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LETTER: Maori memories

Sir: Your paragraph in the "In Brief" column ("£69m Maori land deal acclaimed", 23 December) was of special interest to me as my grandfather, the Rev Dr Samuel Payne RN, was actively involved in the Waikato war of 1863-4 which confiscated the land from the Maoris. He was chaplain of HMS Curacoa, one of the ships dispatched by the Admiralty to support the European settlers in their disputes with the Maoris over the ownership of land.

On arriving at Auckland, he was given leave to assist Bishop Selwyn (who was sympathetic to the Maori claims) in ministering to the troops. Payne served with the Naval Brigade, sharing the solders' dangers and discomforts and, in due course, was awarded a campaign medal bearing the legend New Zealand 1863-4 Virtutis Honor. The medal can be glimpsed on his chest in the portrait painted when he was in his eighties.

Yours sincerely, ERNEST HEBERDEN Richmond-on-Thames