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The Story Of Gate Pa, April 29th, 1864

A Maori Toa

A Maori Toa

I was amused at the coolness of one of our warriors in the thickest of the fight. He was a deeply tattooed old man of the past generation of toas (braves). He had six or seven bullets in his body, and being shot through both thighs was quite helpless. He was leaning against the remains of the parapet, had taken out his pipe and was wanting to have a consoling smoke, but could not find a light. So he kept calling out “Give me a light.” (“Homai te mati no toku paipa.”) He was not, as you may imagine, attended to, for everyone was fighting for dear life. Still his voice could be heard now and then above the tumult, especially when his excitement would over-master him and he would cry “Fight on, fight on, my hearties, give it to them.” With one breath he would ask for a light, and then with the next he would urge on the battling tribesmen. Such queer things are but the ways of war.