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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 7 (October 2, 1939)

Colour at Waitangi

Colour at Waitangi

(Continued from page 41).

woollen cloaks of the Maoris, the garb of the pakeha settlers—you may be sure that bonnets, crinolines, and shawls that had been packed away in trunks ever since England was left behind, were being aired again in all their splendour. Then there were the stalwart dignified chiefs with their taiahas erect, adorned with the flowing white hair of the New Zealand dog, crimson cloth and red feathers, while the heads of the chiefs were adorned by the feathers of the sacred Amokura.

Round the walls of the tent, just to add to the riot, were the flags of different nationalities.

Picture all this crowded into the narrow confines of one white tent. On its own it would present a striking enough scene, but when we see it, as Colenso saw it, with that single shaft of sunlight striking down through the roof and picking out, as though by design, the great figure of Hakitara, making him in his gleaming white cloak the pivot round which that wheel of colour revolved, we must indeed feel its potentialities as the setting for one of the greatest and most far-reaching dramas in the history of New Zealand. I would like to write a play with that scene as a highlight, or design a tableau along those lines, but even then I doubt if it would be possible to convey to modern eyes just the right tension, just the right atmosphere, just the right feel of that scene which Colenso has so well described in his now almost unprocurable pamphlet.

(Rly. Publicity photo.) Hawk Crag—a familiar landmark in the Buller Gorge, South Island.

(Rly. Publicity photo.)
Hawk Crag—a familiar landmark in the Buller Gorge, South Island.

page 48