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

The Taupiri Station

The Taupiri Station.

In September of 1843, Mr. Ashwell established himself permanently at the spot described at the beginning of this article, the great Taupiri bend, where the Waikato sweeps through the Taupiri gorge-like valley cut through the ranges. Soon after he made his home there his wife gave birth to a daughter. The husband and wife were alone in their house; their nearest English friends were sixty miles away.

Twenty years later that Waikato-born girl was assisting John Gorst at Te Awamutu by translating into Maori the articles for Gorst's Government newspaper, the “Pihoihoi Mokemoke,” a print which gave such offence to the Maori King's party that Rewi Mania-poto raided Te Awamutu with a war party, seized the press and type, impounded all the papers, and sent Gorst packing.

Gradually the new religion spread. ‘Christianity,” Mr. Ashwell wrote in 1843, had “softened and improved the native character in a most astonishing manner.” The principal difficulties were in connection with the law of tapu and the general belief in witchcraft and fear of the tohungas who remained to uphold the old regime. Sometimes there were inter-tribal quarrels, particularly over eel fisheries in the Waikato lakes, and on such occasions the missionary father’ of the people considered it his duty to act the part of referee and peacemaker. He knew what it was, more than once, to stand between angry men while bullets of challenge sang over his head.