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Legends of the Maori

Farewell to Taare Waitara

page 246

Farewell to Taare Waitara

A FUNERAL oration by Sir Maui Pomare, when Chief Native Health Officer, at Parihaka, over the Taranaki chief Taare Waitara, son-in-law of the famous prophet and leader Te Whiti o Rongomai:

“The stars of heaven are dimmed; darkness is over all. Our treasured bird has flown away. The giant tree of the forest which sheltered the great birds and the small has fallen to the earth. The midpost of the house has snapped asunder; the chill wind blows through the afflicted home. Our friend has gone, borne away in his canoe of Fate. He passes along the viewless path by which so many have gone before.

“When men fight with weapons hand to hand a blow can be warded off. Not so with the blows of Fate. No man can avert the blow dealt by the gods. And so with Waitara. He has been claimed by the great Goddess of Death. Weep, ye widows, groan, ye aged, cry, ye fatherless! Waitara, the parent, the provider, has gone. The old day ends to-night. The old day was a day of hand and feet. That was the day of war; this day is the day of brain.

“The tide of wisdom and progress is sweeping on and we must go with it. Education is to be the future paddle for our canoe. If we do not take advantage of what is before us we will be swept into oblivion. This is the history of the world. The day has dawned when the pakeha and the Maori must work in harmony with each other, having the same aim in life, and that is progress.

“I weep with you to-day for our common sorrow. I weep because a great man has ceased to live amongst you. Who is there with a heart big enough to take up his fallen mantle? Who will now be the parent? Waitara was a man of few words but great deeds. To him there were neither high nor low; there was no rich and.no poor. At his table sat the chief and the plebian, the Governor and his coachman. This is the religion of the grand old man Te Whiti; this is your religion, and Waitara was the apostle. Farewell, Waitara! Farewell! Time is short, you have joined our mighty dead. When the canoe of Fate comes again who knows who will be the passenger? Farewell, O Waitara.”

page 247
The Canoe of Fate (Te Waka O Aitua).

The Canoe of Fate (Te Waka O Aitua).

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