Extracts from Governor Browne's Speech to the
Natives at New Plymouth in March, 1859.
.…The Governor wished them to understand that the Queen regards equally her subjects; that all her Governors have had and would have the same instructions, viz., to do their utmost to promote the welfare of her subjects without distinction of race. The Missionaries had imparted to them the blessings of Christianity, and translated the Bible for their use. It was not in the power of man to confer any other gift which would bear comparison with that of the Bible; but, out of regard for the Natives, His Excellency had caused an abstract of English law to be translated into Maori. He had no wish to enforce this law; on the contrary, it would only be put in force in those districts where the people are wise enough to desire it, and prepared to carry it into effect themselves. Some tribes in the North had already desired to have English law, and a Magistrate had been appointed to instruct them how to put it into practice; they were now engaged in doing so, with every prospect of becoming a peaceful and prosperous people, and uniting themselves with the pakeha. This tribe is the Ngapuhi. The Governor had but two subjects on which he desired to speak, particularly to the tribes living near Taranaki, and they were: First, in reference to criminal offences; second, in reference to land. He wished these subjects to be considered separately, and as having no sort of reference to each other. The tribes in the vicinity of Taranaki have greater advantages than most others, as they are much intermixed with the pakeha, and ought to profit by their intercourse with them. If they chose to live peaceably and cultivate their lands they would grow rich and multiply, instead of which they were constantly at war with each other, and their numbers were decreasing. Their disputes were almost always about matters of little or no importance, or about land which was not worth quarrelling for. Had the Governor been in New Zealand when Katatore slew Rawiri, he would have had him arrested and brought before the Judge, and, if the Judge had sentenced him to be hanged, he would page 142have caused him to be hanged; that he had not thought proper to arrest Ihaia, because, though the murders to which he was a party were horrible and disgraceful, yet they admitted of some extenuation, inasmuch as they were committed in retribution for the murder of Rawiri. All this, however, now belongs to the past; but, for the future, he had determined that every man (whether he be Maori or pakeha) who may commit any violence or outrage within the European boundaries shall be arrested and taken before the Judge, and the sentence of the Judge, whatever it may be, shall be carried into effect. He was determined that the peace of the settlers should no longer be disturbed by evil-doers; and those Maoris who are not content to live in peace among the pakehas had better go elsewhere. In reference to the second subject, the Governor thought the Maoris would be wise to sell the land they cannot use themselves, as it would make what they could use more valuable than the whole; but he never would consent to buy land without an undisputed title. He would not permit any one to interfere in the sale of land unless he owned part of it; and, on the other hand, he would buy no man's land without his consent….