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Extracts from a Diary during Heke's War in the North in 1845


page 58


It is not easy even to guess to what dimensions Heke's rebellion would have spread, had not Waka taken up arms in defence of law and order, as a loyal subject of the Queen.

The Government doubtless did right in not inviting the help of the Maori to fight in the ranks of the soldiers against his own countrymen; but in this instance there was great cause for thankfulness that they did so; by it much “blood and treasure” were saved, and the war much more speedily brought to an end.

The plan adopted by the Governor to put an end to fighting was in my opinion, a wise one, and prevented any more humiliating reverses which would certainly have been the result of following the rebels farther into the interior. They had fully decided not to build any more pas, but to entice their enemy into a more inaccessible part of the country, towards Hikuranga. Experience has taught us that an ordinary trained soldier is no match for the Maori in high fern, scrub, and bush, who thinks it no want of courage or bravery

“To fight and run away,
And fight again another day.”

Then, again, the not insisting upon certain lands being given up as a compensation for the mischief they had done, and as an acknowledgment of being in the wrong, served to disarm Heke and his party of what they considered their strong argument, namely, “that the Government was fighting to get possession of their country.”

From 1846 to the present time the natives of the North have given the Government very little trouble. They have been the most law-abiding of any of the tribes in New Zealand, and as a whole, perhaps, are the most civilized. In social order and religion they are in advance of most of the others farther south. There are at the present time eight ordained Maori clergymen working amongst their own people north of Auckland, in connection with the Church Missionary Society, besides several other ministers who have been ordained by the Wesleyan body.

R. B.