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Reflections: Sketches on the Wanganui River


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Haere mai Manuhire! ("Welcome, Stranger!") is the greeting at hospitable Putiki. The old pa by the river-side was the home of many chiefs of great mana, such as Hoani Wiremu Hipango, who fought for his new friends, the Pakehas, and died for them in battle; Mete Kingi, who built the meeting-house Te Pake o te Rangi (the Thunder of Heaven), which is full of beautiful carvings, always the admiration and delight of visitors; and Hori Kingi, heir to the armour presented by King George to Hongia Ika when in England. The latter chief, on his return, used it in his bloodthirsty war expeditions against rival tribes. Another great Putiki chief was Major Kemp, a high-minded and brave soldier, who received his commission during the Wanganui war. He rendered the Pakehas splendid service, for which he was presented with a sword of honour by Queen Victoria.

Peaceful and calm now lies the old pa by the solemn river, on whose waves the canoes rise and fall with the ebbing tides. Quiet and happy, the Maori lives a life of simplicity and usefulness, surrounded by the industry of the Pakeha and the many souvenirs of his own former greatness.