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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 2 (May 1, 1940.)

Word as Guarantee

Word as Guarantee.

E. C. McKay, who contributes an introduction to “The Gael Fares Forth,” says: “They were a deeply religious people, brought up on the Bible, and as a community known for their morality, high principles and honest dealing…. All agreements in ancient Waipu were done by word of mouth. ‘The word of a Highlander’ was a sufficient guarantee that faith would be kept. To-day the wise Waipu man moves with the times, and insists on hard and fast written agreements. This is known as progress …. go where you will, in the professions, in commerce or business, on the land or on the sea, you will find the sons and grandsons of the founders of Waipu occupying prominent places…. A quality the Waipu people share with their forbears is loyalty in its widest sense. Two centuries ago the clans rose for Charlie because they were loyal to their Chiefs. This finished, they transferred their loyalty to the reigning house, and even when the ‘clearances’ were taking place in the Highlands, their loyalty made them fight for the King. At heart every Highlander is a bit of a Jacobite, but he sees no reason to make himself mourn over a lost cause. He did his best at Culloden, and conscious of that lets the matter rest…. In the days of voluntary enlistments she (Waipu) sent a bigger percentage of men to the front than any other place in New Zealand … there are plenty of places in New Zealand where the pioneers had just as many difficulties to fight as the founders of Waipu and faced them as bravely. But I know of no other spot where a British community, speaking a strange tongue (Gaelic), landed, or where they were twice led half round the world and started breaking in virgin country each time.”