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

Thursday, July 19, 1860

page 41

Thursday, July 19, 1860.

The Native Secretary opened the proceedings of the day with a statement of circumstances connetced with the Waitara purchase, and the origin of the War at Taranaki. He spoke as follows:—

Chiefs of this Conference: Yesterday some of you took occasion to animadvert on the war at Taranaki Your remarks were sent to the Governor that His Excellency might, if he thought proper to do so, direct that a statement of the circumstances connected with the differences existing between himself and William King should be laid before you. The Governor's explanation of this matter has been this day sent to you, that you may be correctly informed with reference to it; that you may neither shape a judgment in the dark, nor take a rash view under the influence of mere suspicion, or through the false reports and exaggerated statements which have been in circulation throughout the country.

Before reading the Governor's message, I will state to you a portion of what has come under my own knowledge in connexion with this place (Taranaki). I will not go back to the invasion of the Ngapuhi, but will commence with the first sale to Colonel Wakefield at Aropaoa, in 1839, by the Atiawa residing en the opposite shores of the country, better known to you as Kapiti. Their names are in the deed transferring the land. Here are the names of Te Awe, of William King, of Rauponga, Ngarewa, Manurau, Mare and others of the Ngatiawa. I will not detain you by reading all the names. These are the principal chiefs who transferred the land. The name of William King Te Rangitake is the first of the signatures to the deed. The whole district was alienated at that time. No portion of it was excepted, for the Ngatiawa looked upon it as territory which they had left, abandoned and forsaken for ever; to which they had bidden a final farewell, and which had passed into the hands of the Waikatos. At that time they did not expect ever to return to it. This was the reason why the Atiawas wished to sell it to the Pakehas: hence the sale to Colonel Wakefield. The arrangement was made by William King himself, and the payment was received. On Colonel Wakefield's return to Wellington the chiefs of the Ngatiawa residing there deputed Tuarau, and another of their Chiefs to go to the people who were living at Ngamotu (Taranaki) to inform them of the sale of the land. Tuarau accordingly went, and on arriving assembled the people and told them what had taken place. They expressed their satisfaction: they were delighted at the prospect of Pakehas coming to live among them as friends. Now would they come forth to life and the light of heaven, page 42 secure from Waikato. The assent of Awatea, Eruera Te Puke, of Ngahirahira, Karoro, Poharama, Te Whiti, Tangutu and others, 79 in number, was given. These were all the people living upon the land at that time whose names appear on this Deed of Sale. This was the second purchase. This sale included Taranaki and Waitara. This territory was purchased, and the payment was given to the men who were at that time residing upon the land. It was then surveyed, and afterwards Europeans came to settle upon it. I shall not speak of William King's visit to Ngapuhi, and of what passed between him and Potatau's younger brother; they had a difference about that land. Kati said to William King, "That land will be sold to the Governor." William King replied, "Then I will sell the Waipa Valley as a payment for my slain." (Alluding to an encounter which took place between the the Ngatiawa of Taranaki and the people of Waipa.) On Kati's return from the North he repeated what had passed between himself and Wi Kingi to the old Chief Potatau, just now deceased. Soon after, Potatau went to Kapiti with Governor Hobson. Afterwards, he said to the Governor, "Friend, listen to me, Taranaki is mine: my hand holds it. I wish to sell it to you." The window of the room in which this conversation took place happened to be open, and some papers which had been lying on the table were scattered by the wind. The old Chief collected them and, replacing them on the table, put a weight upon them and addressing the Governor, said, "This is like Taranaki: if I press the Taranaki people, they will remain quiet. See, O Governor, when I put a weight upon them they are still: they cannot move." Time passed on, Governor Hobson considered the matter, and after having done so, consented to the purchase from Waikato. Here is the deed of transfer:—

"Know all men by this book, we Chiefs of Waikato, do let go and sell these lands of ours to George Clarke, the Protector of Natives, for Her Majesty Victoria, Queen of England, her heirs and successors whether male or female. The land and all things that are on or under this land we sell to George Clarke, the Protector of Natives, for an estate for the Queen, her heirs and successors whether male or female, for ever.

"The beginning of the Northern boundary is at Tongapourutu, the Western boundary is along the sea shore between Tongapourutu and Waitotara and going inland to Piraunui. We receive these payments, on behalf of our tribes of Waikato, for their interest in the said land—one hundred and fifty pounds money, two page 43 horses, two saddles, two bridles, and one hundred red blankets.

"Witness our names and signs written in Auckland, on the thirty-first of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred, and forty-two."

(Signed) Te Kati,
(Signed) Te Wherowhero.
(Signed) J. Coates,
(Signed) George Claree, Sub. Protr.
True Translation,
(Signed) Thomas S. Forsaith.

The signatures to this deed are those of Te Kati, who. lies buried at Mangere, and of Te Wherowhero, just now deceased at his own place at Waikato. Now, in accordance with your customs, this land was completely forfeited and gone; of the men who once possessed it, some had been brought as slaves to Waikato; some had gone to Kapiti. It was a complete abandonment of a conquered territory. When the first payment was made, a portion of the goods was brought from Kapiti to Waikato. Te Pakaru received a share, as also Te Awaitaia; but neither Potatau nor Kati got any. These two Chiefs were therefore displeased and applied to the Governor, urging him to give them a payment.

After the transactions to which I have referred, the Europeans supposed that the land had finally passed into their possession. Accordingly it was surveyed and portions were allotted to individual settlers; some were also set apart for the Maories, within the European boundaries. Settlers came from England with the plans of their sections in their hands, expecting to find them ready for occupation. The Natives who had been permitted to return from Waikato, came and interfered with the Europeans who had settled upon the land, claiming it as their own, the former also maintaining their claims. Animosities thus sprung up between the Europeans and the Maories. During this state of affairs, some of the Waikato Chiefs interfered and admonished the Maories to dwell in peace, and to treat the Europeans with kindness, threatening them with another invasion if they refused to listen. Such were the sentiments of Waikato at that time. Nuitona Te Pakaru of Kawhia and other Waikato Chiefs went there, and thus admonished the Taranaki people.

Mr. Spain, the Commissioner appointed for the purpose of inquiring into questions of page 44 land claims, had, previous to this, given a decision on this question. He did not award the whole of the land sold: he restricted the extent of the Europeans' claim to what he considered a fair equivalent for the payrnent given by Colonel Wakefield, and fixed the Northern boundary at Te Taniwha, thence to Paritutu, and thence inland. The claim which Colonel Wakefield put in for the whole of the land was not allowed by Mr. Spain, a small portion of the land only being retained. Captain FitzRoy was Governor at this time, which was also the time of my going to Taranaki. He looked at the unsatisfactory state of affairs at Taranaki, and out of consideration for the claims of the residents—of those who were living at Kapiti, and of those still in slavery in various parts of the island—he made a different arrangement from Mr. Spain's and decided that a fresh payment should be given for the land, whether as included in Colonel Wakefield's purchase or in Mr. Spain's award, in order that the Pakehas might occupy their land with a clear and undisputed title. The Governor instructed me to give this payment, that the Maories might dwell in peace with the Europeans. The Europeans were angry with this new arrangement of Governor FitzRoy's and one of the Queen's Ministers in England also condemned it. But when the matter came before the Queen, Her Majesty would not allow the word of her Governor to be set aside. Payments were accordingly made at Taranaki, and divided among the claimants to the land. In Governor Fitzroy's time land purchasing was again commenced in that district. The purchases of the Government during that period down to the arrival of Governor Grey at Taranaki are shewn upon this map which I hold in my hand. When Governor Grey came, he considered what had been done by Governor FitzRoy in reference to Mr. Spain's award, and then said to me, "It is well for you to continue to make further payments for the land although it has been long since acquired by the Government, but in doing so you must cause the Natives distinctly to understand that ample provision will be made for them out of the land required by the Government; and that those who refuse to come into this arrangement cannot be recognised as the true owners of the land." Some of them have recently thought proper to occupy. The Governor also authorised a small payment to the absentees at Kapiti in the South. In all future purchases these two principles were to be recognized. Such were the instructions which I received from Governor Grey, whose letter, containing them, I now hold in my hand.

In the year 1847, Waitara was offered for sale. Claims were duly investigated. This page 45 was before the return of the people from Kapiti. The Natives residing on the land said, "It will not be right to entertain the claims of those absentees who forsook the land, and took no part in defending it against the Waikatos: let the whole payment be given to us." The Government did not, however, accept this view, and when any payment was made, it was divided, and a portion was sent to Kapiti. The purchase of the Waitara was kept in abeyame until the claims should be clearly ascertained. In 1848 I went to Kapiti, and there was a large gathering at Waikanae at which Wm. King Te Rangitake proposed to return to his place at Waitara. When he was informed that the Waitara was under offer to the Government he said, "Let me return thither, and I will then consider the matter. When I get there, one side of the river shall be yours and the North side shall be mine, whence I can look out for the Waikatos, in case that tribe should meditate an attack upon us." That was his word which is retained in the memories of myself and othere here present who heard what passed between us. William King was allowed quietly to locate himself at Waitara, and nothing was said by us about Waitara: there was no attempt to press the matter hastily. When William King returned with his people, the sanction of the Governor to his doing so had been given, though the act was on his part intended as one of defiance. On his way he heard that the sale of Mangati was under negotiation. He met me on this side of Whanganui, and said to me, "Do not give the payment for Mangati. I am willing that it should be sold, but I have a claim on it; let the payment be kept back until I arrive there. When I am there then it may be given." I replied, "It is well, William." Some months afterwards I called together all the people of Puketapu and other places to receive the payment. William King was also invited to be present, to witness the payment. He came, and when the goods had been apportioned out among the several divisions of tribes, I looked to see what portion was asassigned for William King. None appeared: he got nothing. I, therefore, came to the conclusion that William King had no claim at Mangati.

Te Keene here asked Mr. McLean: How many payments did the one of which you speak make?

Native Secretary: This was the third or fourth payment for some of the Taranaki land. Chiefs of the Conference, perhaps I am wearying you with this long account of a matter in which many of you feel little interest.

From the Council: No, no, Mr. McLean, speak on, speak on, page 46 Native Secretary: I will not detain you very long on this subject. You have heard of the first purchase, and of the many subsequent payments. No payment was given for Waitara at this time; the payments to which I lately referred were given for land then bought for the occupation of the Europeans.

The Taranaki people are now asserting a claim to territory which has become the property of the Government. Waikato has taken up arms to hold that which their own Chiefs gave to the Europeans; spreading it forth for their acceptance in the light of day and under the shining sun of heaven. Had it been territory not previously touched or broken into, the case would have been different, but it was not so. The land has been consumed; it cannot return to its original state any more than the ashes of a dead fire can be rekindled. Let the Chiefs of the Council look at the facts of, case and consider them well. This statement is not a new one; it was made by me at Waikato, and the old Chief who has just died fully admitted its truth. Referring to it he said, "It is correct." Why is it that by some, contrary views are now expressed, instead of pains being taken to ascertain the real merits of the question? Does it indicate an inclination to return to the customs of the days gone by? There are two things which, in my opinion, have been the main causes of the present state of affairs; one is the land-holding league, the other the Maori-King project.

When William King lived at Kapiti he was a well disposed chief, and behaved well on various occasions, as became the son of Reretawhangawhanga. When he returned to the land which formerly belonged to his tribe an alteration took place in him; he displayed both good and evil, and confusion arose. The Taranaki Natives had previously lived at peace with each other. Human life had been safe, but after his coming blood began to be spilt, murders to be committed, and there was a return to old customs. Not a year passed with out our hearing of some evil at Taranaki. Some of you have said if the Governor had requested us to go to Taranaki the present evil would not have grown. You do not know what those people are. I have had long experience of their ways. Te Waka, who is here present, has seen what they are. Potatau knew them also. Te Pakaru, Te Awaitaia, Te Anaua, Hipango, Takerei, and Te Rauanagaanga; we all have seen and known them. Those who have visited that place of quarrels and murders know that that people will not listen to reason.

Some of you, perhaps, think that it was urgency on the part of the Governor to page 47 obtain land, or a desire for war, which caused evils to grow at Taranaki On the contrary, the Governor was constantly urging those people to cease destroying each other, and to put an end to their feuds and fighting which were being carried on before the very doors of the European settlers' houses, and in which, there was reason to expect, the Europeans might eventually become involved. In March 1859 Governor Browne went there and the Atiawa with William King and the men of Puketapu and Nga Motu assembled to meet him. Te Tahana spoke first, and professed sentiments similar to those which have been here expressed by yourselves, and his desire to live quietly under the protection of the Queen and the laws of the Pakeha. The Governor then stated the object of his visit. His words were to the same effect as those which were addressed to you on the opening of this Conference. He then warned the people that murders and other like evils must be made to cease in that place. Some assented, others wished to retain their old customs. Some said there is no security under the Maori law, let us dwell under the laws of the Pakehas. The Governor again cautioued the people respecting murder and theft and other crimes. He also spoke to them about the land as a separate matter. He said that each man should be at liberty to sell or retain his own piece, as he might think proper, and that no one should be allowed to interfere with the rightful owner in either case. The people of this island know that the proceedings of the Governor were not sudden nor hasty; the matter had been long before him. His determination to follow this course was the result of the experience of years past; had it been otherwise it might be spoken of as hastily adopted. A year passed before any action was taken. Possibly the people thought the Governor would not keep his word. They thought rather to set it aside as a word that would not be made good. The only law they cared to maintain was their law of holding the land. A man transgressing this law by offering to sell land was to be punished with death, though the land offered might be his own. At this time some who had heard the Governor's declaration and saw its justice wished to sell a portion of their land to the Government. The offer was accepted in the presence of the assembled people and of William King also. Te Teira on behalf of the Ngatihinga and Ngatituaho stated that he wished to cede a small portion of his land to the Government, leaving the greater part of it untouched. He said to the assembled people "Listen, it is only my own land that I shall give." He then asked the Governor whether he would consent that page 48 his land should be bought. He repeated his question a second and a third time before the Governor replied. The Governor then turning to me said "If it is right and that he is really the owner, assent." The assent having been given Te Teira brought a parawai mat and placed it at the feet of the Governor. It lay there for some time, and was at last taken possession of for the Governor. Others got up to offer their pieces, but their offers were not accepted as the title did not appear clear. These were accordingly rejected. William King then rose and without attempting to impugn Teira's title or right to sell, he merely spoke a few words to the effect that Waitara should be held, and then returned to his place. Before leaving Taranaki I instructed the Land Purchase Commissioner there to investigate carefully the claims to this piece of land and not to proceed hastily in the matter. He has since been constantly engaged in inquiring into the question of title, William King also being present at the meetings and admitting that the land belonged to the sellers, but refusing his consent to its being sold. If he or any other person had shewn that any portion of the land belonged to him such a claim would have been respected. No land would be taken from its owner without his consent.

His attempt to hold the land is connected with the land league and was encouraged by the Maori King movement, otherwise he would not have ventured, as he has repeatedly done, to forbid the sale of land to which he never had any claim, not only at Waitara but at Mokau, at Taranaki, and at other places. Had this been land over which the Native title existed in its original state there might have been some excuse.

After the talk (about the Waitara land) I crossed the straits to Aropaoa, and saw that section of the tribe which is with Ropoama Te Ore. I mentioned that a portion of the Waitara had been offered. I recited the boundaries and asked, Does that land belong to William King? This I said merely to bring out information on the subject. The reply was, "No: if it was on the other side of Waitara, his claim would be just, but this side belongs to us; let us have the payment." I said it will not be right to give it to you now, wait until the matter is clear; let the claims be investigated on the spot, and then the payment may be given. They pressed the matter, and a third time they urged me to give them the payment. I replied, Wait until the question is properly settled. Afterwards they agreed to this. The names of these Aropaoa people who have claims at Waitara are Ropoama Te Ore, Ripeka, Ngawheua, Te Herewini, Ihaka, Te Retimona, Timoti, Anaru, Haimona, Henare Rupuha, page 49 Arapere, Hamiora, Tohi, Pirihira Neta, Rakira, Eruera Te Rangi, Whiroa, Te Rei (at Port Nicholson,) and others. These people consented to the sale. It was I who delayed the matter, wishing that the claims should be investigated upon the land of their forefathers. I went to Heretaunga, and when I returned I was unable to give further attention to the matter.

You know very well that no man's land is taken unjustly from him. The Ngatituahu and Ngatihinga in times past claimed the totaras, and the produce of the Waitara river. Ngatikura and Ngatituiti recognised their right and sometimes exchanged other produce with them for totaras and lampreys. Karewa was chief of the first named tribes. Ropoama who lives at Aropaoa is descended from the same ancestors and represents these tribes. Patukakariki, son of Karewa and brother of Ruatokaaruku, may also have a claim on the land. It has always been left open to him to assert it, but he has not done so hitherto. The Governor has never refused to listen to any just claims if properly brought forward. Do not pretend to say that Te Teira alone received payment for the land at Waitara. He was not even the largest claimant but merely the spokesman of the sellers. This is the Deed of the sale of the Waitara land, which I shall now read to you:—

"Know all men by this Deed, executed on the twenty-fourth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty (1860): We, Chiefs and Men of New Zealand, whose names are hereunto subscribed, in consideration of the sum of six hundred pounds (£600) paid to us by Parris, on behalf of Queen Victoria (and we hereby acknowledge the receipt of the said moneys): We all and each of us by this Deed consent to sell, surrender, and convey to Queen Victoria, and to all the Kings and Queens Her Successors, and to Her Assigns, all that piece of land called Pekapeka.

"The Boundaries of which are-

"Commencing on the beach at Onatiki, running inland in a straight line to Kohia, to the high road to Mamaku, from thence running in a Northerly direction along the eart road to Pukeruru, descending thence to Maungahakaia to the stream called Mangahinau, from thence seaward to Opatito to a Kahikatea (tree) standing there, continuing thence to Arakauere, from thence in a Northerly direction to Pukekohe to the flat on the land side of the Pa; from thence to the steep towards the North, running along said steep seaward to the ditch fence to Matawhitu, running in a Northerly direction to page 50 the river Waitara, following down such stream to its mouth at the beach; from thence running in a Southerly direction along the beach to Onatiki, the starting point.

"Together with all right to the things appertaining thereto, with all our right, title, interest, claim, and demand, which all and each of us have in the said land, and all thereunto belonging, to the Queen and Her Assigns for ever.

"In testimony of our surrender, we hereunto subscribe our names.

(Signed) Tamati x (his mark) Raru
Rawiri x (his mark) Raupongo
Te Teira Manuka
Hemi Watikingi Pataka
Epiha te Hoko
Hori Te Kokako
Rawiri x (his mark) Kauiri
Eruera Raurongo
More x (his mark) Whatu
Hera x (her mark)
Hita Tupoki
Rakira x (her mark) Te Ringa
Makareta x (her mark) Te Motu
Rameri x (her mark)
Wikitoria x (her mark)
Te Watene x (his mark)

"Written in the presence of
Robert Parris, District Commissioner
John L. Newman, Settler
E. W. Stockman."

The inland boundary has not been cut. It was left thus on account of differences, and has remained uncut until the present time. And yet some of you and other chiefs talk about hasty measures as having caused a feeling of dissatisfaction among you. According to Waikato, no force can be justly employed against any tribe except with their concurrence and approval. They do not bear in mind that this question has been a subject of discussion during many years. No rash haste marked the Governor's proceedings when he went to Taranaki. He wrote to William King and invited him to a friendly conference, but the latter refused to come. When the surveyors went peaceably to survey the land he opposed them with force, and compelled them to retire. The soldiers then went to protect the survey. William King waited, hoping that one of his men might be killed, and so furnish a pretext for fighting, page 51 and that it might be said that the Europeans had commenced it. Then a pa was set up on the laud. The Officer commanding the Troops sent a letter to William King in the hope of dissuading him from compelling hostilities, but it was treated with contempt. Thus did he wrongly provoke the war which has been carried on since that time to the present. It was then that the pa was fired upon by the soldiers. After this followed the acts of the Ngatiruanui and Taranaki. I shall not speak of these as you are well acquainted with the particulars.

Enough. You have now heard the causes out of which the war at Taranaki has sprung. I shall proceed to read the Governor's Message to you:—

(Message No. 3.)

"Thomas Gore Browne, Governor,—

"Many of the Chiefs assembled at Kohimarama having expressed a wish to be correctly informed of the events at Taranaki, the Governor has instructed Mr. McLean to relate truly all that has occurred.

"The Chiefs will learn from him that many of the Maories in that district had earnestly desired the Governor to put an end to their bloody and disgraceful feuds which constantly endangered the peace of the district, destroying many of their own lives and endangering those of the Europeans.

"In compliance with their urgent request, the Governor declared his intentions at the meeting at which William King was present in March, 1859; but William King, supported by men opposed to the sale of land, trampled upon his word, and assumed to himself the right of forbidding other chiefs to do what they please with their own.

"William King was present when Teira made the offer and described the boundaries, also when the money was paid to Teira, and did not urge any claim to share in it. But he drove away the surveyors, and when asked to meet the Governor and declare what claim he had upon the land or what right he had to interfere, he refused to come; and when the land was occupied by the Queen's troops he built a pa upon it and obstructed the road. Even then he was allowed to go in peace, the pa being destroyed. Not satisfied with this, he built a second pa which was destroyed, and now he has built others, and remains in arms against Her Majesty.

"The Chiefs will therefore see that it was not the Governor who commenced the war, or desired it, but William King; all this, however, will be related in full and explained by Mr. McLean.

"Government House,
July 19th, 1860."