For the breezes blowing o'er the seas from Ireland Are perfum'd by the heather as they blow And the women in the uplands diggin' praties Speak a language that the English do not know.
Oh, the English came and tried to teach their way They scorn'd us just for being what we are But they might as well go chasing after moon beams Or light a penny candle from a star.
Two verses from Galway Bay, as I learned the song at school in the 1960s.
My school was a boy's school comprising mainly children of Irish descent from working and middle-class families.
The forebears of the boys had arrived from Ireland in the middle to late 19th century looking for a better life, ironically part of an Irish diaspora that, in turn, colonised America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The song is an emigrant's song and involved no hate of the invaders of the Irish, just a song commemorating the history of many of the students.
As we all know Ireland was taken over by Britain starting in the 12th century.
By the time Britain decided with some reluctance that New Zealand was to be a separate colony from New South Wales in 1839, Britain had conquering down pat, using Ireland as a template and would carry on colonising many lands.
The pattern was set for New Zealand; missionaries were deployed by the various Missionary Societies to try to bring Christianity to the natives, then either purchase or appropriation of land with the support of the military either by force or by trickery.
Governorship by some minor naval official.
A rag-tag police force enforcing British law; controlling the rough and ready escaped convicts, ship-deserters, sealers, whalers and prostitutes in the small settlement of Russell.
They were also supposed to protect the local people from the depredations of the new arrivals.
A couple of parallels between the conquering of Ireland over hundreds of years and the colonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand are interesting.
It caused natives of both countries to lose the ancient ownership of their lands, to become nothing but tenants.
Religion and customs were discouraged or forbidden together with the use of the native language.
The populations of both countries upon arrival of the British were war-like and ably rebellious by nature.
When I first heard Dame Tariana Turia refer to colonisation some years back it caught my attention.
It is hard for most to understand the effect of colonisation when it is not a recent event in one's own history.
An invader arrives on your shores; they appear friendly but then misunderstand something and perhaps violence occurs.
They also take some of your people against their wishes. They let you have alcohol and tobacco and muskets and trinkets in exchange for land.
Your people start getting sick and dying from diseases that you have never seen before.
After a period of time and great violence men in black arrive to try to teach you about a new God.
Your own Gods are fine but they insist on you learning about theirs.
Then more men arrive who want your land and are willing to swap more land for more muskets which are handy to have as you still need to protect your Iwi from others.
But these men then sell your land to many other invaders.
You get upset about this and resist.
As a result thousands of soldiers arrive and war is waged. You cannot fight them all.
Land is then just taken from you, vast tracts, millions of acres, as "war reparation".
In the meantime your people are still dying in their thousands due to disease, tobacco, alcohol and the musket.
Due to war commitments you are unable to grow food so your people are starving.
The strangers use their law to further trick you, take your land; remove your food sources.
They now outnumber your people by many thousands and you now know you cannot stop them.
You fight but, even though you win many battles you cannot win the war, they are too many now.
You walk away, beaten, displaced in your own land, landless or near enough, sick; many of your children do not make five years of age.
These strangers say they care but most do not; they just want what little you have left.
Your spirit is broken; you are, as a community, shattered by what has happened.
From a population of around 100,000, a very conservative estimate, in about 1810 to a population of 37,000 in 1894.
Many in power openly talk of your race dying out in a resigned way.
That is what it is like to be colonised, invaded from without.