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.
Meeting of the Premier and the Hon. James Carroll with the Chiefs and others of the Wanganui Tribe, held on the 14th May, 1898, at Putiki, Wanganui
Meeting of the Premier and the Hon. James Carroll with the Chiefs and others of the Wanganui Tribe, held on the 14th May, 1898, at Putiki, Wanganui.
Wereroa Kingi: Welcome to the Premier! Welcome to the place from which Major Kemp has departed—he who always upheld the honour of the Queen, and whom Her Majesty honoured by presenting with a sword! He has departed, and he has gone to his place of rest. We thank you very much indeed for having come to pay us this great compliment, and also for having endeared yourself to the friends of Major Kemp by according such great ceremonies to him. A greater honour could never be afforded to any person than was accorded to Major Kemp. The trains were left open, and the soldiers attended, and he was given a military funeral; therefore we have something to thank you for. We now see you here in person; and your representative was page 31here while we were in trouble, in the person of the Hon. Mr. Carroll. He also represented to us the measure which you intend to bring forward—that is to say, the Bill—consideration of which was deferred until the meeting at Papawai. There it will be settled one way or the other. Therefore, on account of all this, I am pleased indeed to see that you have arrived here to mourn with us. I make the request to you that the Native Land Courts shall be adjourned for a certain period, so that we, the representatives of the people, may be able to meet and give full discussion to the Bill. I greet the Premier and his friends, who have come here, to the place of Major Kemp.
Hone: Welcome to the Premier! Welcome to you and your colleague, Mr. Carroll! Major Kemp is resurrected again through your presence here to-day. This home really belongs to you as well as to the Native people. Even though Major Kemp has gone from our sight, he is still living in your presence. It is a matter of great relief to be able to see you here in the flesh. Even though Major Kemp is dead, he is resurrected again in your presence. The Governor should also be here to accompany you, because all Governors have visited Wanganui. They have never neglected this place. Governor Bowen was here, so also was Governor Grey. This is the same home that welcomed Governor Bowen. You are one of the people, and you have come here now to visit us in our grief.
Waata Wiremu Hipango read the following address:—
"O Friend,—"Putiki, Wanganui, 14th May, 1898.
"O Honourable the Premier! In you we to-day again see the countenance of Major Kemp, who has departed from Wanganui, from his two tribes—the pakeha and the Maori.
"Your messages of sympathy, in reference to the death of Major Kemp, have reached us, and the Hon. Mr. Carroll attended the funeral as the representative of the Queen, the Governor, and the Government; and he, together with the chiefs and tribes of the Maori people, has been here to see us, and to lament and condole with us in the great bereavement which came so suddenly upon us and all the tribes inhabiting this Island.
"Come! Welcome, O Premier, to see those that remain of the tribe of Wanganui! The elders who possessed mana and rangatiraship are dead; those who gave distinction to the tribe have departed this life, and all that remains to us of them are their words, which were, 'Hold fast to Christianity, and love one another.'
"To-day we meet together to mourn the loss of Major Kemp-the last of our elders-the man who dispersed the dark clouds which enveloped this Island—the man who caused light to shine thereon, which light reached even as far as the Queen of England, resulting in peach between the two races, causing them to live together amicably, like brothers.
"We have done with the past and the great deeds done therein. During the present year your departed friend worked very hard to gather together the chiefs and tribes of the Maori people from all parts, and urged them to unite in seeking a means whereby the remnant of the people might be saved and the remnant of their lands conserved to them, which explains the reason why the chiefs and tribes support the "Te Katahitanga" (Maori Parliament), which has been set up by the Maori tribes of this Island; and, further, it is in consequence of this movement that you, O Premier, saw so many chiefs standing in your presence in the Parliament House, at Wellington, and why you now see so many large tribes submitting themselves to the law. Therefore the intensity of the lamentations for your friend, who is now lost to Wanganui and to his pakeha and Maori tribes.
"This is another word which the Hon. James Carroll laid before us and the tribes who recently visited Putiki—viz., that the last words of Major Kemp to him were, 'Save the remnant of the Maori people, and conserve their lands to them.' Yes, that is so; what the Hon. Mr. Carroll said is quite true.
"In the year 1897 Major Kemp and the chiefs of the Katahitanga sent their words of greeting to the Queen, and prayed her to save the remnant of the Maori lands, and to reserve it for them for ever. The Queen replied that that was a matter for the consideration of her Ministers in New Zealand.
"In the same year—in October, 1897—Tamahau and his fellow-chiefs appeared before your presence to petition you in regard to the Queen's reply, which said that the matter was in the hands of her Ministers in New Zealand. You answered that the matter was receiving your consideration.
"In the month of November in the same year Major Kemp and his fellow-chiefs stood before your presence, and requested you to stop the further purchase of Maori lands, and for the future to have the said lands dealt with by lease.
"Sufficient, therefore, for the present, for I now see that you have given effect to these requests, in that, if the Bill now proposed by you is passed into law, land-buying will cease.
"The great thing we hope for this day is that the purchase of Maori lands will cease, so that the remnant of the land will be saved; that the Native Land Court will be abolished; and that the lawyers who are consuming the Maori people will cease to be required.
"Waata Wiremu Hipango,"Secretary of the General Committee of Wanganui,
on behalf of the Tribe of Wanganui."
Waata Wiremu Hipango (continuing): Welcome, you the Premier, who have been the great friend of Major Kemp! During his illness you sent representatives of the Queen here, and during the burial ceremonies the Hon. Mr. Carroll was also here as your representative — to weep with us on account of the great calamity that has befallen the people of this Island. Welcome here amongst us, the remnant of the people of Wanganui! All the great chiefs have departed, and all they have left behind is simply the Word of God. Major Kemp, the last of our great men, has now departed: he was one who always protected us in times past, and gave us peace in the present times. Hence the great loyalty to the Queen. It is similar now, though the two peoples are as a younger and an elder brother. All the old hands have departed. It was Major Kemp's delight to bring all the people amicably together, so that they would be of one mind, and direct the remnant of the people. Hence the whole of the people have tried to carry into effect the kaiti-that is to say, Native home rule-hence the reason for all these chiefs standing before you, and also the chiefs in the House of Parliament. The large tribes have also come within the bounds of the law. We grieve greatly for the last of our great chiefs, because he always endeavoured to bring the two peoples together as one. The question brought before us by the Hon. James Carroll for our consideration was a message to the effect that the remnant of the land was to be protected. Kemp's last words were to save the people and to save the land. In 1897 letters of congratulation were sent to the Queen by the Native people, and the request was also made that the remnant of the land should be preserved to the people. The reply was that, as a matter of policy, it was for the Government of New Zealand to consider it. In the same year Tamahau and other chiefs made representations to you in reference to the same matter. You replied that you would give full consideration to it. In the same year Major Kemp and his chiefs also acted as a deputation to you, and requested that the purchase of Native land should be stopped and the land brought under some system of leasing. We now see that you are trying to bring a Bill into effect to stop the purchase of Native land, and that is the great hope of the Native people—that the purchase of Native land shall be stopped at once, and that the lawyers shall be prohibited.
Takarangi Mete Kingi: Welcome to the Premier! Welcome to the Hon. Mr. Carroll! You and the Government are the representatives of the Queen, and therefore we are glad to see you here. You visit us on an occasion of great rejoicing to the Native people; their hearts are lightened by your presence. Everything is embodied in the letter which Hipango has read to you. It is well known that there are only 5,000,000 acres of land left to the people. It was not the young people who suggested that we should hold the land; the suggestion came from the old people. One idea running through the West Coast and other parts is that the Natives should hold the remnant of the land to themselves, and now that you have arrived here I would make a request that the Native Land Court be adjourned till after July, so that full consideration may be given to the Bill and to Native matters generally. If you grant this request it will be a matter of great rejoicing, and we shall be enabled to discuss matters with Tamahau, in the Wairarapa. We hope that you and the Hon. Mr. Carroll will help to wipe away all the grievances and disturbances that have existed between the Government and Major Kemp, so that the people may be in peace hereafter. Major Kemp has always been fighting the law, and the law has been fighting him, and it has impoverished him. Our request is that all the troubles between Major Kemp and the Government should be weeded out by the assistance of yourself and the Hon. Mr. Carroll. With regard to the Ohotu Block, it has been suggested that it should be put under the control of the Public Trustee; but I say, Leave the matter for a time, until due consideration can be given to it. We have seen the matter referred to in the newspapers, and hence we make this request to you. Now that you are here we hope you will stop a while with us, and honour us with your presence, and see the people of Waikato. The king has not yet arrived. You are the only king of New Zealand, and therefore you should remain. Tawhiao was the second king, and Mahuta is a descendant of his; therefore he is the second king. You are the real representative of the Queen. We have presented a petition to the judge of the native land Court, requesting that the Court be adjourned. It was not merely a request from ourselves, but from all the tribes that you see represented here to-day. Welcome, Tamatea! Welcome, you who swallow all the land! I hope you will try and assist us in getting the Courts adjourned. Welcome here!
Porokurua Patupo: I indorse all the remarks that have already been made. From the head right down to the end of the Wanganui River the people are of one voice at present. I need hardly mention all the good acts Major Kemp did in the past; you know them well. All the brave acts emanated from the Government, and when he died we saw that you, the representative of the Government, did him full honour. That is the reason I indorse all the remarks that have fallen from the previous speakers. The last remark Major Kemp made was to reserve the land, so that his people might not be left landless, and become slaves. After he fought he came back, full of honour. In the days when he was fighting so hard we really did not think he was fighting for us, but since his death we honour him for what he did for us in the past. Had he been left in strength it was our idea that he should go from district to district to help to cement the friendship between the people, and endeavour to devise some means by which the people might be relieved, and therefore we hope you will have great consideration for the people of Kemp, and especially the people of page 33Wanganui, because they are the people that upheld the honour of the Queen, and upheld your mana. We request you and your friend to withdraw the Native Land Commissioner from Wanganui, and to cease the purchase of Native land. This would be an act by which we could remember you as having done a good act towards your dead friend. I also indorse the remarks that have passed from Mete Kingi in regard to the Court at Wanganui. It is a matter of importance for us that we should be able to discuss the question that the Hon. Mr. Carroll has presented to us. A case of great importance to us is now before the Court. We therefore hope you will adjourn the Court until we are able to present ourselves at Papawai to give consideration to these matters. We do not oppose the principles of the Native Land Court, but we really want some time to enable the Native people to go and discuss matters of importance to themselves. I am a descendant of Kemp's-really, the child of Kemp. If you grant this request it will be an act of great courtesy on your part to our departed chief. I also make another request, and that is, that the Government should erect a suitable memorial to Major Kemp, as a fitting tribute to his memory. Since he is dead, we can do him no further honour, but it will be a great honour conferred upon him by the Europeans if they accede to this request.
Hoani Mete Kingi: Welcome, the Premier, to this place, to weep with us! Of course, when Kemp was alive you were able to discuss matters with one another, but since his death only words remain which could have been fulfilled-that is to say, the remnant of the land should have been reserved as a sustenance for the remainder of the people. Now, in reference to Ohotu, a request has been made to you that the Ohotu Block should be opened up for purchase. We heard that this morning; and therefore I say to you and to Mr. Carroll, "Do not accede to that request; do not open it, for it is not right that that land should be opened up for purchase." That is not European land; it belongs to the Maoris wholly and solely, and therefore I hope you will turn a deaf ear to the request. I indorse all the remarks that have fallen from previous speakers with regard to the Courts. I agree that all the Native Land Courts in the Island should be adjourned for three months. We want time to consider the Bill which you have presented to the people for their consideration; hence our request that the Courts should be adjourned to a future occasion, so as to enable us to attend the meeting at Papawai and discuss fully the measure which you have presented to us for our consideration. We are unable to discuss that Bill here, because the principal people are away in different parts; but we will all be assembled at Papawai, and will discuss it there. The whole of the people have collected at Papawai simply to discuss this Bill. If the remainder of the land is reserved to the Natives then great good will, perhaps, come out of the Bill. If the Maori ideas and the European ideas are put together we may be able to form a good law. After due consideration, good results may be obtained from the Native deliberation. If you do not support the Native people, then, of course, you cannot expect the Native people to support you.
Wiari Yuroa: Come and be a father to us, for our parents are all gone. Although the Hon. Mr. Carroll has made his presence felt here, we also desire you to address us with regard to the land business and the Land Courts.
Wiki Keepa: Welcome, Mr. Carroll! Welcome, the Premier, who has done full honour to our late father! If the arrival of the Hon. the Premier to-day is to cement friendship, and to wipe out all past grievances of Major Kemp, then we welcome him most cordially, and are pleased indeed to see him here to-day. You have shown great love for us by coming here to-day, and since the Hon. the Premier has honoured us with his presence I look upon him as a father. He is come here to mourn with us. I fully indorse all that Takaranga Mete Kingi has said. Those are the principal words to be uttered here to-day. I ask you for the adjournment of the Land Courts for a certain period, not only in this district, but in all the districts, so as to enable us—the whole of the people in this Island—to attend the meeting at Wairarapa. The whole of the people desire to know and understand the great questions which you have submitted for the people to consider at Papawai. If the Courts will adjourn the whole of the people can go lighthearted, and can attend the meeting. I myself would like to go to Papawai, and therefore I indorse all that Kingi has said. With regard to the monument, of course it would be an act of indelicacy on my part to say anything about that, and I will leave the matter for others to thresh out. The principal object on which I am pressing you is to ask for the adjournment of the Court. Long life to you!
Raihani: I am one of those people who seldom come out of their shells. I am always like a lobster—as a rule, in the shell. Now that I am in your presence I welcome you. I have nothing else to do except to indorse the remarks of the previous speakers. What I wish to say to you is with reference to the charges made for the conveyance of goods by Mr. Hatrick's steamers. We are greatly oppressed in this way. If we happen to send up a pound of candles by the steamer we are charged 1s. 6d. for freight, and if we have a dozen boxes of matches sent up we have to pay 1s. 6d. for the parcel. If we send a ton of potatoes the charge is never made according to the public scale. You are the person to address these grievances to, and we place them before you, with the hope that you will remove them.page 34
Rere Kura: Greetings to you, the Premier, and to the Hon. Mr. Carroll! This is the second time I have had the great pleasure of addressing you: the first time was at Pipiriki, when you laid out the township there. I thoroughly indorse all the remarks of the previous speakers. There is a matter that presses very heavily on me: the Court has been adjourned for a week, and we are left here like a lot of mad people, and do not know when the whakahiwaka affair is to be settled. I the Court is started again we request that it go to Pipiriki and Hiruharama to thresh out the question, and not remain in the towns to do it. For five months we have been here, and we have had great trouble. We have had hardly anything to eat in the town. The Town of Pipiriki has gone through the Court, and the shares have been allocate to each individual in that town. With regard to the reserves for the Natives, I do not know how the Government intend to administer them, and therefore we ask you to explain the position of these reserves to us.
The Premier: To all here assembled, Natives and Europeans, salutations! My feelings at the present moment are those of sadness in respect to the great grief that has come to the Wanganui. My heart is indeed sore, for I know that a great chief has been taken from you; but though he has been called away, and is now gathered to his ancestors, yet his spirit will ever be with you. I am glad to hear from you that my presence in some measure assuages your grief. The father is gone, but still, as you put it, the father is to-day. It is impossible for me to fill the void that has been created, but so far as lies in my power I will endeavour to see that justice is done to the remnant that is here of a once noble race. When in the past I visited Wanganui I had a meeting among friends, and I feel sad now to find that some of those friends who were dear to me have been called away. The last of them was your old chief, Major Kemp. My heart was sore, and I grieved very much when I found it impossible to pay my respect to his memory by being present at the interment of the remains of your late chief. It was my duty to remain at the office in Wellington, owing to the trouble that affected our colony and the nation. There were troubles affecting the Empire with which this colony is connected, and there were troubles in the North which deeply affected the Native race, and which, if not attended to with firmness and tact and decision, might have caused great trouble to both races in this colony. As the servant of the Queen, I had my duty to do, and I had to remain in Wellington to do it. Though I was not present with you in person I was present in spirit. In the person of my friend and colleague, Mr. Carroll, the Government was represented. The Queen was represented, and every honour was paid to your departed chief. You have said you are pleased that honour was done to your late father by the Government granting him a military funeral. Though the outward covering differed from that of the Europeans with whom he was fighting side by side to maintain the mana of the Queen, still, the blood that flowed through his veins was of the same colour as theirs, and his loyalty to the Throne was as strong—nay, perhaps it was stronger—than that of some who were different from him in colour. In life he was honoured by our Queen, who presented him with a sword for the deeds of valour performed by him, a circumstance you have mentioned to me to-day. He risked his own life—many of those belonging to him lost their lives—to maintain her mana—to maintain peace, and to see that the law of the Queen was observed. He saw that unless the law of the Queen was maintained it would cause great injury to both races, and more particularly to the race which he so nobly represented. He therefore deserved all the honour that was paid to him; and if our attentions have, in some measure, assuaged your grief, then I say we are pleased to hear it. The will of our Great Father reigns supreme. Less then two months ago I shook hands with your departed chief; but little did I think it would be for the last time, and that I should never again see him in this world. There was one pleasing circumstance in, connection with our last meeting, which arose from the fact that at the last public function your great departed chief attended he proposed the toast of my health and that of the Government, expressing his pleasure at seeing me, and his satisfaction at the work we were doing. Those who wrote that a cloud had passed between us wrote that which was false There was no cloud existing between myself and the departed chief. It is hard indeed to bear the loss of a friend, and to know that you will never see him again on this earth; and it is an outrage upon fair and legitimate journalism to find oneself accused of hastening the end of that friend. I have a great love and respect for the Native race, and as Native Minister I have worked with you to save your land; and I say that nothing has pained me so much as to find it said that I or my Government had done anything to cause the death of one so dear to me, and one who had rendered such single services to the colony. Left to himself, your late chief was a man of high honour—a man of self-sacrifice, possessed with an earnest desire to serve the people whom he loved so well: but there are designing pakehas who would poison the minds of the Natives to their destruction, and whose hand was not raised to serve the Native race, but to seize their land. If such actions are not stopped the result must be disastrous, for designing pakehas will, in the end, have the land. Who are the pakehas who have been mentioned in respect to these malicious and vindictive statements that have been made? Metaphorically speaking, they are sandwich-men one day and the next day you find them rich is this world's goods. Where did their riches come from? How did they become wealthy? It is your wealth they possess; it is wealth obtained from the land they have swallowed. You become page 35poor and they become rich. If your departed chief could return to you, my opinion is that he would hang on the nearest tree the men he heard make such scandalous statement against myself or the Government. Now, I have said that, owing to the misrepresentations made to them, the Maori chiefs and their people are led into serious trouble. You go to law, and fight each other in the Court. When you commence your fighting the land is yours, but when you have finished the lawyers and the agents have swallowed it. To-day you have mentioned the fact your departed chief was fighting with the law, and the Courts and the law are all-powerful. What has been the result? Who has profited by this? Can you tell me any Maori that is better off by this going to law? I tell you that there is no Native better off, and, what is more, I tell you that many have became impoverished. Can you hand down to your children the land handed down to you by your ancestors, as your fathers handed it to you? What has become of Horowhenua? To whom does it belong now? Can those lands be handed to the children of the departed chief? What caused it to go to the pakehas and the lawyers? What has been the great cause of the trouble from the commencement? I intend to put the blame on the right shoulders to-day. Was it the Government that brought on the litigation in respect to Horowhenua? It was the Native disputing amongst themselves that caused the matter to go to the Court; and I have no hesitation in saying that behind all this there were the designing persons. From the commencement we have found the designing pakehas saying to the Maoris on the both sides, "Take your case into the Courts"; and we shall probably find this continued to the finish. The lawyers, on the one side and the other, are swallowing the land, when you return from the Courts financially poor and injured in health you find your land gone, and yourselves the victims of designing pakehas. As Native Minister, I frequently see the papers on Maori matters, and I say the charge that are made to the natives in connection with Courts business, and the removal of restrictions to enable the Natives' land to be sold, are often scandalous. In one case the value of the land was £250, and the lawyear' and other expenses amounted to £150. I will instance another case to show you how yon are fleeced: A Native wanted £1 from a solicitor; the charges for the loan of that £1 were 12s. 6d., the stamp was 2s. 6d., and the interpreter's charge was £1 12s. 6d. The Maori got £1. and paid £3 7s. 6d. for it. I hope I have made it clear to you that the greatest enemy you have, as a race, is the land agent, the Native agent, and the lawyer. Enough of this, for I am not here to-day to go deeply into the wrongs of the Native race, or to show that the troubles of the past and of to-day rest not with the Natives themselves but with the designing pakehas whom I have referred to. I say that, left to themselves, the Natives as a race are well-meaning and hospitable—nay, I have no hesitation in saying that they are the noblest of the aboriginal races in the Queen's dominions. I came here to-day to condole and sympathize with the relatives and friends of the departed chief, Major Kemp. It was pleasing to me to hear from the lips of his daughter her kind words of welcome. I know that her loss is irreparable: time alone will assuage her grief. She and the other relatives must look forward to meeting the departed chief in a better world. To see the daughter of the late Major Kemp takes me back twenty years —to the time when I was on this spot. She was then quite a girl, and her father was in the full vigour of manhood. Time has been doing its work. The ravages of time are beyond the control of man; but there is one pleasing feature, and that is, that from that day to the day your chief departed there was always a great personal friendship existing between us, and the cloud you were told had gathered existed simply in the minds of designing pakehas — men who sought to injure the living through the death of a dead friend. Enough of that. You have made requests to me to-day, and I will now proceed to deal with them. I have already said that the last occasion on which I met Major Kemp was at Hastings, when I was there expounding to the Natives the principles of the policy in respect to Native land. I will now proceed to explain the proposals to you. In the first place, the Government concur with the Natives in saying that the time has arrived when the sale of the Native lands must be stopped. We see that there is only a remnant of the Natives remaining: we concur in the last words of Major Kemp: we believe that in saving the land we are saving the Native people. Unleas something is done the result will be that there will be a large number of landless Natives—a large number of Natives will become a discredit to their race, and a burden upon the Europeans. How can we save your land? That is a question which has caused us great anxiety. So far back as 1886 my late chief and friend, Mr. Ballance, placed upon the statute-book an Act of Parliament which, if carried out, and unrepealed, would, in my opinion, have saved the race and saved the land; but the intention of the Legislature was frustrated by designing pakehas. Then you had 15,000,000 acres of land; now you have 5,000,000 acres. What has become of the other 10,000,000 acres? It has been frittered away. In view of the shocking example that we have, I am fain to believe that Parliament would assist you and the Government to pass the proposals which I have explained to you. I have already said that Parliament in 1986 laid down certain principles with regard to your land, which I hope to consummate in 1998. I take it that all the Native land now in existence is wanted for your support. I hope that you will increase in numbers, and if you do so more land will be required, for without the land you and your children cannot live. To conserve the land, we say that Boards or Councils shall be set up. These Boards or Councils shall be composed page 36of Europeans and Natives, two of each race, along with the Commissioner of Lands as the Chainnes of the body. The colony is to be divided into districts—for instance, there will be a wanganui Council, which will simply deal with the lands in that district. Now we are not going to force this low upon you. If twenty owners in say, the wanganui district ask that the law shall obtain and the lands vest in this Board, and that no more land shall be sold, than we submit that to the Native in the district; or if twenty Natives object and say they do not want the law to be enforst in thair district, than the Government say that the majority of the landowners in the district most decide whether or not it is to come into force—the Maori men and women will vote "Yes" or "No," just in the same manner as they select members of parliament If the majority say that the law is to come into force, no more land will be sold. In this way we propose to treat the native as we do the Europeans, by giving them the power of self-government. These board will take the place of the native Land Boards, because the questions of succession and partition will be decided by them. If you want to do away with the courts, this is the thin edge of the wedge. I am prepared to put into this law a clause to the effect that no lawyer or agent shall go before the Boards in respect to any matter affecting the native race. The Native agents and lawyers know that this is coming and what in they doing in consequence? They are following me about, and wherever I explain the measure to the Natives they follow up and poison the minds of the Native against the proposals You have had them here already, and I warn you against them. They are your enemies. They have wronged you in the past, and they will wrong you in the future. When they come to you again tell them that you have got wool in your ears—turn a deaf ear to them. We therefore intend to ask parliament to give money to these Boards to be expended in making roads and in opening to the land for settlement, just as we are spending money to open up the lands of Europeans for settlement. I should say that a very large area of Native land is away back from settlement and has no road leading to it–there are no means of getting to and from it. Without roads the Europeans will not lease it; even the Natives themselves are kept from the land on this account Stock or produce cannot be brought to or from it; and I say that the want of roads has retarded the settlement of your lands to a large extent. Further, we intend to ask parliament to vote sums of money to be lent in advance to the Native owners upon the security of the land. We realise that if there is a sudden stoppage of the sales of land the Maoris will have nothing whatever to their necessities with. We therefore say that, pending the receipt of rents from the leasing of the land, the necessities of the Native owners must be met Accordingly, we intend to ask only 5 percent, for any advances. At present you often have to pay as much as 100 percent.–in fact, the money is almost swallowed up before you get it. We shall only ask for repayment after a term of forty two years. Under the present Loans to Local Bodies Act the 5-per-cent. loan for twenty six years pays off the loan in that time; of that 5 percent, the colony find 2. In this case the colony will not make you a present of any money, but we propose to extend the time to forty two years at the end of which time the debt upon the land will be paid off. By these proposal you will see that the land cannot possible disappear from you. You may go to Court in respect to the division of the proceeds, but the land itself will remain, no matter how you fight as to the division of the rents. Already an attempt has been made to prevent these proposals being adopted. It is said, " Oh, we shall have a Maoriland autocracy; we shall have the Maoris going about like aristocrats." But I say, supposing this happens, we have already pakehas who have robbed the Natives of their land–who have paid the Natives only about a twentieth part of the value of their lands; they ride about in their buggies, and are the wealthy people of this colony. If it is wrong, as some people say, for the Maoris to deal with the lands as they like, then I say it is wrong for these Europeans to become aristocrats also. If it is wrong in the one case, then it is wrong in the other. If you divide 5,000,000 acres, which represents the number of acres you possess, among the forty thousand Natives, then I say you will never find the same monopoly existing among the Natives as exists at the present time among the Europeans is different part of the colony. It can truthfully be said that large landowners among the Europeans often refuse food and shelter to their own flesh and blood, but it can never be truthfully said of the Maoris that they ever refuse food and shelter to those of their own race. To their credit be it said, none shall want so long as the food is there in the kainga. It cannot be said that the Maoris keep large sums of money in the bank—that they get rich whilst others ate poor. It cannot be said that the Maoris send their moneys out of New Zealand, or spend it out of the colony. If this drealed trouble which is predicted–the Maoris becoming landowners, and becoming very Wealthy–were to result, well, all that I can say is that they spend every penny they get, and most of it in the localities in which they live, and these places, therefore, profit by it just as much as they would form the expenditure by Europeans. But sometimes the Maoris throw their lands down [unclear: the] throats in the shape of fiery waters. I would not like to see their lands leased and then find the rents being squandered. One of the great benefites of the proposal is this: that we want to [unclear: han] the land cut up, and to give to each Maori his own section, so that he can cultivate it in the way his father did in the old days. The claims of the landless Maori shall have first consideration is the dealings of the Board. The Native owners are to have sufficient land for their own use, and it shall remain for them and their children for all time. Then, next in order are the landless page 37Natives: they shall have the first right to lease. They must, of course, pay rent for the land just as theEuropeans do. The surplus lands are then to be thrown open for leasing by the Europeans. I have a stated briefly what the proposals in respect to your land are. You will now discuss the matter amongst yourselves. One of the points you will contend for is that the Boards or Councils shall be composed wholly of Natives; but I feel satisfied that Parliament would not grant that to you. You will have to go to Parliament for sums of money to road your lands, and to meet your necessities until the rents come in. Parliament would, therefore, not grant your request for your sole control and the proposal would die. If in time, as the measure is worked you prove to be capable of administration and careful of the money granted by Parliament, then Parliament may give an extension of the representation of the Maori race upon these Councils; but parliament will want you to prove that you are capable of self-government; that you can administer your lands with the assistance of Europeans; and then, as you get trained and understand your responsibilities, I believe further extension of the powers will be granted to you; but when we find Maoris giving £3 for 7s.6d £1, Parliament will be very cautious in granting large sums of money-sums which would, in the aggregate, amount to something like £60,000 a year. So much for the proposals which have to be considered at Papawai. If the Maoris who are to assemble there say. "We don't want them," then the present unfortunate condition of affairs must go on. We shall not force them upon you. We are appealing to your reason and to your better nature. If given effect to, the proposals will mean the preservation of your lands for yourselves and your children. When the chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi they saw the danger that would ensue if free trade in Native land continued. They therefore said that all land-sales must be through the Government. You old men who are here now, and who know that your call to go cannot be long delayed, with the experience of the past forty years and more, say, "Preserve the land for the Natives." The last words of the departed Major Kemp were, "Preserve the land; preserve the people." I say, Let those words sink deep into your hearts; think well over them. I have heard the young people referred to here to-day as the chickens. The chickens have not yet arrived at maturity, and so long as they can get money to go to horse-races, and for billiards, they are satisfied, and do not know that by squandering their money in this way they are at the same time squandering their land. It is a question of too much importance to be settled by the tamarikis; it is to be settled by the rangotiras. You have asked for an opportunity of visiting Papawai, and have requested that the Court here shall be closed. I have no power to close the Court. In the administration of justice and in the Courts the Government have no power to interfere. If we attempt to do so we shall be censured by Parliament; but I can express an opinion, and I say, with a due sense of responsibility, that the meeting to take place at Papawai will be of much more importance than the meeting of this Court. The Court, therefore, should be closed to allow you to go to Papawai. I shall make known my opinion to those who have the fixing of the Court, and the responsibility will, of course, rest with the officers. For its own convenience the Court closes for a week, and leaves you Maoris sitting on the blanks of the river; it goes to Palmerston for a paltry thing. If that can be done, then, on an occasion like this, I say your convenience has a right to be considered, and the Court should adjourn. Now, I have been told that one party alone has been in this place for five months over their business. Some of the parties concerned asked for an adjournment to enable the matter to be settled outside. I know that to be the case. To be here for five months must entail great privations upon the Natives who have come down the river to attend the Court. I shall, with no uncertain sound, impress upon those responsible for this state of things that it is nothing less than a scandal to have the business delayed so long-sometimes to the death of the Natives themselves. Nearly two years ago I distinctly told the Courts that they must go to the kaingas-that they must take the Courts to the Natives-and not drag the Natives to the towns to have their case settled. On my return to Wellington I shall want to know the reason why what is practically a decision of Parliament has not been given effect to, for the matter was mentioned in Parliament on more than one occasion by me. If the Judges cannot go to Pipiriki, then I say that we must get other Judges; we must suit the convenience of the Natives, as the convenience of the Europeans is suited. It is nothing less than a scandal to keep you in these large centres. In respect to these particular lands, if I have my way the Courts will be closed altogether here and sent up to Pipiriki, so that you may go home and have your cases decided at home. In respect to the Ohotu Block, that matter is now in the hands of the Public Trustee. I may say that Major Kemp, in that celebrated speech of his in Wellington, expressed his mind in the direction in which we are going at present in regard to that particular block, and the owners of that block and the Public Trustee are working in harmony together. As to the latter, and as to Horowhenua, there is a Court now sitting, and this means more expenses for lawyers and agents, and ultimately the swallowing up of the land. I say there should be an end to all law in respect to that block of land. It has caused the Government since 1871 great anxiety. All Governments for twenty-seven years have been troubled over it. That the trouble should still continue, and that these excessive coats should still go on, does not reflect credit upon either the Europeans or the Maoris; but I blame designing Europeans for the whole of the trouble. It I could get a return made out showing the page 38amount of money that has passed into the hands of the lawyers in connection with that block at land it would be such an eye-opener to the Europeans and to the Natives themselves that they would support the Government in stopping for all time the continuance of this terrible loss. During all the years I have mentioned no Government ever dared to remove the restrictions on that [unclear: land] because they knew that wrongdoing had taken place. I know the only object of the Minister of Lands (Mr. McKenzie) at the commencement, and now, was that justice should be done, and that for that wrongdoing there should be given back the land which he and I believe has been awarded to the wrong Natives. When the Parliament passed the laws which the Government intended should stop the going to the Courts, more law and more Courts resulted, and it has now got worse than when we first started. It is the lawyers in Parliament who make this mischief. If the laws as introduced by Mr. McKenzie had passed the whole thing would have been settled, and we should have had none of the anxiety, worry, and obstructions of the past few years. If I had my way to-morrow: if I had the power which it is said I possess—the power of an autocrat—I should make very short work of the Courts in respect to the matter. I should do as was done in the case of the West Coast lands, and I would have men appointed with plenary powers to go into the case from the commencement to the finish, and their awards would be binding on all concerned. I know that still further attempts are being made to encourage people to go on with this litigation. I give the advice that a father would give to his children when I tell you not to accept their counsel. If a way can be found of bringing this business to an end amicably, by all means use it, in the interests of your children and your race. There is now an opportunity of stopping the troubles. The lawyers cannot continue their work unless they get the consent of the parties interested and I hope that what impoverished the late chief will not impoverish those he has left behind him. It was the lawyers and the law that left him poor: it was they that caused him anxiety and caused him to grow old. Enough of that subject. I hope that these evils will not continue with those who are left behind him. I have said that the Government desire to have justice done, and we are bound to see that it is done, by the amendments made in the Legislative Council, and the law dealing with Horowhenua. Unless this business is put an end to once and for all, it will go on until the land is all swallowed up. Your father is no longer here to advise you; you have said to-day that I take his place, so I now give you my advice. I say, stop this legal business. When people come and ask for your sanction for further proceedings, refuse it; and, if they come to me, I shall refuse them also. My worst enemy will tell you that I am a strong man, and so is the Minister of Lands; and our strength will be used to try and prevent this litigation, this ill-feeling, and these expensive proceedings. I say, further, that in my opinion, if the matter were referred to a Commission composed of strong men—men understanding the subject wholly, and having the sole power to deal with it—there would be an end to the trouble, and your anxiety would disappear. Our only object is to see that justice and righteousness prevail. It has been asked of me that something should be done in respect to the charges for the carriage of goods made by the steamers playing on the river. I think there must be a mistake somewhere, if, as you say, 1s. 6d. is charged for the carriage of a pound of candles, which only costs about 1s. It is the duty of the Government that no people in this colony are kept in darkness, and I will therefore throw the light of a candle upon the contract we have with Mr. Hatrick, and I feel sure that I will find, under this contract, he is bound not to charge anything like what you allege he charges. I will have a copy of the contract distributed amongst you, so that you will see what you have to pay him. I have always found him a very enterprising man, and if what you say is true, it is probably his servants that have been making a mistake. I do not think he would impose upon the Maoris. Large sums of money have been asked for to clear the Wanganui River. The colony has to find that money to afford conveniences to the public. It is true that the Government have a contract with the owners of the boat, but still there is a responsibility cast upon the Board in the matter of clearing the river. I shall spend no more money if it is to create a monopoly, and if extortionate charges are to be made upon Europeans and Maoris. They have no more right to throw a letter from the Maoris into the river than they have to throw Europeans' letters there. You have just as much right to courtesy and to have care taken of your property as the Europeans have. As Postmaster-General it is my duty to see that your letters are safely delivered; but we must be just in all things. I have only heard one side of the question, and I must ask Mr. Hatrick to answer the charges. It would not be fair to pass judgment until I have heard both sides. If at any time complaints are sent to me by letter I will look into them. I do not think there will be any more of this trouble. The last request I have to deal with is that the Government provide a monument to the memory of your late chief Major Kemp. Only a few months elapsed between the deaths of Major Ropata and Major Kemp. Both they and their friends and relatives bled to maintain the mana of the Queen in this Island. Both were honoured by the Queen when living. The swords presented to them are now the heirlooms of their families—ever to be a graceful reminder of the bravery of their fathers, and of their helping to maintain the peace of the colony by their noble services. I think they are justly entitled to the monument you ask to be erected to their memory. That request will be granted. The Government cheerfully accede to it, and consider that it is only a fitting tribute to the memory of your departed chief. I command the relatives to set about page 39selecting the monument they would like to have; that is a matter which I must leave to them. Though I was unable to be present at his interment, I look forward with pleasure to being present at the unveiling of the monument when it takes place. Up to the present I have confined my remarks to the relatives and friends who are sorrowing here to-day. There is, however, a bright side, because I see here with you friends from the north, who are visitors. In the darkest hour of our sorrow to have our friends with us gives us strength, and I feel sure that the presence of these visitors gives strength to the Wanganuis to-day. My salutations and good wishes to them! There will be a large accession to their numbers shortly, for I hear that many are travelling in the direction of Papawai. I think the Papawai meeting will be next in importance to that of Waitangi, and, as wise counsels prevailed when that treaty was made, so I hope wise counsels will prevail at Papawai. The decisions of that meeting will have an important bearing upon the Parliament of the colony. As we consult Europeans in reference to policy measures affecting them, so I have adopted the same course in respect to the Maoris' policy measures which so materially affect their interests and the interests of the children that are to come after them. I shall be present myself at Papawai to discuss these questions with those assembled there. Of course, if the result is that the proposals are approved by the Maoris, I shall proceed with the measure. If it is passed, there will be a stoppage of purchase of Native lands, and there will be a stoppage of the Land Courts. If the law is not passed we shall have to go on as we are doing at present. Whilst we are purchasing land I feel that we are doing an injustice to the Natives, and though my heart will bleed if forced to go on as at present, still, there is nothing else for it; the law must be carried out. Strong as I am, I cannot fight both races. I cannot fight the Natives who dispose of the land, nor the Europeans who would deprive you of it. Even though the Natives approve of the proposals, I know that I have got a stiff fight before me to get the measure placed on the statute-book of the colony. In Parliament we find representatives of the pakeha-Maori, representatives of the land-grabber; we find the vultures asserting their right to pounce upon the beautiful little birds below. Already the bugle has been sounded; already in the columns of some of the papers representing these people it has been stated that the Government are not to be allowed to pass these proposals. Feeling strong in their justness, and being fully satisfied of the great advantage that will result to both races by passing this Bill, I say I am determined to proceed with it if I have your support. In conclusion, let me again express to you my heartfelt sympathy in your sad bereavement. I hope that with time, and by the sympathy and help of your friends, your grief will be assuaged. It must be a source of comfort to you to feel that when he was with you, Major Kemp was shown every respect, and received every comfort; and it must also be cheering to you to know that if you live good lives there is a hope of your meeting again in a better world, where parting never takes place. May the good-feeling that now prevails always remain; and I trust that no dark cloud will ever come between us. May every happiness and prosperity attend you.
Tikirangi Mete Kingi: We did not approach the Public Trustee in reference to the Ohotu Block. We have no desire that it should be placed under his control. It was simply Whataro (?) who did that. The Public Trustee went to Galatea, but no Wanganui people attended his meeting. The papers are making a great talk about the Public Trustee, but the people who own the land have no desire for the Public Trustee to have anything to do with it.
The premier: I will save further talk over this matter by saying that the Ohotu Block cannot be placed in the hands of the Public Trustee without a law being passed by Parliament. I shall give a preference to the legislation that I have mentioned to you to-day. Under this you will be given a right to deal with this land yourselves. The one Bill would simply be a local Bill, and therefore I think a general Bill dealing with the Maori lands throughout the colony should be given preference. You understand my mind upon this subject. I should be sorry if the Public Trustee has been misled. He did tell me that the owners requested that a law be passed, and I shall see him on my return in reference to the matter. You had better have a communication, signed by the owners, saying that you do not wish this particular Bill to be proceeded with at present. You need have no anxiety in reference to it.