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A History of the English Church in New Zealand

Ruatara was wrapped in an old great coat


But

a mightier coadjutor was at hand. Many prayers were offered as the _Ann_ was about to sail, and it must surely have been in answer to these that, when the vessel with her freight of convicts had already reached Gravesend, there appeared a boat in which were a half-naked Maori together with a seafaring Englishman. These were Ruatara and his employer who had robbed him of his wages and had now no further use for him. "Will you take him back to Australia?" said the heartless master. "Not unless you find him some clothes," said the captain of the _Ann_. The clothes were procured, and the Maori was allowed to go below. There he lay sick in body and mind. He had tried to play the part of the Russian Peter, but he was bringing back nothing for the benefit of his country. What was left but to die?

When the ship reached Portsmouth, Marsden came on board, and on August 25th she finally started on her six months' voyage. Not for some days did the chaplain know of the Maori's presence, but, as the ship entered warmer latitudes, Marsden observed on the forecastle among the sailors a man whose dark skin and forlorn condition appealed strongly to his sympathy. Ruatara was wrapped in an old great coat, racked with a violent cough, and was bleeding from the lungs. Though young, he seemed to have but a few days to live. Marsden at once went to him and found in the miserable stranger the nephew of his old acquaintance Te Pahi. Kindness and attention soon had their

effect; the health of the invalid rapidly improved; the remembrance of past injuries melted away before the sunshine of Christian love; and, before the ship reached Australia, Ruatara was once again a man, and now almost a Christian.

This meeting was momentous in its results. "Mr. Marsden and Ruatara," as Carleton says, "were each necessary to the other; each furnished means without which the labour of his associate must have been thrown away. But for the determined support which Ruatara as a high chief was able to afford, Marsden could never have gained a footing in the land; and without the sustained labour of the civilised European, the work of the Maori innovator, too much in advance of its time, would have withered like Jonah's gourd, and have come to an end with the premature decease of Ruatara."

For a few days after the arrival of the _Ann_ at Port Jackson, it seemed as though Marsden's project were going to be helped by another unexpected agency. The Sydney merchants had resolved to form a trading settlement in New Zealand; the settlers were chosen, and the ship was ready to sail. But at the last moment news came from the land of their destination of an event already referred to--news which for many a long day checked every thought of adventure thither, and had the effect of throwing New Zealand back into its old position of isolation and aloofness. The ship _Boyd_, which had sailed from Sydney not many months previously, had been surprised by the Maoris in the harbour of Whangaroa, and with four exceptions all its white crew, to the number of about 70 persons, had been killed and cooked and eaten.

The report of this awful tragedy--the most horrible that has ever been enacted on our shores, at least with white folk for the victims--threw the people of New South Wales into a fever heat of indignation. This condition was further intensified when the intelligence arrived that among the murderers had been seen the "worthy and respectable" Te Pahi, who had been an honoured guest at the Governor's table. No Maori dared now to be seen in the streets of Sydney, and it required all Marsden's influence to protect Ruatara, who was known to be Te Pahi's relative. His protector kept him for six months quietly working with a few other Maoris on his farm at Parramatta, and the expedition to New Zealand was for the time abandoned.


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