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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 the Chiefs and Others of the Arawa Tribe, at Rotorua, 9th April, 1898

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Meeting between the Premier and the Chiefs and Others of the Arawa Tribe, at Rotorua, 9th April, 1898.

On the 9th April, 1898, the Premier met the chiefs and others of the Arawa Tribe at Rotorua.

Te Tupara spoke as follows: I welcome you to Rotorua to see us, the Arawa people. My word to you is to remain with us, do not go away. There are many troubles existing between the Arawas and certain officers; that is why I repeat my request to you to stay with us till next Tuesday. Now, the reason I ask you to stay with us is that the Arawas have not all assembled, they are only now coming. I desire to greet you, sir, and thank you for coming.

Te Pokiha Taranui: I stand up to support what has been said by the last speaker, namely, that you stay with us for a while, but I will have something further to say on that point later on. First of all, let me bid you welcome. Come and see the tribe who have steadily adhered to the Queen. Salutations to you, the Chief of this Island! I will now refer to what was mentioned by the previous speaker. Come and tarry with us, do not hurry away; come so that you may see the Arawas all assembled, and so that they may see you and hear what you may have to say, and so that you may hear what the Arawas have to say. Stay with us to-morrow; stay with us on Wednesday. Sir, our hearts will not be clear if you persist in going away to-morrow. We will have no opportunity of showing our love for you if you persist in going away so soon. There is an ancient proverb of my people to the effect that a white crane is seen during a life-time once only ("He kotuku rerenga-tahi"). The Arawas have only one word, and that is that they are united in asking you to remain with us. If you will grant them that request we will have no formal talk to-night, but will defer that to a future occasion, and simply give you your formal welcome to-night. Wait till the whole of the Arawa people have assembled. I again urge upon you to grant our request.

Eruera Uremutu: Welcome, the Premier of New Zealand! welcome to Rotorua! All the old chiefs have been removed by death; there are no old men to bid you welcome on this occasion. The proper men to welcome you are all gone; there is no one fit to carry out that duty now. Nevertheless, I bid you welcome. Come hither! It is true what Te Pokiha has stated; he has likened you to a white crane of one flight only. I bid you to stay so that the Arawas may see you, Why do you decline staying with us till Monday or Tuesday? The Arawas are all united in making this request; they are most desirous that you should stay with them, in order that they may see you.

Mita Taupopoki: Welcome, the Premier of New Zealand, the person of great authority, of great government, of great strength! I welcome you, the Premier, the man who has crossed the great depths, and wrought great works. I welcome you on account of the great works performed by you and your Government. I rejoice greatly at having this opportunity of welcoming you back after having been to see our gracious sovereign the Queen, I approve what has been stated by the other speakers, and wish you to stay with us till Monday, at all events.

Anaha te Rahui: I welcome Captain Mair, coming as he does with the Premier of New Zealand! Salutations to you, the Premier: you who have come from visiting our gracious Queen! We welcome you all the more heartily coming as you do under the Queen's authority and sovereignty. Behold the Arawa people gathered together before you! These are the loyal children of Her Majesty. These are the people who have never shaken or wavered in their allegiance. I will now explain why the Arawa people are so anxious for you to remain with them for a while. We have heard that you can only give us one hour. I wish to assure you that it is impossible for the Arawas to lay before you all their grievances in so short a time. This is why we are all so solieitous for you to stay with us till Monday. You would then have the opportunity of speaking with us and removing our doubts and fears, and we would have and opportunity of listening to your words. All would then be clear, and you could continue your journey without any misgivings. I think that this is a reasonable request, seeing that this is the first opportunity we have had of seeing you who are our parent. Before any other chiefs speak, will you reply to this request to stay with us a little while?

The Premier: Chiefs, and those of the Arawa Tribe assembled, salutations! My love to all of you. You are only the remnant of the once numerous but always noble Arawa Tribe. You were all-powerful, and your great strength, as you have reminded me to-night, has always been used to uphold the sovereignty of the Queen. You always fought with us under the British flag. The welcome accorded to me here to-night was not unexpected. On each and every occasion when a servant of the Queen visits Rotorua and has an opportunity of meeting the Arawas the welcome accorded is always of the most cordial character. I feel deeply pained to-night; my heart is sore. You have preferred a reasonable request; you have asked me to remain with you. If this were possible I would remain with you. Before I left Wellington I did not think I should have had page 25the time to see you at all on this trip to the North Island, but I have travelled far and fast; I have undergone great fatigue so that I might see you to-night. I have seen the Natives of other parts, and there was present with me at Waipatu His Excellency the Governor, the representative of Her Majesty. From thence I travelled to Huntly, where I met the Waikatos; then I went on to Otorohanga, where I met the Ngatimaniapotos, and discussed with them matters of deep interest to both races. I have also had to meet Europeans, because they also demanded my attention. Now, I will tell you why it is necessary that I must be in Wellington not later than next Wednesday. I am intrusted with the finances of this colony. The end of the financial year terminated on the 31st of last month. A few days after the close of the financial year are allowed by law for the adjustment of accounts those few days have now almost expired; I must therefore be present at the final adjustment, and see that the accounts of the colony are got ready for publishing to the world. It is therefore absolutely necessary that I must push on. Knowing, as you do, the great love I have for the Native race, and more especially for the Arawas, do you think that I would, without good cause, leave you so soon? I am blessed with a good memory, and I remember the loyal and cordial welcome that you accorded to me on my last visit to Rotorua. There was then established a friendship that will last as long as life itself. On this occasion I would say again that I am pained to be called upon to leave so many good friends. What causes the anxiety-what makes me feel more pain than anything else-is that you have told me that there are troubles between you and certain Europeans. If there are any such troubles I know it is my duty to help to remove them. I hope the troubles are not of a serious nature. I hope that every one concerned will show forbearance to each other, and earnestly strive to remove any difficulties that may exist; and, as the sun banishes the mists from the mountain-tops, so, by bringing to bear upon these questions an earnestness of purpose and forbearance necessary, the troubles mat be removed. We are the sons and daughters of our mother Queen Victoria; she is your sovereign and the sovereign of the Europeans-we are all her children. For your protection your forefathers, by the Treaty of Waitangi, ceded the rights of their land, and acknowledged the sovereignty of Queen Victoria. That was a very far-seeing policy on the part of your ancestors. They saw that Europeans would come here in large numbers, and, led by the strong protection of the British Empire and by the strong arm of the law, their children would be saved for all time. That sovereignty the Arawas have always loyally acknowledged, and when trouble did arise the Arawas helped those who desired to maintain that sovereignty. You have thus claims upon our consideration which must ever be acknowledge. I hope that I shall do nothing that would prevent the Arawas committing to paper what are their troubles. Any assistance that I can render in having that done will be cheerfully rendered. Then the documents can be transmitted to me, and I will look carefully into the matters and deal with them; though I may be far away from you, there is still the Post Office and the telegraph-wires to keep us in touch. We have a little time to-night, and one or two of the principal chiefs well acquainted with the cause of the troubles might. even to-night, give me briefly what the trouble really is, leaving the details to be dealt with in writing as I have suggested, my heart is very sore for another reason, It has been briefly mentioned by one of your chiefs that some of your old men who were present here on my last visit have been gathered to their forefathers, and are not hare to welcome me to-night, It is true that they were a connection with the past-that past which was so beautiful, that past which we all look back to with such pleasure as being the the time when the greatest love and affection existed between the two races; I refer to the days of our first settlement, and I hope you will all feel that, though they are not present with us in the the flesh, that they may be with us in the spirit, and that we may look forward to that peace with I hope they have attained. I earnestly entreat the young of the Arawa Tribe to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors the chiefs and the old men of the tirbe who were ever true, who were ever honest, who were ever good, who were ever hospitable, I am very sorry that on this my visit to the Arawas I was unable to bring with with me the new Governor, Lord Ranfurly, the representative of the Queen to whom I have Just alluded, but through me he sends his love to the Arawas; he has also intimated that on the earliest possible occasion he will pay you a visit, He will then be with you in person, and convey to you his love and earnest desire to help you while he is Governor here. Pleasing reference has been made to may visit to the Mother-land and to the whole of the Europeans in our midst, I am overjoyed to think that the Arawas have so much noticed what has been taking place, and that they should have-taken this early opportunity of making pleasing references to that visit. It is gratifying to me personally, and will be I feel sure, to the authorities at Home to know that you take such a great interest in these matters, and that you are pleased at this colony being represented on that great occasion. I had the great pleasure of seeing our beloved Sovereign, and speaking to her and of conveying to her the love and affection of both races, and also an assurance to their loyalty and devotion to the Throne and the Constitution under which we are governed, Through me Her Most Gracious Majesty desired to convey to you all her deep love for her subjects in this colony. This colony was her first-born, you know the great love a mother has for her first child: this was the first colony formed after Her Majesty had ascended the throne. You will therefore not wonder that she should take a motherly interest in her subjects here. Though her children may differ in colour, though they may speak different languages, yet the colour page 26of the blood that runs through the veins of all is the same. We are the children of the one mother, the one Sovereign. We worship the one God. Our joys should be the joys of the Europeans: when there are sorrows those sorrows should be shared and sympathy shown by each other. What can be done to promote the health, comfort, and happiness of both races it is our duty to do. At that great celebration in London there were represented both races. We had in the Contingent sent from the colony the colonial-born European youth; we had those of the Native race also, both doing honour to our Queen. The pleasure given to the Imperial authorities, the pleasure given to the vast multitude on that great day, and the pleasure given to our Sovereign at this being done, was greater than I can possibly describe. Representatives of both races in the Contingent came back to the land of their birth crowned with laurels. Their conduct was of the best, their military bearing led those who were capable of judging to the opinion that they were worthy of the race and the country they represented. There was a general wish expressed that, as they were there together celebrating the Jubilee of our Most Gracious Sovereign, that for all time they should meet together as they met then, and they would work together for all time to promote the well-being of New Zealand. Now, I give to one and all of you hearty greetings, and I again desire to inform you that the Government of which I have the honour to be the head desires to do what is just and right to the Native race, and promote their happiness and well-being. I desire that you may become more numerous than the race was when we first came to the colony; and as your ancestors showed to us, when we were few in number, the greatest hospitality and kindness, and as the position is now reversed, we in our turn should show you every kindness and hospitality. I have been pained by being constrained to say that I cannot stop longer than the time I have mentioned. At the same time, I desire to express my great pleasure at having received at your hands the hearty welcome you have given me. I will now ask the chiefs to shortly put before me any grievances that they may have. I have to speak to the Europeans to-night, so that there is not much time between now and the time fixed for the meeting, but to give you every opportunity of speaking your minds I am willing to stop here and to listen to your troubles up to the time of that meeting. So let us proceed to business at once-forthwith. I have brought with me the proposals of the Government as affecting the Native race, especially their lands, and I shall leave these behind me for you to peruse. They are of a most important character, and will take you some time to consider. If I were to stay till next Tuesday you would not be able to give me a reply; therefore you will have to send your reply in writing, after giving the proposals your fullest consideration. Let me see your inmost heart, so that there may be an end of any cloud existing between us.

Te Pokiha Taranui: I welcome you who have come from the scene of prosperity, and I agree with what you have said throughout the whole of your speech, and I thank you for what you have said to-night. I express my gratitude to you for coming here and making us, personally, a speech. As you persist in going, as it is imperative for you to do so, I can only wish you good-bye. I have two or three matters to bring under your notice. I ask you to put a stop to the Native Land Court, and to the purchasing of Native lands. Will you stop both of theseand will you remove the restrictions that exist on our lands under the Thermal Springs Act—and will you sweep them away? If you can see your way to stop the Courts and the purchase of Native lands, and repeal the Thermal Sprigs Act, then we shall be satisfied. Agree to grant us these requests without delay, so that the whole of the Arawas may rejoice. This is my reply to your excellent and kind speech; and if you will grant these requests, then indeed shall we have cause to be grateful, and remember you always. By granting our requests is the only way that prosperity and happiness will return to the Arawa people; the mouths of the money-bags would then be opened, and we would be able to improve the whole of our country.

Eruera te Uremutu: I wish to say this, sir: You see I am an old man; I have grown old while taking part in the proceedings of the Courts, and I may say that I can see no advantage is to be derived from them. I support what Te Pokiha has said, when he asks that the Courts should be put a stop to, also that the purchase of Native lands should be stopped. I have grown old watching the Court, and no good can come from it.

Tamati Hapimana: I stand up to support the proposals, or the requests, preferred by Te Pokiha and Eruera te Uremutu. I implore you to postpone the sitting of the Court which is advertised to take place at Rotorua very shortly. I wish you long life, and pray God to take you into His keeping.

Anaha Terahui: I want to explain to you why we have preferred these requests. The reason why we make the requests about the Court is this: The lands which remain here we desire to hold for the sustenance of the race and our children; I mean the land over which the Government have no claim; these are the lands which we wish to keep. Now, as to the lands which have been confiscated, or upon which the Government have a claim, we admit these must go; that is why we ask that the Court should be stopped, and also the purchase of the lands. If you grant that request, then we will know indeed that the Queen's love for us is real, is tangible, is not a mere shadow. There is another trouble, and that is about the fish in Rotorua.

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Tupara Tokoaitua: I stand up to support the proposals to stop the Native Land Court, but I do not agree to the repeal of the Thermal Springs Act. I will on no account agree to that; but let the proposals to stop the Court be carried out in the Rotorua District. Let other people state their own wishes. I do again ask that you will grant the request as far as the Arawas' lands are concerned: "Procrastination is the thief of time."

The Premier: I will now give you the mind of the Government on these matters. What makes me feel puzzled is the fact that there are persons of the Native race who sell all their land; then they say to the Government, "Stop the sale of the Native lands." Are they afraid that, if all the Maoris do the same as they have done, there will be nothing for them to live upon? Why did they not think of this before they sold the lands? They say, "Stop the Land Court," as it is no use to them; they have no land to go through the Court, as it is all gone. The Europeans are just the same in some respects; there are people amongst them who are always willing to give good advice, but who never act upon it themselves. All the lands in this district would have gone to the Europeans if it had not been that the Government stepped in and stopped the sale. The Government had to act the part of a parent to the Natives, who misbehaved like children by giving away that which really did not belong to them. The chief who said it would be a mistake to repeal the Thermal Springs Act spoke wisely; it would be an evil day for the Arawas if that Act were repealed. Some modifications of the boundaries of the districts may, under the altered conditions, be considered advisable, but to repeal the Act altogether would be a very great mistake. I speak to you as your friend—I speak to you with great responsibility resting upon me as Minister for the Native race. I will tell you another thing that we have had to do for you: Survey liens have been granted to private surveyors on the Native lands here and in other parts, equal to £20,000 in value, and to prevent these lands going from you for all time the Government had to pay that amount. I simply mention this to show you that we are earnest in our desire not to see the Maoris of this colony landless. The greatest trouble that can befall a race is to lose their land, because the land is life to them. Now, we have proposals in this Bill which would stop these evils; we have proposals in the Bill that will finish, for all time, the Native Land Courts. For many months past I have had great anxiety, and so has my colleague, Mr. Carroll, one of your own race, and also my other colleagues. We have been giving this matter our earnest attention, and the result of our deliberations are embodied in the Bill of which the following is a précis. [The Premier then read the précis.] You will see that we propose to leave it to you to say whether or not the sale of land shall be stopped, and whether or not there will be Land Courts. I would like to add that I know there will be interested persons, particularly the pakeha-Maoris, ready to advise you against these proposals. If you are prepared to accept them I will ask Parliament to adopt them. When you have carefully considered them, write to me, giving me your mind on the subject.

Te Pokiha Taranui: I ask you to stop the Land Purchase Officers from forcing us to appear in the Native Land Court to define the relative interests in the Taheka Block. If the shares are defined, then the young and foolish will sell to the Land Purchase Department, and all our houses and kaingas will be lost, and there will be great trouble—probably bloodshed.

The Premier: You must not make use of such a threat. I insist on your withdrawing that word. The Government, with the exception of a few acres required in connection with the Township of Rotorua, do not wish to purchase the Taheke Block.