| 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 TAMING OF THE WILD CABBAGE LEAF
 WHILE the north was at length settling down to peace, the
tribes in the south were growing restless. Their
leaders were, as before, Rauparaha the proud "Wild
Cabbage Leaf," and Rangihaeata "The Heavenly Dawn."
But while the Heavenly Dawn openly showed that he was
an enemy, the Wild Cabbage Leaf pretended to be a
friend to the British.
Land again was the beginning of the quarrel. About nine
miles from Wellington was the fertile Hutt Valley. This
Colonel Wakefield thought he had bought. The chiefs
said it was still theirs, and they tried to prevent
settlers taking possession of it, and soon the land was
once more filled with fighting and murder.
So, having made peace in the north, Governor Grey
sailed to Wellington, taking with him all the soldiers
he could gather.
Soon he discovered that although Rauparaha made great
show of friendship, he was really egging Rangihaeata
on. In fact, while Rangihaeata was the fighter,
Rauparaha was the thinker. So it was resolved to seize
him and stop his mischief.
One night a company of a hundred and fifty men silently
surrounded the chiefs house. All was quiet. Swiftly and
stealthily the men stole into Rauparaha's room, and,
while he was still sleeping, seized him. Not
 a blow was
struck, not a shot was fired. The wily old chief was
taken prisoner without a drop of blood being shed. But
it was not done without a struggle, for Rauparaha bit
and kicked fiercely, and his captors carried the marks
of his teeth and nails for many a day.
Great was the grief of the Heavenly Dawn when he heard
of the capture of his father-in-law. In his grief he
made a lament, mourning for Rauparaha as for a dead
"Raha! my chief, my friend,
Thy lonely journey wend;
Stand with thy wrongs before the God of Battles' face:
Bid him thy woes requite.
Ah me! Te Raukawa's foul desertion and disgrace,
Ah me! the English ruler's might.
Raha! my chief of chiefs,
Ascend with all thy griefs
Up to the Lord of Peace; there stand before his face:
Let him thy fate requite.
Ah me! Te Tea's sad defection and disgrace,
Ah me! the English ruler's might."
But Rangihaeata did more than idly lament. Gathering
his men, he prepared to avenge the capture of his
chief. He wrote, too, to the northern tribes, stirring
them to battle. "Friends and children, come and avenge
the wrongs of Te Rauparaha, because Te Rauparaha is the
eye of the faith of all men. Make ye haste hither in
the days of December."
But the northern chiefs were slow to move. They told
the Heavenly Dawn that it was folly to try to kill the
British or drive them from the land. "How could you dry
up the sea?" they asked.
But although few joined him, Rangihaeata fought.
Although soldiers, sailors, settlers, all were against
 he would not give in. Defeated and hunted he took
refuge, as he himself said, "in the fastnesses and
hollows of the country, as a crab lies concealed in the
depths and hollows of the rocks."
At length, left almost without a follower, Rangihaeata
made peace. But his proud spirit never quite gave in. "I
am not tired of war," he told Sir George Grey, "but
the spirit of the times is for peace. Now, men, like
women, use their tongues as weapons. Do not suppose, O
Governor, that you have conquered me! No. It was my
own relations and friends. It was by them I was
When Rauparaha had been seized he had been sent to
Auckland. There, although he was a prisoner, he was
allowed to go about freely. Now, when peace was come
again, he was permitted to go home. But the fierce old
chief did not live long to enjoy his liberty. Eighteen
months later he died.
From first to last, in north and south, the war had
lasted for five years. It had cost a million of money.
Sir George now had time to think of ruling the land. He
tried to govern well and be just to the Maoris. He
protected them as much as he could from land-grabbers,
and kept the treaty of Waitangi. He rewarded those who
had helped him, and in every way treated them fairly.
One good thing which Sir George did was to make good
roads throughout the islands. Even while the war was
going on, parties of soldiers and Maoris might be seen
peacefully working side by side with pick and spade.
The Maoris were good workmen, and the British soon grew
friendly with them. They taught the Maoris English, and
the Maoris taught them their language. And when the
road was finished they parted like old friends.
 Then Governor Grey built schools and had the Maori
children taught to speak English, and did many other
things for their happiness. So when in 1853 another
governor was appointed, the Maoris were very sorrowful.
They grieved for Sir George as for a lost father, and
sang mournful songs of farewell.
Pause for one moment there.
Cast back one glance on me,
Thus to receive one fond,
One last, fond look.
Thy love came first, not mine;
Thou didst first behold
With favour and regard
The meanest of our race!
Thence is it
The heart o'erflows;
the eye Bedewed with tears doth anxiously desire
To catch one fond, one parting glance,
Ere thou art lost to sight for ever,
Alas! for ever!"
When Sir George Grey came home, too, he was welcomed
and thanked. And when at Oxford he received a degree
in honour of his work in New Zealand, the students gave
three cheers for the "King of the Cannibal Islands."
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