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

Thursday, August 2, 1860

page 58

Thursday, August 2, 1860.

The Native Secretary commenced the proceedings with the following speech:—

On a former day, I adverted to the question of Mixed Juries, and shall now make some observations on the subject.

Natives have often complained that they are not permitted to take part in trials where persons of their own race are concerned. I refer now particularly to cases of murder. When a pakeha kills a Maori, the punishment of the offender rests in the hands of an English Jury. The Maori naturally says, "Let us have a share in the trial of a case in which our countryman is concerned" This subject was considered long ago. Even in Governor [unclear: Fitz] Roy's time, a law to meet such cases was framed, but the mutual jealousies and hatreds of the tribes presented an insuperable barrier to its being brought. into operation. This was the difficulty: the tribes carried their prejudices to such an extent as to make it seem probable that in any case where the prisoner belonged to the same tribe as the Native jurors, they would, even though his guilty were proved, contend for his acquital: and, on the other hand, should be happen to belong to another tribe, their vindictive feeling might induce them to punish the prisoner, whether right, or wrong.

You perceive, then, that these inter-tribal jealousies have hitherto been the great obstacle to the adoption of some law of the character indicated.

Some of our wise counsellors have recommended that the principle of Mixed Juries should now be admitted; so that, in cases of murder or manslaughter, when persons of the Maori race are, interested, English and Maori jurors may co-operate in deciding whether the prisoner be guilty or not. If found guilty, the Judge decrees the punishment.

You are requested to give this matter your careful consideration. When you return to your respective places, let your thoughts dwell on this subject, and determine amongst yourselves what views to advance.

You have been convened for the purpose of affording you an opportunity of devising measures for your own improvement. You are requested now to state whether, in your opinion, the Maori is sufficiently advanced to permit of his taking a share in the English Jury, or whether it would be advisable to delay the exercise of this privilege till the Native race is better qualified for it. You may choose between these alternatives; page 59 either signify your approval of the suggestion of Mixed Juries, or recommend the postponement for a while of such a measure.

I have nothing more to say on this subject at present. I will only repeat that the matter now rests in your own hands. Any matured suggestions that you may have to make will be communicated by me to the Governor for his consideration.

I shall now call your attention to another subject. The Governor has directed me to explain to you the English mode of succession to property. At present, the Maories have no definite laws to regulate the disposal of the property of deceased persons, and consequently there is much confusion and much trouble. One man claims the property, and then another man claims it. Both parties may have some right to it, and neither of them will waive his claim. Thus difficulties arise.

The Governor suggests that you should consider whether the English law of succession to property might not advantageously be adopted by you.

As I remarked on a former occasion, the old men among you are passing away—Paikea, Te Amohau, and a few others, are all that remain. Those who are versed in Maori laws and usages are disappearing; their children must take their places. The ancient land marks and boundaries will not be known to the children. This will give rise to endless confusion, unless some new system be adopted. Let some new law be recognised, so that, when your relatives die, there will be no difficulty afterwards in disposing of their land and other property.

Do not suppose that a system of this kind would be difficult. It is very simple. While a man is in health, he will consider to whom he would wish his property to go, in the event of his death. He will put his decision on paper, stating clearly to whom this thing shall belong and to whom that thing shall belong. He will then sign it in the presence of two witnesses. The last wishes of the testator will then be known and will be strictly observed. A man's property is at his own disposal, and he may therefore bequeath it to whomsoever he will. If the man be possessed of land, he will ascertain the boundaries and define them clearly in his Will, in order to prevent any subsequent inconvenience. According to Pakeha rule, when a man dies intestate, the property goes to the eldest son; if he dies, then to his eldest son; but if the eldest son has no issue, it goes to the second son of the deceased; or if there be no male issue, page 60 it is divided amongst the daughters; and if there be no issue at all, it goes to the father of deceased. If the father be dead, the property goes to the eldest brother of deceased, or to his issue. If there be no brother, the property will be equally divided amongst the sisters of deceased.

This law has been adopted by the pakeha to prevent litigation about property after a man's death. I have explained this to you that you may know the rules observed by the pakeha. When this law appears in the Maori Messenger, you will be able to look at it deliberately, and form your judgment thereon.

The Governor is anxious that these subjects should be fully explained to you, as it is not desirable that you should be ignorant of pakeha usages and customs.

I have nothing more to say at present.

Tahana Turoa, (Wanganui,) Whanganui: Listen Mr. McLean. I have nothing more to say. I have said all during the two weeks we have been in Session. You (chiefs of the Conference) have finished it, and there is nothing more to be said. I will only repeat the general saying—I enter on the Queen's side. You have all said the same. You erected the house, I entered it, and am warm. If I had been here at the opening (of the Conference,) I should have assisted you. You intelligent tribes have considered the subjects. I see your decision, and I at once give my support. For this reason I say, that had this been the commencement (of the Conference), I should say something; whereas it is the tail end. I have nothing more to say. One word though, about the jury of twelve What I have to say is this, follow this matter up. Let the people of the North follow it up, and I also (of the South) will consider it. Ye intelligent men carry it out. I shall not be in haste to take part in the jury of twelve. I am learning but do not yet understand this system. We have laid down rules to regulate our conduct towards God and towards man. I have been in pursuit of this for the last 20 years; and now, O Governor, I cast myself upon you. This was the word of my father. We were a family of five. He (my father) said that the eldest should be the Chief; but if the second proved himself more competent, he should be the man; the third, and the others might express their opinions, and if even the youngest displayed the greatest amount of page 61 intelligence, he should take the lead (e. i. become Chief). Brethren, this is the test of man's wisdom. If it is leavened by God it will be right.

Kaniwhaniwha, (Ngatihouru,) Waikato: Behold my cap. I do not turn the peak of my cap behind (suiting the action to the words). This is all I have to say.

"From Egypt lately come,
Where death and darkness reign,
We seek a new and better land
Where we our rest shall gain.

"Who shall save me from the body of this death" The pleasures of this world are of little moment, but the Word of God will not perish. It was by the providence of God that we were permitted to meet together in this house. It is the Word of God that makes us dwell in peace, and secures a quiet habitation for the women and children in the world. I shall not turn the peak of my cap towards the back of my head. I have said enough.

Wiremu Te Wheoro, (Ngatinaho,) Waikato: I shall speak about the pakeha race, and about the Maori race—about evil and about good. In the first place the pakehas came to this Island and introduced Christianity. The old men greatly desired the pakehas and what they brought with them. The pakehas are from the Queen. The Queen also sent Christianity here.

Tae Maories did not perplex themselves about it. The Governor came, bringing with him the laws. The Maories who are now dead and gone received them gladly. I will now tell you where I find fault with the pakeha. This is where the pakeha was wrong: he did not fully explain and tell us that this meant so and so, and that meant so and so. When they gave us the laws, they allowed us to have only a part and with held a part. Now listen, and I will tell you where I find fault with the Maori: after selling land to the pakeha he attempts to keep it back. This expression of our loyalty is nothing new. Our regard for that lady, the Queen, has never been broken off. When my fathers, Potatau and Kereihi, were dying, these were their last words:—"Cleave to Christianity; be kind to the pakeha; hold fast to the laws of the Queen after we are gone." This new name (the King) has no meaning; do not give it. any thought. I will reform my own evils Now, this is my final word.—There is no page 62 other law, and there is no other friend for us but the pakeha.

Te Waaka Te Ruki, (Ngatimahanga,) Whaingaroa: Let me reply to the speech of this boy who says that he will reform his own evils. Do not let other people interfere to speak about Waikato; leave Waikato to settle their own affairs; even though they should support Te Rangitake, I will see about that. Yes; I will myself look to the things spoken of by this boy. Should the words of this boy prove false, I will come and let you know about it. Where is there a pool of pakeha blood at Waikato? My speech is ended.

Hetaraka Nero, (Ngatihourua,) Waikato: As far as I can see, the Maories are to blame, in this way: The lands which were ceded to you came under the Queen's authority. You, the Pakeha, thereupon taught the Maories good customs. The Maories advanced in consequence of the learning which they obtained from you; but lately they have become estranged from you. I foresee troublous times for the Maories. If they would only obey the precepts of the Scriptures, then they could not go wrong.

In my opinion the Maori is now doing you, the pakeha, an injustice. One thing, however, the Maories hold to, namely, schools, for these are still attended. This is all I have to say about the Maori side. Now I will point out where you have kept back what is good. If you had convened a meeting like this some time ago, it would have been well, but you withheld it. If our lands had been treated in the manner now proposed, we should have secured an advantage. My thoughts at present are these:—I am the ridge of Waikato. The doctrines of the Scriptures separated me from this work of the Waikato people. Your words which were treasured up in my memory, and my words to you, induced me to cleave to you, to the pakehas. I have finished.

Hetaraka Te Tahiwi (Ngatipou,) Waikato:—I will speak of Maori affairs and of Pakeha affairs. When the Pakehas first came here they found me in ignorance and indulging in the follies of my ancestors. When Christianity came, and I heard the Gospel preached, I believed on God; indeed, all the old people did so. My Maori ancestors were condemned by the Gospel. Proposals were made to me at Waikato. The old chiefs and the Governor were of one accord. It was agreed that the Governor page 63 should suppress evil amongst the Pakehas and that Potatau should suppress our evils at Waikato. The friendship of the Governor and Potatau was then cemented. They made their plans agree. The arrangement was sealed by Christianity: it was made firm with the first Governor, with the second, with the third, and up to the time of the fourth. Potatau then directed that certain laws should be obeyed. The first law related to the Gospel—that places of worship should be erected in Waikato. The second law related to the establishment of schools in Waikato. Other laws made by him were for Christianity, for love, and for peace. These principles were brought here by the Government, that is to say, by the Gospel.

Te Keene, (Ngatiwhatua,) Orakei:—The objection to the mixed jury, as the Governor has said, is the difference of language: this is the barrier. Paul (Tuhaere) has said that some of the chiefs should be allowed to take part in the Pakeha Councils, as there are many who can interpret for them.

Kuruhou, (Ngatiraukawa,) Manawatu:—(Addressing Mr. McLean:)—This is the word of Ngatiapa respecting the boundary line for you and Governor Browne - from the side of Marupapako right on to Manawatu. The word of Ngatiapa is wrong. This was the word of Ngatiapa, namely, that the boundary line should ran from Koputara to Pukehinau and to Moutoa. That land had been paid for with the Governor's money. At the meeting held at Awahou, Ngatiapa insisted that it should be on this side—the Ngatiraukawa, that it should be on the other side of Rangitikei. The persons who fixed the boundary were Tahana, Mr. McLean, Nepia, and myself. Now, Mr. McLean, respecting your words about Te Ahipaipa. This land has been given up to the man to whom it belongs; (the boundaries are) from Rotopiko, and running on the other side of Oroua to Umupuwha; thence running over the mountain to Ahuoturanga. That was my own, and I consented (to sell) to Mr. McLean. Now, respecting the place from which some have threatened to eject me. Should they attempt to drive me off I shall not go. My own hand gave it to you, and I have done nothing wrong.

Tamihana Te Raupahara, (Ngatitoa,) Otaki:—The subject for our speeches (to-day)is that of the jury of twelve. Mr. McLean proposes that six Maories should sit on this ury. It rests now for you to say whether page 64 we shall take part in this institution. It is calculated to elevate us, and it is clear. Therefore, I say, let us consent to it.

I shall now speak about the property of deceased, persons. It rests with me to decide whether my property shall be left to my wife, to my children, or to my relations. I say, let us consent to this law about leaving property to the children. Let the lands be clearly defined while the old men are living, that the boundaries may be pointed out and fixed, so that the children may know them after the fathers are gone, and may have no difficully about their inheritance.

This is a reply to the Waikato speeches. William Te Wheoro, you say that the Pakehas are wrong and the Maories are wrong, but you do not explain your reason for saying so. You say that all the laws (of the King) have been complied with, but still you did not obey Potatau's command, "Do not go to Taranaki." This is the constant practice amongst the Maories; they will not listen to the words of the chiefs. Though you may appoint a chief to settle your difficulties, you will not listen to him. Rather let the Pakehas direct the line of road, that it may be straight, and let the Maories cut away the toetoe and brushwood, that the road may be open. If it is left to the Maories alone, in my opinion, it will go wrong.

Potatau was a friend of the Governor's; but, if a successor be appointed, he may be a murderer of both us and the Pakehas. What you say, Hetaraka, about educating the Maories in the schools—that the boys and girls may learn Pakeha customs—is correct. As an example of this, look at this Maori minister, Pirimona, who is sitting at my side. He wa: instructed by that means. The Pakehas did not wish to monopolize the work of the ministry, but allowed the. Maories to share in it. Perhaps yet one of us will be a bishop. Schools are good. It is right that the children should be instructed in what is good. It was the law of Christianity that put an end to our cannibal practices. It is right that when murder is committed by a Maori or a Pakeha he should be tried by the English law and hung for his crime; and that minor offences should be treated with a summons.

Here is another matter: my Waikato relations are displeased with me for ignoring their "mana," and on this account they have composed this Waiata:—

"Your father has been taken slave," &c.

page 65

That old man was apprehended and confined on board the steamer. His own words were, "I am living as a chief on board the man-of-war. All the satisfaction that I want is, that peace may he enjoyed by all men, that they may live. As for you, continue to adopt the Pakeha customs. It is true I am wrong, and I do not wish other people to suffer for my faults. I therefore say, it is well that I should remain on board the man-of-war, lest I get into mischief again." That old gentleman is dead, and we are now at peace.

You, Te Awaitaia, were our teacher in things pertaining to God when you visited us at Kapiti. You advocated that peace should be established amongst the Maori people. Your words were not ridiculed by Te Raupahara and others. They believed in them. I therefore think that this Conference will be the means of uniting and enlightening us, the Maories, that we may follow in the path of our superior nation, the Pakeha.

When Te Wherowhero came to Kapiti, Te Rauparaha expressed his regard for him; therefore I think that Te Wherowhero's descendants should come to this meeting, appointed by the Governor for the elevation of the Maori. Here is my song in reply to that of my Waikato relatives.—[The speaker then chanted a song.]

Rihari, (Ngatimahuta,) Waikato:—This is my word. What this young man, Wiremu Te Wheoro. has said is correct. Let other tribes tell of their own troubles, and I, also, will tell of my affairs whether good or bad. You, Tamihana, have blamed us. I shall not conceal my. opinion. With reference to the errors of a former time, I say, that when the Gospel came peace was established. The desire of our tribe, although we are of low degree, is that all things be conducted aright. I am dwelling under the shadow of the Queen. Do not let us judge the Governor. In my opinion., Te Rangitake has his thoughts and the Governor has his; let them attend to their own business; let each of them find out whether he is right.

Tamihana Te Rauparaha, (Ngatitoa,) Otaki:—This is my reply to your speech, Rihari. I disapprove of Waikalo's proceedings now under discussion because they will cause a division amongst us and place us far apart from each other: because it has been said that this movement originated at the South—that it came from our place at the other end of the Island. For this reason I now express my disapproval. The son of page 66 Turoa and brother of Rangihopuatu Turoa is here. Therefore, I say, that inasmuch as the people have attended this Conference, I conclude that they do not approve of the proceedings at Waikato.

Tohi Te Ururangi, (Ngatiwhakaue,) Maketu:—I wish to speak on the subject of juries introduced by Mr. McLean.

I agree with Tamihana. I am a servant of the Queen. This Conference in which we are engaged is the Queen's. It is my desire that we should turn our attention to carry out the commands of the Queen. I therefore ask, who are to compose this jury? Perhaps it will be composed of Native Assessors. I am the Assessor at Rotorua and Parakaia at Tarawera.

Parakaia Tararoa, (Tuhourangi,) Tarawera:—Listen you to my words! We are men of the woods living in the interior. All that I am concerned about is, to have a school and to have a jury of twelve. What is your opinion about this jury? I approve of it.

Te Manihera Ruia, (Parawhau,) Whangarei:—I approve of the jury. If I am competent I will take part in the jury, but if I am ignorant or do wrong, then let me be excluded. But in my opinion I ought to have a place on the jury, that I may become actually acquainted with that system. I approve of the jury of twelve—to be composed of six Maories and six Pakehas.

Paora Tuhaere, (Ngatiwhafua,) Orakei:—I shall speak on the same subject as did Tamihana. The first is about the jury of twelve, and the second about a rununga to arrange land difficulties. These two subjects have my consideration. If I disapprove I shall be considered a systematic opponent in this rununga. We have not yet come to a decision on a single subject, that the Governor may know what the result is. I disapprove of this. I say, let us come to some decision, and communicate it to the Governor. (Instead of this) when one has spoken another rises and introduces some other subject, and thus prevents the words of the former speaker being followed up. The subject introduced yesterday, namely the jury, is a good one. That plan is good. I desire that the Maories should become incorporated with the Pakehas. Let this jury of twelve be selected from amongst all the tribes of New Zealand. Wherever there is an influential tribe, a man will be found there for the jury. There is much jealousy amongst the Natives, and therefore my proposal to confine the selection to the influential tribes of New Zealand. Mine is a small tribe, enclosed by your thighs. Mr. McLean, you must seek men for the jury amongst the tribes who live at a distance from the town. For I know that people will ask, From what tribe is the jury of twelve? In my page 67 opinion they should be selected from the influential tribes.

Now, here is another matter. While the Conference is in session, let us select just men as Assessors for the various districts.

Wiremu Nero Te Awaitaia, (Ngatimahanga,) Whaingaroa:—This is not an unimportant subject. In my opinion, if either a Maori or a Pakeha be killed in any part of the island, and difficulty arises, word should be sent to all the runungas. This is not an unimportant law: it is very important. Now let us give our consent to it. What Paora Tuhaere has said in reference to it is correct. Mr. McLean understands the subject. Do not let us hesitate about receiving this law, but let us adopt it as a law for each and every tribe. I have no fear about that law. I consent to it. Let us consent to it; yes, consent to it all of you.

Honatana, (Ngapuhi,) Bay of Islands:—I wish to speak about the six Maories and the six Pakehas (composing the jury). I propose that three (of the Maories) should be taken from the Bay of Islands and three from the South. If you disapprove of that, then take only two from the Bay of Islands and four from the South. If you will not consent to that, there is an end of the matter. You must remember that we (Ngapuhi) were the first tribe to give up a man as payment for his crime. Maketu offended: we consented to give him up to be executed. One of our heads (principal men) is Te Waka Nene. This is the end of my speech.

Meeting adjourned to the 3rd instant.