Proceedings of of the Kohimarama Conference, Comprising Nos. 13 to 18 of the "Maori Messenger."
Reply from Ngatiwhatua. No. 2
Reply from Ngatiwhatua. No. 2.
July 17, 1860.
Friend the Governor,—
Salutations to you! This is my idea about this Conference which you have convened to discuss matters connected with the welfare and advancement of the two races dwelling in New Zealand. This is to give you my opinion on the subject. In days gone by the Maori people lived in a lawless manner. When the missionaries came, the Maori people embarked in the canoe of Christianity. Afterwards came the law of England, and this was added as a wash board [or upper plank] to [the canoe of] Christianity. Here were two things, and both were good, in my opinion. I am now seeking for the taka and aukaha [the strip of wood that covers the joint of the side plank, and the cord that fastens it,] that is, for love, and for the union of the two races. In one respect it [union] is complete, but in another it is not yet so. I allude to guns and powder which are closed to the Maories but open to the Pakehas. I am not finding fault with, you, for I know your thoughts on that subject.
Another subject is, the lands of the Maories which have not yet been sold to the Governor. I have considered what is said in the sixth clause of the address referring to the protection of property. I am of opinion that some of such lands might be handed over to your charge, but that others could not. The question will therefore have to be so left that each tribe or individual may act as be thinks fit. But I do not think that the Maori lands could be settled in this way, because if we sell them to the Government we shall not be able to buy them back again for ourselves. The portions of land which are returned by the Government to the Maories go to the Chiefs only; the inferior people wander about without land to cultivate: or if it be said that each man should retain his own land, he would not be able to keep it; the Chief would sell it, and the owner would not be able to retain it, through fear of the Chief. Nor can the page 27 money received in payment for land be expended in the purchase of other land, lest too many should come and occupy the newly purchased piece. I do not refer to the lands which have been properly disposed of to you. It is for the above reason that I say, let this man who has been set up by the Waikatos remain to be a friend to the poor [or inferior people] lest they suffer! from the grasping propensities of some of the Chiefs. I refer to my own tribe, the Waikato. Let both the Chief and the poor person live. Do not you however either agree to it [the King movement] or (try to) suppress it. So that if it prove a failure, you did not agree to it, or if it turn out well, you did condemn it. According to my foolish thoughts, also, what the Waikatos are now doing is partly good. My reason for calling it good is, the character of the principles laid down by Potatau. He is dead, but his word still lives: "Hold fast to Christianity, to the law, and to love: of what account is anything else?" These were the parting words left by Potatau, "After me. be kind to the white skin and to the black skin." And these were not merely words spoken by him [during his life]; he acted upon these principles. Ears have heard it and eyes have seen it. Produce [from Waikato] is still brought to town for sale to their Pakeha friends in the same manner as before the setting up of the King. In the month of March or April, in the year 1860, some of the Waikatos proposed to attack and destroy Auckland, but their scheme was condemned by Potatau and by the majority of the Waikato chiefs; in consequence of which those men went to Taranaki to fight the Queen's soldiers, on the pretext of escorting the Ngatiruanuis, lest they should be killed by the Pakehas when passing through their territory. It was they also who raised the false report which you heard, namely that Ihaia and the Pakehas were lying in wait at Parininihi [white cliffs] for the Ngatiruanui. Potatau, however, was suspicious lest those people should stay at Taranaki to fight against the Queen. When they were well on their way, Rewi was sent to be their guide. When they reached Parininihi, Rewi proposed that they should leave their guns there, and that they should proceed unarmed. They would not listen, and Rewi returned. The principles declared by Waikato at Paetai, and which were confirmed at the great meeting at Ngaruawahia, were these. The Maori king and his symbol, the flag, were to be set up upon a foundation, the nature of which was explained by Potatau page 28 at the Waiuku meeting. It was to promote peace throughout New Zealand, which was to be attained in this manner. In case of war occurring in any part of this island, the ministers, with disinterested Maori and Pakeha chiefs, should interpose to suppress it and arrange the matter in dispute. The passions of the parties concerned in the dispute would be too much excited to allow justice to be done. It was not attempted to provide for cases in which you might be a party concerned. It will be for you to tell your Maori friends (what is to be done). Waikato is, now waiting for a word from you to go to investigate the question of Wm. King's land. It is impossible to believe the two statements made. The Pakehas say that the land is Te Teira's only; the Maories say that it is partly Wm. King's. It is therefore thought that it would be well to send some Pakehas and Maories, just men, to examine (into the case)
This is all. From your friends,
Retimana Te Mania,
Wiremu Hopihona Te Karore.