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

Page 34, 35

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Page 34, 35.

[Letters from Ritatona te Iwa.]

These letters are now for the first time seen by the Government. The same remarks may fairly be made as to withholding these letters as have been made in the case of the letters from Wiremu Kingi to Archdeacon Hadfield and from Riwai te Ahu and the other Ngatiawa Natives to the Superintendent of Wellington. (See Notes, pp. 30, 31, 32, 44.)

The second letter, of 11th February 1860, says;—"On this account it was that I wrote to you and Hadfield, [on the 5th December] that you two should speak to the Governor. But we and Wiremu Kingi are waiting for the fulfilment of your word, that Mr. Hadfield should write to the Governor." The Governor never received any letter of the sort, either from Mr. Hadfield or Riwai te Ahu. It is strange that any persons professing to have at heart the welfare of the Natives and the maintenance of peace, should receive letters in which they are repeatedly prayed to write to the Governor, withhold the letters from the Governor's knowledge, publish them for a controversial purpose without any allusion to the fact of their having been withheld, and then accuse the Governor of neglecting the warnings they contained.

But the second letter is the condemnation of the writer. It contains the proof of the intention of Wiremu Kingi and his followers to resist the survey of the land, even to blood. Let no one say after this that their resistance was the result of the proclamation of Martial Law. On the 11th February this Ritatona te Iwa, writing for himself and Wiremu Kingi, warns their friends at Waikanae that they will resist the survey by force and are prepared to fight. On the 20th February, nine days after this letter, the survey was attempted. On the 22nd February Martial Law was proclaimed. On the 17th March hostilities commenced.

Thus the evidence of the fact that resistance by force of arms was deliberately intended by Wiremu Kingi and his people long before the proclamation of Martial Law, is furnished in a letter which was unhappily withheld from the knowledge of the Government for more than nine months after its date, and eight months after the commencement of hostilities.

It will he seen that great stress is laid in a following portion of the pamphlet on the peaceable manner in which the survey was obstructed on the 20th February. This letter, produced in support of the accusation that it was the Governor who resorted to force, affords the most conclusive proof of Wiremu Kingi's party having determined to resort to force themselves long before the survey was attempted.