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Statement by H. K. Taiaroa, M.H.R., on the Report by Judge Fenton on the Petition on the Ngaitahu Tribe

[Translation.] — Statement in writing by H.K. Taiaroa, M.H.R., in reply to the words of the Report by Mr. Fenton, Chief Judge of the Native Land Court. (G.—7a., 1876.)

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Statement in writing by H.K. Taiaroa, M.H.R., in reply to the words of the Report by Mr. Fenton, Chief Judge of the Native Land Court. (G.—7a., 1876.)

That report was sent in by Mr. Fenton to the Government in order to be laid before Parliament, for the information of the members thereof, and for investigation by all the people of the world.

Mr. Fenton's paper is a very long one, and it is thought that he has expended all his great thoughts in composing his statements in reply to the words contained in the petition of Ngaitahu.

Mr. Fenton commences by referring to the tenths, and says (quoting the petition),—"That the Native sellers of the Middle Island were promised that one acre in every ten should be returned to them, under an arrangement made with Mr. Wakefield in 1844."

1.I will reply to what Mr. Fenton says about the tenths. I do not consider that Mr. Fenton has given any opinion at all on the subject. I think that he has withheld his opinion on the subject of the tenths, or that his knowledge has not grasped it; but let me say that whether he himself was the cause of it being set aside, or whether it was through his advisers, I will make a statement that the ears of Mr. Fenton may hear it, and that his eyes may see it. I would say that in the year 1844 the Maori people of New Zealand were iguorant of this matter of land-selling; they did not know what they were doing, because at that time they would have given New Zealand for a word—for an axe or a fishhook. Neither at that time were they able to write or to read. However, at the time of the sale of the Otakou Block—as they allege in their petitions to Parliament in the years 1874 and 1875—they urged Messrs. Wakefield and Symonds to pay them a large price for their land. Wakefield was not willing to do so, and the Maoris then proposed to drop the sale. Wakefield then urged the Maoris to consent, but they refused. Wakefield continued to urge them, and, thinking that it was likely that he would not be able to obtain that land, he proposed that the Maoris should consent that there should be one piece for the Maoris and one piece for the Europeans, besides the lands excepted for the Maoris alone. Wakefield and his companions explained this to the Maoris, and they further explained it while they were talking by making a drawing upon paper to make it clear to the Maoris, thus: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Number 1 is a piece for the Europeans, number 2 for the Maoris, number 3 for the Europeans, number 4 for the Maoris, and so on until the whole of the Otakou Block was taken up.

It was the Europeans who said that one acre out of every ten should be set apart for the benefit of the Natives, and I know that the statements made by the Maoris are correct. The Maoris also say that when the deed of cession was read over to them, the words "one piece for the Europeans and one piece for the Maoris" were read over to them on the day on which the names were affixed to the deed of cession.

But indeed there is a great deal of evidence in support of these statements, if the hearts of the Europeans are inclined to seek out what is just.

Look, for instance, at Captain Symonds's letter of the 2nd September, 1844, where he states that he omitted to refer in the deed to further land for Ngaitahu, at the suggestion of Wakefield that he should omit such reference.

You will also see in Wakefield's letter to the Company, of the same year, 1844, where he says that he did not make any reference to further land for Ngaitahu because there was no survey or available for the purpose of cutting off these acres for the Maoris at that time.

Also see the New Zealand Constitution Act, 15 and 16 Viet. e. 72, passed by the Imperial Parliament, providing for the conduct of affairs by that Company purchasing land in New Zealand; and also the words of direction by the Imperial Parliament that the Europeans were to act with justice and truth towards the Maoris, and that their purchases of land were to be in strict accordance with that law of that Imperial Parliament.

I will reply to the first statement by Mr. Fenton about the tenths, that being the first statement in his report.

I will not believe, neither will any true-hearted man believe, neither in the heavens nor in the earth nor under the waters nor under the earth.

This is the reply to the first statement of Mr. Fenton:—

There is no truth in this word, which states that the Ngaitahu were confused. I do not consider that they were at all confused between the old and the later purchases: but Mr. Fenton is confused in his statements to this Parliament. He is publishing statements in ignorance of the facts. If it be stated that what he has said is correct, then for the first time is a man found whose knowledge is like unto that of a god, who is able to see where people are wrong when he is many hundreds of miles distant across the broad sea of New Zealand.

With regard to Mr. Fenton's second statement,—

The Maoris say that Mr. Kemp did intimidate them by using these words: "If you do not consent, the money for your lands will be given to Ngatitoa; if you still persist in holding on to your lands, soldiers will be sent to kill you." This is correct, for there are many people to assert that what is here stated is true. I will not conceal anything, but speak out boldly. Mr. Kemp was on board a man-of-war which went South, to the Auckland Islands. On his return from thence, he went to Otago and asked my father, Taiaroa, and other chiefs, to go to Kaiapoi or Akaroa to sell land. These chiefs accompanied Mr. Kemp on board his man-of-war; there were Taiaroa, Karetai, Haereroa, Horomona, Tare te Kahu, Wi Potiki, and others. As they were sailing along the coast, Mr. Kemp said to the chiefs. "Where shall be the boundary of the land to be ceded to me?" They replied, "The land along this coast, but not to go to the other side of yonder mountains." That was the only time when the chiefs pointed out (the boundaries) to Mr. Kemp. On board the man-of-war they employed themselves in drinking grog, getting drunk, &c., &c. On the man-of-war reaching Akaroa, Mr. Kemp and his companions, the chiefs who were with him, went ashore to the Frenchmen's house, at Akaroa. Some of the chiefs of Kaiapoi had arrived there, and Mr. Kemp had a meeting, when his purchase was refused by that runanga. Mr. Kemp with his companions went on board his ship, and there he pondered over what he should do on account of the non-consent of the Maoris. Mr. Kemp then sent for the Maoris to go on board the ship, and urged them to take the money, saying that, if they did not page 5consent to take he would give it to the Ngatitoa. That man-of-war was not dry land; she was a ship on the sea. The Maoris urged for a very much larger price for that land; they did not consent. Whereupon Mr. Kemp said to those chiefs. "You must consent to the sum of £2,000 as an advance on account of your land." The Maoris said to Mr. Kemp, "You will get all our land by that proposal of yours; rather let us go and mark off the boundaries of the land and except the portions to be reserved for us." Mr. Kemp thought to himself it would be best to keep to the vessel; for if I go ashore to look at the land I am to cut off. I shall not get the land.

Mr. Kemp then spoke in this manner: "Wait until I return; but do you consent to execute the deed of sale. Do not be afraid about your land, for it will not go, but it will be left for the Government to look after your lands. Your places of abode, and your places from whence you obtain food, shall be left for you and your descendants after you, and by-and-by the Government will set apart some land for you, when the land shall be surveyed."

Mr. Kemp then wrote out his deed, setting down such words as be pleased, to the detriment of the Maori people and the Maoris who were intoxicated with the liquor on board of the vessel. The Maoris agreed to take that advance from Mr. Kemp—to receive the sum of £2,000. When the deed had been written, it was read over, and £500 was to be paid to the Maoris. When some of the chiefs of Kaiapoi heard that only £500 was to be paid, they abandoned the sale, and the most of them went ashore, leaving those on board the vessel who took the money and wrote their names to the deed. Some of the Maoris say that they do not remember having heard the words of that document of Mr. Kemp's, owing to the great quantity of grog with which they were supplied by the sailors of the ship. After this Mr. Mantell was the Commissioner instructed by the Governor to go to arrange about the sales by Ngaitahu. The Maoris then urged that the inland portion of the country should be cut off, and Mr. Mantell said that it would not do, because it was included in Mr. Kemp's deed. The Maoris told Mr. Mantell that they had not agreed to that, and requested Mr. Mantell to go away, saying that they had been deceived by Mr. Kemp, in that the inland portion of the country had been included. Mr. Mantell considered that probably the Maoris would not consent, probably the land would not be obtained, and probably Mr. Kemp's deed would be of no effect, and Mr. Mantell made the following statements:—"The inland portion, which you are urging to have excluded, is, I consider, all fixed in Mr. Kemp's deed." The Maoris said, "The statements in Mr. Kemp's deed have been put in by him secretly and without authority." Mr. Mantell said, "Take the balance of Mr. Kemp's money. (1.) The Government will pay for your land hereafter; (2.) schools will be established at each kainga of yours throughout the tribe of Ngaitahu; (3.) hospitals for you for the relief of your sick; (4.) the Government will always take care of you and feed you, that you may live."

Then only were the Maoris willing to write their names to Mr. Mantell's document giving money. That money of Mr. Mantell's was part of Mr. Kemp's £2,000, which was the subject of the talk at Akaroa.

All the world knows that it is true that the Government deceived the Ngaitahu and others of the Colony of New Zealand.

I will reply to Mr. Fenton's word, that the Ngaitahu were in dread of the inroads of Te Rauparaha. Mr. Fenton says that Mr. Kemp did not use the name of Ngatitoa towards the Ngaitahu It is correct that Mr. Kemp did intimidate the Ngaitahu by using these words: "If you do not take the money. I will take it away to the Ngatitoa; and if you still hold out, soldiers will be sent hither to take your land." For you have referred in your report to the name of Te Rauparaha. I have heard that statement made respecting Ngaitahu during every year from the Commissioners, from the Ministers of the Parliament, and also from you, Mr. Fenton, that the Ngaitahu were a beaten people. I do not give credence to what you say, neither will it be believed by people who know the customs of war. Will you state boldly what battles Te Rauparaha gained, and the fightings in which his warparties proved the stronger? In my opinion, Te Rauparaha was not victorious in his later fightings, and did not gain the last. You should be careful; you have revived those things, your report will be the commencement of discussion between you and me in the future.

You also refer to the Europeans having brought peace. I reply to that, that I would rather be dead than live to witness the distress and pain which my people suffer through the deceitful and unfulfilled words of the false-speaking race the Europeans.

You any Qui sentit commodum, sentire dibet et onus; but I have not seen any benefit derived by myself and my people from the Europeans. This is what I say: He who speaks falsely to another ought to feel the flames of hell.

With reference to the third paragraph in your report, do you believe that the land was surveyed before the purchase by Mr. Kemp? I heard that there was no plan, and that no surveyor had gone to survey Mr. Kemp's land, yet he falsely said in the deed that the land was shown on the plan. That statement was false and deceitful.

In your remark No. 4, you say that "you do not believe, and no one can believe who knows that gentleman, that Mr. Mantell used the threats attributed to him." You must be the only person who has not read Mr. Mantell's letter to Her Majesty's Secretary of State in the year 1856. You and your unbelieving friend had better go back and read these papers, and then he can fairly send in his report to Parliament. If you have a fault to find with the Maoris, you can keep your opinion; it will not be believed, except perhaps by your advisers who set you up.

In paragraph No. 5, you say that Mr. Alexander Mackay was a zealous adviser. I will not admit that what you say is true. Mr. Mackay worked on the side of the Government. He did not do much for the Maoris, excepting perhaps in disputes of Maoris with Maoris; but he was not very strong in disputing with his masters, the Government. Also Mr. Rolleston, he worked for the Government on the side of the Crown.

There was only one man with the Maoris, and that was the lawyer. However, he spoke as to the [gap — reason: damage] of the deed of cession, whereupon your Court deceitfully had written the name of your new [unclear: Governor—viz.,] Governor John Hall. The statements made by that Court were all in English. The land the subject of adjudication before your Court in 1868, was Kaitorete, a settlement and a place whence food was obtained by the Maoris. The Court did not settle it. The Court knew at the time that they had page 6done wrong, and therefore they gave land to soften the hardness of the Maoris; but the land Kaitorete, for which that Court was asked, was not returned. After that the Court sat in Otago, to investigate the title to the lands which were reserved formerly. The Maoris asked for no extra land in fulfilment of Kemp's deed; but the Court and the Commissioners said this: "Will not you, the Maoris of Otago and Murihiku, desire some other land in fulfilment of the words of the Government?" The Maoris did not regard with favour that word of Mr. Alexander Mackay's. Then they and some chiefs went into a room and there talked, and the land agreed upon was Tautuku, in the Province of Otago, the area being 1,000 acres. That land has again been taken by the Government. After this, the Parliament sat in the same year (1868), and a law was enacted to set right the wrong-doing of your Court, and to give effect to the signing by Governor John Hall of his name to the deed of cession, so as to make valid the wrong work of that Native Land Court.

I say, in reference to those commissioners and the action of the Native Land Court, that it was not true, neither will it be believed by people of knowledge in the future.

Mr. Fenton says that the statements made in the petition of Ngaitahu were not made before the Native Land Court in 1868, or the Court could have given them proper consideration.

I will ask you, Why did you not consider that the words of the petition of Ngaitahu were unknown to you, and they were matters the right or wrong of which had not been inquired into, when you say that "you do not believe, nor can any one believe."

I consider that this objection is a very bad one; it is jealousy towards the Natives, and it is despising them. I will not believe your word that the Maoris have had the benefit, because the land and the property belonged to the Maoris. They did not derive all these from the Europeans, but the Europeans have done the Maoris out of the advantages.

Mr. Fenton says that the Maoris have had hospitals, because the Government institutions have been open to the Maoris.

I consider that the Maoris have not had these hospitals. It was said at the time that these buildings should be put up at the Maori settlements; therefore it is not true that that word has been fulfilled.

Mr. Fenton says that the Maoris have had schools; I do not consider that these schools have been established. The schools which have been built have been done by the colony, and are not schools in consideration of land.

Mr. Fenton says that these promises cannot be the subject of a money compensation. That is correct; these promises cannot be paid for with money, but they can be paid for if it be shown what lands went in consideration of those unfulfilled words; the payment would be the restoration of those lands. That is the only way in which compensation could be made.

I will here quote the concluding portion of Mr. Fenton's report. He says, that the prayer of the petitioners (Ngaitahu) should be granted literally, is of course out of the question; but that the Government should provide a large quantity of land for the Maoris, to put a stop to the continual revival of claims.

In conclusion, I would say, for the information of Parliament, that, with reference to Mr. Fenton's report, the Government suggested to him to report in this way. My reason for saying this is, that he was appointed a Commissioner, and this was what took place in March, 1876, in the Native Minister's room: That Mr. Fenton was to be a Commissioner; that he was to go to the Ngaitahu, and inquire into the reasons from the people who sold the land; that the questions for inquiry by that Commissioner were to be told to him by Ngaitahu, when the Commissioner should sit. The Minister for Native Affairs agreed to this.

The words of the report are merely grumbling words; they have no force. They are deceitful words, and delusive; they are not true.

Mr. Fenton refers to that vessel the "Alabama." Is the same course to be taken with the Middle Island as with that vessel? What was done about her? Did not England pay on her account to the American Government because she was built on English soil?

H. K. Taiaroa.

Wellington, 26th October, 1876.