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Proceedings of of the Kohimarama Conference, Comprising Nos. 13 to 18 of the "Maori Messenger."

Conference of Maori Chiefs at Kohimarama, Auckland, on the 10Th July, 1860

Conference of Maori Chiefs at Kohimarama, Auckland, on the 10Th July, 1860.

The chiefs who were present at the opening of the Conference numbered 112, of whom the following is a list:—

  • Ngapuhi (Bay of Islands)—Tamati Waka, Wiremu Kaitara, Huirua Mangonui, Wiremu Hau, Tango Hikuwai, Wi Tete, Hori Kingi.
  • Parawhau, (Whangarei)—Manihera, Wi Pohe, Taurau Tirarau.
  • Ngatiwakaue,(Rotorua)—Ngahuruhuru, Taiapo, Tukihaumene, Winiata Pekamu, Eruera Kahawai, Ngamoni, Tauaru, Ngarama, Pomate, Tauahaka, Rotobiko Haupapa, Henare Kepa, Pererika, Herewini Amohau, Henare te Pukuatua, Taoangaanga.
  • Ngatipikiao, (Rotoiti and Maketu)—Rirituku te Perehu, Rewi, Hona, Anania, Te Pirihi.
  • Tapuika, (Kai Tuna Rerei)—Moihi Kupe, Rota te Wharehuia.
  • Tuhourangi, (Tarawera Lake)—Kihirini, te Tuahu.
  • Ngaiterangi, (Tauranga)—Tomika te Mutu, Wiremu Patene, Hamiora Tu, Hamuera te Paki.
  • Ngatihe, (Maunga Tapu)—Maihi Pohepohe, Menehira Rakau.
  • Ngatiatea, (Awa-a-te-Atua)—Te Makarini.
  • Te Tawera—Maketu Petera, Te Rongotoa, Wakaheke [unclear: Pauro], Tamati Hapimana,page 5
  • Ngatitematera (Hauraki)—Karaitiana Tuikau, Haimona Purau.
  • Ngatimahanga (Waingaroa,)—Hemi Matini, Te Waka.
  • Manukau—Rihari
  • Ngatihine, (Aotea)—Manihera, Hira Kingi.
  • Ngatiwhatua (Orakei)-Wiremu Hopihona, Paora, Keene, Kawau.
  • Ngatihine, (Waikato)—Horohau.
  • Ngatipaoa—Patara Pouroto.
  • Ngatitoa, (Porirua and Wainui)—Tamihana Rauparaha, Matene Te Whiwhi, Hohepa Tamaihengia, Ropata Urumutu, Nopera Te Ngiha, Horopapera, Pukeko, Hohaia Pokaitara, Rapihana Te Otaota, Hapimana, Te Hope.
  • Ngatitama, (Nelson)—Wi Katene Te Manu, Hemi Matenga.
  • Ngatiraukawa, (Otaki and Manawatu)—Horomona Toremi, Parakaia Te Pouepa, Hukiki, Wi Paiaka, Kuruhou Rangimaru, Te Moroati Kiharoa, Te Ao Marere, Ihakara Tokonui, Takerei Te Nawe. Taranaki, (Wellington)—Wiremu Tamihana, Hemi Parai.
  • Ngaitahu, (Otago and Canterbury)—Pita Te Hori, Taiaroa.
  • Patutokoko, (Upper Wanganui)—Tahana Turoa.
  • Wanganui—Hori Kingi Te Anaua, Te Mawae, Hoani Wi Hipango, Mete Kingi, Tamati Wiremu, Kawana Paepae, Hori Kerei.
  • Ngatiapa, (Whangaehu and Rangitikei)—Ihakara, Hapurona.
  • Ngarauru, (Waitotara)—Pehimana.
  • Ngatikahungunu—Te Wereta Kawekairangi, Ngatuere, Raniera Te Iho, Hoani Te Kaho, Karaitiana Te Korou, Wiremu Waka, Te Koroneho, Wiremu Kingi Tu-te Pakihirangi, Te Hapuku, Tamihana Ruatapu, Te Hapimana, Te Rengituawaru, Te Waka Perohuka.
  • Ngatiporou, (East Cape)—Te Whikiriwhi Te Matehe, Wiremu Pahuru, Te Irimana Ngamare.
  • Ngatiama, (Wellington)—Manihera Ngatoro, Porutu, Epiha Wairaweke.

His Excellency Governor Browne opene i the proceedings by reading the following address, a translation, of which was afterwards read by Donald McLean. Esq., (Native Secretary, and President of the Conference):—

My Friends,—Chiefs of New Zealand,

1. I have invited you to meet me on the present occasion that we may have an opportunity of discussing various matters connected with the welfare and advancement of the two Races dwelling in New Zealand.
2. I take advantage of it also to repeat to you and, through you, to the whole Maori people, the assurances of goodwill on the part of our Gracious Sovereign which have been given by each succeeding. Governor from Governor Hobson to myself.
3. On assuming the Sovereignty of New Zealand Her Majesty extended to her Maori subjects her Royal protection, engaging to page 6 defend New Zealand and the Maori people from all aggressions by any foreign power, and imparting to them all the rights and privileges of British subjeets; and she confirmed and guaranteed to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand, and to the respective families and individuals thereof, the full, exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates, forests, fisheries, and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess, so long as it is their wish to retain the same in their possession.
4. In return for these advantages the Chiefs who signed the Treaty of Waitangi ceded for themselves and their people to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty which they collectively or individually possessed or might be supposed to exercise or possess.
5. Her Majesty has instructed the Governors who preceded me, and she will instruct those who come after me, to maintain the stipulations of this Treaty inviolate, and to watch over the interests and promote the advancement of her subjects without distinction of Race.
6. Having renewed these assurances in the name of our Gracious Sovereign I now ask you to confer with me frankly and without reserve. If you have grievances, make them page 7 known to me, and if they are real, I will try to redress them. Her Majesty's wish is that all her subjects should be happy, prosperous, and contented. If, therefore, yon can make any suggestions for the better protection of property, the punishment of offenders, the settlement of disputes or the preservation of peace, I shall gladly hear them and will give them the most favourable consideration.
7. The minds of both Races have lately been agitated by false reports or exaggerated statements; and, in order to restore confidence, it is necessary that each should know and thoroughly understand what the other wishes and intends.
8. There is also a subject to which I desire to invite your special attention, and in reference to which I wish to receive the expression of your views. For some time past certain persons belonging to the tribes dwelling to the south of Auckland have been endeavouring to mature a project, which, if carried into effect, could only bring evil upon the heads of all concerned in it. The framers of it are said to desire that the Maori tribes in New Zealand should combine together and throw off their allegiance to the sovereign whose protection they have enjoyed for more than twenty years, and that they should set up a Maori King and declare page 8themselves to be an independent Nation. Such ideas could only be entertained by men completely ignorant of the evils they would bring upon the whole Native Race if carried into effect.
9. While the promoters of this scheme confined themselves to mere talking, I did not think it necessary to notice their proceedings, believing that, if allowed time to consider, they would abandon so futile and dangerous an undertaking. This expectation has not been fulfilled. At a recent meeting at Waikato some of the leading men proposed that Wiremu Kingi, who is in arms against the Queen's authority, should be supported by reinforcements from the tribes who acknowledge the Maori king, and armed parties from Waikato and Kawhia actually went to Taranaki for this purpose. These men also desire to assume an authority over other New Zealand tribes in their relations with the Government, and contemplate the forcible subjection of those tribes who refuse to recognise their authority.
10. Under these circumstances I wish to know your views and opinions distinctly, in order that I may give correct information to our Sovereign.
11. It is unnecessary for me to remind you that Her Majesty's engagements to Her Native subjects in New Zealand have been faithfully observed. No foreign enemy has visited your shores, Your lands have remainedpage 9in your possession, or have been bought by the Government at your own desire. Your people have availed themselves of their privileges as British subjects, seeking and obtaining in the Courts of Law that protection and redress which they afford to all Her Majesty's subjects. But it is right you should know and understand that in return for these advantages you must prove yourselves to be loyal and faithful subjects, and that the establishment of a Maori King would be an act of disobedience and defiance to Her Majesty which cannot be tolerated. It is necessary for the preservation of peace in every country that the inhabitants should acknowledge one Head.
12. I may frankly tell you that New Zealand is the only Colony where the aborigines have been treated with unvarying kindness. It is the only Colony where they have been invited to unite with the Colonists and to become one people under one law. In other colonies the people of the land have remained separate and distinct, from which many evil consequences have ensued. Quarrels have arisen; blood has been shed; and finally the aboriginal people of the country have been driven away or destroyed. Wise and good men in England considered that such treatment of aborigines was unjust and contrary to the principles of Christianity. They brought the subject before the British Parliament, and the Queen's Ministers advised a change of policy towards the aborigines of all English Colonies. New Zealand is the first country colonised on this new and humane system. It will be the wisdom of the Maori people to avail themselves of this generous policy, and thus save their race from evils which have befallen others less favored. It is your adoption by Her Majesty as herpage 10subjects which makes it impossible that the Maori people should be unjustly dispossessed of their lands or property. Every Maori is a member of the British Nation; he is protected by the same law as his English fellow subject; and it is because you are regarded by the Queen as a part of her own especial people that you have heard from the lips of each successive Governor the same words of peace and goodwill. It is therefore the height of folly for the New Zealand tribes to allow themselves to be seduced into the commission of any act which, by violating their allegiance to the Queen, would render them liable to forfeit the rights and privileges which their position as British subjects confers upon them, and which must necessarily entail upon them evils ending only in their ruin as a race.
13. It is a matter of solicitude to Her Majesty, as well as to many of your friends in England and in this country, that you should be preserved as a people. No unfriendly feeling should be allowed to grow uppage 11between the two Races. Your children will live in the country when you are gone, and when the Europeans are numerous. For their sakes I call upon you as fathers and as Chiefs of your Tribes, to take care that nothing be done which may engender animosities the consequences of which may injure your posterity. I feel that the difference of language forms a great barrier between the Europeans and the Maories. Through not understanding each other there are frequent misapprehensions of what is said or intended: this is also one of the chief obstacles in the way of your participating in our English Councils, and in the consideration of laws for your guidance. To remedy this the various Missionary Bodies, assisted by the Government, have used every exertion to teach your children English, in order that they may speak the same language as the European inhabitants of the Colony.
14. I believe it is only needful that these matters should be well understood to ensure a continuance of peace and friendly feeling between the two Races of Her Majesty's subjects; and it is for this reason, and in a firm hope that mutual explanations will remove all doubt and distrust on both sides, that I have invited you to meet me now.page 12
15. I shall not seek to prove, what you will all be ready to admit, that the treatment you have received from the Government, since its establishment in these Islands down to the present hour, has been invariably marked by kindness. I will not count the Hospitals founded for the benefit of your sick; the Schools provided for the education of your children; the encouragement and assistance given you to possess yourselves of vessels, to cultivate wheat, to build mills, and to adopt the civilized habits of your white brethren. I will not enumerate the proofs which have been given you that your interests and well-being have been cared for, lest you should think I am ungenerously recalling past favours. All will admit that not only have your ears listened to the words of kindness, but that your eyes have seen and your hands have handled its substantial manifestations.
16. I will not now detain you by alluding to other matters of great importance, but will communicate with you from time to time and call your attention to them before you separate. Let me, however, remind you that though the Queen is able without any assistance from you to protect the Maories from all foreign enemies, she cannot without their help protect the Maories from themselves. It is therefore the duty of all who would regret to see their Race relapse into barbarism, and who desire to live in peace and prosperity, to take heed that the counsels of the foolish do not prevail, and that the whole country be not thrown into anarchy and confusion by the folly of a few misguided men.
page 13

Finally,—I must congratulate you on the vast progress in civilization which your people have made under the protection of the Queen. Cannibalism has been exchanged for Christianity; Slavery has been abolished; War has become more rare; Prisoners taken in war are not slain; European habits are gradually replacing those of your ancestors of which all Christians are necessarily ashamed. The old have reason to be thankful that their sunset is brighter than their dawn, and the young may be grateful that their life did not begin until the darkness of the heathen night had been dispelled by that light which is the glory of all civilized Nations.

Earnestly praying that God, may grant His blessing on your deliberations and guide you in the right path, I leave you to the free discussion of the subjects I have indicated, and of any others you may think likely to promote the welfare of your Race.

(Signed) Thomas Gore Browne,

His Excellency then withdrew to an adjoining hall, accompanied by His Honor the Superintendent of the the Province, Colonel Sillery, Colonel Mould, and the members of the Executive Council. Here he held a levee, at which all the Chiefs named above Were presented to him by the Native Secretary.

page 14

At the close of the levee His Excellency embarked for Auckland, and the Chiefs reassembled in the Conference Hall to proceed with their business.

Mr. McLean introduced the business of day in the following speech:

Listen, Chiefs of the Conference! The Governor has now retired having left some important subjects for you to deliberate on. It is His Excellency's wish that you should to-day, and again on another day, take under consideration, and carefully examine the address which we have listened to this morning. Let each Chief freely and frankly express his sentiments that the Conference may be made acquainted with them. Let there be no reserve, or suppression, but let every one speak freely.

Thomas Walker Nene rose and said: Hearken, O ye people, hearken! This is a Council to discuss the affairs of the people. I have come forward first; but you are the head, so I leave the speaking for you. I shall afterwards express my sentiments that you may hear them—that all may know them, both Pakeha and Maori. I sit down.

Paora Tuhaere rose and said: Now listen ye people, listen! Listen both Pakehas and Maories. This property (the Pakeha) belongs to me; therefore, I say, let me have the first speech in this meeting. Hearken, all ye people, to my words! These were my words to the first Governor, to the second Governor, and to the third Governor: I want the Laws of England. Hearken, ye people, two things commend themselves to my mind—the Governor and the Queen. For thereby do we, both Pakeha and Maori, reap good. This is my speech. The best riches for us are the Laws of England. In my opinion, the greatest of all evils is war. But we are all in the wrong. When a Maori kills a Pakeha, the Pakeha says, Let us fight; and when a Pakeha kills a Maori, then the Maori says, Let us fight. For example—if I should be killed by a Pakeha, my tribe would say, Let us fight with the Pakeha; and on the other hand were I to kill a Pakeha, even though he be a slave, the Pakeha would demand me as payment. These are my words. I entertained the Pakeha a long time ago, and I found him good. Hence, I say, I shall always rememeber the Pakeha, and I shall always remember too, with affection, the Governor who was sent here to protect us. The benefits which we received from him are—Christianity and the Laws. Now, listen! My affections at the present time lie between page 15 these two blessings. Listen, again! My heart is satisfied. All that the Laws keeps from us is—Guns, Powder, and Brandy Another subject comes under my attention. It is the misunderstanding between the Pakeha and the Maori about land. The Pakeha has his mode of selling land, and the Maori has his mode. O people, hearken! The Pakeha came to New Zealand to protect the Maori.; As to the talk about Waitangi (treaty), that is Ngapuhi's affair.

Thomas Walker Nene then rose and said: O people, listen! These are my words in your hearing. I shall speak about the Governor,, and about the Pakehas. I am not accepting the Pakeha for myself alone, but for the whole of us. My desire when Governor Hobson arrived here was to take him as our Governor, in order that we might have his protection. Who knows the mind of the Americans, or that of the French? Therefore, I say, let us have the English to protct us. Therefore, my friends, do I say, let this Governor be our Governor, and this Queen our Queen. Let; us accept this Governor, as a Governor for the whole of us. Let me tell you, ye assembled tribes, I have but one Governor. Let this Governor be a King to us. Listen again, ye people! When the Governor came here, he brought with him the Word of God by which we live; and it is. through the teaching of that Word that we are able to meet together this day, under one roof. Therefore, I say, I know no Sovereign but the Queen, and I never shall know any other. I am walking by the side of the Pakeha. Mr. McLean, this is all I have to say. People of the Runanga, 1 have finished.

He was followed by Tukihaumene: People, people, salutations to you! For the first time the word is made manifest to me. I mean this Conference. I have nothing else to say at present. My choice lies with the Governor and the Queen. This is all I desire at this time. People of the Runanga do you consent to the Queen? [Assent from his tribe.]

Hemi Matini Te Nera then rose: Listen, ye people! My words date from the time of Governor Hobson. The Governor asked, "Will you be my friend? " I replied, "I will be your friend." These were my words to the first Governor, to the second Governor, to the third Governor, and to the fourth Governor. I made this pledge in the presence of the Governor. They (the Governors) brought good things to this page 16 Island. This is uniformly my saying at the Settlements, "I shall not join that evil (the Maori King Movement)." All I desire is, to live on terms of friendship with the Governor and Queen. Under the old law we perished; under the present law we live. Listen, then, ye people. We have assembled in this place, and it is good. Should you be willing to assemble again at another place, I consent. This work is good.

Rihari said: Listen, that I may tell the people my thoughts. Come together, my friends; you are welcome. Come and look after your goods that are being trampled upon. Here are the people that are being trampled upon. Now, let me say a word about the Maori. In former times he was poor; since the arrival of the Pakeha, he has become rich. The Gospel too has reached this Island. My God in the olden time was Ouenuku. I have a very different God now. I am grateful to the Pakeha for the following benefits, namely—Christianity, the Laws, and Good-will. I must speak of these good things; for since the arrival of a Governor, good has remained in the land. This is all I have to say.

Hamiora Tu said: Hearken, ye tribes. Hearken, ye Pakehas, Hearken, ye Chiefs! The first thing which absorbed my attention was Christianity. It was brought here by the Missionaries. Subsequently a Governor came, and good things began to flourish in New Zealand. Listen, ye people! One half of me (my affections) belongs to the Queen: the other half is still unsettled. But listen, people, to my sentiments. I desire to consider the Queen and the Governor my parents. He (the Governor) must suppress evil in whatever tribe it may be.

Te Makarini rose and said: I came to bring to this meeting the sentiments of my Chiefs. These are their words: Go to the Governor, and say to him, that the tribes are all true to the Queen. Another word of theirs was. Let there be peace. This is all.

Te Ratapu said: Listen, ye tribes that I may address you. Let me express my good thoughts respecting the Ministers and the Governor, for these are my parents. Friends, I have pledged myself. My first oath was before Mr. Halse (magistrate,) and my second before Mr. McLean in April last. Those were my oaths (of allegiance), and I now tell you of them.

Rangi rose and said: Waitaha is the place, and Waitaha the people. All I wish to [unclear: see] page 17 is justice, peace, and quietness. This Will be our glory. Jesus Chist hath said—"Let evil be overcome of good." Another word. Let all things be conducted according to law, and under the Queen's rule. I shall sit under that rule. Enough.

Maihi said: Listen, ye people. Listen, Mr. McLean. I have two Kings—my soul and body, and I place my body under the shadow of the Queen's wings. I make this pledge in your presence—a pledge for ever. Let my words end here.

Metekingi said: I have come to the Governor to look after goods. An invitation brought me here. There is my King, the Pakeha.

Kopuparapara rose and said: Salutation to you, O people of the Runanga! I have only one word to say, Let us have ships, and let us have boats. I have nothing else to say. God shall be my King. This is all.

Kawana Paipai said: Mr. McLean, listen. I have only one word to you; it is this—love to the Pakeha.

Tamihana said: Men of this meeting, give ear! Listen, Mr. McLean. When I catch a young Koko (a bird), I teach him to talk, and he learns. In like manner, we have been taught by the Governor and you. Therefore, I say, the words we have heard this day are good. What I wish for is to see peace established. My words are at an end.

Ngatuere said: I shall speak truly. Listen, ye people. These are my words. In the beginning Missionaries came, also teachers. Thus Christianity came amongst us. It found its way to Wairarapa. The precepts of Christianity require that. I should abandon all my sins. Subsequently, we had land sales and leases. You (the Pakeha) came, as a father with good things which call forth our praise. Let me speak to you, Mr. McLean. I shall not interfere. Let Wi Kingi and the Governor settle their matter. I shall not consent to the speech of the Governor. I shall wait till I hear what the Runanga says. You know me, and you know the Wairarapa people. Let your measures with Wi Kingi be severe. Suppress that evil. My hands have never been red with Pakeha blood, Welcome, I cry, good laws!

Te Waaka said: I am an old man from Waikato. Here I am—a man free from evil page 18 desires. My children search out understanding. These are my words.

Karaitiana said: Listen, all ye people. Pakehas, the Governor's words are good. My heart says, the Pakeha and I are one, for I have not been concerned in the evil work. Let the Pakeha behave ill to me, then it will be time to retaliate.

Te Mutu said: This is my word, O people of the Runanga. I shall side with the Queen and the Governor. It was by your invitation, Mr. McLean, that I came here.

Tohi said: Call forth Mr. McLean, for the words of the Governor are good. Let the Queen be above all. I have nothing more to say.

[At this point of the proceedings, Mr. McLean rose and adjourned the Meeting till 10 a.m. on the following day, intimating that it was getting late, and that many members of the Runanga were suffering from Influenza. He requested that they would make the Governor's speech the subject of their evening's conversation, and come prepared on the following morning to express their opinions.]