chief, who was already breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the people there, some of whom had been chiefly instrumental in procuring his deportation to Chatham Island.

It was no brutum fulmen that Te Kooti launched against the settlement, though, strange to say, both Major Biggs, in charge there, and other leading men, imperfectly realised the imminence of their danger. Biggs even dissuaded the settlers from building a strong blockhouse for a rendezvous, assuring them that there was no reason for alarm, since his scouts would surely give him twenty-four hours' notice of any projected attack. He actually laughed at them[Pg 284] for their vigilance in watching the various fords of the Waipoa river and, as the Anglo-Saxon is extremely sensitive to ridicule, this very sensible precaution was dropped. The ford to which they had given particular attention was that at Patutahi, and there it was where Te Kooti presently crossed the stream.

Te Kooti, who maintained an iron discipline in camp and field, had by this time received numbers of recruits from the fierce Uriwera and other tribes in the locality, as well as promises of support from some at a distance. Leaving his main body in camp, he now swept down upon the plains with a chosen band of ruffians, and before the 10th of November had well begun, scattered his rascals in various directions over the settlement of Turanga, or Poverty Bay.

Mr. Butters, a wool-presser, rode up at dawn to the station of Messrs. Dodd and Peppard, where he was engaged to work, and to his horror found the two men dead upon their own threshold, while the shepherd had disappeared—he, too, had been killed.

"The raid is come. Te Kooti is upon us!" thought Mr. Butters and, instead of hurrying out of the district into safety, he went at racing speed to the mission at Waerenga-a-hika, warned the inmates, and then galloped from station to station, bearing his terrible news. He was riding all the time through the very midst of the scattered Hauhau, carrying his life in his hand and, had he worn a uniform, must have gained the cross "For Valour." As it was, he had for reward the consciousness of a[Pg 285] good deed well done, and the knowledge that he had saved some lives by risking his own.


Butters gives the alarm—Poverty Bay

Some few he found alert and forearmed; others he advised in time, and some he was too late to help, as when, on riding up to one homestead, he saw outside the door the bodies of the proprietor, his wife and their baby. Knowing that here he could do no good, Butters thundered past the desolated hearth with averted face.

The Hauhau had already occupied Major Biggs's place as Butters drew near, and were dancing and yelling like fiends incarnate. The would-be saviour galloped on, sadly thinking, no doubt, that, if the poor major had consented to be wise in time, all this trouble might have been averted. Biggs had indeed paid the heaviest price for his rashness, and his last moments must have been embittered by the knowledge of the fate of those whom he had actually dissuaded from timely action in their own defence.

He met his end like a man. The natives' account of his death—the only one available—says that when the Hauhau knocked at his door he was still up, writing. Recognising that the danger he had held so lightly had come upon them, he called out to his wife to escape by the back, which she refused to do. In a few seconds more, husband, wife, child and servant lay dead, the only survivor being a hired boy, James, who escaped and joined his mother, who, with her eight children, narrowly managed to make her way to safety.

While all this horror was in progress in one direction the settlers in another, near the Patutahi[Pg 286] ford, were warned by one of their number, who had lain awake from dawn listening to the distant firing, the meaning of which he did not apprehend until himself warned by a friendly Maori. It was here that the Hauhau had crossed the river, but refrained from doing mischief, as their leader wished to keep the murder of Mr. Wylie, one of the settlers there, as a sweet morsel for the finish. For Wylie was the man principally concerned in Te Kooti's deportation, and the fierce Hauhau had vowed that he would cut the Pakeha to pieces inch by inch, Chinese fashion. Their neighbour's warning saved Wylie and the rest, and they had gained safety before Te Kooti could overtake them.

Benson, a settler who also did good service that day in warning others, had himself the narrowest escape. As he rode home through the night, before the murders had begun, he suddenly found himself in the very midst of the Hauhau who had just crossed the ford. Supposing them to be friendlies, he spoke a word of greeting and passed through them on his way. Many a gun was pointed at him, and the savage fanatics ground their teeth with rage at losing a victim; for they dared not spoil their chance of a general massacre by the premature murder of a solitary settler.

Captain Wilson, besieged within a burning house, surrendered to the Hauhau on their promise that he and his should be spared. No sooner were the unfortunates outside, than Captain Wilson was shot, his man tomahawked and his wife and children bayoneted, save one little boy, who crawled from his[Pg 287] dying father's arms and escaped into the scrub. The poor little fellow wandered about for days and at last found himself at the ruins of his home, where he discovered his mother, sorely wounded, but alive, in an outhouse.

A week later, when the Hauhau had departed and burial parties were searching for the dead, the two were found, the dying woman having been kept in life by the efforts of her baby son, who had stolen out nightly and foraged for food. Poor Mrs. Wilson was carried to Napier, where she died, leaving the doubly-orphaned little boy the sole survivor of the family.

Thus did Te Kooti revenge himself upon those whom he deemed the cause of his banishment. But he had gone too far; for above the cry of horror which went up all over the island when the dismal news of the massacre[69] spread, was heard the stern oath of strong men, who vowed they would not rest until they had cleared the earth of this blood-soaked savage and his gang of murderers.


[69] Thirty-two Europeans were killed, men, women, and children.

[Pg 288]



The quality of massacre was absent in the west—less, perhaps, from choice than for lack of opportunity—but matters were not going as well as could be desired. There had been a change of governors, Sir George Grey having given place after more than seven years of anxious rule to Sir George Bowen, G.C.M.G. Bishop Selwyn, too, had left the country he had served so long and well; but to the troubled, wearied colonists, it seemed that governors might come and governors might go, and even bishops, but the war would go on for ever. For, while Te Kooti was snarling and ravening in the east, McDonnell's star, so long in the ascendant, was declining in the west, and the Pakeha generally were being rather hardly used.

The "Year of the Lamb" had come to an end, and the Hauhau gave evidence of it by a triple murder,—three wholly inoffensive men, engaged in sawing wood in the bush, being slain and mutilated by them. Colonel McDonnell, foreseeing trouble, regarrisoned an old redoubt of the 14th Regiment at Turuturu Mokai with twenty-five men under[Pg 289] Sub-Inspector Ross of the Constabulary. At dawn, on the 12th of July, four times as many Hauhau attacked the place, and in the stern fight which ensued killed Ross and seven others. Titokowaru would have made a clean sweep of the luckless twenty-five but for the timely arrival of Von Tempsky and his men from Waihi, less than three miles away, whence the flashes of the guns had been seen, though their reports could not be heard.

McDonnell, tired of incessant skirmishing, determined to make a raid which should yield a decisive result one way or the other, and fixed the night of the 6th of September for his attempt. The friendly Whanganui strongly objected to move at that particular time, owing to an unfavourable augury by their tohunga and, as it happened, their hesitation received curious justification. But McDonnell was not one to be turned aside from his purpose by augurs or omens, and the expedition left Waihi at midnight and plunged into the bush. Nobody seems to have had any clear idea of the whereabouts of Titokowaru, so the old method was adopted of moving through the bush until a beaten track was struck, and then following it whithersoever it led. This system had been tried upon former occasions with good results; but it was destined this time to fail.

At daybreak on the 7th the column was somewhere on the western slope of Mount Egmont where, after the forenoon had been spent in wandering about, a beaten trail was struck and followed during the afternoon in the direction of the sea. Evening[Pg 290] was approaching when a scout who had climbed a tall tree discovered the Hauhau pa not more than half a mile away. Major Kepa (Kemp), one of the best officers among the allies, strongly urged delay and an attack in force on the morrow; but McDonnell, fearful of losing his prey, determined to go on and take them and their fort by surprise.

This plan was spoiled by a woman who, perceiving the advance, ran shrieking an alarm, and McDonnell was then informed by the friendlies that the place ahead of them was the strongly-fortified, well-garrisoned Ngutu-o-te-Manu. The colonel at once ordered Kepa and Von Tempsky to move in opposite directions, so as to surround the pa; but this they were not allowed to attempt with impunity. The Hauhau, taught by many bitter experiences, had learned that it was no longer safe to wait behind their defences, however formidable, and greatly amazed the allied leaders by leaving the pa and fighting in the bush. Dr. Best, Lieutenant Rowan and a number of Von Tempsky's command fell almost at once, while McDonnell on the opposite side of the clearing had no better fortune, losing Captain Page, Lieutenants Hunter and Hastings and so many of his rank and file, that he judged it wise to retire with his wounded while he could.

He therefore sent his brother, Captain McDonnell, to bring off Kepa and Von Tempsky; but the latter strongly objected to retire, and talked of an assault on the pa. Captain McDonnell urged the unusual strength of the place; but Von Tempsky, still incredulous, stepped into the clearing to get a better[Pg 291] view of the position, and was instantly shot dead. Captain Buck (late of the 14th Regiment), Von Tempsky's second in command, anxious that the body of so good an officer should not suffer insult and mutilation, exposed himself in the effort to lift the dead man, and was himself instantly killed. The men, bewildered by the loss of their leaders, fell back and joined Captain Roberts, who had not heard of the order to retire, and remained where he was until sunset, when he also moved off towards the sea. On the way Sergeant Russell dropped to the ground with a smashed thigh and, dreadful as it was to do, his comrades, having no means of carrying him off, placed a revolver in his hand and left him to his fate.

In anguish of mind and body the poor fellow lay there for some time, till the Hauhau, realising that they had beaten off the attack, came hurrying along the track in pursuit. At sight of Russell helpless there, one of them ran gleefully forward with upraised tomahawk, only to receive a bullet in his brain from the brave sergeant's revolver. After that the rest circumspectly shot the lonely cripple from a safe distance and rushed on the trail of his comrades.

McDonnell was under fire the whole way through the bush until darkness fell, and when at last he reached Waihi with his broken and dispirited column, it was to find that nothing had been heard of Captain Roberts and his contingent, nor did these reach camp until the 8th had dawned.

One-fifth of the men engaged had fallen, the total casualties of the disastrous affair being one[Pg 292] major, two captains, two lieutenants, a sergeant and eighteen men killed, and twenty-six wounded. The final result was a blaze of anger against McDonnell, during which those who should have known better forgot his eminent services and used so bitter and unjust words that the colonel resigned the chief command into the hands of Colonel Whitmore.

Thus were the Nga-Ruanui under Titokowaru successful to an extent which caused the gravest apprehension among the colonists, while the friendly Whanganui retired to their homes. For they knew of Te Kooti's success on the east, and now, when the colonial troops evacuated all the advanced posts and fell back upon Patea before Titokowaru's formidable force, it seemed to them that the long-impending doom of the Pakeha was about to fall at last.

Whitmore had at first no better success; for, when storming the defences of Motorua on the 7th of November, he was repulsed with the heavy loss of nineteen killed and twenty wounded, Major Hunter being among the dead. The gallant colonel then fell back upon Nukumaru and, on the news of the massacre at Poverty Bay reaching Wellington, was ordered back to the east with every available man of his command.

The remainder of the year was filled by skirmishes between the friendly Maori and Te Kooti, who had more than one narrow escape, and who, unable to run because of the wound in his ankle, was on one occasion carried into safety upon a woman's back. But in January, 1869, he received a serious set-back[Pg 293] when the pa of Ngatapa, in the Poverty Bay district, was taken after a siege of six days by Colonel Whitmore and Ropata with his men of the Ngati-Porou. Te Kooti again managed to escape; but he lost many of his fighting chiefs, nearly one hundred and fifty of his men and, more than all, his band was dispersed and pursued in all directions.

Back to the west went the energetic Colonel Whitmore, taking measures to deal with Titokowaru as he had dealt with Te Kooti, and found that the Rev. Mr. Whitely, Lieutenant and Mrs. Gascoigne and their three children had been murdered by Wetere and his Ngati-Maniapoto at White Cliffs, north of Taranaki. This was an entirely purposeless crime, and the Hauhau declared that it had been committed at the instigation of the king, Tawhaio.

After several skirmishes it was believed that the district close to Whanganui had been swept clear of the Hauhau; but tragic proof to the contrary was given on the 18th of February, in the neighbourhood of the Karaka camp, by the Waitotara river.

For many years past troops had marched and countermarched in the Whanganui district, and the soldiers, moving up or down the rivers, often amused themselves by throwing at objects on the shore the stones of the numberless peaches they ate. The banks of more than one stream were in consequence lined with peach trees, wild, perhaps, but producing fruit not to be rejected by campaigners.

How little thought the soldiers in their careless play, that they were sowing the seed not only of[Pg 294] peach-trees, but of a tragedy which was to come to full fruit ten years later.

Yet so it was. On the afternoon of the 18th of February several field officers, visiting the camp, expressed a desire for some of the peaches which were growing in profusion on the opposite side of the Waitotara, and Sergeant Menzies, overhearing their talk, volunteered to go and get some of the fruit. Colonel McDonnell made no objection, and Menzies, taking with him nine men as a matter of precaution, crossed the river and set to work to fill a number of baskets with the ripe peaches.

Suddenly they were fired upon. The volley was so very heavy, so near and so totally unexpected, that the men were startled into bolting for their canoe instead of taking cover, and thus offered a fair mark to seventy Hauhau, who stood upon the bank and shot them down with ease, all save three, who succeeded in escaping. Their comrades, hearing the firing so close at hand, came up at the double, but too late to do more than receive the few survivors and discover some of the dead.

So the Hauhau scored once more; but a month later the scales dropped again, and Titokowaru, who was really a formidable leader, was beaten at Otauto and forced to ignominious flight. Another blow or two completely smashed this powerful chief and bold warrior, and then the pendulum of war swung sullenly back to the east, where Te Kooti had again shown his teeth and, wolf-like, worried his own kind as well as those of another colour.

It was pleasant for the colonists in all this[Pg 295] turmoil of war to learn that their industrial progress and rise into a position of political and social importance had not gone unmarked, and that their Queen was now to recognise their standing by sending her son to visit them. Great was the enthusiasm and fervid the welcome which the Flying Squadron received on the 12th of April as the Galatea with Commodore H.R.H. Prince Alfred of Edinburgh on board swept into Port Nicholson and boomed an answer to the thundering salute from the shore. Wherever the Duke appeared throughout the Australasian colonies he was well received; but nowhere with greater heartiness than in New Zealand. For the colonists there knew that they owed a debt of gratitude to the mother country—which to many of them was still "home"—and Britain's Queen was as loyally regarded as in her own sea-girt islands in the North.

As if the visit of Queen Victoria's son brought good augury of peace, Titokowaru was no more heard of, and Te Kooti gradually declined in power, until, harried on every side, he fled at last into the country of the Uriwera, the wildest and most savage tribe in New Zealand. Their country—in the mountainous peninsula between the Bay of Plenty and Poverty Bay—was as wild and savage as themselves, and afforded an almost inaccessible retreat to the Hauhau fugitives. But men like Whitmore and McDonnell, not to speak of Kepa Te Rangihiwinui and Ropata Wahawaha, were not to be dismayed by savagery, animate or inanimate, and Te Kooti was chased from point to point until[Pg 296] even his bold spirit began to quail, and he realised at last how terrible was the just anger of the Pakeha, slow to kindle, but inextinguishable by aught but the full satisfaction of righteous vengeance.

Te Kooti's day was not quite done. He was not rash, but by no means a coward, never hesitating to expose his person when necessary; yet he was seldom wounded, while his hairbreadth escapes from capture and from death itself seemed to justify the growl of his pursuers that "the devil took good care of his own."

On one occasion when his pa had been stormed and he was within an ace of being taken, he apparently fell over a cliff, and the men who were chasing him hurried themselves no further. But, when they reached the edge of the precipice and peered over, instead of a mangled body, they saw a rope of flax, down which the wily Hauhau had slid into safety.

On another occasion, under pretence of freeing a number of prisoners, he ordered them all to be disarmed, an order which every one recognised as preliminary to a general massacre—as it was. One bold fellow, standing almost within touch of the Hauhau leader, cried out, "This is to be done so that we may be the more easily killed. If I am to die, so shall you," and fired point-blank at his captor. As the hammer fell, a Hauhau struck up the muzzle of the gun; but if the Maori—whose fate was sealed in any case—had not drawn attention to his action by making a speech, he would have had Te Kooti's company on the road to Reinga, and the[Pg 297] world would have been the sooner rid of a murderous ruffian.

Strong in his luck, Te Kooti skirmished and fought his way out of the Uriwera country and marched across to Taupo, where he compelled the allegiance of Te Heu Heu, chief of the "Boiling Water" tribes. His great ambition was to capture to his side the powerful chiefs of Whanganui and Waikato, but his arrogance and overweening belief in his own superiority offended each in turn. Moreover, he alienated Topia Turoa, the great Whanganui chief by the causeless murder of a blood relation of the latter, which so angered Topia that he not only took the field against Te Kooti, but did him an even worse turn by using his influence with the Waikato against him.

The Waikato also had personal reasons for allowing Te Kooti to go to ruin unaccompanied by them. They had expressed themselves willing to receive a visit from him, but when he arrived with three hundred picked men, he gave himself such insufferable airs that many were disgusted, and the Waikato leaders made no haste to pay their respects until urged to do so by the great fighter, Rewi of the Ngati-Maniapoto.

They came at last, five hundred strong, bearing presents, to the place where Te Kooti and his three hundred champions awaited them. Then, either to show that he was prepared for treachery, or wishful to test their courage, or merely in an antic spirit, the Hauhau ordered his following to fire a volley with ball cartridge low over the heads of the Waikato.

[Pg 298]

The whistling of three hundred bullets past one's ears is a welcome easily improved upon, and the visitors, prepared for something very different, were startled into some undignified capers. Te Kooti had committed the stupidest error in lowering a proud folk in their own eyes, and their wrath blazed against him. Even friends might have been excused for taking exception to such a greeting, and these were men whose friendship was yet to be won. In vain Rewi pleaded; Te Heu Heu argued to the wind; the Waikato would have none of Te Kooti and, when he was soundly thrashed a little later by McDonnell at Te Pononga, even Rewi turned his back upon him. "The fellow is a humbug!" he declared to the delighted Waikato, who gleefully rejoined, "We told you so!"

McDonnell had with him men from the tribes of Whanganui, Taupo, Arawa and Ngati-Kahu-Ngunu (Hawke's Bay tribes). He had formed a plan for enticing Te Kooti into the open from his pa at Pourere; but this was spoiled by the chief of the Napier contingent, whose fears had been raised by his tohunga, who declared the omens to be of the worst.

McDonnell, as has been said, had few equals in dealing with the Maori and, though naturally annoyed at the failure of his plan, soon made himself master of the situation.

Having quietly instructed his European officers and Kepa, he began by informing the Whanganui under Colonel Herrick that the Arawa had already started for the pa, and would, no doubt, be in it[Pg 299] before them, whereupon the Whanganui sprang up and rushed forward, determined to be the first over the walls. Captain St. George had meantime told his Arawa a similar story, and they, seeing and hearing the truth of the statement, raced after the Whanganui, equally determined not to be second. McDonnell then went to the camp of Renata, the cause of all the bother, and enquired:

"Do you intend to refrain from fighting to-day on account of what the tohunga said?"

"I certainly do," admitted Renata, who was a most conceited fellow. "Why do you ask?"

"Oh, it's nothing," answered McDonnell; "only Arawa and Whanganui are racing for the pa, and I am going after them." He turned as he spoke and hurried away.

"Hi! Stop! Colonel, stop!" shouted Renata; but McDonnell ran on. The chief's shout was changed in a moment to "Tatua! Tatua!" (To arms! To arms!), and he and his three hundred bounded towards the pa, intent upon outdoing, or, at least, not being outdone by either Arawa or Whanganui.

With such a hearty concentration of energy the result was certain and, after a sharp contest, in which Captain St. George fell, shot through the head, the friendlies surged over the defences and once more drove the Hauhau into headlong flight. Te Kooti escaped as usual, but was forced to run from the Taupo district, and again take refuge among the wild Uriwera. A further result was the defection of "Old Boiling Water" (Te Heu Heu) who came in[Pg 300] and surrendered, complaining that Te Kooti had forced him to fight, as he forced all his prisoners.

Three months later, in January, 1870, Kepa Te Rangihiwinui with the Whanganui, and Ropata Wahawaha with his Ngati-Porou, started to hunt down Te Kooti. The colonials had now played their part and won their spurs, while some had gained the proud distinction of the New Zealand Cross, and one, at least, the Victoria Cross. It was felt that matters had reached a pass when the two skilful chiefs might well be trusted to finish up the long and troublesome affair of Te Kooti; for armed resistance had ceased everywhere, and the hostile Maori, if they showed no desire as yet to grasp the friendly hands held out to them by the Government, were at least convinced of the futility of further prolonging the war.

With Te Kooti the case was different. He was not a belligerent, but an outlaw and, had he been caught, would undoubtedly have been hanged, if only for his behaviour at Poverty Bay.

Kepa, starting in January, 1870, from the Bay of Plenty, moved south along the gorges of the Waimana to meet Ropata, who from Poverty Bay marched north upon Maunga Pohatu, about midway between the points of departure. Ropata fought and slew; Kepa, more diplomatic, made peace; but each in his fashion won the Uriwera tribes from Te Kooti, whom they kept continually upon the move, driving him from his last stronghold at Maraetahi, whence he escaped with only twenty men.

The last chase of all started from Poverty Bay in[Pg 301] June, 1871, four flying columns taking the route under Ropata, Captain Porter, Henare Potae, and Ruku Te Arutupu. The courage and endurance of the men were tried to the uttermost, for winter in the Uriwera Mountains, that beautiful, but terribly rough and savage country, was no light thing, and for a time the hunters had nothing but their trouble for their pains.

But the luck at last fell to Captain Porter, who was trailing along the northern end of Lake Waikare Moana (Sea of the Rippling Waters) in the dreadful heart of the Uriwera country, and there he came up with his man.

The excitement was tremendous, for they could look down from the range where they stood into the valley where they knew Te Kooti to be. A false step now, and all the toil and suffering would be wasted. Porter spent most of the raw winter night in stealing as close as he dared to the clearing, in the midst of which, in an old whare, Te Kooti slept, unconscious of his danger.

With the dawn, Henare Potae lay on the right of the clearing, Ruku Te Arutupu on the left, and Porter covered the centre. At a given time Ruku was to enter the clearing, call to the sleeping folk that they were surrounded, and summon them to surrender. If they refused, they were to be shot at once, while a particularly sharp lookout was to be kept for Te Kooti, who was to be allowed no chance whatever.

Quivering with excitement, the men breathlessly awaited the appearance of Ruku. All was quiet as[Pg 302] death which loomed so near; but Ruku came not. Only an old woman issued from a whare and began to pick up sticks for her morning fire. Still Ruku did not show himself, and Porter grew impatient, stirring in his place.

Then he held still as a mouse; for from another whare came a dog, stretching himself and yawning, who suddenly elevated a sensitive, inquisitive nose, snuffed the morning air and began to bark furiously, knowing, though his masters did not, that something was amiss. To him came out another woman, hushing him and staring about her; and those who knew whispered, "It is Olivia, Te Kooti's wife! He is there!"

Porter heard and trembled. He knew the excitability of his men, and dreaded lest the premature explosion of a rifle—as had so often happened—should warn the Hauhau of their proximity. So little would spoil so much. If his men should lose their heads—Oh, absit omen!

The dog whined and capered, Olivia stood, undecided, and in the hush Te Kooti's voice reached the watchers, "What ails the dog?" Olivia, after one more swift glance round, answered, "Nothing!"

More men now appeared, and they, too, cried "All is well!" Then came women, who set about preparing breakfast, one of them actually cutting chips from an enormous log, behind which six of Henare's men lay snug.

Then that which Porter had feared and prayed against happened. Two of the Maori loosed off their guns in their excitement, and the quiet scene in an[Pg 303] instant gave place to a wild turmoil—shouting men and screaming women all running this way and that as guns cracked and bullets wheeped and whined past their affrighted ears.

But Te Kooti was not there. He was not fool enough to come out and face the fusillade he knew would be directed against him. Not he. At the first sound of alarm he burst through the back of his hut, yelling "Sauve qui peut!" or its Maori equivalent, "Ko Ngati-Porou tenei kia whai morehu!" ("Ngati-Porou are here! Let survivors follow me!") Then, acting upon his own advice, he bolted like a deer, leaving Olivia alone to make her bow to the victors.

And that was the last of Te Kooti. For several months more Ropata hunted him without success, finding some consolation in the capture of Kereopa, Mr. Voelkner's murderer, who was hanged without undue waste of time. But of Te Kooti he got no glimpse; so, at last convinced that he had done all that mortal could do, and that Te Kooti as a fighting force was as good as dead, Ropata, the war-worn, went home with his Ngati-Porou, his honours thick upon him.

What became of Te Kooti no one seems to know. He simply disappeared, even as the yet more infamous Nana Sahib disappeared, leaving no trace. Some say that he steered his way across the Taupo district and hid himself in the King country; others aver that he was slain there by the Waikato whom he had insulted, others that he killed himself in despair, while some will have it that he got out of[Pg 304] a country which, except for the purpose of hanging him, was not particularly anxious to hold him. As a matter of fact, no one, whether Maori or Pakeha, has ever given a satisfactory answer to the question, "Where is Te Kooti?"

With the disappearance of the Hauhau leader vanished the last sign of active resistance against the might and rule of the Pakeha. Smiling faces were not yet everywhere; there were too many tears to be dried on both sides for that, and the passions of strong men do not cool in a day, even when strife has ceased. The conquerors, too, must learn to temper their exultation with sympathy, the conquered must accustom their necks to the yoke, and all these things take time. But the very fact, insisted upon above, that—the Hauhau movement apart—the war had been waged in generous spirit, hastened the period of cooling off, and on February the 2nd, 1872, Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake, the chief of Waitara, visited New Plymouth (Taranaki) when tomahawk and mere, patu, and tupara were buried, never again to be dug up. Three years later, on the 3rd of January, Tawhiao, the Maori King, shook the hand which Sir Donald McLean extended to him on behalf of the Government, and the last wintry clouds of discontent melted in the rays of the glorious sun of peace.

Never since then have the hands of the Maori been lifted against the Pakeha; ever since then have the Pakeha striven to make smooth the path of the Maori.

Once only appeared a little cloud, when a man[Pg 305] who throughout his life had advocated peace, was accused of fomenting war. Te Whiti was a Christian and a mystic, with more than his share of the keen Maori intelligence, a fine specimen of the Maori gentleman, and a man of immense influence in his tribe. He had taken no part in the great struggle, but, like Falkland, cried ever "Peace! Peace!" And when Titokowaru would have had him unite in smiting the Pakeha, he refused, nor would he allow his young men to join.

Yet this man came at last (in 1877) into collision with the Government over that old bone of contention, land. There was a dispute over the parcelling out of the Waimate Plains, and Te Whiti pulled up the pegs of the surveyors and ordered the workers off, as Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata had done thirty-four years earlier. But there was no massacre, and when Te Whiti's men were sent to prison, the chief retaliated by ploughing up the grass lands of the white men.

"Put your hands to the plough!" Te Whiti cried. "Be not afraid if any come with swords and, if they smite, smite ye not again. Neither touch their goods nor steal their flocks and herds. My eye sees all of you, and I will punish the offender. Let the soldiers seize me, if they will. They may come, and I will gladly let them crucify me."

A fanatic? Yes; but of very different temper from his predecessors. As it happened, Te Whiti was in the right; but the soldiers, seventeen hundred of them, did come on the 5th of November, 1881, and invested Te Whiti's pa at Parihaka. Two hundred[Pg 306] little children came out to them and danced a dance of welcome, and behind the children followed the mothers with five hundred loaves of bread for the soldiers. When matters had gone thus far, the Commissioner read the Riot Act and Te Whiti and his councillor Tohu were led away, unresisting, with handcuffs upon their wrists. And, as they went, they cried to their people, "Do not resist, even if the bayonet is at your breast."

Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata stood up and defied Governor and Council after Wairau, threatening massacre. Te Whiti and Tohu, preaching peace, were chained and cast into prison for sixteen months. Then right and justice prevailed, and they were liberated in February, 1883, and given reserves of land. Te Whiti lived until November, 1907, in prosperity with his people at Parihaka, enjoying that peace which he had always done his best to promote.

[Pg 307]



The colonists had won, and men asked one another how they would use their power. But we who have followed their story know that they had not waited for victory to force them to a generous attitude. We remember how in the very teeth of strife they held out their hands and lifted four of their Maori brethren to places by their side in the Colonial Parliament; so it is not surprising to learn that, almost before the blasts of war had done blowing in their ears, they made room in the Upper House for two chiefs of high rank, who were thenceforth to bear the title of "Honourable," and be for life members of the Legislative Council.

If that were not enough to show the cordial mind of the white men to their brown brothers, the Maori prisoners taken in war were treated for the most part as political offenders and, after a very short period of restraint, allowed to return to their tribes without the exaction of further penalty. Exceptions were naturally made in cases where individuals were proved guilty of actual crime; but, otherwise, everything was done to show the desire of the colony to[Pg 308] soften as far as possible all painful memories, to erase all bitterness from the record of events, and to begin the new chapter of their history upon a page inscribed with the great words of a great man, "Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable."

As the colonists had never allowed war to hinder them from forging ahead, so, now that peace was assured, they gave rein to their energy and saw to it that their country marched with equal step abreast of the world's progress. As time went on not even that sufficed, and ever and again the old world would stop, agape, while New Zealand confidently adopted political, social or domestic reforms, at which her grown-up relatives were still looking askance as "new-fangled ideas," "dangerous radicalism," and so forth. New Zealand has never been afraid to experiment, and most of her experiments have proved successful, and in their issue "come to stay," if the phrase may be allowed.

One of the earliest products of peace was a large addition to the population, thanks to a policy by which fifty thousand immigrants were introduced into the colony in the two years 1874 and 1875. This policy did not stop there; for the Government, as far as possible, found work for the men whom they introduced, just as they are doing at this day.

Take for instance that large area in New Zealand known as "The King Country," where, as we have seen, the "Land League" so long had sway. This, which includes more than a million of acres of forest-covered land, and that high plateau surrounding old Te Heu Heu's "ancestor," the smoking cones of[Pg 309] Tongariro, is only now being reduced to conditions which shall render cultivation possible. To this wilderness the Government sends hundreds of newly arrived immigrants, who are set to work upon the railway which is being carried through it.

The beauty of this region is almost indescribable; and there, too, a man may taste of the experiences of the pioneers and yet miss their greatest hardships. For, if a settler, he works with the certainty of return for his labour; if otherwise, he is paid good wages and is in any case assured of food, for carts carrying bread and meat continually traverse the bush tracks. He is free from the haunting fear that he will awake at some grey dawn to hear the wild yells of blood-lusting savages, or return to his lonely hut to find his wife and children dead upon his hearth. He has no dread of beasts of prey, unlike his brother immigrant in Africa; and he can push his way through breast-high fern or clinging tangle of undergrowth, undismayed lest his heel be bruised by fang of poisonous snake, the terror of his Australian cousin.

The year 1875 saw the abolition of the Provinces Act, in which many had from the first scented danger to the cultivation of a national spirit, and a beginning was made in the following year of the present system of local government, the colony being subdivided into counties and municipal boroughs. The old provincial spirit was not easily quenched, for many were not unnaturally inclined to esteem themselves and their own more excellent than their neighbour and his own. Still, there are very few in New Zealand who will venture to deny that to-day is better than[Pg 310] yesterday, although there is at least one "fine old New Zealand gentleman, one of the olden time," who annually brings forward a motion for retrogression to the ancient order of things. Such conservatism is rare in liberal New Zealand, and has few hopes and fewer followers.

A most interesting event occurred in 1877; for Sir George Grey returned to power, not as Governor, but as Premier. He had made for himself a home on an island in the beautiful Hauraki Gulf, and perhaps nothing could have been more fortunate than his presence in the Colony at a time when the new union between Pakeha and Maori required the cement of perfect comprehension to render it irrefragable. Among the colonists there might be disagreement as to Sir George Grey and his policy; among the Maori there was none. To them he was ever the Kawana nui (the great Governor), the man who understood them and who cared to understand them.

For his island home the "Knight of the Kawan" did everything which it was possible for a man so liberal and refined to do. He loved it and adorned its beauty with every fresh charm he could procure. He brought thither the English rose and the Australian eucalyptus, and when Australia shall lament the wholesale destruction of her unique fauna, the sole survivors of the quaint marsupial order shall, perhaps, be found in the isle of the Kawana. This charming spot is to-day a favourite resort of holiday-makers, and Sir George Grey's mansion, bereft, alas! of its hospitable founder, still offers visitors shelter and entertainment.

[Pg 311]

The eightieth birthday of this remarkable man (whom Queen Victoria honoured with her personal friendship) was celebrated in New Zealand with the utmost enthusiasm, and at his death in 1898 there were not many who grudged him the designation of "The Great Proconsul," or cavilled when St. Paul's Cathedral received the honoured dust of one who was not only an Imperialist but a Nation-maker.

In 1886, Nature arose in violent mood and swept into ruin one of the most romantically beautiful spots in the world, and the most powerful and splendid of New Zealand's many scenic attractions—her justly-named "Wonderland." This was the hot lake of Rotomahana, with its far-famed Pink and White Terraces.

In the volcanic region between the Bay of Plenty on the north and Lake Taupo, with its giant sentinels Ruapehu and Tongariro on the south, is Lake Tarawera, overhung by the volcano of Tarawera, which had never in the memory of the Maori given any sign of eruption. A river of the same name connected the lake with the much smaller basin of Rotomahana, in which the water was hot owing to the numerous thermal springs in its immediate vicinity. Rotomahana was really a crater of explosion, and the principal boiling spring, Te Tarata, descending from terrace to terrace down to the lake, was the greatest marvel in this marvellous region.

Upon the Mount of Tarawera were the graves of many generations of Arawa heroes and chiefs of might; nor dared profane feet disturb their rest for fear of the fiery dragon which, though never[Pg 312] yet seen by Maori eyes, kept watch and ward. At the mountain's foot lay the sister lake, into whose waters—green as the stone in far Te Wai Pounamou—flowed the river, charged with a fervent message from hot-hearted Rotomahana with his terraced fringe of white and pink, laced with the blue of pools

which in perfect stillness lie,
And give an undistorted image of the sky.

Eighty feet above the warmed water of Rotomahana was the basin of Te Tarata, with wall of clay, thirty feet in height. Its length was eighty feet, its breadth sixty, and it was filled full of exquisitely clear, boiling water, as blue as the sky above the swirl of azure vapour which constantly overhung the wondrous pool.

In the depths, far below the placid surface, sounded ever the rumble and grumble of immense quantities of water on the boil, and the overflow had formed a crystal stairway, white as Parian marble, to the lake beneath. From step to step was the height of a tall man, the breadth of each platform five or six times that measure, and every shining step was an arc of the great circle of which the red-walled crater of Rotomahana was the centre. Each ledge was overhung with stalactites, pure as alabaster, and every platform held its pools of limpid, azure water of all degrees of warmth, in baths whose elegance would have charmed a Roman eye.

On the opposite side of the lake was the spring of Otaka Puarangi, its tranquil blue water confined in a basin little more than half the size of Te Tarata. Its[Pg 313] silicious deposits used to "descend from its orifice down to the lake," and were scaled "by a marble staircase, so sharp in its outline, so regular in its construction, and so adorned with graceful borders of evergreen shrubs that it seemed as if Nature had designed it in very mockery of the skill and industry of man."

But on this side the silica was flushed to a delicate rose, and from every step pink wreaths were hung, and garlands of tinted stone, and on every platform flashed the opalescent stalactites, festooning the ledges, midway down, or dropping from azure pool to azure pool until they reached the golden solfatara[70] and the rainbowed mud.

One hour after midnight on the 10th of June, men who dwelt or sojourned in this beautiful, dangerous region were awakened by the trembling of the earth and, knowing what that portended, rushed from their houses into the open to see the Mount of Tarawera rent asunder from top to bottom, while from the gaping wound shot up a column of roaring flame, whose capital of smoke and cloud reared itself four and twenty thousand feet above the blazing crater—a beacon of misfortune four miles high.

Red lightning played in fork and spiral about the flaming crags or sheeted the gloomy base, and many miles away from the convulsed mountain streams of fire poured upon the stricken earth. Fire-balls fell, a blazing hail, consuming whatsoever they touched, and burying beneath their increasing weight the remains of lonely hut and crowded native village.

[Pg 314]

When the pallid light of the winter dawn struggled through the dense veil of falling debris, Tarawera's mount was seen to be shivered as though smitten by the hammer of Thor; Tarawera's lake had risen forty feet, the trees beside its margin buried to their tops in volcanic mud; Tarawera's river and Rotomahana's lovely terraces were gone for ever, submerged beneath an enormous mass of ashes, mud, and stone.

For eighteen hours dust and mud fell continuously, burying fifty feet deep the entire hapu of the Matatu Maori, all save nine, and raining desolation as far as Tauranga on the Bay. Pasture land, grass and fern were burnt bare, and the same volcanic hail which slew the birds in their flight blotted out the food-supply and starved the very rats in the undergrowth.

One hundred and one persons perished in this eruption, which was not only the fiercest and most destructive which New Zealand had known since the coming of the Maori, but was one of the most violent recorded in the story of the world.

From year to year New Zealand strode on, giving her women the franchise as she went, and calling upon them to help her in the conduct of municipal affairs. She seldom marked time, and ever held her head high and preserved a proud distinction of her own among the three and forty colonies or dependencies of the Empire. If she once got a little out of breath through the sheer rush of her onward march, the firm hand of a strong man steadied her, sending her on again, integris viribus, with greater speed. In[Pg 315] Richard Seddon, a man of immense energy and remarkable gifts, who for thirteen years stood at the head of the State and guided her towards the high status she has now obtained, New Zealand found her man of the hour. Fortunate, too, it was for her that, on the great Premier's untimely death in 1906, so strong a man as Sir Joseph Ward was at hand to take his place.

As the nineteenth century waned to a close, the important question fell to be answered by New Zealand—Should she, or should she not, allow herself to be enrolled among the States of the Australian Commonwealth? Federation had been in the air for a long time, and since 1891 it had been recognised that it must come, and come soon,—as far as Australia was concerned. But would New Zealand take her place among the States?

There were arguments in favour of her doing so from the point of view of commercial and administrative expediency; but there were very many who did not like the idea. These pointed to the thousand miles of ocean which separated their country from the continent of Australia as an argument against inclusion with her great neighbour, and to her remarkable progress as proof that she had learned, and could be trusted to stand alone.

In 1899 the question required an answer; but Mr. Seddon still declared himself uncertain of the popular will, and in 1900 craved the Imperial Parliament to insert an "open door" clause in the Constitution, in order that New Zealand might enter at her own time on equal terms with the other States.

[Pg 316]

A Royal Commission was then appointed, with the result that, after an exhaustive discussion of the arguments for and against the proposal, and the hearing of voluminous evidence on both sides of the Tasman Sea, the Commission declared emphatically against the submersion of New Zealand's identity in that of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Australia was dubious, and Mr. Reid, Premier of New South Wales, asked, "How long will New Zealand be able to preserve an independent orbit in the presence of a powerful gravitation and attraction, such as a federated Australia must possess?" No one could answer that; but New Zealand was firm, and a reply was to some extent contained in Sir Joseph Ward's later declaration, "I consider this country (New Zealand) is certainly the natural centre for the government of the South Pacific."

So New Zealand elected to stand alone; and, this done, the question immediately arose—Was she, with all her natural advantages, with her remarkable progress, to remain a mere undistinguished unit among the crowd of dependencies, simply one colony among a number of other colonies? The answer came as immediately—No! The New Zealanders determined to find a suitable designation by which their country should be honourably distinguished. What was to be that designation?

It remained for Sir Joseph Ward to answer that In May, 1907, being in London after the Conference of Colonial Premiers, he wrote to Lord Elgin, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and repeated what he had urged at that historic gathering; that,[Pg 317] "having regard to the position and importance of New Zealand, it had well outgrown the 'colonial' stage, and was as much entitled to a separate designation as the Commonwealth of Australia or the Dominion of Canada." He further declared that "the people of New Zealand would be much gratified" if the designation chosen were "The Dominion of New Zealand."


[70] A pool of smoking sulphur.

[Pg 318]




The Prayer

Resolution by the Parliament of the Colony of New Zealand

"That this House respectfully requests that His Majesty the King may be graciously pleased to take such steps as he may consider necessary in order that the designation of New Zealand be changed from "Colony of New Zealand" to the "Dominion of New Zealand"; and that a respectful address be presented to His Excellency the Governor, requesting him to transmit this resolution for submission to His Majesty."


The Answer

The text of His Majesty the King's Proclamation, conferring the title of Dominion upon the Colony [Pg 319]of New Zealand. Read by His Excellency the Governor (Lord Plunket) from the steps of Parliament House, Wellington, New Zealand, at eleven o'clock in the morning of Thursday 26th of September, 1907.

"Whereas We have, on the petition of the members of the Legislative Council and the House of Representatives of Our Colony of New Zealand, determined that the title of the Dominion of New Zealand shall be substituted for that of the Colony of New Zealand as the designation of the said Colony. We have, therefore, by and with the advice of Our Privy Council, thought fit to issue this, Our Royal Proclamation, and We do ordain, declare, and command, that on and after the 26th day of September 1907, the said Colony of New Zealand and the territory belonging thereto shall be called and known by the title of the Dominion of New Zealand, and We hereby give Our command to all public departments accordingly.

"Edward Rex."


Dominion Day

"Ab actu ad posse valet illatio"

So New Zealand, having resisted the blandishments of her big neighbour, and refused to allow her identity to be submerged in the Commonwealth[Pg 320] of Australia, craved a gift from the King, who gave her what she craved,—a designation which should convince the world that she had climbed from the ruck of the colonies into a position of distinction. Few would in any case have denied this; but the change of designation made, as was intended, New Zealand's improved status apparent to all.

The gift of this new designation was a public recognition of New Zealand's right to take her place on equal terms among the great self-governing colonies, and in asking for such recognition New Zealand did wisely. Great names were in the air in the South Sea, and for New Zealand not to have chosen one, now that she had elected to stand alone, would have been deliberately to hide her light under the bushel of self-effacement, and quite unnecessarily to seek a lower place than that which Australia had assumed.

So, King Edward having granted her petition, His Excellency the Governor, Lord Plunket, at eleven o'clock on Thursday morning the 26th of September, 1907, read in public His Majesty's Proclamation, and New Zealand ceased to be a Colony and became a Dominion.

And what of New Zealand's future? The only possible answer to that at present is in the words quoted at the head of this section. God in His wisdom hides the future from our eyes, but it is allowable to construe the future from the past; it is permissible to infer what will be from what has been, and it is only reasonable to admit that none[Pg 321] who know New Zealand's past ought to have any well-grounded fears for her future. What she has done she will do again yet more perfectly: what she has not done, but has a mind to do, she will accomplish.

Less than seventy years ago New Zealand, like her own peculiar birds, the moa and the kiwi, was unable to fly; but, like them, she could and did run very fast. Then, as in the course of years—and few enough of them—her wings grew, she did not hesitate, but accomplished flight after flight, each more daring than the last, until her pinions, like those of the albatross of her own seas, now bear her untired whithersoever she will.

"Ab actu ad posse valet illatio!" What New Zealand has done she will do. Even if she never attain to the position which Sir Joseph Ward seems to consider should be hers, and become the actual as well as the natural centre for the government of the South Pacific, she can still soar as high in her proud independence, and perhaps higher, if she ever strive to attain to Sir Joseph Ward's ideal, "a true Dominion in the head and heart of her own people."

What New Zealand has done she will do. It is not yet seventy years since Captain Hobson, in presence of a few white folk, read his commission as Lieutenant-Governor of islands which were declared to be a mere extension of the boundaries of New South Wales. Wellington was not yet founded; Auckland was yet to be born; the Crown and the Company were for a time to divide the house against itself; the good will of the Maori[Pg 322] was still to win and, since British sovereignty had not been declared, other claimants for possession had to be baffled.

Yet with all these drawbacks and difficulties New Zealand was able not to struggle on, but to leap boldly from childhood into a youth which was fortunately vigorous, since in this phase she had not only to adjust a quarrel here and there, but to fight for her very existence. When the doors of the temple of Janus were at last shut after nearly thirty years of intermittent war, New Zealand set her feet firmly upon the high road of industrial progress and strode forward; nor has she since looked back.

Is it likely that with the knowledge and experience she has gained she will do less than she was able to do when she had everything to learn? The idea is inconceivable.

No. New Zealand accomplished much in her weakness, and in her strength she will accomplish more. If she has made good laws, she will make yet better and continue to legislate, as she has always done, not for the benefit of one class or section of the community, but for the common good. If she was able to hold her own against the strong, brave race she dispossessed and reinstated under better conditions, that "baptism of fire" shall avail to teach her how to arm against the jealousy of nations, older, it may be, than herself, and envious of her vineyard. Has she not already fought nobly for the Motherland, and shall she not know how to defend her own? More than once, indeed, she has been styled the "Britain of the South." What if Sir[Pg 323] Joseph Ward's haughty assumption of her right to rule the South Pacific by virtue of geographical position be some day so fully recognised as truth that she shall acquire the right by the might of added moral superiority?

If that day come, will New Zealand be happier? That waits to be seen. Yet she should in any case be happy, even though she mount not one step higher than that to which she has attained. Climate, soil, position and natural beauty, laws, social and commercial success, all unite to feed her hunger for happiness, and to satisfy. Save that Man must ever sigh for something which he has not, what more can she crave than that which God has already given her? Even now she may most fitly sing in a full-throated burst of rejoicing:

Last, loneliest, loveliest, exquisite, apart—
On us, on us, th' unswerving season smiles,
Who wonder, 'mid our fern, why men depart
To seek the Happy Isles!

[Pg 324]

A ekore ana tatau e tutakina i te ao. A e kawea te kororia me te honore o nga Tauiwi ki reira.

Wakakitenga xxi. 25-26 (Revelation).

Translation.And the gates thereof shall in no wise be shut by day: and they shall bring the glory and the honour of the nations into it.

[Pg 325]


Aewa, Tamihana Te, 258, 259, 260

Ahuahu, Te, 178

Akarana, 147

Akaroa, 133, 142, 149

Alfred, H.R.H. Prince, 295

Allen, Bugler, 206, 207, 208

Anaua, Te (chief), 276

Ao-tea-roa, 13, 14

Aotea, 14

Aowera (tribe), 268

Arawa (tribe), 55, 247, 298, 299, 311

Aro, Te, 136

Artillery, Royal, 242

Arutupu, Ruku Te, 301, 302

Atkinson, Major, 232

Atua, 4, 9, 38, 72, 260

Auckland, 144, 147, 149, 156, 170, 194, 213, 223, 240, 262, 263, 321

Austin, Colonel, 239

Australia, 77, 85, 93, 143

Australia, Commonwealth of, 315, 316, 317

Australia, South, 193, 194

Austria, Emperor of, 237

Banks Peninsula, 220

Banks, Sir J., 80

Barclay, Lieut., 174

Baring, Hon. F., 130

Bat's Nest, the, 195, 200

Bay of Islands, 98, 99, 116, 117, 121, 122, 140

Bay of Plenty, 55, 121, 295, 300, 311

Beattie, Lieut., 190

Benson, Mr., 286

Best, Dr., 290

Biggs, Major, 283, 285

Bland, R.N., Lieut., 197

Boadicea, 98

Boers, the, 240, 241

"Boiling Water" tribes, 227, 297, 299

Boulcott, Mr. J.E., 130

Boulcott's Farm, 205

Bourke, Sir R., 125

Bowen, Sir G., 288

Boyd, massacre of the, 97, 98, 101, 104

Brassey, Major, 266

Bridge, Major, 188

Britannia, 136

British Government, 125, 129, 130, 152, 153, 244, 250, 252, 315

Brooks, John, 163

Broughton, Mr., 270

Browne, Colonel T. Gore, 223, 227, 231, 232, 235, 236

Buck, Captain, 291

Busby, Mr., 124, 125, 126, 129

Butler, Colonel, 274, 275

Butters, Mr., 284, 285

Calliope, H.M.S., 210

Cameron, General, 233, 234, 238, 239, 240, 241, 245, 246, 247, 250,
251, 252, 273, 275

Canada, Dominion of, 317

Cannibalism, 62

Canning, Mr., 282

Canoes, names of, 8

Canterbury, 217, 218, 219
[Pg 326]
Canterbury Association, 218

Canterbury Pilgrims, 218

Carey, Brig.-Gen., 245, 246

Cargill, Captain W., 218

Caribs, the, 63

Carr, Captain, 282

Catholic missionaries, 106

Chalmers, Port, 218

Chalmers, Rev. Dr., 218

Chatham Islands, 13, 113, 280, 283

Church Missionary Society, 103, 106

Chute, General, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277

Clarke, Interpreter, 191

Clarke, Mr. G., 193

Cloudy Bay, 159

Collingwood, 221

Colonial Conference, 316

Colonial Office, 193, 216

Columbus, Christopher, 63

Constitution Act, 216

Cook, Captain, 44, 55, 78, 79, 88, 89

Cook Islands, 21

Cook Strait, 12, 107, 135, 220, 262, 272

Coromandel, 221, 222

Cotterell, Mr., 160, 163

Crozet, Captain, 89, 91, 92, 165

"Cyprus of South Sea," 128

Darling, Governor, 121

Denny, Captain, 199

Despard, Colonel, 183, 185, 186, 187, 188, 192, 195

"Die-Hards," the, 274

Diemen, Anthony van, 76

Diver, H.M.S., 203

Dodd, Mr., 284

Dominion Day, 319, 320

Dominion of New Zealand, 219, 317, 318, 319, 320

Doubtless Bay, 89

Dunedin, 218

Durham, Earl of, 130

Eclipse, H.M.S., 242, 265, 266

Edward VII., 318, 319, 320

Egmont, Mount, 14, 145, 289

Elgin, Lord, 316

England, Captain, 160, 161, 162, 163

England, Church of, 218

Epuni, Te (chief), 135

Eritonga, river, 136

Erongo (pa), 155

Eyre, Mr. E.J., 215

Featherston, Dr., 276

Fifty-eighth Regiment, 183, 190, 199, 205, 211

Fifty-seventh Regiment, 237, 274

Flax, New Zealand, 22, 93, 150

Forest Rangers, 275

Fortieth Regiment, 246

Forty-third Regiment, 249

Franklin, Benjamin, 87, 95

Fraser, Major, 268, 278

Free Church of Scotland, 218

Fresne, Captain Marion du, 44, 89, 90, 91, 94, 125, 165

Fulloon, Mr., 266

Gabriel's Gully, 222

Galatea, H.M.S., 295

"Garden of New Zealand," 145

Gascoigne, Lieut. and Mrs., 293

Gate Pa, the, 247, 249

George III., 85, 102

George IV., 109, 114

Gilfinnan Massacre, 210, 211

Gipps, Sir George, 139

Gods, the six, 5, 37, 38

Gordon, Captain, 278

Gore, Lieut., 83, 84

Gorst, Sir John, 237

"Governor, the Fighting," 209, 212, 222

Grace, Rev. Mr., 265, 266

Grant, Captain, 190

Gregory XVI., Pope, 106

Grey, Sir George, 10, 193, 194, 201, 203, 210, 212, 214, 215, 216,
222, 227, 231, 236, 237, 244, 250, 251, 269, 288, 310, 311

Guard, Mr. and Mrs., 126, 127, 128

Gudgeon, Lieut., 277

Hakaraia (chief), 267

Harriet, the brig, 126

Hassard, Lieut.-Colonel, 274, 275

Hastings, Lieut., 290
[Pg 327]
Hauhau, the, 254, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 261, 263, 264, 265, 266,
268, 269, 270, 274, 275, 278, 280, 282, 283, 285, 286, 288, 289,
290, 291, 293, 294, 295, 299, 302, 304

Hauraki Gulf, the, 111, 123, 147, 310

Hawaiki, 3, 7, 8, 12, 13, 15, 21

Hawke's Bay, 235, 278

Hazard, H.M.S., 169, 172, 178, 183, 185, 187

Heaphy, Captain, 244

Heke, Honi, 116, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 176, 177, 178,
179, 180, 181, 182, 193, 194, 195, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 230

Hepanaia (chief), 257

Herrick, Colonel, 298

Hertford, Captain, 245

Heu Heu, Te (chief), 227, 297, 298, 299, 308

Hiroti, Haimona (chief), 258, 260, 261

Hobson, R.N., Captain, 117, 118, 130, 139, 140, 141, 145, 147, 148,
152, 156, 158, 321

Hokianga, 106, 114, 123, 149

Hokioi, the, 237

Hongi Ika (chief), 104, 105, 108, 114, 115, 116, 122, 123, 145, 149,
156, 167, 168, 169, 172, 178

Hope, Dr., 237

Horokiwi, 209

Horomona (chief), 266

Howard, Mr., 160, 161

Hulme, Colonel, 177, 178, 179, 182

Hunter, Lieut., 290

Hunter, Major, 292

Hutt, Mr. W., 130

Hutt, river, 136, 205

Hutt, valley of the, 204, 205, 206

Indian runners, 228

Irish, Royal, Regiment, 239

Jackson, Captain, 246

James, Mrs., 285

Johnston, Adjutant-General, 234

Johnston, R.N., Commander, 187

Kahika, Te (pa), 179

Kaitaka Ranges, 256

Karaka (camp), 293

Kawhia, 111

Kawiti (chief), 116, 172, 176, 178, 181, 183, 184, 186, 192, 193,
194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 223

Kendall, Rev. Mr., 123, 124

Kepa, Major (chief), 290, 295, 298, 300

Kereopa (prophet), 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 303

Kereti (chief), 258, 259

King, Captain, 94

King Country, the, 303, 308

Kingi, Mete (chief), 277

Kingi, Wiremu (chief), 232, 235, 304

Kirimangu (Maori), 266

Koheroa, 239

Kooti, Te (chief), 280, 287, 288, 292, 293, 294, 295, 296, 297,
298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304

Kororareka, 116, 117, 124, 128, 148, 149, 167, 169, 170, 171,
172, 176, 177, 178

Kororarekan Association, 128, 129

Kuri, Cape, 80

Labrador, 80

Laye, Captain, 211

Leinster, New, 153

Le Maire, 71

Lloyd, Captain, 256

Logan, Colonel, 261

London, 108

Lovell, Sergeant, 220

McCleverty, Colonel, 212

McDonnell, Captain, 290

McDonnell, Colonel, 232, 247, 266, 274, 275, 276, 278, 288, 289,
290, 291, 292, 294, 295, 298, 299

McLean, Sir D., 278, 304

Macpherson, Major, 188, 191

Maketu, 55, 247

Maketu (chief), 212

Mamaku (chief), 204, 205, 208

Mangaio, 277

Mangapiko, river, 244
[Pg 328]
Manukau, 144, 147

Maori, the, 10, 12, 15, 17

Maraetahi, 300

Maramarua, creek, 239

Maria van Diemen, Cape, 76

Marlborough, 235

Marquesas Islands, 102

Marsden, Rev. Samuel, 102, 103, 104, 105, 107, 108, 168

Massacre Bay, 75, 77

Massacre of the Boyd, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 104

Matakitaki, 111, 112

Matanga, Te (chief), 22

Matarana, 210

Matatu (tribe), 314

Matavia, 172, 173, 174

Matene (chief), 257, 258, 260, 261

Matutaere, King, 243

Maui (a god), 5, 6, 17

Maui, Te Ika A, 5, 9, 13, 55

Mauinaina, 111

Maunga Pohatu, 300

Maungatawhiri, creek, 238

Mayne, R.N., Commander, 242

Menzies, Sergeant, 294

Meri-Meri, 240, 241

Middle Island, the, 12, 31, 71, 72, 82, 107, 113, 141, 142, 145,
217, 220

Military Settlers, 266

Minister of Marine, French, 87

Missionaries, Anglican, 105, 106

Missionaries, Catholic, 106

Missionaries, Wesleyan, 106, 108

Moko-Moko (chief), 267

Molesworth, Sir W., 130

More, Hannah, 88

Moriori, the, 13

Moro, Te (Maori), 260, 261

Motorua, 292

Moutoa, island, 258, 261

Munster, New, 153, 215

Murderers' Bay, 75

Nape, Hemi (chief), 258, 259

Napier, 235

Napoleon Bonaparte, 199

"Napoleon of N.Z., the," 109

Native Contingent, the, 266, 267, 273, 275

Nelson, 71, 145, 146, 147, 149, 158, 159, 164, 217, 221

Nene, Waka (chief), 141, 170, 177, 178, 179, 180, 183, 185, 186,
187, 192, 199, 202, 231

Newfoundland, 80

New Plymouth, 145, 149, 232, 304

New South Wales, 97, 102, 119, 142, 153, 169, 172, 221

New Zealand, 21, 33, 71, 77, 80

New Zealand Association, 129

New Zealand Land Company, 129, 133, 134, 152, 193, 194, 321

New Zealand Settlements Act, 244

Ngahue (chief), 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Nga-Puhi (tribe), 104, 109, 110, 111, 116, 121, 125, 145, 179,
185, 200

Nga-Ruahini (tribe), 278

Nga-Ruanui (tribe), 292

Ngaruawahia, 243, 244

Ngatapa (pa), 293

Ngati-Awa (tribe), 13

Ngati-Hau (tribe), 257, 258, 260

Ngati-Hineuru (tribe), 278

Ngati-Kahu-Ngunu (tribe), 298

Ngati-Maniapoto (tribe), 293, 297

Ngati-Porou (tribe), 265, 268, 293, 300, 303

Ngati-Toa (tribe), 146, 209

Ngutu-o-te-Manu, 290

Ninety-ninth Regiment, 169, 177, 183, 190

Ninety-sixth Regiment, 183

Niu, the, 255

Norfolk Island, 93

North Island, the, 12, 21, 32, 76, 82, 107, 134, 141, 217

Nui, Tao (chief), 199

Nukumaru, 233, 251, 292

Oheawai, 183, 184, 187, 191, 192, 198, 200, 229

Okaihau, 178, 179, 183, 184

Okerangi, 198

Okotuku, 274

Olivia (chief's wife), 302, 303

Onoroa, 172, 173

Opotiki, 264, 265, 266, 268

Orakau, 245
[Pg 329]
O'Reilly, Ensign, 191

Otago, 217, 218

Otaheite, 81

Otaka Puarangi, 312

Otaki, 112, 146

Otapawa (pa), 274

Otauto, 294

Pacific, the South, 321, 323

Page, Captain, 290

Page, Lieut., 205, 208, 209

Pahatanui, 209

Pahi, Te (chief), 99, 100

Pai Marire Sect, the, 254, 257

Pakeha-Maori, 96

"Pakeha Rat," the, 26 (note), 237, 263

Pakeha, the, 10

Palliser, Sir Hugh, 80

Panama, 272

Papa (a god), 37

Paparatu, 281

Parihaka, 305, 306

Parliament of Chiefs, 125, 126

Patapo (chief), 211

Patara (prophet), 264, 265, 268

Patea, 269, 292

Patea, river, 270

Paterangi, 244

Patutahi, 284

Pene (chief), 184

Peppard, Mr., 284

Petre, Lord, 130

Petre (town), 144

Phillpotts, R.N., Lieut., 172, 187, 188, 189, 190, 229

Pihohoi, the, 237

Pikopiko, 244

Pipiriki, 277

Pitt, Major-General, 215

Plunket, Lord, 319, 320

Polynesians, the, 11, 12

Pomare (chief), 116, 178, 231

Pompallier, Bishop, 175

Poneki, 136

Pononga, Te, 298

Porirua, 209

Porter, Captain, 301, 302

Port Nicholson, 136, 262, 295

Potae Henare, 301, 302

Potatau, King, 226, 243

Pounamou, Te Wai, 13, 72, 112, 312

Pourere, 298

Poverty Bay, 81, 268, 281, 283, 284, 292, 295, 300

Pratt, Major-General, 234

Prayer, a traditional, 6

Proconsul, the Great, 311

Puaha (Maori), 161

Puketapu, 283

Pukutetu, Tamati (chief), 196

Putahi, 274

Putiki (tribe), 210

Racehorse, H.M.S., 197

Rakaihaitu (chief), 19

Ra Ki Ura, 13

Ranga Te, 249

Rangi (a god), 8, 37

Rangi, 38

Rangiaohia, 244

Rangihaeata (chief), 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 166, 203, 204,
231, 305, 306

Rangihoua, 108

Rangiriri, 241, 242, 243

"Rapparee, Ould," 209

Rarotonga, 8, 12, 21

Rauparaha, Te (chief), 111, 112, 114, 146, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162,
163, 164, 165, 203, 204, 209, 230, 305, 306

Rauparaha, Thompson, 231

Rauru (chief), 18

Rawhiti (tribes), 247

Reid, G.H., Hon., 316

Reinga, 283

Reinga, Te, 3, 38, 52, 57, 115, 259, 296

Renata (chief), 299

Rewi (chief), 244, 245, 247, 297, 298

Rhine of New Zealand, 144

Richardson, Mr., 160, 163

Richmond, Fort, 205

Rifleman, schooner, 281

Ring, Captain, 239

Ring, Mr. Charles, 221

Roberts, Captain, 291

Robertson, R.N., Captain, 173, 174

Ropata, Major (chief), 268, 293, 295, 300, 301-3
[Pg 330]
Ross, Sub-Inspector, 289

Rotomahana, Lake, 33, 311, 312, 314

Rotorua, Lake, 33, 111

Rowan, Lieut., 290

Ruake Ture, river, 282

Ruapehu, Mount, 14, 311

Ruapekapeka (pa), 195, 196, 198, 199, 200, 202, 229

Ruatara (chief), 104, 105

Russell, 148, 149, 262

Russell, Sergeant, 291

St. George, Captain, 299

St. John's College, 154

St. Lawrence, river, 79

Schouten, 71

Seddon, the Hon. R., 314, 315

Selwyn, Bishop, 153, 154, 175, 288

Sentry Hill, 257

Shortland, R.N., Lieut., 141, 158

Signal Hill, 173, 174

Sixty-fifth Regiment, 229, 242

"Southern Cross," the Auckland, 246

Southland, 235

Staaten Land, 71, 77

Stanley, Lord, 193

Stanley, R.N., Captain, 142

Stewart Island, 13, 21, 82

Sumatra, 11

Surville, Admiral de, 89

Sydney, 98, 103, 104, 110, 119

Tahiti, 81, 102

Tamihana, Wiremu, 234, 235, 244, 247, 263, 264

Tanewha, Te (chief), 81, 85, 221, 231

Taraia (chief), 155, 156, 221

Taranaki, 217, 220

Taranaki, Mount, 14

Taranaki, town, 145, 147, 149, 231, 275, 276

Taranaki (tribe), 116, 145, 234, 236, 237

Tarata, Te, 311, 312

Tarawera, Lake, 311, 314

Tarawera, Mount, 311, 313, 314

Tarawera, river, 311, 314

Tarra (chief), 98, 99

Tasman, Abel, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78

Tasman Bay, 145, 146

Tasman Sea, 113, 119, 194, 316

Tasmania, 71, 77, 143

Tataraimaka, 236

Tau Marina, river, 163

Taumata Tutu, 178

Taupo, 299, 303

Taupo, Lake, 297, 311

Taupo (tribe), 298

Tauranga, 106, 121, 155, 247, 249, 250, 314

Tawhai, Moses (chief), 197

Tawhaio, King, 293

Tawhitorangi, Riwai, 258, 259

Teira, Te (Maori), 232

Tempsky, Major von, 232, 246, 275, 289, 290, 291

Thames, river, 110, 111, 155

Thierry, Baron de, 123, 124

Thomas, R.N., Captain, 281

Thompson, Mr., 160, 161, 162, 163, 164

Thorndon, 136

Three Kings Islands, 76

Tiger of the Wairau, the, 204, 210

Titles (Maori) of New Zealand, 13

Titokowaru (chief), 278, 279, 289, 292, 293, 294, 295, 305

Tohu (chief), 306

Toi (chief), 278

Tonga, 102

Tongariro, Mount, 14, 227, 309, 311

Tory, arrival of the, 135

Totara (pa), 111, 112

Tragett, Lieut., 237

Tupia (chief), 81

Turanga Bay, 81

Turau, Waka (chief), 199

Turi, Te (chief), 4, 13, 145

Turoa, Pehi (chief), 277

Turoa, Topia (chief), 297

Turuturu Mokai, 288

Ua, Te (prophet), 255, 256, 263

Ulster, New, 153, 215

United Tribes of New Zealand, 126, 140, 226

Uriwera Mountains, 301

Uriwera (tribe), 284, 295, 300
[Pg 331]

Waddy, General, 252

Waerenga-a-hika, 284

Waihi, 289, 291

Waikare Moana, Lake, 301

Waikari, river, 183

Waikato, plains, 249, 250

Waikato, river, 237, 238, 239, 240, 244

Waikato (tribe), 55, 116, 145, 226, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 243,
244, 245, 257, 297, 298, 303

Waikato, war, 238, 263

Waimana, 300

Waimate (pa), 127

Waimate, plains, 305

Waimate, river, 184

Waimate, station, 184, 192

Waipa, river, 244

Waipoa, river, 284

Wairau massacre, 163, 164, 203

Wairau, river, 160

Wairau, valley of the, 147, 159

Wairoa Mountains, 239

Waitangi, Treaty of, 140, 156

Waitara, 232, 236, 304

Waitemata, the, 147

Waitotara, river, 293-294

Wakefield family, the, 130

Wakefield, R.N., Captain A., 145, 146, 160, 163

Wakefield, Colonel, 130, 139

Wakefield, Mr. E., 105

Wakefield, Mr. Ed. Gibbon, 194, 218

Wangamirino, creek, 240

Ward, Sir J., 315, 316, 321, 323

Wari-Kauri, 113

Weld, Mr. F.A., 251

Wellington, 136, 137, 139, 141, 144, 146, 147, 148, 149, 203, 204,
212, 219, 262, 263, 264, 321

Wellington, Duke of, 129, 199

Wereroa (pa), 233, 251

Westrupp, Captain, 281

Wetere (chief), 293

Whakatohea (tribe), 265

Whalers, the, 95

Whanganui, 144, 147, 149, 210, 212, 213, 233, 250, 257, 261, 293

Whanganui, river, 277

Whanganui (tribe), 257, 258, 261, 276, 277, 289, 292, 298, 299, 300

Whangaroa, 98, 106, 108, 114

Whareongaonga, 281

Wharepori (chief), 135

Wherowhero, Te (chief), 116, 145

Wherowhero, the Hon. Mahuta, Tawhiao Potatau Te, 116

White Cliffs, 293

White Island, 220

White Pine Pa, the, 179

Whitely, Rev. Mr., 293

Whiti, Te (chief), 304, 305-6

Whitmore, Colonel, 232, 278, 281, 282, 292, 293, 295

William IV., 125, 226

Williams, Archdeacon, 182, 268

Wilson, Captain and Mrs., 286, 287

Wiremu, Honi (chief), 211

Wirihana, Lieut. (chief), 267

Witchell, Major, 233, 234

Wylie, Mr., 286

Wynyard, Lieut.-Colonel, 221, 223

Year of the Lamb, the, 278, 288

Yeomen Cavalry, 266

Young Nick's Head, cape, 80

Zulu, the, 63


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