The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (December 1, 1933)
The Closing Years
The Closing Years.
In after years Captain Mair was an officer of the Native Department, until he retired, with very little monetary reward. Indeed, both the page 21 Mair brothers were treated with scant justice by Wellington headquarters, for old soldiers’ services are often slighted. But while they died poor in the world's goods, they were rich in the love and esteem of their fellow-men who knew and valued them. Gilbert Mair especially was beloved by the Arawa people, and when he was laid to rest in the Ohinemutu churchyard in 1923 the tribe whom he had led in peace and war for half a century mourned him as one of their own chiefs, indeed their greatest.
Captain Mair was in many ways a most gifted man. He was the most profoundly learned Maori scholar I have ever known; none in New Zealand was his superior in knowledge of the native people and their traditions and customs. He was a practical botanist; no one knew more about the bush and its life. Much of the information in Sir Walter Buller's book on New Zealand birds was derived from Mair, who was Buller's brother-in-law. His physical powers were marvellous. When he was seventy-eight years old he rode with me through the Urewera country once more, the last time, a rough bush ride, over the old battle trails, following down the Whakatane from its headwaters. On that camping tour, in 1921, Mair stood once more at the grave of his comrade, Captain Travers, killed, with several of his men, in the Ruatahuna Valley, in 1869. One of our photos shows him there; Tawa on the field of his fighting youth, brave, loveable old Tawa, last of a gallant band of brothers, New Zealand pioneers.