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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

Maori and Pakeha

Maori and Pakeha.

It is not easy to obtain information about the early whalers, as their operations were earned on before the in- page 33 stitution of tile press, and the missionaries, as we have seen, kept aloof from them. The most of what follows is derived from some articles which appeared in the "Hawke's Bay Herald" in 1868 (June 6th and 9th). According to the writer of these articles, in those days the Wairoa liad a very big Maori population. On the Wairoa river, divided into their several hapus and under their distinctive heads, the natives occupied settlements on either hank, commencing at the mouth and extending many miles inland. The Ngati Kurupakiaka, under their chiefs, Tiakiwai, Taui and others, were the recognised bullies of the district. Their pa was situated at Te Uhi, at the mouth of the Awatere creek, close to where the mission house was subsequently built.

Mr W. Williams visited the Wairoa in 1839, and subsequently native teachers were appointed and a church built, Mr Hamlin being sent to reside there in 1844. After the establishment of the mission a very marked and rapid change came over the Maori, who made considerable progress under the missionary teaching, many learning to read their Bibles in a few weeks.

The settler in early days was the property of the chief and his tribe and regarded as a thing specially sent for their benefit. He was subjected to pressure whenever the necessities of chief or his subordinates made it desirable that a portion of his substance should pass into their hands He was never thoroughly plucked, but was systematically blackmailed. The sales of land were made by the natives to obtain the settlement of Europeans for their own benefit solely. When they witnessed the increase of these settlements they would have stopped their growth; when they found that impos- page 34 sible they attempted to make war on them. An instance of the feeling of the native to the white man occurred in the old whaling days at the Wairoa. Most of the whites lived at a place called Kaimango, opposite Te Uhi, on the south bank of the river; but for the purpose of being close to the fishery many shifted to a place near the mouth of the Waipaoa stream. One of their party by mischance broke a sliver off a canoe belonging to Kopu and Hapurona. Whose tribe, the Ngatipiikn, came down in a war party and demanded payment, enforcing their demand by seizing all the boats. The Ngati Kurupakiaka, who considered the whites a specially under their protection, immediately took up arms, and after violent threatening and fierce denunciations compelled the Ngatipuku to deliver up the boats and retire discomfited Horn the scene.