(dramatic music) (sombre music) – I’m in the North Island of New Zealand This small grave on a lonely hillside about 150 kilometres south of Auckland in the Waikato region near Matamata marks the memorial site of a young Maori girl whose death changed the course of New Zealand history The arrival of muskets with European traders dramatically changed the way Maori conducted inter-tribal warfare to settle old scores or take revenge Some rangatira, Maori chiefs, soon realised that muskets would give them enormous advantage in warfare These chiefs purchased large numbers of these weapons and attacked their rivals with devastating effect The introduction of muskets changed Aotearoa, New Zealand, forever The loss of life was immense And yet, out of all this hatred and violence comes a story of peace, hope, and forgiveness This inspiring story will bring you hope and give you courage (dramatic music) The plague of war It’s a phenomenon that has cursed humanity since the dawn of time It’s so destructive and horrible, and yet has there ever been a time on planet Earth when we’ve been free of it? People trying to solve disputes over land People wanting to lord it over others People thirsting for power People seeking revenge Whatever the reason, the hideous prospect of war rears its ugly head again and again in our world But does it have to be this way? Is war the only solution to a crisis? Isn’t there a better way to solve our problems? There are cases in history where a better solution to war has been found Often these cases involve people thinking far outside the square Or where they made incredible sacrifices, taken huge risks, and most importantly, battled against the war in their own hearts Today we’re going to look at one such example But we’re going to have to step back in time a couple of centuries By 1835, Christian missionaries had been in Aotearoa, New Zealand, for about 20 years They wanted to bring the uplifting effect of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Maori people living there and end the vicious cycle of revenge and killing The missionaries found Maori to be very intelligent, and quick and keen to learn new things They also found that Maori were very adept at surviving in Aotearoa New Zealand Using simple stone tools, they could fell large trees, and from these make sea-worthy vessels, canoes called waka They would expertly navigate their boats around the often turbulent waters of New Zealand From the flax bush, they could make warm, comfortable clothing, baskets, snares for catching birds, and nets for catching fish They possessed a great knowledge of the medicinal properties of many plants in Aotearoa New Zealand And Maori were masters at obtaining food from the forests, rivers, and sea But when it came to negotiating their way through inter-tribal difficulties or disagreements, Maori were bound by utu, to demand restitution or repayment – For a child, growing up under utu would be really difficult They were hard times

They’ll be anxious They’ll have anxiety not knowing really what’s gonna happen Really difficult times – But it was in its most extreme form, that of revenge, that utu was most strongly practised by some Maori chiefs At this time, the passion and obsession, to repay others for wrongdoing escalated There was no end in sight to this cycle of repayment and revenge The fighting was fierce and bloody Multitudes were killed However, in Aotearoa New Zealand, the harsher aspect of utu, revenge, was turned on its heels, by the message of Jesus Christ And that story begins with a little girl Tarore was about twelve years old when missionaries, Alfred and Charlotte Brown came to her iwi, her tribe, in April 1835 They began a Christian mission amongst her people, the Ngati Haua, in Matamata Tarore attended this mission school She also worked in the Brown’s household, helping with various chores About a year earlier, in 1834, a man named William Colenso was living in Paihia He was a missionary printer and had produced a thousand copies of what Maori called Te Rongopai a Ruka, the Gospel or Good News according to Luke in the bible These books were printed in the Maori language and circulated throughout the top of the North Island A small stash of these had found their way to Alfred and Charlotte’s mission At the mission, among other things, Alfred and Charlotte taught Tarore and other Maori how to read and write And the books that Maori learned to read from, were portions of the bible Maori were captivated by reading these books, the word of the Great God of the Heavens It was thrilling to them! In missions around New Zealand, large numbers of Maori applied themselves diligently to the task, and soon many were proficient at reading and writing They were reading the message of Jesus Christ and His forgiveness and love for all humanity The words in this book challenged them and it changed many of them By the late 1830s, a large number of Māori were connecting with Christianity One of these was a Rangatira or chief named Ngakuku, young Tarore’s father – The changes in Ngakuku’s life would have been immense Whole self changed Coming from the world that he knew and understood We use the term te ao tawhito, which really means the old ways, the path of his ancestors He would have been trained for war He was a warrior and his exposure to the gospel would bring a real change to his life – Things were beginning to move and change for the better as the message of peace and forgiveness spread through this iwi, this tribe However, at this early and vulnerable stage of the mission, a chief from Tarore’s iwi, was murdered by a member of another iwi in December 1835 Tensions between the Matamata people, and the enemy tribe erupted Retributions followed and the Ngati Haua stood helplessly by as the mission was plundered In the unstable environment, Alfred Brown made the sad decision to abandon the mission As a new Christian, Ngakuku refused to fight back In his view, the bible was his new weapon And he made this clear in a bold speech when holding a bible in his hand he negotiated peace with an enemy But with 20 or so children at the mission something had to be done to protect them from the violence that was breaking out Eventually Ngakuku decided to take the children to Tauranga A mission helper named John Flatt, would come too Flatt had a horse, and together the small group began the 50 kilometre trek to Tauranga

They had to cross the Kaimai Ranges and with so many children the pace was slow When they got about half way, they decided to stop and camp overnight It is understood that their camp site was near here, by the Wairere Falls, the highest waterfall in the North Island In those days, there was a bulrush shelter there, and this is where most of the travelling party would sleep John Flatt slept outside a little distance from the hut In the evening the little group sat around their campfire They read the bible and prayed together They discussed the many new things that were happening in their country Soon the camp settled down for the night And before long, everyone was fast asleep Just before dawn however, they were woken by the loud barking of one of their dogs Then they heard something terrifying, shouting and the thundering sound of approaching footsteps Guessing that an enemy iwi, another tribe, had found them, Ngakuku commanded that the children flee into the bush as quickly as they could Carrying his young son on his back, he too fled into the forest The marauders were not interested in the life of the European helper, John Flatt But they were interested in his property They plundered his tent, even taking the clothes he was wearing And this gave Ngakuku and the others a few moments to flee They escaped into the surrounding bush It was a mad panic with everyone running helter-skelter for cover But the enemy had muskets, and shots were fired John Flatt stood in shock as one of the children fell to the ground And then he watched in horror as the enemy took parts of the child’s body, including her heart, for their ritual ceremonies And then as suddenly as they had come, they were gone Eventually Ngakuku and the children returned to the camp where the chief found the disfigured body of the child He was devastated It was his child, his beloved daughter, Tarore With great sadness he picked up her body, and with the traumatised group he carried her back to Matamata What thoughts must have tortured the mind of the newly converted Ngakuku? What was to become of his daughter? Was she forever lost? Would he see her in heaven? When they arrived, the question was on everyone’s lips Would Ngakuku now demand utu? Would he seek revenge? Surely he must give up on his missionary ways, forget Christianity, and avenge the murder of his daughter Cries for utu and revenge simmered in the hearts of some But at the funeral the next day Ngakuku made known his decision His profound speech was recorded by the missionary Alfred Brown – [Translator] There lies my child She has been murdered as a payment for your bad conduct But do not rise to seek a payment for her, God will do that Let this be the finish of the war with the enemy Now let peace be made You urged teachers to come to you, they came, and now you are driving them away You are crying for my girl, I am crying for you, for myself, for all of us Perhaps this murder is a sign of God’s anger towards us for our sins Turn to Him, believe or you will all perish – Tarore was buried And in the strength of his newfound belief in Christ, Ngakuku bravely continued to reject the cry for utu, for revenge, that clamoured in his mind This memorial grave site has been erected to remember the story and the wonderful forgiveness of Ngakuku But the story doesn’t end here Meanwhile, the enemy chief, the man who had killed Tarore, returned to his pa, his fortified village Among the things this tribal chief had plundered from the campsite at Wairere Falls was Ngakuku’s copy of Te Rongopai a Ruka, the bible book of Luke The book that Tarore had learned to read from

He couldn’t read He didn’t know what it contained But somehow he sensed a value in this strange little book and wondered what it was all about He didn’t discard the book, but kept it, deciding he would wait until he could find someone who could explain its mystery to him It was only a matter of time before the puzzle would be solved for him Slavery was not uncommon among Maori But with the calming effect of the Gospel, this practise gradually decreased By the 1830s slavery was losing its hold Maori captives were being released as missionaries lived and worked with Maori tribes They taught Maori about the love of God and the respect God wants for people to give each other Amazingly, freed captives would sometimes remain with their former captors They would stay so that they could learn from the missionaries, the new art of reading and writing At this time, many Maori became missionaries in their own right Many people believed it was one of these educated freed slaves who unravelled the mystery of the little book to Tarore’s killer When Tarore’s killer came upon one of these educated freed slaves, he asked him to read out the words from his little book At first it must have sounded all very strange, but he listened with great interest As he heard more, the words played on his mind He sensed a freshness and beauty in them It was as if a whole new world was opening up to him – [Freed captive] If you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners do that No, love your enemies and do good to them – The words opened his mind to a whole new concept and drew him out of himself What a contrast they provided to utu! He began to see himself in an altogether different light And as he pondered these words, he became more and more restless He felt an awful sense of guilt for what he’d done to Tarore In time, Tarore’s killer learned that Jesus had paid the penalty and would take the payment for his wrong doing His part, would be to trust and believe that Jesus would do this for him, and from there he could grow into a better man Bright new impulses sprung up in his heart He longed to engage with this new God, who was so loving, kind, and selfless But again he became ashamed when he thought of what he’d done to Tarore What would this new God want him to do? Maybe he could make some small gesture to her father? He knew that Ngakuku had become a Christian After all, he had a missionary with him at Wairere Falls, didn’t he? As he pieced this together, an idea drifted into his mind One day Ngakuku received an unusual request at the Christian Village where he was living The enemy chief, the one who had killed his daughter, sent a message asking if he could join this Christian village The message of Jesus had worked a wonderful reformation in the heart of Ngakuku Forgiveness was the only way forward There was only one answer that Ngakuku could give He invited his daughter’s killer to come to his village Soon the day came, when the two men faced each other The killer could sense forgiveness in the expression of Ngakuku Then the noble chief extended his hand towards his daughter’s killer Looking to the love of Jesus who had forgiven his sins, Ngakuku forgave the man who had so brutally taken the life of his young daughter And before long this man too, this murderer, gave his heart to Jesus and was baptised Sometime after this, Ngakuku visited his old enemy to encourage him in his new faith The forgiveness and reconciliation had not faded Together the two men knelt before God, expressing the joy of release from utu They relished in the peace and freedom they had found, by following in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus And what’s more, the peace and forgiveness brought through the Gospel has been enduring To this day, over 180 years later,

the two iwi, the two tribes, remain at peace However there is even more to this incredible and moving story! Ngakuku’s Book of Luke hadn’t quite finished its work yet The Gospel of Jesus was reaching and permeating more and more tribes across Aotearoa New Zealand The revenge and killing was significantly decreasing And more and more Maori captives were being released One of these freed captives was a man named Ripahau who was returning to his whanau, his extended family, in Wellington He too had learned how to read and write from missionaries in the far North while he was a captive among the Ngapuhi As he passed through Kapiti he came upon two young men who were closely related to each other Their names were Katu and Matene Te Whiwhi of the Ngati Toa Rangatira and Ngati Raukawa people They started talking to each other and Ripahau told them about the work that the missionaries were doing and the message they were sharing The cousins were intrigued by this message of forgiveness and peace Then when Ripahau told them that his captors had released him, and that captives were being released all throughout the North Island, the two men could really see that something very different and new was happening in their country They became more and more interested in what Ripahau was saying, and wanted to learn more about this religion and way of life that was more powerful than utu They asked Ripahau to teach them, and he gladly obliged He began to read to them about the life and teachings of a very special man who lived in Israel 1800 years earlier Like Maori all over the country, Katu and Te Whiwhi were thrilled at being able to learn to read and write Listen to the words of Katu which he would later write, – [Katu] We learnt every day, every night We did not lie down to sleep We sat at night in the hut all around the fire in the middle Whiwhi had part of the book and I had a part Sometimes we went to sleep upon the book, then woke up and read again – With a passionate thirst, they absorbed the words of the book And what book was it? It was the book of Luke from the bible And incredibly it had the name Ngakuku, hand-written on the inside cover It’s not known how, but somehow Ngakuku’s bible, the same book from which Tarore had learned to read, had found its way down to these two men at Kapiti Christianity brought an honourable alternative to utu that had been directing Maori for so long Incredibly, the words of Scripture enabled many Maori to put the harsher aspects of utu behind them and move forward, forgiving their enemies, and believing in the promises of the Bible The old chief from Kapiti, Te Rauparaha, could see that changes for the better were happening all across the country The old traditional way was being given over to a new way Before long, even he asked for missionaries to come and live with his tribe And then he had this large church built Through the power of the bible and the Gospel of Jesus to change lives, Te Rauparaha’s terrifying raids on the South Island were at an end The dawn of a new way was opening for the indigenous people throughout Aotearoa New Zealand And it all started with a young Maori girl whose small white grave is found on a lonely hillside near Matamata The heart of this child became the incentive for peace and forgiveness At her funeral, her father prayed that vengeance would belong to God Ngakuku never gave up hope in divine justice The vengeance of God was the repentance and transformation of his daughter’s murderer And her story has become a symbol of peace and hope forever If you’d like to experience the peace, hope, and forgiveness that changed the lives of these Maori warriors, and brought them true happiness, why not ask for it now as we pray Our loving heavenly Father, we see in the Aotearoa New Zealand story,

what humanity can develop into without Your word impacting on our various cultures But we thank You that we have in this country’s story, such graphic evidence of the goodness of Your word and the peace it brings We see the contrast between man’s ways and Your ways Your way heals It restores It brings peace Bless our hearts and help us to remember the absolute importance of following Your ways instead of our own, in Jesus’ name, Amen If you’re battling with the challenges of life and would like to experience the peace, hope and forgiveness that changed the lives of the mighty Maori warriors, and brought them true happiness, then I’d like to recommend the free gift we have for all our viewers today It’s the inspiring booklet, Forgiving the Unforgivable This book is our gift to you and is absolutely free There are no costs or obligations whatsoever So please, make sure you take this opportunity to receive the gift we have for you today Here’s the information you need Phone or text us at 0436 333 555 or visit our website www.tij.tv to request today’s free offer And we’ll send it to you totally free of charge and with no obligation So don’t delay Call or text 0436 333 555 in Australia or 020 422 2042 in New Zealand to request today’s offer Write to us at PO Box 5101, Dora Creek, New South Wales, 2264 Australia or PO Box 76673 Manukau, Auckland, 2241 New Zealand Don’t delay Call or text us now If you’ve enjoyed today’s journey to Aotearoa New Zealand and our reflections on the power of God’s love, then be sure to join us again next week when we will share another of life’s journeys together Until next week, remember the ultimate destination of life’s journey Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away ♪ Bless those who curse you ♪ ♪ Pray for those who hurt you ♪ ♪ Do unto others as you’d have done to you ♪ ♪ Love your enemies ♪ ♪ Put aside your anger ♪ ♪ Do this and live ♪ ♪ Be captain ♪ ♪ Of your soul ♪ (dramatic music)

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