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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 6 (September 1, 1934)

Civilising the Waikato

Civilising the Waikato.

In 1843 the missionary folk settled themselves permanently in the Waikato and Waipa country. The Rev. John Morgan took up his quarters at Te Awamutu, and that place and the surrounding villages soon took on a civilised face under his zealous preaching and teaching and technical instructions. Through his efforts wheat was grown, flour-mills were built (driven by water-power), roads and bridges were made. In less than ten years after that last great cannibal feast in Otawhao pa the people were all busily engaged in agriculture after the pakeha manner, and had several hundred acres of land under wheat. They took wheat and flour all the way to Auckland for sale; they had procured horses and carts and ploughs, some by gift from Governor Grey, some by purchase with the proceeds of their food-growing. John Morgan was a practical benefactor. He attended to their material welfare as well as their spiritual side; he introduced the peach trees that in a few years were growing luxuriantly and bearing huge crops all over the Waipa country, and he brought in other pakeha fruit trees. Those Maori peach groves of Orakau and Kihikihi and Rangiaowhia and a score of other places, how the pakeha soldiers and settlers revelled in them long after John Morgan's day! We of a later generation, too, who lived on the old battlefields had reason to thank “Te Mokena” and his peach-planters; the richly laden groves of delicious honey-peaches—the korako peach as the Maoris called them, because of their whiteness—were everywhere on the good Waipa lands.