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

Civilising the Maoris

Civilising the Maoris.

The Governor now gathered all the powers of Government into his own hands and was henceforth free to devote himself to the most interesting, as it was doubtless the most important, part of his mission to New Zealand. Having fought and conquered the natives—always an essential preliminary with him—he devoted himself to the work of pacificating and civilising them. He was well fitted for the task. Genuine kindness of heart, sympathy with the wronged, a horror of injustice, and perhaps something of the savage in his own nature made him a born mediator. His schemes embraced nothing less than the amalgamation of the two races. Like Samuel Marsden and the missionaries, Lawry and Buller, like the New Zealand Company and a well-informed writer in the Edinburgh Review, as also like Samuel Stanhope Smith, an old-time president of William and Mary College, with respect to the population of the United States, Sir George Grey believed that the future inhabitants of New Zealand would be a mixed population, a blend of British and Maoris. He certainly believed that, as two noble Spanish houses trace back their descent to Montezuma, and Australians as well as Virginians are proud to count Pocahontas among their ancestors, New Zealand families might one day boast of having in their veins the blood of a Christian hero like Te Waharoa or a mighty warrior like Te Rauparaha. The latter expectation has hardly been realised, save in a few isolated instances; while the former has been signally disappointed; and both did more credit to the hearts than to the heads of those who thus hoped to save a doomed race.