Translation of W. Thompson’s Reply to his Excellency’s Declaration, addressed to the Natives assembled at Ngaruawahia
Translation of W. Thompson’s Reply to his Excellency’s Declaration, addressed to the Natives assembled at Ngaruawahia.
The thought of the Maori with reference to these causes of jealousy which are agitated in this island. Alas!—lack a-day! Well, go on, O mocker, O writer hither.
Ere a threat to strike fell from the lips,
The paddles of Kehu in the south are flashing;
The heart misgives by reason of the rumour;
I hastened through to Te Wake Wake;
I was not mindful of the shade of Nga Mota;
Thy person was with thy friend, thy feet were given to me,
That it might be supposed that thou regardest me.
The barrier of Kirikiri now divides us—
The dazzling height of Hikurangi.
I must plunge unwittingly into the place of departed spirits,
Barely holding on at Morianuka
With the loved one, fruit of mutual embrace.
* Te Parata was supposed to be an immense abyss in the ocean, into which its waters were constantly rushing until it was filled, and then ejected again, thus causing the ebb and flow of the tide.
I say, O my friends, that the things of God are for us all. God did not make night and day for you only. No, summer and winter are for all, the rain and wind, food and life, are for us all. Were those things indeed made for you only? I had supposed that they were for all—if some were dogs and others were men, it would be right to be angry with the dogs, and wrong to be so with the men. My friends, do you grudge us a king, as if it were a name greater than that of God. If it were that God did not permit it, then it would be right (to object), and it would be given up; but it is not He who forbids, and while it is only our fellow-men who are angry it will not be relinquished. If the anger is lest the laws should be different, it is well; let me be judged by the great Judge, that is, my God—by Him in whom all the works that we are employed in have their origin. And now, O friend, leave this king to stand upon his own place, and let it rest with our Maker as to whether he shall stand or fall This is sufficient of this portion of my words, and although they may be wrong, yet they are openly declared.
Those words of mine are ended. I will now commence upon another subject among the many which we talk about.
At the commencement of this war at Taranaki, I meditated upon the haste of the Governors to be angry (to commence hostilities). There was no delay, no time given: he did not say to the Maories, “Friends, I intend to fight at Taranaki.” No, there was nothing said, not a word. That was why my thoughts dwelt upon what is said—Peter ii. 14. I thought that he would have remembered that word” to praise those that do well,” and “condemn those that do evil.” Come now, O friend of the Pakeha, and also of the Maori side. Look at the evil of Te Rangitake, or at his good (conduct). Wherein was Te Rangitake bad? Was it in holding his land that he was bad, or what? It is for you to page 238 look. Was it in casting away the surveyor’s chain? Where was the offence? Look! Is a man put to death before his offence is proved, or has the law been abandoned by which it is said, (condemn) not from the word of one witness, but by the words of two or three witnesses shall the right or wrong be ascertained. Did the Governor send word that the men who lived near should assemble to point out the laws of William King and Te Teira, and that you might know that Te Rangitake was in the wrong and Te Teira in the right, and then when the wrong of one should have been seen, punishment should have been inflicted on the wrong doer, and the well doer been spared. That is my thought. Do you consider that this war is a just war? Is it good in your opinion to give vent quickly to anger, (to hasten to go to war?) Yes; but according to me, hasty anger is wrong. Paul says—“that Charity suffereth long and is kind, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, suffereth wrong.”
Friends, wherein is our friend the Governor right, whom you believe in? Te Rangitake, the man of calm thought, is misjudged by you and the Governor, who hasted to anger, is supported and praised by you. Hence my thoughts are perplexed in my heart, for hasty wrath has been condemned by James, who hath said—“Be slow to wrath, swift to hear.” As it is, the precept in Proverbs has not been carried out.
Friends, let me, let me, who am a child, get angry hastily. The proverb is “a child who breaks calabashes, or who cries for food, which is another proverb for a child. But for you to adopt that hasty mode of proceeding is, I think, wrong. Rather is it for you to do things deliberately, as you have an example to go by. The Word of God is your compass to guide you—the laws of God. That compass is the Ten Commandments. The compass is for directing the thoughts to consider the orphan and the poor. The compass is, carefully considering before inflicting punishment. Enough upon that.
With reference to the going of the Waikatos to Taranaki, for which we are reproached by the Pakehas—hearken, and I will tell you. It was Potatau who fetched William King from Kapiti; he was brought back to Waitara, to his place. That was how the Ngatiawa returned to Taranaki. I look therefore at this word of yours, saying, that “It was wrong of the Waikatos to go to Taranaki.” In my opinion it was right for Waikato to go to Taranaki. Come now, think calmly. Rauakitua, Tautara, and page 239 Ngatata were blood relations of the Waikatos. It is not a gratuitous interference on the part of the Waikatos. They were fetched. They were written for by Wiremu Kingi and Hapurona by letter. And that was why Te Wetine Taiporutu went to that war. But I think that the man who condemns should possess judgment, he should look at the going of Waikato (to join in the quarrel) and at the going of the Governor. These were the grounds for Waikato’s going, the bringing back (of William King) by Potatau, out of friendship to William.
In the second place, because of their relations, Rauakitua, Tautara, and Ngatata; the third they were written for; the fourth, Potatau’s word that land selling should be made to cease. These were all the grounds of Waikato’s interference. If the Governor had considered carefully, Waikato also would have considered carefully, but the Governor acted foolishly, and that was why the Waikatos went to help William King. For Wi King was a man who had not been tried, so that his fault might be seen in justification of inflicting severe punishment. You mock us: saying that this island is one, and the men in it are one (united.) I look at the Pakeha, who madly rushed to fight with Wi King. Had he been tried, his offence proved, and he had then been contumacious to the law, their interference would have been right, as his conduct would have been trampling on the law. As it is, that side (the Pakeha) has also done wrong. According to your word, that side is right; according to mine, also this side is right; but I think that side is wrong. Enough of these words. Here are others:
About the word relative to the murders, my opinion is decidedly that it was not murder. Look, Ihaia murdered Te Whaitere. He caused him to drink spirits, that the senses of Te Whaitere might leave him. He was waylaid, and died by Ihaia. That was a foul murder. You looked on and made friends with Ihaia. That which we regard as a murder you have made naught of; and this, which is not a murder, you called one. This I think is wrong, for the Governor did not say to William King and the Ngatiruanui, “O, do not kill those who are unarmed.” Nor did he direct that the settlers living in the town should be removed to Auckland, where there was no fighting, and there stay. For he knew that he had determined to make war at Taranaki, and he should, therefore, have told his unarmed people to remove out of the way. He did not do this. Had he even said to the Ngatiruanui, page 240 “Friends, do not kill the settlers,” it would, to some extent, have been a little clearer. Enough on the subject of the murders.
This portion is about the property (plunder.) With reference to the property of which you say that we are to restore what remains, that I also do not consider right. Hearken to what I propose with respect to that. The Governor was the cause of that. War was made on William Kingi and he fled from his pa.
The pa was burnt with fire, the place of worship was burnt, and a box containing Testaments: all was consumed in the fire; goods, clothes, blankets, shirts, trowsers, gowns,—all were consumed. The cattle were eaten by the soldiers, and the horses, one hundred in number, were sold by auction by the soldiers. It was this that disquieted the heart of William King, his church being burnt with fire. Had the Governor given word not to burn his church, and to leave his goods and animals alone, he would have thought also to spare, the property of the Pakeha. This was the case of the Pakeha’s property being lost (destroyed). When William King was reduced to nakedness through the work of the Governor, he said that the Governor was the cause of all these doings. They first commenced that road, and he (William King) merely followed upon it.
Friends, look you to this: one hundred horses were sold by auction, property and food consumed, houses burnt with fire, and the cattle eaten by the soldiers. Whose work was that? The Governor’s own, for he commenced the work of confusion spoken of in this Declaration.
This is all I have to say to you at the present time. Hereafter I will send you some more of my talk, that is when I receive an answer to this. Enough.
From your loving Friend,
Wi Tamihana Te Waharoa.