Copy of a Despatch from Governor Sir G. F. Bowen to the Right Hon. the Earl of Kimberley
In my Despatch No. 27, of the 9th ultimo, I reported my setting forth on my journey overland from Wellington to Auckland, through the central and recently hostile districts of this Island; my arrival at the great Lake (or "Sea," as it is called by the Natives) of Taupo,* in the heart of the Native districts; and the cordial and respectful welcome given to me by the Maori clans,—alike by those which had remained loyal throughout the war, and by those which had lately been in arms against the Queen.
- 2. I have now the satisfaction of reporting that the second half was as prosperous as the first half of my expedition; and that I reached Auckland on the 24th ultimo, at the end of what has been truly called "an important and memorable journey." All those who are best acquainted with the Maoris and with this country generally agree with the opinions expressed in the annexed leading article of one of the principal journals of New Zealand: "The tour overland through an extensive tract of country chiefly owned and occupied by the Native tribes of New Zealand, which has just been accomplished so successfully by His Excellency Governor Sir G. F. Bowen, will go farther to reassure the people of England with respect to the satisfactory settlement of the Native difficulty than a thousand arguments and ex parte statements on the subject. Throughout the entire distance traversed by His Excellency and the few attendants who accompanied him from Napier northwards till they reached the Upper Waikato, the most cheerful demonstrations of welcome and good-will were every where accorded to the Queen's representative. Not only by the numerous influential chiefs who remained firm in their allegiance to the European cause in days gone by, when the colony stood so much in need of their assistance, but by many who were at one time prominent leaders among the most determined of our enemies, the same hearty desire was expressed that the past should be forgotten, and that all occasions for difference between the races should be carefully guarded against for the future. We look upon this as a most encouraging feature in the prospects of the country at the present time. It speaks volumes for the foresight and wisdom of our Native policy, which, while it aims at bringing the Natives under the dominion of the, law as far as practicable, leaves them, in other respects, to the free exercise of their own free-will and judgment. The colony is now reaping the advantage of this course of treatment On every hand the Native people are manifesting a desire to return to habits of peace and industry. They are beginning to appreciate the unmistakable benefit to themselves from the opening-up of the country to trade and settlement. In this respect their general concurrence in, and approval of, the great colonizing policy of the country is something remarkable. Only three years ago they, would have unitedly resisted any attempt on the part of the page 110Government to encroach upon their territory in districts where, last month, Sir George Bowen was received most loyally, and where the principal desire of the resident Native chiefs was to be 'instructed in all the laws, thoughts, and works of the Europeans.' The general anxiety of the Natives on the subject of education is particularly deserving of commendation. This more especially, we would fain believe, betokens a favourable turning-point in the history of the Maori people. The desire evinced by them to be employed upon public works is of itself also an indication of a fixed determination to return to more settled habits, if only the opportunity for doing so is afforded them. Altogether this visit of the Grovernor of the colony to the Native tribes has proved most opportune, and it cannot fail to produce a good effect on the general prospects of the country. His Excellency and party were both surprised and delighted with the magnificence of the scenery they witnessed throughout the entire route, as well as with the flattering reception they everywhere met with, and we shall not be surprised if the results of their journey should in many respects prove even more beneficial to the colony than was at first anticipated." …
I have, &c.,
The Right Hon. the Earl of Kimberley.
* The Maoris call Taupo "moana," i.e., sea, not "roto," i.e., lake.