(Another G.A. Henty I know, but I like his books, what can I say.)
Unlike most other Henty books, Maori and the Settler does not contain lots of battles and hardships for our hero to go through. Instead, Wilfred’s story, our hero, begins at his home in England.
Wilfred’s father is not an ambitious man, and spends his time studying to write books, thus forcing the house and business management on Wilfred and his mother. Because of strikes and riots, Wilfred’s family goes bankrupt with only the mother’s dowry to their name, and are thus obliged to leave their home in search of less expensive living.
Hearing of the good settling opportunities in New Zealand, they convince their father to move there. Most of the book revolves around their voyage there, the friends they meet, and the change in character several people have. Including the father, who realizes that he does not really know his family, and stops studying to spend more time with them.
A few dangerous moments occur aboard the ship they travel on, but nothing our hero and his friends cannot handle.
They reach New Zealand in one piece, and find a comfortable place to call home. Which they dub “The Glade.” Things to go smoothly, except for some Indian massacres they hear of, and the rumor that war might come their way. There is much more to tell, but I cannot without spoiling the end.
My overall reaction to the book was positive. I was surprised our hero was not as involved in wars and skirmishes, though he had his fair share. This book differs much from what I general read in Henty books, yet I really did enjoy the way Henty described the way of life a settler might have lived were he forced from England to New Zealand. It was informative and interesting, well worth the read.