When he visited Whanganui in the 1890s, the American writer Mark Twain was incensed by the text of the memorial. It referred to ‘fanaticism and barbarism’ on the part of the upper river tribes, who opposed European settlement. In Twain in Australia and New Zealand (1897) he wrote: ’Patriotism is Patriotism. Calling it fanaticism cannot degrade it … But the men were worthy. It was no shame to fight them. They fought for their homes, they fought for their country; they bravely fought and bravely fell.’
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