Mitologia polynesia

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Polynesian Mythology
By George Grey

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Late Governor-in-Chief of New Zealand




OWARDS theclose of the year 1845 I was suddenly and unexpectedly required by the

British Government to administer the affairs of New Zealand, and shortly afterwards received the appointment of Governor-in-chief of those Islands. When I arrived in them, I found Her Majesty's native subjects engaged in hostilities with the Queen's troops, against whom they had up to that time contended with considerablesuccess; so much discontent also prevailed generally amongst the native population, that where disturbances had not yet taken place, there was too much reason to apprehend they would soon break out, as they shortly afterwards did, in several parts of the Islands. I soon perceived that I could neither successfully govern, nor hope to conciliate, a numerous and turbulent people, with whose language,manners, customs, religion, and modes of thought I was quite unacquainted. in order to redress their grievances, and apply remedies which would neither wound their feelings nor militate against their prejudices, it was necessary that I should be able thoroughly to understand their complaints; and to win their confidence and regard it was also requisite that I should be able at all times and in allplaces patiently to listen to the tales of their wrongs or sufferings, and, even if I could not assist them, to give them a kind reply, couched in such terms as should leave no doubt on their minds that I clearly understood and felt for them, and was really well disposed towards them. Although furnished with some very able interpreters, who gave me assistance of the most friendly nature, I soonfound that even with their aid I could still only very imperfectly perform my duties. I could not at all times and in all places have an interpreter by my side; and thence Get any book for free on:



often when waylaid by some suitor, who had perhaps travelled two or three hundred miles to lay before me the tale of his or her grievances, I was compelledto pass on without listening, and to witness with pain an expression of sorrow and keenly disappointed hope cloud over features which the moment before were bright with gladness, that the opportunity so anxiously looked for had at length been secured. Again, I found that any tale of sorrow or suffering, passing through the medium of an interpreter, fell much more coldly on my ear than what itwould have done had the person interested addressed the tale direct to myself; and in like manner an answer delivered through the intervention of a third person appeared to leave a very different impression upon the suitor from what it would have had coming direct from the lips of the Governor of the country. Moreover, this mode of communication through a third person was so cumbrous and slow that, inorder to compensate for the loss of time thus occasioned, it became necessary for the interpreters to compress the substance of the representations made to me, as also of my own replies, into the fewest words possible; and, as this had in each instance to be done hurriedly and at the moment, there was reason to fear that much that was material to enable me fully to understand the question broughtbefore me, or the suitor to comprehend my reply, might be unintentionally omitted. Lastly, I had on several occasions reasons to believe that a native hesitated to state facts or to express feelings and wishes to an interpreter, which he would most gladly have done to the Governor, could he have addressed him direct. These reasons, and others of equal force, made me feel it to be my duty to...
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