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The Autobiography of a Maori

Friends I Adore

Friends I Adore

I cannot conclude this chapter without paying tribute to some of the people whom I learned to respect and adore during my sojourn at Te Aute.

I first saw and heard the Venerable Archdeacon Samuel Williams at evening prayers at the college one Friday evening. He read the short service in Maori. He was a venerable-looking old gentleman but the point that struck me most of all was that he spoke excellent Maori, He spoke the language as adeptly as a Maori.

Apart from taking a service in Maori once a week at the college, the Archdeacon had no other means of coming in contact with the students of the college of which he was founder. Not until many years after I had left the college were boys occasionally invited to tea at "the House," a name by which the Archdeacon's home was familiarly known. When I later joined the college staff, I found more freedom to go across to "the House" where I always received a welcome. When I attended Canterbury College and taught at Te Rau College, it was my habit to spend part of my holidays at "the House." I now count it as a privilege for me to have been permitted into that home, an ideal English home. What may be refined in my character is due page 84in a large degree to my association with that home; what principles I may have formed were strengthened by the inspiration I received there. Others more or less shared the privilege with me. "The open door policy" to young Maoris, adopted at Archdeacon Williams' home, I would say, advisedly and sincerely, was brought about by the influence of Miss Keith who was a companion to the Archdeacon's blind daughter, Lydia, and a more unselfish being I have never met. I am sure that this opinion is also held by the large number of people who knew Miss Keith. The Rev. Canon A. F. Williams and Mrs. Williams also adopted the "open door policy" towards the boys of the College.