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History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840

Introduction of Christianity

Introduction of Christianity.

Wiremu Te Awa-i-taia—chief of Ngati-Tahinga branch of Waikato, whose home was at Raglan and that neighbourhood, a very fine old man handsomely tattooed, dignified and courteous, whom I remember well on his visits to Auckland to see the Governor in 1859-64, and who was our loyal ally in the Waikato war of 1863-4—was one of the early converts of those parts to Christianity, and used his powerful influence to check the constant state of warfare into which the whole of the North Island had drifted—mainly through the introduction of muskets. In his narrative (A.H.M., Vol. VI., p. 7) he says, "The party (from Te Namu) then returned to their homes. Then the Gospel was introduced, and after the arrival of the missionaries I always restrained my people from going to war—I, Wiremu Nero Te Awa-i-taia, and all my tribe have accepted the Word of God. After page 506the introduction of Christianity the Waikato carried the war further on —namely, to Ngati-Rua-nui—because there were no men whatever at Taranaki." (This is a general statement; there were people at Nga-Motu and at Wai-mate). "Subsequently a Waikato war-party went against Ngati-Rua-nui, and Te Ruaki pa was invested. When I heard of the pa being besieged, I took the Word of God to the Waikato party and to Ngati-Rua-nui (in Orangi-tua-poka pa). The work of the Gospel could not well be carried on at that time. Eighty of us went; we spoke to Waikato and said that should be the last war of the Waikato. Enough, that pa was taken by Waikato; they came back, remained, and believed in God."