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THE GOVERNOR'S TOUR., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 76, 30 March 1909
THE GOVERNOR'S TOUR.
DELAYED BY BAD WEATHER.
NATIVE GATHERING AT WHAKATANE. (By Telegraph.—Special to "Star.") WHAKATANE, Monday. The visit of His Excellency the Governor to the Bay of Plenty has been somewhat interfered with by wretched weather. The landing was delayed by a north-east gale, which compelled the Tutanekai to take sneiter under Whale Island for si couple of days, and consequently the Opotiki and Ohiwa part of the programme had to be cut out, much to the disappointment of the residents. The weather was beautifully fine on Sunday for the drive over to Whakatane from. Ohiwa, and it looked as though the trip would finish in the fine weather for which the sunny climate of the Bay of Plenty is famous. The respite, however, was only of short duration, for on Sunday night heavy rain .again set in, and it continued all day Monday. It was really too atrocious for anybody to be abroad, , but His iixcellency would not hear of disappointing the residents at the various places he had promised to visit. It was only when word came through that the Waimana River was not fordable that tho visit to Ruatoki was abandoned. J' At half past nine this morning Hia Excellency and party'went down to the Maori pah at Whakatane, and were there received with much eclat v by Hurinui, who is, perhaps, the biggest rangitira between Auckland and Gis'bpfne, and his people. In spite of a steady downpour, hakas and poi dances were gone through with much vim. An hour and a-half later saw the viceregal party on board the coach once more, bound for Taneahia, a settlement about nine miles inland from Whakatane township, up the valley of the Whakatann River, in the direction, of the Urewer.i Country. An informal reception was held in the public hall. Mr. Alex. Peebles, chairman of the County Council and one of the original settlers of the district, welcomed the Governor. Mr. J. Dillicar read an address of welcome, in which mention was made of the fact that thirty years ago the prosperous district which the Governor saw was a sheep station. In the course of his reply the Governor said that, as the visible link, between the Crown and the people of New Zealand, he desired to thank the Dominion for it 3 magnificent offer of a Dreadnought to the Mother Country. It has been appreciated at Home at its proper worth, and the effect of it was most admirable. It meant that "people at Home and in other colonies would see that the loyalty of the Dominion was no mere lip loyalty, but a loyalty to the heart, and to the death, if necessary. The people of Taneatua gave the. Governor a hearty welcome, though, naturally, the weather interfered very much with the arrangements. <Hia Excellency was much struck wVh a handsome arch of welcome, in wiich corn cobs—oue of the staple exports of the valley—were effectively used in the scheme of directions. . After lunch, at the residence of Mr. Peebles, word was brought down that the rains had not swollen the river at Waimana as much as had been expected, and that Ruatoki could be visited after all. Rain pouring still did not deter Lord Plunket from taking advantage of the opportunity to pick up his programme again, arid the visitors set <Jn* up the valley for Ruatoki, six miles further on. When one forgot the discomforts of the weather the journey was really most picturesque. His Excellency was accompanied by Mr. H. C. Waterfield (private secretary) and Capt. Shannon, A.D.C., in the handsome uniform of the ICth .Lancers, the Hon. A. T. Ngata, Mr. Maealieter (private secretary), Mr. W. T. Pitt (interpreter), and Mr. Peebles as cicerone, rode on a four-horse coach of the thorouglibrace type, with- a very smart horsed escort of 20 natives from the Matata squadron of the Fourth Regiment of Mounted Rifles, under Lieut. S. W. Smales, of Whakatane, half of them riding in front and half behind the viceregal conveyance, " while four mounted constables (two European arid two native)' acted as outriders. The valley of the Whakatane, which is formed by the -river of the same name, in its course from the mountains of the Urewera country to sea, in the Bay of Plenty, is one of the most fertile in the colony, and the strip of land, which is bordered »>y serrated ranges on either hand, was looking at its best. DAIRYING AND MAIZE CULTIVATION. •Dairying and maize are the chief sources of wealth in this favoured locality, and, as one drove along the fertile flats, splendid herds of cattle and extensive fields of maize, turned from vivid green to the rich brown which foretells the time of harvesting, filled the eye for mile aftar mile. The beautiful green valley, with its winding willow-fringed river, and its fernclad rangrj running along either 'hand, like serrated ramparts, spoke of peace and prosperity, and this is the same valley which <mcc echoed to the rifles of British troops and "tuparas" (double-barrelled guns) in pursuit of that arch scoundrel Te Kooti, who used to sweep down on the sea coast from the fastnesses of the mountains of Urewera in the manner of the Assyrian who came down like a wolf on the fold. We were bound for Tuhoeland, where dwell "the children of the mist"—to use a poetical name of the UreweraT people, in whose character there is something which separates them from the rest of their dusky race, much, in the same way that Highlanders differ from the Lowlanders of Scotland. So, perhaps, it was only appropriate that we should come when the Kohukolui (mist) and rain clouds veiled their hills, arid hung over the head of the valley, symbolical of the mystery which the other natives ascribe *o the ancestry of Tuhoelander3. As the party drove through OponrJao, and to its destination, mount&d settlers joined in, and by the time %atoki was reached there was quite a c*onsidera&Q procession. AT RUATOKI. With t!ie exception of half-a-dozen white people, Ruatofci'S population is composed of Maoris, short muscular Orewerns, who are the Gurkhas of the Maori race. Their slab whares are unlike the Maori dwellings in other parts of the country, and there are other characteristics which indicate-the great differences which exist between them and the resit of their dusky compatriots' J- differences which are, however, gradually being effaced by time, like the rough edges of some of their wonderful old carvings, mellowed by time and weather. The dweller in Tuhoeland has a far-away look in his eye probably the gut of some of his mythical ancestors -who were connected with the fairies of Maori lore, but the ivsßttrft of uncanny vigour he and hi£
better-half can put into a haka of,wet come turned one's thoughts to a place not at -all connected with' fairy-land iW-en the rain did not damp their ardour" " ? which was something to he remembered' as there were several hundred natives in the pa, but it shortened the proceedings out of ' consideration for the pakeha. and an adjournment was made to the ■'■; whare Runanga, a large building about 00ft. long, where a korero was held. The native speeches, which were inter, preted by Mr. Pitt, were most cordial; Kereru, the principal cnief, made an ex« cellent speech. Turakuraku, anothei Urewera chief, -who added a ze3t to his remarks by "takiiirig" (marching up ans down before his guests braridishin"'4 "'■':"■ taiaha). .'■ AN OLD-FASHIONED WELCOME. In the true old-faehioned ' style, n'g y 'M poetically bade his Excellency welcome M to Tuhoeland to see the remnants of a M once numerous race. They had no one among them fit to welcome the distiifc .; guished manuhiri (stranger) a3 ihej IS would have wished, as they had all gone before into the land of night. Still, the people would welcome the King's representatives, bringing among them the love of the great Queen Victoria, for whom, as well as for her son, they had' the truest affection. Several other prominent men spoke, and laid at his Excellency's feet a: number of presents, including a bunch of the pretty feathers from the Kawakawa Si (long-tailed cuckoo), which the donor drew out of an inside pocket in a fays-.- I terious manner, carefully pressed and dried between the leaves of the driest - | book he could find—a copy of "Hansard/ ; which had somehow wandered up to thief out-of-the-clay corner. . .. Mr. Ngata was the only member of the legislature present to appreciate th» old fellow's unintentional sarcasm. HIS EXCELLENCY'S ADVICE. After an exchange of compliments, tisi Governor (Mr Ngata interpreting) said he had something serious to say to' them. He did not think a governor had beeaj among them at a more important time,' and he wished to give them some adviceV Their land had-hitherto been kept for the Maoris alone, but now it was about to" be opened up at the request of the Maoris themselves, and white people would *■ tie among them. This would be to the natives' great advantage if tney were impressed with the necessity of imitating all the good qualities of the pakeha, and. rejecting those that were bad. If their young men followed only that which" tttey saw was good in tne habits of fhe whitl people who would come among them, theywould not hear'any more about the remnants of a Tace, to use the words of : Turakuraku. .His Excellency strongly hoped the Maoris would take the greatest cafe to advance their schools and , see that their children were properly educated. He thought it was greatly to be desired that" . after the rudiments of education they should agitate for some form of technicaleducation for their children. His Excellency also spoke of the advantages which would follow.the individualisation of their titles to the land. A MEETING WITH RUA. • ■. Driving back, the vice-regal party stopped at the Lower Ruatoki pah,- where Ru% the prophet (who usually lives about 2S miles up the valley) is temporarily. in residence with half a dozen wives and a couple of hundred followers. The invitation to Ruatoki came from JKererUj biii iiis Excellency, hearing" that' Rua would like to see him', sent word that he would ba pleased to receive Mm. Eiia, with 1 hii long Lair carefully done up under .hia hat, secured by a lady's tortoiseshell comb, was escorted to the coach by\ Mr Ngata. His Excellency, after, greeting him, said he had Heard he had done good work among liis people m sanitation and farming, and suggested that in order to achieve the most goojl Rua should -work in unison -with the other leaders of the tribe. Rua, in the coursa of his reply, said he would like to do so, and thought the presence of Mr Ngata in the district would enable the details to be arranged. The interview lasted only , a few minutes, during wnich the faithful ol the prophet kept up' a vigorous haka, introducing what is known down the valley as "the Rua cakewalk." The. juxtaposition of the prophet's cakewalk and the rugged Urewe.ra, still a terry incognita in parts, shows how assimiJative the Maori can be when occasion demands. a
Rain accompanied the party all the way home, and Whakatane wals reached again in the evening. The journey was anything but easy, and His Excellency impressed everyone by the cheerful manner in which he adapted himself to the unconventional circumstances. He took the greatest interest in the which was quite new to him, and the' people, and particularly in the Native's; who appeal specially to him, as they resemble in many ways (to use his own. words) the people of his native country: He made light of the rain, arid a broad grin sulTused the collective face of his brown audience at Ruatoki when be ex-' plained that in his own land it was said to rain every day, and one day more than there wfls in the year. His Excel; lericy was particularly pleased with, his escort, and told the commanding officer that Captain Shannon, who belonged to a crack corps at Home, had mentioned that he had never seen a better volunteer escort. This evening the people of Whakatane, who have certainly excelled themselve3 with their decorations and fitting manner in which they welcomed His Excellency, entertained him to a banquet, which passed 'off most successfully. To-morrow His Excellency leaves for Rotorua and catches the down train next day.
THE GOVERNOR'S TOUR., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 76, 30 March 1909
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