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Nation Making, a story of New Zealand


In the early times of English settlement in New Zealand and indeed, for ten years after England abandoned the Colony, the Colonists held their lives in their hands, facing innumerable perils, and doing heroic work in many directions.

page 82

The late Mr. William Buckland was in every respect a typical Colonist. In agriculture, pastoral pursuits, and politics he played a prominent part. Of a bright intellect, keen perceptions, strong physique and undaunted courage, he held no mean rank amongst the Nation Makers in New Zealand. Like many of the early Colonists he had a strong liking for the Maories, and from his upright character, was held in high respect by them, greatly enhanced by the following incident.

In the very early days Mr. Buckland purchased land some miles south of the present City of Auckland, and beyond the then settled districts. Hundreds of Maories lived in the Kaingas (native villages) around his farm. At that time and for long after, the Maories were very friendly to the few white Colonists. On his farm, Mr. Buckland kept a flock of sheep, which were frequently troubled by Maori dogs. He warned the Maories that he would shoot the first dogd he caught killing the sheep. One of the worst dogs was at last captured, and shut in an outhouse, till Mr. Buckland's return from the distant town. Next morning, whilst he was seated at breakfast, one of the workmen rushed in with the information, that the Maories had untied their dog, and were taking him away. At that moment a dozen Maories passed in front of the house, one of them dragging the dog along by its ears. To take down a loaded rifle, and step to the open door was the work of a moment. Telling the Maories to set free the dog, as he meant to shoot him, only raised a laugh of derision amongst the re-page 83treatingband. That instant, Buckland fired, and the dog dropped dead in the very midst of the Natives. From that hour, Te Pukeran (The Buckland) was regarded as a Toa (warrior) by the Maories, and the prestige he then won, never left him.