Notes of Meetings Between His Excellency the Governor (Lord Ranfurly), The Rt. Hon. R. J. Seddon, Premier and Native Minister, and the Hon. James Carroll, Member of the Executive Council Representing the Native Race, and the Native Chiefs and People at Each Place, Assembled in Respect of the Proposed Native Land Legislation and Native Affairs Generally, During 1898 and 1899.
His Excellency the Governor's Visit to Waipatu, Hawke's Bay, 29th March, 1898
His Excellency the Governor's Visit to Waipatu, Hawke's Bay, 29th March, 1898.
Replying to the toast of "His Excellency the Governor," proposed by Mr. Henare Tomoana, Lord Ranfurly said, — I thank all those of the Native race who are present for the very kind reception you have accorded to me. It is not my intention to detain you just now with a long speech, as I intend to speak at some length at the public meeting which is to follow. I can assure you that it has afforded me the greatest pleasure to be present here to-day, and to have taken part in these proceedings, and I sincerely trust that the discussions which are about to take place will be for the material benefit of New Zealand in general, and the Native race in particular.
Major Kemp: I ask you to fill your glasses up again, so that we may drink to "the Government of New Zealand," a toast with which I couple the name of the Premier, and wish him good health.
The toast having been duly honoured,
The Premier (the Right Hon. R. J. Seddon): I am, indeed. thoroughly pleased at being present with you all on this occasion, and I am quite sure that the reception which has been accorded to His Excellency Lord Ranfurly, at this, the first great Native meeting he has been able to attend in the colony, will ever be remembered by His Excellency. To be present at such a large gathering of both races is a great pleasure to me also, and I trust that the friendly relations that now exist between the Native and European races will for ever continue. I sincerely thank Major Kemp for the very kind manner in which he has proposed the toast of the Government, and his kind reference to myself.
After luncheon, an open-air meeting took place, at which some hundreds of Native were present.
Mrs. Airini Donnelly said,—I will speak in the Maori language, according to our custom, and welcome His Excellency the Governor here, and I call upon the people belonging to this place to do the same. I welcome the Bishop, Arehdeacon Williams, and Mr. McLean; I also welcome His Worship the Mayor, Mr. Swan, and Mr. FitzRoy. It is no use my mentioning the ladies' names, but I include them in my welcome to the people of the district. Welcome, your Excellency the Governor, you that have been sent out here by the Queen; welcome the Premier, you that have brought His Excellency here to listen to what the Native belonging to this particular portion of Hawke's Bay have to say. You will also see here Natives from other parts of the land. This is all I have to say at present. (Applause.)
Henare Tomoana: Welcome, welcome, welcome the Bishop, welcome Archdeacon Williams, welcome every one else that is here present. Those that I have mentioned are the people that know the inhabitants of this district; those that are dead and gone are the parties that have conversed with you on different matters. You are well aware of the laws that have been made since the year 1840. This is all I have to say with regard to welcoming you here. Welcome to your Excellency, welcome, welcome, welcome; welcome here to look after the people of the two races of people in this land. I wish that all my children were assembled here to-day, and I wish that every one of them should be brought up so that they should not desert their parents in the future. I hope that your Excellency may live long, and also the Premier-that is, the Native Minister.
Te-ira: I welcome all the people of Hastings, who are too many to mention. You are the friends of those who are departed, therefore I am very pleased indeed to see you here to-day. Welcome the Premier; welcome you, the Premier, on the day that you said that you wished to meet the Natives of this place, and the people representing the other tribes. You have thought proper to name this day for being present, and for hearing what we have to say. As for the other Governments that have been in power, the Maoris have suffered a great deal, and now that you have arrived here we wish to lay before you our troubles. Several matters have already been laid before you, but we have never found out how they have been settled. Last year several leading people of this district went down to Wellington, and they explained matters to you, and you must be well aware of their grievances. I have also heard an expression from you that you did not wish page 2the Natives to be deprived of their lands, and I hope you will be able to settle that question to-day; therefore I have nothing further to say, as you are all acquainted with all our grievances, and is for you to answer. Welcome your Excellency; welcome you who have been sent out here to look after the two races of this colony. I am very pleased indeed that you have arrived here to-day to visit the different people of this land, therefore I am very pleased indeed that you have arrived here, having been appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to look after both races-the Europeans and Natives. You are the first Governor that has ever visited the Natives here in this settlement, and I hope you will look after them, and visit the Natives at their different places of abode. During our own people's time I have never seen any Governor visit them.
Major Kemp: I am following the custom of our people from their birth down to the present time. I arrived here in this Island before you did. I came in a very small canoe, and the Almighty protected me, and that was how I arrived here. I am now here to welcome you. Ruatatu, our ancestor, whom we call by the name of Noah, prophesied certain things with regard to myself down to the present time, and you have now come into my tents. I am not going to conceal anything from you; I am not going from one side to the other. I am included amongst those who were drifted here: the Natives were never vested with any rights at all, but in all those small towns some of the Europeans were, such as the County Council, Road Boards; even the surveyors have been vested with certain powers; the County Councils have been vested with certain powers also, but we have never been vested with any powers at all. All that has been given to us is the Native Land Court, and our names have been put into the titles of certain places. I compare ourselves to sheep put into a stockyard—when they get us there they kill us; therefore I do not see that the laws for the Europeans and the laws for the Maori people are equal at all. I am explaining this matter to your Excellency as you are here as Governor of New Zealand; your Excellency was appointed Governor, therefore I say that you are the principal person in New Zealand; you were appointed Governor during the Jubilee year. This is the Treaty of Waitangi I hold in my hand, and we are looking at it. Now, all the Natives have desired that treaty; any wrong that has been done is the work of the Europeans. Some of them have been called Hauhaus; but they are not—they are looking after the treaty. We have heard a great deal of Te Whiti. Do not think he is fighting against you; he is not; he is so grieved about this Treaty of Waitangi not having been settled, and if there has been a wrong done he wants to find out by whom it has been committed. All these wrongs have not been looked into yet. The Europeans are making laws for the Natives, therefore I am not concealing anything from you. All the Natives in this assembly have never done anything wrong; we have committed no crimes at all, we have never caused any disturbance in any way. All that we want is to fathom this treaty. The Natives have made no laws, and why should they be accused? There were eight laws sent Home to England—in fact, the laws that are made are made here in New Zealand for the Courts; all we have to say is that this is wrong, make it right. I wish you to understand that I do not want you to think that I am interfering in any way. The last speaker said that he was satisfied, but I do not think he is. I wish again to explain that we have never interfered in any way with the Government. Of course, I cannot say, your Excellency, whether you can assist us or not, but it is my place to explain things to you. I want to see the Premier and ask him to put an end to Native Land Courts and leave the balance of the land for us. A lot of us have handed over our land to the Public Trustee; the Natives have never interfered; the Natives have let their land to 5s. or £1 per acre, it does not matter which. I am going to conceal nothing from you; I wish to explain these things to you; you will understand how matters have been carried on in New Zealand from the commencement down to the present time.
Hakamau Ngatiporou: Welcome, your Excellency. Her Gracious Majesty has thought proper to send you out to look after the two peoples, the Europeans and the Natives, and to look after the affairs of the Europeans and the Natives as well. Welcome, the Premier, the Premier of New Zealand. It was the Natives of this settlement who asked both of you to come and visit them here. You have arrived here, and I think the Europeans as well as the Natives are delighted that you should have come. I wish to say something to you with regard to myself. I wish to say that I have come from the east coast, Waiapu. The desires of these tribes were forwarded to you in November and December last; they were contained in the petition; they want your Excellency to go to the East Cape, Ngatiporou district. I wish to explain a little with regard to the deceased Major Ropata. Now that he is dead, perhaps the Governor will not think it proper to go and visit them. The Government sent a party there at the time of his burial, thinking of his kindness to the Europeans, and also to the Natives. I hope your Excellency, and also the Premier, will live long.
Mrs. Donnelly: I do not think there is any necessity for any further remarks to-day, but I wish the Premier to visit us again to-morrow. We should now like to listen to the Governor's reply to the people he has met. [The speaker concluded by singing a song of welcome.]
Wi Pere: Welcome the Premier in bringing His Excellency the Governor here. As has been said, they have named to-morrow for the Premier to visit them again. Welcome to your Excellency, the representative of the Queen, the woman who has looked after the Native people. All that I have to say to your Excellency is that you be kind, that you love and look after the Natives.page 3
No doubt you will hear a great deal from your Minister, and after you have heard their remarks. I hope you will not forget the Native race. I hope both your wife and yourself and your children may live long and also Her Gracious Majesty.
Tahau: I have come from Taupo; I belong to Ngatituwharetoa Tribe. Welcome, your Excellency; welcome also the Premier. I hope you will long have the Almighty's protection. Welcome, welcome, welcome your Excellency; welcome here, and I also hope you will come and visit me. With regard to the Treaty of Waitangi, I ask you to bring it forward in the House, and I should like to hear from you what the Queen has said with regard to the Treaty of Waitangi. My canoe was the "Te-rou." [The speaker wound up by chanting a song.]
His Excellency the Governor, Lord Ranfurly: Mrs. Donnelly, Henare Tomoana, Major Kemp, and chiefs, I return the salutations of you and your people, whom I am glad to have this opportunity of meeting. I have to thank you for the hearty welcome which you have given to me to-day as the Queen's representative. I already know of the steadfast loyalty displayed by the Hawke's Bay and Wanganui tribes during the troublous times which have happily passed away, I trust for ever, and it gives me unfeigned pleasure to make the personal acquaintance of chiefs who, true to the loyal principles they professed when they accepted the Queen's sovereignty, were ready and willing when the occasion arose to offer up their lives, if necessary, in defence of the national flag, and for the establishment of law and order in the land. The names of these chiefs will be remembered and revered long after the present generation of Maoris have passed away. Their names are inscribed on that roll of fame so dear to the English heart; that roll of fame carries the names of those brave men who have made our country what it is to-day; have made our flag the emblem of true liberty and civilisation, and have proudly planted that flag in all quarters of the world. Your loyalty to the Crown, and unselfish devotion to duty, and the valuable services rendered by the fighting-men of your several tribes who composed the Native Contingent, will form no small part in the early history of a colony now rapidly advancing and destined in the future to become a great and populous country. My arrival in the colony has been too recent to admit of my having seen, as yet, very much of the Maori people, but it is my intention, as well as my earnest desire, to visit from time to time different parts of the North Island; and therefore it is my hope that before long I may be able to say that I have made the acquaintance of every tribe and chief in New Zealand. As you are doubtless aware, the official position and functions of a Governor are defined and regulated by the Constitution under which we live. In this Constitution the Maori people have now a fair share in the representative institution of the country, and are therefore amenable to the same rules as their English fellow-colonists. The sole responsibility in regard to Native affairs that once devolved on the Governor is a thing of the past. But it is not the less incumbent on him, as the Queen's representative, to safeguard and watch over the interests of the Native population as jealously as ever, and to see that the rights guaranteed to the tribes by the Crown in the historic Treaty of Waitangi are not violated; and, although my Ministry will be always anxious to do what is just and right in regard to European and Maori alike, I wish it to he clearly understood that I shall ever do anything in my power to remedy any reasonable and well-founded grievances that may be brought to my notice. Her Majesty the Queen will rejoice to know that the two races are living together on terms of unity and concord, or, if I am right, in your own words, "as elder and younger brother." That, indeed, is the only way in which the permanent interests of a mixed population like that of New Zealand can be insured; and it is most pleasing to me to know that the Maoris, especially in this district of Hawke's Bay, are taking an intelligent and active interest in the industrial pursuits of the country. It is highly creditable to yon that many of your chiefs have become sheep-farmers, and are managing their properties in a businesslike way, and that most of the people who reside in the settled districts are profitably engaged in native husbandry. Everything that tends to the formation of individual interests is good, as such are a powerful incentive to industry, and to be fully occupied must of necessity help to elevate the moral as well as the physical condition of a people. I am very pleased therefore to learn that in the Hawke's Bay district, anyhow it is the ambition of every Maori to have a separate home of his own, furnished according to his means with the comforts of life, where figuratively, he may sit under his own vine and fig-tree. This I take to be a very healthy sign. Other improvements in the people's condition will come as a natural sequence of the growth and development. The progress of the Maoris during the last half-century has been such that it is impossible to say what the future may have in store for the race. Fifty years ago they were wretchedly clad, and they lived crowded together in the poorest huts, lacking all the comforts of modern life; to-day they form a most important section of the community, and are comparatively wealthy, their millions of unsold lands alone representing an enormous sum; they contribute to the revenue, enjoy all the privileges of representative government, and, holding seats in the Legislature, on the Native Land Court bench, and in the various Church Synods, they already take an active part in the public life of the colony. Former Governors have addressed meetings of the Maori people, where a large proportion of those assembled were representative of the older generation. This meeting is composed for the most part of the younger men and women who have grown up in contact with us, and in the enjoyment, more or less, of the comforts of civilisation. The younger page 4chiefs, though, of to-day cannot boast the ripe experience of the old veterans who are dead—gone away into the never-ending night, as I believe you expressively say. But they enjoy [unclear: advantages] which their fathers had no conception of, and a great responsibility rests with them. The future of the Maori people is in their hands. The invitation to the Premier to be present affords an earnest of your desire to work in harmony with and in obedience to the Government, and I sincerely hope that what takes place on this occasion and at similar meetings in other parts of the country may tend to promote the welfare of the people, and to cement the good understanding which already exists between us. "Union is strength" is a proverb among us, as well as among the Maoris, and you do well to remember it; but we have another saying, that "knowledge is power," You cannot stand still; you must continue to progress, or you will fall behind. Let it be your earnest endeavour in the great race in which we are all competing to keep your canoe well to the fore and not to drift astern. The Government has made ample provision for the education of your children, and every inducement is held out to them to attend schools. Herein lies the opportunity for your children, well educated, to advance themselves in the world; every avenue of influences and importance will lay open before them, should they, in their desire to acquire success, show themselves superior to their fellows, be they English or be they Maori. Already one at least of your race, educated in the colony, has taken his degree in the New Zealand University, has been admitted a barrister of the Supreme Court, and is practising his profession with, I understand, a large amount of success; and it is encouraging to learn that the number of Maori students is steadily increasing. My Ministers, I am sure, are desirous of doing all in their power to promote your welfare, but the people must also learn to help themselves and to improve their own condition. I am glad to know that many of them fully realise this, and are striving to reach a higher standard. O Maori chiefs, you have heard of the welcome accorded to those of the sons of the Maori race who have but now returned from taking part in the Jubilee in London. Have they not informed you of the tremendous enthusiasm with which that Sovereign was received who has now wielded the sceptre of Great Britain for more than sixty years? And why was our Queen so received? Because her people desired to show their love, their reverence, and their devotion, to prove their gratitude to the lady under whose fostering care the lion (Great Britain's emblem) had withstood with honour all attack, and had ever been ready to resist encroachment, to protect the weak or oppressed, and to assist the suffering. They will have told you of the enthusiasm with which our Sovereign (yours as well as mine) was greeted by both rich and poor alike, an enthusiasm which they must have seen was from the bottom of the heart. They must have known that if this great chieftainess but held up her finger these millions would have been ready to do her bidding, aye, to face death to do her will. Your young men who had the great honour of taking part in that procession must have indeed on that occasion felt proud that they were soldiers of a great nation whose regiments from all parts of the Empire were represented by small detachments in their respective uniforms. Canada. Australia. New Zealand, Tasmania, India, Africa, and many others were all ably represented. Your representatives must on that day have felt proud when they realised that they formed an integral part of that Empire, that they had the right to call that flag, which for a thousand years has braved the battle and the breeze, their own. As the representative of Her Majesty, I can assure you that she takes the greatest interest in the welfare and prosperity of her Maori subjects. And they in their turn, I feel confident, will ever do their utmost to uphold the honour of our Sovereign, and the high position and respect among the nations of the world of that country to which they belong.
The Premier: To you, rangatiras and others of the Native race, and the Europeans gathered here to-day, I offer my greetings. In years gone by your ancestors, who have departed, gave a kindly welcome to the Europeans to Hawke's Bay. To the early settlers who came to this colony the Native race showed every kindness and hospitality. it is pleasing to me to find that a number of Natives are still left, but I wish they were more numerous than we find them. Your Natives are only a remnant of a noble race. As your fathers welcomed the Europeans and the first Governor, so to-day you have welcomed our present Governor, and have shown to those present here the greatest kindness and hospitality. This, I am sure, will ever be remembered with pleasure by all those present. As the Prime Minister and Minister representing the Native race, I thank you very kindly for the reception afforded to me on this occasion. As the servant of Her Majesty the Queen, your Mother, and as the chief adviser of His Excellency the Governor, I hope that I shall ever be found advising for the good of both races. When I had an interview with Her Majesty on my recent visit to the Mother-country, and presented an address from Parliament, her commands were to give her love to all her subjects in New Zealand. The matters dealt with in your petition to the Queen will be left for her Ministers here, and for her representative, the Governor, to deal with. I have heard to-day that you have some grievances; you are not singular in this respect, for I never met Europeans who had not grievances, and it seems quite natural that both races should be found wanting something. I fancy it must have been the Europeans that taught the Natives to have grievances. To-day is a day of festivity, a day set apart for welcoming His Excellency the Governor. To-morrow we will meet and talk business, and as when you find the mist on the mountain-tops being dispelled by the rising sun, so I hope that when we meet to page 5talk business, any clouds that are darkening your view may be removed. I now desire to thank all those who have had a share in making the great preparations for to-day. Our thanks are due to those who, for the first time, have had the honour of dancing a haka before His Excellency the Governor. I must also return thanks to those Maori maidens who danced so nicely, especially in the poi dance; it was most pleasing to all of us assembled. I also desire to thank the band for the nice music that they have treated us to to-day. I am sure it is very gratifying to all the Europeans to find the Native race taking so keen an interest in music, and their rendering of some of the pieces would do credit to many European bands. Now, I would like to say that the Natives are fast adopting the customs of the Europeans. In the days gone by you Maoris always kept the wahines in the background, but to-day we find a chieftainess, Mrs. Donnelly, of your race delivering the first speech. The granting of the women's franchise is having its effect on the Native race also. I was pleased to find the chiefs doing as they were told by her. I must thank the chiefs for the kind addresses delivered by them to-day, for His Excellency had to go away at an early hour. I will myself follow the good example that they have shown us, and cut my remarks short. Tomorrow, however, our korero will probably take a longer time. I again thank you all very heartily indeed for your cordial welcome, and trust that the words uttered by His Excellency the Governor will sink deep into your hearts.
Mr. R. D. D. McLean M. H. R.: On behalf of the European guests assembled here to-day. I desire to express our thanks to Mrs. Donnelly and Henare Tomoana for the proceedings that they have enabled us to take part in. This has proved one of the most enjoyable gatherings that any of us have ever been present at in Hawke's Bay, and on behalf of the European guests I again thank Mrs. Donnelly and Henare Tomoana.