Mutual Religious Scepticism
OF KIMBLE BENT
A STORY OF WILD LIFE IN THE
NEW ZEALAND BUSH
Whitcombe and Tombs, Limited
Read as an e-book, free download from Project Gutenberg.
"To-day, should you visit the large European-built house of the late Te Whiti, the Prophet of the Mountain, at Parihaka, you will see a picture of Te Ua on the wall of the speech-hall, his right hand raised to his shoulder, palm outwards, as if in the act of invoking his gods to turn the pakeha bullets aside—"Hapa! Pai mariré!" And many a deluded Hauhau fell to the rifles of the white men before the Maori confidence in the efficacy of the charm was shaken. But Te Ua had a very good explanation to offer for any casualties—that if the pakeha bullet refused to be waved aside and insisted on entering the body of a "righteous and peaceful" son of the faith, it was because the stricken man had lost faith in the karakia—the ritual—and, very properly, suffered for his unbelief"
"The Nga-Rauru man, however, stopped and looked closely at the prostrate pakeha. He said to one of his comrades, "I don't think that man is dead." Going up to the Constabulary man, he put his hand on his shoulder, and said in English, "Wake up!"
The white man opened his eyes. He exclaimed, "Save my life! Let me go, and I'll never forget you—I'll repay you for it."
The Nga-Rauru man, who must have been a humorous kind of barbarian, said to his victim, again in English, "Go on your knees and pray to your God to save your life!"
The soldier knelt as he was told, and ejaculated some sort of a prayer.
Playing with his prey, the savage asked, "Well, are you saved now?"
The kneeling soldier looked up, but could make no answer. He stared at his terrible-looking captor, with horror in his eyes.
"Poroporoaki ki to Atua!" ("Say farewell to your God!") cried the Maori, and swinging his gun round in both hands, he brought it butt down with a frightful smashing blow on the soldier's head."
A fascinating read, focuses on what happens to the protagonist while amongst Taranaki Maori, with events described as seen by them, but described by the author from a Pakeha viewpoint, with "plucky troopers" and "savage heroes". Nevertheless, it couldn't be described as particularly racist, there is a measure of respect for things and deeds Maori.
Caution: Descriptions of cannibalism.
This book would flesh out most people's scanty knowledge of New Zealand history.