England and the Maori Wars
Chapter 15 — War With Te Kooti And Titokowaru
War With Te Kooti And Titokowaru
1 For a discussion of this topic, see History of the Church Missionary Society (1899), II, chapter 67.
A meeting of natives at Tokangamutu, the Maori King's headquarters, on January 20, 1868, had confirmed many of them in disaffection. James Mackay wrote on February 26: “I find that one result of the great meeting…is that the natives of the King or Hauhau side are more firmly determined than ever to oppose the opening up of the country for gold mining purposes, leasing of land and depasturing of stock, forming of roads, survey of native lands, etc.” H. T. Clarke, Civil Commissioner at Tauranga, thought the result of the meeting “anything but favourable to the peace of the country.” The word of Rewi had been “Fighting must cease. The sale of land must cease. Leasing land must be put a stop to.”
On March 7 Bowen reported that writs had been issued for the election of four Maori members of the House of Representatives. This had been provided for by the Maori Representation Act, which Sir F. Rogers had characterized as a “promising” development.2 The Act was, however, received by the greater part of the Maoris with indifference. “If each tribe could send its own representative it would be different,” commented W.K. Nesbitt, resident magistrate at Maketu, in a report of March 14.
2 Ibid., 203.
“Under these circumstances, and after consultation with the Colonial Ministers and with the Senior Military and Naval officers, I have arranged to despatch H.M.S. Falcon this day to Hokitika, with a detachment of the 18th Regiment on board to support the civil power, in case of necessity. It is hoped that the presence of this additional force will reassure the well-disposed majority, overawe the disaffected, and maintain the authority of the law.”
1 Larkin and Manning the editor, were tried on May 18–20 and convicted.
Bowen, in a despatch of April 14, 1868, described his visit to Shortland in the Thames goldfield, where the Chief Taipari was drawing, he said, about £4,000 a year as landlord. His example was already exercising an influence upon many of his countrymen “who have hitherto lived in sullen and hostile isolation.”
On May 4 Bowen reported that he had returned from a very interesting visit to the Bay of Islands. He went, on the urgent advice of James Busby, in the Brisk corvette instead of a small unarmed steamer. Busby thought that his prestige as Governor would otherwise be affected. Bowen saw, with deep interest, Tamati Waka Nene, “this constant friend and brave ally of our race,” now in extreme old age, arise, and striking his staff on the ground, proceeded to remind his Maori countrymen that, standing on that very spot, he had counselled the fathers of the present generation to place themselves “under the shadow of the Queen and of the Law”—that he knew he had counselled them well, and now exhorted the sons of his former hearers to dwell in peace and brotherhood with each other and with the colonists.1
“The latest reliable intelligence tends to show that there exists among the disaffected tribes two parties; one, headed by Tawhiao and his family and kinsmen, disposed to moderate counsels; the other, headed by the Hau Hau prophet Hakaria, of a more uncompromising spirit. If Tawhiao is the Maori Saul, Hakaria is the Maori Samuel.… A distinguished colonist, who is generally believed to be more intimately acquainted with the natives of New Zealand than any other European, lately remarked to me that one of their seers may one morning allege that he beheld in a dream the Maoris hewing the Pakehas to pieces, and that the next day a war-party of Hau Haus may rush on the nearest British settlement to prove the truth of the vision. Much loss of life and property may be inflicted by such outbreaks among the scattered homesteads, in the districts bordering on the territory of the hostile tribes; but the settlers in those parts will always, as on several previous occasions, assemble speedily for their own protection, and they will be supported with all the strength of the Government. On the whole it appears to be very generally agreed that, since the authority of the Crown and of the law was not established throughout the interior of this country while there was an army of above ten thousand men in New Zealand, the attitude of the Colonial authorities towards Tawhiao and his adherents must and ought to be, in the main, defensive; that it is at once more politic and more human to outlive the ‘King movement,’ than to endeavour to suppress it by the strong hand; that the turbulent natives should receive every encouragement to live peaceably page 323 but that murderous onslaughts (such as that at Patea),1 whether on the Europeans or on the friendly Maoris, should be punished with the vigour necessary to prevent a recurrence of unprovoked aggressions.”
Adderley's minute to the Duke of Buckingham was: “N.Z. will give even more material to Bowen's pen and imagination than Queensland…. The ‘outliving’ rebellion in N.Z. is the point of true and vital interest in this despatch and the proofs given that the English regulars are unsuited to the task of reducing it, and that the colonists left to themselves will take to defensive attitude and caution, and if force is required, to most effective action. Those who thought a Maori ‘Province,’ left to its own laws, would have led sooner to settled relations (as the Indian territory in U. States), must see that, soon after ill-conducted warfare, they are more likely to amalgamate than to live by the side of us. Whether they must not ultimately die out seems a less hopeful question. I would not give in to leaving the single Regiment. The reasons adduced are convincing the other way. It is said its removal would be taken by friendly tribes and colonists as a sign that they can expect no longer support from England—the very thing most desirable, and the state our early American colonists throve best in. ‘The Queen will be thought riri,’ which means that they are still babies. It is a sentiment only and a wretched one. Even if the colonists were made to pay the whole cost, transport and all, and learn that dipping their fingers in the Mother Country's pocket means taxing English labourers for what they should pay for themselves, still it would be undesirable—witness the feeling produced by the past services of English troops partly paid by them and wholly abused.”2
1 On June 9 a settler named Cahill and two others were murdered. Another man was killed within sight of the camp of the constabulary.
2 C.O. 209, 207.
On July 23 Bowen transmitted reports on the state of the Maoris which he had called for on his arrival.1 The first was from F. E. Maning, judge of the Native Land Court, author of Old New Zealand. He described the last few years as “years of war, followed by a doubtful armed truce, the result of physical exhaustion on the part of the natives, and of a great pecuniary expenditure impossible to be longer maintained, on ours.… I think the Maoris do not believe we would be left alone to deal with them in a second struggle. Should they eventually become of a different opinion, it would seriously diminish the chances of peace being established securely for several years, and it is certain that by a change in their tactics, which the natives are quite capable of adopting, they might, with half their former numbers, inflict as much or more loss upon the colony than they have already done.… In only one direction do I see a hopeful influence at work, powerful, if human calculation can be trusted, to produce in the future the permanent pacification of the country, and the dominion of law. I mean the action of the Native Land Court, which, by giving natives individual and exclusive property in the soil, stimulates industry, detaches them from tribal or national interests, disposes them to support and strengthen the law from which they have derived their rights.…”2
2 Cf. J. B. Condliffe, in New Zealand in the Making, on the Native Land Court: “For more than sixty years this Court has functioned steadily and, within its limits, successfully.… Throughout its history, however, it has been a means of facilitating the separation of the Maori from his land as equitably and painlessly as possible.” See also Omapere Lake judgment of Judge F. O. V. Acheson, August 1, 1929: “The Native Land Court would not be worth its salt if … it failed in its duty to give the natives the rights guaranteed to them under the Treaty of Waitangi and confirmed by statutes.” (Quoted in Roberts, Land Problems of the' Forties (1936), pp. 229–30.)
On July 31 Bowen transmitted a memorandum from ministers praying that Her Majesty the Queen would be pleased to make New Zealand “the Sanatorium of the invalided troops of the British Army.” Adderley objected: “They would still hold the red cloth up to the Fenian bulls and keep up the appetite of the colonists.”1 On August 8 Bowen reported that Titokowaru, a Ngatiruanui chief, leader in the atrocities at Patea, and some of his followers had openly resumed the practice of cannibalism. “They cooked and ate the body of at least one of their recent victims—a trooper in the armed constabulary.” Titokowaru boasted of this act in a proclamation. A Maori force, Bowen stated, had surprised 25 troops under the command of Captain Ross, in a redoubt at Turuturu-Mokai, killing 8 and wounding 6. von Tempsky arrived in time to save the remainder.2
2 Ibid. Cowan, II, 190–1, discusses the tardiness of the relief force.
H.M.S. Rosario arrived at Napier from Wellington on July 19. Colonel Whitmore and two officers embarked there for Poverty Bay with 31 men. In a report of July 21 Captain Westrupp described a reverse suffered by his men in a fight with the Hauhaus. Two were killed and seven wounded. Westrupp wrote: “I trust the Government will make due allowance for the privations and fatigue undergone by the men, who throughout the whole of this trying day were engaged with a very superior force almost all armed with Enfield rifles, and kept up so hot a fire that it was impossible to make head against it. It must also be considered how depressing on the minds of the men unused to war was the effect of the apathy (call it by no worse name), of the bulk of our native allies. For ten days the Force has kept the field without an opportunity of changing or drying their clothes, and with very scanty and irregular supplies of provisions.”2 On July 24 Captain Richardson was attacked first by the advance guard of the Hauhaus and then by the main body, the action lasting three hours: “The friendly natives behaved most wretchedly. At the close of the action I found myself with 16 Europeans and four natives only remaining. After nightfall I withdrew the men and retired upon the Wairoa.” The reputation of Te Kooti, leader of the Hauhaus, was naturally enhanced by his successes.
2 Whitmore discusses his failure to rouse these men to join his force in his book, The Last Maori War in New Zealand. He concedes that his language was impolitic and ill-chosen.
The return of the escaped prisoners from the Chatham Islands was recorded in The Times on October 1, 1868, on the same day that the surprise of the constabulary under Captain Ross was reported. “To watch a population like this,” commented The Times in a leading article on October 2, “the only force the Government appears to have kept regularly trained, besides the single English regiment left in the island, has lately been a body of five hundred armed police, and they were on the point of letting the regiment quit them because they would not pay for its support. They have now to begin drilling recruits for a campaign which has already opened.”1
1 Cf. Stacey, op. cit., p. 222: “The Imperial determination to throw the cost of the naval defence of the border upon Canada had merely resulted in the border being left undefended.”
2 In a letter from the Horse Guards on December 28, 1867, the Duke also expressed the hope that “the important colony of New Zealand would not be left wholly without regular troops.”
W. Dealtry's Colonial Office minute, addressed on this occasion to T. F. Elliot, was: “His Grace will I presume adhere to the decision with regard to the removal of the Regiment, to retain which Mr. Stafford, the present Premier, is still unwilling to accede to any formal conditions.” Elliot wrote to Adderley: “On general grounds I think it quite the right course (to withdraw the troops); and the New Zealand ministers who are letting them go rather than pay for them, ought to be the best judges whether there exists any crisis to render their presence indispensable. This seems a strong ground for letting things take their course.” Adderley's minute to the Duke of Buckingham was: “I have not the smallest hesitation in saying that the embarkation should take its course. Not a shadow of a reason has been assigned against it, nor any offer of terms—but the reverse.” The Duke's decision was: “Embarkation to proceed.”1
In the despatch of October 24 conveying his decision, he said: “Her Majesty's Government do not consider themselves at liberty to depart from the terms of the agreement under which the colonists of New Zealand were to take charge of native affairs and to undertake the duty of defending the colony against internal disturbance. And they are supported in this decision by observing that Mr. Stafford does not make any proposal whatever as to the terms on which this regiment is to remain in the colony. I have therefore no alternative but to inform you that its departure must not be delayed.”1
Stafford's memorandum on the subject, dated August 8, set out that since October 1865 he had declined to advise that Imperial troops should be employed in the field or to accede on behalf of the colony to any formal conditions on which the single regiment now in New Zealand should be retained. “Mr. Stafford does not now propose to depart from the course which has been consistently pursued for the last three years.” The Colonial Office decision was therefore not surprising.page 329
On September 5, 1868, Bowen transmitted a despatch by Colonel McDonnell describing the capture on August 21 by the colonial forces under his command of the fortified pa of Te-Ngutu-o-te-manu (or The Hawk's Beak), the principal stronghold of the cannibal chief, Titokowaru. The pa was partially destroyed before the troops departed. In his despatch Bowen wrote: “It will be seen (from a memorandum of Colonel Haultain) that Rewi, the chief of the hitherto hostile Ngatimaniapoto tribe, and one of the most resolute and formidable of the rebel leaders, has applied for and obtained a safe conduct to enable him to attend the Native Land Court and to plead therein his claim to a disputed portion of the Waikato territory. Wiremu Kingi, the Ngatiawa chief, whose name is so well known as that of the foremost leader in the war of 1860, and who has since stood aloof in a hostile attitude, has now settled peaceably upon the land reserved for him by the Government at Waitara, where the war began. Further, the Government has recently been able, through a loyal Wanganui chief, to open a communication with the so-called Maori King, Tawhiao, who has publicly expressed his abhorrence of the renewed cannibalism and other atrocities of Titokowaru, and at the same time his (Tawhiao's) desire for peace—a desire which will receive every legitimate encouragement.” The despatches were “read with interest” and then sent to the Queen by the Duke of Buckingham's order.1
In the pursuit of the East Coast Hauhaus by Colonel Whitmore an engagement was fought when the pursuers came up with the enemy, who were driven from an island on which they had taken up their position. Five of the attackers were killed and five wounded.
The Times correspondent in a letter of October 8 (published on November 27) said that after the disaster “a thorough disorganization of the colonial forces in that district ensued…. McDonnell, from being the pet of everyone, was declared unfit for his position; numbers of the men swore they would never go out again. von Tempsky's company mutinied, and within the past month the force of about 77 has been reduced by desertions, mutiny, disbanding and expiration of service nearly one-half…. While I have not hesitated to speak of the colonial forces in very disparaging terms, I would have it understood that there are portions of them who are as true as steel. There is something in encountering a naked, yelling savage foe for the first time which has made even disciplined Imperial troops page 331 waver and run.” The correspondent compared the disaster to McDonnell to “throwing the torch into the fern.”1
The Times, in a leading article on November 28, said: “Englishmen, wherever they are, are never exempt from responsibility to the public opinion of England, and the letter which we published yesterday from our Wellington correspondent shows that it is full time the force of public opinion was brought to bear on the colonial policy.… These men appear, at a single check, and without seemingly having been pursued beyond the gully where the surprise befell them, to have thrown away their arms, abandoned their outposts, and, as soon as they found themselves in a place of safety, dissolved into a rabble of drunken mutineers. We know, in fact, that they were not troops from which the Colonial Administration had a right to anticipate very military conduct. A considerable part of them was composed of hasty levies made two months previously in the towns, and partaking therefore, probably, the character of an Australasian town population.… The Colonial Ministry and the Assembly, which is to the full as chargeable with the catastrophe, excuse themselves on the pretext of the improbability of the circumstances, which led to the outbreak. But with the elements of rebellion ever ready in the Maori race, an outbreak ought never to have seemed improbable.” A vigorous policy was advocated. Bowen, in his despatch, stated that he had instructed the two companies of the 18th Regiment stationed at Wellington to proceed to Wanganui to protect the town.
1 For an account of the battle by one of the officers engaged, Captain O'Halloran, see an article in The New Zealand Herald, September 9, 1933. by Arthur O'Halloran. Rusden says “McDonell” is the commander's name.
2 The census of 1867 showed a rise in European population from 59,413 in 1858 to 218,637 in 1867.
“Notwithstanding all this, they have been pushing forward settlement into the confiscated lands as if they had an indefinite force at their command for the reduction of malcontents and the protection of the settlers. They have reduced their military force. They have refused to keep a military regiment on the terms on which (unfortunately as I think) it was offered them, and, though this is of less importance, they have so contested our pecuniary claims on them as to force us to abandon much of these claims for peace's sake.
“Now what we have warned them of happens. And they propose not to change their policy and draw in their settlements—not to give the Home Government the old control (imperfect and delusive enough) over the causes of war (which indeed would be impracticable if they did offer it)—not to pay toward the expenses of any troops left in New Zealand—but only that the regiment should be left because the Colonial Government has in fact for the last few years performed what Lord Carnarvon required and they (most fortunately, I think) rejected as a condition of keeping that regiment. I think that they ought not to receive that encouragement to carry out their past and present policy, which the retention of this regiment will give them—and I think that if it is retained the Home Government will find it extremely difficult not to employ it in active service, and will then find itself involved in all the old difficulties and responsibilities and disputes and expenses which have been found intolerable with regard to this colony. Of course if this revolt spreads and a massacre of Europeans is page 333 imminent in February when the Himalaya arrives it would be impossible to withdraw the troops and leave the settlers to their fate. But nothing short of such a pressing and most improbable necessity ought I think to be allowed to prevent the departure of the troops. I should write … that the abandonment by the Home Government of all control over native policy, and their consequent acquiescence in a line of policy in respect of confiscation and occupation of native lands which they considered highly dangerous to the future peace of the colony, was conditional on being totally relieved from any responsibility in respect to the protection of the settlers and control of the natives … that His Grace is convinced that in thus calling on the colonists to perform a task to which they are perfectly competent, if only their affairs are conducted with prudence, courage, and justice, he is, in the long run, consulting the truest interest both of New Zealand and of Great Britain.”1
The Duke of Buckingham wrote: “I agree generally with Sir F. Rogers, but I think a more pointed reference to the memorandum of Mr. Stafford in which the colony declines the terms for the one regiment should be inserted. Draft accordingly for consideration.”1 The despatch prepared under these instructions was dated December 1, 1868.
Lord Granville succeeded the Duke of Buckingham as Secretary of State in December, 1868, and, in a memorandum from 16 Bruton Street, he wrote: “Would it not be well as there has been a change of Government here to write by the next mail to say that I entirely concur with my predecessor in desiring the remaining Regiment to be sent back.”1
1 See Cowan, II, 236–54. He states that many of the missing were killed. The battle was “Whitmore's one great blunder.” Whitmore has a chapter on “The Reverse at Moturoa” in his book, The Last Maori War in New Zealand. In it he says that throughout his West Coast campaign, “I was opposed pertinaciously, insubordination preached to my men, and my smallest action criticized with relentless spite, if not contorted and misrepresented.” See also With the Lost Legion in New Zealand, by Col. G. Hamilton Browne (1912). A tribute to Whitmore was paid in The Press, Christchurch, on January 12, 1869. Reference was made to “the perpetual abuse of the public press.” Whitmore was “not a popular man,” but “we don't want a popular man, we want a good soldier.”
Lord Granville made the following minute: “The impression on my mind is that Col. Whitmore is a very fine fellow but destitute as he himself almost admits of the qualities which fit a man to obtain influence over the Maoris….2 Nothing in these papers changes my opinion as to the withdrawal after a very short interval of the European Regiment. Its presence only continues the evil of divided command, and diminishes the stimulus to the colonists of providing for their own defence. The delay caused by the change in the transport system will probably answer all purposes, and prevent the only real evil, i.e. the chance of an immediate withdrawal having a bad moral effect both on the friendly and hostile Maoris.”3
2 Cf. Gorton, Some Home Truths re the Maori War: “Colonel Whitmore as a commander was in many respects a success … it was very unfortunate that his manner was at times so offensive to his officers and his men, and also that he did not look better after the interests of the wounded.”
3 C.O. 209, 208.
Correspondence on the subject of New Zealand ensued in The Times. One correspondent signing himself “G. G.” combated the suggestion that Sikhs should be sent and asserted that the Imperial troops had accomplished not too little but too much in New Zealand. Sir George Grey wrote on the same day, January 9, 1869, from Fenton's Hotel, to disclaim any connection with the communication, “the result of which must be to mislead the British public regarding an unfortunate and ill-used body of colonists suffering under the misfortunes which entitle them to the sympathy of their fellow-countrymen.” Colonel George Gawler, writing on January 15, advocated the sending of a commission to settle all land claims finally. “Every war in New Zealand as yet,” he said, “has been directly or indirectly a land title war.” He remarked that he was not the “G. G.” of the previous letter.
William Fitzherbert, in a letter which appeared on January 18, contended that the Native Land Court, independent of the Government, constituted an adequate tribunal to settle all claims. The abandonment of the confiscated lands would be “in the highest degree impolitic.” “It would be interpreted by the natives as a sign of weakness,” he wrote, “and would doubtless lead to fresh aggression on their part. There is no mistake greater than to imagine that the Government or colonists of New Zealand have any interest to serve in extending the area of confiscation, or that the present war has been carried on with any other object than self-defence and the maintenance of the Queen's sovereignty.”
In a letter to The Times, published on May 26, J. C. Richmond disputed the contentions of the leading article of January 1: “In your own article you ‘protest in the interest of colonia page 337 self-government,’ against help to the colony, or, as you phrase it, ‘interference’ in its difficulties. Self-government is almost the life-blood of our race, but it may be exercised in prosperity as well as in misery. There are times when the most independent may ask and receive help without compromising their independence.… Would England protest in the interest of national independence against helping a weak neighbour—say Belgium—in case of aggression? We are not confident out here what the answer would be, for we do not pretend to understand where England is going in these days. But, whatever home views may be at present, no one can think that the cause of national independence would have gained by it if England had acted on so hollow a ground in the early part of this century. I trust New Zealand may not again appeal for military assistance, because the mutual relations of the empire and the colony do not admit of efficient co-operation in the field. But colonial self-government need not suffer from help properly afforded and the colony wants help very much at present.… If we are no longer to look for any benefit from England which is not accorded to foreign nations, we ought in future to meet the courtesy used towards foreign nations, and despatch writers ought to drop the pedagogue style… Ignorance is the mother of suspicion and ill will. Only one English statesman and only two or three public writers show that they substantially realize the condition of New Zealand.”
Richmond described the difficulties of administration in New Zealand arising from the great dispersion of population and the ease with which men could move off to safe districts and other colonies to avoid militia service. He suggested that the New Zealand Government might be allowed to raise a volunteer corps, both officers and men, from the British arm, for service for a definite number of years, at no cost to the Imperial Treasury. Another mode of assistance would be “the endorsement of the Colonial Bills.” A commission of inquiry might be set up to ascertain the financial and commercial prospects of the colonies with a view to some comprehensive action in this direction. “Perhaps,” he concluded, “I am altogether visionary in these suggestions, and Great Britain's eyes are turned inwards too much to allow her leaders to ex- page 338 patiate on the idea of any sort of permanent and formal connection between the scattered members of the great race; or, after due thought, they have abandoned all such ideas. At least, let us retain as long as possible the unity of the national spirit, and avoid the hasty and ignorant criticism and cold discourteous official intercourse which must end in alienating the affections of the offspring from the great modern mother of nations. The future both of parent and children must be affected by such an alienation.”
The Times described this letter as an able reply to its question “What can the colony of New Zealand want or expect from this country?” “Nevertheless, though we neither contradict nor disparage the pleas of our correspondent, we must avow our own persistence in the convictions we have expressed. It is not our duty nor is it in the interests of the colony, that we should take upon ourselves the protection of the colonial population.”
On January 21, 1869, a telegraphic message described the Poverty Bay massacre. “Men were burnt alive, children mutilated, and the dead bodies of women thrown to the pigs.” On January 22 The Times, in its first leading article, advocated the raising and officering of a well-trained native force, as the best method of bringing to an end “these otherwise interminable New Zealand wars.”
The Wellington correspondent of The Times, in a letter of December 8, printed on January 30, described the Poverty Bay massacre and the disastrous campaign on the West Coast, where the attack by Colonel Whitmore on the Okutuku pa had failed, every port north of Patea had been abandoned, and the Weraroa Redoubt, after being held against a Maori attack, also deserted. The correspondent referred to the successful campaign of General Chute who had handed the West Coast to the Government “with the natives thoroughly broken and admitting their defeat.” Then from one end of the colony to the other rose the cry for economy. “The self-reliant policy cost money.” The result was the inadequacy of the force maintained after the regular troops left. “The East Coast troubles arise in some measure out of the same economical policy—the miserable guard at the Chathams being perfectly useless.… It is not pleasant, after the almost defiant tone adopted towards page 339 the home country, to have to appeal for help, and I can easily understand how the ministry, having a political reputation to sustain, are averse to doing so even in the hour of bitter need. The colony, will, however, before long, learn a hard lesson on the evils of false economy. Our defence expenses just now must be something enormous.” They would be nearer, he thought, to £50,000 than £20,000 (the Government figure) a month.
Commenting on this letter in a leading article of February 2, 1869, The Times said: “As long as British troops were sent out to fight the natives, all went on comfortably, the Colonial Legislature had nothing to do but to vote thanks to the distinguished General, the gallant officers and men, and to extend to them and their naval brethren an agreeable hospitality. But no sooner is the system changed than the New Zealand public becomes singularly parsimonious in the matter of the Maoris.”
In a despatch of December 7, 1868, Bowen referred to the difficulty of securing a definite policy towards the Maoris “when almost every leading member of both Houses has a native policy of his own, and is swayed by various kinds of personal and local feelings and interests. A portion of the population of the Northern Island of New Zealand, under the pressure of the long-continued Maori War, and of the recent disasters, would regard with complacency the suspension of the existing constitution in this island, or, at least, a return to the system in force up to the year 1862, under which the Governor, directed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, possessed the control of native affairs….”
- (A) The outbreak of the Hauhau fanaticism in connection with the national or, as it is termed, the “Native King Movement.”
- (B) The removal of the English regiments before any tender of submission was made by or any peace was ratified with the Maori King and the tribes which adhere to him.
- (C) The confiscation of a small portion of the territories of the Rebel natives.
Bowen, who stated that “at the Gate Pa, near Tauranga in 1864, the 43rd Regiment appears to have lost more officers page 340 than any single Regiment lost at Waterloo,”1 proposed the following measures: “(1) the presence in addition to the Colonial Forces, of two battalions of the line, to be maintained on conditions equitable to the Mother Country and to the Colony; (2) the prohibition of fresh settlements in exposed and dangerous districts; (3) a peaceful arrangement not inconsistent with the suzerainty of the Queen, with the chosen chief of the Maoris.”
Lord Granville's comment was as follows: “Sir G. Bowen should be told that H.M. Government have no intention of permanently retaining any Imperial troops, but that as in the course of the present arrangements the regiment now in New Zealand will not be taken away till (query) May—this will obviate the possible bad moral effect upon the natives of a withdrawal immediately after the late defeat. Suggest for the consideration of the Governor and his Government whether a much more perfect organization might not be introduced as regards the Native Troops—a larger infusion of European officers.… Approve of restrictions on the too rapid advance of outlying settlements, and of renewing friendly relations with the Maori King.”2
1 Fortescue states that this assertion, often made, is incorrect.
2 C.O. 209, 208.
In replying to this despatch, Bowen enclosed a memorandum by Stafford, dated May 21, 1869, in which he quoted the following from a speech of W. E. Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, in Parliament on July 14, 1864: “He did not see how England could with justice throw the whole responsibility of the war on the colony. The Home Government had approved it and were so far responsible for it.” Stafford justified the offer of £1,000 rewards for the capture of Titokowaru and Te Kooti. “Their atrocities,” he said, “are happily as exceptional as the course adopted with a view to their punishment…. Every atrocity of the Sepoy rebellion has been paralleled and outdone in the burnings, raids, violations, tortures, murders, and cannibalism of the last nine months in New Zealand and with less provocation or excuse.”
1 C.O. 209, 208. Captain Gilbert Mair, writing to James Cowan in 1921, expressed the view that no charge against Te Kooti could have been substantiated in any Court prior to his deportation (Cowan, II, 225). The deportation “was a violation of all principles of justice.” (The Poverty Bay Massacre, thesis by Marjorie E. S. Black.) See also East Coast Historical Records (W. L. Williams), pp. 55–66.
2 Cf. Sir Edward Stafford: A Memoir, by Edward Wakefield, who ascribes the failure to answer Te Kooti's request to be allowed to return to New Zealand to “a fatal blunder, for which Mr. Rolleston, Under-Secretary for Native Affairs, was solely responsible.” See also Whitmore, op. cit. He ascribes the disaster at Poverty Bay to the “absolute and stolid apathetic indifference” of Donald Maclean (Government Agent) to the fate of the settlement (p. 67).
But Rolleston's own report of his visit to the Chatham Islands, dated February 3, 1868, shows that he did release eight men—a fact which naturally tended to increase the impatience of those left behind. Moreover, Rolleston commented on the “unsatisfactory character of the military guard,” members of which had figured “rather as a public nuisance than as a protection or example of discipline and order to the community.” The sick natives unanimously maintained that they were neglected, and altogether there was abundant reason to expect trouble.
When the storm of Te Kooti's vengeance did break, the country's forces were insufficient in numbers and training to cope with him. In a memorandum of November 24, 1868, Colonel Whitmore wrote: “Our advantage may be stated to consist in our command of steam transport, more perfect armament, and the electric telegraph—our weakness consisting in our position on the circumference of the island, the property we have at stake, our newspapers, our women, and our want of training. The enemy's disadvantages are imperfect armament, difficulty of communication, tribal jealousies, dormant perhaps now, but which must impair their federation (notwithstanding recent successes), and limitation in numbers. His advantages consist in his central position, his practical facility for concealing his plans, the terror his cruelties and atrocities inspire, and the plunder he must acquire at every step. It is a hopeless notion that once predatory bands are out the presence of any force can practically protect homesteads or stock.” Whitmore proposed the removal of the constabulary from the Wanganui district to attack Te Kooti and expressed confidence that a force of 350 men could defeat him. “His momentary successes have been gained over very contemptible forces. He was very nearly beaten at Ruakituri by 50 armed constabulary and some 25 untrained volunteers who mostly ran away, and 40 Napier natives, 12 or 15 of whom stood, to my very great surprise.”2
1 C.O. 209, 211.
2 Ibid., 208.
2 The Maori death-roll is estimated by Cown at 136, “of whom 120 were summarily executed after capture” by order of Ropata, leader of the Ngati-Porou native contingent—“the most vigorous and successful of all the Maori officers who served the Government” (Cowan, II, pp. 268–74). See also Whitmore, op. cit., pp. 83–4, and G. Hamilton Browne, With the Lost Legion in New Zealand, pp. 286–315. Of Ropata's execution of the prisoners Browne writes: “You must remember… we were fighting without gloves, and that it was war to the knife.” New of Whitmore's victory, telegraphed from Colombo, was announced in Parliament on February 26.
In a letter of January 18, 1869, published on March 22, The Times Wellington correspondent wrote that in the capture of Ngatapa Colonel Whitmore was assisted by a fine body of 60 Arawas, under a European officer. “The Ngatiporous, comprising the remainder of the natives, were under their own chiefs, and, with no present idea of the value of ‘push,’ were coming up leisurely.”
“Oh! the delays and vexations” (writes one of the officers) “attendant on employing native allies. East Coast or West Coast, they are all alike, and many a commanding officer has seen his best plans thwarted by the non-fulfilment of their engagements. By themselves, or detribalized—i.e. enlisted, and serving under European officers, like Gundry's Arawas—they can be relied on; but under their chiefs the relative position of the moon and a star, the shape of the clouds, the direction of the wind, a dream, may upset all the arrangements. It is too bad to watch Te Kooti's men strengthen their works, and to know that the whole of yesterday was most probably spent in listening to long sermons from Moses!”
Commenting on the victory on March 23, The Times said that if the outcry raised in the first moment of panic had been listened to, half a dozen regiments would have been sent to New Zealand only to find the whole work done by a single battalion of natives enlisted on the spot.
1 C.O. 209, 210.
Te Kooti declined to surrender and said: “If they will let me alone, I will live quietly; if not, I will fight.”