Our Empire Story - H. E. Marshall

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 man.

"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 him, 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 overcome."

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.

"Oh then!

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."


Front Matter

Part I—Canada
Lief the Son of Eric
Westward! Westward! Westward!
A Breton Sailor in Canada
The Story of Henry Hudson
The Father of New France
The Founding of Quebec
A Bold Answer Saves Quebec
Union Jack upon the Fort
Feast of Eat-Everything
A Knight of New France
The Hudson Bay Company
Adventures of La Salle
La Salle (cont)
Count Frontenac
Madeleine de Vercheres
War of the Boundary Line
The Pathy of Glory
For the Empire
The Story of Laura Secord
Red River Settlement
Louis Riel
Part II—Australia
Nothing New under the Sun
The Founding of Sydney
Bass and Flinders
A Little Revolution
First Traveller in Queensland
Through the Great Unknown
Tracts of Thirst and Furnace
The Finding of Gold
The Bushrangers
Part III—New Zealand
A Great White Bird
The Apostle of New Zealand
Hongi the Warrior
The Maoris
The Wild Cabbage Leaf
The Flagstaff War
The Warpath
Storming of the Bat's Nest
Taming of Wild Cabbage Leaf
King of the Maoris
Sound of the War-Song
The Hau Haus and Te Kooti
Part IV—South Africa
Early Days
The Coming of the Dutch
The Coming of the French
The Coming of the British
Rebellion of Slachter's Nek
The Great Witch Doctor
About the Black Napoleon
The Great Trek
Dingaan's Treachery
The War of the Axe
The Wreck of the Birkenhead
Founding of Two Republics
Story of a False Prophet
A Story about a Pretty Stone
Facing Fearful Odds
Upon Majuba's Height
The Gold City
War and Peace
Part V—India
Alexander Invades India
How Brave Men Went Sailing
Success at Last
Dutch and English
Ambassador Goes to Court
The Hatred of the Dutch
The French in India
The Siege of Arcot
The Black Hole
The Battle of Plassey
Times of Misrule
Warren Hastings—Governor
Warren Hastings—War
Tippoo Sultan
Warrior Chieftains
The Mutiny of Vellore
The Ghurkas
Pindaris and the Maratha War
The First Burmese War
The Siege of Bhurtpore
Sati and Thags
The First Afghan War
The Sikhs
The Mutiny—Delhi
The Mutiny—Cawnpore
The Mutiny—Lucknow
The Empress of India