Notes of Meetings Between His Excellency the Governor (Lord Ranfurly), The Rt. Hon. R. J. Seddon, Premier and Native Minister, and the Hon. James Carroll, Member of the Executive Council Representing the Native Race, and the Native Chiefs and People at Each Place, Assembled in Respect of the Proposed Native Land Legislation and Native Affairs Generally, During 1898 and 1899.
Meeting between the Premier and Chiefs of the Tuhoe Tribe, at Parliament Buildings, Wellington, 26th September, 1898
Meeting between the Premier and Chiefs of the Tuhoe Tribe, at Parliament Buildings, Wellington, 26th September, 1898.
The following is a report of the proceedings of a deputation from the Tuhoe Tribe which waited on the Premier and Native Minister (the Right Hon. R. J. Seddon) at Parliament Buildings, Wellington, on the 26th September. 1898. Present: Hon. H. Tomoana, M. L. C.; Wi Pere, M. H. R.; Henare Kaihau, M. H. R.; Numia Kereru, Te Wakaunua, Te Whiu Maraki, Te Aoterangi, Pihopa, Tutakangahau, and Pinohi.
Numia Kereru said, —Greeting to the Premier of the colony. You are the person in whom the wishes of the people centre. Success to yourself, your Ministers, and the House generally. I may explain more fully what was intended by the old man who spoke just now. At the great meeting that was held at Te Waimana already referred to the people decided upon what they wished should be done under this special Act. What they decided was that all the people as a whole would support that Act from beginning to end. One thing proposed at that meeting of the Tuhoe people was this: that if they found the Act, when brought into operation, operated in any way against the interests of the Tuhoe people they would draw up amendments to the submitted to the Government, with a request that they be passed. We understand the position is this: that the Tuhoe land has been made a reserve, and that if we, the Tuhoe people, should at any time desire to work this land the Government will come to our assistance and help us to derive sustenance from it. The people who the dissented from the decision of the meeting were but a few. Mehaka Tokopounamu was the principal man amongst those who objected to what the Tuhoe decided upon. He proposed that certain sections of the Act should be repealed, but the huis decided generally that his proposals should not be entertained, because he was here in Wellington when the Act was passed. The hui decided that it would be better to ask the Government to put a stop to these meetings, otherwise they would continue being held year after year, and much trouble would in consequence affect the Tuhoe people. Much food would be consumed at such meetings, and evil would result in many ways. The Te Waimana hui cost £180. Therefore what we want to see issued and published in the Gazette is a mandate that the Tuhoe shall call no more meetings, to discuss this matter. As decided to upon by the huis, all that the Tuhoe people want is that the Commissioners shall proceed to investigate and subdivide the land. I say that the meetings which have been held, and at which different views have been advanced, have already caused serious trouble; in fact, at one time so bad did the feeling become that they took up guns. Therefore the hui decided to call upon the Government to fix a time when the Commissioners should proceed to the Tuhoe country to put a stop to the trouble as soon as possible. That was one of the reasons why the chairman of that hui, by name Te Whiu Maraki, came here. I think that if the Government can give effect to the two requests we have made—namely, that orders be issued that no more huis be held, and that the Commissioners shall go there as soon as possible—we shall then close the door, and not come here again about this matter. I would earnestly request the Government to accede to these requests, so that the Tuhoe people may as speedily as possible enter into the exercise of mana assured to them under this Act. I am getting very nervous myself about this thing. There has been so much trouble amongst the Tuhoe, and I am afraid we shall lose the mana proposed to be issued under the Act. I do not intend to say any more about that.
Te Wakaunua said,—I wish to express my words of greeting to the Ministers of the Governor. I thank you sincerely for having agreed to this meeting to-day. Had you not acceded to our request, we would, of course, not have had the opportunity of speaking to one another. Prosperity to you. The reason why I address these words of greeting is this: Our kaumatuas, the people who administered our affairs, have passed away, and our chief, Kereru, has also passed away. He addressed words to you during his lifetime, but before he died his wishes had been expressed to the Tuhoe. I may say that your Government is to be thanked for what they have done. Well, sir, I have to corroborate what has been said by previous speakers. The first thing decided upon by the huis was that the mana should be established from the top to the bottom; secondly, that the Commissioners should be sent to perform their duties; and, thirdly, that the great committee of the Tuhoe should be empowered by the Government to watch, with the assistance of the Government, the interests of the people in the event of any calamity befalling them. We have been sent here by the huis to express their wishes to you, to lay our proposals before you, and to listen to what you have to say in reply. What we are most desirous of is that the Commissioners should be sent this very year to proceed with the work that they have to do in connection with the land, because, as Kereru has already told you trouble has arisen amongst the people, some of whom page 62have even had recourse to guns. The Commissioners should therefore be sent to put to stop such[gap — reason: illegible] proceedings as that, and, as we have requested, the great committee of the Tuhoe should be empowered to look after the interests of the Tuhoe people, and I think it would be advisable that [unclear: a] clause providing for this should be inserted in the Act. With reference to what Kereru said about prohibiting the holding of more huis in connection with this matter, I should say it is perfectly true that if huis of this kind are to be proceeded with they will result in trouble. Therefore I hope you will now see your way to comply with this request, so that the chairman of hui, who is present, may know how to act. That is all I propose to say.
Te Whiu Maraki said,—I great you, your Ministers, and the Governor. You have given this mana to the Tuhoe, to the people, and the land. Therefore I salute you and your colleagues. I merely stand up to show that I have good feelings towards you. As for the rest, it has already been said by the previous speakers. We have come here to ask that the Act may be brought into operation—that the Commissioners should be sent with as little delay as possible to carry it out. You and the Governor have expressed your wishes to the various rangatiras that they will use all their endeavours to prevent evils. I may say that I have not seen any rangatiras try to do that. Therefore I have come here with two men who are with me in this matter—Numia and Te Wakaunua. I had to fight very hard at the hui at Te Waimana before they agreed to support the Act. Seeing that Mehaka acted in an improper way, and dissented from our arrangements, and came to Wellington on his own account, I say that it was necessary to come here and beg that the views of the hui should be enforced. I say that he has behaved as a child, so to speak. The matter is [unclear: as] Kereru has expressed it. We want the Act given effect to, and the Commissioners sent there as soon as possible, in order to put a stop to any further trouble. I wish every success to your Ministry, the Governor, and the Queen.
The Premier and Native Minister (Right Hon. R. J. Seddon) said, —I desire to express to the chiefs of the Tuhoe and the Tuhoe people generally my very great pleasure at meeting their representatives here. My great regret is that I have not been able to see you sooner. Some days ago I heard of the arrival of Tutakangahau, Kereru, and others. As we are old friends, I have looked forward with pleasure to our meeting. If the delay that has taken place has been inconvenient to you, it has likewise been painful to me. When you sought an interview the other day, and I was then, much to my regret, unable to grant it because of circumstances over which I had no control, you showed an example which I wish Europeans would always follow under similar circumstances instead of feeling hurt, by sending a very kind note saying that you would wait, and see me on another occasion, knowing how busy I then was. This action shows that you are Nature's gentlemen, and know how to show consideration for others. I appreciate your action all the more when I remember that you have been here for a long time, and desire to return home to your people, who are awaiting your return. Your very kind greetings to the Governor, my colleagues, and myself are much appreciated, because I know that they are sincere. This is all the more so because you are my children. The sceptre or taiha of your tribe was presented to me by your late father, the chief Kereru, and he in so doing expressed the hope that I should ever watch over your interests. As your chief and father, it is all the more pleasurable for me to meet you here. Further, it affords me very great pleasure to meet you the representatives of the Tuhoe people, because for many years you were not understood. When your wants were, however, understood in later years, and Parliament was asked to give effect to them, it was then promised that there would be an end of all trouble, and there is ample proof that this promise has been kept. From that time to this one has never heard of the Urewera troubles. You now ask, and your request is a very reasonable one, that an Act passed two years ago be given effect to. This request will be cheerfully granted, for it is the duty of the Government to see that effect is given to the law. If this law had been passed for the benefit of the Europeans they would long ago have become very impatient, and would have wanted to know why effect had not been given to it. It is my desire to treat both races alike, and it will be necessary for me to explain what has been the cause of the delay in bringing the Act into operation. We had decided upon Judge Butler being one of the Commissioners. In his position as Judge he had matters which had been referred to him by Parliament to deal with Amongst these was the Horowhenua Block case. That has been a very difficult and complicated question, and it was only last week that the decision was given. That business is now completed, and, so far as I know, there is nothing in the way to prevent him commencing his duties as Commissioner under the Urewera Act before long. The request is that the Commissioners should start their work before the end of this year, and I promised that this will be given effect to. Then as to the difficulties likely to arise in the meantime in respect to these huis. I will ascertain from you what is the best means of communicating with the Tuhoe to let them know, as their father and chief, that I think no more of these meetings should be held, as they are against their best interests. The fact that the Commissioners will get to work before the end of the year ought to be sufficient to let the people see that there is no further necessity for huis being held. From the condition in which the people are placed, I feel sure that they could ill afford to spend £180 on the hui at Waimana, and if these meetings go on the result will be the swallowing-up of the land before the Commissioners get to work. So much for that. From what Numia has said, it page 63seems that some people up there had a dispute, and, ignoring the law, had threatened to use firearms. I know that this unfortunate incident must have cost the chiefs who are here in Wellington considerable anxiety when they heard of it. I myself took immediate steps in connection with the matter, and sent a strong communication to those causing the trouble, warning them of the displeasure of the Queen and of the Government; that they would injure their people in the eyes of the world, and that therefore there must be a stop put to it. I was glad to find that only a few people had misbehaved themselves, and that no serious importance should be attached to it. The conduct of a disaffected few cannot be taken as a slur upon the Tuhoe generally, for, as the Europeans say, "there are black sheep in every fold.
In conclusion, I thank you kindly for your very good wishes, and I feel sure that the good feeling which was created at the time of my visit to the chiefs and people at Ruatoki will be permanent as between the Tuhoe and the Europeans, and the action taken subsequent to that meeting to give effect to their wishes should result in lasting good. The words of Kereru to myself will never be forgotten. He has been gathered to his forefathers, but yet his words and his action will ever be remembered by me and the Tuhoe people.
Now, it is my turn to complain: I have to complain of a very serious matter. There is a difficulty in seeing me, because I have so many public matters to attend to; but why have you not been to see Mrs. Seddon and my children? A cordial welcome will always be extended to you at my home. Mrs. Seddon has a very warm feeling towards the Tuhoe. She has been inquiring very kindly after Tupaea, because if it had not been for his care and skill Mrs. Seddon would probably have been a widow. It was owing to his careful guidance that I was brought safely through the Urewera country.
Again I say I am glad to meet you, and to have this talk. I hope that my reply to the question about sending the Commissioners to work before the end of the year will meet with your approbation and give general satisfaction.
Tukakangahau said,&amdesh;I hope that you will not be pouri at the length of time we are taking over these matters, We will only detain you a short time, longer now. I wish to express our good wishes for the prosperity of yourself, your Government, the Governor, and the Queen, and also to express our deep sorrow at the passing-away of Sir George Grey. He was a kind benevolent man while in New Zealand, therefore we feel his loss keenly. Now, we understand the members of the House of Representatives have sent a token of their sorrow Home in connection with the sad event, and we also understand it has been suggested that the Native people of New Zealand generally should send some expression of their sorrow. I would like to know what it is proposed we should do. I am exceedingly pleased at the replies that the Premier has given to our requests. What he has said is exactly what the rangatiras desire. I wish now to refer to another subject: I wish to express my concurrence in the principles of the Premier's Bill. I understand it is proposed under that Bill to constitute Boards to deal with Native land. Some months ago the Premier was asked whether the Bill would affect the land within the Rohepotae of the Tuhoe people, and the Premier replied that it would not, because a special Act had been passed to deal with this land, but that if the people themselves were desirous that a clause should be added to the Bill their wishes would be given effect to. Well, now, I have some clauses that I would like to see inserted in the Bill with reference to the Tuhoe land. The Bill that is now before the House might with advantage be made to operate upon certain Tuhoe lands, because all the Tuhoe land is not situated within the Rohepotae. Speaking roughly, there is an area of between 40,000 and 50,000 acres that has been dealt with by the Court. I am therefore desirous that this Bill should be passed, and that effect be given to the Queen's words when she desired that the land shall be absolutely tied up for the benefit of the Maoris.
Wi Pere said,—There is one matter referred to by Kereru that the Premier has not yet replied to, and I ask the Premier's permission to reply to it myself. It was asked that a great committee of the Tuhoe should be authorised by the Government. As a matter of fact, the Tuhoe, committee is under the law. There are really to be two committees. One of these committees is the committee for each separate block under the mana of the hapu to which it may belong. Then there is the general committee, composed of members selected from various hapus. Well, now, I would like to reply in this way: that it would be utterly impossible to empower the great committee of the Tuhoe now. What the Act provides for is that a committee of this nature will be established, but what is to be done is partitioning of the various blocks owned by the various hapus within the general boundaries. If it is found that there are, say, thirty hapus within the tribes, then there would be thirty members of the general committee. Until that has been done the request cannot be given effect to. They would then be invested with the administration of their lands, and if they found any trouble arising, and their land or people being interfered with, they could go to the Government for assistance, and if they desired to work a part or the whole of their land the committee could see to making arrangements for that. The committee will be empowered to make laws and regulations for itself to regulate its administration; these, of course, to be submitted first to the Premier for his sanction.
The Premier: This is the law. Wi Fere is right, but he wants to go a little too far. The first page 64step is the appointment of the Commissioners, and the next step is the appointment by the Commissioners of what is called a temporary committee. Then when the block and the titles have been ascertained the owners of the blocks appoint a local committee, and the temporary committee disappears. Then from that they appoint a general committee, and the general committee and the permanent local committee is to remain with the Committee for all time. The local committee deals with the particular blocks, and the general committee has full power for dealing with the whole. The first thing to be done is to appoint the Committee. They in turn appoint the local temporary committee, then they go to work to ascertain who the owners are. The owners elect the permanent local committee, and from them the general committee is appointed. I see no difficulty in the way of their being in full working — order in the course of a few months.
Coming to the remarks of our young friend, Tukuaterangi, I will first of all deal with the Native Lands Settlement and Administration Bill. I consider that we are not called upon to deal with your lands in this Bill; therefore, unless you desire it, this new measure will not affect your country. If there are some of your lands that you wish to be brought under the operation of the Act, and if you let me know the boundaries, and give me the clauses that you wish inserted, I will give the matter to the careful consideration.
Coming now to the other questions, I may say that I very much appreciate the kind references to the memory of your great friend, Sir George Grey. Your desire to perpetuate his memory amongst your people is deserving of the highest admiration. As requested by the Natives, instructions were given to have a wreath placed upon his grave at the interment. What the Europeans here may do in respect to Sir George Grey I cannot at the present moment say. If justice were done to his good works there would not be a town of any note in this colony which would not erect a statue to his memory. I would like to see a statue of him as a central figure in the parliamentary grounds here, and I live in the hope of seeing such a tribute paid to him and his works by the people of the colony. In all probability the City of Auckland will, as a matter of duty, take the initiative, and erect a statue to him there. Now, you have asked me what you think you should do. Of course, as in all such matters, sufficient money must be raised. I know that while you are wealthy in land, the money which would be required to purchase such a statue would not be easily forthcoming owing to difficulties which are not of your own seeking. If the deceased statesman were alive I know that he would himself, if you consulted him, prefer that reserves should be made for the education and advancement of your people. If you were to set aside reserves and make them inalienable I feel sure that Sir George Grey, if he were with you, would consider that you were doing the proper thing for the poor of your race. This would perpetuate his memory, and at the same time be a lasting benefit. If you decide upon a statue you could settle amongst yourselves in what district it is to be placed. I have now given you my mind upon this subject, and if I can be of any service in regard to it I shall be most happy. Coming back now to the Tuhoe, I would say that when the Commissioners are ascertaining the titles to the land and the hapus have had their lands ascertained, it would be well each hapu to say to the Commissioners, "Take from us a certain part in proportion to the relative interest we hold, and let that be set aside for educational purposes, for hospitals, and for the keeping of the poor of our tribe." The time is coming, but we may not live to see it, when there will be people all over that country. Your will all be leased, but the poor and the sick will still be there. The rents from that land will go to help to provide medicine and attendance for the sick, and will also go to help to keep the poor who may have deprived themselves of their land. Holding as I do the scepter of the Tuhoe, and being desirous of seeing your interests conserved, I would say that it well for us to look to the future. When I, for the first time, see a plan of the Urewera country, and the titles ascertained, I shall want to see marked on that plan reserves given voluntarily by the different hapus for education, for hospitals, and for your poor. Education is wanted badly for the young, medicine and attendance for the sick, and food for the poor. These three things I commend to your earnest consideration.
Numia Kereru said,—I am exceedingly pleased and satisfied with the replies that the Premier has given to the various matters we have laid before him. I am rather diffident about standing up again, seeing that the Premier has so much to do, but this will probably be the only interview we shall have. What has been said meets the wishes of the Tuhoe, who acknowledge that they are the children of the Queen. We now quite understand the position as explained to us by Wi Pere and the Premier. The Premier suggested that it might be well if he were to send a letter to his Tuhoe children. I think that would be a very desirable step with a view of putting a stop to any unnecessary quarrelling and bickering, and to establish peace and quietness. I should like to see such a document printed in the Gazette so that it might be circulated amongst the people. And now as regards another matter, there have been disturbances about the land and blood has flowed. People were struck with sticks and blood was shed as the outcome of these quarrels, and we the people, were desirous of seeing law and order established. This being so, we think that we are justified in asking that a policeman should be stationed there to render assistance to the people who wish to put a stop to proceedings of this kind. We have asked the Stipendiary Magistrate who travels in the Whakatane district to arrange that we should have a policeman.page 65
The Premier: Where do you want him stationed?
Numia Kereru: At Ruatoki. If you cannot give us another policeman for theat district we would like to have the policeman moved from Te Whaiti and stationed at Ruatoki. We are exceedingly anxious that some such provision as this should be made to put a stop to the undesirable proceedings that have been and are taking place. I may say that there is a policeman appointed by the Natives themselves. There is one other matter. I have a petition about Ruatold which has been before the Native Affairs Committee, and it has now been referred to the Government for consideration. I should like to hear what the Government has decided to do in the matter. The subject-matter of my appeal is in reference to the decision of the Appellate court, and the reasons of my objection are that I cannot see why the Court should have included amongst the owners of that land persons who have no right to it. The Native Appellate Court gave a decision in 1897— that was after the Act affecting the Tuhoe land had been passed, and the land at Ruatoki is within the boundary of the block. The people at Ruatoki want a telegraph-office there, because it is fifteen miles to the nearest office—at Whakatane. We would also like to see a money-order office established there, because theose of us who are sheep-owners find it very inconvenient to be without one, Whakatane being so far away. We wish to thank the Premier very kindly for the invitation he has given to us to call on Mrs. Seddon and and the other members of his family. We will certainly avail ourselves of the invitation, abd would like to ask what would be a suitable time for us to call.
The Premier: On Wednesday afternoon.
Wakaunua: The last speaker referred to the Ruatoki petition, hut the one I am now referring to is another; it is the Kuhawaea Block. Before the Tuhoe people had ever seen a Native Land Court this matter was investigated. What I want you to do is to make a law empowering a second hearing in regard to this land.
Wi Pere: I dedire to ask the Premier to have a road made between Ruatahuna and Ruatoki. That is the shortest way by which the Ruhoe people could get out to the coast right down to Wairoa.
The premier: Whakatane is only fifteen miles from Ruatoki.
Wi Pere: What I want is a straight road from Ruatoki to wairoa, instead of a road going from Ruatoki to Galatea. This is a matter about which I am being continually pressed by the Europeans resident in Gisborne—that is, in tahora No. 2 Blick. From there it could go to Waimana, and on to Ruatoki, from there to whakatane, and thence through to Rotorua. Even if the Urewera people object to this railway, take no notice whatever of that.
Tutakangahau: I appreciate the good feeling that you have expressed towards us. I did feel pouri some days ago at having been delayed some time, but that feeling has given way to one of satisfaction. You have satisfactorily explained the things that I wanted to know about, and Wi Pere hs also cleared up a point. I was not certain at all about the Tuhoe Rohepotae, and I feel filled wthe joy at replies we have got to-day. As to the tuhoe people making provision for the poor and needy amongst them, I say that this is entirely right. I notice that that is one of the provisions of the Act. I want to have it settled as quickly as possible who are to be the persons to do the work provided for in the Act.
The premier: Judge Butler and Mr. Perdy Smith.
Tutakangahau: I have been asked to request the Government to grant a block to certain hapus.
The Premier: I am making inquiries about these petitions, and I wish now to draw a contrast between the position of affairs at present and as they were a few years ago. It is no further nack than when Lord Onsliw was Governor of the colony. He went as far as Ruatoki, but did not attempt to go further. He saw the Ureweras, but did not go through their territory. See the wonderful change that has taken place since then ! The best of feeling now exists as between the two races. We have the rangatiras of the Tuhoe visiting us un Wellington, and we find laws being specially passed for the benefit of their people. Since my interview with Kereru you have looked to the Government and to the Queen for protection. Roads now pass through your country. And you have other means of communication. To help you in maintaining law and order you ask for a policeman to be stationed at Ruatoki, and you further ask to be brought into closer communication with the outside wirld by means of the electric telegraph, and you also want a money-order office. Things have been xompletely changed—in fact, you have arrived at a fair state of civilisation, and this is a com;lete refutation of the statement made by these who said that the only much better to apply reason, and remove the troubles that existed. The result of all this has been the bringing about of a brighter and better state of things, and to have love existing between the two races; and this has been done within a few years. The condition of your country is now as good as that of any other part of the colony. A railway is also asked for to bring your cattle and goods through the country. I hope that your coming to Wellington has not been the cause of your making this request. To make such a railway would cost about a million of money, but it would not cost much to give effect to the other requests. I will see the Minister of Justice, and will endeavour to have a policeman stationed at Ruatoki; and, as for the telegraph-office, the Europeans making such page 66requests generally guarantee whatever the loss in the working of the service is estimated to be, I will find out how much it will cost, and let you know. As regards the money-order office, as post-master-General I will make inquiries, and see if it is possible to give effect to your wishes. The schoolmaster, Mr. Hall, might be asked to do the work. I understand that there are sixty-eight scholars attending the school, and this is in a country which, six years ago, was almost barred to Europeans. I must compliment you on the success of your school. I sincerely hope that since I was last in your country your personal comforts have been improving, and that your future prospects are bright and good.
Tukuaterangi: As you have said you look upon us as your children, including the old men, I desire now, on behalf of the old man here, and also on behalf of his children, who are also poor children, to present you with a mat. We hope that your good-will, aroha, and affection will remain for all time.
The Premier: I shall always keep this as a pleasant reminder of the Tuhoe, my children; [unclear: my] love for them will ever remain, and after I am gone I hope my children will keep it as a memento and token of the good feeling that existed as between their father and the Tuhoe people.
Tukuaterangi: That is just what we hope.
The Premier: I will put a report of the proceedings of this meeting in the kahiti, to let you people see that you have been doing your duty. I should like you to give me as soon as possible the names of those to whom I am to send letters, and I will have them written at once.