| 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 KING OF THE MAORIS
 THE colony of New Zealand grew rapidly greater and
stronger. In 1847 Dunedin was founded by a party of
Scottish settlers sent out by the Free Church of
Scotland. In 1850 Canterbury was founded by the Church
of England. These towns would have grown faster than
they did, had not gold been discovered in Australia.
For many then who had come from home, meaning to settle
in New Zealand, rushed away to Australia and the gold
But things soon righted themselves, for it was not long
before the fame of the grassy plains of New Zealand
spread to Australia. Farmers there, hearing of these
plains where not even a tree had to be cut down to
clear the land, sailed over from Australia, bringing
flocks with them. Soon the Canterbury pastures became
as famous the world over as those of Australia. And
since ways of keeping meat by freezing it have been
found out, much of the mutton used in Great Britain is
brought from New Zealand.
In 1852 New Zealand became a self-governing colony, and
in 1854 the first New Zealand Parliament was held.
All seemed prosperous and well with the colony when
once more land troubles began.
Some of the Maori chiefs had always been against
selling land to the British. "The money the white man
 gives is soon spent," they said. "The land is gone
from us for ever, and we have nothing left." Yet, year
by year they saw the white people fence in more and
more land for farms. So now many of these tribes banded
themselves together into a Land League. The members of
this league vowed to sell no more land to the white
About this same time too, some of the tribes made up
their minds to choose a king. In choosing this king
they had no thought of rebelling against the Queen. But
they saw that although the governor ruled the white men
and the Maoris too, when they quarrelled with the white
men, they let them fight amongst themselves as much as
they liked. So they desired a king who should rule the
Maoris as the Queen far away ruled her people. Within
the large tract of land which they had vowed never to
sell, the Maori king should rule alone. Within this
land no road should be made—for all roads led to
There was much talk and argument before a king was
chosen. For all did not agree that a king would be good
to have. But at last a brave old warrior called Te
Whero-Whero Potatau was elected. A standard, too, was
chosen and raised. It was a white flag with a red
border, bearing two red crosses, and the words "Potatau,
King of New Zealand."
But many were against the flag, as they had been
against the king. "I am content with the flag of
Britain," said one old warrior. "It is seen all over
the world. It belongs to me. I get some of its honour.
What honour can I get from your flag? It is as a
fountain without water."
"Let the flag stand," said another, "but wash out the
writing upon it. As for me I am a subject of the
 But in spite of all objections the flag was unfurled,
the king was chosen.
Potatau was now treated with royal honours. Salutes
were fired, his subjects stood bareheaded before him,
and backed out of his presence, while he, wrapped in an
old blanket, sat upon a mat and smoked his pipe.
And sometimes while his counsellors talked and made
laws, he slept peacefully, knowing not what was done.
Governor Browne paid little attention to the "King
movement" as it was called. If he had, he might have
turned it to good. As it was, it turned to evil.
Soon a quarrel arose which led to fighting. A Maori
offered to sell to the governor some land at Waitara,
not far from New Plymouth. The governor bought it, but
Te Rangitake, the chief in whose country the land was,
being among those who had joined the Land League,
forbade the sale. "I will not give it up!" he cried;
"I will not, I will not, I will not! I have spoken."
The Maori land laws were very difficult for a white man
to follow. The chiefs often had a kind of feudal right
over the land, and so, although it did not really
belong to Te Rangitake, he had a right to forbid the
sale. "These lands will not be given by us into your
hands," he wrote to Governor Browne, "lest we become
like the birds of the sea which are resting upon a
rock. When the tide flows the rock is covered by the
sea. The birds fly away because there is no
resting-place for them. I will not give you the land."
But the governor decided that Te Rangitake had no right
to hinder the selling of the land. So he sent men to
mark it out for farms. But the men were met by all the
oldest and ugliest women in the land, who hugged and
kissed them till they were obliged to run away.
Then the governor sent soldiers, and seeing that
 peaceful means were no longer of use, the whole tribe
rose in arms. Rangitake built a pah upon the land,
pulled up the governor's stakes and flags and burned
them, and war began.
Once more the governor sent to Australia for soldiers.
Once more the land was filled with blood and war.
From pah to pah the Maoris flitted as their custom was.
Settlers in terror fled from their farms, leaving their
homes, their flocks and herds, to the mercy of the
Maoris. Some fled from the country altogether.
At first this quarrel had nothing to do with the King
movement. Indeed Te Rangitake had refused to join that.
But now the king tribes came to help their fellow
countrymen. The king himself was old and feeble, so the
men were led by a young and warlike chief called Te
Waharoa. It was he, indeed, who had been one of the
principal upholders of the king, and he was called the
In the midst of all the trouble the king died, and his
son Tawhiao was chosen in his stead. But he had not the
fame of his father, and had little power among the
For many months the war went on, but at length, in May
1861, peace was made, the governor promising to look
into Te Rangitake's claims once more.
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