Meeting between the Premier and Mahuta and other Chiefs of the Waikato Tribe at Waahi, Huntly, 4th April, 1898.
Te Rawhiti read the following address:-
"A greeting ! A welcome ! A greeting!
"Welcome hither the Premier, the head of the Government and the Parliament of New Zealand. Come hither with your colleague and companions. We offer them and you, and your wife and children, O Premier, a hearty welcome to Waikato.
"We bid you come and see the remnant of the Maori people, who are here assembled in response to Mahuta's invitation that we should meet you and our friends at this place. Come and see us face to face, even as you have met other gatherings of the Maori race on your way hither.
"Our hearts are exceedingly rejoiced and filled with gladness at your coming to see us personally in your capacity of Premier of our Islands, Aotearoa and Te Waipounamu. Come hither, Premier Seddon, that we may greet and make you all welcome while tarrying with us, coming back as you do from England from taking part in the Jubilee of our gracious Queen. We are indeed thankful that you have come safely back to this our own land. We are very grateful at your coming amongst us, and how much greater will our rejoicing be if you can satisfy the longings of our hearts by granting the earnest desires of the few remaining members of the Native race who are living here in sorrow and suffering under the laws enacted by previous Governments! We therefore pray you to consider favourably the grievances which afflict the Maori people, and to save our bodies from these evils.
"The hearts of the women and children, the young and the old, are full of gladness at your coming here among us this day, so that you may see the two races assembled side by side in honour of your visit, and to accord you a united welcome in the name and under the protecting shadow of our gracious Queen. Lets this gathering be w token of the love the two races living in New Zealand bear to one another."
Mahuta: I wish long life and happiness to all the chiefs who have come hither on the present occasion. I wish long life to the Native chiefs and to the European chiefs alike. I pray God to have us all in His keeping. I welcome you, the Premier of New Zealand. Come page 12hither, come hither, come hither: I welcome the Government; come hither the Government of New Zealand: I welcome you all to Waikato. Come so that we may look upon you; comes and look upon us the Maori people. Come hither the dragons that guard the deep pit. I wish you long life. Our greeting will not be long. It will end with what I am now saying. I will speak my word to you now; notwithstanding that you may already have heard what our wishes are, I will again utter our wishes that you may hear them afresh. I wish to express my views with regard to the Council. Grant us our request with regard to that; place that matter in the hands of the Native chiefs. This is now the request that is made; it is the desire that we have long had; it is meet that we should make this request to you, you are the proper person to receive it and to grass it. We are very thankful to you for coming here to meet us, so that you may hear our request now that we can have this opportunity of making known to you our desires. I hope you will do all in your power to grant this request. This is the first time we have had an opportunity of making known to you our wishes, and I feel sure that it will bring about lasting good to both races if you can grant our request.
Tana Taingakawa: I wish long life to both races here assembled to-day. I have only a few words to say. The words spoken by Mahuta contained no new ideas; they were uttered at the time his father was alive; they were spoken by his father; the request was made then, and that request has been made since then. The gist of that request is that the Maoris may have power to govern themselves, so that no troubles may come from the European side upon the Native people. The Maori people are at a disadvantage in this respect; that the Europeans are the wise people and know far more than the Maoris do. This is why the Natives ask that they may have the power to govern themselves, so that no trouble may come upon them in the future as in the past. I am merely explaining the meaning of the request preferred by Mahuta. All the Maori chiefs gathered here to-day are very glad indeed at meeting you, and they are also glad that you have this opportunity of ascertaining what the wishes of the Natives are. Their one fervent wish is that the powers given to the Natives by the Treaty of Waitangi shall be carried out now. This is the meaning of the request —namely, to give to the Maoris a Council with full powers to govern themselves. This is the united wish of all the Native chiefs at present. This meeting has no other request to make. What is asked is that the powers given to the Native people under the Treaty of Waitangi shall be granted to them now, so that we, the Maoris, may have the right to settle our own troubles. I have nothing further to say.
Henare Kaihau, M. H. R.: Listen, all the people from the north part of this Island, and the Natives from this part of the Island. This is the day set apart for meeting the Premier. I express my thanks to you for coming here to meet us. Welcome hither the authority of the Government. Come hither the representative of our friend, the Governor; I also greet you, representing as you do the sovereignty of the Queen over this Island. Come hither to the land where our ancestors were wont in times past to utter their important words. This is the place set apart by our forefathers as the place where we should meet together and discuss our plans; this is the place where rested the amulet, the sacred receptacle of our thoughts. Come hither the Premier, representing as you do both races, the Maoris and the Europeans, knowing as you do the thoughts of all the people of this land. You also who are the fountain of goodness and kindness, and the dispenser of good gifts to both races, the Natives and Europeans, I welcome you. The Maori people have carefully considered and decided upon what they think they require, and Mahuta has made that known to you—that is, that the Maori people shall be granted a Council through which they can govern themselves in this Island, and extend its influence in the South Island. It is for you to give us assistance in carrying out that ides. Now, all our desires with regard to that matter were embodied in the Bill which we laid before Parliament last session. That contains the desire of all the Native people assembled here to-day, and it is the fervent wish of all the Native people that the ideas embodied in that Bill shall be given effect to, and that the Native people be allowed to govern themselves. I again greet you and welcome you here. I also heartily welcome you European friends who have come with you on this occasion.
: Friends, Mahuta, chiefs, and people of the Native race assembled here to-day, salutations to you all ! I have travelled far and fast to be with you, and this reception has more than rewarded me for all the fatigue I have undergone. The welcome that you have accorded to me and to my colleague, the Hon. Mr. Carroll, and to my other friends who are here to-day, will, I am sure, ever be remembered with pleasure. The meeting of to-day will mark an interesting epoch in the history of both races. I feel that it will be for the good of our colony, and for all who live in this beautiful land. There have been clouds in the past which have obscured the views of the two races; there have been divisions which have not been for the good of either race; but to-day the mist is disappearing, and I hope those clouds will for ever be dispelled. We are met here with love towards each other, desirous of helping each other, and bringing about a more satisfactory condition of things than has existed in the past. I see here the little children, I see also those of more mature age, and I see also old men of the Native race. The aged must pass away, and the young generation take their places. The great anxiety of the parents, the great anxiety of the chiefs, the great anxiety of those who desire to do what is good for those who are to follow after
Meeting between the Premier, the Right Hon. R. J. Saddon, and the Maori "King" Mahuta, with the Chiefs of the Walkato Tribe, at Waahi, Huntly, 4th April, 1898.
Back Row. Native Policeman. Mr. A. Edwards, Schoolmaster at Huntly Mr. P. Sherldan, Native Land Purchase Officer. Mr. W. Crow, Privato Secretary Capt. Mair, N. Z. Cross. Police Officer.
Middle Row. Maori Drum major Mr. T. H. Hamer, Private Secretary to Premier. Three Ministers of "King" Mahuta's "Parliament." Hon. Jas. Carroll, Minister Representing Native Race. Three Ministers of "King" Mahuta's "Parliament." Three Members of "King" Mahuta's "Parliament" [unclear: Colonial] Police Officer.
Front Row. Native Chief. To Rawhiti, "King's" Secretary. Henare Kaihau, M.H.R. Rt. Hon. R. J. Seddon, Premier and Native Minister. "King" Mahuta. Tana Taingakawa Te Waharoa, "king's" Premier. Two Members of "king" Mahuta's "Parliament."
Te tutakitanga o te Pirimia, te Raiti Honore Te Hetana, ki a Mahuta, te "king" Maori, ratou ko nga Rangatira o te iwi o Waikato, ki Waahi, Hanatere, 4 o Aperira, 1898.
them, is to so leave them that they may prosper, and enjoy all the happiness that our Creator intended for them. The other day I met a large number of Natives in another place. At that meeting. His Excellency the Governor, the representative of our beloved Sovereign, was present. I was pleased to hear the favourable references to Her Majesty the Queen in the address presented on that occasion. To-day I wish to express to you the Queen's representative's regret at not being able to be present. Prior engagements would not permit of his coming with me. He is now on the sea on his way to Australia, and I know that I am expressing the wishes of both races represented here to-day when I say we wish him a safe journey to Australia and a speedy return to New Zealand, and that an early opportunity may be given you of meeting him as you desire. Another pleasant feature in connection with your address to-day is the reference to your mother, the mother of all the children in the Empire, expressing your love, respect, and submission to her. You also refer in your address of welcome to my visit to the Mother-land, to the land that you have never seen. At that great celebration which took place in June last, a celebration unparalleled in the history of the British race, there was direct representation of the Maori race—a representation that did honour to you; and I can assure you that it was greatly appreciated by Her Majesty the Queen and our fellow-subjects across the sea. There, on that great day, side by side, doing honour to Her Majesty, and showing their affection for her, were representatives of the two races. All the well-wishers of the two races were delighted to see them side by side on that great occasion. I am speaking the minds of those who were present during the celebrations when I say that the young men of the Native race returned home crowned with laurels, and while they were in Great Britain they showed themselves to be true gentlemen in every sense of the term. Why should it not always have been thus? Why should there have been trouble between the two races? We are governed by the same Sovereign and by the same laws, we worship the same Creator; though our skins may be of a different colour, the blood passing through our hearts and veins is the same. I speak the minds of the Europeans of this colony when I say we desire to preserve the noblest aboriginal race that ever inhabited any part of the British dominions. The question naturally arises, How can this best be done? How shall we proceeded to carry out this humane and necessary work? It is for us to take counsel together; it is for me, as the servant of the Queen, and as the head of the Government, to explain to you what, is my opinion, is for your good. This is not a fit occasion for words with which to conceal the thoughts of the speakers, but it is for us to lay bare our hearts and minds to each other, so that good may result. Some time ago I had the pleasure of meeting Mahuta; he had shortly before that suffered a great affliction. When we then met our relationship was of the most friendly character, and, though the mountains and the lakes have been between us since then, yet I have always felt that he had an earnest desire to do good to his own race as well as to the Europeans, and it shall be no fault of mine, nor of the Government, if this friendly relationship does not continue. Now, the Government has the same desire to do what is right to the Maori race as have their own rangatiras.
I know also that the members of the Parliament of New Zealand have a kindly feeling towards you, and earnestly desire too preserve the race. With this view we may approach the subject from different standpoints, just as two canoes which leave opposite banks of the river to arrive at the same point land there eventually. Your ancestors left the parent lands for New Zealand in different canoes, where they were eventually all brought together. In your address to-day you have told me what your wishes are. May I remind you all of the great meeting that took place years ago? At that meeting your ancestors were gathered together to deliberate as to what was good for the Maori race at that time. The result was the treaty that you have referred to to-day, the Treaty of Waitangi. Now I speak to you here as a father would speak to his children, and I tell you that most of your troubles, most of the troubles that have befallen your race, have arisen owing to the provisions of that treaty having been departed from. In your interest your forefathers ceded the sovereignty of this colony and your people to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain. They knew that she would be a mother to you all. They knew that she would afford you the protection that a powerful and good mother gives to her children. They foresaw that, unless the law was enacted to protect you, you would in years to come disappear as a race from off the face of the earth. I am not going to ask to-day who were responsible for the departure from that treaty, but I say that, above all things, loss of the land has been at the bottom of your troubles. Your forefathers foresaw that if there was free-trade in Native lands it would be an injury for all time to those they loved so well. The haste with which so many of the Natives endeavoured to sell their lands, the eagerness to acquire by Europeans, and on unjust and low prices and terms, led to serious trouble in the past, and, whilst I admit that the Parliament of the colony has not exercised that wisdom in respect to the Native lands that ought to have been excercised, at the same time I say that the Natives Natives and Europeans have been alike to blame—even Parliament itself is not blameless. In the Parliament of the colony you have direct representation; the Native race sends four members to the House of Representatives. One thing that has pleased me very much during the last few months has been that you, the remnant of a once numerous and great people here, had decided to send a representative to Parliament in the person of my friend Henare Kaihau. As your representative he has earned the respect of page 14
those who meet him in Parliament, and I feel sure that it will prove to have been for your good to have sent him there. There is a branch of the Legislature, however, in which you are not fairly represented, and in which I think you ought to be better and more fully represented. It would be misleading if I were to tell you that I would give effect to all the wishes you have expressed to-day, for I feel sure that Parliament would never agree to them. I have had too great experience in dealing with the Native race to hold out to them promises which I know could not be fulfilled. It would be impossible to accede to the requests when there is no law, no power, and no authority to give effect to them. Your best friend is he upon whom you can rely; he who speaks his mind and advises you for your good. You have asked for a Maori Council or Parliament to be established. Government have approached this subject from a different standpoint, and, in the construction of the Boards which are to deal with your lands, are prepared to concede to you proper representation. It is in this Council, in this Board, that lie the safeguards of what is most dear to both races in the colony. It is in the power of the Board to deal with the lands of the Natives, and it is to that you must look for support, happiness, and prosperity. The great trouble of the Maori race has, in the past, been in connection with their lands, and it is to solve the difficulty as to how the land should be dealt with in the future that I ask you to give me your counsel and your help. There are only left now something like 5,000,000 acres of Native land, and a good deal of it poor land; and I fear that if we proceed on the lines of the past the time is not far distant when the race of which you are merely a remnant must suffer seriously, and that most of you will become absolutely landless. What has happened in the past will happen again, unless a departure is made from the old lines. Without the land you cannot live, for it is life to you; notwithstanding this, you have, in the wretched past, absolutely sacrificed your own living by giving up for a mere song the lands intrusted, as it were, to you by your forefathers for your children who were to follow you. You ask the question, Why have your lands gone? and you sometimes blame the Europeans for buying them; you blame the Government for buying your land: but I ask, Why did you run after the Government agent? Why did you run after the pakeha-Maori and the land-grabber, asking them to buy your land? I will tell you the truth. Your forefathers tilled the land; they did not eat the bread of idleness as many of you have been eating it. When you want money for tangis, horse-races, and suchlike things, you run after the agents with a view to selling your land, and then you come and say, "Save us, help us." Within reasonable lines we are prepared to help you, and to stop the great evils of the past; but unless you are prepared to help yourselves, and in a great measure to change your mode of life, no Government, no Parliament, no Native Minister can ever save you. Another great evil from which you have suffered is strong drink. I say, keep away from it. I would also urge you to keep away from horse-racing; I say, keep away from those things which impoverish you, which result in ill-health and help to destroy you as a race. I would urge you to cease living a life of idleness. Who was it that grew corn; who was it that had flour-mills in the early days of this colony? It was your ancestors. Who was it that grew maize, and supplied the markets of New South Wales and the other colonies? It was your forefathers. Where is the maize now? Where are the flour-mills? They are gone. I say the sooner we find the corn growing in large quantities again, and have the mills restored in your midst, and the sooner you till the land and do as your forefathers did, the better it will be for the Maori race, and the better for the Europeans also. Unless you are prepared to help yourselves, we cannot get Parliament to agree to do anything for you. If you want to continue living an idle life, if you think that the lands can be kept as they are—that they will give their increase without being tilled—you never made a greater mistake; for things to continue as they are is impossible. Having warned you of the dangers ahead, I will now give you, after careful consideration, an idea of what we propose to do in the near future. My friend, Mr. Carroll, who is one of your race, and the other members of the Government and myself think that, as a solution of the present difficulty, there should be for several Native districts in the colony a Board or Council appointed, upon which both races should be represented. This representation of the Native race should be by those who own the land, and to be elected by the landowner in the same way as in the election of a member for Parliament. The whole of the land should be vested in this Council or Board; the Board should first of all set apart a certain acreage of land sufficient for the Native owners and their descendants, the land to be inalienable for all time. The reserves should be subdivided so that each family might have separately sufficient upon which to live. The communal method of living is one of the evils under which the Natives suffer, but if each Native had a piece of land of his own upon which he could grow his corn, sheep, and cattle, and know that that was his for the benefit of his children, cultivation would go on as in the past. Secondly, in respect to leasing the balance of the land not required by the owner, the landless natives should have a prior right to lease. These lands are to be set apart for leasing by this Council or Board, and the rents of these lands so leased are to go the Native owners. I know that there are amongst you hundreds of landless Natives; these ought to have priority of right in the leasing of the lands, so that they and their children might live. The remaining land should be leased to those prepared to pay the price fixed by the Board under regulations sanctioned by Parliament, and the rents derived from page 15
the land so leased should be given to the Native owners. In this way those leasing the lands would help the Maori owners to live. Now, it would be necessary that you should get some assistance in the way of money to be provided by the Government for making roads and improvements, and surveying the land to be leased by the Board or Council. The Parliament of New Zealand finds money for buying land for the pakeha, and for roading and bridging it, and in your own interests I am prepared to ask Parliament to give you privileges similar to those given to the Europeans. As you require money to pay off mortgages and liens and to pay your lawful debts, I am prepared to ask Parliament to give this Council or Board some moneys so that you may not want until such time as your rents are in, and until you are able to help yourselves. I am not going to force these proposals upon you; they are optional: if you like to accept them and come under them voluntarily, well and good; but, if not, then you will go on in the way you are doing at present. I speak with the strong feeling and conviction that every effort should be made to save you from yourselves. If you do not see your way to make the proposed change in your system, then I fear you will in time disappear from off the face of the land. I feel that to-day is a crisis in the history of the Natives of this part of the colony. I should ill-requite you for the hearty welcome you have given me—the greatest reception I have ever received from the Natives of this colony—if I were not to do my best to prevent you from acting in the future in the matter of your business concerns as in the past. Governments would then probably go on buying your lands as they are offered, just as at present. I have already told you we have paid you double for the land that any other Government ever paid for it before. I care not what your chiefs or leaders may say; but, being a man who speaks his mind, I say that, whatever your chiefs may advise against land-selling, when necessity arises and you find yourselves in want of money, you will run after the land-purchase officer and sell, in spite of what all your friends may say or do. There is not much land left to you, and it would be much better if it were settled under the conditions I have mentioned than it would be to proceed as at present. Under present conditions it would be only a question of time when the race would become almost landless, and those who may be left would be found living on the charity of the Europeans. That is what I fear will overtake the Maori race in the future unless there is a change. I wish my words to sink deep into your hearts. I do not expect to-day to receive your reply to what I have said. Whatever conclusions are arrived at will require to be submitted to Parliament in such a way as will commend themselves to the well-wishers of both races. Later on I will consult with your chiefs in respect to these important matters that I have mentioned, and I feel sure that the result will be that we shall be able to submit such proposals to Parliament as will be acceptable to it, and, if carried, prove of great benefit to both races. If this happens I shall be more than compensated for the anxieties of the past, and for the fatigue of my long journey. Your mother, the Queen, has sent through me, her servant, her love and affection for you. As there was a pledge made on behalf of the Queen with your ancestors, which was sealed by the Treaty of Waitangi, it is my earnest desire, as one of Her Majesty's Ministers, to do what is just to the Native race. This is also the desire of the Government and the European people of the colony. When you were numerous, when you were all-powerful, and when there were but a few Europeans here, you befriended them, you welcomed them, and they enjoyed your hospitality. All these kindnesses of the past should never be forgotten. I am sorry that you have—and I say it with great regret—many of the European vices. You have adopted them not knowing what the sad end would be; while on the other hand you have not, as a rule, adopted the Europeans' virtues—which are many. I hope, however, that there is a bright future for you, and also for the Europeans of this colony. There is room enough for all. Here to-day you see gathered together Europeans from far and near, all come to this great meeting, all having a love and affection for you, and having a desire to help you. On the other hand your chiefs have said, "Welcome, welcome, welcome! We are pleased to welcome you, and to live in peace and harmony with you." The welcome that has been extended to me and my colleague will ever be remembered with pleasure: and, speaking on behalf of the Government, and as the servant of Her Majesty the Queen, I say from my heart I thank you most heartily for the kind words that have been spoken to me to-day. Our meeting has commenced with love and affection and expressions of good-will, and I hope that it will conclude in the same way, and that a friendship will be cemented to-day that will continue for all time. Salutations and hearty good wishes to one and all of you.
Hon. J. Corroll:
I rise to say but a few words. We have met to discuss the problem of the Maori question, and the expressions of goodwill which have accompanied the introduction of the business matter to-day I heartily indorse. Mahuta has proclaimed to this meeting the wishes of his people—namely, that a Council may be granted to the Maoris through which they could manage their own affairs and administer their own lands—that the evils which visited them in former days may not be repeated. Now, that proposition presents many points which require careful consideration. The Maoris look on this great question with their own eyes, and the pakehas and Parliament view it also from their own standpoint. The thing we have to do is to bring our thoughts close together and find some plan of real value which many solve the difficulty. Now, let us see. You say, "Give us a Council to govern our own affairs." When you say that, what powers do you propose that Council shall have? Have you thought out the complications that page 16
May arise? Are you prepared to show to the satisfaction of Parliament a practical Scheme for the settlement of your lands and the improvement of the condition of your people? There are two evils which afflict the Maori people: the evils that kill the land, and the evils that kill the body Your only salvation is to have a good law that will treat well of the land and the body. To get that good law you must bring all your wisdom together, take counsel with your pakeha friends and the Government, and rely on the Parliament to do what is just. Now, if these evils which afflict your lands arise through the law now in force, then the proper thing is to consider how the law can be altered or amended with advantage to yourselves. Your wish is to have a Council: that is all very well; but you do not tell us how that council is to be built up: you cannot define what its mana is to be— how you are going to shape its arms, legs, and other members of its body. Now, to give you an idea of what I mean, just you take the Government proposals and see how they are thought out. The Government say to you: All native land-selling shall cease; you have little enough left as it is; but it must not be allowed to lie idle—nothing is good that lies idle If we are to preserve what is left of the Maori estate, you must be prepared to adopt some method of dealing with your affairs that will improve your position and add to the general welfare of the country. Our proposal is not a shadowy one; it is one that has a substance: it has a body, it has a head, it has feet. Now as to your proposal to set up a Council: Is there tangibility in it? Has it a head; has it a body; has it feet? We are quite in the dark as to what it means. The object aimed at by you and by us, and by the Europeans, is identical; it is the same. Now, the constitution of this Council which you ask for has not been thoroughly explained; it has not been made apparent how it is to be constituted. Considering the urgency that exists for finding some better measures for dealing with your lands, I say let us amend the existing laws speedily, so that your lands shall be protected and kept for your benefit. If the Maoris view with disfavour the term "Board," which is to consist of certain Europeans and Native—two or three of each, perhaps–well, you can adopt this phrase which you are so fond of using–namely, "Council". "Let Councils be elected for four or five districts, to administer the land in each district so constituted. One of these districts might be called the "Waikato district," and it will be competent for you, the Maoris living in the Waikato, to serve on that Board, and to administer the lands in the Waikato district. All that the Government ask and desire is to have one or two representatives on each Board, who will be placed there for your assistance and guidance until such time as you are masters of the formal work of the Council, and able to conduct your own affairs. Now, all lands are not under the same title. There are certain lands which are in this position: they are held by individuals—by Natives under Crown grants. It will be necessary to deal specially with these; there should be special provision for dealing with such lands. Care should be taken that no injustice is done, and the difference between individual holdings and tribal holdings fully appreciated. All the ideas that have been enunciated to-day by our premier are contained in a draft Bill, copies of which will be distributed amongst you. Our proposals are contained under different headings in the Bill. You will be given every opportunity for considering these proposals, and when you have thoroughly mastered the details it will then be time for us to meet together to come to a final decision. But I want you particularly to study our Bill. You will see every provision to meet the question in all its bearings clearly set forth and practically brought out—the why and the wherefor. Now, with regard to the second evil which I mentioned previously as destroying you, do not on any account lose sight of the evils that destroy the body; keep this matter specially in mind. I earnestly implore you, the Native people, to carefully consider and take such steps as are necessary to preserve the health of your children. I implore you to take advantage of the examples which you have already had. Be careful as to the clothing for your bodies, as to the food, and pay attention to sanitary laws, so that your children may grow up with healthy bodies. Another thing that I earnestly implore you to lay to heart is to abstain from strong drink. Leave that question of strong drink with the Europeans, the people who know how to deal with it, and who may take it medicinally. Now, this is not a time for you to lie down in idleness; it is a time for you to be up and doing. Matters are so urgent that it is not a time for you, a mere remnant of a people who own a mere remnant of the land—I say it is not a time for you to be idle. You should be up and doing. Now, you must all recognize that there can be only one law, the law which has been given us by the Queen, and which your elderly people adopted when they signed the Treaty of Waitangi; there can be only one law; the Queen's sovereignty must cover the whole of these Islands. Let the two races who live in these Islands under the sovereignty of the Queen draw nearer to one another and share each others' burdens. I say, let us do something on this very day, during this very hour; take advantage of these gifts that are now proffered to you. Do not hesitate, do not postpone, but go forward, changes are impending. None of you can say this Government has brought any evil upon you. Not one of you can say that any of you have been injured by the present Government. You may make the charge that his Government has stopped free-trade in Native lands, free-trade under which you might have got £1 or £2 an acre for land. You may make that charge against the Government; but let me tell you that, had the Government allowed free-trade in Native lands to continue, there would not have been an acre left. We know the extremes people go to
The Meeting between the Premier, the Right Hon. R. J Seddon, and the Maori "King" Mahuta, With the Chiefs of the Waikato Tribe, at Waahi, Huntly, 4th April, 1898
"King" Mahuta's Native Band, With Native Drum-Major
Te Peene Maori A Mahuta, Me O Ratou Kakahu Maori
The Meeting between the premier, the Right Hon R. J. Seddon, and the Maori "King" Mahuta, With the Chiefs of the Waikato Tribe, at Waahi Huntly, 4th April, 1898
"King" Mahuta's Native Band in Full Uniform
Te Peene Maori A Mahuta, Me O Ratou Kakahu Pakeha
When they want money; how they will throw all considerations to the winds, and sacrifice their lands in order to get money. You have heard that the Government is willing to stop the purchase of Native lands; therefore I say to you, consider earnestly the offer that has been made. Consider the number of Europeans and their thirst for land: I say this is a very important departure which is now proposed by the Government—namely, to stop the sale of the land. It is a matter which must receive that consideration which its importance deserves. Remember that the Government stands between you and the hundreds and thousand of Europeans. If the Government were to stand on one side where would you be? Where would your lands be? Government do not propose to make a hard-and-fast rule, and to stop all dealings in the land. No: all they propose to do is to stop all further sales, and to give the Boards which you will elect power to lease the rest of your lands to the best advantage. Now, if you will not accept these proposals, what will be the result? It will happen that we will both go on as we have in the past, and it is not difficult to prophesy what the end will be. Now, the people of this Island will not be satisfied to have absolute stoppage of all dealings with Native lands. What the people insist on is that the land shall be put to the best use, and that not a foot of cultivable land shall be allowed to remain idle. Each year brings changes and new necessities, and so it is impossible for you to go on as you have been doing in the past, to your great detriment and suffering. These Bills that will be laid before you are comprehensive. It may be that in some parts of New Zealand the measure will not be adopted by the Natives, but that is no reason why it should not be adopted where the Native are favourable to it. In those districts where the measure is not adopted things will go on just as at present. There are many difficulties to be met with in these proposals, but if we meet them face to face, no doubt we will be able to arrive at a satisfactory solution; that is why I say nothing should be kept back on an occasion of this sort, and that we should speak our minds to one another without restraint. Now, if you, the Waikato people, are not absolutely clear as to the meaning of these proposals, it is only natural, seeing that for some years you have taken up an attitude of isolation of your own in regard to these matters; therefore it is only reasonable that they should be considered very carefully and very closely. The proposals which we have met here to consider will be greatly to your advantage. We are all actuated by the best of motives, and our one desire is to do what is right. Remember the proposals that were made by Sir George Grey
to Tawhiao many years ago. On that occasion he made an offer to this effect: He said he would build Tawhiao a suitable residence; that he would give him a grant of £500 or £600 a year, and hand back to him and his people all the land on this side of the Waikato River, probably an area of 800,000 acres. Now, notwithstanding that generous offer, Tawhiao's advisers refused to accept it. They advised him not to accept it, and so that great offer was last. That opportunity was not taken advantage of, Sir George Grey
's Government went out of office, and another Government took its place who knew not Joseph. Things remained as they were, and Tawhiao eventually went to England for help. He did not succeed, and he then returned to New Zealand, so much was wasted and nothing done. Another Government came into office, and again proposals were made to Tawhiao, but they were not of such a generous or favourable character as the proposals made by Sir George Grey
, although the offers contained a proposal to give Tawhiao a certain salary, and to make over certain lands to him. Now, Tawhiao himself, personally, accepted these proposals, but his advisers rejected them, and those proposals eventually died. Mahuta now fills the place of his father, and the power held by his father has descended upon him. Those who supported his father and protected him give the same protection to the son Mahuta; the only difference is this: that Mahuta himself is a young man, and may be able to recognise the changes that are going on. With few exceptions, the old people have all passed away; a new generation has arisen: therefore I think the hope is natural that something will now be done under these altered circumstances. Seeing that there is very little difference in our aims, I therefore hope that we may arrive at a satisfactory determination. I also desire that the same good feeling, the same high aspirations that actuated Tawhiao and those associated with him (and which are now perpetuated in his son and in his supporters), and the present chiefs who are accustomed to new ideas, will ever continue. We cannot hope for many reforms from the old people, they are too much attached to the past, but our hope is in the rising generation. My main object in addressing you was to tell you of these proposals, and to express the hope that we may arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. In the past you Waikato people stood aloof from the Europeans, but now you are adopting the example set in other parts of the Island, and I feel sure that we shall be drawn closer together, and that within a reasonable time we shall reach the goal for which we are striving.
The Premier then read a précis of the proposals, copies of which were afterwards handed to the chiefs.
This having been done, the Premier said,—You have now the provisions of the Bill before you, and it is for you, and for the Natives in other parts, and for the Europeans to say whether they are acceptable There is much food for reflection in the proposals, it is a new departure, and will, in my opinion, if given effect to, be in the interests of both races. I sincerely hope the Bill will be accepted in the spirit in which it has been conceived. It is the practice of Ministers of the Crown, page 18and members of Parliament, to explain matters to the Europeans at the various centres, and to-day a new departure has been made in the meeting of the Ministers of the Crown with the Native chiefs and the Maori people with the same object. Carefully consider the proposals that have been made, and, later on, through your representatives, be so good as to communicate with me on the proposals. I may add that the Natives in other parts to whom these proposals have been mentioned are very favourably inclined towards them. Your wise men, your old men, and your men of experience must give these matters very carefully attention. I believe it is for the good of both races that the Natives should cultivate the land, and that what they cannot cultivate them selves should be occupied and cultivated by the Europeans. In conclusion, I must again express my gratification at the hearty reception accorded to us to-day.
Rawhiti: If any one else wishes to speak, let him do so.
There being no other speakers, the formal business then ended.