Archdeacon Brown was able to speak both English and Maori and as a result he was able to work with both of the fighting parties. Imagine the torment this must have caused this peace loving man? To see his friends at war with each other?
On the night before the crushing defeat suffered by the Brittish 14 soldiers dined at his table, the next day all but 1 of those men were dead.
Below are 2 passages from the poem kept inside the pocket on this page
Then, when the meal was ended, tale and joke
died into silence as the kind host spoke.
Lost are his wods today, we only know
that those who listened felt their hearts a-glow
With pentince; and, kneeling side by side
Grim Verteran and the lad in youthful pride,
they took the sacrament of endless life
then rose, strong-hearted for the morrow's strife.
Within this room, when but two nights had fled
was sound of mourning for the gallant dead;
Of all those happy guests who feasted here,
but one was left to tell the story, drear
Of ambush, vain and of its bitter cost
When heroes, Pakeha and Maori, met
in that grim strife that we would fain forget
Poem by Kathleen Hawkins
It's hard to know how illustrate a story like this. Its potentially one of suffering and strife. Luckily there's two sides to the story! In the christian faith believers go to heaven, far away from warfare and pain, to a place of peace and love.
While it's true that the Archdeacon witnessed many hardships and lost countless friends he was also a source of comfort to the soldiers and warriors. His job was to give hope and unconditional love in the midst of one of NZ's most significant landwars.
I chose to reflect the love held within his home and his heart. Evident in his actions and appreciated by many.
Still in this place today the quiet light
falls on a room scarce changed since that past night;
and in its quietude the questions rise
Was this the vision seen by dying eyes?
Did that glimpse of homely peacefullness
shine through the pain of wounds to heal and bless?
And did the kindess freely given
help some brave soul find his way to heaven?
The house(in the photo) was built after the library and parish. The soliders (in the poem) dined in the great dining room housed in that very building. These days it is open to the public, the room preserved as it was that day. Having been there I can tell you the room has a stillness about it. A quieting effect that causes you to sit, be still and be thankful. The portrait is of the Archdeacon Brown.
The 'trap door' style flap opnes to reveal the poem.