The Taranaki Question
III. The Points in Dispute
III. The Points in Dispute.
So imperfect are the documents laid by the Governor before the Houses of Assembly, and so limited the evidence received by the House of Representatives, that even now it is not easy to gather what were the precise points contended for by the agents of the Government, on the one side, or by William King and his people, on the other.
1. Two documents were put forth by the Government about the time of the Governor's sailing for Taranaki, at the end of February last, which purport to set forth the Government view of the case. They are both reprinted in Papers E. No 3. p. 19.
There is a remarkable difference between the two. page 18 The former relies on the Cession by Potatau. It treats the Government claim as made up of two elements—the Cession by Waikato, and the title made over to the Governor by Teira and the other sellers. The latter document relies on the title of Teira only, and says nothing of the Cession.
In some points both agree. Both the documents assume it to be clear that all the individual owners had concurred in the sale.
2. In the first place then, what was the nature and effect of the Cession by Potatau? The Waikato invasion had swept like a flood across the country of the Ngati-awa and of the Taranaki tribes to the South. The latter tribes, however, had suffered less than the former, and had not been actually scattered and driven off. Their occupation of the land was never interrupted. Yet the Cession purported to cover the whole of the territory so overrun, extending from Tongaporutu, 10 miles South of Mokau, to the Waitotara River, near Whanganui, that is to say, about one hundred and fifty miles of coast. Now, according to Maori usage, it was necessary that the conquering tribe should hold possession of the conquering territory, in order to establish a valid claim or title to it. As soon as they ceased to occupy, the original owners re-occupied. Even if the invaders occupied the land, the conquered tribe were held to be justified in doing their utmost to recover possession, if possible, of their fathers’ land. Nothing but their utter inability to do that, made the title of the conquerors complete.page 19
Thus, for example, the Ngapuhi, under Hongi, overran the South of this Island. Whole tribes were driven off their land, and did not venture to return for years. The invaders, however, did not take possession of the land of those tribes, and consequently they have never put forward any claim in respect of it. The only two Waikato Chiefs who signed the deed of Cession to Captain Hobson, namely, Potatau, and his brother Kati, had been themselves driven out of their own territory by Ngapuhi.
Governor Hobson's own view of the matter is to be gathered from his Despatch, Dec. 15, 1841.
“The Waikato tribe, under the Chief Tewhero-whero, are extremely powerful. They conquered and drove away the Ngati-awas from Taranaki, in 1834, leaving only a small remnant, who found refuge in the mountains of Cape Egmont; and having pretty well laid waste the country, and carried off a large number of slaves, they retired to their own district, on the banks of the river Waikato. It appears that in 1839, Colonel Wakefield visited the country, and bought a considerable portion of it from the few Ngati-awas who had resumed their habitations on the retreat of Tewherowhero.
“Now, Tewherowhero claims the country as his by right of conquest, and insists on it that the remnant of the Ngati-awas are slaves; that they only live at Taranaki by sufferance, and that they had no right whatsoever to sell the land without his consent. In illustration of his argument, he placed a heavy ruler on some light papers, saying, “Now, page 20 so long as I choose to keep this weight here, the papers remain quiet but if I remove it, the wind immediately blows them away: so it is with the people of Taranaki; alluding to his power to drive them off.
“Tewherowhero certainly has a claim on the land, but not a primary one; as the received rule is, that those who occupy the land must first be satisfied. But he is the most powerful Chief in New Zealand, and I fear will not be governed by abstract rights, but will rather take the law in his own hands.
“I had hopes, until a few days ago, that he would consent to take a moderate compensation for his claim.”
That which Potatau really possessed was the power to overrun their land a second time. It was might, not right:—the might of a successful invader, and nothing more. According to Native usage, the Waikato tribe had an interest in certain spots where their Chiefs had been slain, and which had thereby become tapu. Beyond that, they had no further right in the soil.
We could not expect William King to admit any right in Potatau. He was not bound by a transaction between Governor Hobson and that Chief. He could not possibly doubt the title of his Tribe to land which the invader had never occupied. We ourselves recognised their ownership, when Governor Fitzroy, in 1844, allowed “in all their integrity” the claims of those of the page 21 Ngati-awa who were not parties to the sale in 1840. We have again and again recognised it, by our subsequent purchases of blocks of land within the region which Potatau relinquished. It was recognised by the Government itself in this very transaction, in the purchase of Teira's land. For if Potatau's claim were good for anything, it was equally good against Teira as against William King.
3. However the claim of Potatau may be defined, it is plain that it could not be equivalent to the rights of the Chief, or of the Tribe, as distinguished from those of the individual holder. Nor could the relinquishment of his claim put the Governor in the same position as if the Chief and Tribe of Ngati-awa had assented to Teira's sale to the Governor. The right, or might, of the conqueror or successful invader was wholly outside of the tribe. If it prevailed at all, it prevailed absolutely, displacing the Tribe altogether, and sweeping away all rights of the Tribe, of the Chief, and of the Clansmen alike. It it was withdrawn, and the Tribe returned, they returned of course to all the rights they possessed before the invasion, and in the same measure and manner as before; the individuals to their rights, the Tribe to their right, the Chief to his. They enjoyed their own again as of old. Their old rights and their old relations to one another, were necessarily resumed. They knew of none other.
Why, then, was this claim, so long ago abandoned, set up again by the Government? It must be presumed page 22 to have been done for a purpose of policy to disarm any opposition which might be apprehended from the Chiefs of Waikato, for they would naturally be indisposed to disparage their own Cession. Its real value has been candidly stated by Mr Richmond. “This deed was relied upon as, at all events, precluding the interference of Waikato in the Taranaki Question.” [Papers E. No. 3. p. 35.] In that way it has not been without its use.
4. The point then, on which the Government really relied, was that which alone is mentioned in the second document, namely, the position that the individual native cultivators and occupiers of the block of land could make a title without the consent of the Tribe or Chief. From the stress laid upon the admission stated to have been made by William King that the land belonged to Teira, it is plain that it was assumed by the Government that if Teira's right existed at all, it was of necessity an absolute right, excluding all control over his acts by the rest of the Tribe or the Chief.
That it was the purpose of the Government to disregard all claims but those of the individual holders, is clearly shown in two official letters written on the 2nd. April, 1859. Teira had written to the Governor on the 15th March, saying:—
“Friend. It is true I have given up Waitara to you; you were pleased with my words, I was pleased with your words. It is a piece of land belonging to Retimana and myself; if you are disposed to page 23 buy it, never mind if it is only sufficient for three or four tents to stand upon, let your authority settle on it, lest you should forget your child Teira.”
The Assistant Native Secretary wrote in answer: “The Governor consents to your word, that is, as regards your own individual piece, but be careful that your boundary does not encroach upon the land of any person who objects to sell; that is, let it not be included within the boundaries of that land which you publicly offered to the Governor in the presence of the Meeting held on the 8th day of March; but consent will be given to the purchase of land that belongs to yourself.” The same Officer wrote on the same day to William King: “Word has come from Te Teira, offering for sale his piece of land at Waitara. The Governor has consented to his word, that is, as regards his own individual piece, not that which belongs to any other persons. The Governor's rule is, for each man to have the word (or say) as regards his own land; that of a man who has no claim will not be listened to.” (Papers E. No. 3. pp. 4 & 5.)
The seller was cautioned not to include in his offer any land belonging to any other member of the Tribe. It was at the same time intimated to the Chief, that no claim, but that of the individual holders, would be allowed; that no right would be recognised in the Tribe, or in the Chief.
The original principle stated in the Governor's speech at Waitara, now acquired a distinct meaning. In themselves, those words of the Governor were very page 24 general and vague. They appeared to enunciate little more than this,—that a man, who had no lawful right to interfere, should not be allowed to interfere. Persons, who read these words at a distance, supposed them to refer to an apprehended interference of the King party from Waikato. On the spot they were better understood. The contemporaneous and subsequent proceedings of the Government furnished the interpretation. They were seen to be aimed, not against the interference of strange tribes and strange Chiefs, but against the rights of the tribe itself, and against the interference of the Chief in the affairs of his own tribe. That which was darkly intimated by the Governor, was broadly and plainly put forth by Mr McLean, in the following notice, given to some of the Waitara Chiefs about the same time. (E.No.4.p.17.)
“Nga Motu, March 18th, 1859.
Friends—Chiefs of Waitara.
“Salutations. This is a word of mine to you. That you should make clear your portions of land lying within the block which has been ceded by Te Teira to the Governor.
“You know that every man has a right (of doing as he pleases) with his portion, and no man may interfere to prevent his exercise of this right as respects his portions, for the thought respecting his own is with himself. This is a word of mine to you, lest you should, without ground, interfere with Te Teira and Te Retimana's portion, as they have consented to sell their portions in the presence of the people, page 25 and in open daylight; and the arrangements with him respecting his (land) will shortly be completed. We do not press for what belongs to others, because the thought respecting his own piece is with each.
“Now do not you be displeased with him without a cause, for his arrangement will tend to make matters clear.”
5. Was the principle thus enunciated by the Government, intended to apply to all the Native Tribes throughout the Island, or to the Ngati-awa Tribe only? The earliest statement, by the Governor himself, of what was supposed to be the rule as to the alienation of Maori land, is to be found in the Despatch of 29th March, 1859: “The right to sell land belonging to themselves, without interference on the part of the Chiefs (not having a claim to share in it) is fully admitted by Maori custom.” In the Governor's view then, the supposed rule did not rest on any special circumstances connected with Taranaki or the Ngati-awa Tribe, but on Maori custom in general. And as a general principle it was understood by the Colonists at the time. No one can have forgotten how the “new policy” was vaunted in the newspapers. It was a great step in advance, that abrogation of the tribal right. It was noble and chivalrous—a deliverance of the oppressed—the suppression of a sort of feudal tyranny. Moreover it was profitable. Large tracts of land were to be obtained by means of it. That page 26 the same view of the meaning of the “new policy,” was taken at New Plymouth, appears from the following passage in a Memorial presented to the Governor by the Provincial Government and Settlers of Taranaki. 25th April, 1860. (E. No. 3. p. 43.)
“The opposition of Wiremu Kingi to the sale of Teira's land has been uniformly based by him, not on any unsatisfied claim on the said land of his own, or of any other member of the tribe, but on his pretensions, as Chief, to control the sale of all lands belonging to his tribe. The exercise of such an authority, with the consequences necessarily flowing from it, is incompatible with Her Majesty's Sovereignty in this Colony, and most fatal to the interests of both races.
“The present war has been undertaken by your Excellency, in consequence of your determination to uphold Her Majesty's Supremacy, in opposition to the aforesaid rights claimed by the Chiefs of tribes; and the conclusion of any peace with Wiremu Kingi, or any other native chief, by which the aforesaid pretensions are not finally annulled, would therefore, in the opinion of your Memorialists, be tantamount to a declaration that Her Majesty's Supremacy cannot be maintained in these Islands.”
Thus the Government policy was understood by the Provincial Government and the Settlers of Taranaki, at the time and on the spot, witnessing all that was said and done, and deeply interested therein.
The Memorial is referred to only to show the persuasion of those who signed it. It is unnecessary page 27 to discuss the arguments used by the Memorialists. Yet, if it was land “belonging to the tribe,” how was the tribe to act in respect of its land, but through some mouth-piece or representative? and who could that be, except the Chief? As to the alleged incompatibility of the Claim with the Queen's Sovereignty, the Queen's Governors for 20 years had not discovered it; but, on the contrary, had recognised that claim in all their dealings. In fact, the right is a simple right of property which concerns the enjoyment and alienation of land, and that only, and has nothing whatever to do with Government or Administration. It is just as much, and just as little, incompatible with the Queen's Sovereignty as is the ownership of land in England by Corporations, Companies, or Partnerships.
Nor did the Government at that time disavow the intention of applying their principle to other parts of the country, though a fair opportunity for disavowing it was offered. The Provincial Council of Hawke's Bay passed a Resolution, 20th March, 1860, “thanking His Excellency for his equitable and open declaration of policy,” and, expressing “the hope that such policy will be for the future everywhere alike steadily and zealously adhered to.” The Governor, in answer, after thanking the Council for their expressions of confidence, simply said, “It may be satisfactory to the Council to know that the policy in question has been approved by Her Majesty's Government.” (E. No. 3. p. 39.)page 28
The Natives, also, have understood the Government policy as one of universal application, and much irritation has been the consequence. A short time ago, one of the leading men of Waikato was asked, why certain Chiefs, who had been invited by the Governor, did not come to the Meeting at Kohimarama. He answered, “one reason was that the Governor had caused the word of the individual to prevail against that of the Tribe.” (ta Kawana whakamananga i te kupu a te tangata kotahi.) Other Tribes apprehend, that they, in their turn, will have to go through the same struggle as the Ngati-awa are now passing through. They regard the Governor's words as involving a declaration of war (sooner or later) against all the Chiefs and all the Tribes who may not be willing to submit to this sudden and sweeping revolution in their social state. The disquieting effect of such a belief as this on the minds of the natives is exceedingly great.
In a recent letter, dated 5th September, 1860, Mr Stafford, Colonial Secretary, conveys to the Bishop of New Zealand “the assurance that the Government does recognize (to the fullest extent) all lawful rights of the Chiefs and Tribe which have been recognized by former Governments or have ever been understood to exist.” Whether any similar assurance has been conveyed to the leading Native Chiefs, does not appear.
To those who concur in Mr Richmond's opinion concerning the Waikato Cession, it is still extremely difficult to discern on what ground the tribal right of page 29 Ngati-awa is denied, whilst the like right in other Tribes is admitted. And it must be deplored, that the enunciation of the Government principle was not so clear and definite in the beginning as to preclude the possibility of misunderstanding.
6. We now proceed to gather (as well as we can) the Native view of the case.
The official document records only two statements as having been made by William King, one in the presence of the Governor, on the 8th of March, 1859, and the other on the day when the first instalment was paid. The former has been cited above, in page 17. In the latter, William King admitted that Teira and his party were owners of some land in the block, but claimed the right of preventing their alienation of it. The words used, as reported by Mr Parris, were, “The land is theirs, but I will not let them sell it.” (E. No. 3. p. 2.1) The former was made before the inquiry began: the latter after the inquiry was closed. What came out during that inquiry is even now very imperfectly known to the public.
Some light is thrown on William King's view of the case by the following letters:—
Wiremu Kingi to the Governor.(Pap. E. No. 3. p. 6.)
Waitara, 25th April, 1859.
Salutations to you. Your letter has reached me about Te Teira's and Te Retimana's thoughts. I will not agree to our bedroom being sold, (I mean Waitara here), for this bed belongs to the whole of us; and do not you be in haste to give the page 30 money. Do you hearken to my word. If you give the money secretly, you will get no land for it. You may insist, but I will never agree to it. Do not suppose that this is nonsense on my part; no, it is true, for it is an old word; and now I have no new proposal to make, either as regards selling or anything else. All I have to say to you, O Governor, is that none of this land will be given to you, never, never, not till I die.
I have heard it said that I am to be imprisoned because of this land. I am very sad because of this word. Why is it? You should remember that the Maories and Pakehas are living quietly upon their pieces of land, and therefore do not you disturb them. Do not say also that there is no one so bad as myself.
This is another word to you, O Governor. The land will never, never be given to you, not till death. Do not be anxious for men's thoughts. This is all I have to say to you.From your loving friend,
Wiremu Kingi Writi.
Any doubt as to the meaning of this letter will be removed by comparing it with the language of the official letter, 2nd of April, (cited above, page 23,) to which it was an answer. That letter recognised the rights of the individual tribesmen, and refused to recognise any other rights. The answer asserted the tribal right.
Wiremu Kingi to Archdeacon Hadfield.*Waitara, July 2, 1859.
Greeting to you, the eye of my fathers who are dead. Great page 31 is my love to you from the midst of the sayings of the Pakeha, for the wrong sayings of the Pakeha are continually uttreed to me, therefore my thoughts of love go forth to you, that you may speak a word to the Governor and McLean concerning the course of proceeding about Waitara here, because they two are continually urging forward the purpose of the man who is disposing of Waitara. Do you listen, my purpose is no new purpose as you know: it is this, concerning Waitara. I am not willing that this land should be disposed of. You must bear in mind the word of Rere, (William King's father) which he spoke to you and Mr Williams when you two came to Waikanae. You know that word about Waitara; I will not dispose of it to the Governor and McLean. Moreover you heard my word to you when you came to see us. I said to you “The trouble after you go will be the land.” You answered “The matter rests with Parris.” He has now lifted up his heel against me. This is his word to me: “It was through me that you escaped.” The word of him and Halse has now been uttered to me that I should be apprehended for my holding back the land, because it is a very bad thing in their opinion to hold back the land. On this account the word of all the Pakehas has been uttered that I am the very worst man. I do not indeed know my fault. If I had taken land from the Pakeha, it would be right to call me bad: or again, if I had beaten a Pakeha, it would be right to blame me. But now it is they who are bringing trouble upon me, therefore I think that you should concern yourself with the Governor and McLean and Parris. Speak a word to that Pakeha Parris. His importunity with McLean is great, for I have heard that the price for Waitara here has been agreed upon by him. Another thing he says is that they, the Pakehas, will not listen to my words. What they say now is, that although it be only one man who gives up the land, the Pakehas will be perfectly willing. Do you listen. Now this will be wrong very wrong, very wrong. What I say is that the boundary for the Pakeha is settled, (namely) Waitaha. That is all, let them remain there. Let your word to the Governor and McLean be strong, that they may cease their importunity for Waitara here, that we and the Pakeha may live in peace. Do you write to me that I may hear. That is all I have to say.From Wiremu Kingi Whiti.
Wiremu Kingi to Archdeacon Hadfield.Waitara, December 5, 1859.
Greeting to you, the eye of my fathers and my younger brothers who are dead. Here am I living in the great mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
My father, do you hearken. I ask you this question, that yon should explain to me the new plans of the Governor which I heard from Parris when I went to the town to stop the Governor's money intended as payment for Waitara, namely, one hundred pounds, £100 0 0. I said to that Pakeha, “Friend, keep back your money.” That Pakeha answered, “No.” I said, “There is no land for your money to light on.” Parris then said to me “It is a bad business. If the Governor comes, it will be a very bad business.” I said “Very well, you may bring the evil, I shall content myself with the land.” I also said to Parris, “In the case of land about which there is a difficulty, the Governor will not consent.” That Pakeha said, “Formerly it was so, but now this is a new plan of the Governor's.” According to my suspicion, the Governor is seeking ground for a quarrel, because death has been clearly set before me. Therefore the question is put to you, that it may be made plain by you. You have perhaps heard of the present new arrangements of the Governor, with a view to groundless anger and continual pressing for land about which there is a difficulty, and unwarrantably paying for land about which there is a difficulty, and which has not been surveyed. Do you listen to me. I will not give up the land. The Governor may strike me without cause and I shall die; in that case there will be no help for it, because it is an old saying “The man first, and then the land;” therefore my word has been spoken. Listen carefully to my fault, and the fault of all the Pakehas, of Parris, of Whitely, and of the Governor. They say that Teira's piece of land belongs to him alone. No, that piece of land belongs to us all; it belongs to the orphan, it belongs to the widow. If the Governor should come to where you are, do you say a word to him. If he will not listen, it is well; because I have clearly heard their manner of talk about death. Parris and Whitely declared it to me. That is all.From me, your loving friend,
Wiremu Kingi Whiti
In these letters of William King, both in the statement which he did actually and directly make to the Governor, and in the statement which he sought to convey through Archdeacon Hadfield, there is a clear and unambiguous claim on behalf of his whole tribe. He maintains that the land cannot be alienated without the consent of the whole Tribe. As the whole Tribe has not consented, he, as their Chief, expresses their dissent.
It cannot be inferred from this that William King did not assert also some individual claim to land within the block; but, as a Chief, he put prominently forward the right of his Tribe. According to Native law, their dissent was a sufficient answer, and precluded all minor questions.
7. We have seen that in the official statement it is assumed that all the members of the Tribe who had an interest in the land, had concurred in the sale of it to the Government. This is not admitted on the part of the Natives. The existence of such dissentients is indicated by Teira's own letter to the Governor, of the 20th March, 1859, (Papers E. No. 3. p. 4.) in which he says: “Your word advising them to mark off their own pieces of land within our line (boundary of the block offered by Teira) they have received, but they do not consent. I consent, because it is correct.” The following documents shew distinctly that there are divers persons who aver that they are interested in the land, and that they never agreed to the sale.page 34
Ritatona te Iwa, a Native Teacher of Waitara, to the Rev. Riwai te Ahu, Deacon of the Church of England, at Waikanae.Waitara, December 5, 1859.
Greeting to you, friend, and your fathers and your children. Greeting to you and our father, Hadfield, the father of the mercies of God, who dragged out this people from the evils which you now hear of. Well, the nose has scarcely come out into the daylight, when it is plunged again by evil into death. Now this is the matter about which we, your fathers and the people, are troubled. Listen. Waitara has been bought from Teira by the Governor, that is by Parris, for £100. The land was not surveyed, the payment was given without anything being done. We objected and objected, but that Pakeha did not listen. We said, “That is wrong.” He said, “How can I help it? The word is the Governor's.” We said, “The former word of the Governor said, that he would have nothing to do with disputed land.” That Pakeha replied “but that was his word formerly; now, there is no rule. It is well, if you bring evil.” We answered, “All we intend is, that the land shall not be given to you and the Governor.” He said “That is death.” That is the end of these words. Now, friend, listen. This is wrong, therefore I seek a course of action from you and our Pakeha Hadfield, a word to me that it may be light. This is my word for you to tell him. Will it not be well that the Governor's money should be repaid? We will carefully repay it to the Governor. If Hadfield should consent when you tell him, make haste and write that my thoughts may be at rest. The reason why I write thus to you two is, that I feel a concern for the Pakehas who are living in peace, and for the Maories also who are living in peace, lest they be dragged by his evil deeds and get into trouble; because I am certain they will get into trouble. It is for this cause I write to you that you may tell Hadfield, and that he may tell the Governor when he comes your way. If you two can arrange it, write; if not, also write; I mean this one point, whether he is not willing that his money should be repaid. If he is willing, it will be well. Nevertheless, let our friendly efforts be put forth. If you send word that it is right, you will receive another letter.
That is all, from your loving father,
Ritatona te Iwa to Rev. Riwai te Ahu.Waitara, February 11, 1860
Greeting to you, my son, and to our father Hadfield. Greeting to you and your fathers and the people. Friends, Companions, Mothers, farewell, and abide where you are with the people of your friends and your fathers. Listen, Riwai, and your fathers, and the people, and our father Hadfield. Here is death. I mean Waitara. The Pakeha is now taking it. On this account it was that I wrote to you and Hadfield, that you two should speak to the Governor. This it is which has now come upon the knees of us and your fathers. But we and Wiremu (Kingi) are waiting for the fulfilment of your word, that Mr Hadfield should write to the Governor. Nevertheless do you two speak to the Pakehas of Port Nicholson, because we consider that this trouble has no just ground, because the whole tribe do not consent that Waitara should be sold. But now, do you and Hadfield listen. Parris and the Major of the soldiers at Waitoki are very imporunate. On the 13th day of the present month of February, the surveying chain will come to Waitara. When it comes it will be sent back again. After this it will come back and be sent back again. After this the soldiers will come. Presently, after this letter is gone, there will be a quarrel. But do you listen: all that the people will concern themselves with will be the chain. If the soldiers do not resist, the tents will be returned. If the soldiers do not fire, they will be sent back forthwith; they will not be allowed to alight upon it. But this is all mere talk, because we know that the soldiers go nowhere without an object. When soldiers go on such a business as that, it is to fight. In this case, there will be a quarrel. Do you and your fathers be attentive. Do you tell your fathers, Kiripata, Hohepa, Wiremu Tamihana, and Apakuku. Listen. It is the man first, and afterwards the land. Do you also tell Mr Hadfield if you should see him. You, Enoka, may tell him that he may hear. This is all I have to say to you.
Statement respecting the Proceedings at Waitara, by Tipene Ngaruna.
In the course of September, 1858, I arrived at Waitara I stayed there during 3 months of 1858, and 8 months of 1859. Teira commenced the sale of Waitara. I did not see Tamati Raru joining in what Teira was doing. The only word of his page 36 that I observed, was to keep possession of the land. In the year 1859, our meeting assembled at Te Kuikui, concerning Teira's proceedings. Wiremu Kingi stood up and spoke for retaining possession of Waitara. Wiremu Patukakariki (Ngawaka) stood up and spoke for retaining possession of Waitara. Tamati Raru stood up and spoke for retaining possession of Waitara. In the same strain spoke the many. Teira stood up, and had no supporter; he was alone.
The second meeting was at Werohia. Wiremu Kingi stood up and spoke for retaining possession of Waitara. Wiremu Patukakariki (Ngawaka) stood up and spoke for retaining possession of Waitara. Tamati Raru stood up and spoke for retaining possession of Waitara; and in the same strain spoke the many. Teira stood up: he had no supporter: he was alone.
The third was the great meeting at Waitoki, in the town. Teira stood up and spoke for disposing of Waitara. He had no supporter; he was alone wiremu Patukakariki (Ngawaka) stood up and said: “Governor, Waitara shall not be yielded up to you. I will not be good that you should take the pillow from under my head, because my pillow is a pillow that belonged to my ancestors.” Paora Karewa stood up and said “Listen, Governor I will not give Waitara to you. It will not be good that you should drag from under me the bed-matting of my ancestor. If I were to drag the bed from under you, you would be angry.” Teira gave his parawai to the Governor as a pledge for the sale of Waitara. Wiremu Kin I stood up and said: “Listen, Governor. I will never give my land at Waitara to you—never. That, is all I have to say.”
On the occasion of our talk at Hurirapa, Teira spoke, and said that his lands outside the boundary should be given in exchange for the lands of the many, which were within the block that was being sold by him. The many said: “ Your lands outside the boundary will not be an equivalent for ours, because our lands, which are within the land which is being sold by you, Teira, are far greater.”
When the chain was laid (upon the land), Tamati Raru did not join in laying down the chain, nor did he consent.
Rev. Riwai te Ahu to the Superintendent of Wellington.Otaki, June 23, 1830.
Greeting to you. This is my speech, listen to it: it is very page 37 long; it will perhaps tire you to read it. The reason of my writing at length is because I am perpetually hearing incorrect statements with reference to that land at Waitara, and with reference to Wiremu Kingi. And do not you suppose that it is through anger at Teira that I have written so fully, or that Teira is not connected with me, and that Wiremu Kingi, on the contrary, is a relative of mine. It is not so. My object is to trace out the rights of the case with reference to that land, and the tribes and the owners of the land, that you may know them; because the disturbance has grown serious. It is Teira who is my near relative, but Wiremu Kingi is not a near relative of mine.
Now, we thought that the intentions of this Governor would not be different from those of the other Governors who preceded him. They made attempts to get that piece of land. Now we are perplexed (and say) Well! These are new regulations from our Queen: but we suppose that the Governor has perhaps been deceived by Teira, and his companions, and by his land purchasers at Taranaki; and therefore he has so hastily sent his soldiers to Waitara to frighten all the men and the women who drove off his surveyors from the land which was their property and ours, and to take it without paying us. As you may judge from a statement made by C. W. Richmond, Taranaki, March 1, 1860, which everybody has heard: “Teira's title to that piece of land has been fully investigated. It is quite correct. No one can invalidate his title.” True. He has a title, that is to say, to his own cultivations within that block—two or three subdivisions. So also have we a title, as well as those who were driven off that block of land, each man having two subdivisions, or one, or three, or four, within the block.
This also is Wiremu Kingi's expression which the Land Commissioner of Taranaki perverted: “Wiremu Kingi admitted that that land belonged to Teira only.” It was his strong desire to get hold of the land, and his ignorance of the Maori language, that made him pervert that expression of Wiremu Kingi's. Our opinion of this statement of Mr C. W. Richmond's is that the side of Teira and his party only was investigated. and what they had to say listened to by those land purchasers of Taranaki, who crossed over to Arapawa to prosecute the inquiry. The side of Wiremu Kingi's party was not investigated, nor were their statements listened to. As we learn from Wiremu Kingi's letter, which says: “One thing that he said was, that they (the Pakehas) will not listen to my words.” This was said to him by page 38 the Land Commissioner of Taranaki. (I have that letter by me.) However, I did not believe all that he wrote to us in that year, for I thought that the Government would not go so far as that.
Moreover, they never came to us to inquire. If they had inquired of all parties; if they had heard their statements, continuing the inquiry till they came to us they would have found out the fault in the statement of Teira's party. Why! their pieces of land lie dotted about among the pieces of all those persons who dissented from the sale, and among ours also who live here. This is what Wiremu Kingi says in his letter: “The error of all the Pakehas, of Parris, of Whitely, of the Governor. They say that to Teira alone belongs his piece of land. No, it belongs to us all. That piece of land belongs to the orphan, it belongs to the widow.” (His letter is here with us.) If they had done so, the Governor's Land Commissioners at Taranaki would not have falsely told him that they had inquired, and that it was quite correct that that land belonged to Teira only.
We have heard that there are full 600 acres of the land which belongs to Teira and his companions. We concluded that it could not be that land at Waitara, but that it must have been a piece of land lately discovered by Teira and his companions, it was so very large. The reason why Wiremu Kingi and his party made so much objection when Teira began to propose that that place should be sold to the Governor, was the fear lest their land and ours should be all taken together as belonging to Teira. And it happened just as they feared. We have heard by letter from Wiremu Kingi of what the Land Commissioner of Taranaki said, which was as follows: “Their, rule now is, that though it be but one man who offers the land, the Pakehas will be quite willing to buy.” (His letter lies here.)
Now we do not admit the correctness of these words which we have heard, that the land belonged to Teira, that that land belonged to his hapus, namely, Ngali hinga and Ngati tuaho, and that they gave Wiremu Kingi leave to settle on that piece of land when he came from Waikanac, and that he then for the first time settled there, “that Wiremu Kingi's interference was unwarranted, that the land did not belong to him, and that he had no right to say what he did.” Listen. The Pakehas only and Maories of other tribes of this island will consider this assertion as correct. But as for us of the Ngati awa tribe, who live here at Waikanae, and as far as Wellington, and across the Straits to some who live at Arapawa and as far as Taitapu, we will page 39 never admit its truth, nor will we condemn Wiremu Kingi as interfering unwarrantably. The only persons of Ngati awa who will justify Teira and condemn Wiremu Kingi, are those who are deceiving the Governor and the Pakehas.
Perhaps the Land Commissioners of Taranaki consider that Teira and his party constitute the whole of Ngati hinga and Ngati tuaho, and that the following men do not belong to those hapus, namely, Wiremu Te Patukakariki (the chief of those hapus) Nopera Te Kaoma and others, who dissented from the sale. So their words were listened to by the Land Commissioners of Taranaki. Listen. It was the wife of Wiremu l'atukakariki, and their own two daughters, and some other women of those hapus, who drove off the Governor's surveyors from their own pieces of land.
Now that land was not so divided formerly that there should be a distmet property for Ngati hinga and Ngati tuaho by themselves, and that there should be a distinct property for other hapus as Ngati kura and Ngati uenuku, each hapu separately within that block of land which the Governor has got possession of. No. They were all mixed up together. The cultivations were separated by the boundary marks which were placed by our ancestors. These hapus do not form a distinct body from them. They all belong to one tribe.
All these cultivations have names which our ancestors gave them. The name of Wiremu King's cultivation is Te Parepare. The cultivations of his two children which belonged to their mothers are at Hurirapa, the pa which was burnt by the soldiers: and another at Orapa on the south of their old pas. All these cultivations are within the block which is said to belong to Teira only, and the Governor has possession of them all.
All the cultivations which belong to us and to those who diesented from the sale, namely, the people of Ngati kura and Ngati uenuku and some of Ngati hinga and Ngati tuaho, to whatever hapu they belong: the Land Commissioner at Taranaki has treated all these cultivations as belonging to Teira alone. How then can it be said that “they gave Wiremu Kingi leave to settle on that block, when he came from Waikanae”? A fine saying, indeed! No. Each man knew the cultivation of his own ancestor. Was it they who gave Wiremu Kingi leave to cultivate Te Parepare, when he went from Waikanae? Was it they who gave his children leave to cultivate at Te Hurirapa, when they went from Waikanae; which cultivations have been wen by the soldiers? Was it they who gave our ancestors all page 40 their cultivations, which I have already mentioned, when they went from Waikanae; which cultivations the soldiers have taken with the edge of the sword? In my opinion this saying is like poison. According to the Land Commissioner of Taranaki, Teira's offer of that land was perfectly just, and Wiremu Kingi was altogether in the wrong. We say that Teira is far more in the wrong, and there is nothing that can hide his fault.
I say in conclusion that I cannot find any words to pacify my tribe, that they may no longer be irritated about our land. They are very sore that the land of our ancestors should be taken without their consent. If that land should be permanently taken, it will be a permanent saying, down to future generations, that that land was violently taken by the Queen of England's Governor.
There are also other sayings of the Pakehas about Wiremu Kingi which I have heard. They say he is a bad man, a drunkard, and a murderer. My reply to this. He must only just now have taken to drinking at Waitara. When he lived with us at Waikanae, I never saw him purchase a keg of spirits, nor did I see him drunk,—never. Nor have I ever heard that he was a murderer before I was born; and even up to the time of my being a full grown man, I never knew of any man being murdered by him, even up to the time of his going to Waitara.————His father, Rere-tawhangawhanga, was cursed by Ngatimaru at Whareroa in 1837. Then a great war party of Ngatiawa went from Waikanae to Whareroa, to the number of 400. It was owing to the moderation of this old chief that the people of Whareroa were not killed; their potato crops merely were pulled up. I went with that expedition. Was it from Wiremu Kingi's being a drunkard or a murderer that the Land Commissioners of Taranaki concluded that that land at Waitara belonged only to Teira and his party? Or was that the reason of their taking it? Now there is another murderer in the very presence of those Land Commissioners of Taranaki; but they do not call him murderer. On the contrary, they call him “Friend.” Why do not they take his land also? Wiremu Kingi and his party did not wish to fight, when Teira received the money in payment for Waitara: hence one of them wrote to me to ask if it would not be a good thing for them to collect money to pay back the money which Teira had received from the Governor, lest our lands should be taken for that money, and, when they hasten forward to retain possession, it should page 41 become an occasion for the Governor to quarrel with them. (We have this man's letter lying here.)
I myself heard formerly the strong injunctions of Wiremu Kingi's father, Rere-tawhangawhanga, at our pa at Waikanae in 1810, that Waitara should not be sold to the Pakeha. Now, that was his continued injunction up to the time of his death at Waikanae in 1844, when he left the same injunction for Wiremu Kingi to observe after him. When Rere and the old men of Waikanae heard that Nuitone Te Pakaru, chief of Ngati mania poto, was come to clear land for cultivation on the other side of Waitara, (the name of the cultivation was Wharenui) the old chiefs said that he should return to his own place, and that Waitara should be let alone for our own use (I myself heard these words in 1842–43) None of the Waikato and Ngati mania poto had settled there before the Pakehas came to New Plymouth. Nuitone Te Pakaru was the first. Therefore one of those old chiefs, Ngaraurekau, went from Waikanae to keep possession of Waitara, lest Ngati mania poto should come back, and Ngati mania poto altogether gave up Waitara, even up to the time of Wiremu King's migration thither. (I except Peketahi, who went there on the ground of his wife's title.)
Further, Wiremu Kingi was a friend to the Pakehas of Wellington. In December, 1843, we went from Waikanae, (having Archdeacon Hadfield with us) and found Haerewaho being tried by Mr Halswell in the Court House at Wellington. He was found guilty, and was taken to prison. Then all the Maories of Wellington rose up in arms against the Pakehas of the town, but Wiremu Kingi hastened to quiet them, and there was an end of it.
Again, in 1846, there came a message from Governor Grey to Wiremu Kingi, to go to him to Kapiti on board the man of war called the “Castor.” We went, and then Governor Grey asked Wiremu Kingi to go to Te Paripari to deter his enemy Rangihaeata. Wiremu Kingi immediately consented. His regard for Rangihaeata did not prevent him. The next day, we came across to Waikanae, and Wiremu Kingi immediately urged his people to go to Te Paripari. They slept at Whareroa, and the next day reached Te Paripari. I also went with him. His party numbered 140. From thence I returned to Waikanae. He and his party caught eight men from Whanganui who had joined Rangihaeata. When these men were caught, they cried out “Stop a bit; who knows that you will not be treated in this way in time to come?” Wiremu Kingi bears this saying in mind. After this they were taken to Waikanae, and put on board page 42 Governor Grey's Steamer. Some of the Pakehas have probably seen these men who were caught by Wiremu Kingi And where is the help now with which the Governor requites Wiremu Kingi? Wiremu Kingi was always one who upheld the Government. He never in any way recognised the Maori king, up to the time of the fighting about Waitara.This is all I have to say.
From your loving friend,
In these documents the grounds of the opposition to the Government are clearly disclosed. The right of the whole Tribe and the rights of individual owners are both maintained. It is averred that the whole Tribe did not consent:—an averment which is not even contradicted by the Government, for the Government has contented itself with ignoring the tribal right.
If anything be plain in the case it is this, that the whole Tribe never have consented to part with the Waitara land. Upon this fact William King stands; and but for this fact, we should, in all probability, never have encountered any opposition. In the case of the Bell block, where every one interested in the block agreed to the sale, William King's opposition was withdrawn. In that case he ceased to oppose when his people assented. In this, he opposes stedfastly, because his people stedfastly dissent.
8. These adverse claims reach us also through other channels.
Dr Featherstone, the Superintendent of the Province of Wellington, after the outbreak of the troubles at the Waitara, visited some Chiefs of the page 43 Ngati-awa who still live in the valley of the Hutt. What took place on that occasion, was thus stated by Dr Featherstone, in his place in the House of Representatives, on the 7th of August last:—
“What,” (said Dr Featherstone,) “did you not mean to admit that William King had no title to the land, no right to forbid the sale? The words were scarcely out of my mouth before Wi Tako, Te Puni, and other Chiefs present, cried out “Kahore, kahore. The Governor is in the wrong. Wi Kingi has land in the block, his wife has land, his son also: Te Puni and others (mentioning a great number of names) all own portions of the land sold by Teira.” Wi Tako and Te Puni then explained, that the land was divided into small allotments,—that those allotments were marked out by stones,—that many of them (the allotments) had names, and said if we would accompany them to Waitara they would point out the allotments of each individual. Wi Tako added, “Teira had no more right to sell the 600 acres, than a man owning one acre in Wellington would have a right to sell the whole town.”
Mr Fitzherbert, Member for the Hutt district, also stated in the House, “These (Te Puni and others) are all loyal men; and these statements have been made not only to me, but to others. They have drawn the plan of Waitara on the sand and on paper, and they have pointed out the owners of the several allotments, and they say that William King was right, and that Teira had no title to sell the land.”page 44
9. The foregoing documents and statements are not set forth here as if the averments therein were necessarily true. They are only set forth as shewing what is in fact averred by the adverse claimants. That some of these averments are honestly made, I cannot doubt. I have known Riwai Te Ahu for years. At one time I was in the habit of talking with him daily, for months together. He is a very intelligent, and, I believe, a thoroughly honest man.
We are not at liberty to assert these claims to be true, without investigation; neither are we at liberty to assert them to be false, without investigation. They raise plain issues, on which depends the justice or injustice of the course taken by the Government. To ascertain whether they were true or untrue, was the very business and duty of the Government.
How did the Government discharge its duty?
* When this and the following documents in the Native language came into my hands, Archdeacon Maunsell and Rev. L. Williams were in Auckland, engaged in revising the Maori version of the Old Testament. At my request, they kindly undertook the task of translation. The great knowledge and painstaking accuracy of those gentlemen, afford the highest possible security for the correctness of the rendering. The original text will be found in the Appendix.