In this excerpt from James Belich's popular and acclaimed history series, George Grey returns to the governorship in the wake of the costly Taranaki war. Now bitter, secretive and reluctant to share power, he talks peace while secretly planning to strike at the heart of the King Movement in Waikato. As gunboats patrol the Waikato river and a great road is painstakingly built to take his army south, Grey fabricates plots and conspiracies, convincing London to send more troops and ships, until the military balance of power tips in his favour.
But tell me, my friends, will this Pokeno camp with its mud and its Māoris, its mould and its damp, its general comforts and hardships heartbreaking, its scantily filled larder and blasted road making, will this Pokeno ever make memory smile? No, no, memory will swamp it with oceans of bile.– Building the Great South Road
Made with funding from NZ On Air