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Life of Sir George Grey: Governor, High commissioner, and Premier. An Historical Biography.

Maori Laments

Maori Laments.

But it was from the Native race he had conquered by arms and then conquered by genuine sympathy and true friendship that the most touching farewells were to come. Chiefs of note composed odes of grief. Other chiefs travelled long distances in those railwayless and roadless days in order to see their loved benefactor once more before he departed. Some presented him with valuable greenstone meres and other heirlooms, which, thirty years later, the writer saw him exhibit to the sons of those chiefs. They came from the Waikato plains which, twelve years later, he was to receive from this very race and these very chiefs and from Native villages that were to be burnt in war. But no second-sighted vision of any Maori Cassandra then darkened the prospect. All old sores were healed, and all old scores wiped out. Not only chiefs of staunch and tried loyalty, like Patuone, Te Whero Whero, and Te Rangitake, but the son of Rauparaha whose spirit he had broken by treacherous capture and prolonged imprisonment, and "the tiger of the Wairau,'' the formidable Rangihaeata, now loyal and a Christian, lamented the loss of the great Governor, the great reconciler. In a collective address Grey appealed to their nobler instincts. Together they had reared churches, hospitals, and schools. The natives had abandoned their false gods. Mills had been built. Good roads had been made. Agriculture had spread, and page 93prosperity everywhere prevailed. His parting request was that they would not hereafter suffer any evil deeds to sully the names of the patriots of early days, or obscure the good works that had been accomplished. Alas! less than a decade later, the very men to whom he appealed were to rise in rebellion, and were to do such evil deeds as would leave an ineffaceable stain on the memory of their race, while the churches and schools would be abandoned, the false gods would be reverted to, or new false gods devised, the mills would cease their whirr, the highways would echo with the tramp of armed bands, prosperity would disappear, and a whole race sink back many degrees in the scale of civilisation.