The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 55
May the Queen and her family long live. May her Government and the people of England live !
May God protect you!
This is an address from the Maori chiefs to the people of England.
Strangers landed on a strange land:—
We, the Maori chiefs of New Zealand have come to this distant land into your presence, on account of the great disaster which has overtaken your Maori race, which is beloved by the Queen and the people of England. Accordingly we have now swum the ocean of Kiwa which lies between us, and have reached England in safety, the source and fountain of authority, to the place where the Queen lives, that she may redress the ills of the Maori race inflicted on them by the Government of New Zealand, who have not directed their attention to right those wrongs up to the present time, and those wrongs are still being committed; nor is it because the Maoris are adhering to evil practices and so causing trouble between the two races, and therefore owing to this continued inattention of the Government this is presented as an appeal to the highest authority.
And because there was a tender regard displayed by the Queen to her Maori race, as shown in the Treaty of Waitangi, therefore it is well that those contracts and these ills should be brought before you for your consideration.
Firstly : the words of the Queen were, that Victoria, Queen of England, in her kind regard to the chiefs and the tribes of New Zealand, secured that their rights of chieftainship and their lands should be established to them, and that peace should be made with them.
Secondly : that the Queen of England shall order and consent that the chiefs and tribes of New Zealand preserve their chieftainships, their lands, their villages, their forests, and their fisheries.
Thirdly : that the Government of the Queen shall consent and order that the Queen shall protect the Maoris of New Zealand, and shall give them her laws in like manner as they are given to the people of England.
But these contracts have been trampled upon by the Government without exception. The first case of the Government purchasing land was in the year 1855. They paid a deposit for lands to some tribes, without knowing whether the lands belonged to them, and much land in the Waikato, Hawke's Bay, and other places was bought in this manner; and in consequence page break the Maoris drew a boundary at the Mangatawhiri River, to separate, the ground still held by the Maoris, and set up a head, viz., Potatau, of the Maori people, who should prevent disputes between the natives who sold and those who retained their lands, always acknowledging the supremacy of the Queen; and this provision was made over all lands throughout Taranaki, Taupo, and other parts.
In the year 1858 the Government purchased Waitara from Te Teira, Wiremu Kingi, the paramount chief of that tribe, prohibiting the sale; but the Government sanctioned the purchase from Te Teira. Wiremu Kingi drove off the surveyors, and the Government waged war throughout Taranaki and confiscated the land.
In the year 1863, a proclamation was issued by the Government that all the natives adhering to the resolve not to part with their lands should retire across the boundary-line at Mangatawhiri; they went and the Government followed them across the boundary and fought them; another proclamation from the Government declared that the Waikato chiefs adhering to the Queen should aid General Cameron, and that the Government would protect their persons, their lands, and their property. Te Wheoro and his tribe aided General Cameron up to the very last, but their lands, amounting to about 200,000 acres, and property were confiscated and a very little portion of the land was returned; the bulk was sold by the Government to the English, and up to the present day no compensation has been made; for the property destroyed, the Court ordered compensation to be made, but the Government refused to comply.
The question of the lands thus seized was laid before the Committee of Maori affairs of the House of Parliament in the year 1879, and again in the years 1880 and 1881, and the unanimous reply was made that the Government should specially appoint a Commission to investigate that seizure, but the Government refused to accede to this proposal.
On the seizure of the lands at Taranaki in the year 1863, a law was made, that seven years were to be allowed for the Government to place settlers on the land, but failing to do so within that time that the land should revert to the Maoris. The year 1870 arrived, and the Government had failed to settle the land and the land was returned by the native minister, Donald Maclean, who said that the Government should purchase the land at five or seven shillings per acre, but the Government did not purchase in.
In the year 1879 the Government began to seize the land without any pretext, arrested Te Whiti and party in their homes, destroyed their houses, rooted up their crops, and removed their goods, surveyed the land, put it into the market, and it was bought by the English, and very small portions were returned page break to the natives. For twelve months Te Whiti and party were imprisoned and were never tried; they were then released, but are still under some restraining law of the Government.
When the lands in the South Islands were bought by a Commission from the Queen the Commission stipulated that on the Maoris consenting to the conditions, that the villages, the fisheries and one acre in every ten should be reserved to the Maoris, and to this the Maoris agreed, but on the completion of the sale the conditions were and have been disallowed down to the present A Commission was instituted in the year 1879, but the Government was not pleased to give effect to its awards.
Respecting the land at Kawhia; before the establishment of the Government some Europeans resided at Kawhia, the Maoris allowed their residence for the purpose of trade and rent was paid to the natives by these Europeans; the Maoris in ignorance signed their names and, as they paid for the goods received, were unaware that their names were obtained for a purpose. On the arrival of fresh Europeans the lands were sold to the new arrivals, and these demanded a Crown grant from the Government which was granted, though the Maoris were kept in ignorance of the transaction, and thus the Government dealt with the ground and ultimately bought it for themselves; and not until it was being surveyed were the Maoris aware that their land was alienated. Nor did the Government inquire of the Maoris whether the claims of the Europeans were just, and the Maoris condemned the transaction.
The Government submitted a Bill to Parliament to authorize them to put the land into the market, and the Bill was passed by the Parliament, the Maori members dissenting, and submitting a letter to the governor, asking him to withhold his consent to the Bill, and the letter was forwarded to the Queen. In the year 1883 the land was thrown into the market by the Government, and the Kawhia River was buoyed; the Maoris then gathered together to prevent this, and Tawhiao said to the Government, through the native minister, Mr. Bryce, "Let the staking of the river be done by him." But Mr. Bryce refused, and all the land was surveyed by the Government, and soldiers were placed on the land of the king, and works were pushed forward on the king's land, and the Government said that they, acting with Rewi and party, should decide the boundary of the king's land, to which Rewi and party agreed; when that was settled the Government commenced operations, not confining themselves to what was agreed upon, at which Rewi severed himself from any further connection with the operations of the Government, when he saw that the king party suffered loss, and this is an example of the conduct of the Government in all their transactions in Maori matters.page break
The Native Lands Court, instituted in the year 1866, by the Government, and that measure for dealing with Maori lands was adopted, in order to destroy the rights of the Maoris over their own, land, rights secured to them by the Queen in the Treaty of Waitangi.
A fresh rule was thus established, by which the Court had full powers, its authority was entirely in European hands, and the Maoris were denied all authority. It was established that ten persons were to be allowed claims over any section of ground, the majority were to rest satisfied with no land to live on, and the lands were ultimately alienated by purchase; another rule was set up by the Court, that if the claimants failed to present themselves to the Court, the land should be handed over to others, and thus the lands were sold, including the lands, the homesteads, and the plantations, and the real owners of the land were left destitute. When the Maori race asked that they might be allowed to deal with their own lands by means of their own committees, the Government declined. In cases where Europeans purchased land from Maoris who received money for lands not theirs, the purchase thus made was established to the purchasers.
Assessors were, indeed, appointed for the Courts, but they had no power to say anything with regard to the lands dealt with by the Court. Te Wheoro was the first assessor thus summoned in the year 1866, but when he saw these faults he left it in the year 1872.
The rights of the chiefs over their own lands were disallowed by the Government, and the position of the chiefs, in accordance with their Maori customs, was swept away, for the chiefs had the power to secure the lands for themselves and their tribes, lest the land and the persons should be lost (by other tribes seizing it), and their rights were reduced to an equality with ordinary persons, and their words were allowed no weight in retaining their land, or in directing the affairs of their own tribes, but the Government gave the rights of ruling to all kinds of persons, and the ruling of these persons, possessing no tribal rights in the eyes of the race itself, was authorized; the Government merely regarding their own appointments in respect to these lands; and thus the Government were able to set aside and ignore the chiefs.
Maori assessors were appointed by the Government to rule their own Maori race, only they had no powers, all powers of establishing and directing were retained by the Government, and even this is now being set aside.
Maori representatives were established by the Government, but a prohibitive rule was made, by which the number of page break members was limited to four, and though the Maoris demanded a representation proportionate to their numbers, this has been refused by the Government up to the present time, and these members have only nominal power, and are unable to redress the Maori wrongs, and yet the Europeans have only an equal status with the Maoris. The commission charged by the Government on the moneys paid for Maori lands, whether sold or leased, exceeds 25 per cent.
The payments arising from gold-bearing lands, i.e. 10s. per miner's right, and duties on goods, are taken by the Government, and none are returned to the Maori race, nor are the Maoris allowed any voice in directing these taxes, all are taken by the Government for the benefit of the Europeans, and the Maori are left out of all consideration; and the result of all this is that the Government have taken the lands, the persons, and the rights of the Maori: the Maori still lay claim to their rights, and this has been a cause of trouble, and troubles have also come on other Europeans, as happened at Marunui and other places throughout the whole island, all from these acts of the Government. A commission sat to investigate these wrongs at Napier. Te Wheoro, another Maori, and two Europeans sat, but the Europeans and the Maoris failed to agree, no decision was arrived at, and the lands were lost, and the Maoris, frightened at such dealings, retired to a remnant of the land of their ancestors in the King Country, and yet they are being even now pursued.
Te Wheoro rose in the Parliament of 1880, and, addressing the Government, asked them to give to the Maoris the office of Minister of Maori Affairs, then filled by Mr. Bryce, inasmuch as it was a post for the Maoris, and yet Europeans alone filled the office, though Maori names were mentioned for the office, and this is a wrong done to the Maoris, inasmuch as the Queen had given them rights. Mr. Bryce replied that the office should never belong to the Maoris.
Therefore we and our race have determined, and to us the representatives of the tribe of New Zealand has been assigned the work of crossing the ocean and of bringing our wrongs to the Queen and people of England, in whose hands lay the words of life and death, that they should send and give to the Maori race laws whereby they may live, like as our friends the Europeans who sent and asked to have a Parliament of their own, and which was agreed to by the Queen; the Maoris remaining in ignorance that their friends, the Europeans, had asked for a Parliament subsequent to the Treaty of Waitangi.
Therefore we pray for our Maori race that our Queen may cherish us, that she may accede to this our prayer, and grant to us, her Maori race, these humble requests. And firstly, that you will resolutely consent to grant a government to your Maori page break subjects, to those who are living on their own lands, on those of their ancestors, an within the limits of Maori territory, that they may have power to make laws regarding their own lands, and race, lest they perish by the ills which have come upon them; that they may be empowered so to direct themselves and their own lands lest they be altogether destroyed by the practices of the Government, unknown and not evident to the Maoris; and that also the Maoris possessing lands contiguous to the Europeans should have those lands brought under the direction of the said Maori government, for there are many tribes who thus own land, and which they will not long hold unless thus brought under Maori government, and these Maoris are those who are suffering most at the present time, and they will be unable to save themselves unless some such means are taken for their preservation.
Secondly. That the Queen and her Government consent to the appointment of a Maori Commissioner, appointed by the Queen, one of the Maori race, one adhering to the Queen, an upright man, who shall act as mediator between the Maori and European races, in matters touching the leasing and selling of the lands of your Maori subjects, who shall investigate the laws, made by the Maori government, make them feasible, and to write his opinion to your Governor, and to you also for your confirmation, lest the Maori legislation be at variance with that of the Government, and lest the Maori should fail to carry out the laws of the Government respecting them.
Thirdly. That the greater portion of the taxes levied on your Maori subjects be returned to them. To enable them to carry on their government, granted by you to your Maori subjects, in those parts which are Maori territory.
Fourthly. That the European Judges in the Native Land Court be superseded, and that your Maori race be then permitted to direct their own affairs in that court; that they may be empowered to appoint their own Judges over their own lands, lest they be all lost by the present doings of the court; that they may be able to deal with these lands in accordance with their own customs, apportioning to each tribe their share, and having made all ready for leasing or selling, to submit all rulings to the Commissioner appointed by you, that he may look into the whole affair, and see that no injurious effects come upon the Maori, and then he is to submit all to your Governor for confirmation.
Fifthly. That the lands wrongly obtained by the Government be returned to us. That all may be in accordance with the concessions made in the Waitargi treaty and all other contracts made with your Maori subjects. That the Queen and her page break Government also appoint some person from England, a person independent of the Government of New Zealand, who shall carefully investigate those wrongs, and if he finds them in accordance with what we have now presented before you, and that then he should decide whether the lands of your wronged subjects be returned, or a compensation be made for part of it.
We your Maori race confidently rely on the treaty of Waitangi, on its provisions and force, and we will be led by those provisions in these matters for which we have now swim the ocean of Kiwa, and we pray in the presence of the Queen that she will confirm her words given in that treaty, that it may not be trampled upon by the Government of New Zealand in anything they may do to annul that treaty.
Let the Queen live !
Here we conclude. May God preserve you !
I hereby certify that the above is a true translation of the Petition made by me this 15th day of July, 1884.
Wiremu Te Wheoro.
Patara Te Tuh.
Fred. H. Spencer,
Clerk in Holy Orders