The Story of a Maori Chief
It is with a sense of diffidence I send out this volume, The Story of a Maori Chief, because I have written the story in a tongue not mine and also it is my first book written in that tongue. Notwithstanding, I have some feeling of elation that I have somehow been able to place on record the life of my grandfather. Whether I have carried out the work well or not remains to be seen.
I consider the book, firstly, a work of love, and, secondly, a fulfilment of duty I owe to posterity. Reading in Dr. G. H. Scholefield's monumental work, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, what the author has placed on record, sketches of the lives of Maori chiefs, I, with pardonable pride, am persuaded to concur with the great Marsden when he says, “From my first knowledge of these people I have considered them the finest and noblest race of heathens known to the civilised world.” The eulogy sounds somewhat fulsome and like the outpouring of a biased admirer. Over praise, at any rate, may hurt less than that finger of scorn pointed at the Maori in recent times. The Maori to-day needs encouragement. Landless in that very land to reach which he braved stormy seas and which he once owned, he is to-day thrown on the sympathy and tolerance of the pakeha. He stands a beggar knocking at the pakeha's door.
I may, perhaps, explain to readers, particularly those of my own tribe and race, that, in the narrative, I have gone back a few generations and have introduced the history of the Ngati-Porou Tribe, as far as it fits into my story. I feel that when I claim some standing for my grandfather in the tribal history, I have to produce a background. Much of the history of the Ngati-Porou Tribe remains yet to be written. To a younger and abler pen I assign that task.
Now, to acknowledge my indebtedness to those who kindly assisted me. But for the State Literary Fund the manuscript might never have seen the light. I thank Mr. Eric Ramsden for his assistance, ungrudgingly given. Above all, I tender my thanks to my friend, Dr. G. H. Scholefield, who read the manuscript and who, at my request, suggested some alterations.
E aumihi atu ana !
Rangiata, East Cape