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The Maori As He Was : A Brief Account of Maori Life as it was in Pre-European Days


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In the foregoing sketch of the customs, arts, usages, institutions, and beliefs of the Maori as he was in pre-European days detailed accounts and descriptions have in many cases been omitted. Thus a very large amount of interesting data could not be included. The aim has been to turn out a small and handy work that will meet a want often felt—viz., a brief account of Maori life and customs as in pre-European times.

At the present time the Maori is slowly becoming Europeanized in some ways, but he will never become truly one with us, save by intermarriage; the pure-blooded race will pass away, and the European strain will then become stronger with advancing time. In days that lie before we shall know the Maori only according to what we now put on record concerning him, and the place-names he will leave behind him.

In the mist-laden days of the remote past the ancestors of the Maori left their hidden homeland beneath the setting sun, and fared forth upon the Great Ocean of Kiwa in search of new homes. With sublime courage and self-reliance they forced their way through hordes of hostile peoples, and with grim tenacity held for unknown generations to their quest of the rising sun. They opened up the sea roads athwart the vast Pacific, and lifted many strange stars on far horizons. For century after century they followed the rolling water trails to the lure of Hine-moana, they explored the farthest island groups, they settled and resettled every land that flecks the Many-isled Sea. The Maori has fulfilled the task allotted to him in the scheme of human development; he now steps aside from the old, old path he has trodden for so many centuries. Never again will he feel the leaping rush of his lean prau, never again hear the plaint of distressed outriggers hard buffeted by Hine-moana, or see afar off the loom of new lands where the sky hangs down. Ka to he ra, ka ura he ra! (A sun sets, a sun rises!)

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