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Early Wellington

A Pakeha Maori's Lament

A Pakeha Maori's Lament.

(Extracts from “Old New Zealand,” by Judge Manning.)

“Ah! those good old times when first I came to New Zealand, we shall never see their like again.…

“A dull sort of world this now. Pigs and potatoes have degenerated, and everything seems flat, stale and unprofitable. But those were the ‘good old times’—before Governors were invented, and law and justice and all that; when everyone did as he liked, except when his neighbours would not let him—the more shame for them; when there were no taxes, or duties, or public works, or public to require them. Who cared whether he owned a coat, or believed in shoes or stockings? The men were bigger and stouter in those days, and the women—Ah! Money was useless and might go a-begging. A sovereign was of no use, except to make a hole in and hang it on a child's ear. The few I brought went that way, and I have seen them swapped for shillings, which were thought more becoming. What cared I? A fishhook was worth a dozen of them, and I had lots of fish-hooks.

“Little did I think in those days that I should ever see here, towns and villages, banks and insurance offices, Prime Ministers and Bishops, and hear sermons preached and see men hung, and all the other plagues of civilisation.”

“O! where are those good old times? And echo, or some young Maori whelp answers from behind a bush, ‘No hea.’”