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Maori and Polynesian: their origin, history and culture

They Taught the Polynesian Immigrants Gentler — Ways of Life

They Taught the Polynesian Immigrants Gentler
Ways of Life

(17) Though they are always spoken of as the good people, they are said to have had the power of smothering men, which means that their raids on the settlements of the immigrants were at night when people slept. And it is this method of retaliation, along with their mysterious appearances and disappearances in the forest and their art of ambushing, that threw such a supernatural halo round them, and made the Maoris fear the bush and the mountains inland. It was something out of the common for these feeble folk to make such fierce warriors timid, especially as the legends represent them as merry and cheerful, and always singing like the cricket. The mystery around them probably saved them from annihilation; and their absorption by the immigrants probably explains the improvement manifest in later Maori legend. The earlier stories of the migration from Polynesia page 35are full of cunning and cruelty and coarseness. Many of the later are touched with the spirit of gentleness, humanity, and romantic chivalry. The change of country and scenery and climate could never account for this new moral and emotional development. Nothing could but amalgamation with a gentler and more peaceful race.