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The Long White Cloud by William Pember Reeves

Part 4 out of 6

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tried under favourable conditions, and on the whole, at any rate up to
the year 1871, could not be called a failure. As long as the value
of land to speculators was little or nothing above the "sufficient
price," things did not go so badly. The process of free selection at
a uniform price of L2 an acre had amongst other merits the great
advantage of entire simplicity. A great deal of good settlement went
on under it, and ample funds were provided for the construction of
roads, bridges, and other public works.

Meantime, Grey was called upon to devise some general system of land
laws for the rest of the Colony. The result was the famous land
regulations of 1853, a code destined to have lasting and mischievous
effects upon the future of the country. Its main feature was the
reduction of the price of land to ten shillings an acre. Had this been
accompanied by stringent limitations as to the amount to be purchased
by any one man, the result might have been good enough. But it was
not; nor did those who ruled after Grey think fit to impose any such
check until immense areas of the country had been bought by pastoral
tenants and thus permanently locked up against close settlement.
Grey's friends vehemently maintain that it was not he, but those who
afterwards administered his regulations, who were responsible for this
evil. They point out that it was not until after his departure that
the great purchases began. Possibly enough Sir George never dreamt
that his regulations would bring about the bad results they did. More
than that one can hardly say. In drawing them up his strong antipathy
to the New Zealand Company and its system of a high price for land
doubtless obscured his judgment. His own defence on the point, as
printed in his life by Rees, is virtually no defence at all. It is
likely enough that had he retained the control of affairs after 1853
he would have imposed safeguards. He is not the only statesman whose
laws have effects not calculated by their maker.

Chapter XIV


"Some therefore cried one thing and some another; for the
Assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore
they were come together."

The Constitution under which the colonists were granted the management
of their own affairs was partly based on Grey's suggestions, though
it was drafted in England by Mr. Adderley under Gibbon Wakefield's
supervision. Its quality may be judged from its duration. It worked
almost without alteration for twenty-two years, and in the main well.
Thereafter it was much cut about and altered. Briefly described, it
provided the Colony with a dual system of self-government under
a Viceroy appointed by the Colonial Office, who was to be
Commander-in-Chief of the Queen's forces in the Colony, and might
reserve Bills for the consideration of Her Majesty--in effect for
that of the Home Government. Under this proviso laws restricting
immigration from other parts of the Empire or affecting mercantile
marine have, it may be mentioned, been sometimes reserved and vetoed.
Foreign affairs and currency were virtually excluded from the scope
of the Colonial Government. The Viceroy might use his judgment in
granting or withholding dissolutions of Parliament. Side by side
with the central Parliament were to exist a number of provincial
assemblies. The central Parliament was to have two Chambers, the
Provincial Councils one. Over the Parliament was to be the
Viceroy ruling through Ministers; over each Provincial Council, a
superintendent elected, like the Councils, by the people of his
province. Each superintendent was to have a small executive of
officials, who were themselves to be councillors--a sort of small
Cabinet. The central Parliament, called the General Assembly, was to
have an Upper House called the Legislative Council, whose members
were, Grey suggested, to be elected by the Provincial Councils. But in
England, Sir John Pakington demurred to this, and decided that they
should be nominated for life by the Crown. Their number was not fixed
by law. Had Grey's proposal been carried out, New Zealand would have
had a powerful Senate eclipsing altogether the Lower Chamber. The
thirty-seven members of the Lower House were, of course, to be
elected--on a franchise liberal though not universal. To be eligible,
a member must be qualified to have his name on an electoral roll, and
not have been convicted of any infamous offence, and would lose his
seat by bankruptcy. Until 1880 the ordinary duration of Parliament was
five years. The Provinces numbered six: Auckland, Taranaki,
Nelson, Wellington, Canterbury, and Otago. Maoris had no special
representation. They might register as landowners, and vote with the
white electors, but as a matter of fact not many did so, and after a
foolish and unfair delay of fifteen years they were given four
members solely chosen by Maoris, and who must themselves be Maoris or
half-castes. Two of their chiefs were at the same time called to the
Legislative Council.

In 1853, the year of the land regulations, the Governor was entrusted
with the task of proclaiming the constitution. He took the rather
curious course of bringing the Provincial Councils into existence, and
leaving the summoning of the central Parliament to his successor. He
left the Colony in December of the same year, praised and regretted
by the Maoris, regarded by the settlers with mixed feelings.
Nevertheless, it would not be easy now to find any one who would
refuse a very high meed of praise to Governor Grey's first
administration. It was not merely that he found the Colony on the
brink of ruin, and left it in a state of prosperity and progress. Able
subalterns, a rise in prices, the development of some new industry,
might have brought about the improvement. Such causes have often made
reputation for colonial rulers and statesmen. But in Grey's case no
impartial student can fail to see that to a considerable extent the
change for the better was due to him. Moreover, he not only grappled
with the difficulties of his time, but with both foresight and
power of imagination built for the future, and--with one marked
exception--laid foundations deep and well.

If the Colonial Office did not see its way to retain Grey in the
Colony until his constitution had been put into full working order,
it should, at least, have seen that he was replaced by a capable
official. This was not done. His successor did not arrive for two
years, and meanwhile the Vice-regal office devolved upon Colonel
Wynyard, a good-natured soldier, unfitted for the position. The first
Parliament of New Zealand was summoned, and met at Auckland on the
Queen's birthday in 1854. Many, perhaps most, of its members were
well-educated men of character and capacity. The presence of Gibbon
Wakefield, now himself become a colonist, added to the interest of
the scene. At last, those who had been agitating so long for
self-government had the boon apparently within their grasp. In their
eyes it was a great occasion--the true commencement of national life
in the Colony. The irony of fate, or the perversity of man, turned it
into a curious anticlimax. The Parliament, indeed, duly assembled. But
it dispersed after weeks of ineffectual wrangling and intrigue, amid
scenes which were discreditable and are still ridiculous. Those who
had drawn up the constitution had forgotten that Government, through
responsible Ministers forming a Cabinet and possessing the confidence
of the elective Chamber, must be a necessary part of their system. Not
only was no provision made for it in the written constitution, but the
Colonial Office had sent the Governor no instructions on the subject.
The Viceroy was surrounded by Patent Officers, some of whom had been
administering since the first days of the Colony. No place of refuge
had been prepared for them, and, naturally, they were not going to
surrender their posts without a struggle. Colonel Wynyard was wax in
the hands of the cleverest of these--Mr. Attorney-General Swainson.
When the Parliament met, he asked three members to join with his old
advisers in forming a Cabinet. They agreed to do so, and one of
them, Mr. James Edward Fitzgerald, a Canterbury settler of brilliant
abilities, figured as the Colony's first Premier. An Irish gentleman,
an orator and a wit, he was about as fitted to cope with the peculiar
and delicate imbroglio before him as Murat would have been to conceive
and direct one of Napoleon's campaigns. In a few weeks he and his
Parliamentary colleagues came to loggerheads with the old officials
in the Cabinet, and threw up the game. Then came prorogation for a
fortnight and another hybrid ministry, known to New Zealand history as
the "Clean-Shirt Ministry," because its leader ingenuously informed
Parliament that when asked by the Governor to form an administration,
he had gone upstairs to put on a clean shirt before presenting himself
at Government House. The Clean-Shirt Ministry lived for just two days.
It was born and died amid open recrimination and secret wire-pulling,
throughout which Mr. Attorney Swainson, who had got himself made
Speaker of the Upper House while retaining his post as the Governor's
legal adviser, and Mr. Gibbon Wakefield, who was ostensibly nothing
but a private member of the Lower House, pulled the strings behind
the scenes. Wakefield began by putting himself at the head of the
agitation for responsible Ministers. When later, after negotiating
with the Governor's _entourage_, he tried compromise, the majority of
the House turned angrily upon him. At last a compromise was arrived
at. Colonel Wynyard was to go on with his Patent Officers until a Bill
could be passed and assented to in England establishing responsible
government; then the old officials were to be pensioned off and
shelved. At one stage in this singular session, the Governor sent a
message to the House written on sheets of paper, one of the leaves of
which the clerk found to be missing. Gibbon Wakefield thereupon coolly
pulled the missing portion out of his pocket and proposed to hand
it in--a piece of effrontery which the House could not stomach. On
another occasion the door of the House had to be locked to prevent
the minority running away to force on a count-out, and one honourable
member assaulted another with his fists. Australia laughed at the
scene, which, it may here be said, has never been repeated in the
New Zealand Legislature. The greatest man in the Parliament was the
greatest failure of the session. Gibbon Wakefield left Auckland
unpopular and distrusted. Soon afterwards his health broke down, and
the rest of his life was passed in strict retirement in the Colony
which he had founded and in which he died.

The Colonial Office snubbed Colonel Wynyard and Mr. Swainson, and
informed them that responsible government could be initiated without
an Act of Parliament. A year, however, passed before the General
Assembly was summoned together, and then it merely did formal work, as
the Acting-Governor had taken upon himself to ordain that there
should be a dissolution previous to the establishment of responsible
Ministers. This put everything off till the middle of 1856, by which
time Colonel Wynyard had left the Colony. To his credit be it noted
that he had kept out of native wars. Moreover, in his time, thanks to
the brisk trade caused by the gold discoveries in Australia and the
progress of sheep-farming in the South Island, the Colony was waxing

The second Parliament met in 1856, and still for a time there was
confusion. First, Mr. Sewell formed a ministry which lived for
thirteen days; then Sir William Fox another which existed for thirteen
days more. After that, Sir Edward Stafford took the helm and made
headway. A loan of L600,000 was the fair wind which filled his
sails. Judgment in choosing colleagues and officials, very fair
administrative abilities, attention to business, and an indisposition
to push things to extremes in the House were some of the qualities
which enabled him to retain office for four years, and to regain it
more than once afterwards. Until 1873 he and his rival, Mr. Fox,
were considered inevitable members of almost any combination. Native
affairs were in the forefront during that period. Mr. Fox, the most
impulsive, pugnacious, and controversial of politicians, usually
headed the peace party; Sir Edward Stafford, much more easy going in
ordinary politics, was usually identified with those who held that
peace could only be secured by successful war.

The other principal moving cause in public affairs between 1856 and
1876 was the Provincial system. That had had much to do with the
confusion of the sessions of 1854 and 1856. Then and afterwards
members were not so much New Zealanders, or Liberals, or
Conservatives, as they were Aucklanders, or men of Otago, or some
other Province. The hot vigorous local life which Provincial
institutions intensified was in itself an admirable thing. But it
engendered a mild edition of the feelings which set Greek States and
Italian cities at each others' throats. From the first many colonists
were convinced that Provincialism was unnatural and must go. But for
twenty years the friends of the Provinces were usually ready to
forego quarrelling with each other when the Centralists in Parliament
threatened the Councils. There were able men in the Colony who devoted
their energies by preference to Provincial politics. Such was Dr.
Featherston, who was for eighteen years the trusted superintendent of
Wellington, and who, paternally despotic there, watched and influenced
Parliament, and was ever vigilant on the Provinces' behalf.

In truth the Provinces had been charged with important functions. The
management and sale of Crown lands, education, police, immigration,
laws relating to live-stock and timber, harbours, the making of roads
and bridges--almost the entire work of colonization--came within their
scope. By a "compact" arrived at in the session of 1856 each Province
was in effect given the entire control of its public lands--an immense
advantage to those of the South Island, where these were neither
forest-covered nor in Maori hands. On the other hand, it would have
been grossly unfair to confiscate them for general purposes. The
Wakefield system in Canterbury would have been unbearable had the
L2 paid by the settlers for each acre been sent away to be spent
elsewhere. The Wakefield price was a local tax, charged and submitted
to to get a revenue to develop the lands for which it was paid. As
it was, half a crown an acre was handed over by each Province to the
Central Treasury as a contribution for national purposes. Loans were
also raised by Parliament to buy native land for the North Island

On the other hand, the Provinces enjoyed their land revenue--when
there was any--their pastoral rents, a dog tax, and such fag-ends of
customs revenue as the central Government could spare them. Their
condition was quite unequal. Canterbury, with plenty of high-priced
land, could more than dispense with aid from the centre. Other
Provinces, with little or no land revenue, were mortified by having
to appear at Wellington as suppliants for special grants. When the
Provinces borrowed money for the work of development, they had to pay
higher rates of interest than the Colony would have had. Finally, the
colonial treasurer had not only to finance for one large Colony, but
for half a dozen smaller governments, and ultimately to guarantee
their debts. No wonder that one of her premiers has said that New
Zealand was a severe school of statesmanship.

Yet for many years the ordinary dissensions of Liberal and Tory, of
classes and the parties of change and conservatism, were hardly seen
in the Parliament which sat at Auckland until 1864 and thereafter at
Wellington. Throughout the settlements labour as a rule was in
demand, often able to dictate its own terms, nomadic, and careless of
politics. The land question was relegated to the Provincial councils,
where round it contending classes and rival theories were grouped.
It was in some of the councils, notably that of Otago, that the
mutterings of Radicalism began first to be heard. The rapid change
which bred a parliamentary Radical party after the fall of the
Provinces in 1876 was the inevitable consequence of the transfer of
the land problem to the central legislature and the destruction of
those local safety-valves--the councils. Meanwhile, the ordinary lines
of division were not found in the central legislature. According as
this or that question came into the foreground, parties and groups in
the House of Representatives shifted and changed like the cloud shown
to Polonius. Politics made strange bedfellows; Cabinets were sometimes
the oddest hybrids. One serviceably industrious lawyer, Mr. Henry
Sewell, was something or other in nine different Ministries between
1854 and 1872. The premier of one year might be a subordinate minister
the next; or some subtle and persistent nature, like that of Sir
Frederick Whitaker, might manage chiefs whom he appeared to follow,
and be the guiding mind of parties which he did not profess to direct.
Lookers-on asked for more stable executives and more definite lines of
cleavage. Newly arrived colonists impatiently summed it all up as mere
battling of Ins against Outs, and lamented the sweet simplicity of
political divisions as they had known them in the mother country.

Chapter XV


"In defence of the colonists of New Zealand, of whom I am
one, I say most distinctly and solemnly that I have never known
a single act of wilful injustice or oppression committed by any
one in authority against a New Zealander."
--_Bishop Selwyn_ (1862).

Colonel Gore Browne took the reins from Colonel Wynyard. The one was
just such an honourable and personally estimable soldier as the other.
But though he did not involve his Parliament in ridicule, Governor
Browne did much more serious mischief. In ordinary matters he took the
advice of the Stafford Ministry, but in Native affairs the Colonial
Office had stipulated that the Governor was to have an over-riding
power. He was to take the advice of his ministers, but not necessarily
to follow it. To most politicians, as well as the public, the Native
Department remained a secret service, though, except as to a sum of
L7,000, the Governor, in administering Native affairs, was dependent
for supplies on his ministers, and they on Parliament. On Governor
Browne, therefore, rests the chief responsibility for a disastrous
series of wars which broke out in 1860, and were not finally at an end
for ten years. The impatience of certain colonists to buy lands from
the Maori faster than the latter cared to sell them was the simple
and not too creditable cause of the outbreak. A broad survey of
the position shows that there need have been no hurry over land
acquisition. Nor was there any great clamour for haste except in
Taranaki, where rather less than 3,000 settlers, restricted to 63,000
acres, fretted at the sight of 1,750 Maoris holding and shutting up
2,000,000 acres against them. So high did feeling run there that
Bishop Selwyn, as the friend of the Maori, was, in 1855, hooted in
the streets of New Plymouth, where the local newspaper wrote nonsense
about his "blighting influence." Yet, as he tersely put it in his
charge to his angry laity of the district guilty of this unmannerly
outburst, the Taranaki Maoris and others of their race had already
sold 30,000 acres near New Plymouth for tenpence an acre, a million of
acres at Napier for a penny three-farthings an acre, the whole of the
territory round Auckland for about fourpence an acre, and the whole
South Island below the Kaikouras for a mite an acre. They had
also--the bishop might have added--leased large tracts ultimately
turned into freeholds. Yet the impatience of the Taranaki settlers,
though mischievous, was natural. The Maoris made no use of a hundredth
part of their lands. Moreover, members of the Taranaki tribes who were
anxious to sell plots to the Whites were threatened, attacked, and
even assassinated by their fellow-tribesmen.

Never bullied, and not much interfered with by the Government, the
Maori tribes as a whole were prospering. They farmed, and drove a
brisk trade with the settlements, especially Auckland, where, in 1858,
no less than fifty-three coasting vessels were registered as belonging
to Native owners. Still, the growing numbers of the colonists alarmed
them. They saw their race becoming the weaker partner. Originating
in Taranaki, a league was formed by a number of the tribes against
further selling of land. To weld this league together, certain
powerful Waikato chiefs determined to have a king. Of them the most
celebrated was the son of Hongi's old antagonist, Te Waharoa. This
leader, Wiremu Tamihana, usually known as William Thompson, was an
educated Christian and a brown-skinned gentleman, far in advance of
his race in breadth of view, logical understanding, and persistence.
He honestly wanted to be at peace with us, but regarding contact with
our race as deadly to his own, desired to organize the Maori as a
community dwelling apart from the _Pakeha_ on ample and carefully
secured territories. Had the Maori race numbered 500,000 instead
of 50,000, and been capable of uniting under him for any purpose
whatever, he might conceivably have established a counterpart to
Basutoland. But the scanty dwindling tribes could not be welded
together. New Zealand was, as she is, the land of jealousies, local
and personal. It would seem as though every change of wind brought
fresh rivalry and division. The Waikato chiefs themselves were at
odds. After years of argument and speech-making they came to the point
of choosing their king. But they compromised on the old chief, Te
Whero Whero. The once famous warrior was now blind, broken, and
enfeebled. When, in 1860, he died, they made the still greater mistake
of choosing as successor his son Matutaera (Methuselah), better known
as Tawhiao, a dull, heavy, sullen-looking fool, who afterwards became
a sot. They disclaimed hostility to the Queen, but would sell no land,
and would allow no Whites to settle among them except a few mechanics
whose skill they wished to use. They even expelled from their villages
white men who had married Maori wives, and who now had to leave their
families behind. They would not allow the Queen's writ to run beyond
their _aukati_ or frontier, or let boats and steamers come up their
rivers. Amongst themselves the more violent talked of driving the
_Pakeha_ into the sea. Space will not permit of any sketch of the
discussions and negotiations by which attempts were made to deal with
the King Movement. Various mistakes were made. Thompson, while still
open to conciliation, visited Auckland to see the Governor and ask for
a small loan to aid his tribe in erecting a flour-mill. Governor Grey
would have granted both the interview and the money with good grace.
Governor Browne refused both, and the Waikato chief departed deeply
incensed. A much graver error was the virtual repeal of the ordinance
forbidding the sale of arms to the natives. Because a certain amount
of smuggling went on in spite of it, the insane course was adopted
of greatly relaxing its provisions instead of spending money and
vigilance in enforcing them. The result was a rapid increase of the
guns and powder sold to the disaffected tribes, who are said to have
spent L50,000 in buying them between 1857 and 1860. Between July,
1857, and April, 1858, at any rate, 7,849 lbs. of gunpowder, 311
double-barrelled guns, and 441 single-barrelled guns were openly sold
to Maoris.

Finally, in 1860, came the Waitara land purchase--the spark which set
all ablaze. The name Waitara has been extended from a river both to
a little seaport and to the surrounding district in Taranaki, the
province where, as already said, feeling on the land difficulty had
always been most acute. Enough land had been purchased, chiefly by
Grey, to enable the settlement to expand into a strip of about twenty
miles along the seashore, with an average depth of about seven miles.
During a visit to the district, Governor Browne invited the Ngatiawa
natives to sell land. A chief, Teira, and his friends at once offered
to part with six hundred acres which they were occupying. The head
of their tribe, however, Wiremu Kingi, vetoed the sale. The Native
Department and the Governor sent down commissioners, who, after
inquiry, decided erroneously that Teira's party had a right to sell,
and the head chief none to interfere. A fair price was paid for
the block, and surveyors sent to it. The Ngatiawa good-humouredly
encountered these with a band of old women well selected for their
ugliness, whose appalling endearments effectually obstructed the
survey work. Then, as Kingi threatened war, an armed force was sent to
occupy the plot. After two days' firing upon a stockade erected there,
the soldiers advanced and found it empty. Kingi, thus attacked,
astutely made the disputed piece over to the King tribes, and
forthwith became their _protege_. Without openly making war, they sent
him numbers of volunteer warriors. He became the protagonist of the
Maori land league. The Taranaki tribe hard by New Plymouth and the
Ngatiruanui further south joined him openly. Hostilities broke out in
February, 1860.

It should be mentioned that while all this was going on, the Premier,
Mr. Stafford, was absent in England, and that his colleagues supported
the Governor's action. Parliament did not assemble until war had
broken out, and then a majority of members conceived themselves bound
to stand by what had been done. Nevertheless, so great was the doubt
about the wisdom and equity of the purchase that most of the North
Island members even then condemned it. Most of the South Island
members, who had much to lose and nothing to gain by war, thought
otherwise. Very heavily has their island had to pay for the Waitara
purchase. It was not a crime, unless every purchaser who takes land
with a bad title which he believes to be good is a criminal. But,
probably wrong technically, certainly needless and disastrous, it will
always remain for New Zealand the classic example of a blunder worse
than a crime.


Chapter XVI


"The hills like giants at a hunting lay,
Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay."

[Footnote 1: _Tupara_ (two-barrel), the Maori name for the short
double-barrelled guns which were their handiest weapons against us in
bush warfare.]

In 1860 the Taranaki settlement was growing to be what it now is--a
very pleasant corner of the earth. Curving round the seashore under
the lofty, lonely, symmetrical cone of Egmont, it is a green land of
soft air and many streams. After long delays and much hope deferred,
the colonists--mostly English of the south-west counties--had begun to
prosper and to line the coast with their little homesteads standing
among peach orchards, grassy fields, and sometimes a garden gay with
the flowers of old Devon. Upon this quiet little realm the Maoris
swept down, and the labour of twenty years went up in smoke. The open
country was abandoned; the settlers took refuge in their town, New
Plymouth. Some 600 of their women and children were shipped off to
Nelson; about twice as many more who could not be induced to leave
stayed huddled up in the little town, and the necessity of keeping a
strong force in the place to defend them from a sudden dash by
the Maoris hampered the conduct of the campaign. Martial law was
proclaimed--destined not to be withdrawn for five years. After a time
the town was protected by redoubts and a line of entrenchment. Crowded
and ill-drained, it became as unhealthy as uncomfortable. Whereas for
sixteen months before the war there had not been a funeral in the
district, they were now seen almost daily. On the alarm of some
fancied Maori attack, noisy panics would break out, and the shrieks of
women and cries of children embarrassed husbands and brothers on whom
they called for help, and whose duty as militiamen took them to their
posts. The militia of settlers, numbering between four and five
hundred, were soon but a minor portion of the defenders of the
settlement. When fighting was seen to be inevitable, the Government
sent for aid to Australia, and drew thence all the Imperial soldiers
that could be spared. The Colony of Victoria, generous in the
emergency, lent New Zealand the colonial sloop-of-war _Victoria_, and
allowed the vessel not only to transport troops across the Tasman Sea,
but to serve for many months off the Taranaki coast, asking payment
for nothing except her steaming coal. By the end of the year there
were some 3,000 Europeans in arms at the scene of operations, and they
probably outnumbered several times over the fluctuating forces of the
natives. The fighting was limited to the strip of sea-coast bounded by
the Waitara on the north and the Tataramaika plain on the south, with
the town of New Plymouth lying about midway between. The coast was
open and surf-beaten, the land seamed by ravines or "gulleys," down
which the rainfall of Egmont streamed to the shore. Near the sea
the soil was--except in the settlers' clearings--covered with tough
bracken from two to six feet high, and with other troublesome growths.
Inland the great forest, mantling the volcano's flanks, and spreading
its harassing network like a far-stretching spider's web, checked
European movements. From the first the English officers in command
in this awkward country made up their minds that their men could do
nothing in the meshes of the bush, and they clung to the more open
strip with a caution and a profound respect for Native prowess which
epithets can hardly exaggerate, and which tended to intensify the
self-esteem of the Maori, never the least self-confident of warriors.
A war carried on in such a theatre and in such a temper was likely
to drag. There was plenty of fighting, mostly desultory. The Maoris
started out of the bush or the bracken to plunder, to cut off
stragglers, or to fight, and disappeared again when luck was against
them. Thirteen tiresome months saw much marching and counter-marching,
frequent displays of courage--more courage than co-operation
sometimes,--one or two defeats, and several rather barren successes.
For the first eight months the advantage inclined to the insurgents.
After that their overweening conceit of their Waikato contingent
enabled our superior strength to assert itself. The Maoris, for all
their courage and knowledge of the country, were neither clever
guerillas nor good marksmen. Their tribal wars had always been affairs
of sieges or hand-to-hand encounters. Half the skill displayed by them
in intrenching, half the pluck they showed behind stockades, had
they been devoted to harassing our soldiers on the march or to loose
skirmishing by means of jungle ambuscades, might, if backed
by reasonably straight shooting, have trebled our losses and

Early in the war we did none too well in an attack upon a hill _pa_ at
Waireka, a few miles south of New Plymouth. Colonel Murray was sent
out from the town with some 300 troops and militia to take it, and at
the same time to bring in some families of settlers who had stuck to
their farms, and who, if we may believe one of them, did not want to
be interfered with. The militia were sent by one route, the troops
took another. The Maoris watched the arrangements from the hills, let
the militia cross two difficult ravines, and then occupied these,
cutting off the Taranaki contingent. The militia officers, however,
kept their men together, and passed the day exchanging shots with
their enemy and waiting for Colonel Murray to make a diversion by
assailing Waireka. This, however, Colonel Murray did not do. He sent
Lieutenant Urquhart and thirty men to clear the ravines aforesaid, and
give the militiamen a chance of retreat. But when the latter, still
expecting him to attack the _pa_, did not retire, he rather coolly
withdrew Urquhart's party and retraced his steps to the town, alleging
that his orders had been not to go into the bush, and, in any case, to
return by dusk. Great was the excitement amongst the wives, children,
and friends of the settlers away in the fight when the soldiers
returned without them, and when one terrified woman, who clutched at
an officer's arm and asked their whereabouts, got for answer, "My good
woman, I don't know"! Loud was the joy when by the light of the moon
the militiamen were at length seen marching in. They had been
rescued without knowing it by Captain Cracroft and a party of sixty
bluejackets from H.M.S. _Niger_. These, meeting Colonel Murray in his
retreat, and hearing of the plight of the colonial force, pushed on in
gallant indignation, and in the dusk of the evening made that assault
upon the _pa_ which the Colonel had somehow not made during the day.
Climbing the hill, the sailors chanced upon a party of natives, whom
they chased before them pell-mell. Reaching the stockade at the
heels of the fugitives, the bluejackets gave each other "a back" and
scrambled over the palisades, hot to win the L10 promised by the
Captain to the first man to pull down the Maori flag. The defenders
from their rifle-pits cut at their feet with tomahawks, wounding
several nastily; but in a few minutes the scuffle was over, and the
_Niger's_ people returned victorious to New Plymouth in high spirits.
Moreover, their feat caused the main body of the natives to withdraw
from the ravines, thus releasing the endangered militia. Among these,
Captain Harry Atkinson--in after years the Colony's Premier and best
debater--had played the man. Our loss had been small--that of the
natives some fifty killed and wounded.

Month followed month, and still the settlers were pent up and the
province infested by the marauding Taranaki, Ngatiawa, and Ngatiruanui
Maoris, and by sympathisers from Waikato, who, after planting their
crops, had taken their guns and come over to New Plymouth to enjoy
the sport of shooting _Pakeha_. The farms and homes of the devastated
settlement lay a plundered wreck, and the owners complained bitterly
of the dawdling and timidity of the Imperial officers, who on their
side accused the settlers of unreason in refusing to remove their
families, of insolence to Native allies and prisoners, of want of
discipline, and of such selfish greed for compensation from Government
that they would let their cattle be captured by natives rather than
sell them to the commissariat. On the other hand, the natives were far
from a happy family. The Waikato had not forgotten that they had been
aforetime the conquerors of the Province, now the scene of war, that
the Ngatiawa and Taranaki had been their slaves, and that Wiremu Kingi
had fled to Cook's Straits to escape their raids. They swaggered among
their old foes and servants, and ostentatiously disregarded their
advice, much to our advantage.

In June we were defeated at Puke-te-kauere on the Waitara. Three
detachments were sent to surround and storm a _pa_ standing in
the fork of a Y made by the junction of two swampy ravines. The
plan broke down; the assailants went astray in the rough country and
had to retreat; Lieutenant Brooks and thirty men were killed and
thirty-four wounded. The Maori loss was little or nothing.

In August General Pratt came on the scene from Australia. He proceeded
to destroy the plantations and to attack the _pas_ of the insurgents.
He certainly took many positions. Yet so long and laborious were his
approaches by sapping, so abundant his precautions, that in no case
did the natives stay to be caught in their defences. They evacuated
them at the last moment, leaving the empty premises to us. Once,
however, with an undue contempt for the British soldier, a contingent,
newly arrived from the Waikato, occupied a dilapidated _pa_ at
Mahoe-tahi on the road from New Plymouth to Waitara. Their chief,
Tai Porutu, sent a laconic letter challenging the troops to come and
fight. "Make haste; don't prolong it! Make haste!" ran the epistle.
Promptly he was taken at his word. Two columns marched on Mahoe-tahi
from New Plymouth and Waitara respectively. Though the old _pa_ was
weak, the approaches to it were difficult, and had the Maoris waylaid
the assailants on the road, they might have won. But at the favourable
moment Tai Porutu was at breakfast and would not stir. He paid for his
meal with his life. Caught between the 65th regiment and the militia,
the Maoris were between two fires. Driven out of their _pa_, they
tried to make a stand behind it in swamp and scrub. Half a dozen
well-directed shells sent them scampering thence to be pursued for
three miles. They lost over 100, amongst whom were several chiefs.
Our killed and wounded were but 22. Here again Captain Atkinson
distinguished himself. Not only did he handle his men well, but a
prominent warrior fell by his hand.

This was in November, 1860. For five months General Pratt, in the face
of much grumbling, went slowly on sapping and building redoubts. He
always reached his empty goal; but the spectacle of British forces
worming their way underground and sheltering themselves behind
earthworks against the fire of a few score or hundred invisible
savages who had neither artillery nor long-range rifles was not
calculated to impress the public imagination.

On the 23rd January, 1861, our respectful prudence again tempted
the Maoris to rashness. They tried a daybreak attack on one of the
General's redoubts. But, though they had crept into the ditch without
discovery, and, scrambling thence, swarmed over the parapet with such
resolution that they even gripped the bayonets of the soldiers with
their hands, they were attacked, in the flank and rear, by parties
running up to the rescue from neighbouring redoubts, and fled
headlong, leaving fifty killed and wounded behind. In March
hostilities were stopped after a not too brilliant year, in which our
casualties in fighting had been 228, beside certain settlers cut off
by marauders. Thompson, the king-maker, coming down from the Waikato,
negotiated a truce. There seemed yet a fair hope of peace. Governor
Browne had indeed issued a bellicose manifesto proclaiming his
intention of stamping out the King Movement. But before this could
provoke a general war, Governor Browne was recalled and Sir George
Grey sent back from the Cape to save the position. Moreover, the
Stafford Ministry, which headed the war party amongst colonists, fell
in 1862, and Sir William Fox, the friend of peace, became Premier.

For eighteen months Grey and his Premier laboured for peace. They
tried to conciliate the Kingite chiefs, who would not, for a long
time, meet the Governor. They withdrew Governor Browne's manifesto.
They offered the natives local self-government. At length the Governor
even made up his mind to give back the Waitara land. But a curse
seemed to cling to those unlucky acres. The proclamation of
restitution was somehow delayed, and meanwhile Grey sent troops to
resume possession of another Taranaki block, that of Tataramaika,
which fairly belonged to the settlers, but on which Maoris were
squatting. Under orders from the King natives, the Ngatiruanui
retaliated by surprising and killing a party of soldiers, and the
position in the province became at once hopeless. The war beginning
again there in 1863 smouldered on for more than three long and
wearisome years.

But the main interest soon shifted from Taranaki. In the Waikato,
relations with the King's tribes were drifting from bad to worse. Grey
had been called in too late. His _mana_ was no longer the influence it
had been ten years before. His diplomatic advances and offers of local
government were met with sheer sulkiness. The semi-comic incident of
Sir John Gorst's newspaper skirmish at Te Awamutu did no good. Gorst
was stationed there as Commissioner by the Government, as an agent of
peace and conciliation. In his charge was an industrial school. It was
in the heart of the King Country. The King's advisers must needs have
an organ--a broad-sheet called the _Hokioi_, a word which may be
paraphrased by Phoenix. With unquestionable courage, Gorst, acting on
Grey's orders, issued a sheet in opposition, entitled _Te Pihoihoi
Mokemoke_, or The Lonely Lark. Fierce was the encounter of the rival
birds. The Lark out-argued the Phoenix. But the truculent Kingites had
their own way of dealing with _lese majeste_. They descended on the
printing-house, and carried off the press and type of _Te Pihoihoi
Mokemoke_. The press they afterwards sent back to Auckland; of the
type, it is said, they ultimately made bullets. Gorst, ordered to quit
the King Country, refused to budge without instructions. The Maoris
gave him three weeks to get them and depart, and very luckily for him
Grey sent them.

The Governor pushed on a military road from Auckland to the Waikato
frontier--a doubtful piece of policy, as it irritated the natives, and
the Waikato country, as experience afterwards showed, could be best
invaded with the help of river steamers. The steamers were, however,
not procured at that stage. About the same time as the Gorst incident
in the Upper Waikato, the Government tried to build a police-station
and barracks on a plot of land belonging to a friendly native lower
down the river. The King natives, however, forbade the erection,
and, when the work went on, a party of them paddled down, seized the
materials and threw them into the stream.

It was now clear that war was coming. The utmost anxiety prevailed in
Auckland, which was only forty miles from the frontier and exposed to
attack both from sea and land. Moreover, some hundreds of natives,
living quite close to the town, had arms, and were ascertained to be
in communication with the Waikatos. The Governor attempted to disarm
them, but the plan was not well carried out, and most of them escaped
with their weapons to the King Country. The choice of the Government
then lay between attacking and being attacked. They learned, beyond a
doubt, that the Waikatos were planning a march on Auckland, and in a
letter written by Thompson about this time he not only stated this,
but said that in the event of an assault the unarmed people would not
be spared. By the middle of the year 1863, however, a strong force was
concentrated on the border, just where the Waikato River, turning from
its long northward course, abruptly bends westward towards the sea. No
less than twelve Imperial Regiments were now in New Zealand, and their
commander, General Sir Duncan Cameron, a Crimean veteran, gained a
success of some note in Taranaki. He was a brave, methodical soldier,
destitute of originality, nimbleness or knowledge of the country or of
savage warfare. In July, the invasion of the Waikato was ordered. On
the very day before our men advanced, the Maoris had begun what they
meant to be their march to Auckland, and the two forces at once came
into collision. In a sharp fight at Koheroa the natives were driven
from their entrenchments with some loss, and any forward movement on
their part was effectually stopped. But, thanks to what seemed to the
colonists infuriating slowness, the advance up the Waikato was not
begun until the latter part of October, and the conquest of the
country not completed until February.

To understand the cause of this impatience on the part of the
onlookers, it should be mentioned that our forces were now, as usual
in the Maori wars, altogether overwhelming. The highest estimate of
the fighting men of the King tribes is two thousand. As against this,
General Cameron had ultimately rather more than ten thousand Imperial
troops in the Colony to draw upon. In addition to that, the colonial
militia and volunteers were gradually recruited until they numbered
nearly as many. About half of these were, at any rate after a short
time, quite as effectual as the regulars for the peculiar guerilla war
which was being waged. In armament there was no comparison between
the two sides. The _Pakeha_ had Enfield rifles and a good supply of
artillery. The Maoris were armed with old Tower muskets and shot-guns,
and were badly off both for powder and bullets, while, as already
said, they were not very good marksmen. Their artillery consisted of
two or three old ship's guns, from which salutes might have been fired
without extreme danger to their gunners. If the war in the Waikato,
and its off-shoot the fighting in the Bay of Plenty, had been in
thick forest and a mountainous country, the disparity of numbers and
equipment might have been counterbalanced. But the Waikato country was
flat or undulating, clothed in fern and with only patches of forest.
A first-class high road--the river--ran right through it. The sturdy
resistance of the natives was due first to their splendid courage and
skilful use of rifle-pits and earthworks, and in the second place to
our want of dash and tactical resource. Clever as the Maori engineers
were, bravely as the brown warriors defended their entrenchments,
their positions ought to have been nothing more than traps for them,
seeing how overwhelming was the white force. The explanation of this
lies in the Maori habit of taking up their positions without either
provisions or water. A greatly superior enemy, therefore, had only to
surround them. They then, in the course of two or three days at the
outside, had either to surrender at discretion or try the desperate
course of breaking through the hostile lines.

[Illustration: War Map]

General Cameron preferred the more slap-dash course of taking
entrenchments by assault. A stubborn fight took place at Rangiriri,
where the Maoris made a stand on a neck of land between the lake and
the Waikato River. Assaulted on two sides, they were quickly driven
from all their pits and earthworks except one large central redoubt.
Three times our men were sent at this, and three times, despite a
fine display of courage, they were flung back with loss. The bravest
soldier cannot--without wings--surmount a bank which rises eighteen
feet sheer from the bottom of a broad ditch. This was seen next day.
The attack ceased at nightfall. During the dark hours the redoubt's
defenders yelled defiance, but next morning they surrendered, and,
marching out, a hundred and eighty-three laid down their arms. Our
loss was one hundred and thirty-two killed and wounded; the Maori loss
was fifty killed, wounded unknown. By January, General Cameron had
passed beyond Ngaruawahia, the village which had been the Maori King's
head-quarters, and which stood at the fine river-junction where the
brown, sluggish Waipa loses its name and waters in the light-green
volume of the swifter Waikato. Twice the English beat the enemy in the
triangle between the rivers. A third encounter was signalised by the
most heroic incident in the Colony's history. Some three hundred
Maoris were shut up in entrenchments at a place called Orakau. Without
food, except a few raw potatoes; without water; pounded at by our
artillery, and under a hail of rifle bullets and hand grenades;
unsuccessfully assaulted no less than five times--they held out for
three days, though completely surrounded. General Cameron humanely
sent a flag of truce inviting them to surrender honourably. To this
they made the ever-famous reply, "Enough! We fight right on, for
ever!" (Heoi ano! Ka whawhai tonu, ake, ake, ake.) Then the General
offered to let the women come out, and the answer was, "The women will
fight as well as we." At length, on the afternoon of the third day,
the garrison assembling in a body charged at quick march right through
the English lines, fairly jumping (according to one account) over the
heads of the men of the Fortieth Regiment as they lay behind a bank.
So unexpected and amazing was their charge, that they would have got
away with but slight loss had they not, when outside the lines, been
headed and confronted by a force of colonial rangers and cavalry. Half
of them fell; the remainder, including the celebrated war-chief Rewi,
got clear away. The earthworks and the victory remained with us, but
the glory of the engagement lay with those whose message of "Ake, ake,
ake," will never be forgotten in New Zealand.


Photo by J. MARTIN, Auckland.]

The country round the middle and lower Waikato was now in our hands,
and the King natives were driven to the country about its upper
waters. They were not followed. It was decided to attack the Tauranga
tribe, which had been aiding them. Tauranga lies on the Bay of Plenty,
about forty miles to the east of the Waikato. It was in the campaign
which now took place there that there occurred the noted repulse at
the Gate _Pa_. The Maoris, entrenched on a narrow neck of land between
two swamps, were invested by our forces both in the front and rear
We were, as usual, immensely the stronger in numbers. Our officers,
non-commissioned officers and drummers by themselves almost equalled
the garrison. After a heavy though not always very accurate
bombardment, General Cameron decided to storm the works. The attacking
parties of soldiers and sailors charged well enough and entered the
front of the defences, and the Maoris, hopeless and endeavouring to
escape, found themselves shut in by the troops in their rear. Turning,
however, with the courage of despair, they flung themselves on the
assailants of their front. These, seized with an extraordinary panic,
ran in confusion, breaking from their officers and sweeping away their
supports. The assault was completely repulsed, and was not renewed.
In the night the defenders escaped through the swamps, leaving us the
empty _pa_. Their loss was slight. Ours was one hundred and eleven,
and amongst the killed were ten good officers. As a defeat it was
worse than Ohaeawai, for that had been solely due to a commander's
error of judgment.

The blow stung the English officers and men deeply, and they speedily
avenged it. Hearing that the Tauranga warriors were entrenching
themselves at Te Rangi, Colonel Greer promptly marched thither, caught
them before they had completed their works, and charging into the
rifle-pits with the bayonet, completely routed the Maoris. The temper
of the attacking force may be judged from the fact that out of the
Maori loss of one hundred and forty-five no less than one hundred and
twenty-three were killed or died of wounds. The blow was decisive, and
the Tauranga tribe at once submitted.


Chapter XVII


"But War, of its majestic mask laid bare,
The face of naked Murder seemed to wear."

From the middle of 1864, to January, 1865, there was so little
fighting that it might have been thought that the war was nearing its
end. The Waikato had been cleared, and the Tauranga tribes crushed.
Thompson, hopeless of further struggling ceased to resist the
irresistible, made his peace with us and during the short remainder of
his life was treated as became an honourable foe. Nevertheless, nearly
two years of harassing guerilla warfare were in store for the Colony.
Then there was to be another imperfect period of peace, or rather
exhaustion, between the October, 1866, and June, 1868, when
hostilities were once more to blaze up and only to die out finally in
1870. This persistency was due to several causes, of which the first
was the outbreak, early in 1864, of a curious superstition, the cult
of the Hau-Haus. Their doctrine would be hard to describe. It was a
wilder, more debased, and more barbaric parody of Christianity than
the Mormonism of Joe Smith. It was an angry reaction, a kind of savage
expression of a desire to revolt alike from the Christianity and
civilization of the _Pakeha_ and to found a national religion. For
years it drove its votaries into purposeless outbreaks, and acts of
pitiless and ferocious cruelty. By the Hau-Haus two white missionaries
were murdered--outrages unknown before in New Zealand. Their murderous
deeds and the reprisals these brought about gave a darker tinge to
the war henceforth. Their frantic faith led to absurdities as well
as horrors. They would work themselves up into frenzy by dances and
incantations, and in particular by barking like dogs--hence their
name. At first, they seem to have believed that the cry _Hau! Hau!_
accompanied by raising one hand above the head with palm turned to the
front, would turn aside the _Pakeha's_ bullets.

It was in April, 1864, that they first appeared in the field. A
Captain Lloyd, out with a reconnoitring party in Taranaki, fell,
rather carelessly, into an ambuscade, where he and six of his people
were killed and a dozen wounded. When Captain Atkinson and his rangers
came up at speed to the rescue, they found that the heads of the slain
had been cut off and carried away. Lloyd's, it appears, was carried
about the island by Hau-Hau preachers, who professed to find in it
a kind of diabolical oracle, and used it with much effect in
disseminating their teaching. One of these prophets, or preachers,
however, had a short career. Three weeks after Lloyd's death,
this man, having persuaded himself and his dupes that they were
invulnerable, led them against a strong and well-garrisoned redoubt at
Sentry Hill, between New Plymouth and Waitara. Early one fine morning,
in solid column, they marched deliberately to within 150 yards of the
fort, and before straight shooting undeceived them about the value of
their charms and passes, thirty-four of the poor fanatics were lying
beside their prophet in front of the redoubt. A number more were
carried off hurt or dying, and thenceforward the Taranaki natives were
reduced to the defensive.

In the summer of the same year another prophet met his death in the
most dramatic fight of the war, that by which the friendly natives
of the Wanganui district saved it from a Hau-Hau raid by a conflict
fought on an island in the Wanganui River, after a fashion which would
have warmed the heart of Sir Walter Scott had he been alive to hear
of a combat so worthy of the clansmen in "The Fair Maid of Perth." It
came about a month after the repulse at the Gate _Pa_. For months the
friendlies had been guarding the passage of the river against a strong
Hau-Hau force. At last, tired of waiting, they challenged the enemy to
a fair fight on the island of Moutua. It was agreed that neither
side should attempt to take advantage of the other by surprise or
ambuscade. They landed at opposite ends of the islet. First came the
friendlies, 100 strong; 50 formed their first line under three brave
chiefs; 50 stood in reserve under Haimona (Simon) Hiroti; 150 friends
watched them from one of the river banks. Presently the Hau-Haus
sprang from their canoes on to the river-girt arena, headed by their
warrior-prophet Matene (Martin). After much preliminary chanting of
incantations and shouting of defiance, the Hau-Haus charged. As they
came on, the friendly natives, more than half believing them to be
invulnerable, fired so wildly that every shot missed. Three of the
Wanganui leaders fell, and their line wavered and broke. In vain
a fourth chief, Tamihana, shot a Hau-Hau with each barrel of his
_tupara_, speared a third, and cleft the skull of yet another with
his tomahawk. Two bullets brought him down. It was Haimona Hiroti who
saved the day. Calling on the reserve, he stopped the flying, and,
rallying bravely at his appeal, they came on again. Amid a clash of
tomahawks and clubbed rifles, the antagonists fought hand to hand, and
fought well. At length our allies won. Fifty Hau-Haus died that day,
either on the island or while they endeavoured to escape by swimming.
Twenty more were wounded. The Hau-Hau leader, shot as he swam, managed
to reach the further shore. "There is your fish!" said Haimona,
pointing the prophet out to a henchman, who, _mere_ in hand plunged in
after him, struck him down as he staggered up the bank, and swam back
with his head. His flag and ninety sovereigns were amongst the prizes
of the winners in the hard trial of strength. The victors carried the
bodies of their fallen chiefs back to Wanganui, where the settlers for
whom they had died lined the road, standing bareheaded as the brave
dead were borne past.

That three such blows as Sentry Hill, Moutua, and Te Rangi had not a
more lasting effect was due, amongst other things, to the confiscation

To punish the insurgent tribes, and to defray in part the cost of the
war, the New Zealand Government confiscated 2,800,000 acres of native
land. As a punishment it may have been justified; as a financial
stroke it was to the end a failure. Coming as it did in the midst of
hostilities, it did not simplify matters. Among the tribes affected
it bred despair, amongst their neighbours apprehension, in England
unpleasant suspicions. At first both the Governor and the Colonial
Office endorsed the scheme of confiscation. Then, when Mr. Cardwell
had replaced the Duke of Newcastle, the Colonial Office changed front
and condemned it, and their pressure naturally induced the Governor to
modify his attitude.

An angry collision followed between him and his ministers, and in
November, 1864, the Ministry, whose leaders were Sir William Fox and
Sir Frederick Whitaker, resigned. They were succeeded by Sir Frederick
Weld, upon whose advice Grey let the confiscation go on. Weld became
noted for his advocacy of what was known as the Self-reliance
Policy--in other words, that the Colony should dispense with the
costly and rather cumbrous Imperial forces, and trust in future to the
militia and Maori auxiliaries. And, certainly, when campaigning began
again in January, 1865, General Cameron seemed to do his best to
convert all Colonists to Weld's view. He did indeed appear with a
force upon the coast north of Wanganui. But his principal feat was
the extraordinary one of consuming fifty-seven days in a march of
fifty-four miles along the sea beach, to which he clung with a
tenacity which made the natives scornfully name him the Lame Seagull.
At the outset he pitched his camp so close to thick cover that the
Maoris twice dashed at him, and though of course beaten off, despite
astonishing daring, they killed or wounded forty-eight soldiers. After
that the General went to the cautious extreme. He declared it was
useless for regulars to follow the natives into the forest, and
committed himself to the statement that two hundred natives in a
stockade could stop Colonel Warre with five hundred men from joining
him. He declined to assault the strong Weraroa _pa_--the key to the
west coast. He hinted depressingly that 2,000 more troops might be
required from England. In vain Sir George Grey urged him to greater
activity. The only result was a long and acrid correspondence between
them. From this--to one who reads it now--the General seems to emerge
in a damaged condition. The best that can be said for him is that he
and many of his officers were sick of the war, which they regarded
as an iniquitous job, and inglorious to boot. They knew that a very
strong party in England, headed by the Aborigines Protection Society,
were urging this view, and that the Colonial Office, under Mr.
Cardwell, had veered round to the same standpoint. This is probably
the true explanation of General Cameron's singular slackness. The
impatience and indignation of the colonists waxed high. They had
borrowed three millions of money to pay for the war. They were paying
L40 a year per man for ten thousand Imperial soldiers. They naturally
thought this too much for troops which did not march a mile a day.

Whatever the colonists thought of Grey's warfare with his ministers,
they were heartily with him in his endeavours to quicken the slow
dragging on of the military operations. He did not confine himself to
exhortation. He made up his mind to attack the Weraroa _pa_ himself.
General Cameron let him have two hundred soldiers to act as a moral
support. With these, and somewhat less than five hundred militia and
friendly Maoris, the Governor sat down before the fort, which rose on
a high, steep kind of plateau, above a small river. But though too
strong for front attack, it was itself liable to be commanded from an
outwork on a yet higher spur of the hills. Bringing common sense to
bear, Grey quietly despatched a party, which captured this, and with
it a strong reinforcement about to join the garrison. The latter fled,
and the bloodless capture of Weraroa was justly regarded as among the
most brilliant feats of the whole war. The credit fairly belonged to
Grey, who showed, not only skill, but signal personal daring. The
authorities at home must be assumed to have appreciated this really
fine feat of his, for they made the officer commanding the two hundred
moral supports a C.B. But Grey, it is needless to say, by thus
trumping the trick of his opponent the General, did not improve his
own relations with the Home authorities. He did, however, furnish
another strong reason for a self-reliant policy. Ultimately, though
gradually, the Imperial troops were withdrawn, and the colonists
carried on the war with their own men, as well as their own money.


In January, 1866, however, after General Cameron had by resignation
escaped from a disagreeable position, but while the withdrawal of the
troops was still incomplete, his successor, General Chute, showed that
under officers of determination and energy British soldiers are by no
means feeble folk even in the intricacies of the New Zealand bush.
Setting out from the Weraroa aforesaid on January 3rd with three
companies of regulars, a force of militia, and 300 Maoris under the
chief Kepa, or Kemp, he began to march northward through the forest to
New Plymouth. At first following the coast he captured various _pas_
by the way, including a strong position at Otapawa, which was fairly
stormed in the face of a stout defence, during which both sides
suffered more than a little. There, when one of the buttons on Chute's
coat was cut off by a bullet, he merely snapped out the remark, "The
niggers seem to have found me out." Both the coolness and the words
used were characteristic of the hard but capable soldier. Further on
the route Kemp in one day of running skirmishes took seven villages.
Arriving at the southern side of Mount Egmont, the General decided to
march round its inland flank through a country then almost unknown
except to a few missionaries. Encumbered with pack-horses, who were
checked by every flooded stream, the expedition took seven days to
accomplish the sixty miles of the journey. But they did it, and met
no worse foes than continual rain, short commons, deep mud, and the
gloomy silence of the saturated forest, which then spread without
a break over a country now almost entirely taken up by thriving
dairy-farmers. Turning south again from New Plymouth by the
coast-road, Chute had to fight but once in completing a march right
round Mount Egmont, and thenceforward, except on its southern verge,
long-distracted Taranaki saw no more campaigning.

Other districts were less fortunate. By the early part of 1865 the
Hau-Hau craze was at work on the east as well as the west coast. It
was in the country round the Wanganui River to the west, and in the
part of the east coast, between Tauranga on the Bay of Plenty and
Hawkes Bay, that the new mischief gave the most trouble. The task of
coping with it devolved on the New Zealand Militia, and the warriors
of certain friendly tribes, headed by the chiefs called by the
Europeans Ropata and Kemp. In this loose and desultory but exceedingly
arduous warfare, the irregulars and friendlies undoubtedly proved far
more efficient than the regular troops had usually been permitted to
be. They did not think it useless to follow the enemy into the bush;
far from it. They went there to seek him out. They could march many
miles in a day, and were not fastidious as to commissariat. More than
once they gained food and quarters for the night by taking them from
their opponents. In a multitude of skirmishes in 1865 and 1866, they
were almost uniformly victorious. Of the laurels gained in New Zealand
warfare, a large share belongs to Ropata, to Kemp, and to Militia
officers like Tuke, McDonnell and Fraser. Later in the war, when
energetic officers tried to get equally good results out of
inexperienced volunteers, and when, too--in some cases--militia
discipline had slackened, the consequences were by no means so
satisfactory. It did not follow that brave men ready to plunge into
the bush were good irregulars merely because they were not regulars.
Nor were all friendly natives by any means as effective as the
Wanganui and Ngatiporou, or all chiefs as serviceable as Ropata and

The east coast troubles began in March, 1865, with the murder at
Opotiki, on the Bay of Plenty, of Mr. Volckner, a missionary and the
most kindly and inoffensive of mankind. At the bidding of Kereopa, a
Hau-Hau emissary, the missionary's people suddenly turned on him, hung
him, hacked his body to pieces, and smeared themselves with his blood.
At another spot in the same Bay a trading schooner was seized just
afterwards by order of another Hau-Hau fanatic, and all on board
killed save two half-caste boys. A force of militia soon dealt out
condign punishment for these misdeeds, but meanwhile Kereopa and his
fellow fire-brands had passed down the coast and kindled a flame which
gradually crept southward even to Hawkes Bay. In village after village
the fire blazed up, and a rising equal to that in the Waikato seemed
imminent. It was, indeed, fortunate that much the ablest warrior on
that side of the island at once declared against the craze. This was
Ropata Te Wahawaha, then and afterwards the most valuable Maori ally
the Government had, and one of the very few captains on either side
who went through the wars without anything that could be called a
defeat. Without fear or pity, he was a warrior of the older Maori
type, who with equal enjoyment could plan a campaign, join in a
hand-to-hand tussle, doom a captive to death, or shoot a deserter
with his own rifle. As he would not join the Hau-Haus, they and their
converts made the mistake of attacking him. After beating them off
he was joined by Major Biggs and a company of militia. Together they
advanced against the stronghold of the insurgents, perched on a cliff
among the Waiapu hills. By scaling a precipice with twenty picked men,
Ropata and Biggs gained a crest above the _pa_, whence they could fire
down into the midst of their astonished adversaries, over 400 of whom
surrendered in terror to the daring handful. But the mischief had run
down the coast. Spreading from point to point, dying down and then
starting up, it was as hard to put out as fire abroad in the fern. The
amiable Kereopa visited Poverty Bay, three days' journey south of
the Waiapu, and tried hard to persuade the natives to murder Bishop
Williams, the translator of the Scriptures into Maori. Though they
shrank from this, the Bishop had to fly, and his flock took up arms,
stood a siege in one of their _pas_, and lost over a hundred men
before they would surrender to the militia. Further south still the
next rising flared up on the northern frontier of the Hawkes Bay
province. Once more Ropata stamped it under, and the generalship with
which he repaired the mistakes made by others, and routed a body
of 500 insurgents was not more remarkable than the cold-blooded
promptitude with which after the fight he shot four prisoners of note
with his own hand. It took ten months for the spluttering fire to
flame up again. Then it was yet another stage further south, within a
few miles of Napier, amid pastoral plains, where, if anywhere, peace,
it would seem, should have an abiding-place. The rising there was
but a short one-act play. To Colonel Whitmore belonged the credit of
dealing it a first and final blow at Omaranui, where, with a hastily
raised force of volunteers, and some rather useless friendlies, he
went straight at the insurgents, caught them in the open, and quickly
killed, wounded, or captured over ninety per cent. of their number.

After this there was a kind of insecure tranquillity until June, 1868.
Then fighting began again near the coast between Wanganui and Mount
Egmont, where the occupation of confiscated lands bred bitter
feelings. Natives were arrested for horse-stealing. Straggling
settlers were shot. A chief, Titokowaru, hitherto insignificant,
became the head and front of the resistance. In June a sudden attack
was made by his people upon some militia holding a tumble-down
redoubt--an attack so desperate that out of twenty-three in the work,
only six remained unwounded when help came, after two hours' manful
resistance. Colonel McDonnell, then in command on the coast, had
proved his dash and bravery in a score of bush-fights. In his various
encounters he killed ten Maoris with his own hand. He was an expert
bushman, and a capital manager of the friendly natives. But during
the eighteen months of quiet the trained militia which had done such
excellent work in 1865 and 1866, had been in part dispersed. The force
which in July McDonnell led into the bush to attempt Titokowaru's
_pa_, at Ngutu-o-te-manu (Beak-of-the-bird) was to a large extent raw
material. The Hau-Haus were found fully prepared. Skilfully posted,
they poured in a hot cross-fire, both from the _pa_ and from an ambush
in the neighbouring thickets. Broken into two bodies, McDonnell's men
were driven to make a long and painful retreat, during which two died
of exhaustion. They lost twenty-four killed and twenty-six wounded.
McDonnell resigned in disgust. Whitmore, who replaced him, demanded
better men, and got them, but to meet no better success. At Moturoa
his assault on another forest stockade failed under a withering fire;
the native contingent held back sulkily; and again our men retreated,
with a loss this time of forty-seven, of which twenty-one were killed.
This was on November 5th. Before Whitmore could try again he was
called to the other side of the island by evil tidings from Poverty

These had their cause in the strangest story of the Maori wars.
Amongst the many blunders in these, some of the oddest were the
displays of rank carelessness which repeatedly led to the escape of
Maori prisoners. Three times did large bodies get away and rejoin
their tribes--once from Sir George Grey's island estate at Kawau,
where they had been turned loose on parole; once from a hulk in
Wellington Harbour, through one of the port-holes of which they
slipped into the sea on a stormy night; the third time from the
Chatham Islands. This last escape, which was in July, 1868, was
fraught with grave mischief.

Fruitlessly the officer in charge of prisoners there had protested
against being left with twenty men to control three hundred and thirty
captives. The leader of these, Te Kooti, one of the ablest as well
as most ferocious partisans the colonists ever had to face, had been
deported from Poverty Bay to the Chathams two years before, without
trial. Unlike most of his fellow prisoners he had never borne arms
against us. The charge against him was that he was in communication
with Hau-Hau insurgents in 1865. His real offence seems to have
been that he was regarded by some of the Poverty Bay settlers as
a disagreeable, thievish, disaffected fellow, and there is an
uncomfortable doubt as to whether he deserved his punishment. During
his exile he vowed vengeance against those who had denounced him, and
against one man in particular. In July, 1868, the schooner _Rifleman_
was sent down to the Chathams with supplies. The prisoners took the
chance thus offered. They surprised the weak guard, killed a sentry
who showed fight, and seized and tied up the others, letting the women
and children escape unharmed. Going on board the _Rifleman_, Te Kooti
gave the crew the choice between taking his people to New Zealand and
instant death. They chose the former, and the schooner set sail
for the east coast of New Zealand with about one hundred and sixty
fighting men, and a number of women and children. The outbreak and
departure were successfully managed in less than two hours. When head
winds checked the runaways, Te Kooti ordered an old man, his uncle, to
be bound and thrown overboard as a sacrifice to the god of winds and
storms. The unhappy human sacrifice struggled for awhile in the sea
and then sank. At once the wind changed, the schooner lay her course,
and the _mana_ of Te Kooti grew great. After sailing for a week,
the fugitives had their reward, and were landed at Whare-onga-onga
(Abode-of-stinging-nettles), fifteen miles from Poverty Bay. They kept
their word to the crew, whom they allowed to take their vessel and go
scot-free. Then they made for the interior. Major Biggs, the Poverty
Bay magistrate, got together a force of friendly natives and went
in pursuit. The Hau-Haus showed their teeth to such effect that the
pursuers would not come to close quarters. Even less successful
was the attempt of a small band of White volunteers. They placed
themselves across Te Kooti's path; but after a long day's skirmishing
were scattered in retreat, losing their baggage, ammunition, and
horses. Colonel Whitmore, picking them up next day, joined them to his
force and dragged them off after him in pursuit of the victors. It
was winter, and the weather and country both of the roughest. The
exhausted volunteers, irritated by Whitmore's manner, left him
half-way. For himself the little colonel, all wire and leather, knew
not fatigue. But even the best of his men were pretty well worn out
when they did at last catch a Tartar in the shape of the enemy's
rearguard. The latter made a stand under cover, in an angle of the
narrow bed of a mountain-torrent floored with boulders and shut in
by cliffs. Our men, asked to charge in single file, hung back, and a
party of Native allies sent round to take the Hau Haus in flank made
off altogether. Though Te Kooti was shot through the foot, the pursuit
had to be given up. The net result of the various skirmishes with him
had been that we had lost twenty-six killed and wounded, and that he
had got away.

Whitmore went away to take command on the west coast. Thus Te Kooti
gained time to send messengers to the tribes, and many joined him. He
spoke of himself as God's instrument against the _Pakeha_, preached
eloquently, and kept strict discipline amongst his men. In November,
after a three months' lull, he made his swoop on his hated enemies the
settlers in Poverty Bay, and in a night surprise took bloody vengeance
for his sojourn at the Chathams. His followers massacred thirty-three
white men, women and children, and thirty-seven natives. Major Biggs
was shot at the door of his house. Captain Wilson held out in his till
it was in flames. Then he surrendered under promise of life for his
family, all of whom, however, were at once bayonetted, except a boy
who slipped into the scrub unnoticed. McCulloch, a farmer, was shot as
he sat milking. Several fugitives owed their lives to the heroism of a
friendly chief, Tutari, who refused to gain his life by telling their
pursuers the path they had taken. The Hau Haus killed him and seized
his wife, who, however, adroitly saved both the flying settlers and
herself by pointing out the wrong track. Lieutenant Gascoigne with a
hasty levy of friendly Natives set out after the murderers, only to be
easily held in check at Makaretu with a loss of twenty-eight killed
and wounded. Te Kooti, moreover, intercepted an ammunition train and
captured eight kegs of gunpowder. Fortifying himself on a precipitous
forest-clad hill named Ngatapa, he seemed likely to rally round him
the disaffected of his race. But his red star was about to wane.
Ropata with his Ngatiporou now came on the scene. A second attack
on Makaretu sent the insurgents flying. They left thirty-seven dead
behind, for Ropata gave no quarter, and had not his men loitered to
plunder, Te Kooti, who, still lame, was carried off on a woman's back,
must have been among their prizes. Pushing on to Ngatapa, Ropata found
it a very formidable stronghold. The _pa_ was on the summit of
an abrupt hill, steep and scarped on two sides, narrowing to a
razor-backed ridge in the rear. In front three lines of earthwork rose
one above another, the highest fourteen feet high, aided and connected
by the usual rifle-pits and covered way. Most of Ropata's men refused
to follow him against such a robbers' nest, and though the fearless
chief tried to take it with the faithful minority, he had to fall
back, under cover of darkness, and return home in a towering passion.
A month later his turn came. Whitmore arrived. Joining their forces,
he and Ropata invested Ngatapa closely, attacked it in front and
rear, and took the lowest of the three lines of intrenchment. A final
assault was to come next morning. The Hau Haus were short of food
and water, and in a desperate plight. But one cliff had been left
unwatched, and over that they lowered themselves by ropes as the
storming party outside sat waiting for the grey dawn. They were not,
however, to escape unscathed. Ropata at once sent his men in chase.
Hungry and thirsty, the fugitives straggled loosely, and were cut down
by scores or brought back. Short shrift was theirs. The Government
had decided that Poverty Bay must be revenged, and the prisoners were
forthwith shot, and their bodies stripped and tossed over a cliff.
From first to last at Ngatapa the loss to the Hau Haus was 136 killed
outright, ours but 22, half of whom were wounded only. It was the last
important engagement fought in New Zealand, and ended all fear of a
general rising. Yet in one respect the success was incomplete: Te
Kooti once more escaped. This time he reached the fastnesses of the
wild Urewera tribe, and made more than one bloodstained raid thence.
In April he pounced on Mohaka, at the northern end of the Hawkes Bay
Province, killed seven whites, fooled the occupants of a Native _pa_
into opening their gates to him, and then massacred 57 of them. But
the collapse of the insurrection on the West Coast enabled attention
to be concentrated upon the marauder. He fell back on the plateau
round Lake Taupo. There, in June, 1869, he outwitted a party of
militia-men by making his men enter their camp, pretending to be
friendlies. When the befooled troopers saw the trick and tried to
seize their arms, nine were cut down. McDonnell, however, was at the
heels of the Hau Haus, and in three encounters in the Taupo region Te
Kooti was soundly beaten with a loss of 50 killed. He became a hunted
fugitive. Ropata and Kemp chased him from district to district,
backwards and forwards, across and about the island, for a high price
had been put on his head. For three years the pursuit was urged or
renewed. Every band Te Kooti got together was scattered. His wife
was taken; once he himself was shot in the hand; again and again the
hunters were within a few yards of their game. Crossing snow-clad
ranges, wading up the beds of mountain torrents, hacking paths through
the tangled forest, they were ever on his track, only to miss him.
It was in the Uriwera wilderness that Te Kooti lost his congenially
bloodthirsty crony Kereopa, who was caught there and hung. Left almost
without followers, he himself at last took refuge in the King Country,
where he stayed quiet and unmolested. In the end he received a pardon,
and died in peace after living for some twenty years after his hunters
had abandoned their chase.

Colonel Whitmore, crossing to the Wanganui district after the fall of
Ngatapa, had set off to deal with Titokowaru. He, however, threw up
the game and fled to the interior, where he was wisely left alone,
and, except for the fruitless pursuit of Te Kooti, the year 1870 may
be marked as the end of warfare in New Zealand.

The interest of the Maori struggle, thus concluded, does not spring
from the numbers engaged. To a European eye the combats were in point
of size mere battles of the frogs and mice. What gave them interest
was their peculiar and picturesque setting, the local difficulties to
be met, and the boldness, rising at moments to heroism, with which
clusters of badly armed savages met again and again the finest
fighting men of Europe. It was the race conflict which gave dignity
to what Lieutenant Gudgeon in his chronicle truthfully reduces to
"expeditions and skirmishes grandiloquently styled campaigns". Out of
a multitude of fights between 1843 and 1870, thirty-seven (exclusive
of the raid on Poverty Bay, which was a massacre) may be classed as of
greater importance than the rest. Out of these we were unmistakably
beaten nine times, and a tenth encounter, that of Okaihau, was
indecisive. Of twenty-seven victories, however, those of Rangi-riri
and Orakau were dearly bought; in the double fight at Nukumaru we lost
more than the enemy, and at Waireka most of our forces retreated,
and only heard of the success from a distance. Two disasters and six
successes were wholly or almost wholly the work of native auxiliaries.
The cleverness and daring of the Maori also scored in the repeated
escapes of batches of prisoners.

By 1870 it was possible to try and count the cost of the ten years'
conflict. It was not so easy to do so correctly. The killed alone
amounted to about 800 on the English side and 1,800 on the part of the
beaten natives. Added to the thousands wounded, there had been many
scores of "murders" and heavy losses from disease, exposure and
hardship. The Maoris were, for the most part, left without hope and
without self-confidence. The missionaries never fully regained
their old moral hold upon the race, nor has it shown much zeal and
enthusiasm in industrial progress. On the other side, the colonists
had spent between three and four millions in fighting, and for more
than fifteen years after the war they had to keep up an expensive
force of armed police. There had been destruction of property in
many parts of the North Island, and an even more disastrous loss
of security and paralysis of settlement. Since 1865, moreover, the
pastoral industry in the south had been depressed by bad prices. It
is true that some millions of acres of Maori land had been gained by
confiscation, but of this portions were handed over to loyal natives.
Much more was ultimately given back to the insurgent tribes, and the
settlement of the rest was naturally a tardy and difficult process.
Farmers do not rush upon land to be the mark of revengeful raids. The
opening of the year 1870 was one of New Zealand's dark hours.

Nevertheless, had the colonists but known it, the great native
difficulty was destined to melt fast away. Out of the innumerable
perplexities, difficulties, and errors of the previous generation, a
really capable Native Minister had been evolved. This was Sir Donald
McLean, who, from the beginning of 1869 to the end of 1876, took
the almost entire direction of the native policy. A burly, patient,
kindly-natured Highlander, his Celtic blood helped him to sympathize
with the proud, warlike, clannish nature of the Maori. It was largely
owing to his influence that Ropata and others aided us so actively
against Te Kooti. It was not, however, as a war minister, but as the
man who established complete and lasting peace through New Zealand,
that his name should be remembered. By liberal payment for service, by
skilful land purchases, by showing respect to the chiefs, and tact and
good humour with the people, McLean acquired a permanent influence
over the race. The war party in the Colony might sneer at his "Flour
and Sugar Policy"; but even the dullest had come to see by this time
that peace paid. Into the remnant of the King Country McLean never
tried to carry authority. He left that and the Urewera country further
east discreetly alone. Elsewhere the Queen's writ ran, and roads,
railways, and telegraphs, coming together with a great tide of
settlement, made the era of war seem like an evil dream. It is true
that the delays in redeeming promises concerning reserves to be made
and given back from the confiscated Maori territory were allowed to
remain a grievance for more than another decade, and led, as late as
1880, to interference by the natives with road making in some of this
lost land of theirs in Taranaki. There, round a prophet named Te
Whiti, flocked numbers of natives sore with a sense of injustice.
Though Te Whiti was as pacific as eccentric, the Government, swayed
by the alarm and irritation thus aroused, took the extreme step of
pouring into his village of Parihaka an overwhelming armed force.
Then, after reading the Riot Act to a passive and orderly crowd of
men, women and children, they proceeded to make wholesale arrests, to
evict the villagers and to destroy houses and crops. Public opinion,
which had conjured up the phantom of an imminent native rising,
supported the proceeding. There was no such danger, for the natives
were virtually not supplied with arms, and the writer is one of a
minority of New Zealanders who thinks that our neglect to make the
reserves put us in the wrong in the affair. However, as the breaking
up of Parihaka was at last followed up by an honourable and liberal
settlement of the long-delayed Reserves question, it may be classed as
the last of the long series of native alarms. There will be no more
Maori wars. Unfortunately, it has become a question whether in a
hundred years there will be any more Maoris. They were perhaps,
seventy thousand when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed; they and the
half-castes can scarcely muster forty-three thousand now.

Chapter XVIII


"Fortune, they say, flies from us: she but wheels
Like the fleet sea-bird round the fowler's skiff,
Lost in the mist one moment, and the next
Brushing the white sail with a whiter wing
As if to court the aim. Experience watches,
And has her on the turn."

When the Waitara war broke out the white population did not number
more than seventy-five thousand. When Te Kooti was chased into the
King Country it had grown to nearly four times that sum, in the face
of debt, doubt, and the paralyzing effects of war. A great ally of
settlement had come upon the scene. In 1861 profitable goldfields were
discovered in Otago. The little Free Church colony, which in thirteen
years had scarcely increased to that number of thousands, was
thunderstruck at the news. For years there had been rumours of gold
in the river beds and amongst the mountains of the South Island. From
1857 to 1860 about L150,000 had been won in Nelson. In 1858, a certain
Asiatic, Edward Peters, known to his familiars as Black Pete, who had
somehow wandered from his native Bombay through Australia to Otago,
had struck gold there; and in March, 1861, there was a rush to a
short-lived goldfield at the Lindis, another spot in that province.
But it was not until the winter of that year that the prospector,
Gabriel Read, found in a gully at Tuapeka the indubitable signs of a
good alluvial field. Digging with a butcher's knife, he collected in
ten hours nearly five-and-twenty pounds' worth of the yellow metal.
Then he sunk hole after hole for some distance, finding gold in all.
Unlike most discoverers, Read made no attempt to keep his fortune
to himself, but wrote frankly of it to Sir John Richardson, the
superintendent of the province. For this he was ultimately paid the
not extravagant reward of L1,000. The good Presbyterians of Dunedin
hardly knew in what spirit to receive the tidings. But some of them
did not hesitate to test the field. Very soberly, almost in sad
solemnity, they set to work there, and the result solved all doubts.
Half Dunedin rushed to Tuapeka. At one of the country kirks the
congregation was reduced to the minister and precentor. The news went
across the seas. Diggers from Australia and elsewhere poured in by the
thousand. Before many months the province's population had doubled,
and the prayerful and painful era of caution, the day of small things,
was whisked away in a whirl of Victorian enterprise. For the next few
years the history of Otago became a series of rushes. Economically,
no doubt, "rush" is the proper word to apply to the old stampedes to
colonial goldfields. But in New Zealand, at any rate, the physical
methods of progression thither were laborious in the extreme. The
would-be miner tramped slowly and painfully along, carrying as much in
the way of provisions and tools as his back would bear. Lucky was the
man who had a horse to ride, or the rudest cart to drive in. When, as
time went on, gold was found high up the streams amongst the ice-cold
rivers and bleak tussock-covered mountains of the interior, the
hardships endured by the gold-seekers were often very great. The
country was treeless and wind-swept. Sheep roamed over the tussocks,
but of other provisions there were none. Hungry diggers were thankful
to pay half a crown for enough flour to fill a tin pannikin. L120 a
ton was charged for carting goods from Dunedin. Not only did fuel
fetch siege prices, but five pounds would be paid for an old gin-case,
for the boards of a dray, or any few pieces of wood out of which a
miner's "cradle" could be patched up. The miners did not exactly make
light of these obstacles, for, of the thousands who poured into the
province after the first discoveries, large numbers fled from the
snow and starvation of the winters, when the swollen rivers rose, and
covered up the rich drift on the beaches under their banks. But enough
remained to carry on the work of prospecting, and the finds were rich
enough to lure new-comers. In the year 1863 the export of gold from
Otago rose to more than two millions sterling. Extraordinary patches
were found in the sands and drift of the mountain torrents. It is
recorded of one party that, when crossing a river, their dog was swept
away by the current on to a small rocky point. A digger went to rescue
it, and never was humanity more promptly rewarded, for from the
sands by the rock he unearthed more than L1,000 worth of gold before
nightfall. Some of the more fortunate prospectors had their footsteps
dogged by watchful bands bent on sharing their good luck. One of them,
however, named Fox, managed to elude this espionage for some time, and
it was the Government geologist--now Sir James Hector--who, while on a
scientific journey, discovered him and some forty companions quietly
working in a lonely valley.

The goldfields of Otago had scarcely reached the zenith of their
prosperity before equally rich finds were reported from the west coast
of the Canterbury province. From the year 1860 it was known that gold
existed there, but the difficulties of exploring a strip of broken
surf-beaten coast, cut off from settled districts by range upon range
of Alps, and itself made up of precipitous hills, and valleys covered
with densest jungle and cloven by the gorges of bitterly cold and
impassable torrents, were exceptionally great. More than one of the
Government officers sent there to explore were either swept away by
some torrent or came back half-crippled by hunger and rheumatism. One
surveyor who stuck to his work for months in the soaking, cheerless
bush, existing on birds, bush-rats, and roots, was thought a hero, and
with cause. Even Maoris dreaded parts of this wilderness, and believed
it to be the abode of dragons and a lost tribe of their own race. They
valued it chiefly as the home of their much-prized jade or greenstone.
Searching for this, a party of them, early in 1864, found gold. Later
on in the same year a certain Albert Hunt also found paying gold on
the Greenstone creek. Hunt was afterwards denounced as an impostor,
and had to fly for his life from a mob of enraged and disappointed
gold-seekers; but the gold was there nevertheless. In 1865 the stream
which had been pouring into Otago was diverted to the new fields in
Westland, and in parties or singly, in the face of almost incredible
natural difficulties, adventurous men worked their way to every point
of the west coast. In a few months 30,000 diggers were searching its
beaches and valleys with such results that it seemed astonishing
that the gold could have lain unseen so long. Many lost their lives,
drowned in the rivers or starved to death in the dripping bush. The
price of provisions at times went to fabulous heights, as much as L150
being paid for a ton of flour, and a shilling apiece for candles. What
did prices matter to men who were getting from 1 oz. to 1 lb. weight
of gold-dust a day, or who could stagger the gold-buyers sent to their
camps by the bankers by pouring out washed gold by the pannikin? So
rich was the wash-dirt in many of the valleys, and the black sand on
many of the sea-beaches, that for years L8 to L10 a week was regarded
as only a fair living wage. In 1866 the west coast exported gold to
the value of L2,140,000.

On a strip of sand-bank between the dank bush and the bar-bound mouth
of the Hokitika river a mushroom city sprang up, starting into a
bustling life of cheerful rashness and great expectations. In 1864 a
few tents were pitched on the place; in 1865 one of the largest towns
in New Zealand was to be seen. Wood and canvas were the building
materials--the wood unseasoned pine, smelling fresh and resinous at
first, anon shrinking, warping, and entailing cracked walls, creaking
doors, and rattling window-sashes. Every second building was a
grog-shanty, where liquor, more or less fiery, was retailed at a
shilling a glass, and the traveller might hire a blanket and a soft
plank on the floor for three shillings a night. Under a rainfall of
more than 100 inches a year, tracks became sloughs before they could
be turned into streets and roads. All the rivers on the coast
were bar-bound. Food and supplies came by sea, and many were the
coasting-craft which broke their backs crossing the bars, or which
ended their working-life on shoals. Yet when hundreds of adventurers
were willing to pay L5 apiece for the twelve hours' passage from
Nelson, high rates of insurance did not deter ship-owners. River
floods joined the surf in making difficulties. Eligible town sections
bought at speculative prices were sometimes washed out to sea, and a
river now runs over the first site of the prosperous town of Westport.

It was striking to note how quickly things settled down into a very
tolerable kind of rough order. Among the diggers themselves there was
little crime or even violence. It is true that a Greymouth storekeeper
when asked "How's trade?" concisely pictured a temporary stagnation
by gloomily remarking, "There ain't bin a fight for a week!" But
an occasional bout of fisticuffs and a good deal of drinking and
gambling, were about the worst sins of the gold-seekers. Any one who
objected to be saluted as "mate!" or who was crazy enough to dream
of wearing a long black coat or a tall black hat, would find life
harassing at the diggings. But, at any rate, in New Zealand diggers
did not use revolvers with the playful frequency of the Californians
of Mr. Bret Harte. Nor did they shoe the horse of their first Member
of Parliament with gold, or do a variety of the odd things done in
Australian gold-fields. They laughed heartily when the Canterbury
Provincial Government sent over the Alps an escort of strapping
mounted policemen, armed to the teeth, to carry away gold securely
in a bullet-proof cart. They preferred to send their gold away in
peaceful coasting steamers. When, in 1867, one or two Irish rows were
dignified with the title of Fenian Riots, and a company of militia
were sent down from their more serious Maori work in the North Island
to restore order in Hokitika, they encountered nothing more dangerous
than a hospitality too lavish even for their powers of absorption. One
gang of bushrangers, and one only, ever disturbed the coast. The four
ruffians who composed it murdered at least six men before they were
hunted down. Three were hung; the fourth, who saved his neck by
turning Queen's evidence, was not lynched. No one ever has been
lynched in New Zealand. For the rest the ordinary police-constable was
always able to deal with the sharpers, drunkards, and petty thieves
who are among the camp-followers of every army of gold-seekers.
So quietly were officials submitted to that sometimes, when a
police-magistrate failed to appear in a goldfields' court through
some accident of road or river, his clerk would calmly hear cases
and impose fines, or a police-sergeant remand the accused without
authority and without resistance. In the staid Westland of to-day it
is so impossible to find offenders enough to make a show of filling
the Hokitika prison that the Premier, who sits for Hokitika, is
upbraided in Parliament for sinful extravagance in not closing the

No sooner had the cream been skimmed off the southern goldfields than
yields of almost equal value were reported from the north. The Thames
and Coromandel fields in the east of the Auckland province differed
from those in the South Island. They were from the outset not alluvial
but quartz mines. So rich, however, were some of the Thames mines that
the excitement they caused was as great as that roused by the alluvial
patches of Otago and Westland. The opening up of the Northern fields
was retarded throughout the sixties by Maori wars, and the demands of
peaceful but hard-fisted Maori landlords. L1 a miner had to be paid to
these latter for the right to prospect their country. They delayed the
opening of the now famous Ohinemuri field until 1875. When on March
3rd of that year the Goldfields' Warden declared Ohinemuri open, the
declaration was made to an excited crowd of hundreds of prospectors,
who pushed jostling and fighting round the Warden's table for their
licenses, and then galloped off on horseback across country in a wild
race to be first to "peg out" claims. Years before this, however, the
shores of the Hauraki Gulf had been systematically worked, and in 1871
the gold export from Auckland had risen to more than L1,100,000.

New Zealand still remains a gold-producing colony, albeit the days of
the solitary adventurer working in the wash-dirt of his claim with
pick, shovel, and cradle are pretty nearly over. The nomadic digger
who called no man master is a steady-going wage-earner now. Coal-mines
and quartz-reefs are the mainstays of Westland. Company management,
trade unions, conciliation cases, and laws against Sunday labour have
succeeded the rough, free-and-easy days of glittering possibilities
for everybody. Even the alluvial fields are now systematically worked
by hydraulic sluicing companies. They are no longer poor men's
diggings. In Otago steam-dredges successfully search the river
bottoms. In quartz-mining the capitalist has always been the
organizing and controlling power. The application of cyanide and other
scientific improvements has revived this branch of mining within the
last four years, and, despite the bursting of the usual number of
bubbles, there is good reason to suppose that the L54,000,000 which is
so far the approximate yield of gold from the Colony will during the
next decade be swelled by many millions.

The gold-digger is found in many parts of the earth; the gum-digger
belongs to New Zealand alone. With spade, knife, and gum-spear he
wanders over certain tracts of the province of Auckland, especially
the long, deeply-indented, broken peninsula, which is the northern
end of New Zealand. The so-called gum for which he searches is the
turpentine, which, oozing out of the trunk of the kauri pines, hardens
into lumps of an amber-like resin. Its many shades of colour darken
from white through every kind of yellow and brown to jet. A little is
clear, most is clouded. Half a century ago, when the English soldiers
campaigning against Heke had to spend rainy nights in the bush without
tent or fire, they made shift to get light and even warmth by kindling
flame with pieces of the kauri gum, which in those days could be seen
lying about on the ground's surface. Still, the chips and scraps which
remain when kauri-gum has been cleaned and scraped for market are used
in the making of fire-kindlers. But for the resin itself a better use
was long ago found--the manufacture of varnish. At the moment when,
under Governor Fitzroy, the infant Auckland settlement was at its
lowest, a demand for kauri-gum from the United States shone as a gleam
of hope to the settlers, while the Maoris near the town became too
busied in picking up gum to trouble themselves about appeals to join
Heke's crusade against the _Pakeha_. Though the trade seemed to die
away so completely that in a book written in 1848 I find it briefly
dismissed with the words, "The bubble has burst," nevertheless it is
to-day well-nigh as brisk as ever, and has many a time and oft stood
Auckland in good stead.

[Illustration: KAURI PINE TREE

Photo by J. MARTIN, Auckland]

The greater kauri pines show smooth grey trunks of from eight to
twelve feet in diameter. Even Mr. Gladstone would have recoiled from
these giants, which are laid low, not with axes, but with heavy double
saws worked on scaffolds six feet high erected against the doomed
trees. As the British ox, with his short horns and cube-like form, is
the result of generations of breeding with a single eye to meat, so
that huge candelabrum, the kauri, might be fancied to be the outcome
of thousands of years of experiment in producing the perfection of
a timber tree. Its solid column may rise a hundred feet without a
branch; its small-leaved patchy foliage seems almost ludicrously
scanty; it is all timber--good wood. Clean, soft, easily worked, the
saws seem to cut it like cheese. It takes perhaps 800 years for the
largest pines to come to their best. So plentiful are they that,
though fires and every sort of wastefulness have ravaged them, the
Kauri Timber Company can put 40,000,000 feet of timber through their
mills in a year, can find employment for two thousand men, and can
look forward to doing so for another twenty years. After that----!

The resin may be found in tree-forks high above the ground. Climbing
to these by ropes, men have taken thence lumps weighing as much as a
hundredweight. But most and the best resin is found in the earth, and
for the last generation the soil of the North has been probed and
turned over in search of it, until whole tracts look as though they
had been rooted up by droves of wild swine. In many of these tracts
not a pine is standing now. How and when the forests disappeared,
whether by fire or otherwise, and how soil so peculiarly sterile could
have nourished the finest of trees, are matters always in dispute.
There is little but the resin to show the locality of many of the
vanished forests. Where they once were the earth is hungry, white, and
barren, though dressed in deceptive green by stunted fern and
manuka. In the swamps and ravines, where they may thrust down their
steel-pointed flexible spears as much as eight feet, the roaming
diggers use that weapon to explore the field. In the hard open country
they have to fall back upon the spade. Unlike the gold-seeker, the
gum-digger can hope for no great and sudden stroke of fortune. He will
be lucky if hard work brings him on the average L1 a week. But without
anything to pay for house-room, fuel, or water, he can live on twelve
and sixpence while earning his pound, and can at least fancy that he
is his own master. Some 7,000 whites and Maoris are engaged in finding
the 8,000 tons or thereabouts of resin, which is the quantity which in
a fairly good year England and America will buy at an average price
of L60 a ton. About 1,500 of the hunters for gum are Istrians and
Dalmatians--good diggers, but bad colonists; for years of work do not
attach them to the country, and almost always they take their savings
home to the fringing islands and warm bays of the Adriatic.

Chapter XIX


"Members the Treasurer pressing to mob;
Provinces urging the annual job;
Districts whose motto is cash or commotion;
Counties with thirsts which would drink up an ocean;
These be the horse-leech's children which cry,
'Wanted, Expenditure!' I must supply."
--_The Premier's Puzzle_.

Sir George Grey had been curtly recalled in the early part of 1868.
His friends may fairly claim that at the time of his departure the
Colony was at peace, and that he left it bearing with him the general
esteem of the colonists. True, his second term of office had been in
some ways the antithesis of his first. He had failed to prevent
war, and had made mistakes. But from amid a chaos of confusion and
recrimination, four things stand out clearly: (1) he came upon the
scene too late; (2) he worked earnestly for peace for two years; (3)
the part that he personally took in the war was strikingly successful;
(4) he was scurvily treated by the Colonial Office.

He was the last Viceroy who took an active and distinct share in
the government of the country. Since 1868, the Governors have been
strictly constitutional representatives of a constitutional Sovereign.
They have been without exception honourable and courteous noblemen
or gentlemen. They have almost always left the Colony with the good
wishes of all with whom they have come into contact. They have
occasionally by tact exercised a good deal of indirect influence over
some of their Ministers. They have sometimes differed with these about
such points as nominations to the Upper House, or have now and then
reserved bills for the consideration of the Home Government. But they
have not governed the country, which, since 1868, has enjoyed as
complete self-government as the constitution broadly interpreted can

When peace at last gave the Colonists time to look round, the
constitution which Grey and Wakefield had helped to draw up was still
working. Not without friction, however. Under the provincial system
New Zealand was rather a federation of small settlements than a
unified colony. This was in accord with natural conditions, and with
certain amendments the system might have worked exceedingly well. But
no real attempt was ever made to amend it. Its vices were chiefly
financial. The inequalities and jealousies caused by the rich landed
estate of the southern provinces bred ill-feeling all round. The
irregular grants doled out by the Treasurer to the needier localities
embarrassed the giver without satisfying the recipients. The provinces
without land revenue looked with hungry eyes at those which had it.
There was quarrelling, too, within each little provincial circle. The
elective superintendents were wont to make large promises and shadow
forth policies at the hustings. Then when elected they often found
these views by no means in accord with those of their council and
their executive. Yet, but for one great blunder, the provinces should
and probably would have existed now.

1870 is usually named as the birth-year of the colonial policy of
borrowing and public works. This is not strictly true. In that year
the central and provincial exchequers already owed about seven
millions and a quarter between them. The provincial debts, at any
rate, had been largely contracted in carrying out colonizing work,
and some of that work had been exceedingly well done, especially in
Canterbury and Otago. What the Central Government did do in 1870 was
to come forward boldly with a large and continuous policy of public
works and immigration based on borrowed money. The scheme was Sir
Julius Vogel's. As a politician this gentleman may not unfairly be
defined as an imaginative materialist and an Imperialist of the school
of which Cecil Rhodes is the best-known colonial exponent. His grasp
of finance, sanguine, kindly nature, quick constructive faculty, and
peculiarly persuasive manner rapidly brought him to the front in New
Zealand, in the face of personal and racial prejudice. As Treasurer in
1870 he proposed to borrow ten millions to be expended on railways,
roads, land purchase, immigration, and land settlement. With great
wisdom he suggested that the cost of the railways should be recouped
from a public estate created out of the crown lands through which they
might pass. With striking unwisdom the Provincialists defeated the
proposal. This selfish mistake enabled them to keep their land for
five years longer, but it spoilt the public works policy and converted
Vogel from the friend into the enemy of the Provinces.

His policy, _minus_ the essential part relating to land settlement,
was accepted and actively carried out. Millions were borrowed,
hundreds of miles of railways and roads were made, immigrants were
imported by the State or poured in of their own accord. Moreover, the
price of wool had risen, and wheat, too, sometimes yielded enormous
profits. Farmers were known who bought open land on the downs or
plains of the South Island at L2 an acre, and within twelve months
thereafter made a net profit of L5 an acre from their first wheat
crop. Labour-saving machinery from the United States came in to
embolden the growers of cereals; the export of wheat rose to millions
of bushels; and the droning hum of the steam threshing-machine and the
whir of the reaper-and-binder began to be heard in a thousand fields
from northern Canterbury to Southland. In the north McLean steadfastly
kept the peace, and the Colony bade fair to become rich by leaps and
bounds. The modern community has perhaps yet to be found which can
bear sudden prosperity coolly. New Zealand in the seventies certainly
did not. Good prices and the rapid opening up of the country raised
the value of land. Acute men quickly bought fertile or well-situated
blocks and sold them at an attractive profit. So men less acute began
to buy pieces less fertile and not so well situated. Pastoral tenants
pushed on the process of turning their leaseholds into freeholds. So
rapid did the buying become that it grew to be a feverish rush of men
all anxious to secure some land before it had all gone. Of course much
of this buying was speculative, and much was done with borrowed money.
The fever was hottest in Canterbury, where the Wakefield system of
free selection without limit as to area or condition as to occupation,
and with the fixed price of L2 an acre, interposed less than no check
at all to the speculators. Hundreds of thousands of acres were bought
each year. The revenue of the Provincial Council rose to half a
million; the country road-boards hardly knew how to spend their money.
Speculation, extravagance, reaction--such were the fruits the last
years of Wakefield's system bore there. Not that the fault was Gibbon
Wakefield's. It rests with the men who could not see that his system,
like every other devised for a special purpose, wanted to be gradually
changed along with the gradual change of surrounding circumstances.

The southern land revenue, thus swollen, was a glittering temptation
to politicians at Wellington. As early as 1874 it was clear that more
colonial revenue would be wanted to pay the interest on the growing
public debt. Vogel decided to appeal to the old Centralist party and
overthrow the Provinces. Their hour was come. The pastoral tenants
nearly everywhere disliked the democratic note growing louder in some
of them. New settlers were overspreading the country, and to the new
settlers the Provincial Councils seemed cumbrous and needless. Fresh
from Great Britain and with the ordinary British contempt for the
institutions of a small community, they thought it ridiculous that
a colony with less than half a million of people should want nine
Governments in addition to its central authority. The procedure of the
Provincial Councils, where Mr. Speaker took the chair daily and a
mace was gravely laid on the table by the clerk, seemed a Lilliputian
burlesque of the great Mother of Parliaments at Westminster.

Nevertheless, the Provinces did not fall without a struggle. In both
Otago and Auckland the older colonists mostly clung to their local
autonomy. Moreover, Sir George Grey had taken up his abode in the
Colony, and was living quietly in an islet which he owned near
Auckland. Coming out of his retirement, he threw himself into the
fight, and on the platform spoke with an eloquence that took his
audiences by storm, all the more because few had suspected him of
possessing it. Keen was the fight; Major Atkinson, _quondam_ militia
officer of Taranaki, made his mark therein and rose at a bound to take
command of the Centralists; the Provincialists were fairly beaten; the
land passed to the Central Government. The management of local affairs
was minutely subdivided and handed over to some hundreds of boards and
councils which vary a good deal in efficiency, though most of them do
their special work fairly enough on accepted lines.

Though colonists join in complaining of the number of these no serious
attempt has, however, been yet made to amalgamate them, much less to
revive any form of Provincialism. Municipal enterprise has made few
attempts in New Zealand to follow, however humbly, in the wake of the
great urban councils of England and Scotland. Water companies indeed
are unknown, but most of the towns depend upon contractors for their
supplies of light; municipal fire insurance is only just being talked
of; recreation grounds are fairly plentiful, but are not by any means
always managed by the municipality of the place. None of the town
councils do anything for the education of the people, and but few
think of their entertainment. The rural county councils and road
boards concern themselves almost solely with road-making and
bridge-building. The control of hospitals and charitable aid, though
entirely a public function not left in any way to private bounty, is
entrusted to distinct boards. Indeed, the minute subdivision of local
administration has been carried to extreme lengths in New Zealand,
where the hundreds of petty local bodies, each with its functions,
officers, and circle of friends and enemies, are so many
stumbling-blocks to thorough--going amalgamation and rearrangement. In
New Zealand the English conditions are reversed; the municipal lags
far behind the central authority on the path of experiment. This is
no doubt due, at least in part, to the difference in the respective
franchises. The New Zealand ratepayers' franchise is more restricted
than that under which the English councils are elected.

A few words will be in place here about the continuance and outcome of
the Public Works policy. Sir Julius Vogel quitted the Colony in 1876,
but borrowing for public works did not cease. It has not yet ceased,
though it has slackened at times. In 1879 a commercial depression
overtook the Colony. The good prices of wool and wheat sank lower and
lower; the output of gold, too, had greatly gone down. There had been
far too much private borrowing to buy land or to set up or extend
commercial enterprises. The rates of interest had often been
exorbitant. Then there happened on a small scale what happened in
Victoria on a larger scale twelve years later. The boom burst amid
much suffering and repentance. In some districts three-fourths of
the prominent colonists were ruined, for the price of rural produce
continued on the whole to fall relentlessly year after year until
1894. The men who had burdened themselves with land, bought wholly or
largely with borrowed money, nearly all went down. Some were ruined
quickly, others struggled on in financial agony for a decade or more.
Then when the individual debtors had been squeezed dry the turn
of their mortgagees came. Some of these were left with masses of
unsalable property on their hands. At last, in 1894, the directors of
the bank which was the greatest of the mortgagees--the Bank of New
Zealand--had to come to the Government of the day to be saved
from instant bankruptcy. In 1895 an Act was passed which, while
guaranteeing the bank, virtually placed it beneath State control,
under which it seems likely gradually to get clear of its
entanglements. This was the last episode in the long drama of
inflation and depression which was played out in New Zealand between
1870 and 1895. No story of the Colony, however brief, can pretend to
be complete which does not refer to this. The blame of it is usually
laid upon the public works policy. The money borrowed and spent by the
Treasury is often spoken of as having been wasted in political jobs,
and as having led to nothing except parliamentary corruption and an
eternal burden of indebtedness and taxation. This is but true to a
very limited extent. It was not the public borrowing of the Colony,
but the private debts of the colonists, which, following the
extraordinary fall in the prices of their raw products between 1873
and 1895, plunged so many thousands into disaster. Nine-tenths of the
money publicly borrowed by the Colony has been very well spent. No
doubt the annual distribution of large sums through the Lands and
Public Works departments year after year have had disagreeable effects
on public life. In every Parliament certain members are to be
pointed out--usually from half-settled districts--who hang on to the
Ministry's skirts for what they can get for their electorates. The
jesting lines at the head of this chapter advert to these. But they
must not be taken too seriously. It would be better if the purposes
for which votes of borrowed money are designed were scrutinized by a
board of experts, or at least a strong committee of members. It
would be better still if loans had to be specially authorized by the
taxpayers. But when the worst is said that can be said of the public
works policy, its good deeds still outweigh its evil. It is true that
between 1870 and 1898 the public debt has been multiplied six times;
but the white population has nearly tripled, the exports have more
than doubled, and the imports increased by 75 per cent. Moreover, of
the exports at the time when the public works policy was initiated,
about half were represented by gold, which now represents but a tenth
of the Colony's exports. Again, the product of the workshops and
factories of the Colony are now estimated at above ten millions
annually, most of which is consumed in New Zealand, and therefore does
not figure in the exports. The income of the bread-winners in the
Colony and the wealth of the people per head, are now nearly the
highest in the world. In 1870 the colonists were without the
conveniences and in many cases comforts of modern civilization. They
had scarcely any railways, few telegraphs, insufficient roads, bridges
and harbours. Education was not universal, and the want of recreation
and human society was so great as to lead notoriously to drunkenness
and course debauchery. New Zealand is now a pleasant and highly
civilized country. That she has become so in the last thirty years is
due chiefly to the much-criticised public works policy.

Before parting with the subject of finance, it should be noted that in
1870 the Treasury was glad to borrow at slightly over five per cent.
Now it can borrow at three. The fall in the rate of private loans has
been even more remarkable. Mortgagors can now borrow at five per cent.
who in 1870 might have had to pay nine. This steady fall in interest,
coupled with the generally reproductive nature of the public works
expenditure, should not be overlooked by those who are appalled by the
magnitude of the colonial debts. For the rest, there is no repudiation
party in New Zealand, nor is there likely to be any. The growth of
the Colony's debt is not a matter which need give its creditors the
slightest uneasiness, though no doubt it is something which the New
Zealand taxpayers themselves should and will watch with the greatest
care. It is quite possible that some special check will ultimately be
adopted by these to ensure peculiar caution and delay in dealing with
Parliamentary Loan Bills. It may be that some application of the
"referendum" may, in this particular instance, be found advisable,
inasmuch as the Upper House of the New Zealand Parliament, active as
it is in checking general legislation, may not amend, and in practice
does not reject, loan bills.

Chapter XX


"Shapes of all sorts and sizes, great and small
That stood upon the floor or by the wall,
And some loquacious Vessels were, and some
Listened, perhaps, but never talked at all."

When we come to look at the men as distinct from the measures of the
parliament of New Zealand between 1870 and 1890, perhaps the most
interesting and curious feature was the Continuous Ministry. With
some approach to accuracy it may be said to have come into office in
August, 1869, and to have finally expired in January, 1891. Out of
twenty-one years and a half it held office for between sixteen and
seventeen years. Sir Edward Stafford turned and kept it out for a
month in 1872; Sir George Grey for two years, 1877-79; Sir Robert
Stout for three years, 1884-7. None of the ministries which thus
for longer or shorter periods supplanted it ever commanded strong
majorities, or held any thorough control over the House. The
Continuous Ministry was a name given to a shifting combination, or
rather series of combinations, amongst public men, by which the
cabinet was from time to time modified without being completely
changed at any one moment. It might be likened to the pearly nautilus,
which passes, by gradual growth and movement, from cell to cell in
slow succession; or, more prosaically, to that oft-repaired garment,
which at last consisted entirely of patches. Like the nautilus, too,
it had respectable sailing and floating powers. The continuous process
was rather the outcome of rapidly changing conditions and personal
exigencies than of any set plan or purpose. With its men its
opinions and actions underwent alterations. Naturally the complete
transformation which came over the Colony during the two decades
between 1870 and 1890, had its effect on the point of view of
colonists and their public men. The Continuous Ministry began by
borrowing, and never really ceased to borrow; but its efforts at
certain periods of the second of these two decades to restrict
borrowing and retrench ordinary expenditure were in striking contrast
to the lavishness of the years between 1872 and 1877. At its birth
under Sir William Fox its sympathies were provincial and mildly
democratic. It quickly quarrelled with and overthrew the Provinces,
and became identified with Conservatism as that term is understood
in New Zealand. From 1869 to 1872 its leaders were Fox, Vogel, and
McLean. Fox left it in 1872; Major Atkinson joined it in 1874; Vogel
quitted it in 1876; McLean died in 1877. Put out of office by Sir
George Grey, it was for a short time led once more by Sir William Fox.
It came back again in 1879 as a Hall-Atkinson-Whitaker combination.
Hall retired in 1881, but Atkinson and Whitaker, helped by his advice,
continued to direct it to the end.

Now for its opponents. Rallying under Sir George Grey in 1876, the
beaten Provincialists formed a party of progress, taking the good old
name of Liberal. Though Sir George had failed to save their
Provinces, his eloquent exhortations rapidly revived in the House of
Representatives the democratic tendencies of some of the Councils.
Hitherto any concessions to Radicalism or Collectivism made by the

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