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

Proceedings of the Kohimarama Conference — Monday, August 6th, 1860

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Proceedings of the Kohimarama Conference
Monday, August 6th, 1860.

The Native Secretary:—Chiefs of the Conference! During the past week you discussed questions affecting. your land. You received a Message from the Governor suggesting the definition of tribal boundaries to land and the individualization of title. He has requested you to bring the subject under the notice of your respective tribes when you return home, that you may devise some plan for the accomplishment of this object.

You have received another message suggesting mixed juries (of English and Maori) in cases of murder, in order that you may take part in trials where persons of your own race are concerned.

You have also had submitted to you a code of elementary rules prepared by your friend, Dr. Martin, the first Chief Justice of New Zealand. His object in putting forth these Rules was to supply some simple means for the administration of justice in Native districts remote from English Towns, and thus to supersede Maori usages.

You have also received a full explanation of the circumstances which led to the Taranaki war.

The Governor has bad explained to you the English Law of succession to property, with the hope that you may be induced to adopt it, or something on the same principle, and thus to remove many of your present difficulties. You have, moreover, heard the particulars of the Maori King movement, and your opinions thereon have been solicited. And you have expressed a wish that a Conference like the present should be held periodically.

I invite your attention this week to another subject. I wish you to take under your notice the expediency of considering some regulations for the better management of your settlements. How would it answer if a Chief was appointed in each district to communicate with the Governor and to maintain order among his people?

I do not now refer to settlements in the neighbourhood of English Towns but to those in remote places where access to the English Courts is not easily available. You might also consider whether English Magistrates would not be an assistance, in connection with the Runanga, in settling disputes.

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If Mohi, of Pukaki, were present to-day, I should reply to his speech. I shall wait till I have an opportunity of doing so in the hearing of many of the Waikatos. [A voice—"Mohi is not here."] I hear that Waikato and Hauraki are proposing that a distinct Conference should be held for them; but my opinion is that they should have attended this Conference where they might express their opinions in the hearing of Chiefs from all parts of the Island, for even Taiaroa, from the extreme South, is here.

The Hauraki people have probably absented themselves on account of illness. If this is not the case, they were wrong in leaving it for the pakehas alone to welcome the strangers.

Metekingi, (Ngapoutama), Whanganui:—Mr. McLean, you have introduced two subjects; first, the (mixed) jury of twelve, in cases of murder; secondly, about the succession of the property of deceased persons to their children, or, where there are no children, to the relations. We have considered this subject (the succession of property) before. This is a new subject introduced by you, the jury. The third of your subjects was Taranaki. I don't understand that subject. That matter rests with you and the Governor. The fourth subject was the King. I leave that matter also to you. The Waikato (Chiefs) say that their thoughts are for peace. I am following out your words (Mr. McLean). This person and that person has revealed his troubles. This is the last week of the Conference; therefore I shall reply to your speeches, Mr. McLean.

This is what I have to say about the jury. This institution has been offered to the Maories. Here also is a word. Governor Grey appointed Assessors. Those Assessors have performed the duties (of their office). This is the second year of my Assessorship. I have not yet received any consideration for my services. The custom amongst Europeans is to receive payment for services performed, but I receive no payment. I propose that you set this right. Now I would ask, what are your intentions respecting this jury of twelve? Also, tell us your intentions about the Assessors.

Tahana Turoa,(Patutokotoko,) Whanganui:—I am waiting to hear the Governor's reply to the words of the Runanga. It has been suggested that each man should return to his own home and to his own house and page 6 consider the proposals about the land. The Governor has also directed that some good rules should be explained to us for our adoption. I desire to see good things spread throughout this island. Your second suggestion about a Superintendent in each of the remote districts is good. Let this Conference appoint them; that the kaingas may have a head. I am not speaking of those districts in the neighbourhood of Pakeha towns. Your third subject has reference to the King. In my opinion all the Chiefs of this Island are in this Assembly. You have charged me with setting up this King. I reply it was done by all the world. I mean by New Zealand. Let the Maori Chiefs see that they do what is right. It will be right to observe the Laws of the Queen. This Conference is clearing away the rubbish from the courtyard. The people without, when they see it, will approve. My desire is to do that which is right that the goodness of my heart may increase. Do not let our opinions be divided; but let us persevere.

Eruera Patuone, (Ngapuhi,) Awataha:—I have only now taken my seat in the Conference.

Listen you Chiefs of the Runanga I am grieved to hear of the Conference of Ngatimaru and Waikato, proposed to be held here. I think they ought to have attended while we are here. For this reason I am grieved at the words of Ngatimaru, of Ngatipaoa, of Ngatitamatera, and of Waikato. If the supporters of the King had thought fit to come to this Conference in which we are assembled, it would have been very good.

I am the foundation of this Conference. I agreed to Governor Hobson's residing on this land. If he had not taken up his abode on this shore, then this island would have been in trouble. Another nation would have come and taken possession of it. When I consented to allow the Pakehas to settle on this land, one portion of Ngapuhi headed by Manu left (the meeting). For this reason then, Chiefs, I stick to the Pakehas. I have suffered many losses in avenging the Pakehas, Now, listen, about Ngapuhi: some are in favor of the pakeha and some against them. When a pakeha named Mills(?) was killed, I avenged his death by killing Kirimahore. When Wharangi(?) was killed, I took the matter up and slew Matetakahia. When Messrs. Hobbs and White were plundered (at Whangaroa), I rose up and then we had the Kaeo quarrel. When the Herald was wrecked. and her stores plundered, I took notice of it and sought atonement for it by destroying page 7 the crops of Waireia. When Paraki (?) was wrecked. Waihou was the payment. Mr. Clendon was plundered and Kahi was killed as payment for this act. A Native committed murder by drowning (a pakeha) and he was put to death for it. My grandchild (Maketu) took upon himself to commit a crime. Who was the payment for his sin? He was himself He lies yonder. When Kororareka fell I united myself to the Queen's cause. Hence the report that you heard that I was fighting against my own son. Gunpowder belonging to the Governor was robbed by the Hauraki natives. I looked to the Chiefs of this place (to avenge it). You see, therefore, that I constantly cleave to the Pakeha.

With respect to the proposed meeting of the Waikato and Hauraki Natives, I say, let them come, but who will there be here to listen to what they have to say? The tribes who should listen will all have returned home. I remember the words of Porokoru when he said, "Although I occupy but one river, Waikato—my hand shall slay both the red skin and the white skin." I suppose this threat refers to me, inasmuch as no other tribe has identified itself so closely with the pakeha as mine. I have nothing more to say.

Wiremu Nero Te Awaitaia, (Ngatimahanga,) Whaingaroa:—Do not let your feet trample on my words. I, who am now speaking, do not fully comprehend the laws of the pakeha. I consent to the words of Eruera Patuone; they are very correct. I am well pleased, friend, with your words. It is true that you laid the foundation. Your last words, too, were true. All the tribes agree with yours.

The Governor's words about the land are good. It is right that each person should return to his home and carefully consider this subject: there may be some at the kaingas who will object to the plan now proposed. I do not refer (in particular) to your remarks, Tohi. I speak of places in general. We may make arrangements here but there may be others at home who would disapprove of them, and they may say without reason that the pakehas are to blame for it. The proposal about a jury is good. God appointed Judges over Israel. This is Jehovah's plan even to the present time. The plan is not the Governor's—it is God's. But it is a superintendent (we Want); and it will be for him to appoint Magistrates for New Zealand to suppress the evils of this tribe and that tribe. It would not be right for the Assessors of one page 8 tribe to interfere in the affairs of another tribe; but let Assessors be selected from the Chiefs of every tribe.

I shall now speak of my bundle of sticks. It was the lesson taught by a father to his seven sons. Those seven sons were growing into manhood, and their father was declining to the grave. He thought within himself "My children are thoughtless, and will not be wise after my death." He said to his sons. "I am near death: come into my presence." The sons then stood forth. The father took seven sticks and tied them up in a bundle and giving them to the eldest he said, "Break them." He could not break them. He gave them to the second, and, said to him, "Break them." They were not broken. He said the same to the third, and so on to the seventh. They were not broken because they were tied together in a bundle and were therefore firm. He now separated the sticks and gave one to each of the lads. They were no longer strong, and all the seven sticks were broken. The father then said "Tie them in a bundle and they won't break." I will liken this to the Maori and to the Pakeha. If they are separated they will easily be broken up. They will not endure but will be torn to pieces.

Now I shall speak of the King. I will not uphold that system. If that system be established, this Island will go wrong—the thoughts (of the people) will be divided. If this Conference be strong, these troubles will cease to exist; because, if all the Chiefs will co-operate in this matter our prosperity will grow. I say, people of Ngatitoa, of Whanganui, and of Ngatiwhakaue, you must tie us into a bundle that we may rest on the law, both soul and body. I shall not speak thus, "Your fault O Governor—your fault O Pakeha;" surely words should come from a number of Chiefs. Potatau died still holding to our arrangement to retain the pakeha. Let the Governor tie us in a bundle. He understands what measures to devise for us. Let us leave it to Waka Nene also to tie us in a bundle, for he is resting on the (Governor's) system. Let the Government also tie us in a bundle. What if this world does become evil? Let us cleave to that which is good. The root of my (fable of the) sticks is in the words:—"Thou, O Judah, are praised by thy brethren. Judah is a lion's whelp. The sceptre shall not depart from. Judah nor a lawgiver from between his feet, (till Shiloh come)." if we stand upon this page 9 Scripture then we shall stand. This word is like unto a stone cast into our midst.

Tamihana Te Rauparaha, (Ngatitoa), Otaki:—Let me utter my thoughts that the Conference of Chiefs may hear them. Let me speak on the subject of the Jury of twelve Let that question be decided. I propose that we should all consent to this measure, that it may be clear, lest some other course be taken. Let this proposal be now adopted: therefore consent to it all of you. But we must leave it for the Governor to select the six (Maori) jurors to sit with the pakehas. These are not mere proposals of the lip: they proceed from the heart. Let the Conference adopt a resolution in writing on the subject of the (mixed) Jury. Do not ridicule these laws, for they will be the means of securing our prosperity. Mr. McLean has made these proposals with a view to the benefit of this Island, New Zealand. Another subject is the succession of the property of a deceased man. It rests with the parent to say whether his property shall be divided amongst his children or whether it shall be left to his wife after his death. It should be left for persons appointed by the Governor, to carry out his wishes, and to secure it to them in writing. This would prevent the interference of persons not concerned, because the matter would be carried out in accordance with the law of England, that is to say, of this respectable people, the Pakehas. I have a proposal to make about the land also. Most of our Maori difficulties are connected with the land. Let it be arranged that the land be subdivided, in order that each man may have his own portion, and that our troubles may cease. The only way in which this can be secured and firmly established is to put it in writing, so that the Pakehas of England may read it, and the Pakehas all over the world; also that we may leave it as a memorial to our descendants.

I have another proposal to make; let I "makutu" (witchcraft) be put an end to and let us believe in the great God of Heaven. Let "makutu" be now buried for ever and let us be no longer slaves to the "Atua-Maori" (heathen gods).

I quite agree with the suggestion that a Pakeha should be appointed as a head for us, in the remote districts. It is very evident to me that the decisions of the Native Assessors (if left to themselves) will not be right.

Why do you give this King question any further consideration? It is quite right that we should condemn that King movement page 10 carried on by Waikato to the Southward of Auckland.

It is as Mr. McLean said: here is Taiaroa from the Middle Island, but how is it that the men of Waikato and Hauraki, of the neighbouring districts, have not attended? Well then, when we have closed our proceedings, and have obtained those things we desire, and for which we assembled here, we shall return to our places. As for the people of Hauraki and Waikato, they, must do their own work. What Eruera (Patuone) and his brother (Tamati Waka). have said is good. Their thoughts are very clear, but this is because they have become Pakehas. What do we want of this King? It is child's play—it is "humbug." What Te Awaitaia has said is correct, namely, that sticks tied into a bundle are not easily broken. If we take another course we shall get astray. If you disapprove of what I have said, say so.

My thought respecting Taranaki is this. I am grieved that the disturbance there still continues. By what means may tranquillity be restored? Do you try and discover some means. You know that place, but I have never seen it.

We shall perhaps see each other again during coming years, but now that we are returning to our homes let us go determined to follow up Pakeha customs—to build houses like that of the Pakeha, to feed sheep and cattle, to build towns like those of the Pakeha, &c, &c.

I have now a word to say about the Mai's, or rather about a Post Office at Otaki. I recommend that Maories should be employed to do the work. Another suggestion I have to make is that a Maori Militia be enrolled as a safeguard, and as a means of averting evil. It is my desire that Maories should be admitted to this service in order that there may be truth in the statement that the Pakehas and the Maories are united. You must give this matter your consideration before approving. Now for my third suggestion. It refers to the military stockade for the Hutt (Wellington). I recommend that it should not be erected lest it be the means of unsettling some evil minded men, and because there will be no fighting there. But let the Maories be enrolled in the Militia for that place.

Paraone, (Te Uriohau,) Kaipara:—I shall direct my speech at once to your words recommending that we should return to our respective places and there consider the subject of the land. Do not suppose that page 11 this will answer or that mere talk will settle it. It will be wrong, for you have seen it. Rather let it be discussed according to law, and with the law as our guide. I have sided with the Queen and with the Government. This is a true word of the Ngatiwhatua, and an ancient one, "Say that a man's life shall be spared and it shall be." In this matter also, do you listen. I shall not take part in anything evil during the coming days. Look you at the proceedings of Te Tirarau and Paikea. In like manner I shall turn towards my father the Governor. What Eruera has said is correct. I also will tell of the settling of Pakehas by Te Kawau and Te Tinana at Karangahape. When Governor Hobson landed at the Bay of Islands and Captain Symonds went to Kaipara, the people said, "O! the land will be taken." Te Tinana replied, "No; let them come to be my friends." Before the Pakehas arrived here my priest, Titahi, dreamt of them. This was the hari he composed. Let me recite it to you. [The speaker here repeated the hari.]

Manuka, (Ngatiwhatua,) Kaipara:—Friend, Mr. McLean, I greet you. You reply, "Very good." There is no other course, the speeches are of the same tune—love, and the establishment of the Queen's laws.

Now, listen! The Queen shall be my firm friend for ever and ever! "Mercy and truth have met together."

Te Makarini Te Uhiniko, (Ngatiawa,) Te-Awa-a-te-Atua:—I rise to speak because I am pleased with the words of Te Awaitaia and Tamihana which they have spoken day after day. An important subject [unclear: te] (is before the Conference), and they have taken it up. Therefore I say, let them persevere in the course they have taken. Who can answer for the rest of us in this runanga? because we still cleave to the old customs of Uenuku the man-eater. For this reason I agree with. Te Awaitaia in his parable of the sticks. Mr. McLean, I desire to have the subject of the jury of twelve fully made clear.

The Native Secretary:—The subject of the jury is not now under discussion: we are now upon the subject of the administration of justice in Native districts remote from English settlements.

Te Makarini Te Uhiniko continued:—Then. Mr. McLean, we will let that subject stand over till we get to our homes.

Now respecting the half-castes: they are neither Pakeha nor Maori—they are intermediate. They are like a bird alighting on page 12 a sand-bank: the tide flows over it and they are obliged to take wing. Let us, the Conference, put this matter right, because they are half Maories. Let us manifest our regard for the relation they bear to us. Let us mark out for them a portion from the lands of their maternal ancestors, lest the land be taken by others and the children (of the half-castes) become wanderers.

Wiremu Patene, (Ngaiterangi,) Tauranga:—Listen, Chiefs of the Conference! I have two words to say in reply to Mr. McLean's proposal that a head should be appointed (in our remote districts). In the year 1856 we sent letters asking for a magistrate to be stationed at our Kainga, at Tauranga. Again in the year 1857 we wrote, but the Governor did not comply. We were fighting and still sending letters, applying for a Pakeha Officer to be our head, during 1858 and until 1859, when Mr. Turion, came by direction of the Governor. He put an end to our disturbances at Tauranga. Now, in the year 1860, Mr. Clarke has been appointed. My desire is now satisfied, for I now have a person to enlighten me.

What I now say is, that he shall be the head for Tauranga, for Maketu, for Whakatane, for Opotiki, and away inland to Tarawera, to Rotorua, and even to Maungatautari—notwithstanding there being a King there, for it is one of those districts remote from English towns. My word that he shall be our head is firmly established. He has already nominated those who shall serve under him and assist him. I have consented that Mr. Clarke shall be my head.

The Native Secretary:—Chiefs of Te Arawa, of Ngaiterangi, and of Tuhourangi, do you concur in the sentiments of Wiremu Patene respecting Mr. Clarke?

A general assent from the Bay of Plenty Chiefs.

The Native Secretary:—That is settled; now then let us give our attention to the speech of Maihi Paraone.

Maihi Paraone Kawiti, (Ngapuhi,) Bay of Islands:—This is my word in reply to what Mr. McLean has said about forsaking the practice of "Makutu." It is not desirable that we should continue it. This Conference has already disapproved of it. I now make confession of my sin, and consent to give up altogether that evil custom. I approve of the proposal that Pakeha magistrates (or heads) should be stationed among the native tribes. My opinion is that there should be two or three Maori assistants, and not merely one. These page 13 assistants should carry out his decisions. Let there be one Magistrate at the Bay of Islands, and another at Whangarei. Let us have this law to secure our temporal interests; and let us have the Law of Christianity for the salvation of 'the soul, that we may be made good in the sight of God. Lastly, I approve of the plan proposed for arranging the land, that it may be free from difficulty for ever and ever. Let the Conference say, Amen !

The Native Secretary:—I fully concur in the words of Maihi Paraone where he deprecates that evil custom, the Makutu. Let every Chief of the Conference exert himself to put down the old Maori customs. Makutu is one of them. Now, let not such a case as this one we have been discussing ever occur again. Let all heathen practices be abandoned for ever, and let the worship of the true Go I engage the attention of the Maori people.

Ihakara, (Ngatiraukawa,) Manawatu:—Friends, I am still in ignorance as to the object of this Conference, but perhaps you understand it. Let me ask you, Is it for the confession of sins? I am sitting idle. I have only just become acquainted with the name of this Conference. If this is to be a means of suppressing evils, then I understand the object of our Conference—the confession of evil, and the suppression of it. Let me again speak, and ask you a question; because I am in doubt. Have we assembled here for the purpose of exposing and overcoming this great personage, Sin? [Assent.] The Chiefs who control a man are his own thoughts. Now I perceive that the evil thoughts will be overcome and vanquished. I shall now follow in the speech of Te Awaitaia. The people (of Judaea) assembled at (the river) Jordan to confess their sins. This also is a Jordan; for here we confess our sins. John (the Baptist) asked that multitude, "Wherefore have you come here?" They replied, "For the confession of sins." Wiremu Nero spoke of his bundle of sticks. Yes, he was right. The greatest authority now is the runanga. Now, as to Maori customs, Mr. McLean: the Scriptures require that we shoul 1 overcome evils, such as fornication and murder. "I say, let highmindedness also be overcome, for it is right that the heart be humbled. If I should return with my thoughts puffed up, and others should do the same, then it will seem as if I had not known the object of our meeting at Auckland.

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Tukihaumene, (Ngatiwhakaue,) Rotorua:—Your words are correct. Now, listen you to my true oath, and let yours be true also. I have no other words to utter but the Queen and the Governor only (for me). I have nothing else to say. Although a man may say he is a Chief and that his words are right, (I say,) no, he is a dog. The Queen shall be our head for ever and ever! This is my word.

Taiaroa, (Ngaitahu,) Otago: -There is nothing to speak about. I had only one object in coming here. I have only one subject to speak of, namely, the Queen. Ngapuhi, your riches are your own. Hongi went to England to fetch them. He came back bringing guns and a coat of mail. I did not come to support the King: I came to support the Queen. I have no other subject to speak on. Let the (Maori, King do his own work; but let all of us here assembled be Kings!

Meeting adjourned to 7th instant.