The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76
An Interesting Maori Encampment
An Interesting Maori Encampment.
On one occasion when I was conveying the Governor in the large boat of my Department to the river Thames, about 40 miles from Auckland, we encamped for the night on a plain by the riverside, where a large body of fine-looking natives—chief and people, young and old—had assembled to meet his Excellency. They were seated on the grass amidst clumps of Asphodel palm trees, and arranged in wide circles. After much conversational intercourse with the chiefs, fires were lighted, prayer books produced, and many hymns were sung by the whole concourse, the Governor standing at our tent door taking part. Sir George was much moved, and said to me—"This scene exceeds the most romantic imaginations of my boyhood." It was indeed a remarkable scene, and might well form a striking subject for a painting—a British Pro-Consul joining in the worship of the Deity with people of a race but recently converted from barbarism to Christianity, and become subject to the Queen of Great Britain. The Governor went on to the interior, and I returned with the boat to Auckland, touching on my way at a small island with one little hut on it, which, to my surprise, I page 41 found tenanted by an aged Scotch gentleman, who had not been successful as a colonist, and had retired from the world to lead a kind of hermit life all alone and in miserably poor circumstances. I brought his case under the notice of some of his friends and countrymen, who kindly had the old man brought back to the settlement.