History of New Zealand. Vol. III.
CHAPTER XX. — 1881—1882. — THE RAID UPON PARIHAKA
THE RAID UPON PARIHAKA.
In the absence of the Governor the ministry promptly concocted a scheme for using the hand of Prendergast to effect their purpose. Te Whiti's mystic language furnished a pretext for the first act of the plot. He himself was accustomed to expound it to his friends in the evening. His esoteric was more intelligible than his public teaching. It had ofoen been admitted that the best Maori authorities “were at variance as to the interpretation to be placed” on his declarations.1 The Governor sailed for Fiji on the 13th Sept. The duration of his absence being uncertain, no time was lost in bringing evil to the door of Te Whiti, whose monthly meeting was to be held on the 17th. A convenient reporter was discovered in the person of Mr.Hursthouse, who had accompanied Captain Knollys (Dec, 1880), and who, with Mr. W. Carrington, another licensed interpreter, had on more than one occasion been told by Te Whiti not to report the Maori speeches because he could not understand them. Hursthouse's telegram to the Native Minister (17th Sept.) began with the words, “Te Whiti's speech to-day very puzzling.”
“positively what he meant. It is true that in one part of his speech he called on both sides now to take up the weapons, but this, which in itself would have seemed alarming, is qualified by another sentence in which he said that goodness was the only weapon which should be victorious, and that the good should rule the world. In short his utterances and those of Tohu were thoroughly ambiguous, and might mean anything.
Such was the report furnished (18th Sept.) to an Auckland newspaper by its correspondent, who added that he gave a “full explanation, obtained on the best authority, in order to allay any causeless apprehension.” But on Monday the Press Telegraphic Association was furnished with a version prepared to please the government. In sending it to Auckland the correspondent added significantly:—
“Although persistent efforts are being made in certain quarters to work up a Maori scare, I still adhere to my opinion that there is nothing in it… I may quote telegrams received to-night by the government which have been courteously placed at my disposal. They are from independent sources, in every way trustworthy. One says: ‘A wellknown friendly chief who was at the Parihaka meeting says: Te Whiti's speech was not warlike in character, and there will be no fighting on the part of the Maoris.’ Another says: ‘Three natives arrived from Parihaka to-day. They were surprised at the reports of threatened hostilities.’ The third telegram ran thus: ‘The natives said this morning that Te Whiti had explained last night the real meaning of his address delivered on Saturday. He said he did not mean to fight, and warned them to be very cautious and not to bring the anger of the government upon them, and to be sure not to be the first to strike a blow, but to carry on the work; and he cautioned them not to give a literal meaning to his speeches until they were explained.’ You will observe that these entirely bear out the views which I telegraphed to you last night.”
The correspondent in writing thus did not attempt to please his employer, who had frequently advocated a resort to violence to cut the knot which the government could not unloose by law or negotiation. Moreover, the independent telegrams which confirmed the correspondent's views were the property of the government. As, however, the government desired to use the hand of Prendergast to suppress Te Whiti they set aside the peaceful interpretation which Te Whiti placed upon his own words. The editor could not refrain from remarking (22nd Sept.) that it was singular that “Te Whiti having for so long restrained the natives in the face of what were great provocations (road-making through cultivated fields, &c.), should now change his page 275 policy,” when a “contest with the force of constabulary in the district would be utter destruction to the natives.” Such a change would indeed have been strange; but it was not true. It was because “great provocations” failed to shake Te Whiti's patience that his provokers resolved to disguise by misrepresentation the high-handed outrage about to be committed. It ought to have been strange that members of a ministry could so act; but the moving spirits among them were hardened against justice where Maoris were concerned. Conspiracies often breed rumours, and the hurrying of armed constabulary to the west coast proved that the government would wait for no act on the part of Te Whiti. Mr. Rolleston went to Pungarehu and consulted the commander of the constabulary and Parris. It was disconcerting to find that Te Whiti had warned his people that offensiveness would be foolish as well as wrong. If (he said) you were to kill all the constabulary in the camp, hundreds would come to take their places, and the result would be that you would all be killed and the Pakehas would seize “the whole of the land.” These words were flashed to all parts of the colony before Mr. Rolleston arrived at Pungarehu. He telegraphed2 that “neither in Parihaka nor elsewhere is there the slightest indication of any intention of the Maoris to fight. On the contrary, the whole attitude of the natives is thoroughly pacific and good-tempered; while they are engaged to an unusually large extent in cultivation and other peaceful employments.” He received a deputation at Taranaki, and deprecated the “sensational reports which were circulated,” and which drove some settlers to take refuge in the township from an imaginary enemy. The “Southern Cross” steamer going from Auckland to Fiji on the 26th Sept. carried tidings of the rumoured intentions of the ministry. Sir A. Gordon might suddenly return. It was resolved that Te Whiti, whether peaceful or not, should be attacked while Prendergast was administrator. The Taranaki press and settlers goaded the willing ministry. The fences with which the Maoris protected their cultivations were called trespasses “on Crown lands.” Meetings were held at Hawera and other places, and volunteers were enrolled. Authentic evidence was easily obtained. The Rev. Mr. Luxford, a Wesleyan minister, passed through Parihaka, conversed with Tohu, and found that Te Whiti was planting the annual crops with his people.page 276
“The natives were not fencing across the road, but cultivating near the main road, about a mile and a-half from Parihaka, one of their old plantations… They complained bitterly of the land being sold. The natives cultivating at Otakeho are cultivating the same field they did last year before the sale. The natives laugh at the idea of fighting. There was not the slightest sign of war preparations. Every native seemed to be planting.” …
No man in his senses could believe that the Maoris were preparing for violence. A correspondent of the “Hawera Star” wrote:
“Should proper investigation be initiated into the dealings with Taranaki lands, the agitation about Te Whiti will cease. All Te Whiti wants is an investigation into the past and security for the future. His is free and independent action arising from a sincere desire for the administration in their integrity of the public laws as they are inscribed on the code, and he hesitated not to send his people to gaol in the hope that the question might be raised.”
As the government by refusing to afford trial to the prisoners had kept the issue out of court, the writer thought that Te Whiti's followers would meet violence by passive resistance which would “leave nothing for the conqueror” but to arrest them all. It seemed that Te Whiti would undergo martyrdom to ensure legal examination of the wrongs of his people. How he restrained the traditional thirst of the Maori for revenge none of his enemies could divine.
A deputation waited upon Mr. Rolleston, and dissented from his opinion that there was small probability of disturbance. “We understand (said a Taranaki newspaper) that dissatisfied” (the deputation) sent a telegram to Major Atkinson to the “effect that Mr. Rolleston was altogether unacquainted with the exigencies of the present disturbed state.” Atkinson was not deaf to their cry. Wellington was startled on the 29th by a change in the plans of Mr. Hall. He had been about to depart southwards to Lyttelton in one government vessel. He went northwards on the 30th in another, with Atkinson, to instruct Rolleston. On the same day, it was telegraphed page 277 from Hawera that “the Maoris desisted ploughing on the land at Otakeho when requested. It appears that the former proprietor of that portion of Hunter's farm had given them permission to cultivate that small spot.” An Auckland newspaper (1st Oct.) reverberated the blows of the press at the west. It was “incredible that the government should have so greatly exaggerated the peril of the hour, or have been so entirely without a defined policy that matters are to remain as they were, plus a large addition to the expenditure of the country.” Mr. Rolleston “reports to his colleagues that all is peace at Parihaka,” but, if so, “why is there all this fuss and expense?” … Unless the government were possessed of information unknown to the public, “we do say that energetic steps should be taken promptly to suppress the long-standing nuisance of Te Whiti and Parihaka.” The “New Zealand Herald” was by no means the most malignant enemy of the Maori race, and yet it appeared incapable of understanding that Te Whiti and his people had been plundered by expulsion from their cultivations, of which successive governments had guaranteed to them the peaceful possession. If a government, reprobated by a newspaper, had marched an armed body of men to seize the premises, destroy the machinery, and imprison the staff, it is possible that the editor might have comprehended the case of Te Whiti. Fortunately at this juncture another editor sent commissioners to the spot. Messrs. Crombie Brown and Hamilton were deputed to visit the west coast on behalf of the “Lyttelton Times.”
Hall and Atkinson returned to Wellington, and on the 3rd Oct. all felegrams from the west coast said that perfect peace prevailed, but it was “well known that Atkinson had all through wanted firmly to settle the question,” and had been persuaded by his colleagues not to resign with Bryce in January. On the same day, the inspired “Taranaki Herald” deplored Rolleston's want of earnestness. He was “well-meaning,” but the writer “dreaded the future if Mr. Rolleston continue to hold the portfolio of Native Minister,” and sneered at him for saying that the newspapers were responsible for much mischief by publishing “false reports.” On the 5th, it was stated in a west coast newspaper that Bryce had been invited to join the ministry, and had page 278 declined, because they had not assigned him pre-eminence. On the 4th Oct., Mr. Hamilton telegraphed that Major Atkinson had informed him that the “government had ascertained from trustworthy sources that Te Whiti disclaims the warlike interpretation of his late speech.” Mr. Rolleston declined to tell the settlers what the government were about to do, but said that peace was well assured, and that the large cultivations at Parihaka were evidence of the peaceful intentions of the Maoris. He visited Te Whiti. The result of his interview was concealed at the time. The placidity of the chief would have made an attack upon him appear ridiculous. But at a later date, in addressing his constituents (26th Nov.), Mr. Rolleston accounted for the reticence of his colleagues. “Te Whiti met me in a very friendly and courteous way to begin with, but refused to admit the right of the government to share the land with him. He took up my hat and said: “If your hat were cut in two, what would be the good of it?” and, “If you come to share the blanket with me, I must decline to help you.” Mr. Rolleston “believed that Te Whiti would have been glad to come to a settlement if he had dared to do so.” As the ministry had resolved upon violence, they were wise in their generation in concealing the fact that Te Whiti's conduct afforded them no justification. Bryce, though not in office, was an adviser. The “Lyttelton Times” (12th Oct.) warned the public of the tendencies of the ministry. The colony had owned itself “in the wrong by instituting a commission of inquiry which has not finished its labour”… If it is not too late, let the Royal Commissioner, Sir W. Fox, before any crisis is precipitated, go straight to Parihaka, and call on Te Whiti to state his claims.” The ministry ought to consider “their duty to Sir A. Gordon,” to whose temporary absence they had assented. “Under these circumstances their evident duty is, except in case of absolute necessity, to await his return before proceeding to extremities.” Such might be their duty, but they had plotted otherwise. After writing a letter to Te Whiti (10th Oct.), Rolleston returned to Wellington, and his assurance that there was no preparation for hostilities on the part of the Maoris was an additional incentive to the contemplated wrong. page 279 Triumph was cheap if no enemy could be met. “It matters not” (said the “N. Z. Herald,” 15th Oct.) whay may “be Te Whiti's intentions, or how pacific that they be. He is a living threat and nuisance, and it is lawful and just to suppress him.” Mr. Oliver, who had quitted the ministry in May, rejoined it on the 18th October. It was whispered that the government had resolved to seize Te Whiti and to confiscate lands which the West Coast Commission had desired to appropriate to the Maoris. “This course (said the “N. Z. Herald”) seems unimpeachable and business-like;” it might alarm the “natives generally,”—but, “on the other hand, it will teach them a wholesome, though not a new lesson.” Armed men were poured upon the west coast, although reporters visited Parihaka freely and saw no sign of warlike preparations.
At this juncture the arrival of a steam-vessel (the “Gunga”) in Sydney made known the fact that Sir A. Gordon was on the waters, bound for Wellington. When he reached Fiji (20th Sept.), H.M.S. “Emerald” was put in quarantine for six days. His duties as High Commissioner in the Pacific occupied him on landing. On the 3rd Oct. the “Southern Cross” arrived at Fiji from Auckland. A Fiji newspaper descanted upon affairs at Parihaka and the intentions of Hall and his colleagues. The enrolment and arming of volunteers, and the vote of credit for £100,000, snatched suddenly before the prorogation, were reported to the Governor in this casual manner and in a note from his private secretary; but it appears from a despatch (22nd Oct.) to Lord Kimberley, that “not a single member of the ministry addressed a single line to him on that or any other subject.”3 Sir A. Gordon sailed for New Zealand in H.M.S. “Emerald” on the 8th Oct. At the same time the “Gunga” left Fiji for Sydney. She arrived there early on the 15th Oct., and reported the destination of the “Emerald,” with Sir A. Gordon on board. The tidings borne by the “Gunga” were flashed by electricity in the customary manner to all parts of the colonies. One telegram, at least, was sent to Wellington. More than usual publicity was perhaps given to her report, because, in page 280 consequence of it, letters which were about to be despatched to the “Emerald,” at the Pacific, were at once diverted to New Zealand by order of the commodore. What information reached the New Zealand ministers may never be revealed. Those who work in the dark will not expose their doings. One thing is clear. If any hint of the “Gunga's” report reached the ministry, they would abandon their designs or execute them promptly. By their manner of action they may be judged. If they were bent on using the hand of Prendergast, they had no time to lose.
Te Whiti's October meeting was to be held on the 17th. It was hoped that he might furnish provocation. He was mystical, and attempts were made to wrest his words to evil import. Man must be humble. It was God who permitted troubles to arise among the nations.4 Generation after generation passed away, and so did the troubles by which they were afflicted.
“A trouble has come now upon us… This day it rests upon me. The sun shall not shine upon the land, but darkness shall be upon all… Weapons shall not be raised against the people in these days, but only against the wicked. The earth will shake and the mountains shall be removed, but my people shall be protected… Though a multitude swarm upon the land it shall not remain… The blood of the prophets is upon the earth, and will be so in every generation. It is I, Te Whiti, who speak to you… We are like a brood of chickens left in the nest by the parents. 5 We have none to assist us; but, though the Almighty has permitted trouble to invade the land, fear not.
Though the land be overrun by a multitude they shall vanish away. My heart is sad. The people are dead and the land is gone. There is no rest, no peace of mind in these days. I always counselled fortitude (manawanui). 6 In time we shall overcome all difficulties. By power and riches the Pakehas overcome the feeble, not only among us, but throughout the world. Guns and powder shall no longer be our protection. Money and guns are not salvation. This is my glorying to-day. God has protected and will protect the people and the land—not guns and powder. I am not swerving. This is what I have always told you… Every year I have been saying, Be patient… This is the day of my boasting. There is none to guide me. I alone can guide you all.”page 281
The “New Zealand Herald” said (18th Oct.) that Te Whiti's claim to have always said, Be patient, was “probably valid;” but it rightly conjectured that his speech would “have no effect upon the measures determined upon by the government. There can be little doubt now that ministers have determined to break up Parihaka, and that what is to be done will be done within a month.” The newspaper harped aright the fears of ministers. Not a month, nor a week, perhaps not a day, remained in which the hand of Prendergast could be used. Bryce was in close conference with them. Whitaker was consulted by telegraph. The hand of Hall, which had simulated the hand of one Governor in 1868, was ready to control that of Prendergast in the absence of another in 1881. Whitaker and Atkinson were of one mind. Rolleston was compliant. Expectation of the return of Sir A. Gordon, which might have constrained sensitive minds to await his arrival, seemed to quicken the acts of the ministry. On the 18th the “Emerald” sighted the East Cape. All that day and late at night the plotters worked. No announcement acquainted the public with their proceedings. A periodic meeting of the Executive Council was held at noon on the 18th, but its decisions were not promulgated. There had been acrimonious debates in former years as to tampering with telegrams.7 The telegraph office was a government department. Whether inspired by divination or fortified by information, Mr. Hall, on the morning of the 19th Oct., took occasion to converse with Mr. Murray, Sir A. Gordon's private secretary, through whose hands a telegram was received on the 16th announcing the immediate return of Sir A. Gordon by H.M.S. “Emerald.” Mr. Hall asked whether news had been heard of the Governor. Not deeming himself justified in quoting private information, Mr. Murray did not speak page 282 of the telegram, but expressed his belief that the “Emerald” “might be looked for at any moment” with the Governor, 8 and that the “Southern Cross” steamer, then overdue, with mails from Fiji to Auckland, would bring definite information as to Sir A. Gordon's movements. Mr. Hall thought, or affected to think, that Sir A. Gordon intended to visit New Guinea before returning to Wellington, but was in all good faith assured to the contrary by his colloquist, who imagined that intimation of the Governor's movements would induce honourable men to await his return. But spirits never finely touched to fine issues saw in that return an incentive to base deeds. Prendergast was of the cabal if not formally a member.
The “Emerald” meanwhile was ploughing the waters close at hand as the plotters plied their tongues and pens on shore. It was determined to accomplish with indecent haste what it might well be doubted whether any upright man could approve. A reign of terror was to be created.
At half-past five o'clock on the 19th, when business hours had passed away, Prendergast appeared upon the scene. He desired Mr. Murray “to summon a meeting of the Executive Council for eight o'clock the same evening.” Mr. Murray complied, “and then went to see Sir J. Prendergast to ask what was the business for which the Council was to meet. He told me, as a secret, that Mr. Bryce was to be appointed a member of the Executive Council. I told him that I had heard rumours of a page 283 ‘proclamation of war.’ The administrator replied that that was all nonsense. That there was to be a proclamation … but that anything like a ‘declaration of war” was out of the question. I said that I supposed before any active hostilities could be undertaken the consent of the Governor or administrator must be in some form obtained. Sir J. Prendergast said: ‘Not at all;’ ‘it was a matter the whole responsibility for which rested with ministers.’ I said that I thought it, at any rate, right to say that the Governor might return at any moment… I gave my opinion strongly, as was natural with my knowledge of Lady Gordon's telegram in the background, and I considered that the certainty of the Fiji mail (already overdue) arriving very speedily, together with the strong expression of my belief that the Governor would be in the colony within a few hours, should be sufficient, if anything could be sufficient, to delay any measures of great importance at any rate until the arrival at Auckland of the ‘Southern Cross’ (steamer from Fiji).”
Perhaps if Mr. Murray had been acquainted with Prendergast's9 opinions on the rights of Her Majesty's Maori subjects he might have had some qualms as to what was about to be done, and what might have been “sufficient” to stay Prendergast's hand. There can be no plea for the ministry but one which confesses a craving to forge, by the hand of Prendergast, fetters which should bind Sir A. Gordon to consummate iniquity sanctioned by his substitute.
The “Emerald” was rapidly approaching the harbour, when “with whispering and most guilty diligence” the ministers hied to their “repair in the dark,” not deeming it possible that any one would be able “to look upon their passes” in their session of shame. The convenient Prendergast, crammed at previous conferences, and ostensibly stirred by an official memorandum by Hall (19th Oct.), signed a proclamation recounting the heinous neglect by Te Whiti of the proposals of the government, and the wrongs done by Te Whiti “to natives as well as Europeans. page 284 … Te Whiti and his adherents must now accept the proposals of the government, or all that they might now have under these proposals will be beyond their reach.” All offers would be withdrawn after fourteen days, unless in the meantime Te Whiti would lick the dust beneath the feet of Hall and his associates.
It could not be, and was not expected that he would do so, and such an announcement was a transparent device to evade the reservations of land which the West Coast Commission had recommended. Remembering that Whitaker contended that confiscation in Waikato would be futile unless it included the possessions of the innocent, the hand of Whitaker may here be seen “writ large”: “Should the natives be so infatuated as to disregard this warning, the government will proceed to make roads throughout the Parihaka block, and to lay off lands for European occupation, inland of the main road. The claims of such natives, under previous promises, will then have passed away, and none of them will be allowed to occupy lands in defiance of the law.” To this consummation had all the works of Whitaker been tending, and a fit instrument seemed now to be at hand.
Mr. Rolleston, as Native Minister, attested the proclamation, and was said to be in full accord with it. The next act in the plot was to replace Bryce as an Executive Councillor, and “Native and Defence Minister.” The “Honourable William Rolleston” was declared to have “resigned.” The Prendergast proclamation was hastily printed and issued in a “Gazette Extraordinary” late at night, and conveyed to newspapers for transmission by telegraph through the length and breadth of the land. The appointment of Bryce was communicated also, but the “Gazette” did not contain it. His departure for Parihaka was arranged for the following morning. The hugger-mugger council and its nocturnal results had not ended when the “Emerald” anchored in the harbour between 10 and 11 o'clock, and Prendergast's derogate authority expired. The Governor did not disembark that night. The new Native Minister was on the road to Parihaka when Sir Arthur Gordon landed soon after 9 o'clock on the morning of the 20th. Rumours ran through the town, and page 285 were flashed throughout the colony, as to dissensions between the Governor and the ministry; and a Wellington newspaper10 declared: “The Governor will interfere at his peril, and should he be tempted to so blunder, he will find that he has made the Imperial authorities directly responsible for whatever results may ensue.”
A less servile Auckland newspaper thought that although Sir A. Gordon had “all the force of character requisite for the performance of what is believed to be duty in scorn of consequence,” he would be too prudent and sagacious to interpose, when the concurrence of the Attorney-General and the Chief Justice indicated that what had been done was lawful. Moreover, a “general election was approaching;” the government would not flinch from its “definite native policy,” and “that this policy has the approval of the country there can be no doubt.” The newspaper had ill-omened reason on its side. The ministry desired a popular cry at the ensuing elections, and calculated that none would be more fit than one based on their determination to push the Maoris from the soil on which the rising tide of colonization still left them a footing. At Taranaki they might hope that their supporters would be elected without opposition. A despatch (22nd Oct.) from the Governor to Lord Kimberley thus explained the facts: “On the morning of the 20th I at once asked for a statement of the causes which had led to so great a change of policy and action. Such a statement has been promised me (by Mr. Hall), but has not yet been placed in my hands. When it is so, I shall be better able to judge how far I am prepared to accept the consequences of measures to which I have been no party, and the justice and expediency of which as yet appear to me very doubtful.” The statement (24th Oct.) was signed by Mr. Rolleston. It concealed the fact that the operations of the government goaded the invaded agriculturists, and it deceptively arrayed rumours and telegrams in order to show that Te Whiti was an aggressor. Fresh from a plot to override all law, Mr. Rolleston said: “Until Te Whiti or his incredulous followers are practically convinced that the statute law of the page 286 colony must take its course, no permanent solution of the difficulty is possible.” Sir A. Gordon (3rd of Dec., 1881)11 told the Secretary of State, in a comprehensive despatch, that he—
“failed to see any adequate explanation in Mr. Rolleston's (enclosed) memorandum of the sudden decision of the government, or proof of the urgency which rendered it necessary to act in the absence of the Governor… If Te Whiti was indeed a trespasser on the land, liable at any moment to expulsion, it certainly appears to me that it would have been desirable that legal proceedings should have been taken against him, and the question at issue decided by the highest and most impartial tribunal before which it could be brought. Against such a proceeding nothing could be said; but the employment of military force, the arbitrary arrest of hundreds of persons, the confiscation of private personal property, the destruction of dwellings and cultivation, and other measures for which an Act of Indemnity may not impossibly be required, appear to me unhappy methods of teaching that the ‘statute law of the colony must take its course.”'
What Lord Kimberley thought of these things it is needless to imagine. What he did was to conceal the despatch from Parliament for more than nine months, and in the meanwhile to induce Her Most Gracious Majesty to confer a title upon Mr. Hall; and in after times Whitaker and Atkinson received the same distinction of which Herman Merivale had deplored the degradation.
On the 21st Oct., it was notified in a New Zealand “Gazette Extraordinary” that Prendergast had on the 19th appointed Bryce to succeed Rolleston. The notice was dated on the 19th, and there had been an ordinary “Gazette” on the 20th containing no mention of Rolleston's successor.
It was determined to pour troops upon Parihaka in such numbers that the Maoris might be quickly crushed. That Te Whiti's followers would obey his injunctions to be peaceful if violent hands should be laid upon him seemed incredible; and volleys fired upon a crowd of men, women, and children, and a conflagration of the settlement, would end all difficulties at Parihaka. While conferences with the Governor detained Hall and Atkinson in Wellington, Bryce was cheered by such a crowd at Patea as had in former years reviled Bishop Selwyn at Taranaki. He sent a copy of Prendergast's proclamation to Te Whiti, who, page 287 after hearing a portion of it read, said: “That is enough, read no more,” and told Bryce's messenger that he had no answer to send. “I have no more to say than I have always said.” Copies of the proclamation were left at Parihaka. It was reported that Bryce rode about with an armed escort.
The New Zealand public were not unwarned of the true meaning of the action of the government. Mr. Stout pleaded, in the name of national justice, the cause of the Maoris. The “Lyttelton Times,” to whose commissioners the public were to be indebted for a knowledge of the truth, recalled with mordant pen the broken promises with which Fox and Bell had shown that government after government had strewn the west coast. Such pleadings were vain. The community as a whole were apathetic, and there were some who were not unwilling that whether by right or by wrong means, what was called “the native question” should be exterminated. The astute Whitaker and his accomplices knew well that to the multitude, which cares not to analyze, the settlement of the question would be pleasing, howsoever brought about. A general election was approaching, and they paraded their intention to crush the Maori at once and for ever. Sir G. Grey had compelled them to do his work by bills which created universal suffrage, triennial parliaments, and equal electoral districts. But he had not cleared the Maoris from the path. They would prove their power to do so. He could not protest, for he had himself, in 1879, been linked with the Peace Preservation Bill thrown out by the Council, and a protest against the action of the ministry might be unpopular. If he should acquiesce in it, the ministry would profit by his implied support. It was necessary to gain strength, and no cry would be more popular than the practical abolition of Maori rights and of all vestiges of the detested treaty of Waitangi. Sir G. Grey justified the ministerial expectations. He would run no risk of defeat by denouncing a brutal march upon Parihaka. Mr. Stout would probably have denounced it if he had been a candidate. As a bystander he appealed in sorrow to his fellow-subjects:—
“I suppose, amidst the general rejoicings at the prospect of a Maori war, it is useless for anyone to raise his voice against the present native page 288 policy. I do so more as a protest than with any hope that any one colonist can ever aid in preventing the murder of the Maoris on which, it seems, we as a colony are bent. I call it murder, for we know that the Maoris are, as compared with us, helpless, and I am not aware of anything they have done to make us commence hostilities.” (He recalled the unconstitutional Acts of recent sessions, and sadly wrote): “We are powerful, they are weak, and that is the only explanation that the future historian will give of our conduct.”
He added to the means by which the truth might be proved, but he did not check the career of the ministry. Within a few days of the publication of his letter, the ministry asked the Governor to sign a warrant calling out volunteers throughout the colony for active service. The request was of little significance, inasmuch as many of the men had already been despatched to Parihaka, without reference to the Governor, whose formal order was held requisite to place the volunteers under military discipline. The ministry represented to the Governor that they “possessed and meant to exercise the power to move and employ bodies of local troops without any reference even of a formal character” to the Governor.12 As it was desirable that forces in active service should be under discipline, Sir A. Gordon said he “had no hesitation in signing the proclamation” (27th Oct.). On that day the “Lyttelton Times” published a narrative of the case of W. K. Matakatea, which Fox and Bell had denounced as disgraceful to the government. “A loyal chief, after waiting for sixteen years to get a formal right to that of which he ought never to have been deprived, and after undergoing imprisonment 13 in a gaol for what, considering his intolerable page 289 grievance, was, if he committed it at all, a mild form of trespass, is to get a title contingent on his keeping the peace which he never broke. This is a fine reward for loyalty, truly.” On the 28th the “Lyttelton Times” concluded an article on the Prendergast proclamation by saying that “a threat to deprive the natives of the west coast of their lands, in defiance of sacred promises, for not at once putting off (their) faith (in Te Whiti) is a piece of wanton cruelty.”
The London “Times” contained at this period a proof of the deception practised upon the English people by the simulators in New Zealand. Supplied with official information, the “Times” correspondent (9th Sept.) reported that “the firm and patient treatment of the native question” was highly successful; that Te Whiti was still vaticinating, “but the government has sold the confiscated territory up to the very gates of his fortress at prices paid by bonâ fide settlers which testify to their confidence that peace will not again be disturbed (one half-acre had brought between £80 and £90). This is the real solution of the native difficulty.” No English reader could gather from these statements that much of the land thus sold was land on which the Maoris had been invited to remain, with a promise that they should be undisturbed; that in the original proclamation of confiscation the Governor assured “to all those who have remained and shall continue in friendship the full benefit and enjoyment of their lands;” that Te Whiti was, and always had been admitted to be, one of those; that the proclamation of confiscation (2nd Sept., 1865) repeated the assurance; that government after government had pledged their frail faith to maintain it; that the roads which the Maoris had been imprisoned for obstructing were in some cases marked through their cultivated grounds, and that Te Whiti had not, and never had had, a fortress.
Simultaneously with the publication of the letter of the 9th Sept. appeared a telegram (22nd Oct.) announcing the threats conveyed in Prendergast's proclamation, the resumption of office by Bryce, and the return of Sir A. Gordon. The prompted telegram declared that the government had “done its utmost to bring the Maoris to reason page 290 … without effect,” that volunteers were being enrolled, and that public opinion in the colony was “strongly in favour of the action taken by the government.” On the 27th Oct., the “Times” devoted a leading article to the matter. It reminded its readers that it had given an account (Sept., 1879) of the “singular personage” Te Whiti; it alluded to the Parihaka difficulty as a dispute about land; and, with truth, the full import of which the writer could scarcely have divined, admitted that—
“the accounts which have so far reached us are meagre and unsatisfactory, and it is therefore not easy to form from them a definite judgment as to the real merits.” The writer nevertheless owned allegiance to principles which were foreign to the Hall ministry. The problem to be solved in dealing with the “primitive occupiers of the soil” could at “best only be solved by patience and forbearance, by strict justice and unswerving fidelity to engagements once entered into. The melancholy history of former wars in New Zealand is, we fear, a proof that this mode of solution has not been uniformly adopted.” … “The contemplated bad faith on the part of the government (in 1879, of advertising land for sale at Waimate, ‘regardless of native claims') cannot but have produced a mischievous effect on the minds of Te Whiti and his followers, and may very possibly account for the present difficulty in dealing with them.” If, however, as had been asserted, the government had become more generous than formerly, the editor thought Te Whiti deserved “very little sympathy.” … We cannot but hope that much “forbearance will be shown, and that native prejudice and even native fanaticism will be respected as far as they can be, without unduly impeding the progress of a higher civilization… The Maori, like every other primitive race, is doomed to gradual extinction… The Maori knows this himself, and his pathetic acknowledgment of defeat is part of the tragedy of human nature. But though the result is inevitable, it is our manifest duty to see that the process is kindly and just.”
The spirit of the article was telegraphed to New Zealand, and was resented by those who, like Whitaker, had argued that confiscation which did not rob the innocent was useless; who, like Hall, saw no wrong in fabricating an order in the Governor's name to defeat a legal claim; or who, like Atkinson, had been reported14 as having, at Hawera, openly advocated the “extermination” of the Maori question. But the words of the “Times” might influence the credit of the colony, and therefore rash apologists insisted that the treatment of the Maoris had not been unjust. Who would scrutinize the past? Selwyn and Martin were dead. Where would be found a man with the patience to page 291 study the subject and revive the thoughts which had died with them, or found only an unregarded echo in the mouth of the upright Mantell? The “Lyttelton Times” (29th Oct.) appealed in vain, and reminded the public that Fox and Bell had deplored “the spectacle of a government allied with spies, and seeking to profit by intrigues” which would degrade it in the estimation of Te Whiti, “and justify his aversion from our rule.”
Armed men were poured to the west. Apprehensions lest Tawhiao should aid Te Whiti were allayed by publication of a telegram from Major Mair to the effect that Tawhiao would not permit any of his people to be drawn into Te Whiti's cause. The announcement was almost unnecessary, for Te Whiti had never sought for countenance at Waikato, and had referred disrespectfully to Tawhiao and Rewi, who reciprocated his contempt. On the 26th, Bryce said he would send a letter to Te Whiti, “roughly speaking,” to the effect that the chief must decide wisely about Prendergast's proclamation. On the 27th, he said: “The Maoris were in great force completing their planting and fencing.” He had heard (3rd Nov.) that no resistance would be made, and thought the Maoris “very foolish if they think to beat us in the way they propose to adopt. They will make it difficult and dangerous for us, but if they persist they will come to great grief.” Finding more than 2000 armed men at his disposal, and that Te Whiti made no preparation for defence, Bryce wrote that he would go in person (5th Nov.) for Te Whiti's answer to the proclamation. “I have had enough of letters. I will read no more of them”—was Te Whiti's reply to the messenger, and to Carrington, the interpreter. He was told that Bryce would be there on the 5th. “Let him come; the way is open. He will find no defences here.” A telegram (30th Oct.) said: “It is deemed certain that Te Whiti will calmly await” Mr. Bryce and his followers. Te Whiti addressed his people on the 31st October:—
“Your salvation this day is in stout-heartedness, patience, and forbearance. I have nothing to conceal from you; you have nothing to fear. You must believe in my teaching or you will die. You must remain at Parihaka, and none of you shall be destroyed. Flight is death. There must be no violence of war, but glory to God and peace among men. You are a chosen people and none shall harm you. Formerly you have been advised page 292 to fight,15 but the weapon of to-day is not the weapon of former years. All fighting must cease. I fight not against men, but rather against the devil and all wickedness, that it may be destroyed. Let us not use carnal weapons. You must not follow your own desires lest the sword of God fall upon you. Forbearance is the sole ark of your safety. As Noah built the ark to carry his people safely through the flood, so let fortitude be the ark to save you. Be patient and calm. Be not anxious in mind. God would be displeased if there were any fighting. Formerly the young have had their own way; let them now sit and watch. Now is the glory of peace upon the land. Let us wait for the end. Nothing else is left for us. Let us abide calmly upon the land.”
Such were the phrases with which an oration, replete with illustrations from the Old Testament, was interspersed. Unable to comprehend Te Whiti, his enemies suggested that his peaceful counsels would probably put him “in personal danger when his omnipotence is disproved by the advance of the constabulary, unchecked by the promised supernatural interference. It would be singular if the government had to protect Te Whiti from being lynched by his credulous and deceived adherents.” A better-informed person revealed in the “Wanganui Chronicle” the esoteric teaching with which Te Whiti prepared his people for the future.
“I stand for peace. Though the lions rage still I am for peace. I will go into captivity… My aim will be accomplished. Peace will reign. I am willing to become a sacrifice for my aim. The Pakehas trouble themselves. They cannot understand my heart. If I desire peace and sacrifice myself for it, is it not well? The Pakehas are indeed robbers… I sacrifice myself that there may be peace. In after years it will be seen and acknowledged though I be no more upon earth. Oh, hardhearted people! I am here to be taken. Take me for the sins of the island. Why hesitate? Am I not here? Though I be killed I yet shall live; though dead, I shall live in the peace which will be the accomplishment of my aim. The future is mine; and little children, when asked hereafter as to the author of peace, shall say—Te Whiti,—and I will bless them.”
The Wesleyan minister (Rev. J. Luxford), preaching at Patea (30th Oct.), exposed the injustice which had been done to the Maoris and that which was in its fell course. The reporter said he was “listened to attentively, but the feeling here is unanimous in favour of war.” “If we do not have a native war,” the “Lyttelton Times” said (31st Oct.), “it will be because Te Whiti is too great a man to be goaded into hostilities.” The same paper declared page 293 (1st Nov.) that Atkinson's re-election had been deemed insecure, and that the destruction of Parihaka was the shameful price for which security was to be bought. Mr. De Lautour appealed through the columns of the same paper against Prendergast's “injudicious and unreasonable” proclamation. Every Maori slain under it would be “a human soul murdered for no better reason than this: That successive ministries have been as fruitful to promise as they have been slow to perform their promises.”
Though Te Whiti's esoteric teachings were published, Mr. Bryce and those who abetted him affected to think that there was danger of war. He reconnoitred Parihaka (3rd Nov.) with his military commander. He was inflated by the unhappy consistency with which the Colonial Office conferred distinction. The “London Gazette” announced (1st Nov.) that Prendergast had been knighted. The tidings were flashed to New Zealand, and gave hope of similar notoriety to others. Yet a sense that his boastful display might be shamed vexed the Native Minister's soul. Colonel Roberts, his military commander, promulgated (2nd Nov.) a notice suspending traffic between Stoney river and Opunake on the 4th and 5th Nov. If the army was to be made ridiculous no vulgar eye was to see it. A correspondent visited Te Whiti nevertheless on the 4th. On that day Bryce ordered that no civilians or newspaper correspondents should approach the scene. Offenders would be arrested. Deputations vainly deprecated his resolution. It was rumoured that many Taranaki volunteers thirsted for blood as well as land; that some of them had sworn to shoot down the first Maori who placed it in their power to kill; and that on the raising of even a wooden weapon death was to be inflicted. An Armstrong gun was placed in position to cannonade the village. While these preparations occupied Bryce's camp a traveller visited Parihaka on the 4th, and reported that “the natives were busily engaged clearing the road to the village and taking out the stumps so that the cavalry and volunteers might have no impediment in their advance.”16 A page 294 “Lyttelton Times” correspondent and others resolved to see the march upon Parihaka despite Bryce's prohibition, which was denounced in the press as tending “to make a fool” of its author. The correspondent was astir long before the army. When about 300 yards from Parihaka, he and Mr. Humphries, the representative of the Press Association, left their friends on an eminence to observe the movements of the army, and by a circuitous course entered the village and explained their object. The Maoris answered: “We quite understand why the government are ashamed that the public should know what they are doing; but we have nothing to be ashamed of, and you are welcome.” The visitors were invited to sit in the mârâê, or meeting-place in the open air; but more distrustful of Bryce than of Te Whiti, they ensconced themselves within a whare, and watched unseen.
In the marae were gathered about 2000 of Te Whiti's followers, men, women, and children, in their best attire. Yet the correspondent observed an air of gloom amongst the grown people. “The whole spectacle was saddening in the extreme; it was an industrious, law-abiding, moral, and hospitable community calmly awaiting the approach of the men sent to rob them of everything dear to them.” The Maori spirit of resentment which was relied upon to justify fire and slaughter, was the spirit which Te Whiti strove to hush. “At intervals” he and Tohu addressed the people on that early morn, enjoining “peace and forbearance under any insults or oppression.” At about 8 o'clock, Bryce on a white horse appeared with his army. He had sent to the rear the correspondents he had found on his way, and knew not that others saw him. He appeared “exceedingly anxious.” “Mr. Rolleston, who was on foot, seemed to regard the whole affair as a good bit of fun.” In spite of Bryce's proclamation that no civilians should accompany the army, he was accompanied by more than one. Some contempt was thrown on the advance by a mimic dance, and songs of derision, the actors being children. Nevertheless, in page 295 solemn form, the unarmed Maoris were surrounded. In earnest words, inaudible to the invaders, Tohu adjured his countrymen, as the armed men stepped within the actual precincts of the encampment. Before 10 o'clock Major Tuke and a civilian were sent forward to obtain Te Whiti's reply to Prendergast's proclamation. Receiving none, Tuke read the Riot Act, and his companion translated it. The Maori assemblage heeded not, but “sat with eyes fixed on Te Whiti. His slightest variation of countenance was reflected on the faces of all, and any words he addressed to those close to him were whispered from one to another until they reached the uttermost circle of the densely-packed meeting.” At 10 o'clock two officers with about a hundred picked men, armed with loaded revolvers, and some carrying handcuffs, advanced to the crowd. Captain Newell told the men to be firm, but to use no unnecessary violence. The correspondent from his hiding-place could have touched Captain Newell with a walking-stick while remarks were being made as to the absence of any newspaper reporters. Tohu briefly addressed his people. “Let the man, Bryce, who has raised these troubles, finish his work this day. Let none be absent. Stay where you are; even though the bayonet come to your breasts, resist not.” Before 11 o'clock the bugle sounded, and the army surrounded the Maoris as they sat. Newell told his men to “clinch the handcuffs tight.” Tuke told them to shoot down instantly any Maori who might use a tomahawk. Still Te Whiti made no sign. Colonel Roberts ordered Hursthouse, the interpreter, to call Te Whiti. Te Whiti declined to stir. If Bryce and Rolleston wanted to see him, let them come. “I have nothing but good words for Mr. Bryce or for anyone.” Bryce desired him to make a road through the people so that Bryce might approach upon his charger. “But some of my children might be hurt.” “No; my horse is quiet.” “I do not think it good that you should come on horseback among my children. If you wish to talk with me, come on foot.” “The days of talking (replied Bryce) are over.” “Since when did you find that out?” “Since this morning.” “I have nothing more to say,” replied Te Whiti.page 296
Bryce ordered Roberts to carry out his instructions. The arresting-party advanced. Tuke directed Newell to arrest Te Whiti. The Maoris made way for the constables, and the chief “quietly awaited their approach.” Some sense of the different demeanour which might have been displayed by Bryce if he had changed places with his victim may have touched Colonel Roberts, for he called to the constables, “Let him walk if he will.” “Te Whiti came away in a very dignified manner, his wife following closely. Tohu was arrested in a similar manner, and also Hiroki.”17 Te Whiti and Tohu spoke to their people. The former said: “Be of good heart and patient. This day's work is not my doing. It comes from the heart of the Pakeha. On my fall the Pakeha builds his work: but be you steadfast in all that is peaceful.” Tohu said: “Be not sad. Turn away the sorrowful heart from you. Be not dismayed. Have no fear, but be steadfast.” As they were led away, a woman sitting near the whare in which the correspondent was concealed expressed sorrow, but another replied: “Why are you grieved? Look, he is smiling as he walks away with the Pakehas.” While still within hearing he turned round and said, in tones which reached all: “Let your abiding be good in this place, oh, my tribe! Works such as these will be finished this day.” The desire of the chiefs not to be herded with Hiroki was regarded; and, while he walked handcuffed, they rode in a vehicle to Pungarehu. The manner in which that which the greatest page 297 of Englishmen calls “the angel of the world” impressed Te Whiti's captors may be gathered from a telegram sent to an Auckland newspaper (9th Nov.). ‘I saw the prophet this morning. He appeared comfortable and unconcerned. His influence seems to be felt by all who approach him; and the roughest men say, with curious unanimity, that he is a gentleman.”
The Maoris seemed disconsolate after Te Whiti's removal. The capture having been effected, Mr. Bryce allowed reporters to appear. The correspondent's coadjutor being one of them, and being informed by a native of his friend's hiding-place, conveyed thither an intimation that he might appear.
“Shortly afterwards we emerged, and if anything connected with one of the saddest and most shameful spectacles I have witnessed could be ludicrous, it was (wrote the watcher) the expression on the faces of the authorities when they saw that their grand scheme for preventing the colony from knowing what was done in the name of the Queen at Parihaka had been completely frustrated. Not an action escaped observation; not an order given was unheard or unrecorded. The kindness of the Parihaka people to me was great, and their satisfaction at knowing that the proceedings would be recorded, very marked.”18
Bryce congratulated his army on their “victory.” Notices calling on the Maoris to abandon Parihaka, return to their native places, and await Bryce's orders, were posted up. The Maoris remained. They were heard to express their hope that at last Te Whiti would be able to raise in the Supreme Court the question of the validity of the extrusion of the Maoris from the lands guaranteed to them. They told a reporter that they knew that Bryce wished them to strike the first blow, but Te Whiti commanded that whatever indignity might be offered they were “not even to lift their hands.” On the 8th, Bryce, with the obedient Hurst-house, called on the Wanganui and Ngarauru people to return to their homes, in order that Parihaka might “be cleared for the people who own it by ancestral title.” The Maoris “took not the slightest notice of the speech.” “Go away, page 298 all of you (he cried); pack up your things; leave this place.” They heeded him not: and the next act in the tragedy began.
The kidnapping of Te Whiti was to be followed by a larceny which was only not petty because it was enacted in the name of the colony and against a whole village, in profanation of the authority of the Queen. The troops proceeded to rob the houses. Fowling-pieces, tomahawks, and axes were piled at the feet of the conquering Bryce. Profound silence was maintained by the Maoris while the army obeyed its director. In Tohu's whare a cupboard was broken open to search for gunpowder, but none was found. If the callous had been capable of generous feeling a Maori woman would have aroused it. In a whare, already rifled by the troops, she found a watch, and thinking that one of the army might have lost it, handed it to an officer, but no military owner claimed it. Before noon every dwelling had been pillaged. Some green-stone articles which were seized were permitted by Bryce to be replaced. Other articles were retained by constabulary thieves who could see no distinction between what was done by order and what was condemned. Arson was the next step in the procedure; but just as the men were about to set fire to Maori dwellings a communication from head-quarters arrested the movement, and Bryce and Rolleston returned to Pungarehu. There, with Atkinson, they plied the electric wire with messages to their colleagues in Wellington. Many telegrams were unrevealed, but the Blue-book contains some which deserve to be quoted. Bryce said to Hall (11th Nov.):
“I never intended to burn, though I have thought, and think, that it may be necessary to destroy every whare in the village if the Maoris hold out. It would be very difficult to distinguish between the whares of the different tribes. Then, again, we are told that the Wanganui, &c., should be ordered to their homes. Well, I have ordered them to their homes emphatically enough, and, apparently, I might as well have called from the vasty deep. Then, as for their apprehension and selection into tribes, people seem to think that each one has the name of his tribe written on his forehead.” (He wanted to arrest a chief) “and there was not a man in camp could identify him. If there is difficulty in such a case as that, consider what it must be with the 2000 men, women, and children who are nobodies. I am pointing out these difficulties that you may consider them when you may hear of my doing things which do not altogether recommend themselves to your mind. I may be forced into a page 299 choice of objectionable courses Moreover, it is extremely probable that wives would be separated from their husbands, children from parents, and so on. Notwithstanding these difficulties, this thing has to be settled, and I am confident I can do it if I am not stopped. That the manner in which I do it will be free from objections is more than I can promise, and I hope that you and my colleagues will put the most favourable construction on things.” On the 12th, Bryce told Rolleston—“I have great difficulty in selecting them.” On the 14th—“A great difficulty now remains, for it is impossible to identify women and children as we have done the men, and they, like the men, remain impassible. We have pulled down the whole of the Wanganui quarters. I ascertained, with considerable certainty, that the whole of the huts destroyed belonged to the Wanganuis. (15th Nov.) There is more difficulty in identifying women than men. It was a curious scene. We brought out into rows about 650 women, and 300 or 400 children, and then proceeded to separate them. (18th Nov.) Have taken nearly 400 prisoners in all to-day. I am going to mark the empty whares to-night at midnight for destruction. (19th Nov.) We have now sent away over 1200 Maoris. (20th Nov.) I intend to pull down a number of whares around the marae to-morrow. (21st Nov.) Pulled down some whares this afternoon, amongst the rest the sacred medicine-house, where people had to take off their shoes before entering. (22nd Nov.) Should additional difficulty arise from want of food, I propose to give the dispersed men road work at low wages; but I will carefully avoid all pampering.”
The last sentence may seem superfluous; but it must be recorded so that men may know how Maoris, who had been guaranteed all rights of British subjects, were treated at Parihaka.
The press, with few exceptions, supported the ministry, and denounced the assertion by the Governor of “exploded” powers, or those which, “whether supported by precedent or authority, were inimical to the constitutional practice of the day.”19 Nevertheless, a Wanganui newspaper, which applauded the ministry for terminating the “miserable state of vacillation and weakness” which had existed for two years, paid a tribute to the captive:
“It is one of the remarkable qualities of Te Whiti that he has risen above the vices of his people, and has obtained his influence by a moral ascendancy as conspicuous as anything in the lives of the greatest men. We cannot, therefore, offer our congratulations on the removal of a standing menace to the peace of the colony without a regret that the order and cleanliness and sobriety which Te Whiti has established at Parihaka should be impaired by the destruction of the ‘mana’ of the chief who has accomplished such reforms.”
Yet the writer not only justified what had been done, but suggested methods of completing the work. The prisoners page 300 might be committed, bail might be refused, the first sittings might be “inconveniently early,” trial might be postponed until the meeting of Parliament, when “a Detention Bill could be passed;” so that “if the government desire to keep their august prisoners in custody they can easily do so, Habeas Corpus and the Bill of Rights notwithstanding.” So hardened were the consciences of some, that these admissions and proposals excited no condemnation. They emanated indeed from a comparatively moderate newspaper. There were other monitors who warned their readers that not a victory but shame was the guerdon won. The “Echo” ridiculed the folly of reading the Riot Act to a “quiet, peaceable, orderly” assemblage, composed in great part of women and children seated in their own village:
“We have searched through the New Zealand statutes and are unable to find any Act whose provisions Te Whiti has violated. He has done nothing; remained in his own village preaching peace. None of the special offences created by the West Coast Settlement Act of 1880 has Te Whiti committed. Justice demands that his offence be named. What is it? To the last he has preached peace. Is this an offence? By his quietness he has shown a noble spirit. Before his accusers he was dumb. When his followers would have raised their swords in his defence, he told them to put them up. He goes quietly with those who arrest him. Could the most civilized act more nobly than he has done? What we dread is that his followers not now constrained by his preaching of peace, may by guerilla warfare avenge the arrest of their leaders. Let us trust that Te Whiti's influence will be sufficiently strong and abiding to prevent such a sad outbreak.”
The “Lyttelton Times” (17th Nov.) arraigned the “blundering and plundering at Parihaka:”
“The error throughout was to ignore the Supreme Court, which Te Whiti evidently has all along wished to try his case. He knew that once before that court the whole question of confiscation must be raised, and that he could, if he wished, appeal against an adverse decision on points of law to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He has tried by peaceful means to bring the question before the Supreme Court, and he has been persistently baffled by the perversity of the government, who believe more in Royal Commissioners and big battalions than in high and independent courts of law. What hollow hypocrisy it must sound in Te Whiti's ear to hear the ministerial parrot-cry of the rule of law, when resort to the highest and purest source of law and justice is studiously forbidden to him. Mr. Bryce appears to have little knowledge of, and less regard for, the fundamental principles of law and justice. Probably, like most half-educated men, he has that smattering of information which makes him think he ought to be a law unto himself. His nature is narrow, obstinate, and autocratic. He has seen somewhere, or been told, that the reading of the Riot Act to a page 301 riotous mob is necessary before recourse can be had by the civil power to the use of arms. He fancies, therefore, that the reading of the Act to an orderly assemblage of unarmed natives—men, women, and children sitting quietly in their own village—is tantamount to a proclamation of martial law, and to his forthwith becoming an irresponsible dictator… . We were lately told by a contemporary… that about 2000 natives at Parihaka, though not arrested, tried, or convicted, were actually in prison, and in the armed custody of Mr. Bryce and his myrmidons. What law, we ask, has made Mr. Bryce the controller of human liberties and lives? What right, human or divine, had he to imprison, to break into houses, and take away other men's goods? He has no more lawful power to do these things at Parihaka than he has at Christchurch… And then we are told that the Colonial Treasurer (Major Atkinson) was foremost in breaking into a hut in a native village far away from Parihaka, for the purpose of seizing arms and ammunition. Under what law was that seizure made?… We look with horror at this wholesale eviction which has been threatened, and which has already commenced. The thought arises… whether our own parlour fires will burn the blither for the smoking hearths which we quench, or our own roof-trees stand the faster for the thatch which we rive off cottar-homes. There is one hope, that if Te Whiti in that ‘due course of law’ to which the magistrate referred him is tried in the Supreme Court and is properly defended, his whole case may be thoroughly sifted, and an opportunity given for the vindication of law in spite of Mr. Bryce and Major Atkinson. But one necessary condition to that end is a change of venue in the trial from New Plymouth… Another condition is that the counsel should be one of colonial eminence… Every provocation has been given to the natives. The absence of bloodshed is owing to the very remarkable restraint—unparalleled, we believe—which, at the bidding of Te Whiti, they have exercised on themselves in most exceptional and aggravating circumstances. It is fortunate for the good name and for the welfare of the colony, that the selfish and aggressive instincts of Messrs. Bryce and Atkinson have been for a time at least overruled by Te Whiti's higher and nobler qualities.”
In another article (9th Nov.), the editor, animadverting on the manner in which the Prendergast proclamation had been procured, said: “The low cunning characteristic of the whole proceeding leads us to suppose that its conception must have originated in the mind of the Attorney-General (Whitaker).”
The reader may judge how far the words of the “Lyttelton Times” would be allowed to weigh on the minds of the ministry or their supporters. The rapine at Parihaka was extended to the neighbouring districts. After the unexplained pause on the 8th, and the consequent deliberations, operations were resumed on the 10th Nov. Supported by armed constabulary, Bryce arrested the unarmed Titokowaru, who had not resided at Parihaka, and had had friendly interviews with Sheehan and other Native Ministers.page 302
Guns and ammunition were seized in every village on the plains. At the head of a separate army, Atkinson attacked Taikatu, said to have been in former years a stronghold of Titokowaru. Atkinson was “the first to enter” in 1881, but the humiliation was on the side of the invading cavalry, for “only a few old women were found in the pah.” Hone Pihama, who had for many years been friendly—who was often consulted by Donald McLean, Sheehan, Bryce, and Rolleston—who was selected to accompany Captain Knollys as an envoy from the Governor—was pillaged in common with his countrymen, although he was exerting himself at Parihaka to induce the Maoris to depart in peace. Old Mete Kingi assisted in identifying his people from Wanganui, but it was piteously pleaded for the government (“New Zealand Herald,” 12th Nov., and in other places) that “the difficulty of identification is beginning to be felt, and will ere long compel a stoppage of arrests, unless these are to be made ‘in bulk.’ “Such indiscriminate arrests were indeed in keeping with other deeds of the day. The government had as little right to arrest Te Whiti as any of the women and children who were torn from their homes. But retail business naturally expands into wholesale. Bryce telegraphed to Rolleston (21st Nov.) that the total number of Maoris “brought up” was 2200. Titokowaru was handcuffed and placed in solitary confinement. “I saw him (it was telegraphed, 20th Nov.) crouching handcuffed like a large dog in a low whare like a kennel. He is said to have refused food a long time.” Though not cannibals themselves, the government could, like Rauparaha, torture an old enemy. No one asked on what ground Titokowaru was arrested. An Auckland newspaper doubted not that the government had “a specially good case” against “the truculent savage,” whom “Mr. Bryce will have to take care that he keeps.” It was added that “the old warrior,” after obstinately refusing food for some days “gave in” on the 21st November. “He will be sent to New Plymouth, where it will be asked that he be bound over to keep the peace. Heavy bail will be asked for, and in the event of his finding sureties and being released, he will again be arrested, and other offences, it is understood, will then be preferred against him.”page 303
Thus confidently was it assumed that law would be dispensed with. What was done may be mentioned. Titokowaru was charged (25th Nov.) with having, on the 12th Oct., in reply to rough banter from Europeans, threatened to burn down a hotel at Manaia. The Bench ordered the old man to find two sureties of £500 (each), to keep the peace for twelve months, and to be kept in goal until he could find bail. “On the whole (a newspaper said) it is no bad thing for Titokowaru that he is safe in gaol for a bit, but the government have certainly got him incarcerated on a plea that would have been held flimsy in the case of any ordinary man.”20 The mockery of the pretence that Titokowaru was dealt with by law must have been represented to Bryce's more artful colleagues, for the old man was charged (13th Dec.) with having wilfully obstructed the informer Hursthouse, by refusing to leave Parihaka when requested to do so. A few months afterwards the fatal defect in the substituted procedure was exposed by Judge Gillies. The magistrates committed Titokowaru for trial.
Two circumstances demand brief mention here. Assured of public support, the ministry procured a dissolution on the 8th November, with a view to immediate elections. On the same day, from that serener air whence the voice of justice had often been heard in New Zealand, Mr. Justice Gillies told the grand jury at Taranaki that he would be wanting in his duty if he did not allude “to the position of the district in which large bodies of armed men were assembled on active service, and he took leave to remind them of the constitutional principle that the employment page 304 of an armed force was only justifiable either under the authority of Parliament in repelling armed aggression, or in aid of the civil arm of the law when that arm had proved powerless to enforce the law's mandates. In any other case the use of armed force was illegal, and a menace to, if not an outrage upon the liberties of the people.”21 The Lyttelton Times” cited this opinion as confirming its own contention, but the government pursued their lawless course. Able correspondents strove to awaken the national conscience, but in vain. Te Whiti and Tohu were delivered to the custody of the gaoler and brought before the magistrates at Taranaki (12th Nov.), charged with using language likely to disturb the peace of the district. C. W. Hursthouse, a licensed interpreter, was the informant. He gave a warlike colouring to the speech made by Te Whiti on the 17th Sept. When the case was resumed (14th Nov.), Mr. Parris went upon the bench. Te Whiti asked Hursthouse: “Have the 25,000 acres reserved by the government for the use of the natives ever been shown to them?” and the answer was: “Not that I know of.” Asked by one of the Crown prosecutors if he could swear to certain expressions in the information, Hursthouse (being, as he was reminded, the informer) replied: “There are expressions in the information which I cannot swear that I heard myself. I got them from other gentlemen who were present.” Mr. F. A. Carrington was on the bench. His brother, W. Carrington, a licensed interpreter and captain in the New Zealand Militia, appeared as a witness. He swore that he had taken the Prendergast proclamation to Te Whiti. Parris put questions to him, which must be recorded accurately as a proof of what the government practised and the public permitted.
“Do you remember you went up with me when I went up to Parihaka to explain to Te Whiti about the land?”—“ Yes. “After I commenced to speak to him what did he say?”—“ He said dogs did not come out hunting pigs without their masters. He then gave a signal to break up the meeting, and refused to allow you to explain the nature of the reserves to the natives.” “Were you not supplied with a plan showing the land page 305 that had been reserved for the natives, and were you not instructed to show the boundaries to the natives?”—“ Certainly not.” “Remember, you are on your oath.”—“ I know that. You need not remind me of it.” Parris.—“A plan was made out by Mr. Humphries, the Chief Surveyor, showing the reserves, and given to you.” Carrington.—“I received a plan of the reserves, but it was given me for the purpose of finding what natives were cultivating portions of the land coloured on the plan, and I did so. I did not understand that I was to point out the boundaries of the reserves to the natives, or I should have done so.” “Have the 25,000 acres ever been defined or pointed out?”—“Not that I know of.” “Were you not aware by the map that a portion of land seaward of Pungarehu was reserved for the natives?”—“I understood that without the map.” “And yet you never explained?”—“Certainly not.” Parris.—“Well, I recollect giving you those instructions myself.” Carrington.—“I never was told to point out the boundaries to the natives. It was altogether out of my line.” Te Whiti asked Carrington: “Did I not tell you not to write down what I said at the meeting because you did not understand me?” and the reply was: “I remember you telling me not to write down your speech.”
Another licensed interpreter gave evidence, and the court was adjourned. On the following morning Te Whiti was told that he might speak. He replied that he had little to say about the land. It had been urged that the whole of it belonged to the government, and the Maoris were trespassers upon it. “We have dwelt upon it ever since the war was ended. We have cultivated it. We did not plant it with crops in order to cause quarrels. We planted it in order to derive subsistence from it. It is not my wish that evil should befall Pakeha or Maori. I desire that all of us should live happily upon the land. Up to the present time I have never sought to injure or to kill anyone. My only wish is that all of us should live happily and peacefully on the land. Such is the manner in which I have ever addressed the Maori people. I have no more to say.”
The convenient bench said to Te Whiti: “You are committed to the common gaol of New Plymouth (Taranaki), there to be safely kept until you shall be thence delivered by due course of law.”22 Tohu was then arraigned. An interpreter, having given evidence as to words used by Tohu (17th Sept.), was asked by the chief: “Were you at the meeting on the evening of the 17th?” and was constrained to admit that he was not. “Do you perfectly page 306 understand what land I alluded to?” “I understood it was the confiscated land.” Tohu was committed to gaol. The faithful sentinel of justice, the “Lyttelton Times,” was swift to point out the indecency of Parris’ behaviour in contradicting from the bench the sworn testimony of a witness. Magistrate, prosecutor, and unsworn witness, he had attempted to browbeat a witness in the box. Whether Parris had or had not issued instructions, the natives had not been informed of the reserves pretended to have been marked out for them. “It is again the old, old story… Government informs the public that for two years the natives have persistently refused the reserves pointed out to them. And it turns out that no reserves have ever been pointed out to them.” But exposure was lost upon the government. Day by day the Maoris were removed. Four hundred and eight were escorted into New Plymouth (18th Nov). The difficulty of identifying members of the different tribes was roughly surmounted as described in Bryce's telegrams already cited; but the victims obeyed Te Whiti's injunctions that they should be peaceful. “The process is (said Mr. Hamilton) strangely like drafting sheep. To-day the Wanganui ewes were culled. All the women in the village were assembled outside, and made to pass back again one by one.” Mr. Hamilton reported to the “Lyttelton Times” that, fired by the example set by their employers, the constabulary, when searching for articles required by the government, seized others for themselves. Mr. Hamilton found an old man, Ramaka, trying to restore order in his whare. He was absent when the troops arrived. They “smashed the jambs and lintel of the door… They took three fowling-pieces… the lock of his box was smashed and £2 were gone. He had never seen Te Whiti, had no sympathy with him, and would have given up his guns willingly had he been asked for them. Had his keys been asked for he would have given them up… He had no money, or he would take the matter into court.” Epiha's whare was pillaged in like manner. Amongst ornaments stolen “was a heitiki of great value, an heirloom which had been handed down for generations in his family. The loss was reported”.… page 307 “suspicions being directed to one (person), an officer searched him at the hotel in the presence of Major Tuke, and the precious (ornament) was found on him.” Other articles were not found, the officer having been refused permission to search the marauders “on their return while they were on the bridge”.… The man found out was taken into town under arrest and dismissed the corps.”23 The saddest case was that of Kukapo. He had fought for the Queen, and Governor Browne had presented a gun to him, which was to be an heirloom in the family. It was stolen. Kukapo complained, but obtained “no satisfaction, and was quite in despair. He declared he must leave the country… . He had heard of a place where criminals were condemned to walk about with a corpse bound to their shoulders. When putrefaction set in, the flies conveyed the poison… and the criminal at last died a terrible death. Te Whiti had been bound on his shoulders by the government, and he had to suffer for the deeds of another. He neither knew nor agreed with the Parihaka prophet.” Well might Mr. Hamilton say: “The facts are eloquent enough of themselves,” as he recounted these and similar exploits— adding, “the cases I have investigated extended over but a tithe of the country traversed by the search party.” His coadjutor heard from Motu's lips how he was robbed; how, without asking for keys, the constabulary broke open doors; how guns were collected; and how, when the robbers were about to depart, Motu said: “Stay, I have another gun, which you are leaving behind;” how page 308 he produced the Union Jack, presented to him in former years, and threw it at the officer's feet, saying, “You had better take that too.” “This is the treatment” (Motu bitterly exclaimed to the correspondent) “which I receive for my loyalty.”
Such were the deeds which the ministry foolishly thought themselves enabled by Prendergast to perpetrate, and of which they expected to obtain approval in New Zealand. “What, I ask” (wrote Mr. Stout, 5th Dec.) “will the impartial future historian record against us as a race?” Men of the day replied by entertaining Mr. Bryce at a banquet at Wanganui, where he boasted of his works, and “resumed his seat amidst deafening applause.” Invigorated thus, he pursued his work of destruction. We read that growing crops of potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro, and corn—were laid waste. “The constabulary are engaged in pulling up the potatoes … the armed constabulary have permission to take what they require. The natives view the destruction in silence. On being questioned, they expressed regret that the potatoes were not left to ripen, when they would be of service to both races… In face of all this, the natives of Parihaka presented three bags of potatoes to the men yesterday (27th Dec.)” Mr. Bryce, after his own fashion, rebuked such foolish chivalry by announcing that he would confiscate lands at Parihaka and elsewhere, as “a war indemnity, and a warning to abstain from agitation.”
While these things were done in the name of the Queen of England, old Te Rangitake passed away, and even the malignity of the “Taranaki Herald” seemed blunted by recollection of his past career. His protection of the settlers at Wellington in 1843 was not recalled to mind, but his quiet and uneventful life in recent years contrasted with the “singular traits of character of the daring and intrepid warrior” of his youth, and his influence with his tribe, who to the last looked to him and obeyed his instructions implicitly, were recounted. Thus, twenty years after the government had reviled and underrated him, his enemies bore witness to Te Rangitake's importance. If he had watched the events at Parihaka he must have reverted sadly in thought to the days when he likened the Maoris page 309 to the sea-birds forced by the rising tide to quit the rocks.24 To the ministry he was but one more stumbling-block removed, and they trusted that a majority of the dwellers in New Zealand were, many of them without knowledge and without inquiry, at one on the question of “extermination” of the Maori difficulty, most easily brought about by “extermination” of the Maori himself. The general election held in December justified the expectations of the ministry. Mr. Rolleston, by thoroughly identifying himself with the raid upon Parihaka, forfeited all claim to consideration which might have been otherwise extended to him. He commented on Mr. Stout's appeals for justice, and insolently said that the government had “protected the Maoris from themselves.” He asked the Bishop of Nelson (Dr. Suter) if he had said privately that the outrage at Parihaka was due to “political considerations, with a view to influence the elections.” The Bishop promptly replied that the remarks complained of, whether made by himself or not, seemed “self-evident and harmless,” but he protested against the government's requiring of him, “or of any one, an account of private conversations. We might as well be in Russia at once.” Opposition might be removed if Rolleston could make it clear that the intended reserves had been made known to Te Whiti, and if the government would “allow the question of the legality of the confiscation to be tried by law,” and would secure professional advice for Te Whiti, “so that his plea, not his alleged crime, may be gone into.” Mr. Rolleston replied that it was “unnecessary to take any steps to remove the opposition of one who has not thought it inconsistent with his sacred office to privately slander his neighbour, and impute to public men base motives in action, involving possibly the lives of large numbers of their fellow-creatures.”page 310
He would publish the correspondence. The Bishop asked him to publish the whole of it, if any, and added: “If my opposition was worth noticing at all, would it not seem worth while to allay it by giving some utterance on the points referred to? Let the people judge whether your remarks on me are justifiable.” With Mr. Stout Mr. Rolleston was as unsuccessful as with the Bishop. Those who acquitted him of crime pitied his simplicity when he solemnly wrote that no member of the ministry had been warned, on the 19th Oct., that the Governor's return was imminent. Mr. Stout, without casting doubt on Rolleston's veracity, asked why there was a hasty summons of an Executive Council, and why the Council and various officials were compelled to labour in the night. The “Lyttelton Times” bluntly affirmed “that Sir A. Gordon's return was hourly expected, and that the government, or at all events its leading members, were aware that it was so, we do not hesitate to affirm.” As it was the Governor's secretary who (19th Oct.) warned Hall and Prendergast that the Governor's return was imminent Mr. Rolleston's position was distressing. Mr. Stout asked him if he could plainly answer “whether any one in Government House told the Premier that the Governor might arrive at any moment, and were the printers employed the same evening to get out the proclamation.” Convicted thus, Mr. Rolleston was nevertheless elected at Avon without opposition, and Mr. Bryce25 was equally triumphant at Waitotara.
It will not be necessary to follow closely the fortunes of the elections. It is almost unnecessary to say that Taiaroa, who, when Whitaker's arts removed him from the Upper House, had been sneered at as unable to obtain a position in the Lower, was re-elected for the Southern Maori District without opposition. Sir W. Fox and Mr. Ormond were rejected by narrow majorities. Sir G. M. O'Rorke did not forfeit the favour of the electors of Manukau; but the Chairman of Committees was beaten at Wairau. More page 311 than half the House consisted of new men. Otago, though it had profited by Mr. Hall's distribution of seats, sent a phalanx of members pledged to oppose him. His own provincial district, Canterbury, was supposed to be almost equally divided. The West Coast electors were true to their traditions. Major Atkinson, the reputed advocate of “extermination,” was elected by a large majority at Egmont. The Wellington district returned a large proportion of ministerialists. The opposition of Auckland was diminished. Sir G. Grey had lost followers. Neither the opposition nor the government could claim an absolute majority in the House. The confidence of the ministerialists was in the astuteness of their leader, who had come down from the Legislative Council, in 1879, to organize his party in the representative House. Te Wheoro, Tawhai, and Tomoana were re-elected in the North Island.
Various rumours had been circulated about the conduct of Sir A. Gordon. Mysterious hints and paragraphs condemned it as unconstitutional. Soon after the elections, he publicly expressed his views at Christchurch—
“A Governor had a responsibility—sometimes a grave one—of ascertaining whether his ministers for the time being do represent the feelings of Parliament, and whether that Parliament reflects the feelings of the country. But when once that is ascertained his course is clear—he has no alternative but to accept the advice which is tendered to him, whether it be advice with which he concurs or from which, in his own individual opinion, he dissents… And I hold that when once he has ascertained what I have pointed out, his duty, so long as he holds the office of Governor, is to act upon the advice tendered to him… Of course I say nothing of what the man may deem to touch his own conscience, or how far he may choose to go along with such courses—that is his affair, and he has his own remedy. But I say that the duty of a Governor, so long as he retains his office, is to comply with the advice tendered to him by those who enjoy the confidence of the Parliament and the people. And that responsibility—that duty, so long as I hold the office, be the time longer or shorter—it is my intention scrupulously to fulfil.”
The Governor was cheered heartily while he spoke these words at a banquet given by the mayor; and, in the abstract, neither friend nor foe could differ from him, unless he would push his reasoning to the point that if his ministers should urge him to such an act as signing a death-warrant for an untried man, it would be his duty to sign it. Yet was it to be borne in mind that the Queen had no sovereignty in the land except under the treaty of page 312 Waitangi, which imposed solemn duties upon the Crown— that neither Lord Stanley in 1843, nor Mr. Cardwell at a later date, would suffer it to be supposed that the Crown would shrink from doing those duties, and that it was only by means of unworthy acts of other Secretaries of State, and of local intrigues, that the Maori was remitted to the “tender mercies of the wicked.”
“Had I been in the colony, I should have experienced great difficulty in complying with a recommendation to sign a proclamation (Prender-gast's) which appears to me to embody an injudicious policy, to contain disputable statements, and to announce an inequitable intention; and I should undoubtedly have endeavoured to ascertain whether the responsibility of advising me to refuse to do so would be assumed by any leading member of the Legislature. But I found the recommendation already made and already acted upon before my landing. The proclamation had been issued, and its contents circulated beyond recall. Whatever might have been the case before the issue of this proclamation, I am of opinion that no government which advised its cancellation and recall after publication could have looked for support from the country. Of this I am so confident that I conceive I should gravely misuse my powers were I to call other advisers to my counsels merely to test the correctness of a fact which does not appear to admit of question. The Governor is undoubtedly free to refuse assent to the advice of his ministers if other ministers will consent to accept the responsibility of his doing so; and if he has reasonable ground for belief that, in so doing, they will receive the support of Parliament. But if, as is the case in this instance, he sees no such prospect, and consequently abstains from seeking new advisers, he is constitutionally bound to give effect to the recommendations of those already in office, whatever his own opinion as to the morality or justice of the measures suggested by them. I have, therefore, felt it my duty to acquiesce in the course initiated by ministers during my absence, and to assent without demur to the recommendations made by them in order to carry out the policy they have adopted. But, at the same time, it is only right that I should inform your Lordship that my personal views do not concur with those of my advisers, and that I perform what I deem to be a constitutional duty in opposition to my wishes, and contrary to my own judgment.”
There were passages in the same despatch which analyzed the contentions concerning the confiscated lands on the West Coast, and informed the Secretary of State that “an overwhelming majority of the colonists” abetted the views of the ministry. It was also stated that loss of life was hazarded by the raid at Parihaka, and that the avoidance of such a result, on which there had been no “right to count,” was “due to the forbearance shown by Te Whiti himself, and to his influence over the minds of his page 313 followers.”26 The Blue-Books presented to Parliament by Lord Kimberley contain only expressions of his “satisfaction” with the reports furnished to him on the affairs of Parihaka.
Early in January, 1882, Tawhiao paid that visit to Auckland which he had been invited to make in the previous year. Travelling by the railway, he diverged to Orakei, where dwelt the genial Paora Tuhaere, the Ngati whatua chief, always loyal to the Queen and friendly to the colonists. The mayor of Auckland and many leading citizens made arrangements for a public reception of the Maori king and his followers. Wahanui and Tamati Ngapora were among the visitors. Hemara Rerehau was with them also. He had been the friend of Dr. Hochstetter, the scientific traveller who visited New Zealand in the Austrian ship “Novara” before the Waitara war was entered upon. He had gone to Vienna, and was honoured as the friend of Hochstetter. He adopted European, manners, returned to his native country, and in the streets of Auckland was notable for his faultless European attire. Yet when Colonel Browne plunged the colony into war, Hemara, though conscious of the supremacy of European military arts and weapons, cast in his lot with his assaulted king. At Orakei, the dandy of former days was seen in Maori attire, seated in the fashion of his fore fathers. When crowds assembled to greet him at Auckland, Tawhiao's address was brief: “Wait, ye people, till the page 314 warmth be felt. Matariki has ascended in its orbit.”27 A banquet was given in Auckland. The mayor presided. Tawhiao and his friends, upstanding, thundered their applauses when the Queen's health was proposed. Paora Tuhaere, after glancing at the new and peaceable prospects, proposed the health of Whitaker, the Attorney-General; and that astute functionary, while morally begrimed by the desolation of Parihaka, asserted that he had “always felt a kindly feeling towards the native population.” He was “ever good at sudden commendations,” but under them was the nature which Shakspeare coupled with those of the persecuting Gardiner. His object was now “with wagging of his tongue” to win those to whom for a score of years he had been a foe. Brief months had elapsed since he had with regard to the Himatarngi block protested in Parliament against paying to Maoris the rents which were their due.
Te Wheoro, in proposing the health of the mayor, recognized the special services of Major Mair in bringing about the relations which led to Tawhiao's visit, and that gentleman responded that he had laboured for ten years to produce such a result. Tawhiao visited Mangere where his father had lived, and Tamati Ngapora had officiated as a clergyman. As the spectators viewed the cortége (it is recorded that) “one man would give a blank stare, another would religiously tug his forelock as a mark of respect for the king; some took off their hats; others broke out into a British cheer.”
At a sumptuous entertainment given by Mr. Firth, Wahanui, clothed in Maori garb, declared, “… no messenger was sent to bring us hither. The overflowing of our own hearts brought us. That is the basis on which we came—love… I attribute to God himself the bringing about of a peaceful solution of our difficulties… This peace-making has not been originated to-day. It was long ago thought of. Where are we to place that which is good, or how shall it be recorded? In my opinion this peace and goodwill should be in the breasts of human page 315 beings themselves. The seed should be sown in our own hearts, that we may confess that there truly is a God in heaven. If we follow not our good intentions and professions, then I should come to the conclusion that there is no God in heaven. But we all know—both men, women, and children—that truly there is a God in heaven…” Then rose Archdeacon Maunsell, who raised his voice against the nefarious instructions of Earl Grey in 1846. Recognized and welcomed by the Maoris with clapping of hands, he spoke in their own language. Dr. Campbell, a colonist of forty years’ standing, spoke through an interpreter, and recalled the fact that even in war-time the Maori set a noble “example worthy to be followed by the most civilized nations.” With “abiding faith in the chivalry of the Maori,” the speaker had, during the war with Heke, walked unmolested through the hostile country from Paihi to Hokianga. While these festivities were promoted, and no man took exception to the use of the name of King, concerning which public men had once been so jealous, the Auckland newspaper, which had urged that, however pacific his intentions might be, Te Whiti was a “nuisance, and it was lawful and just to suppress him,” declared that Tawhiao ought to be entertained as a “most distinguished and important visitor, whose advent here necessarily means more than the coming even of a member of the royal family of England.” The more consistent “Lyttelton Times,” “far from saying that either ought to have been arrested,” pointed out that if violence was justifiable at all, it was against Tawhiao rather than Te Whiti —
“Abroad, men will be astonished to learn that the rebel who had no palliation was let alone, and the loyal native who had a substantial grievance was suppressed by force… He who ought to have been let alone is in prison. The other is making a triumphant regal progress. Mayors fall down before him; government officers ride in carriages by his side; populations form processions in his honour. Ministers of the Crown go as far as post-prandial orations in his welcome… We deduce of course not that Tawhiao ought not to have been let alone, but that Te Whiti and W. K. Matakatea and others ought to have been let alone too. The difference is not a hopeful sign for Tawhiao. When he lets settlement into his country he will not be let severely alone any longer. The severity will then be of a different sort.”
Such were the circumstances of Tawhiao's visit, and such the comments of a writer who could draw from the past page 316 an estimate of the future. Under advice of his councillors, Tawhiao exercised some caution. A reporter failed to extract his opinions and those of Wahanui as to the morality of the crossing of the Maungatawhiri in 1863. “Standing on Mr. Firth's lawn” (said Wahanui), I announced—you were there and heard me—that I was desirous that all those old controversies should be buried. I have my own opinions about them, but if I (discussed them with you) people would say, ‘Here is this man, Wahanui, after saying he would bury all those old subjects of dispute, dragging them all up again to the light of day.” The reporter pleaded that “he wanted the statement not to cause controversy, but simply as history. But Wahanui refused to move, while Tawhiao smoked his pipe and said nothing.”
The editor of the “New Zealand Herald,” whose reporter had failed to pluck from Wahanui his opinions wrote (30th Jan.):-
“It was remarkable how well the Maoriking carried himself; how he said just so much as he meant to say and no more. He urged amity and just dealing, and forgetfulness of past evils, but he gave not one tittle of a promise, said nothing that could compromise him and lead to difficulties.” “Should permission to construct a railway be granted by the king, the money will be forthcoming… (There was a wish to create) in the king's mind a firm belief that there is no other desire than to treat him in a straightforward and honest manner… All looks well for the colony… and the brightest circumstance of all is the visit of the Maori king, with the prospect it offers of the utilization of the king country under conditions of the Maoris’ own imposing.”
One sinister omen might be observed,—that though Tawhiao's announcements were those of his advisers, his own demeanour indicated that the rumours of his dissipated habits in former years were not unfounded. Before he went home the demure Hall plied his persuasions upon him. Major Mair interpreted. Mr. Hall did not wish to “interfere with him and his people so long as they wished to remain living by themselves. The government thought the natives were the best judges of what in that respect suited them… But they accepted the hand held out in so friendly a manner. They wished… to work with Tawhiao in promoting the welfare of his followers. There could be only one Sovereign in the country, and they all, both Maoris and Europeans, lived under the shadow of her page 317 law.” He said this as blandly as though he had not been responsible for breach of law at Parihaka. Mr. Hall spoke in general terms. “The Native Minister would discuss more in detail.” The Maori, with a coolness which the politest courtier might have envied, asked, “Who is the Native Minister?” and the Premier told him “Mr. Bryce.”
Tawhiao expressed his satisfaction with Hall's statements. “I belong to a different race from yours, and you must not be surprised if some of my ideas do not agree exactly with those of the Pakeha. I am of dusky skin, and some allowance must on that account be made for me. My thoughts may be dark perhaps compared with the white man's, simply from the absence of knowledge… I shall not say one thing and do another… At the meeting in March I would like to see as many leading Europeans as possible. I will invite the members of the government”.… When the formal interview terminated, Mr. Hall said that “if the government had a spare piece” of land they would “probably meet Tawhiao's wish” to reside occasionally at Kaipara, and sounded Tawhiao as to the conduct of Te Whiti and Tohu, whom Hall had recently “seen in gaol at Taranaki.” Tawhiao replied that “he had kept himself aloof, and did not recognize Te Whiti or his people in any way.”
An Auckland newspaper28 declared the interview to be “one of the most important events that has taken place in the colony for many years… the evil of the past stamped out, and peace and goodwill before us.” With inconsistency inexplicable to those who have not traced the past of New Zealand, it confessed that “the Maoris have had some reason for distrusting the Pakehas,” and in the next sentence declared that Mr. Bryce was the representative of “a fixed policy of inflexible justice and the utmost consideration in dealing with the natives.” Yet its own columns had recorded the ravages at Parihaka—its own correspondent had written as he looked at the hearths desolated by the robbers whose thefts he described—“any one must needs pity the hospitable and brave people whose last great settlement has been so ruthlessly broken up.”page 318
Mr. Hall's visit to Auckland was followed by one from Mr. Bryce, who was entertained by Rewi at Kihikihi, and with him met Hall and Whitaker at Hamilton on the 23rd Feb. Mr. Bryce was reported29 as saying to Rewi at Kihikihi (22nd Feb., 1882), “I say that deliberately… as the representative of Her Majesty the Queen.” Other members of the ministry visited Auckland, where Mr. Bryce aroused some discontent by a proposal to remove the Native Lands Office from the ancient capital to Wellington. A local newspaper which had supported the pillage of Parihaka censured the transfer as ill-advised and arbitrary.
The new Parliament was to meet in May. The ministry did not accept an official suggestion from the Governor that it should be convened at an earlier date. Suddenly it was announced that Mr. Hall had tendered his resignation early in April. His assiduous labours were and might truly be pleaded as necessitating retirement on the ground of health, but the immediate cause was the tender of their resignations by Bryce and Rolleston, which compelled Hall to consider his own position. Fortified by medical advice he resigned, and his resignation was accompanied by that of his colleagues. Sir A. Gordon was assailed for not at once commissioning Whitaker to form a ministry. He consulted Sir G. Grey, and having satisfied himself that the supporters of the late ministry would probably be stronger than any other section in the new House, he sent for Mr. Whitaker, who returned to office (21st April) with all his recent colleagues except Hall. While the ministry was in abeyance30 Mr. Whitaker startled the public by page 319 changing the venue of trial of Te Whiti and Tohu from Taranaki to Christchurch. That he desired that they should have a fair trial at the latter place no one could believe, because he postponed the removal until after a court had sat there in April, and Te Whiti and Tohu had been in his gripe for many months. Mr. Stout promptly told the public that the removal was “made for no other purpose than to stave off the trial till after the meeting of Parliament, to allow, if necessary, one of those disgraces to New Zealand legislation—a special Act to be passed.” Such a notion seemed to the “Lyttelton Times” incredible. “We feel sure (19th April) that the new Parliament will refuse to be a party to anything so thoroughly disgraceful.” The faith of the editor must have been sturdy to have survived the legislation of the past, and was to suffer in the future. Te Whiti and Tohu were carried away from Taranaki before, at the opening of the court there on the 1st May, Judge Gillies electrified the community by telling the grand jury that it was their duty to see that the offences under the West Coast Settlement Act were those of which the Maori prisoners were accused:
Any persons could be taken into custody for obstructing the operation of the law. “In the present case the prisoners merely sat still, and did not go away when ordered to do so.” This may or may not, according to circumstances, amount to the crime of obstruction… To make this act a crime it is necessary that the order to remove should be given by a person authorized by the Governor. “It would not be sufficient for some minister verbally to give such an authority. It must be the official act of the Governor, through a minister, authorizing some special person to do some particular act in pursuance of the provisions of the statute. So far as the depositions show, there appears to have been no special authority from the Governor to Mr. Hursthouse to do any special act or thing, merely a general verbal authority to disperse certain natives, given by a minister… If this be so, these natives have been taken into custody for disobeying the order of a person who had no authority from the Governor, though a minister, to do any special act or thing under the provisions of this statute… No minister can personally of his own mere will authorize any person to do any act or thing for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the Act—it must be a formal and official authority… If you are satisfied that Mr. Hursthouse was duly authorized, and that he was obstructed, you will bring in a true bill; but, on the other hand, should you find that he had no authority, it will be your duty to find no bill…”31page 320
The Taranaki grand jury, nevertheless, found true bills against Titokowaru and others. They were applauded far and widely, and the judge was railed at. But the ministry had no desire to see the law brought to bear upon their deeds. When the prisoners against whom true bills had been found were brought before Judge Gillies (8th May) the Crown Prosecutor had received Whitaker's order to enter a nolle prosequi. The judge said: “I have no right to interfere except to express my surprise… That prisoners should be brought up on a serious charge under a special Act; that they should be kept in prison for six months on that grave charge, and that the Crown Prosecutor should then apply to enter a nolle prosequi, seems a very extraordinary proceeding… more especially when I see that two of the indictments have been quashed on account of insufficiency on the face of them.” To Rangi the judge said: The government have determined not to bring you to be tried on the charge. You have already been in prison six months waiting for trial, nor does the government offer any evidence. You are therefore free to go where you will.”
The “Lyttelton Times” declared that by abandoning the prosecutions the government confessed the illegality of their past acts, and prophesied:—“Parliament will probably be asked to pass an Act of Indemnity, which it will do as a matter of course.” The editor called the Parihaka proceedings “atrocious,” and described the intention of the government to procure an Indemnity Act as an application from the wolf for redress because he had failed page 321 to devour the lamb. A few days afterwards the House, without dissent, congratulated Mr. Hall (who procured Prendergast's complicity in the raid upon Parihaka) on having received the honour of knighthood through Lord Kimberley.
Before the General Assembly met on the 18th May, Tawhiao held his expected meeting at Whatiwhatihoe without good result. Rather it was shown that the dissipated habits by which it was once anticipated that his career would be shortened, had degraded him.32 Old Ngapora, Rewi, Wahanui, Te Ngakau, Paora Tuhaere, Te Wheoro, and many others attended, and tribal welcomes occupied the 11th May.33 Discussion was continued until the 17th May, when the earnest Maoris were shamed by the conduct of Tawhiao, and did not abstain from censuring it. Finally Te Wheoro was authorized to speak for the tribes in Wellington. His heart must have been sad. He left a degraded countryman, and he had to encounter the ravagers of Parihaka. The Governor's opening speech stated that during his “absence from the colony” the Prendergast proclamation was issued because in the opinion of “ministers” vigorous measures were necessary. “A bill will be laid before you, having for its object to render the trial of Te Whiti and Tohu unnecessary, and at the same time to prevent them from returning for the present to Parihaka.” This description of a Bill of Attainder of two men whom the ministry dared not try did not shock the majority: but Mr. De Lautour scornfully alluded to the “hypocritical clinging to the law in the very act of illegality —reading Riot Acts, and you yourselves the rioters !” Te Wheoro asked why if Te Whiti and Tohu had not been arrested legally they were not at once released, but Te Wheoro was not answered. On the 23rd, Mr. Bryce introduced an Indemnity Bill and an Attainder Bill, which he called a page 322 Peace Preservation Bill. On the 26th, he moved its second reading, having carefully kept from the Colonial (as Lord Kimberley kept from the Imperial) Parliament all official knowledge of affairs at Parihaka. His statements need not be quoted in full. Admitting “that Te Whiti is essentially a man of peace,” he affected to think that Te Whiti had provoked the government. He confessed to no wrong, and as to the destruction of crops he said: “If I had done what perhaps I ought to have done, I should have pulled up a great many more potatoes, so as to reduce the supply of food…” Mr. Bryce's opinions34 may be passed over, but the bill requires remark. The preamble declared that Te Whiti and Tohu were in gaol awaiting trial for sedition, and had “held language calculated to promote disaffection;” and that it was “feared” that their return to Parihaka would “involve danger to the peace of the colony.” It was therefore provided that they “shall not be tried for the offence (of sedition) for which they now stand charged;” that “the Governor in Council” should have power to cause them to be kept in custody wheresoever desired—to release them, and “to again arrest them,” and keep them in custody anywhere at pleasure. “No court, judge,” or other person was to bail or liberate them, “any law or statute to the contrary notwithstanding”; anyone contravening the Act was to be liable on summary conviction to a fine of £500; and anyone doing anything under authority of the Act was to be exempt from all liability for anything he might do. If more than twenty Maoris should meet together any justice of the peace might command them “to disperse,” and any “constable of the constabulary” might seize the non-compliant and take them to a justice, and any justice might determine the case, and inflict a fine of £50 with imprisonment for twelve months with hard labour. These powers were conferred upon Mr. Bryce's friends throughout the confiscated block at Taranaki, which embraced page 323 the homes of several tribes on the west coast. Sir G. Grey justified Whitaker's expectations by supporting the bill. He saw no cruelty in the burning of houses, but he did not think the preamble of the bill was true. He would gladly indemnify Mr. Bryce, however, although he thought that Te Whiti was “essentially a man of peace,” and had been a main help in bringing affairs to a peaceful conclusion. Sir G. Grey adopted the palpable imposture of the ministry in disclaiming any “desire to inflict punishment” on Te Whiti, who was torn from his home, whose house was burnt, and who was to be imprisoned by attainder because it was dreaded that before the Supreme Court he might be acquitted. It is more grateful, however, to dwell on the names of those who opposed than of those who supported the bill. Mr. Bracken protested against a denial of justice. The treaty of Waitangi guaranteed to the Maoris “all the rights and privileges of British subjects.” Trial by jury was one of them. “I stand here to protest, though I may be the only one who does so, against this un-English proceeding.” Mr. Hutchison urged that the desolation at Parihaka was “a cruel and arbitrary outrage upon justice.”35 The change of venue showed that the Attorney-General knew that he could not convict Te Whiti, and therefore resorted to a device which, if practised before an English Court, might have caused him to be “struck off the rolls.” All the “parade and bravado at Parihaka was a sham from beginning to end.” Tawhai asked why, if Te Whiti was not to be tried, he was taken prisoner. “Is this the law of England—to arrest an innocent man and leave culprits in their homes?” Mr. Holmes insisted that the threat in Prendergast's proclamation to cut down the promised reserves should be withdrawn.36page 324
“Te Whiti had been arrested… let him be tried. Why should the House entertain any fears of the result? He would be tried by European jurymen and judges, not Maoris. I am weary with thinking of the promises that have been made by various governments. These promises have been the root of all the evil… (Mr. Fish had spoken of the Maoris as) a horde of savages. Sir, I would draw your attention to that… If it be true, what were the Europeans in old days? I have read books written by your own people about yourselves, and I find that you were in a like position some years ago. I do not know whether the honourable gentleman did not know the meaning of the term, or whether he thought I did not understand him. I suppose that none of his ancestors ever deserved the appellation. What can you say of those who are attempting the assassination of our Queen? What can you call them? I should also like to know what you call those who in Ireland get up agitations and shoot people. It is but right that language of this kind should be put away from us. If we are ignorant, if we have not reached that state of enlightenment that you have, it has not been our fault. I have heard that the English race was indebted to the Romans for the first gleam of civilization, and it would be well for you to act as the Romans did, and impart to us the civilization which you possess.”
Taiaroa supported the postponement of the bill, so that Te Whiti and Tohu might be heard at the bar. Mr. Turnbull (from Timaru) strove gallantly for the hononr of the colony. Mr. Bracken (from Otago) implored the majority not to “allow the finger of scorn to point for all time at this House and this adopted country of our race.” Colonel Trimble hoped that the treaty of Waitangi “will in future be relegated to the waste-paper basket, which is about the only place it ought to be seen in.”
By 52 votes against 14 the House refused to delay the bill.37 On the motion for its committal, Te Wheoro moved that Te Whiti and Tohu be first heard at the bar, by counsel page 325 or otherwise, but by 48 votes against 22 his prayer was rejected (2nd June), and Mr. Turnbull bitterly expressed the humiliation he felt at the position of the House. “Never did I feel so much ashamed of an act of the Legislature as now.” On a subsequent day in committee, Tawhai's suggestion that the number of Maoris who might assemble without “dispersion” should be 50 instead of 20 was accepted. On the 9th June, Mr. Macandrew resisted the third reading of the bill, which would form “one of the greatest blots on the statute-book.” The proceedings at Parihaka would “at no distant date bring the blush of shame to the faces of all concerned; ay, not excepting the Native Minister himself… My only hope is that the Governor, who may be assumed to be the representative of British honour and British justice, and who as such is an integral part of the Legislature, may interpose to save us against ourselves.” Mr. W. Hutchison lamented that “our children will turn with regret to this chapter in our history as a melancholy record of how the strong trampled on the rights of the weak.” Mr. Bracken “for the last time” entered his protest against the bill, which trampled “the British Constitution underfoot,” but by 51 votes against 21 the third reading was carried, and the Indemnity Bill, which had not previously been discussed, was committed. Mr. Montgomery hinted that compensation should be given to Maoris whose property had been destroyed at Parihaka. Te Wheoro supported him, but Mr. Bryce said that it was “impossible” to make such a provision in the bill, which was passed through all its stages on the 9th June.
The Indemnity Bill, although its preamble was false, and its enactments sanctioned any acts whatsoever and by whomsoever committed, was scarcely discussed. It accused the Maoris of having disturbed the peace; and enacted (with a consciousness on Whitaker's part that Judge Gillies was right as to the arrests of Te Whiti and his people) that “whereas” “some measures may have been in excess of legal power”—“every person, whosoever, who shall at any time before the time of the passing of this Act have acted under the authority of the government of New Zealand, given either before or after any act, matter, or thing done, page 326 … (or sending to) prison any person doing or being concerned in, or suspected of doing or being concerned in… offences specified in the West Coast Settlement Act 1880—assembling or holding meetings at Parihaka—attending any such meeting, and refusing or neglecting to disperse—and any person who shall have damaged or destroyed any real or personal property, or searched for, seized, or taken possession of—shall be and is hereby freed, acquitted, released, indemnified—against all actions, suits—prosecutions, liabilities, and proceedings whatsoever.” To prevent doubt, the Governor was enabled by a special clause “to declare any act, matter, or thing done, to come within the provisions of this Act,” and all courts were to take judicial cognizance of such declaration.
On the motion for the committal of the bill, Mr. Montgomery said that provision ought to be made for compensating natives whose property had been destroyed, and Te Wheoro supported Mr. Montgomery, but Mr. Bryce replied (with the Indemnity Bill in his hand) that “he thought the government had not done wrong!”
In the Council, Whitaker38 (who had previously explained on the Attainder Bill that the trial of Te Whiti “would not have answered our purpose”— “if they were acquitted our object would be defeated entirely”) moved the second reading of the Indemnity Bill without remark, and after a fervent protest by Mr. Scotland, the bill passed through all its stages unchecked.
On the 9th June the New Zealand government had presented to the Assembly none of those papers which, in complicity with them, Lord Kimberley had concealed in England. On the 14th June, Mr. Mantell, in the Council, page 327 asked for papers on the subject, and the ministry on that day produced Sir A. Gordon's despatch of the 26th Feb., 1881 (with memoranda arising out of it to 16th July, 1881), but none of the documents connected with the outrages at Parihaka in November of that year. A separate motion by Mr. Mantell for a respectful address praying the Governor for “all public despatches in continuation of those presented last session” was opposed by Whitaker as “inconvenient,” and rejected.
On the 20th June, Whitaker moved the second reading of his Attainder Bill. He admitted that in changing the venue for trial of Te Whiti and Tohu, the government were partly actuated by a knowledge that even if convicted by a Taranaki jury, “reasonably the sentence would be a short one, and that if they were acquitted they would return to Parihaka.” It was an object therefore to “put off the trial until after the meeting” of Parliament. To call the bill one of attainder was “nonsense. Sir, to hear Te Whiti and Tohu before the Council would appear to me to be highly absurd. I say it would be a great farce to bring them here to plead”.… To continue their “detention and to oust the courts of any jurisdiction they might have (by Habeas Corpus, &c.), is the object of this bill… The trial would not have answered our purpose; if they were convicted the sentence would probably be short, and if they were acquitted our object would be defeated utterly.”
Mr. Mantell said: “We talk of teaching the Maoris to respect the law … but if the Maori manages to evade the meshes of the law as Te Whiti does, we turn round and make a law to precisely fit the case.” On the 21st June, Captain Fraser and Mr. Buckley vainly opposed the bill. Dr. Pollen averred that he voted for it with reluctance, because he “did not believe that to kidnap political opponents and shut them up is the best way to bring them to their right mind.” The Indemnity Bill was passed with equal ease, in spite of remonstrance from Mr. Scotland. Mr. Mantell recorded his protest against the latter as
“Inconvenient if not unconstitutional … and because from the refusal or omission of the government to place before this Council any page 328 official reports of those recent occurrences on the west coast which are alleged to require such legislation, it can only be inferred that those occurrences have not been of a nature to justify such severe provisions as those in the bill.” Captain Fraser recorded his protest because—1st. The bill was ultra vires (of the Assembly), inasmuch as it is repugnant to the English statute law, and deprives British subjects of the privileges granted to them by the Habeas Corpus Act. 2nd. It declares men guilty of sedition without trial, and without any evidence of their guilt produced before Parliament. 3rd. It declares men guilty who have not been allowed to be heard in their defence before Parliament. (4th. It would tend to create disaffection.) 5th. It is punishing Maoris who, if guilty, could be punished by the judicial tribunals. 6th. There is no reason for suspecting that if any evidence could be produced against Te Whiti and Tohu before the Supreme Court a jury would not convict them.”39
Brief allusion may be made to other proceedings in the General Assembly before the scene must be shifted to show how Lord Kimberley comported himself in England with regard to the treaty of Waitangi while it was thus violated with his knowledge in New Zealand.
Taiaroa asked (25th May, 1882) what the government intended to do with regard to a report of a Royal Commission upon the “unfulfilled promises to the natives in the Middle Island.” Mr. Bryce replied that the opinions of the commissioners were impracticable, and that the government would not act upon them. The report declared that certain claims had been established. Major Atkinson vehemently opposed the recognition of claims which might amount to millions sterling. Mr. Daniel was shocked at the attitude of the government. Certain Maoris were in England, appealing “to Her Majesty. What would the Home government think40 when the speeches made on page 329 this occasion were published in the papers and went to England?” Colonel Trimble and Mr. Rolleston slighted the report of the commission. Tomoana, taught by the past, suggested that the taking of evidence was of little importance, “because if the decision were in favour of the Maoris I do not suppose anything would come of it.” A majority rejected the request of the Native Affairs Committee. At a later date (25th Aug.) Colonel Trimble moved that a report of the committee be referred to the government for consideration; but after debate, although Mr. Bryce supported Colonel Trimble, an amendment, moved by Taiaroa, to refer the report back to the committee, was carried.
On the 4th Sept., Col. Trimble brought up a report that further evidence had not altered the opinions of the committee. Taiaroa thought it unfair that he had “not been allowed to give evidence.” The Native Minister and the chairman had prejudged the matter. Members of the committee had been absent during discussions and the taking of evidence, “but when the day came for considering the report, the government whips collected the government members, and the report of the committee was thus made adverse to the natives. I do not attach any blame to the Europeans, nor do I object to their being in possession of wealth owing to the natives having given up land to them in consequence of the promises made by Her Majesty. What I have contended all along, and what I contend now, is that promises made by Her Majesty through government officers have never been fulfilled, but should be fulfilled according to the law of England… I know the majority of the House will support the government, as it invariably does in regard to native matters; I shall therefore not resist strongly now, but the natives will never abandon the subject, and will continue to seek redress either in this Parliament or in future Parliaments.”page 330
Mr. Bryce was indignant at “broadcast imputations upon the committee.” He could not endure to be reminded openly of what had been done. “I warn the native members (he said) that if they persist in merely representing the native race and utterly ignoring considerations in connection with European interests, the House will certainly become impatient of the position. I say that by way of warning… I warn the honourable members that such imputations will not be tolerated.”41 Te Wheoro replied that the native members never supported unjust claims; and Mr. Sheehan considered that Taiaroa's language was not a whit stronger than that used by European members. Mr. Daniel was sorry to hear such an attack made upon the native members. “I have not seen that they have been biased in the least. No doubt they feel the justice of their claims, and speak boldly; and as one who has been for the last thirty years among them, I shall never consent to see injustice done to them, but shall strongly support them.” Trimble predicted that if the report were not adopted “any future report will be very much less in favour of the natives,” and by 46 votes against 14 the government prevailed.
Mr. Mantell renewed his efforts to expose the injustice done to the Himatangi claimants, and, to Whitaker's retort that he would resist the payment of money to them, Mantell replied that, although “further investigation would simply afford a surplus of proof that these natives have a claim upon the government, I have not the remotest hope that they will ever get any money from the government.” It is good to be able to remedy wrong; but when that is impossible, it is also a duty to expose what cannot be prevented, and Mr. Mantell had much of such labour to do. There are some natures from which shame extorts a homage not rendered to duty. Te Whiti's singular attitude of prophecy and patience wrung the West Coast Commission page 331 from his relentless enemies, who could not altogether repudiate the promises proved to the world by their own commissioners. A wider revelation of the wrongs done in the name, but not by command of the Queen, ought to tend to lighten the oppression of a race which reposed its trust in her.
Tawhai brought forward (8th Aug.) an Orakei Native Reserve Bill to enable the Maoris to lease their land, the title to which had been adjudicated upon by the Native Land Court in the Orakei case in 1869, when judgment was given in favour of Apihau te Kawau and his co-claimants. He had died at a great age. The natives interested in the land, prescient of the influences which might wrest from them their heritage, had procured (in the grant from the Crown) certain restrictions upon sale. They now, fearing the cost and delays incident to judicial proceedings, sought to obtain by legislation a power to remove the restrictions and provide for the leasing of the land for their benefit. Paora Tuhaere petitioned in favour of the bill, which was passed.
A Native Land Division Bill introduced by the government seemed to aim at fairness towards the Maoris. It enabled native owners to apply for subdivision, and obtain amended grants. It was passed without a division in the Lower House. Ngatata, in the Council, approved of the bill, but commented on the perpetual patchwork which infected legislation on native affairs:
“A mistake was made when lawyers were admitted into the Native Land Court. From that day the Maoris have been literally fleeced by these men—not only the Maoris but the Europeans… We got on far better when lawyers were not admitted, and I hope the government will see their way to shutting the doors of the Land Courts against these robbers who flock to every sitting of a court, however remote, for the purpose of enriching themselves at the expense of the native people. I have one or two slight objections to the bill. No time is given for the issue of notices under clause 7 … sub-section 2 of clause 4 states that the judge ‘shall sign such order,’ thereby dispensing with the necessity for the assessor's signature. I should have preferred to see an assessor signing, as well as the judge.”42
Captain Fraser said that a previous speaker had designated the tribal tenure as a curse; “I look upon it as a great blessing, for were it not for the tribal right the whole page 332 of the natives’ land would have been swallowed up long ago. I agree with what the Honourable Mr. Ngatata says. Every year we have these bills.”
Captain Fraser discredited assertions that the decay of the Maori race had been arrested. Mr. Bryce said (28th July): “We are told that the Maori population is about 44,000… I do not believe there are more than 30,000. I have had peculiar opportunities of proving my opinion on this point to be correct.” If he was right as to the fact, the raid at Parihaka had not even the meanest of motives to palliate it. For the brief space allotted to them, the sober community guided by Te Whiti might have been permitted to dwell in peace, without tempting settlers or the Government to rapine. The Native Land Division Bill was passed by the Council.
As time wore on, and the race decayed, the representation accorded to the Maoris became daily less disproportionate to that which was their due; but the subject was discussed. Mr. Hobbs (28th June), assuming the correctness of the census, pointed out that 44,000 Maoris had only four representatives, while the Europeans had a member for every 5000 in the population. There was a dual qualification,43 but he thought it objectionable, and the Native Minister had to go to the north “himself and purge the roll,” by a process which Mr. Hobbs did not describe. Sir G. Grey, to whom Maoris were not likely to be longer useful, thought they had enough representation, and it was “essential that the purely native element should not become too powerful within the walls of this House.” Nothing could be “said against their conduct, and no one who has seen them can help admiring them. Their speeches are always sensible, and we obtain a great deal of information from them on important subjects.” Thus, raising one eye in admiration of the Maori, and page 333 declining the other before his coming doom, Sir G. Grey opposed Mr. Hobbs’ views.
Having assured himself (2nd June) of support in the House by the large majority on the second reading of the bill to attaint Te Whiti and Tohu, Mr. Bryce on the 6th June moved the second reading of a Native Reserves Bill. The existing law required amendment. A new feature was a provision enabling the Maori owners of any block to place it under the Public Trustee, who was to be aided by a board. Mr. Macandrew at once remarked that the Maoris ought to be represented on the board. Tomoana, Mr. Holmes, Te Wheoro, and others supported the suggestion.
At an adjourned debate the opposition of a ministerial supporter, Mr. Kelly, deterred the ministry, and it was not until the 28th July that they resumed progress with the bill, and said that they would accept an amendment adding a Maori to the board. He would have no salary, however. Mr. Kelly was absent. Other members had been persuaded to vote for instead of against the bill. The question was made a party one, and the government secured a majority of six in a full House. Strenuous efforts failed further to modify the bill, and Taiaroa's proposal in committee to confine its application to cases in which “a majority of the owners” might consent was rejected (23rd Aug.) by 37 votes against 23. The measure comprised all reserves made or to be made by natives, all reserves made by the Crown for them, all lands set apart for their benefit by any commissioner, all reserves made for them by the New Zealand Company, or by the Governor, and all lands vested in the Public Trustee “under this Act.”
One argument for the bill might be found in the fact that under previous mal-administration some named reserves were undiscoverable, and a new system could hardly inflict greater wrong. The disappearance of reserves was admitted in Parliament and in the press.44 Captain Fraser page 334 declared that “four native reserves were totally lost in Hawke's Bay; nobody knew what had become of them, and it would be the duty of the commissioner to find out where they were.” A previous officer when “examined, either could not or would not say where they were.45 Though some members expressed misgivings, the bill became law. It was not nominally compulsory upon Maoris to subject their land to it, but as they had not been allowed to profit by any law while Whitaker was Attorney-General it could not be trusted that they would derive benefit even from just provisions. One clause provided that all rents and proceeds from reserves should be scrupulously devoted to the purposes of the trusts, with a proviso that when such purposes might be obsolete or no longer attainable the Governor might direct to what similar purpose or object reserves should be devoted. The law was unobjectionable so long as it might be hoped that the Governor's advisers would be loyal. Much depended upon the functionary called upon to administer the law; and the necessity to seem moral in order to purge away the ill-repute gained at Parihaka might be expected to influence the government to appoint a trustee of high character to stand impartially between the strong and the weak.
The Crown and Native Lands Rating Bill, which had in 1881 enabled Mr. Ormond to shake the Hall ministry, was renewed in 1882 with more prosperous results. A difference between the bills was that, in 1882, Crown or native lands within five miles of a public road or highway were made ratable; whereas the bill of 1881 included all lands wheresoever situate. Again the Maori members protested against the imposition of compulsory and edacious mortgages upon their lands. In vain Mr. Holmes and others urged that it was not fair to rate the lands of Maoris “to force roads upon them which they may say they do not want.”
Te Wheoro recorded his objections so that they “might appear in ‘Hansard”.’ Members had supported the bill page 335 “in order that there should be one law for both races. Now, there are two districts in Waikato where the Maoris have to pay rates, but they have no voice in the County Council. Where is the equality there? The Maoris have no voice in any of these local bodies.” The bill was carried, though Sir G. Grey supported Te Wheoro's arguments. In the Council Wi Tako Ngatata condemned it as “the most arbitrary measure dealing with native lands” he had seen. Captain Fraser considered “the measure a mean way of confiscating Maori land.” Mr. Whitaker, assured of a majority, showed the workings of his mind much as the cat rejoicing in its strength exhibits its retractile claws when pleased. It was outrageous that untaxed Maoris should reap profit from advancing civilization. “Is the Council prepared to allow this injustice to continue? It might be that when we were weak we did not insist upon justice in this question; but is that any reason, now that we are strong, the injustice should continue? I think the time has fully come” to deal with the matter. Mr. Peacock looked upon the bill as one which would admit Maoris to the privileges of the colonists; Mr. Scotland denounced it as “the ne plus ultra of meanness.” By 22 votes against 9 it was passed. It was so framed that it might wreak injustice unless a healthy public opinion should watch its administration.
One effort in the House (13th July) deserves to be recorded. The thought upon which Sir W. Martin, Bishop Selwyn, Waharoa, Sir G. Grey, Mr. Gorst, and Mr. Fenton, had brooded in former years found expression in a bill brought forward by Tomoana “to enable Native Committees to decide disputes occurring between natives, and to regulate social abuses in proclaimed districts.” It enabled Maoris to form committees, with power to award compensation for wrong, or to decide disputes about debts. They were empowered to make bye-laws for the better suppression of intemperance and “the regulation of social order” in their districts. The committees (of twelve persons) were to decide whether their regulations had been infringed, and might impose limited penalties, but could not enforce them. The award of a committee was to be submitted to a justice or to a court which was to be “satisfied (that the page 336 parties interested had agreed (in writing) to submit the case to the committee)” before giving effect to the award; and even then “nothing herein provided shall be deemed to prevent the court hearing and deciding any case as in the manner provided in any Acts for the time being in force for the regulation of the court, if it shall see fit to do so.”
Tomoana said that a number of tribes were anxious that the bill might pass. Mr. Bryce at once opposed, but Mr. Turnbull and others supported the bill. Mr. Steward urged that when honourable members (whose conduct in the Legislature had quite justified the views of those who thought it desirable that the natives should be represented by persons of the native race) brought forward a bill which was apparently an honest effort on their part to assist in the government of the country, “it at least deserved fair consideration.” Mr. Weston, a lawyer, thought the bill the “best evidence” of the Maori appreciation of law and order. “When we see the ability manifested by the native members of this House we may safely say that so long as the natives are desirous of obeying the laws of our country and the customs of their own, they ought to receive every encouragement at our hands.”
The second reading of the bill was carried by 38 votes against 24, and 14 other members paired. The bill was hailed by one editor as an effort “to establish a mode of real native self-government which is sure to be beneficial.” Another editor (who had approved the raid on Parihaka) considered that the measure “embodied as much possibility of mischief as could well be compressed into one bill.” On the 3rd Aug., some members having been influenced, Mr. Bryce moved that the bill be shelved. As if nescient of his Attainder Bill, he said that he had always “aimed at assimilating the treatment of the Maoris to the treatment of the Europeans.” Mr. Barron significantly read the names of those who had voted for the second reading; but they who had yielded to pressure were not to be recalled to their original opinions. The final division on Mr. Bryce's amendment showed 29 members on each side in the House; and 32 members had paired. Though the Speaker's casting vote kept the bill alive, the ministry prevented its reappearance during the session.page 337
During the session the public were startled by an incident which exhibited the Native Minister in close personal relation with a Maori chief whom some persons denounced as a murderer—Wetere te Rerenga. Wetere te Rerenga was accused of having been an accomplice in the killing of the Rev. Mr. Whiteley and others at the White Cliffs in 1869. Te Rerenga had maintained his position as a leading chief at Mokau through the intervening period, under the recognized protection of Tawhiao. It was believed that some coolness existed between Tawhiao and Te Rerenga, as to lands at Mokau. European negotiators strove to induce the latter to submit the lands to the Native Land Court. In 1880, Te Rerenga, Takirau, and others pressed their claims for a Land Court and for a railway. They asserted that Rewi had empowered Te Rerenga and Takirau to “manage all the affairs of Mokau with the Europeans.” In Feb., 1882, Mr. C. O. Davis published a letter from Tawhiao to Te Rerenga, and “all the people of Mokau.” Tawhiao insisted upon the reality and power of his office. “The land is mine, and the people are mine.” Statements, vows, and ancestral descent vouched his position; but he heard that Europeans were caballing to warp Te Rerenga from his allegiance. Let all Maoris attend at Tawhiao's meeting in the autumn, and there let all tribal questions be decided. Mr. Davis appeared to respect Tawhiao's claims; but Te Rerenga's intriguing friends prevailed, and he did not wait for the Maori meeting at Whatiwhatihoe. He wrote in March to the editor of the “New Zealand Herald” in which Tawhiao's letter had been published. He denied that Tawhiao had land claims at Mokau, and insisted on his own, which he would submit to the Land Court, whose sitting he desired to see. The editor thought that Mr. Bryce ought to take Te Rerenga at his word, because to compel Tawhiao to appear in court would be a great gain whatever might be the decision. Mr. Bryce failed to obtain an interview with Tawhiao in March, and negotiations with Te Rerenga were pressed forward. Tawhiao, in May, reasserted his claims at Mokau; but spoke, as did Wahanui, of Te Rerenga as the trustworthy guardian of Tawhiao's rights; and, as has been seen, Te Wheoro was commissioned to represent all Maori page 338 interests in the General Assembly at Wellington. In June, the Native Land Court delivered judgment in favour of Te Rerenga and the “resident section of the Ngatimaniapoto,” but recognized an inferior interest on the part of Rewi as a chief who had assisted in the conquest of the territory.
Meanwhile negotiations were carried on between the office of the Native Minister and Wetere te Rerenga. If dissension between him and Rewi, the principal Ngatimaniapoto chief, or between him and the Maori king, could be promoted, it was obvious that reverence for tribal laws and loyalty to the Maori king would be sapped. Te Rerenga was said to be in possession of a letter from Donald McLean, written in 1875, and assuring him that the past would be forgotten. He had also been employed as a Maori assessor during Mr. Bryce's tenure of office, and had visited various places outside of the Maori pale.
Confiding in the friendly relations established in his favour, Te Rerenga, in July, visited Wellington to discuss affairs relating to Mokau. A relative of Mr. Whiteley's devised means to entrap Te Rerenga and his friends. He sent (1st Aug.) a telegram to a Maori at Taranaki, and forged the name of Te Rerenga as the sender. It declared that Te Rerenga had, in order to save himself, confessed his guilt as to the murder of Mr. Whiteley; and it urged the recipient of the telegram to hasten to the principal magistrate and “confess all to be said of the massacre” at the White Cliffs, so that the recipient might be saved also. The forger defended his conduct afterwards in writing, by alleging that—
“though the government refused to take any action, the law allowed others to do so. A certain stratagem was attempted, but … it was not successful. There is no attempt to hide the fact, now that it didn't work… It would have been far better if Mr. Bryce had complied with the request made him, and placed upon his trial … the commander of the savage butchers… It is just as well that every one concerned should thoroughly understand that I do not intend to allow this matter to drop…”
A newspaper correspondent telegraphed from Waitara (1st Sept., 1882) that it had been “ascertained beyond doubt that Te Rerenga used every endeavour to protect the Rev. Mr. Whiteley from injury, but was too late in coming to page 339 the scene of the tragedy.” Te Uira, the recipient of the forged telegram, instead of complying with it hastened to Mokau to warn his tribesmen of danger. Mr. Bryce, in Wellington, intimated to a friend of Te Rerenga that he had better “leave, so as to avoid complication.”46 Te Rerenga speedily shook the Wellington dust from his feet. Rumours ran through the country about the facts. On the 17th Aug., Mr. Mantell, in the Legislative Council, moved for papers relative to the sudden departure of Te Rerenga. Mr. Whitaker, the Attorney-General, alleged at first that the government “neither brought Te Rerenga here nor sent him away;” but after Sir G. Whitmore and other members had displayed some knowledge of the facts, Whitaker admitted that, “desiring to prevent all trouble, Mr. Bryce communicated with a friend” of Te Rerenga's, in order that the chief might depart.
On the 29th Aug., the government introduced an Amnesty Bill, declaring that, “whereas, on several occasions (Maoris had) been in insurrection … and offences of various kinds, more or less of a political character, have during such insurrection, and consequent thereon, been committed by the Maoris … and whereas the state of the colony is now such as to justify an amnesty being proclaimed for such offences”—it should be lawful for the Governor, with the advice of his Council, to declare an amnesty in favour of certain Maoris. The bill enabled the ministry to show special favour. Mr. Bryce, in moving the second reading (7th Sept.), averred that the bill was “by no means the mere result of the accidental visit of Te Wetere to Wellington;” and Mr. Whitaker reiterated the statement, as if it required confirmation. The bill was passed, and Te Rerenga wrote a letter to an editor on the 12th Sept. on the subject of his hereditary rights at Mokau.
The prorogation of the General Assembly took place on the 15th Sept. As Sir A. Gordon left New Zealand long before the end of the session, it devolved upon Sir J. Prendergast to complete his handiwork at Parihaka by sanctioning the bill which attainted Te Whiti and Tohu page 340 (subject to final approval by the Colonial Office).47 For two years after receiving Bills for Denial of Justice, for attainder, or any other kindred deformity, it was within the statutory and constitutional power of Her Majesty's Secretary of State to arrest the course of wrong by advising their disallowance. Sir A. Gordon was no longer concerned with what was called “native policy” in the colony. He had, in his speech at Christchurch, proclaimed the reasons which actuated him in discharging duties which he deemed constitutional. But it was well understood in the colony that he had intimated to his advisers that the question of his moral responsibility in retaining office under existing conditions was one for himself to determine. How he answered that question was proved by his resignation. His successor, Sir W. F. D. Jervois, arrived in New Zealand in Jan., 1883.
Prendergast was administrator of the government until Sir W. Jervois arrived as Governor in Jan., 1883; and as a proclamation of amnesty was issued in Feb., 1883, some circumstances concerning it should be mentioned.
Mr. Scotland, in the Upper House, while supporting the Amnesty Bill, thought it undesirable that “Te Kooti and Purukutu should be allowed to come amongst us, and perhaps be met by government officials and have their hands shaken by those officials.”48
The honourable member was prophetic.page 341
An English Blue Book49 contains an account of a meeting (12th Feb., 1883) between Te Kooti and the Native Minister. The latter furnished a report to the Governor. Te Kooti, shaking hands with Mr. Bryce, said: “Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other,” &c.
Which virtue was embodied in Te Kooti, and which in the minister, the enigmatic Maori did not say. After food and conversation, “Mr. Bryce walked over and shook hands with Te Kooti. Te Kooti rose and sang a waiata (song) and said, as everything is now settled, I will come and shake hands with you. He then advanced and shook hands with the party…”
Writing (13th Feb.) to the Governor, the Native Minister said, “I think the result must be considered satisfactory.”
It was not considered satisfactory by some colonists.
When Parliament met afterwards, Mr. Montgomery said: “We can extend a free pardon to Te Kooti, the man of blood, the man guilty of the vilest atrocities. We can shake hands with him. Here is a man of peace—Te Whiti—and we are asked to extend the law by which this man can be arrested at a moment's notice, not for any new offence, but simply at the will of the minister of the day. I say it is an outrage upon humanity.”50
The relations between the minister and Te Kooti were not in themselves worthy of remark, but they assist to explain a debate on the stoppage by the former of pensions of chiefs who had aided the colonists in the field.
The extent of these stoppages was described in the Legislative Council51 by one of his own colleagues, when Sir G. Whitmore brought before the Upper House the treatment of Ropata Wahawaha by the government. Sir G. Whitmore52 said that in the war of 1865 “no officer of European troops, and no native chief was more distinguished than Ropata Wahawaha, who from that time until 1873 had been the unflinching ally of the Europeans, and a hard-working officer of the native corps on the (East) coast.page 342
“There had been a great many instances in which that chief had shown personal devotion and courage of the very highest order; and at the time of the massacre at Poverty Bay the whole of the inhabitants of the district might be said to have looked upon Ropata Wahawaha as their protector and their shield… It was upon his (Sir G. Whitmore's) recommendation that Ropata was made a major of the militia, and obtained the honour of the New Zealand cross… Ropata was employed in driving the rebels out of the Uriwera mountains under the most terrible extremes of cold and privation, passing through hardships and difficulties which he (Sir G. Whitmore) did not believe Europeans could have surmounted; until at last he stamped out the embers of rebellion, and drove Te Kooti from the Uriwera mountains to the asylum in which he had since remained… It was thought right by that Native Minister, who most relied on and employed his services—the late Sir D. McLean—to show the people that the country considered these services entitled him to a sufficient pension to enable him to keep up a high position. It was therefore decided to give him £300 per annum. (The government had interfered with the allowance thus made.) All classes of Europeans and natives had held meetings, and a very strong feeling was displayed on this subject. The chief had spoken to him (Sir G. Whitmore). He said, “Ah! I am now useless, and I suppose I am not worth any further thought; and so I have my pension taken away; while the enemy of public order (Te Kooti), whom I was employed specially to keep down, has had a property purchased for him, and perhaps the money taken from me is devoted to that purpose.”
Sir G. Whitmore, endeavouring “to see that faith was kept with the Maori people,” moved for “all papers in connection with: (1) The reduction of the pension or salary of Chief Major Ropata Wahawaha, N.Z.C., from £300 to £100 per annum; (2) all papers connected with the purchase of a farm or block of land for the recently pardoned outlaw, Te Kooti.”
A member of the government (Mr. Oliver) in a lame defence of the treatment of Ropata, said: “Since my colleague the Minister for Native Affairs has been in office, page 343 he has stopped absolutely no less than seventy-four of these so-called pensions, and has reduced no less than fifty others.”
Wi Tako Ngatata supported Sir G. Whitmore's motion. “He thought it was not fair to reduce the reward after the time had passed when the assistance was given for which the reward was given. And why, also, had they honoured Te Kooti, who murdered the children of both Europeans and Maoris?”
Mr. Waterhouse declared that when he read that the allowances were to be withdrawn, “he was free to confess that it had sent through his system a thrill of indignation and grief… He had not heard this subject referred to by any one, whether a friend or foe to the government, who had not spoken of it in terms of indignation and grief.”
Captain Fraser said that “if Sir E. Stafford had been now Premier, he (Captain Fraser) could imagine with what scorn he would have heard any proposal to commit an act of injustice to a man who, in the hour of utmost need, came forward to save women and children from the ruthless murderer, Te Kooti. (Sir D. McLean had introduced to him, Captain Fraser) “Ropata as one of the greatest soldiers in the colony. He was a man whom the Queen had delighted to honour; he had been given a sword of honour and the Cross, which in any other country would have carried a pension with it, as was the case with the Legion of Honour. He was afraid that the granting of a reward to the ruthless murderer, Te Kooti, and acting as they were now doing to the man who had driven him into his lairs in the Uriwera country, would add another dark chapter to Rusden's new edition of his “History of New Zealand.”
Colonel Brett declared “that the government had broken faith with an old, distinguished, and gallant officer. If this occurred in India, we should lose the country… Major Ropata wore the distinguished honour of the New Zealand Cross; and were they to sit quietly and calmly, and listen when the honourable gentlemen on the government benches said they had robbed him of a certain sum of money, and had robbed seventy others similarly? Were they quietly to submit to this injustice?”page 344
In the House of Representatives Sir G. Grey alluded to Ropata thus:—
“What has become of the allowance made to a chief on the East Coast? Is it fair that without any accusation being made against the chief, without there being some tribunal to hear what cause there is for taking his pension from him, one individual should have the power by his mere writing to strip a man at once of a pension of that kind? Who is more worthy of respect, the man who does that, or the chief who says, ‘You may take away my pension; you may ruin me; but there is one thing you cannot do, you cannot make me disloyal?’ Which is the greater man of the two? I say the native who can make an answer of that kind, and can act in that manner, is infinitely the greater person, and the one that we should most admire.”54
Ropata was subsequently made a member of the Upper House.
Parliamentary proceedings with regard to the Maoris are quoted in these pages in order to show who they were, and how they comported themselves as subjects of the Queen, towards whom the ministry of Mr. Gladstone pronounced in July, 1882, that they would not advise that the solemn pledges of the Queen ought in any manner to be regarded.
A few words should perhaps be said about the proceedings of Sir W. Fox as sole commissioner on the West Coast. On the 17th June, 1881, he furnished “a general report on the progress” of his work, when he had been engaged in it about six months. He had interviews with Titokowaru, and made reserves for Hone Pihama and others, and for “fishing stations and minor cultivations… … I will conclude by expressing to your Excellency my entire satisfaction with the progress so far of the work of carrying into effect the principles and recommendations page 345 of the reports made by Sir Dillon Bell and myself last year, and my confident belief that what remains to be done will be accomplished by a continuance of patient labour for a not very protracted period.” This report was transmitted to England on the 10th Aug., by the Governor, and its receipt was acknowledged by Lord Kimberley (8th Oct., 1881), “with much satisfaction.”55 Those who are curious in speculation may perhaps find something incongruous between this “satisfaction,” and Lord Kimberley's contemporaneous statement as to the outrages at Parihaka, that he learned “with much satisfaction” that there was no “danger of hostilities.”
It may appear to some minds almost needless to accumulate this and other proofs of the wantonness of the attack upon Te Whiti's village, but when many combine to distort facts and impose upon the public, it is incumbent upon those who desire to exhibit the truth, to establish it as much as possible, out of the mouths, or by the pens, of actors in the drama. It has been shown that in June the General Assembly was informed that the Governor's advisers did not apprehend that it would be “necessary again to have recourse to extraordinary measures,” and Sir W. Fox's report corroborated the information. Yet three months afterwards, in the absence of the Governor, it was pretended that there was danger in Te Whiti's patience.
Before the Earl of Kimberley dealt with the reported proceedings at Parihaka and the groans of the Maoris, he had indicated his sense of the manner in which the honour of his country should be upheld with regard to the treaty of Waitangi. To a petition from Paora Tuhaere and others of the Ngatiwhatua tribe, the Earl replied that he was not “able to give any advice in respect of it, as the matter to which it relates is one which the government of the colony is empowered and required to deal with.” Tuhaere was, however, informed that, in “granting to the Legislature of New Zealand its present powers of legislation, the Queen was not unmindful of her Maori subjects, in page 346 whose welfare and happiness she has not ceased to feel the deepest interest.” The affectation that the Crown had not reserved in the New Zealand Constitution of 1852 any power to guard the rights of the Maoris, though it was not founded on fact, was ominous of the manner in which Lord Kimberley would evade his duty if called upon to advise the Queen. The Constitution,56 the handiwork of Lord Derby's ministry, had retained ample power for a Secretary of State who desired to maintain good faith. Before Lord Kimberley presented to Parliament the despatches (so long concealed) concerning the outrage at Parihaka, he revealed to the observant his sense of duty.
“The motive impelling the projectors of these deeds was a desire to confiscate the Maori lands, and to trample under the soles of their feet the treaty of Waitangi. While these proceedings were carried out, the weeping people wept, the lamenting people lamented, the tortured people were in agony, the saddened people were plunged in woe, while they held the treaty of Waitangi as a basis on which the voice of the Maoris could be made known to you, O Queen… We did not believe the utterances of the Europeans (as to the wrongs we suffered) that they were brought upon us by your Queenly authority: but our decision was that such acts were not sanctioned by you, O Queen, whose benevolence towards the Maori people is well known… (The disorderly deeds referred to were done) so that a path might be opened up for Europeans to seize Maori lands. In 1881 a new plan was devised by the government to enkindle strife… Armies were sent to Parihaka to capture innocent men that they might be lodged in prison; to seize their property and money; to destroy their growing crops; to break down their houses; and commit other acts of injustice. We pored over the treaty of Waitangi to find the grounds on which these evil proceedings of the government of New Zealand rested, but we could find none. Some of the European (colonists) disapproved of these injurious doings… We pray that you, O mother, the Queen, will not permit increased evils to come upon your Maori children … but will graciously sanction the appointment of a Royal English Commission to abrogate the evil laws affecting the Maori people … to put a bridle also in the mouth of Ministers for Native Affairs who may act as ministers have done at Parihaka, and to ensure that all may be brought back to obey your laws … to restore lands wrongly confiscated, and to draw forth from beneath the many page 347 unauthorized Acts of the New Zealand Parliament the concealed treaty, that it may now assert its own dignity… Should you authorize a Royal English Commission to investigate the wrongs of both races then will you be rightly informed, O mother, as to what is just and what is false. It is believed by us, O Queen, that you have no knowledge as to the wrongs that have pained us so much and created such lamentation among the tribes… O mother, the Queen, there are no expressions of disaffection towards you by the Maori tribes, including those of the king; but they revere, only revere your Majesty, and the search after you, O Queen, has induced us to send this-petition to England by the hands of persons appointed by our committee, who will see your very countenance and hear your words.”
(After the manner of their people they summarized their grievances): 1. Those relating to the New Zealand Company's doings. 2. Unlawful execution of Rangihaeata's people. 3. Wars of Heke and Kawiti. 4. Quarrels between Te Hapuku and others, in 1848, brought about by purchases of land by the government. 5. The rape of the Waitara. 6. The invasion of Waikato in 1863. 7. Other quarrels, in 1879, arising out of land purchases by the government. 8. The capture of Te Whiti's innocent people in 1879–81. 9. The incarceration, in 1881–2, “of Te Whiti and his people, who were guiltless of any crime.” Also the passing of laws in violation of the treaty. The petition concluded with a prayer: “May the Almighty bring down upon you, upon your family, and upon the whole of your people, the supreme blessings of Heaven, even to the end of your sojourn in this world, and in your inheritance in the home of sacred rest.”
Had the Lord Stanley of 1843, or the Cardwell of 1864, presided in 1882 at Downing Street, or had Sir Robert Peel been Prime Minister, it is possible that the Maori missionaries might have been permitted to see the countenance of their Queen and to hear her words. Lord Kimberley and Mr. Gladstone reserved such grace for Cetewayo, the Zulu. Perhaps the sight of the Earl of Kimberley himself would not have been accorded to the Maoris but for the existence of one of those organizations which, the off-growth of Christian charity, are the glory of the English nation. The ruling principle of the Aborigines’ Protection Society was the acknowledgment of the brotherhood of man: a principle which even the savage show-lovers of Rome rose to recognize with acclaim when they heard the words—Humani nihil a me alienum puto. With page 348 the society in question the principle was the motive of their being and the rule of their conduct. They befriended the Ngapuhi chiefs who bore the message of love and the prayers of their people to the Queen.
Sir T. FowellBuxton, Alderman Fowler, M.P.; with Messrs. A. McArthur, M.P.; J. Cropper, M.P.; F. W. Chesson (the secretary), and other members of the society, attended. After a preliminary objection on the ground that the petition had not been sent through the official channels, Lord Kimberley heard the deputation. In reply he said that the treaty of Waitangi “was very simple, and provided that the possession of land was to be respected.57 It was not the duty of the Colonial Office to advise the Queen in reference to local matters like the present… The Queen was advised by the ministers of the colony with regard to these matters, and not by himself.” During a pause, one of the deputation said: “It is proper to remind your lordship that successive Secretaries of State have commanded successive Governors through a long series of years to inform the Maoris, and they have accordingly been informed, that the Queen would cause the treaty to be scrupulously and loyally respected.”
The Earl appeared disconcerted, and mumbled that it was “a matter of construction,” but no report was made of his words. The chiefs were dismissed with the disingenuous assurance that, as advised by Lord Kimberley, the Queen took a great interest in the welfare of the Maoris, and that it was a happy omen that of late “there had been no wars or bloodshed between the two races.” When he spoke thus he had possessed for many months the despatches of Sir Arthur Gordon (26th Feb. to the 28th Dec., 1881), which contained an account of the proceedings which culminated in the outrage at Parihaka; and he had for page 349 weeks possessed the charge of Judge Gillies (to the Grand Jury at Taranaki), which pointed out the illegality of the arrests of more than 2000 peaceful Maoris. The production of all these documents was postponed until November. Thus, as far as one man could wound it, was the treaty of Waitangi wounded by Lord Kimberley.
It is instructive to glance at the terms in which the word of the Queen had been solemnly pledged to maintain the treaty. Hobson wrote:—“I assured the chiefs in the most fervent manner that they might implicitly rely on the good faith of Her Majesty's government.” His agent, Major Bunbury, was to offer a “solemn pledge that the most perfect good faith would be kept by Her Majesty's government that their property, their rights and privileges, should be most fully preserved.”
The gallant Fitzroy was ever on the side of loyalty. Sir George Grey, on his arrival, and repeatedly afterwards, declared publicly that he had “been instructed most honourably and scrupulously to fulfil the conditions of the treaty.” Even Colonel Browne, though led astray at the Waitara, pledged himself to maintain inviolate the treaty rights of the Maoris. Sir George Bowen, so lately as in 1872, declared to the Ngatituwharetoa tribe, “This treaty remains inviolate,” and Lord Kimberley, then Secretary of State, approved of his conduct. Of Governors Sir James Fergusson, the Marquis of Normanby, Sir Hercules Robinson, and Sir Arthur Gordon, no man would dream that they desired to dishonour the word of their Queen. But in their days the Maori people were waning, and though Secretaries of State had ceased to regard them, they did not cynically avow in terms that they had nothing to do with upholding the honour of their nation and their Queen. This it was reserved for Lord Kimberley to avow in 1882, while a member of a ministry of which Mr. Gladstone was the head; and Mr. Gladstone is therefore mainly responsible before the world for the decision announced by his colleague.
In days when freedom of speech has been invaded in its very sanctuary, the Parliament of England, it may be deemed perilous to write in fitting terms of the abandonment of duty displayed by the government towards the page 350 Maori race. Fortunately it is unnecessary to enlarge upon their conduct. Their own language suffices. Mr. Gladstone was, in 1882, the sole survivor of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Aborigines, appointed in 1836 and reappointed in 1837, to devise measures for securing to native inhabitants, where British settlements were made, “the due observance of justice, and the protection of their rights; to promote the spread of civilization among them; and to lead them to the peaceful and voluntary reception of the Christian religion.” The case of New Zealand was specially considered. With regard to the deeds of Stewart at Banks’ Peninsula, the committee said:
“Thus then we have seen that an atrocious crime involving the murder of many individuals, has been perpetrated through the instrumentality of a British subject; … it is incumbent upon this nation to provide against the repetition of outrages so destructive to the natives, and so discreditable to the British name.” … This appears to be the “moment to declare … that (the nation) will tolerate no scheme which implies violence or fraud in taking possession of such a territory; that it will no longer subject itself to the guilt of conniving at oppression, and that it will take upon itself the task of defending those who are too weak and too ignorant to defend themselves… He who has made Great Britain what she is, will inquire at our hands how we have employed the influence He has lent to us, in our dealings with the untutored and defenceless savage; whether it has been engaged in seizing their lands, warring upon their people, and transplanting unknown disease and deeper degradation … or whether we have, as far as we have been able, informed their ignorance, and invited them, and afforded them the opportunity of becoming partakers of that civilization, that innocent commerce, that knowledge, and that faith with which it has pleased a gracious Providence to bless our own country.”58
With these premisses Mr. Gladstone's studies in colonization began; and after brief space New Zealand became, in terms of a solemn treaty, an appendage to the British Crown. The Marquis of Normanby's instructions to Hobson conformed to the recommendations of the committee. Lord John Russell, who succeeded him, “entirely approved” of Hobson's fervent protestations that the natives might implicitly rely on the good faith of the Imperial government. Lord Stanley (besides rebuking the New Zealand Company in the words already chronicled) “in the name of the Queen utterly” denied that the treaty was or could page 351 have been made to be slighted in a disingenuous or unworthy manner, and commanded Sir G. Grey “honourably and scrupulously to fulfil” its conditions. In 1846, Mr. Gladstone wrote to the Governor of New Zealand: “I conceive it to be an undoubted maxim that the Crown should stand in all matters between the colonists and the natives,” and he “highly approved” the Governor's announcement that the treaty would be scrupulously respected by the Crown. In 1847, he condemned in Parliament the slighting of the Waitangi compact as that which “has been called the treaty… As far as England is concerned there is not a more strictly and rigorously binding treaty in existence than that of Waitangi.” Even Earl Grey was constrained to inform the Maori chiefs that “Her Majesty has always directed that the treaty should be most scrupulously and religiously observed.” The Duke of Newcastle, though entangled in the sophistries woven by Governor Browne's advisers, never succumbed to the unworthy doctrine that the solemn engagements of the Queen should be violated. Mr. Cardwell nobly redeemed the Colonial Office from the temporary shame which had besmirched it. Earl Granville's morality was too feeble to spur him to a just indignation when an individual suffered wrong, but he never suggested that the Queen's faith plighted to a whole race should be dishonoured. This it was reserved for Lord Kimberley to do, under the favour of Mr. Gladstone.
Echoes from New Zealand had reached him. One representative looked to “extermination” as the road to peace; another flouted the idea of Maoris having any rights as British subjects. One said in 1879: “We have nothing to do with the treaty of Waitangi. We have to do with our business, and not with what was done thirty or forty years ago.” Another, in 1882, expressed a hope that the treaty would “in future be relegated to the waste-paper basket, which is about the only place it ought to be seen in.” Lord Kimberley, who had in 1881 promised “if possible” to deprive the House of Commons of information, and had been faithful to that abject promise, was an apt pupil of the New Zealand plotters. In order to please them it was necessary to reverse the noble language page 352 of Lord Stanley,59 and he reversed it. His reply, to the appeal of the chiefs that the treaty might be regarded, was practically, if not in express words:—“In the name of the Queen I utterly assert that the treaty entered into, and ratified by Her Majesty's command, was made in a disingenuous spirit, and for an unworthy purpose. The Governor shall not honourably or scrupulously fulfil the conditions of the treaty of Waitangi. I am prepared, as Her Majesty's Secretary of State, to join in setting aside the treaty, after having obtained the advantage guaranteed by it. This is the respect due, in my opinion, to obligations contracted by the Crown of England, and as long as I have the honour of serving the Crown I am ready to admit that any person, or any government, acting in the name of Her Majesty, can contract a legal, moral, or honorary obligation to despoil others of their lawful and equitable rights.”
If in the dreary record contained in the hundreds of pages which found their way into the hands of members of Parliament on the 2nd Nov., 1882, there had been one word of rebuke, or even of remonstrance on his part, Lord Kimberley might escape censure for complicity in the raid upon Parihaka; but no such palliation can be found. If none can be produced, it must be concluded that, deaf to all appeals for justice, neither writing nor uttering one word to show that he prized the honour of his country or his Queen, the Earl, fully acquainted with the facts, chose that path of disgrace which blots the history of New Zealand.
He invited observations from the colony upon Parore's petition, and Sir Wm. Jervois sent him a memorandum by Mr. Stout (March 1885) which cited a remarkable statement prepared by Whitaker (when he was the head of the ministry in 1882) which has been thus described:60
Mr. Whitaker prudently abstained from dwelling on the Treaty of Waitangi. To that ghost of past honour some men are prone to say—“Avaunt and quit my sight.”
Mr. Whitaker thought it not beneath the dignity of his position as a lawyer to assure Lord Kimberley that the land legislation (as to Maori lands) in the colony was “not restrictive but enabling;”—“that the page 353 general legislation of the colony as to the Maoris has been more than just; it has been exceptionally favourable to them,” and that “there is no instance in which they have been placed in a less favourable position than the European population.” “It may, indeed, with confidence be asserted generally that there is not, and has not been, anything on the Statute Book of the colony, or in the conduct of the Legislature as regards the Maoris, to which reasonable exception can be taken.” Words which should indeed be “graven in brass.”
When Mr. Whitaker wrote the words thus commented upon, Te Whiti was held a prisoner and denied a trial, although a judge of the Supreme Court in New Zealand had pronounced that his seizure and detention were illegal. Cultivated fields were ravaged, garnered food was destroyed, a populous village was laid waste, and the tribal house, called by some a place of worship, had been consumed by fire.
Such as they were the statements of the New Zealand ministry of 1885 (founded on the mis-statements of the ministry in 1882) were laid before a new Secretary of State, the Earl of Derby, son of him who rebuked the marauding New Zealand Company in 1843.
The son succeeded to an office in which his predecessor had withheld information from Parliament.
Lord Derby requested that the Maoris might be informed that the Queen was pleased to receive their petition very graciously, “but that he had been unable to advise Her Majesty to give any directions for a compliance” with their prayer.
Complicity of one Secretary of State with wrong-doing may make his successor “unable” to do right, but Lord Derby did not interpret his words.
1 “Te Whitil made a long speech, but so obscure to the European mind that those skilled in Maori language and the tone of thought of the Maoria differ widely as to its meaning.”—“ New Zealand Herald,” 29th March, 1880.
3 Blue-book, 1882 [C. 3382], p. 165.
4 Te Whiti warned the government scribes not to take notes because they could not understand. Of this particular speech two published translations were so different that only in a few passages could similarity be detected.
5 This was rendered by one interpreter: “When the hen's nest is left a little child may break the eggs, and the chickens will have no mother to watch them.”
6 A combination of courage, endurance, and patience.
7 In 1882, Sir G. Grey reminded the House, apparently without contradiction, that on assuming office in 1879 the Hall ministry “committed a great crime. They burst open the telegraph office and took out the telegrams of their predecessors… Those things which were written under the solemn seal of secrecy, as it was thought, were brought up and examined by the ministry”.… (New Zealand “Hansard,” 23rd May, 1882). In 1884, Mr. Montgomery quoted in the House Mr. Hall's explanation that “he only glanced at” the telegrams. (New Zealand “Hansard,” Vol. 48, p. 531.)
8 How hard it is to raze out proofs of guilt is shown by the struggles of Mr. Hall and his colleagues to conceal the truth. Mr. Stout and others argued that the nocturnal cabal was prompted by knowledge that the Governor was speeding homewards. Mr. Rolleston dared to write (to the “Christchurch Press”): “I shall be obliged if you will allow me to state absolutely that neither the ministry, as a whole, nor any member of it, had, up to the time when the ‘Gazette’ containing the proclamation was published, received information that the Governor's speedy return might be expected; that in fact no intelligence of the Governor's movements, actual or intended, had been received by the government or by any minister from the time his Excellency left Auckland for Fiji until he returned to Wellington.” If Mr. Rolleston did not wilfully err, or had not suffered a decay of memory, it must be concluded that Mr. Hall was as disingenuous to his colleague as he was untrue to his Queen. Mr. Murray's memorandum quoted in the text is printed at pp. 56–57 of an English Blue Book of 1883, C. 3689.
9 Vol. II., p. 577, and note.
11 Blue-book, 1882, C. 3382, p. 267.
12 Blue Book (C. 3382), 1882. This despatch was received by Lord Kimberley in Dec., 1881; but he having in July, 1881, undertaken to “delay publication if possible,” the abuse of military force was concealed from the Parliament of England until 2nd Nov., 1882. The assumptions of the ministry as to their powers were blown to the winds by Judge Gillies, who, in a charge to the Grand Jury at Taranaki (May, 1882), declared that under the West Coast Settlement Act persons proceeding against the Maoris must be “authorized by the Governor… It would not be sufficient for some minister verbally to give such an authority. It must be the official act of the Governor, through a minister, authorizing some special person to do some particular act in pursuance of the provisions of the statute.” Lord Kimberley received this charge while he was withholding information from Parliament.
13 Matakatea was one of those who (Bryce said in Parliament, 30th July, 1880) were “taken prisoners without any form of law,” and who was never tried.
15 The official telegram sent by Bryce to Hall (1st Nov.) reported Te-Whiti thus:—“We were told formerly to fight, but not against men.”— Blue-Book. C. 3382 of 1882, p. 192.
16 “New Zealand Herald” (7th Nov., 1881). Oral information from the visitor to Parihaka. Some foolish banterer had suggested that perhaps Bryce would be shot. Bryce afterwards declared that “had this taken place it meant the death of the whole of the natives assembled there” (“New Zealand Herald” (17th Dec.). Such was the possible doom of hundreds of women and children.
17 It is unnecessary to connect Hiroki's story with Te Whiti in the text. Hiroki may be remembered as charged with killing McLean, a cook to a surveyor's party, and escaping from the pursuit of his countrymen and the police. It may be thought strange that as the natives knew that Te Whiti would offer no resistance Hiroki remained at Parihaka to encounter Bryce and his army. When the constable approached Hiroki the latter folded his arms. The constable, apprehensive of concealed weapons, ordered Hiroki to hold up his hands. Hiroki did so, and was handcuffed and searched. Nothing was found upon him. A few days after his capture he was seen playing draughts with his guardian, one of the armed constabulary, and “winning with ease.” Hiroki was convicted and hanged in 1882, and it was circulated abroad that he confessed to the murder. Whether his confession was trustworthy or not, it was not murder that he admitted. “McLean fired at me with a gun. I caught his gun and pulled it away from him (he) ran away and I fired at him (and) killed him.” See p. 181, supra.
18 The accuracy of the correspondent's report was indirectly vouched by one of the officers. Major Tuke objected to a phrase imputed to himself: “If any Maori flashes a tomahawk, shoot him on the spot.” He said that his words were: “If any man uses a tomahawk, use your revolver.” “This is the only exception taken to the correctness of my report,” the correspondent was able to say (17th Nov.).
19 “The Yeoman,” 12th Nov., 1881.
20 When Titokowaru was put before the court he pleaded guilty. The magistrates proceeded to hear evidence. He asked the interpreter why evidence should be taken to prove what he did not deny. Int.—“The magistrates won't allow you to plead guilty. They say you plead not guilty.” “Kapai (good).” He rose to wrap his mantle round him and depart. Int.—“You must not go. They are going to try you.” “What do they want to try me for if they say I am not guilty?” Int.—“But you might be guilty after all.” “Well, so I said at first, and they said I was not.” Int.—“Exactly.” The Bench.—“Tell him we have written in the big book that he is not guilty.” Titokowaru.—“That is untrue. I said I was guilty.” The Bench.—“Call the first witness.” The Prisoner (with an air of puzzled resignation and contempt): “I always thought the Pakehas were accursed fools.”
22 The reports of the Press Association are generally cited in the text. Vol. III.
23 It was said that Mr. Bryce was “much annoyed at the conduct” of the two dismissed men, one of whom stole a bank note representing a petty fraction of the value of the goods stolen by the government. “I am sorry to say (Mr. Bryce telegraphed to Rolleston, 20th Nov.) that three cases of theft are reported in the search for arms yesterday and to-day by the Taranaki Mounted Rifles. One a Tiki neck ornament, greatly valued… The two men who took the neck ornament and the £1 note have been dismissed from the volunteer force.” The next day Mr. Bryce destroyed the “sacred medicine-house.” His relations with the volunteers were not altogether friendly after they had done his work. He said (afterwards) of one corps, which required more pay, that their mercenary conduct disgraced the volunteer service throughout the colony; and they promptly (Sept., 1882) burnt him in effigy.
24 Teira, the instrument used by the Taranaki residents and Mr. Stafford's colleagues to coerce Governor Browne to make war in 1860, died in Sept., 1882. It was of little avail to his countrymen to know that he confessed his ill-deeds. “One of our reporters (said the “New Zealand Herald,” 20th Sept., 1882) interviewed him, and found him quite frank” in 1879 at Waitara. “He acknowledged that he had done wrong in insisting on the sale of Waitara in spite of Te Rangitake.” After the exposure by the Compensation Court in 1866 (vide Vol. II. pp. 484–485 and note), it was useless for Teira to maintain the false and prompted story which deceived Col. Browne and the Duke of Newcastle.
25 Attending a meeting of electors in the Wanganui district, he was, as a non-elector, pronounced incompetent to interfere. He complained of the “unfair and indecent tactics” displayed towards him, and expressed his “disgust … at the steady deterioration of our political institutions.”
26 Blue Book C. 3382, p. 268. On the same day, the Governor wrote a separate despatch, which is instructive. On his return from Fiji the ministry promised to explain the cause of their sudden action during his absence, and Mr. Rolleston furnished a memorandum on the 24th Oct. One paragraph declared that “a view has possessed Te Whiti's mind, viz., that the Imperial Government will interfere in his favour—a notion which, no doubt, has contributed largely to a postponement of a settlement of existing difficulties.” On the 8th Nov., the Governor asked for evidence upon which such an opinion was formed, as he had seen no indication of the existence of such “a view” in any of Te Whiti's speeches. Rolleston found it so difficult to frame a reply that he put it off till the 18th Dec., and then based his statement upon “assurances for the most part verbal,” made from time to time, which convinced him of the accuracy of his opinion. Tohu had once said: “A stranger shall take care of us.” Mr. Rolleston regretted that absence in Canterbury had delayed his inconsequential reply; but there had been ample time to reply before he went to Canterbury, after returning from Parihaka.
27 The Maoris regulated their planting by the position of Matariki, the Pleiades. So did others in the Indian seas. By the same constellation the Australian aborigines knew when summer was nigh.
30 At Parihaka Colonel Roberts feared that the Maoris would assemble to discuss affairs during the ministerial convulsions. He was directed by Bryce to arrest strangers, destroy houses, &c. Being asked (afterwards) in the House if the houses of Te Whiti and Tohu were pulled down in obedience to his order, Mr. Bryce said about a dozen houses were pulled down by his orders, “as a hint that such meetings should not be convened. He was not aware whether Te Whiti's was one of those pulled down, but, if so, it was a very good thing for Mrs. Te Whiti,” because it was old, small, &c. (New Zealand “Hansard,” 14th June). Soon after this strange statement Mr. Ashley, in the House of Commons, pursued the policy of withholding information. When Sir M. Hicks-Beach categorically asked (13th July) whether Sir A. Gordon's report on Parihaka had been received, Mr. Ashley admitted the fact, but not that it had been suppressed by request.
31 That no lawful authority for the seizure.and imprisonment of Te Whiti existed was morally certain; but by denying trial the Hall and subsequent ministries prevented the truth from being shown in any court of law in New Zealand. Hall, however, had an opportunity of testifying as to the facts in the High Court of Justice in England.
Being sworn on the 8th March, 1886, Sir John Hall was asked by counsel (Sir J. Gorst), “Were any of the proceedings which Mr. Bryce was instructed to take at Parihaka authorized by the Governor?
“Sir J. Hall: The Governor —
“Sir J. Gorst: Yes or no, Sir John, if you please?
“Sir John Hall: I am not going to give an answer yes or no…” (Shorthand Report).
Read by the light of Judge Gillies’ charge, Sir J. Hall's refusal to answer a plain question sufficiently convicted his ministry, and confirmed the description in this history of the raid upon Parihaka. It is therefore useful in a sense not contemplated by Hall. (See Sir J. Gorst's use of Judge Gillies’ charge in the Preface, p. xiv, note.)
32 Instead of striking out these references to Tawhiao the author has the happiness to add that the chief had resolution enough to conquer himself afterwards. 1894.
33 Dissatisfaction was expressed by Europeans because on the 12th the business was postponed; but Te Ngakau retorted that the Native Land Court often adjourned to the great inconvenience of assembled Maoris. “So in accordance with your European customs I have to announce that the speeches will be delivered to-morrow.”
34 Amongst Mr. Bryce's blunders was the oft-refuted misstatement that the Maoris commenced the war at Taranaki in 1860. The land dispute at Waitara “might have been called the immediate cause,” but it was Mr. Bryce's conviction that the natives were “desirous that it should occur.” To enhance the value of his opinion Mr. Bryce told the House: “I was in the way of being acquainted with the natives on that coast.” It was an old device to impute the war to the Maoris. See note Vol. II., p. 87.
35 Admiration of the sagacity with which, in Magna Charta, Stephen Langton guarded against arbitrary outrage, would be increased, if that were possible, by finding that every wrong done to Te Whiti was forbidden in express terms by the charter. “Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur, aut dissaisiatur, aut utlagetur, aut exuletur, aut aliquo modo destruatur, nec super eum ibimus, nec super eum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum, vel per legem terrae. Nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus, aut differemus, rectum aut justitiam.”
36 The propriety of keeping faith as to these reserves might have seemed unquestionable elsewhere, but in New Zealand there were members who supported even this act of breaking promises, old and new. It was urged that it would be a foolish “concession” to abstain from plundering in the manner threatened by Prendergast. In the debate on the bill, Mr. Moss stated that Atkinson, the Treasurer, told his constituents that “if there was any difficulty in that part of the country again, the Maoris should be exterminated.” (“New Zealand Hansard,” 30th May, 1882.)
37 The “Lyttelton Times” called the result “the most shameful decision ever recorded in our Parliamentary annals.” At the same time it rejoiced that the calling for the division would proclaim for all time the uprightness and undimmed honour of “the few who stood up on that fatal day against the many.” The fourteen members were Messrs. Buchanan, Daniel, De’ Lautour, Duncan, Joyce, Montgomery, Moss, Taiaroa, Tawhai, Te Wheoro, Tomoana, White, Bracken, and Turnbull. Five others paired against the bill. They were Messrs. Bathgate, Hutchison, Holmes, Macandrew, and Shrimski.
38 1894. Since the publication of this History in 1883, Whitaker has passed away. No censnre of him which was not published in his lifetime will be found in the second edition. A great historian once wrote to the author: “It must need some courage to write a history including contemporaries. I have (perhaps prudently) restricted myself to grandfathers and great-grandfathers.” These words are wise; and yet censure of those who can answer for themselves is, in one sense, preferable to condemnation of those who can no longer do so. It is right and fair, however, to quote the sworn testimony of Sir J. Hall (the head of the ministry during the raid upon Parihaka) that during that raid the government acted under the “advice of Sir F. Whitaker and the Solicitor-General.” (Shorthand Report, High Court of Justice, 8th March, 1886.)
39 After the bills had been passed the newspapers published a statement which shame or pity wrung from Mr. Parris. Many might think Te Whiti's career foolish or unreasonable, “but those who are capable of taking an impartial view of the whole case, and can admit the full right of the Maori to strive by all fair means to retain his old free mode of life, and enough of his primæval wildness of forest and fern to enjoy it, will see in Te Whiti's conduct, as the leader of his people in a trying period, much that is worthy of their sympathy and respect. Te Whiti was in fact the representative … of the love of the Maori people for their ancient customs … and of their dread of being hustled off the scene by swarms of strangers, &c.” To extort such praise from an oppressor was a moral triumph. It is inserted here, however, to show how the truth was distorted in telegrams and letters to England which represented Te Whiti as a rebellious disturber.
40 Mr. Daniel overrated the conscientiousness of Lord Kimberley. On the 13th July, 1882, Mr. Ashley told Sir. M. Hicks-Beach in the House that the delay had “arisen from the fact of papers being awaited from New Zealand.” On the 13th June, 1882, the New Zealand ministry produced a statement from Lord Kimberley, of July, 1881, to the effect that the Earl at their request “would delay publication if possible, but that as the papers had been promised, they must be published, if pressed for.”
41 It has been said that many noble deeds of Englishmen were learned in the playgrounds of Eton; and it may be hoped that the coming generation in New Zealand will rise to something better than the teachings of the Whitaker ministry. While Bryce uttered these words in the House, Taiaroa's son was winning golden opinions at Dunedin for his prowess at football, not only amongst his triumphant schoolfellows in the Eton of Dunedin, but in the press.
42 “N.Z. Hansard,” 1882, vol. xliii., p. 591.
43 The Qualification Act of 1879 gave a vote (irrespective of those for the four Maori members) to every adult Maori whose name was enrolled as a ratepaper, or who was “seized in severalty of a freehold” of the value of £25. It was urged that designing agents caused improper enrolment, and the remedy, if Mr. Hobbs spoke correctly, was to “purge the roll” by executive authority. Official statistics stated that when (1880) the electoral roll was 83,851, the total number of Maoris registered under the Act was only 830.
44 “In spite of trustees, laws, regulations, red-tape … they have been blotted from the map. Not a creature from the Native Minister down … has the faintest notion of where they are… Once gazetted their existence was forgotten… Whatever their fate, the fact remains that reserves have entirely disappeared. The bill provides a system far better than the abominable one under which such gross and scandalous breaches of trust have actually occurred.”—“Lyttelton Times,” 28th Aug., 1882. The lost history of missing reserves may perhaps have vied in interest with that which is preserved about the Dunedin reclamation.
45 “N. Z. Hansard,” 1882, vol. xliii., p. 637.
46 Speech of the Attorney-General (17th Aug.) in Legislative Council.
47 Besides enacting that none of the Provincial Legislatures it created should inflict “any disabilities or restrictions on persons of the native race to which persons of European birth would not also be subjected,” the Constitution Statute (15 & 16 Vict. cap. 72) made it “lawful at any time within two years after (any New Zealand bill) shall have been received by the Secretary of State for Her Majesty by Order-in-Council to declare her disallowance of such bill…” Section 53 of the Statute, in giving power to the General Assembly to make laws in New Zealand, guarded it by a proviso “that no such laws be repugnant to the laws of England.”
48 “N. Z. Hansard,” 1882. Vol. 43, p. 914. As the author has no personal knowledge of Mr. Scotland it is grateful to notice that in 1883 he said in Parliament: “From what I have heard of Mr. Rusden, I believe him to be a good Christian and a gentleman, and I do not think he would put anything on paper respecting this colony that he did not think was true. He may have been led into errors, and a great many historians have been. It would have been easy for him to write a popular book by praising up the country, right or wrong, but he was too honest.”—“N. Z. Hansard,” 1883, Vol. 46, p. 481.
49 1883, C. 3689, p. 67.
50 “N. Z. Hansard,” 1883, Vol. 46, p. 158.
51 “N.Z. Hansard,” 1884, Vol. 47, p. 10.
52 Ib. p. 8.
53 Under an administration of which Mr. Stout became the head, and in which Mr. Ballance was Native Minister, Ropata's pension was restored, with arrears. Mr. Ballance read a statement to that effect in the House. The statement showed also that the sum appropriated by the ministry for purchase of “land for Te Kooti” was £600
54 “N.Z. Hansard,” 1884, Vol. 47, p. 121.
56 Power to disallow bills was (as has been seen) expressly retained by the Crown, and the 71st and 79th clauses provided for the maintenance of humane Maori customs by the Crown, “any law, statute, or usage in force in New Zealand … in any wise notwithstanding.”
57 These words are quoted from the report of the deputation which Lord Kimberley (Despatch 8th Aug., 1882, to the Governor of New Zealand), described as a “brief but fairly accurate account of an interview” with the chiefs. He must have forgotten the nature of the treaty or thought whatever he said unimportant when he narrowed its application to titles to land. There were only three articles in it, and the last said that, in consideration of the others, “Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Maoris her royal protection, and imparts to them all the rights and privileges of British subjects.”
58 House of Commons Report, 425, 26th June, 1837.