| Our Empire Story|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|Vivid and picturesque account of the principal events in the building of the British Empire. Traces the development of the British colonies from days of discovery and exploration through settlement and establishment of government. Includes stories of the five chief portions of the Empire: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India. Ages 10-16 |
THE APOSTLE OF NEW ZEALAND
 AFTER Cook, the next visitors to New Zealand were Frenchmen.
In those days, as soon as a new land was discovered,
wonderful stories were told about it. And the
Frenchmen, having heard that the British had discovered
an island full of gold and precious stones, came to
see, and, if possible, get some of it for themselves.
They fell into quarrels and misunderstandings with the
natives, and horrible massacres took place. Soon tales
of the cruel, man-eating savages who lived in New
Zealand spread far and wide. It was not long before the
islands got such an evil name that sailors avoided the
shores with horror. Men thirsting for fresh water,
dying for want of fresh food, chose rather to die than
to run the risk of falling into the hands of cannibal
in spite of its evil name, there were still some
roving, daring Britons who ventured to the shores to
barter with the savages. For New Zealand flax was so
soft and silky that manufacturers were eager to buy it.
New Zealand timber, too, was sought after, and above
all it was found to be a splendid sealing and whaling
ground. So for the sake of wealth men were found to
brave the terrors of these shores.
these old sealers and whalers were among the wildest
and most reckless of men. They treated the Maoris and
their customs with contempt. They carried
 them off,
both men and women, as slaves, and again and again the
proud savages repaid such treatment with a terrible
good men, seeing these things, appealed to King George
to put a stop to them. The answer was "The islands are
not within His Majesty's dominions." The Governor of
New South Wales tried to protect the savages, and
threatened those who ill-treated them with punishments.
That, too, was vain. For in those days many white men
regarded a savage as little better than a beast, to be
hunted and hounded as such.
being brave and warlike, the Maoris were a roving,
sea-loving people like the Britons themselves. Long
ages before white men had touched their shores, they,
too, had come from far distant islands, and made a new
home in New Zealand. The story of their wanderings had
been handed down from father to son, and the names of
the canoes in which they had come were still remembered
that white men came again and again from far over the
seas, the roving spirit awoke once more in many of the
Maoris. They longed to see the land from which these
white-faced strangers came; these strangers who carried
thunder and lightning in their hands, and spoke death
to their enemies from afar. They wanted, too, to see
the great chief of this powerful nation, for they
thought he must be indeed a mighty warrior. So some of
the Maoris ventured on board the whaling vessels and
sailed away to England. Some of them, too, saw King
George, but when they saw that he was a feeble, old man
and no warrior at all, they were greatly disappointed.
Maoris, too, sailed to Sydney. There they met
 a man
whose name stands out in the early story of New Zealand
almost more than any other. This man was Samuel
Marsden, who has been called the "Apostle of New
was prison chaplain at Sydney. He had done much good
work among the rough, bad convicts, and when he came to
know the wild, ignorant, misunderstood savages, he
longed to help them too. "They are as noble a race of
men as are to be met with in any part of the world," he
wrote to a friend. "I trust I shall be able in some
measure to put a stop to those dreadful murders which
have been committed upon the islands for some years
past, both by Europeans and by the natives. They are a
much injured people notwithstanding all that has been
said against them."
the Maoris whom Marsden met was a chief called Ruatara.
He was one of those who had travelled to Europe. There
he had had many adventures, and had been cruelly
treated by the white men in whom he had trusted. He was
returning home, poor and miserable, when Marsden met
and befriended him. And when after more adventures he
at length reached New Zealand again, he carried with
him the story of Marsden's kindness, making his
countrymen believe that all white men were not
treacherous and base.
also carried home with him a present of wheat which
Marsden had told him how to sow.
wheat was sown, and grew, and ripened. But the Maoris
scoffed. They did not believe Ruatara's tale that flour
could be made from these thin, yellow stalks. But
strong in his faith in his new friend, Ruatara reaped
and threshed the wheat. Then he came to a standstill.
The Maori savages had no idea of the roughest or
simplest kind of mill. Ruatara did not know how to
 wheat, and laughter against him grew louder
than ever. But Marsden had not forgotten his friend,
and soon a ship arrived bringing the present of a
great excitement Ruatara called his friends together.
They gathered round him, still scoffing. But when a
stream of flour flowed from the mill they were lost in
wonder. As soon as enough flour was ground it was
carried off, hastily made into a cake, and cooked in a
frying pan. Then the Maoris danced and sang for joy.
Ruatara had spoken the truth. Henceforth he was to be
believed, and they were ready to receive his friend
Marsden with kindness.
Soon after this Marsden got leave from his work in New South
Wales and visited New Zealand. He landed in the Bay of
Islands, on the north-east coast of North Island. In
this very bay, not long before, the crew of a British
ship had been cruelly slaughtered, and many of them
devoured by the savage victors. Yet without one thought
of fear Marsden landed among these man-eaters.
brought with him, as a present from the Governor of New
South Wales, three horses, two cows, and a bull. None
of the Maoris, except the two or three like Ruatara who
had travelled, had ever seen a horse or a cow. They had
never seen any animal bigger than a pig, so they
wondered greatly at these large, strange beasts. And
when Marsden mounted one of the horses and rode along
the sands, they wondered still more.
this time a fierce war was raging in the Bay of Islands
between Ruatara and his uncle Hongi on the one side,
and a tribe called the Whangaroans on the other side.
Marsden was already known as the friend of Ruatara. Now
he determined to make friends with the Whangaroans and
bring peace between the foes.
were the very savages who not long before had
and eaten the British sailors. Yet Marsden made up his
mind to spend a night among them. Taking only one
friend with him, Marsden went first to the camp of
Hongi. Hongi was a very great and fierce warrior, but
Samuel Marsden had won his heart, and with him he was
gentle and kind. In Hongi's camp the missionaries had
supper and then walked to the enemy's camp, which was
about a mile away.
Whangaroan chiefs received the white strangers kindly.
They all sat down together, the chiefs surrounding the
two white men. The summer sun was setting, night was
coming on, they were alone among cannibals, yet they
felt no fear.
began to talk, telling the Maoris why he had come. He
was the friend of Hongi and Ruatara, he said, he wished
to be their friend, too, and bring peace among them.
Marsden could not speak the Maori language so one
chief, who like Ruatara had travelled, and could speak
English, translated all that Marsden said.
they talked. The sun set, the sky grew dark, the stars
shone out. One by one the savages lay down to rest upon
the ground. At length Marsden, too, and his friend
wrapped themselves in their greatcoats and lay down.
for Marsden there was little sleep. He lay awake,
watching and thinking. It was a strange scene. Above
twinkled the bright stars, in front lay the sea, calm
and smooth, the waves splashing softly against the
shore. Far off in the bay shone the lights of the
waiting ship, but close around the white men rose a
forest of spears, stuck upright in the ground. All over
the plain lay huddled groups of man-eating savages,
sleeping peacefully. And who could be sure that they
would not suddenly spring up and slay the two white men
to make a morning feast?
the night passed, and with daylight came a boat from
the ship to take Marsden and his friend on board again.
Marsden asked all the chiefs to come too, although he
doubted if they would trust themselves in his power,
knowing how often they had been deceived by wicked
white men. They showed, however, no sign either of fear
or anger, and went on board the ship quite willingly.
First Marsden gave them breakfast, then he gathered
them all into the cabin. Here, too, came Hongi and
Ruatara, and having given them each a present of an axe
or something useful, he asked them to make friends and
promise to fight no more. Then to Marsden's great joy
the rival chiefs fell upon each other's necks, rubbed
noses (which is the Maori way of shaking hands), and so
made peace. The Whangaroan chiefs then went away much
pleased with their presents, and vowing always to love
the missionaries, and never more to hurt British
Sunday after this meeting was Christmas Day and Ruatara
was very anxious that there should be "church." So
without telling anyone, he began to make great
First he fenced in about an acre of land. Then he made a
pulpit and a reading-desk out of an old canoe, and
covered them with black cloth. He also made seats for
the white people out of bits of old canoes, and upon
the highest point near he set up a flagstaff. Then
having finished all his preparations he went to tell
Mr. Marsden that everything was ready for a Christmas
on Christmas morning 1815 the first Christmas service
was held in New Zealand. Everyone from the ship, except
one man and a boy, went ashore. For Marsden was so sure
that the Maoris meant to be friendly that he felt there
was no need for any one to stay to guard the ship.
Union Jack was run up, and when Mr. Marsden landed he
found the Maori chiefs drawn up in line ready to
receive him. They were all dressed in regimentals which
the Governor of New South Wales had given them, and
behind them were gathered their whole tribes, men,
women, and children. And thus, following the white men,
they all marched to "church."
white men took their seats, and behind them crowded the
dark-faced savages. The ground was carpeted with green
fern, the sky was blue above, and a very solemn silence
fell upon the waiting crowd as Mr. Marsden and his
friends stood up and sang the Old Hundredth Psalm.
All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with mirth, His praise forth tell,
Come ye before Him and rejoice.
Know that the Lord is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make:
We are His flock, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep He doth us take.
the singing was over Marsden read the English Church
Service. The people stood up and knelt down at a sign
from one of their chiefs, for they understood not a
word of what was said.
don't know what it all means," they said to Ruatara.
mind," said he, "you will understand later."
I bring you glad tidings of great joy," was Marsden's
text, and when the sermon was over Ruatara tried to
explain in Maori language what it was all about. And if
the Maoris did not quite understand all, this they did
understand, that Mr. Marsden wanted to be kind to them,
and bring peace between his countrymen and theirs.
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