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Notes on Sir William Martin's Pamphlet Entitled the Taranaki Question

Page 30

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Page 30.

"The answer asserted the Tribal Right.'

It is satisfactory at last to obtain an admission of what this letter of King's really meant. The apologists of W. King have hitherto urged that this letter was a full notice of his proprietary right: the Government as constantly maintained it was no notice of any right except the assumed right of preventing the sale of their own land by other proprietors. Sir William Martin says it "asserted the tribal right."

Here then was the whole question.

If a general tribal right in the Ngatiawa tribe had ever been admitted by the Government at Taranaki, the notice was one which the Government were bound to respect, and stay their hand accordingly. If, on the other hand, that general tribal right had never been acknowledged among the various sections of the Ngatiawa themselves, and had been invariably denied and repudiated by every successive Governor of New Zealand, the notice was one which the present Governor would properly disregard as a threat, in the same manner as all preceding threats of the same kind had been disregarded in the acquisition of other blocks at Taranaki.—[See note, p. 33.]