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

Wednesday, August 8, 1860

Wednesday, August 8, 1860.

The Native Secretary rose and said:—Let those chiefs who have expressed their opinions give place now to those who have not yet spoken; lest any one should go home and say that he had not an opportunity allowed him of addressing the Conference.

Some of the chiefs have expressed a wish to speak on the subject of the Taranaki war, that we may hear their views. Let those who are interested in the subject take it up. We have just received news from Taranaki. The newspapers state that war is still raging. A few unarmed men have been shot by the Natives. They have advanced nearer to the town and are plundering the settlers' horses and cattle.

I may here inform you that in English councils it is the custom for members to give notice in writing of the subject on which they intend to speak on a future day. Members are thus prepared to discuss subjects in the order in which they have been notified; and all disorder or confusion is thus obviated. I simply mention this that you may think it over.

Hohepa Tamaihengia, (Ngatitoa,) Porirua:—Listen ye of the runanga! My words shall have reference to my land; afterwards I shall speak about Taranaki. Friends, listen to the system adopted by those Pakehas who have no land. Their pigs, horses, turkeys, and geese are being multiplied on our lands—those which were set apart by you and Governor Grey for our benefit. There is a Pakeha named McCaul (?)—a shoemaker—residing on our land, and his cattle and pigs are trespassing, for they are running on our land. I say, in the hearing of this Runanga, that this man should return to the Pakeha side. DeCastro is another. His goods (stock) are maintained on our land. The Bishop is another: that land was reserved for a school for our children. We consented to page 22 give up this land for (the purposes of) a school for our children, on account of his (the Bishop's) good words to us. The name of the land is Whitireia. The only pupils in that school now are cattle and sheep: those are the children, (the animals) in the "hail-up." The difficulties about those lands which are blocked up is that there is not now room for those for whom the land was originally set a part. The Bishop and Mr. De Castro have got all the land. Enough on that subject.

I shall now speak about Waitara. I shall not attempt to oppose the Governor's plan. Let the Governor's plan be allowed to stand. What we are now looking at is the Maori side. Leave the Governor's plan to himself. But if the Maori side be arranged, then let the men go and carry the words of this Conference to Te Rangitake. I shall urge this a second time, and a third time, and even to a sixth and seventh time. If I am not listened to after the seventh appeal, then I shall say, I will endeavour no longer with you. The old men, Manuwhiri and Takaratai, who may make the path and enquire into this evil, are still living. I say nothing about the disputed piece of land at Waitara—that belongs to the Governor; that piece of land will not occasion much concern. Consider this: the rain descends and it is afterwards fine; the gale bloweth and it is followed by a calm. So it is with man. But perhaps you (the Pakehas) are strong to keep up your anger; for you are a people accustomed to that work. I shall continue to urge that the Waitara affair be settled.

Wiremu Tamihana Te Neke, (Ngatiawa,) Waikanae: Listen ye of this Conference! The laws of England are good, and the love of the Queen is good, but there are some men who abuse them. This is what I know! People came from England bringing good and true things; we examined them, and then we took hold of them and adopted them for our own use. We upheld the portion which you handed to us, and you still retained the other portion. We seized hold of the lower part; we did not secure the upper. This is not the first occasion on which we have been taught in what is right. We, through our ignorance, have been slow to learn what we have been taught. Pakehas have urged me to follow their plans: (that I did not do so) was my own fault and the result of my own ignorance. For this reason I say the laws of the Queen are clear, and so is her love. My own ignorance has been the source of my troubles. Enough about that.

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These are the benefits which you are coferring on us: the Maories are being ordained ministers. My willingness (to be a minister) is in my heart. But my fear is that should I consent, it might not be long after before I had turned back (to my former ways). That subject is ended.

I shall not be strong (to speak) now about the fighting which is going on yonder. If the evil rested with me (i. e. with my tribe) alone, then I might speak. I, that is Ngatiawa, commenced it, then Ngatiruanui and Taranaki joined in it, and now Waikato also is implicated. If the evil rested with me alone, then I might endeavoured to do something: had Ngatiawa alone been concerned, then I should have spoken with power. I have no influence in this matter. The evil will spread, and perhaps other tribes will become concerned in it. My evil will cause the death of men; perhaps even the men (soldiers) of Port Jackson will die from this evil. It is a Waste that men's lives should be lost in this war. The right kind of death is that arising from natural causes. This death (in war) is bad for both Maories and Pakehas. I feel regard for those tribes who are living in ignorance. I feel regard for the Pakehas also. Why should they die because of my evil? Therefore I say, let us do our work well; let us be careful in laying down plans for our guidance. Let us have a good canoe in which to sail, that we may enjoy these good things.

When we see anything good we desire it at once. In former times a gun was considered a great treasure; but when guns became plentiful the people became careless about them. In like manner will it be with the King (movement); before long it will be abandoned.

Hori Winiata, (Ngapuhi,) Kaipara: Here we are standing under the laws of the Queen. My sin is not of to-day—you know all about it. I asked myself. How shall I secure an entrance into the laws of the Queen? When I had considered, I parted with my land (to the Government) so that I might enter. For I am acquainted with the system of the (military) officers. The captains and the colonels pay for their admission to the work of soldiers.

The Treaty of Waitangi is good. The good things of this Island sprang from them. Had it not been for that Treaty, (our island) would have been taken by another nation. Ngapuhi said, Our land will be taken by the French; give us a Governor to protect this Island. When he was stationed here, then the color [flag-staff] was erected at Maiki [in the Bay of Islands]. Some low-bred Pakehas deceived us, and the flag-staff was cut down. But now the sin of Ngapuhi is at an end. I have nothing more to say.

Hohaia Pokaitara, (Ngatitoa,) Porirua: Our good-will leads us to say, Take us to Taranaki. I belong to the smallest tribe; it was the sword that thinned us. That was the reason of our page 26 for Hohepa and me to do it. With new men the plans are new.

Ye of the Conference, listen! This is a proposal for separating (the combatants): it is a proof of our goodwill, because it is a plan for preserving men's lives. Now, then, men of the Conference, let this proposal be carried to William King.

Ihakara, (Ngatiraukawa,) Manawatn:—I approve of the suggestion about Waitara. It is not a request to the Governor to put an end to the war, no; but my desire is that we may be permitted to go to William King and to take our words to him; because my heart weeps much on account of the waste of men's lives in this foolish work. This is our reason for asking permission to go to William King, that we may say to him, "Are you not tired of this fighting?" And if Wi should reply that he is not tired of it, that we may say to him, "The people of this Island have engaged in many works (wars) and they have always got tired." For, my friends, great is our regard for those who have been wasted in death. Do not suppose, Mr. McLean, that it is defiance to you and the Governor. Let your opinions (in reference to the war) remain unchanged. As for this, we will go to William King. If he should listen to our word, it is well. But you (and the Governor) must find out the course your side will pursue. We ask only one thing of you: permit us to go. All that is required of you is "Yes."

Nopera Te Ngiha, (Ngatitoa,) Porirua:—I wish to speak about my first sin, which caused me to be considered the enemy of the Pakeha. Te Rangihaeata opposed (the Government) on account of some land-sale, and men fell at the Hutt. It was then that I did wrong. But after my sin I repented, and continue to do so even to this day. The Governor called this Conference together, and I accordingly came and stood up in the Governor's room. This room is a place in which we are to seek for (the means of promoting) our prosperity. When this Conference is over let us go to Te Rangitake. It was to this intent that Wiremu Tamihana said he had regard for both Pakehas and Maories, and that this runanga should go to Taranaki. It was this regard which induced Christ to come down from Heaven into this world to die for man. In like manner, let us carry good words to Wiremu Kingi, and then if he should be disagreeable and should fling dust into our face, what of it? Now then Ngatiraukawa, page 27 and Ngatitoa, and all ye of the Conference, what say you? [Some assent.]

Manihera Matangi, (Ngatiawa.) Wellington:

Matene and Tamihana, you have both said that we should go to Taranaki. Now I say yes. I consent to what the two or you have said. But I am thinking that we shall not get near enough to speak with him [William King] in a house, and mouth to mouth. My opinion is that we should first take their words to the old men of Wellington, of Arapaoa, and of Waikanae, so that Te Puni may hear them; and when he has given his consent, then let us come Northwards again to Taranaki. If this plan had emanated from the Governor, then it might be right. As for the plan which we are discussing, we may go to to the town (at Taranaki) and remain there (without a chance of putting it into effect) What I have been thinking of is that we should have an interview with William King in a house, so that we may properly communicate our words to him. As it is, however, you may go to the town and send your letter to him. We shall not, perhaps, see William King. We shall not readily consent to what you propose Hohepa. When the old men (alluded to above) have approved of it, then I will consent. This is all I have to say.

Mete Kingi, (Ngapoutama,) Whanganui: Mr. McLean, listen! The subject of Waitara again. The proposal of Ngatiraukawa is good, namely, that they should go and talk with William King. Listen to my word. Send me back to my home that I may convey your treasures [proposals] to my house. When I get there I will turn and look back. Listea! Ngarauru is looking towards Ngatiruanui, though they will not actually join in the fight. I am considering also about Whenua-kura and Patea. Mr. McLean, it will be for you and the Governor to direct me to go and see these tribes. These tribes remained quiet and did not join in the fight when Ngatiruanui and Taranaki committed the murders.

In my opinion it rests with you and the Governor (to direct me), lest the Pakehas should say that I had gone there to tell lies, for the Pakehas behave very ill to the people who visit Whenua-kura. Formerly, the tribes of Whanganui and Ngatiruanui were one; now they are distinct and separate.

Horopapera Pukeko, (Ngatitoa,) Porirua: As in the proverb, "The chattering birds have no chiefs or anything of the sort; they are page 28 equal because there is no chief"—so is it with Ngatiawa; they have no chiefs. For this reason I say, let me go to Taranaki that I may disclose my words. If he (William King) should consent, it is well: if he should turn away, the matter rests with himself.

Friends, we have now come near to the Governor, and are stationed beside him. These are the Governor's words to us, "Do you cleave to me and I will cleave to you." The Governor has opened the highway to us; let us, therefore, keep in that path. Do not let us turn aside or we may be lost amongst the old paths. It is like unto a man looking at himself in a mirror. He looks and there is his exact likeness. My meaning is that the Governor is the mirror, and that we should look stedfastly at him.

Hukiki, (Ngatiraukawa,) Otaki:—Listen, ye of the conference! I shall reply to the proposal of Hohepa that we should go to Taranaki. What I say is, consent, all of you, to this proposal. We have been saying, "I accept the authority of the Queen and of the Governor." Now if we (of the Conference) demand that the war between William King and the Governor be brought to an end, I shall say, "Let Wiremu Kingi and the Governor consider their own war." Listen, Mr. McLean! When we were coming away from the South, Ngatiraukawa assembled to bid us farewell. The first man rose and said, "Go ye, and arrange the war of William King, and discuss the matter of the Maori King." I then rose and said, "Those matters to which you refer are heavy [difficult]."

Tamihana Te Rauparaha, (Ngatitoa,) Otaki: I disapprove of the suggestion that we should go to Taranaki. It will not be right to go, because the outrages and murders of that people have become many. Had this been (proposed) at the time of our leaving Wellington, when there had been only one fight, then our course would have been clear. But now that Waikato is concerned in the evil, what can be done? Do not let us be afraid. This work (fighting) belongs to certain people: then leave these people to carry out their evil work. Presently they will be tired of their foolish doings. But let us keep to our own work; rather let us return to our homes and carry out this work of ours. I say, there is no road for me to Taranaki. I shall return to my home, at Otaki, page 29 to carry out those works which I prefer, and which will benefit my body. These are my words in reply to Wiremu Tamihana. He says, do not condemn the Maori King (movement). Perhaps he is afraid, and on that account refuses to condemn it. In my opinion it is right that we should disapprove of that foolish work.

Tukihaumene Te Amohau, (Ngatiwhakaue,) Rotorua: If it were in accordance with what my brother Tamihana Te Rauparaha has said, I should consent to peace being established. This is my word—the Queen and the Governor shall be my parents. All the world will not see the meaning of the words which I am about to give utterance to: once, twice, thrice, four times, ten times—it expires. Where shall the end be? When the Governor shall say, "End it," then it will end.

Meeting adjourned to 9th instant.