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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 2 (June 1, 1933)

“Aroha” for the Governor

“Aroha” for the Governor.

Never was any ruler of a land with a native race so greeted and so lamented as Sir George Grey was when he was leaving New Zealand in 1853 on the completion of his first term of governorship. Deputations of chiefs and addresses of farewell from all over the island expressed the grief of the people at his departure. I would like to quote many of these poetic mihis of sorrow, but those from a Waikato district in which he had taken particular interest will indicate the sincerity and depth of the Maori esteem and gratitude. The place was Rangiaowhia, which under missionary and official guidance and help became a garden of cultivation and fruitfulness in the days before the war. Here came Grey in 1848 and 1849 visiting his loyal wheat-farmers and giving them practical encouragement in the arts of civilisation. An Englishman, Tom Power, was sent to instruct the people in ploughing and other farm work.

page 19

Hoani Papita Kahawai and other chiefs of Rangiaowhia, in their address of farewell to Kawana Kerei, recalled the great kindness which he had manifested towards the people of the place and the gifts of ploughs, horses, carts and other property, which had enabled the Maoris to assimilate some of the usages of the pakeha.

“You have made our lands important,” they wrote. “Our love to you and our remembrance of you will not cease; no, never. Go hence, O friend, go to the Queen and carry with you our love to her in return for the gifts which we have in our possession. If the Queen should send another governor, let his love for the Maoris be like yours, and we will repay him with our love.”

Another farmer chief, Hori te Waru, wrote: “Our love for you is great because you have shown us much kindness. You have elevated us and provided teachers to instruct our children and implant good principles in their hearts.”