The Second Year of One of England's Little Wars
From the Pa Whakaairo, November 7th, 1860
This is the day on which the Ngati-Kahungunu tribe and the Englishmen of Napier was held. The mouthpiece of the councils of Te Pa Whakaairo, of Tanenuiarangi, of Waipureku, of Matahiwi, of Te Timu, of Pakowhai, of Te Pakipaki, of Potaka, of Te Hauke, of Te Aute, of Waipaoa, of Te Waipukurau, of Eparaima, of Porangahau, of Tautane, of Te Takapau, of Tikokino, is Renata Tamakihiku-rangi; he spoke as their representative to the English.
The occasion of this meeting is, that we Maoris are grieved at the war that is going on at Taranaki between the Governor and William King. We were talking to you some months back at the meeting that was held here, and we then said, “The Governor is in the wrong.” We fully expected that he would listen to the remonstrances of us natives and some of you English; but not so, he is determined to carry on the war with W. King. He goes on gathering soldiers from one land after another, even as faras from England, in order to destroy those brethren of ours. That made us think of going to Taranaki. Just as you are all English, though one is a Bishop, another a minister, one is a Governor, and another a soldier, and another a settler; so we (Natives) are all one; Maori is my name: though one man builds houses, and another provides food, and another makes canoes, and some (thanks to You!) are fighting now. My name is like the Church of God, of which the Scripture says, “If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it.” The Church of God is one name, like ours. Therefore, I said, let me also go to my own people, who are being fed by thee (O Governor) with indigestible food. But if you will agree to some way of settling our dispute, and go to Taranaki to discuss and investigate the quarrel between the Governor and W. King, then it will be all right. If it is thereby found that W. King is in the wrong, then let all of us, English and Maoris, combine to oblige him to give up his present course of action; but if it is found that Te Teira is in the wrong, then the Governor must give up his determination to fight. We Maoris are depending on the fair fame of your noble race, as your name is known as a people quietly establishing laws, a people judging peacefully. We were carefully taught by former Governors “not to fight, but to go to law;” but now that we are under this Governor, law is cast aside, and hard food is flung at us. Doubtless, for petty matters, such page 76 as a basket of potatoes, a bushel of wheat, and a pig, there is law—but the great matters, such as land and the life of a man, are not decided by law. And then we remember that his newspapers tell us that he is a kind father, and the Queen a gracious mother to us. But look a little further! Behold, powder and shot are the food that my father and mother are feeding those children of theirs with; and ships are sailing here with more of the same food. Therefore, Mr. Superintendent Fitzgerald, I shall go to Taranaki to sympathise with my brethren that are being fed with this indigestible food. For I was like the nestlings of the Tui (or parent bird); the dam goes to seek food, and when she brings it the young open their mouths wide to receive their food. But now I cannot feel any affection towards that mother of mine; nevertheless, if she will look hither at the wrongs done me by this Governor that is feeding me with guns, powder, and shot, and if she will recall him, and give me another Governor to feed me with digestible food, that is with Councils, Law, Love, and good principles, it will be well again. At the very commencement of the dispute, our Maori King proposed to the Governor that they two should investigate the quarrel between him and W. King, that they should meet at Waiuku (near Auckland) and look into the matter, talk it over, and decide it by the rules of law; off goes the Governor, arrives at Taranaki, opens fire upon W. King. Therefore, we Maoris saw clearly that the Governor was in the wrong—because he would not submit to have the case judged by law. Then the Maori King said, well then, the Maoris will inquire into it. Waikato goes to look at the case; and it is declared, that if it be truly found that W. King is in the wrong, then, that the land shall be given up—but if it is truly that the Governor is in the wrong, then let sympathy be shewn to W. King. When Waikato got to Taranaki, it was found that the Governor was entirely in the wrong; and, accordingly, they joined in the war at Taranaki.
But it is not necessary to go to Taranaki to see the Governor's course is wrong. No: we have seen it here at Ahuriri in the way in which his officials buy land—a very different system prevailed formerly from what is the practice now.
The plan formerely, was to assemble all the people, chiefs and serfs, old men and old women, women and children, in the presence of the Commissioner, so that the conveyance of the land to the Queen might be open and straightforward. The first block so purchased was that at Waipukurau—rightly done; and then Ahuriri, rightly done. Those were the lands the sale of which to the Queen was clear and unobjectionable. We fancied that such was to be the universal rule of purchase—but afterwards it went wrong. The wrong was this, that the Commissioner bought of one person by himself. This was the case in the purchase of the blocks at Cape Kidnappers, at Aorangi, and at Okawa, at Tariotehanawa, at Umuopua, at Tautane, at Aropaoanui. You have got possession of those lands, but by an unfair purchase made by your Commissioners; and thence arose our quarrels amongst ourselves. Afterwards we quietly gave up these lands to you, as a proof of our love to the Queen but we said at the time, put a stop to this practice of buying from one man. To this the Commissioners agreed. But page 77 immediately afterwards up start these Land Commissioners of the Governor and renew their secret land purchases. Then we supposed that this was a challenge of the Governor's to provoke us to quarrel, that he might have a pretext for taking our lands away. For lo! here is Marutairi, and here is Ngapaeruru, and here is Porangahau; about all of these there is a dispute, in consequence of their having been bought from one man by himself. The claims of the community were not attended to by the Governor's officials. About all these lands there is a dispute pending—we were very nearly quarrelling about those places I have mentioned—hereafter, if any one gives us a little more annoyance and irritation, there will straightway break forth a commotion just like that at Taranaki. That is the reason why we said that the Governor was to blame in this matter.
Now, perhaps you will say that the natives of this island are seeking a quarrel with the English. Not so, for if we were desirous of quarrelling, we should have encouraged the Wanganui plan for killing the English, and that of Tipa for destroying Raglan. But I refused to have anything to do with it; and the councils of the Maori King, who have rebuked you openly to your face, rejected the plan.—(I will not listen to any excuses for the Governor, but do you listen to what I say about our all going to Taranaki, and there investigating this quarrel. Then my ears will listen to what you say. Dost thou not (O Governor) see the open dealings of thy enemies, whom thou art so determined to fight with? I will not be like your Lickplates that met at Kohimarama. My words will be frank and open, although that Conference of yours has acted differently.) This weapon was sent to me by Ngatiraukawa, as a sign of destruction for Wellington. I refused to have anything to do with it. The meaning of this weapon was, that if, on the occasion of raising the King's flag, the men who hold with the Governor and the military attacked the King's men and the flag (then Wellington was to be destroyed). And so again Wanganui did wrong, this was the wrong:—A native living there went and fetched some wood-work from the graves, and burned it in a cooking oven, and then called the fire in his oven by the names of the Maori King and his chief men, Porokoru, Tamihana, Wetini, Epiha, Rewi, and all the chiefs of Waikato; this he did in the hope that the men of Wanganui would be excited to turn against the English there and kill them. And this was the act of those very men who went to the Governor's Conference at Kohimarama. That man had said the name of his child was Te Mutu-mutu (that is, have done with these English), and the name of another was Pakau (strike, strike, strike). But the Maori King forbade it, and so did all our councils. Now this is another instance:—Tipa is the name of a man who shaved his head, and the hair of his dog-skin mat; and this he did that his people might kill the English at Raglan. The King forbade it, and so did we who openly rebuke you to your face. And so did a great part of Ngatiraukawa, who openly rebuke you to your face, as I do now; but you turn and find fault with the Otaki Petition, that openly rebuked you. You turn and get up some delusive talk at the Conference that you called together to tell you a parcel of lies at Auckland. However, I do not intend to have anything to do with attacking page 78 the towns. This is my word, that has been decided by the King, “all towns are to be as Parininihi” (a steep cliff near Taranaki)—it is enough to fight at Taranaki alone, the place which the Governor's sword has smitten. But if the Governor shall ascend any of these cliffs (that is, if he attacks any other Maories), then we shall fight there as our brethren are now fighting at Taranaki. Here is another fault of the Governor's, namely, his writing in his newspaper to all the chiefs of this island, that they should assemble at Taranaki to put to death the men that committed the murders (at Omata); and he does not see that he has a murder of his own on his hands; for, behold, he has taken to himself Ihaia Kirikumara as a bosom friend. I know that it is said, Katatore was a murderer. Not so; his was an open act, for he forbade his land being sold (by Rawiri) to the English. Rawiri persisted in selling it. Katatore said to the English and to Rawiri, Leave alone my land. Rawiri still persisted; then Katatore said to Rawiri, “You still persist; here is a gun for you; let us fight.” Rawiri still persisted in marking out the boundary of Katatore's land; he would not listen. Then guns were fired off, not directed at him, but merely fired into the air and on the ground. It was supposed that he would be frightened, and leave off. Not so. Then Katatore fired at Rawiri and killed him. This was not a murder, but open dealing. That was a murder which Ihaia committed, and which he called revenge. Not so; that was revenge which Arama Karaka openly did in the face of day. He and Katatore fought fairly in the open day, and at the end peace was made. But this act of Ihaia's, in assassinating Katatore, was no revenge—it was murder—it was a base murder of his and the Governor's (i.e., the Governor made it his own by making such friends with Ihaia).
Now, with regard to that man, Te Teira: he is called a Chief—not so—he is a nobody. For I know that man; he is a man of low rank. William King is the only great man of that tribe; his name alone is known by the people here. For doubtless the name of his father was Reretawhangawhanga, from whom came Te Rangitake (William King). His name, the name of the Chiefman, ascends to heaven, just as my name, Tamakihikurangi ends in heaven. But Te Teira's name is Manuka, mere serub (that grovels on the earth). Now, not a single piece of land here (Ahuriri) that has been sold to the English, was transferred by a mere serf, but by the Chiefs only; and the community consented that the land should be sold to the English—by Te Moana-Nui. by Tareha, by Te Hapuku, by Pahara, by Tawhara, by Hineirangia, by each Chief was our land conveyed to the Queen.
This is another grievance. The Governor will not let us buy powder, even to shoot birds with. This is not a fair course of his; my rule is, that if my enemy has no weapon, I fling him one, that our fight may be equal. But are you not ashamed, O Governor, at my detenceless hand? Stay, cast away your guns, and powder and shot, and let us fight with our fists only—and if you don't lik that, give it over, have done with it for ever, and rather let us return to the law courts. What is the good of killing men on a wrongful cause? It is a bad business. If you are determined to fight, we shall all of us do wrong incessantly. page 79 It is wrong, for you are desirous that the natives should be destroyed by you. It is wrong, for you and this English people of yours are always vaunting yourselves against us. No doubt it is quite true you English are a noble race, and we Maoris are a wretched set. It is quite true. But had we not better leave that consideration to the God that made us. God made you to be a good and fair-skinned people—God made us to be “bad and black,” as you say. If this is meant to be a taunt of yours to us, it is not to your credit. There are many English that vaunt themselves in this way—but with God is the thought for that matter. And so again, if you are determined to fight, it cannot be helped—with God lies the issue between us, between you and us. But our desire is that we should agree together, both English and Maoris, to put down this war. Enough—I have no more to say.