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

Wednesday, August 1st, 1860

Wednesday, August 1st, 1860.

The Native Secretary addressed the conference thus:—

Chiefs of this Conference, I have been directed by the Governor to explain to you the English Law for regulating the succession of land and other property. There are several strangers present who have just arrived. I had intended to enter to-day upon the explanation of how the pakehas manage the property of deceased persons. But you would probably wish to hear the strangers speak, and I shall therefore defer speaking on this subject till tomorrow. I shall, before I sit down, read to you two letters which we have received—one from Waikato, the other from Hauraki.—[The Native Secretary then proceeded to read letters from Rewe and Paratene Puhata.]

We have received others, but I shall not detain you by reading them.

I propose that you leave the speaking to-day to the Uriohau chiefs and to William Naylor page 51 Te Awaitaia. Let those who have spoken sit quiet and listen to the speeches of the strangers.

Paikea, (Te Uriohau,) of Kaipara, then rose and said:—

Although it may be wrong I will speak; I am but small amongst these. When the law (of God) came I thought "where shall I be safe? I will turn to the Church of God." I was but small then and friendless; the Government also was friendless. Hence I say I was friendless and the Governor was friendless. I have become a man; through that law I have been saved. Enough. I hastened to join that Church. Other tribes threatened to cut me in pieces, but I kept close to the Queen, and stooped to shelter under her wings. I had been made friendless by Waikatos and other tribes. It is now only that I stand as a man. I am but small among the dwellers in the land. Perhaps I had better finish here.

Wiremu Tipene, (Te Uriohau,) Kaipara:—I will explain the speech of the old man (who has just sat down). I will speak about the Maori mana. The Ngapuhis have their mana, the Ngatimaru have their mana, the Ngatiwhatua, and the Ngatiwhakaue, have their mana, as their protection; but the mana to protect me is broken. The day of my salvation was the preaching of the Gospel. I will cleave to the Word of God as a parent for me. When the law of the Queen came as a protector for my body then all were warmly clad. The laws of God and of the Queen guard the gates of death. I beheld and thought this is a sign of salvation for all men threatened with death in this Island. I said, Christianity will guard the soul and the law of the Queen will improve our temporal condition: there will I take refuge. I will have nothing to do with the Maori mana. I will abide in the laws of God and of the Queen for ever and ever. These are the best laws I recognise; you, the Europeans, shall be parents to us the Maori people. I will not acknowledge the Maori mana. The people of the Ngatiwhatua tribe intend to embrace and rest upon the law.

Arama Karaka, (Te Uriohau,) Kaipara:—We will speak that you may hear, for I was about so high (but a child) when I saw the practices which obtained under the Maori law, and pereeived that they were bad. The old men said I must fly to the mountains for safety. I then said, Why should I fly, and what is the law by which I may know. They then taught me thus,—War parties will attack us and destroy men's lives. These are the things which cause men to fly to the mountains. I was also taught that men of inferior rank appropriated the produce of the soil to their own use; they might be plundered, their page 52 houses burnt, and themselves speared. I am speaking about our laws down to the time our mana as a tribe was broken and I became small, while the other tribes maintained their mana. When the Gospel was preached in this Island, I asked my father, What is this? He said, It is a Pakeha. What does he say? He preaches that we should believe on. Christ, who was crucified that all men throughout the whole world might live. Then I said, Perhaps if I had a parent I should live. Then I embraced it (Christianity) and rested upon it. I said, This will put down all evil. I said, its laws are good laws, for they teach that all men should love one another and give up cannibalism. Afterwards Captain Symonds came and he said, There are soldiers coming to this Island. I said, Come my ancestor, welcome my fathers. Afterwards came Governor Hobson. Then they told me of the laws of the Queen, and of the laws of England. Then I consented that you should be a parent for me, and that the Queen's mana should be my mana. I am under the mana of all men You, O Governor, must be my protector. My laws must be given up; they are bad laws, cruel and dark. Your laws shall be my laws; let us be bound up that we may hold close together. This is what I have said down to this day. That which binds the Ngatiwhatua is the law of God and of the Queen. The laws of God are for the enlightenment of my heart, and those of the Queen are clothing for my body. The old men pass away, but I shall continue to speak the same language. You have hard what binds us; I refuse to acknowledge the Maori mana, or Maori government(chieftainship). I have seen its evils. It was the law of the Queen which showed me what is good for men—love and kindness.

Te Hemaia, (Ngatirango,) Mahurangi:—Listen Europeans, and all the tribes. This tribe, the Nga iwhatua, was a lost people; they were in past days like the tribes of Israel. Since the day when the Gospel was brought here have I returned to my chieftainship. It was the Gospel which enabled me to show my nose; and, on the arrival of the first Governor in New Zealand, I was enabled to breathe freely. Therefore I say, this is my parent, the Queen. There are three things I will speak of: first—the Queen: secondly—the Gospel: thirdly—my low estate. I will cleave to the Queen as my life for ever and ever. It is this which causes me to give my land to the Government.

Manuka, (Te Uriohau,) Kaipara:—I will continue to speak thus. The word will not fall behind nor to one side; no, but my words will follow in the same direction as those of page 53 Paikea. I will here speak of the destruction of the Ngapuhi, of the battle in which Hongi Hika was defeated, viz., Moremunui. Hongi bewailed himself there; he went to England to King George, and returned with guns and powder. He left the people who bad beaten him, intending to finish with them, and went and cut off the people living on one side of them. When he thought he had recovered his prestige he returned and beat that tribe. I was beaten and fell back upon Waikato, The remnant of the Ngatiwhatua is represented by Apihai and Paikea, whose heads are now bald. When the laws of England came, I took heart a little and was saved. I was in the position of a servant in those days, and thought of seeking for some tribe to revenge my loss at the Ikaranganui. A European, a man of inferior position, came and lived with Apihai about this time. Afterwards Captain Symonds came; Pomare brought him to Auckland and he lived under the protection of Ihikiera. After that came the great wave; the Queen was that wave. Then I shouted, Welcome, welcome my parents, and here they are now dwelling in Auckland. The Ikaranganui is avenged. We are assembled here to-day to ally ourselves with the Queen. I cousent to this We are a small tribe now living at Kaipara. I honor the Governor. With this ring I am married to the Government and to Mr. McLean. It is not a ring of gold or of silver, it is a paper. I will seal my words to the Govenor's breast and to my own breast. That is all I have to say.

Hone Waiti, (Te Uriohau,) Kaipara:—I will speak from between the two, the Maori side and the European side. With respect to the beginning of the thoughts about this Island. we don't know anything of that. We took no part in the talk about the Treaty of Waitangi. In former times all men were as orphans, (friendless,) and every tribe sought for some means by which they might return and live. When the Gospel was made known to us, we sought it as the means of saving men's lives. We were told that it was a good thing and would save the soul. We accepted it. We submitted to the law of God. It was that which caused us to draw nigh to God. It was a good thing which would put down all evil amongst the people. We thought if the side only in which the spirit is concerned be warn, what is to be done for the body? At that time when some of the tribes had embraced Christianity, and others were still evil, the Government came, and it was said that the law of the Queen would protect the Island, and that by these two laws men would live. If evils grow, men die; but these two laws will protect man and he will live, page 54 Winiata Papahia, (Ngapuhi,) Hokianga:—I will stand in the midst of all that has been said. This is my thought which has brought me here, to this house and confernce. The Governor has thought matters over in his-mind and has called this tribe and that tribe to come here and lay together all they have to say in this house, that what is right and what is wrong may be known, because the Queen and the Govenor are old and constant friends. It is not a thing of to-day; no, it is from long since, not from to-day. A man will not be sustained with one loaf, but there must be two, three, four meals Where is the door through which a right speech may come forth to-day? Where is the door by which peace may come to us at this time? The door is with the Queen, and it is with God also. For we are a people destroyed off the face of the earth by the hand of man. This is my thought which I express to this conference assembled here. Has not our talk begun in the middle? We are talking in the middle. In my judgment,, if it were at the commencement of the evil which is now growing it would have been well. As it is, here we stand, and there stands that evil. It will not be right in my judgment. But enough, I say, Let this talk end upon this law; let peace be made and fighting cease, so that what has been said here may be made good. We say, The Queen has been acknowledged as an abiding parent for us; that was said long ago. The Queen is white, I am black—but our speech is only one.

Karawai, (Te Uriohau,) Kaipara:—When your letter to Mate arrived he was dead. I am come to make straight his word. Now, do you listen. We will not divide our words because the mana of Kaipara is but one. We shall not in what we say follow the wrong example of other tribes. They are a numerous people, therefore they are evil disposed towards you. We are a small tribe, therefore we are well disposed towards you and respect you. We shall cleave to you for ever and for ever. These words will suffice. Mate is dead, and his name has been given to his eldest son, Parata Kairangatira. This is all I have to say to you.

Wiremu Tipene, (Te Uriohau,) Kaipara:—If you, all the chiefs of the Uriohau, agree that we should live under these two laws, of God and of the Queen, hold up your hands.

All the Uriohau:—Yes (holding up their hands).

Ngarongomau, (Te Uriohau,) Kaipara:—I will speak of the Maori side and of the page 55 European side. We are new-comer. I will speak of the Native side, of what is right and of what is wrong; and when I have finished I will speak of the European side. The mana was given to the Queen long ago before any Governor came here. This is where I on the Maori side was wrong. The mana was surrendered to the first Governor, to the second, and to the third; when it comes to the fourth a king for the Maori people starts up. This is where they are wrong. I will speak of the wrongs on the Pakeha side. They did not take the Maori chiefs into their European councils to frame laws for this land. In my opinion this is where the Europeans were wrong. If the chiefs had been taken (into their councils) in days past there would not have been any separation into two sides. However, notwithstanding the breach (in the relations between the races) which has taken place, it will be for these tribes to arrange matters so that there may be but one system for the European and for the Maori. I have no more to say.

Herewini Matetaitua, Waikato:—I will begin to speak of my old customs. I bethought myself that I must be evil at heart, for I perceived the evil that I had wrought in days past. Listen, my evil was that I turned upon my own race, the Maori. I did not take care that the side of the Maori should be kept right, so there was evil on the Maori side. I considered that the Ngapuhi had begun to understand, that is, at the place where the Europeans first settled. As for me I did not yet perceive nor understand; my knowledge amounted only to this, These are Pakehas. My knowledge was yet across the water. It was after this that I really saw them; indeed it is but lately that I have done so. At that time I listened and wondered when they would come here. When they came and landed I observed their appearance and was much pleased with it. I collected my thoughts, comparing them with the thought of the Europeans. I was pleased with the Pakeha; all his goods pleased me; they were all good; nothing was rejected by me. I caught hold at once. Every thing the Pakeha had was sweet to me. Afterwards, when the number of things brought by the Pakeha increased, still I had no thought of rejecting any; but I rejoiced to become possessed of all commodities of the Pakeha. Affection to the Europeans is not a thing that has only [unclear: sptung] up to-day. Love to the Pakeha is a thing that has been bound up in my heart, In like manner, loyalty to the Queen and to the Governor is held in my heart. My thoughts are testing in full confidence upon the Queen and upon the Governor. This is my course.

page 56

Wiremu Nero Te Awaitaia, (Ngatimahanga,) Whaingaroa:—I will not now direct my words to the Governor and to Mr. McLean, but to you Ngatikahungunu, Ngatitoa, Ngatiwhakaue, and all the tribes. Taiaroa, my word is to you; but Taiaroa is a Pakeha. We all know what the old customs were, how destructive of human life; and we also know about Christianity—that was brought to us by the Pakeha; we at once embraced that and were saved; and now though evil may still be wrought, still the Gospel is powerful. The councils that stand upon the foundation of Christianity will not come to naught: they are with Christ. With reference to the proceedings of the Government, it did not come here as any intruder to take New Zealand; it was a thing ordained of old; Noah prophesied of, it; Noah cultivated a vineyard and drank of the wine: he was drunk and lay uncovered; his son saw it and went and told his elder brothers; then Shem and Japheth went and covered their father, so that there was no part of him left uncovered. Then Noah spake concerning Ham, Thou shalt be a servant to thy elder brethren. From thence came the saying, When the offspring of Japheth have been spread abroad, the descendants of Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem. This is fulfilled by the coming here of the Europeans. Ye tribes here assembled, I am from Waikato. Why did you not say thus, There is no one to direct the affairs of this island? Although you all come together, yet there is no one competent to direct us aright. First came the Ministers, then the Governors. We are without knowledge. There is only one director, that is the law of Jehovah. We are under the law of the Spirit. The laws which the Governor and the Pakehas dispense are from Jehovah. All the tribes consented to receive the Pakeha. The lands of the Ngapuhi were given to the Pakeha, so were those of Waikato, of the Ngatitoa, and of the Ngatiwhatua. Their lands were deliberately given to the Europeans; they were not taken by the Pakeha. There will now be a rending asunder of the Pakeha and the Maori. This king of the Waikatos will cause a split. Waikato will become inimical to the Pakeha and so will other tribes. This is why I say, I am from Waikato. Here are my relatives of the past generation, Te Ara and Apihai, dwelling amongst you. Say not that I am a numerous tribe; I am but few in number. When my people left me I was not cast into the sea. I am left with the law which relates to temporal matters and that relating to spiritual matters, and here I dwell. It is well that you should be saying, Let him go on; he will be making fools of us presently. But now, ye tribes, there is no spring on the page 57 earth; but the spring of which I know has its source in heaven, as respects both spiritual and temporal matters. And here are the Governor and Mr. McLean, Say not, there is another spring further on; no. Plans may be devised to suppress the Pakeha, but he will not pass away. It is a living spring. The work of some of the tribes is to foster enmity towards the Pakeha. You have heard what I said, that the councils based on Christianity cannot come to naught. But the councils of men will come to naught, because they are of man, and not of Jehovah. Leave us to our mistake, but let Waikato carefully think over the matter. Leave the chiefs to their work who are following that path. Let us not deceive the Government, that is, I and you, and such numerous tribes as Ngatikahungunu, Ngatitoa, Ngatiwhakaue. We have come from a long way off, from distant lands, and the direction of our proceedings is with the Governor. We are carrying out the law which relates to the Soul, and also that of the Government. There is nothing wrong in what the Governor has done. The piece of land at Taranaki was rightly given up by the chiefs; and it is being taken by the Maories in consequence of the enmity existing between the Maori and the Pakeha. What affair is it of yours? Leave Waikato to think over their own affairs. This only shall be my theme. The Pakeha is the living spring for us. The old men here can say more on this subject. That is all I have to say.

Taiaroa, (Ngaitahu,) Otago:—I am a sick man. I can hardly stand from weakness. Salutation to you Te Awaitaia. I am suffering from sickness. This Pakeha is urging me to speak. I have nothing to suggest and only one thing to say. It is that Queen, that same Queen; that Governor, that same Governor. It is enough. Let that Island be joined to this. I have nothing to say about Taranaki. Let Taranaki keep to themselves, and my brother-in-law, let him keep there with his work. I will speak about my own island. My island is with my Queen. There is no person to say, Turn to one side. Enough. I have cherished the Europeans in days past. I am going. I have not two words to say. There are a great many chiefs of this island of whom it is said, This one has the chief authority, or that one has the chief authority, but on my island I am the head and I am the tail. Had I been in health I would have spoken. However, do not let us worry ourselves with looking after Waikato doings.

Meeting adjourned to 2nd instant.