Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

England and the Maori Wars

Chapter 2 — Maori King Movement

page 40

Chapter 2
Maori King Movement

On July 31, 1856, the Governor circulated a letter to a number of prominent people asking whether the management of native affairs might be safely conceded to the Governor's responsible advisers, reserving to the Governor a veto in all cases, and a recommendation in relation to expenditure or whether the whole management of native affairs should be reserved to the Governor.1

Those who favoured keeping control entirely in the Governor's hands included Colonel Wynyard, James Busby, Major Richmond, Major Nugent, Dr. J. Wilson (colonial surgeon at New Plymouth), F.E. Maning, Lieut. J. J. Symonds, Henry Walton, George Clarke, Charles Baron de Thierry, the Rev. G. A. Kissling, and Donald Maclean. Bishop Selwyn, in his reply, asked: “Why should not the two races, though inhabiting the same country, form as it were two colonies, the one in the more advanced state of representative institutions, the other in the state in which many British colonies still are, more immediately under the direction of the Crown. It is undoubtedly most desirable that the whole native race should be gradually admitted to the higher privileges, but in the meantime there is no reason to think that they are discontented with the lower.”

Archdeacon C. J. Abraham wrote: “From what we know of the present Ministry and House of Representatives, it is not likely that the members of the responsible ministries will be much acquainted with the habits and feelings of the native race, or be personally acquainted with any of them…. Though the native principle of legislation is somewhat democratic they prefer a monarchical executive, and above all things they value permanence, stability and fixedness—words and ideas unknown in an English colony and a Colonial Assembly during

1 C.O. 209, 137.

page 41 its early stage of existence…. I believe the colony would not be safe in six months from the day on which a Ministry irresponsible to the Imperial Parliament was put in trust with the question of peace or war.”
Archdeacon William Williams and Archdeacon Henry Williams both supported the reservation of native affairs to the Governor. But Archdeacon Octavius Hadfield wrote on August 27: “I am inclined to think that the two races cannot be permanently governed on two different principles or in two different ways, and therefore it would be advisable that the management of native affairs should be placed on the same footing and conducted in the same manner as that of all connected with the European population…. If the whole responsibility of governing the native race were thrown on the Ministers, they would be obliged to use the greatest care in investigating every question concerning their interests, for every error they committed would immediately recoil on themselves, involving them in difficulties and bringing on them public censure. The Ministers and the Legislature would be obliged to approach these questions more seriously and with a deeper sense of responsibility.” He proposed two conditions:
  • (1) That the natives should be officially informed what their rights were under the Constitution Act, and that facilities should be afforded them to register their names as electors and to record their votes at elections;
  • (2) That any military force in the country should not be dispersed for mere police duty, or employed against the native population, unless a militia force co-operated with them, and unless the whole expense incurred in such service, including the whole of the pay of the troops during such period of service, were defrayed from Colonial funds.

Archdeacon Hadfield's plan, though rejected at the time, was very similar to that adopted a few years later by the British Government. Whether it would not have been wise to adopt, as a temporary measure in 1856, Bishop Selwyn's proposal for a sort of Maori Crown Colony, is a matter for conjecture. The views expressed show that here was considerable variation of opinion on native policy even among the Anglican missionaries.

page 42

The Rev. G. Smales, Wesleyan missionary, supporting reservation of full powers in native affairs to the Governor, said in his memorandum of August 11: “A considerable number of natives in the interior and in the Waikato district have recently been canvassing the propriety of electing one of their chiefs as i Kingi mo te Maori (a King for the Maoris).” This passage was heavily marked in the Colonial Office.

Bishop Pompallier advocated the responsibility of the Governor assisted by a Council of Advice consisting of representatives of the House of Representatives and the chief religious denominations.

The report of a Board of Inquiry on Native matters, transmitted to the House of Representatives on July 6, 1856, referred to the “League not to sell land formed among the native population”: “This League, commencing south of Auckland, at about fifty miles from the town, at a branch of the Waikato River called Maramarua, embraces nearly the whole of the interior of the island, and extends to the East Coast, and the West Coast, south of Kawhia.” The Board considered the existing method of purchasing land from the natives the best adapted to the difficult circumstances.1

Governor Gore Browne wrote to the Colonial Office on September 25, 1856: “I do not hesitate to say that Auckland exists on the forbearance of a race of savages, and I consider this a perilous state. The natives are all, or nearly all, armed. I doubt if one European in twenty has a gun or knows the use of it.” Donald Maclean, in a report to the Governor, noted that the natives were “daily becoming more jealous of our growing preponderance, and more fearful of a latent intention—which they imagine to exist—of taking possession of their country and subjugating themselves, as soon as the decrease in their own numbers and the increase in ours should place us in a position to do so.” The growth of the movement not to sell land was referred to in a series of communications2 and objection was taken to the activities of the Rev. T. S. Grace, a member of the Church Missionary Society, in encouraging the natives in this direction. Lord Chichester, president of the Society, was asked by Labouchere to remove Grace “to some

1 C.O. 209, 138.

2 Ibid., 139.

page 43 other mission where his zeal may be exercised with less dangerous results.”

In his work, The Maori King Movement in New Zealand, published at Auckland in 1860, the Rev Thomas Buddle, head of the Wesleyan missions in the colony, wrote: “The present King movement has been initiated in the Waikato district. William Thompson Tarapipipi, principal chief of the Ngatihaua, is universally regarded as its author and chief promoter…. In December 1856 the first public meeting held to deliberate on the subject and prepare some plan was held at Taupo, at which several influential chiefs from various districts were present. Many proposals were made to adopt extreme measures.… It was eventually decided that Tongariro (the burning mountain of Taupo) should be the centre of a district in which no land was to be sold to the Government, … that no prayers should be offered for the Queen, no roads be made within this district, and that a king should be elected to rule over the New Zealanders, as the Queen and Governor do over the settlers.” It was unfortunate that at this juncture (in January 1857) William Thompson should have been ignored by Government officers in a visit he made to Auckland and refused a loan for a mill. To crown everything he was insulted by the master of the cutter in which he returned.

John Ball, in a minute of February 23, 1857, expressed the opinion that it was desirable that the transfer of responsibility for native affairs to the Governor's executive council should not be very long retarded. “But as it will be an experiment not free from risk,” he added, “I am strongly of opinion that it should not be tried mainly at the cost of this country. I shall have far more hope that the Assembly will deal justly and prudently by the natives when they know that they will be in their own persons and purses responsible for their proceedings. Even then there remains the risk that so many of the members are really without a stake in the game, being removed from the native districts…. I would then say that Her Majesty's Government have no desire to retain permanently for the Governor acting on behalf of the Crown the exclusive control of these matters, but that until the representative institutions page 44 which have been introduced into New Zealand have been more firmly established by practice and the results of practical working, it seems to them inadvisable to submit to the vicis-situdes of political change matters affecting the security of the entire colony and the continuance of peaceful relations between the races by which it is inhabited. Such a change Her Majesty's Government are not disposed to consent to while the cost of maintaining a considerable military force for the protection of the colonists is borne by the Imperial Treasury. But whenever the General Assembly is prepared to undertake a considerable share of the cost of the military force maintained in the colony—an arrangement which is no more than the natural and reasonable result of obtaining completely representative institutions—Her Majesty's Government will readily take into consideration the measures necessary for transferring to the control of the Assembly all matters connected with the aboriginal inhabitants and all proceedings in respect to the lands to which the native title may not have been extinguished.… I see no strong objection to proposing to Parliament in the present session a short measure for enabling Her Majesty to assent to any act of the General Assembly for repeating or altering the provisions of the Constitution Act…. Of course it would be necessary to provide that all measures for this purpose should be reserved by the Governor for Her Majesty's pleasure…. Referring to the general question of the security of the colony which, though not, I trust, in actual danger, is plainly not free from cause for anxiety, I venture to suggest to you that the expediency of affording a reasonable degree of naval protection (at the present time, at least), is a matter transcending mere departmental considerations, and deserving to be seriously weighed by all the members of Her Majesty's Government.”1

Governor Gore Browne, in a despatch of January 6, 1857, wrote: “If… the qualification (for voting) is strictly confined to persons possessing individual titles, the natives must be for many years to come excluded from any share in the representative institutions of the colony. Of this they are aware, and great pains are taken to remind them that the revenue,

1 C.O. 209, 139.

page 45 to which they contribute so largely is disposed of by persons whose interests (it is asserted) are strongly opposed to theirs, and of whose desire to obtain land they are extremely jealous.”1

On May 9 Gore Browne reported that he had had an interview with the chief Te Heu Heu, who stated that the English were by degrees obtaining the best of the Maoris' lands, and that they would soon “be eaten up and cease to be.” That for these reasons they were determined to have a King of their own, that they would not interfere with the English in the settlements, but that the laws they intended to make should be binding on all who chose to reside among the natives. Gore Browne said: “I was not elected by the English but appointed by Her Majesty, and though I should always be glad to consult with Te Whero Whero, whom he had indicated as the future King, I could not consent to any such election, and that I was sure that he (Te Whero Whero) would not do so.” Later he had two long interviews with Te Whero Whero and the latter declared his intention of being guided entirely by the Governor's advice.

Colonial Office comment on the Governor's actions was favourable. “The conduct of the Governor seems to have been very judicious,” wrote Gairdner, one of the permanent officials. Merivale and Labouchere concurred. In a minute on the Governor's report on his journey, his advisers noted: “The peculiar feature of the time is the tendency to self-organisation now being exhibited by a large section of the Maori people.”2 The growing pressure of European settlement was having the not unnatural effect of diminishing inter-tribal animosities and encouraging the concept of a Maori King.

On May 11 Gore Browne forwarded two minutes by his responsible advisers on the question of the colony paying the cost of barrack accommodation for troops. Merivale's comment was: “They will never pay a farthing unless they are made. Whether it is worth while quarrelling with them about the £6,000 or £10,000 is another matter…. To try the provincial

1 C.O. 209, 141.

2 Ibid. Cf. F. M. Keesing, The Changing Maori, p. 47: “One common basis of unity fired them, … namely, to seek to restore the declining mana of their people.”

page 46 councils would lead to no result at all.” Gairdner wrote: “The troops are now required chiefly for Auckland and Taranaki, and there would be in all probability a strong objection on the part of the representatives of the other provinces to vote any portion of the charge necessary for the defence of the Northern districts from the general revenues of the colony. Indeed, in a letter which I have received from Colonel Browne by the late mail, and which I gave to you, he expresses his conviction not only that the jealousy of the Southern provinces would prevent them voting such assistance, but that those colonists would not regret to see any difficulty with the natives which would have the effect of driving the inhabitants from the Northern to the Southern settlements…. The object of the local government apparently, and probably, is to exhaust time in corresponding across the world and to stave off the question while the Governor is still drawing upon the Imperial Chest for the payment of the charge.” Gairdner quoted Colonel McCleverty's opinion that the difficulties with the natives were encouraged by the settlers at New Plymouth “for the purpose of obtaining the military to eat up their produce. In fact it was called ‘a Beef and Mutton War.’”1 A charge such as this probably had some basis of justification, but it is difficult to believe that there were many settlers who thought that commissariat expenditure would outweigh the evils of even the shortest Maori war.
Henry Sewell was interviewed by Lord Stanley on the subject of the colony paying for barrack accommodation for Imperial troops. He advanced the New Zealand Company debt, the large expense of postal contracts, the difficulty of direct taxation, and the difference of interest in the question between the two islands as reasons for the refusal to pay. Merivale's minute on this was that New Zealand, with scarcely 50,000 white inhabitants, spent £213,000 on government alone in 1856, “a very large proportion of which expenditure is utterly useless to the public, wasted in political jobbing, for such, I suppose, is the real meaning of the numerous officers of half-a-dozen petty settlements.” Merivale inclined to think that separation of the islands in government might be a good thing, the North being more “in dependence on the Crown than at

1 C.O. 209, 141.

page 47 present,” and the South, with Wellington, “left to the undisturbed enjoyment of self-government.” Lord Stanley decided that the charge in question should be thrown on the colony, and in the event of their declining to bear it that the troops should be withdrawn.1 The issue was now stated. But more than ten years were to elapse before it was finally decided.

The result of the meeting of the Waikato tribes for the purpose of instituting Te Whero Whero in his office as Maori King was described in the Southern Cross on June 5, 1857: “The King's flag, for the present, has been struck to that of the Queen. But the idea is far from being abandoned. The movement still goes on; while the propriety, the thoughtfulness, and the caution with which it is conducted render it all the more serious by nature…. It is becoming more and more evident even to the most incredulous, that a crisis in native affairs is coming on. We do not believe, indeed, that a King will be actually made; but it is clear that a great change is approaching, either for good or for evil, in the relations between the races. The natives thoroughly understand what they want, and it is not a play-thing that they seek. They are resolved on making an effort to preserve their existence, not only as a race, but, as they understand it, a nation, before they shall be over numbered, and therefore out-mastered by the whites.”2 In a letter written by Waikato chiefs to the Government on June 25, 1857, they said: “Perhaps you think that the Maori King will be separated from the Queen. Not so…. Let us work together with respect to the regulations concerning our King, that they may be properly carried out, lest there be strife between them, lest one should clash with the other…. It is now ten years since the Maori chiefs first talked about a King for themselves. It was commenced by Te Heu Heu, who proposed it to Potatau; afterwards by Hoani; and after that by Wiremu Tamihana (William Thompson) to Waharoa. If you disapprove of this (act) of God's take back the Gospel also.”

The Governor replied: “Are there two suns in the heavens? Can there be two Sovereigns in New Zealand?… This thought about setting up a Maori King is not wise…. What could a Maori King do for you, which the Queen, the Governor, and

1 March 10, 1858 (C.O. 209, 141).

2 C.O. 209, 141.

page 48 the Laws will not do? You say your King is to suppress strife and disorder among you. Friends, the Queen's laws will do this if you are really earnest in wishing it, and willing to be directed.”1

On August 7, the Governor reported that he had with-drawn the detachment of troops stationed at the Bay of Islands as his advisers had refused to provide proper accommodation for them. His action was warmly approved by the Colonial Office. “The Governor has acted with courage and wisdom,” was Labouchere's minute.1 In a despatch of August 25, expressing the view that 1,320 troops were not enough for the safety of the colony without naval protection, Gore Browne said: “For some years to come this colony will be in the position of a wooden house stored with combustibles. It is to be hoped that no explosion will take place, but the greatest care may not be able to prevent it.”1

On September 23 Gore Browne reported that he had received a letter from Te Whero Whero saying that he had accepted the Maori kingship: “This chief was pensioned and brought to live near Auckland as a sort of protector by Sir George Grey, and, as I stated in my despatch of May 9, he very recently assured me of his determination to refuse the offer and check the movement. He acknowledges the letter, but still professes attachment to the Queen.” “Direct opposition,” the Governor added, “would rather accelerate than impede the movement, and unless some unforeseen cause of irritation should arise, I trust it will wear itself out and cease for want of provocation. If, however, contrary to my expectation, this agitation is persisted in, it will resolve itself into a conflict of races and become the greatest political difficulty we have had to contend with since the establishment of the British Government in these islands.” Merivale's comment was: “This seems serious.”2

On October 17 Gore Browne reported that an old feud between two tribes under Te Hapuku and Te Moananui in

1 C.O. 209, 142.

1 C.O. 209, 142.

1 C.O. 209, 142.

2 Ibid. In spite of his acceptance of the kingship the pension of Te Whero Whero (Potatau) was apparently continued until March 31, 1860. See below, p. 93.

page 49 the neighbourhood of Hawke's Bay had broken out into open hostilities and several lives had been lost on both sides.1 On November 9, in a despatch on the King movement, he wrote: “I learn that the emissaries sent to the South have met with but a lukewarm reception, and that in the North the natives have declined to join the movement.” Potatau's adviser had told him that Englishmen were at the bottom of the agitation for the election of a native King. “It is my intention,” he added, “to submit to the Assembly an act to empower the Governor to declare certain districts within which laws may be made by the Governor and his Executive Council as far as possible in accordance with the feelings and wishes of the natives.” The Colonial Office comment, in the margin, was: “At last.” The Office minute included the following “Hardly a despatch arrives without proof of the evils caused by the conflicting powers of Superintendents and the Governor.”1

The Governor, in a despatch of January 23, 1858, reported that Katatore had been ambushed and murdered by Ihaia's brother on one of the main roads of the Bell district, New Plymouth. The motive ascribed was revenge for the murder of Rawiri2 and jealousy that Katatore was able to offer land for sale, while Ihaia's offer of land had been rejected. Trouble was also reported in Hawke's Bay, where the chief Moananui was an ally of “Te Heu Heu, the chief organizer of the movement for establishing a Maori King in the Waikato and a league to prevent the sale of land to the Government.” The Governor added: “A building called the King's House and a flagstaff have been erected near the confluence of the Waipa and Waikato Rivers, but I have not thought it advisable to notice what I have no power to prevent…. I do trust that not less than two complete regiments and a steamer of war will be stationed permanently at New Zealand.”3

Lord Stanley, in a Colonial Office minute on this despatch, wrote: “The state of the Empire and especially that of India renders it impossible to send more troops, or to alter our de-

1 C.O. 209, 142.

1 C.O. 209, 142.

2 See above, p. 30. Cf. Saunders, I, 342. Though the chief Ihaia admitted that the murder was contrived and directed by him, no attempt was made to bring him to trial.

3 C.O. 209, 145.

page 50 cision in regard to the 58th. But the 65th will be kept up to its full strength.”1 In a despatch communicating this decision, on April 14, 1858, he said: “Her Majesty's Government must, and do, rely on the exertion of the colonists themselves, as well as on the spirit of cordiality and forbearance towards the native race, which it is hoped may continue to actuate them, for preventing or if necessary for aiding in keeping down, any inclination to disturbance which may exist among the latter.”1

On February 15 Governor Gore Browne reported that he had issued a proclamation declaring “that all persons whosoever who shall unlawfully assemble with arms within the boundaries of the district described in the schedule to this proclamation, will without further notice be treated as persons in arms against the Queen's authority and active measures will be forth-with taken against them by Her Majesty's civil authorities and military forces.” He added that the officer commanding the troops in New Plymouth had been directed, if satisfied that his interference was necessary, to call in all the inhabitants and inform them that it was not in his power to protect them unless they did as he directed: “He is also furnished with an authority to draw out the Militia for active service, and to call for military assistance from Wellington; but he is enjoined not to commence hostilities unless they are forced on by the natives…. Should war be forced upon us, of which however I have no sort of expectation at present, Her Majesty's Government and the people of the mother-country will know that they are assisting men who are willing to do all that is possible for themselves, and that war has not been brought on for the sake of commissariat expenditure by those who are willing to lay the burden on others, but shrink from bearing it themselves.”1

In a confidential despatch of February 18, 1858, Gore Browne said: “This [King] movement, if not originated, is fostered by a man named Davis,2 lately first interpreter in the Native Office, whose correspondence with the Maoris in all parts of New Zealand is very extensive…. He has also pub-

1 C.O. 209, 145.

1 C.O. 209, 145.

1 C.O. 209, 145.

2 C. O. Davis. F. E. Maning thought his Maori paper, Te Karere Maori, very mischievous in intention.

page 51 lished two numbers of a newspaper in Maori, in one of which recent events in India are related in a manner calculated to have the worst effect upon the natives…. You will perceive that the tribes occupying the country between Auckland and Wellington are those least prepared to amalgamate with the Europeans and adopt their customs. The elder chiefs whose memories are stored with deeds of savage might which formed the glory of their youth, view with jealousy and dislike the introduction of laws which will not only curtail their power, but make them of less importance than men of humble origin but better education. Many of the young men, too, have relapsed from the early fervour with which they embraced Christianity and have become indifferent or lukewarm on the subject. They have none of the continuous perseverance of the Anglo-Saxon race, and will only labour for short periods and at their pleasure.”1 This despatch was commended by the Colonial Office as “very interesting and well-written.”

In a despatch of February 25 Gore Browne wrote of the Maoris: “I need say no more than that in a military point of view they have every advantage, as they possess and are capable of threading fastnesses we cannot enter, and that they occupy the interior, while we are scattered along the coasts of the island. It may be asked—is a colony which possesses self-government in the most complete form to depend always on the mother-country for military support, and yet contribute nothing towards its expense? In answer I would submit that when the revenue arrives at a certain sum—say two hundred thousand pounds per annum, Her Majesty's Government may fairly require that the colony should contribute towards the cost of its protection, such contribution to increase with the increasing wealth of the colony.”

Here there is a Colonial Office note in the margin: “Yes, but the provincial revenues?”

“In a few years also,” the Governor's despatch went on, “it is to be hoped the natives will be so far advanced as no longer to require special exemption from the control of the Assembly and may in some way or other be represented in it. Till that time arrives I venture, at the risk of appearing im-

1 C.O. 209, 145.

page 52 portunate, to urge that a force sufficient to prevent any out-break on the part of the natives may be maintained in the colony, for the absence of such force may at any time subject New Zealand to disasters which would entail a vast expenditure of both blood and treasure.”1

Merivale wrote the following minute for Lord Carnarvon: “Governor Browne deserves credit for the frank and clear statement of his views. For my own part, I am very much inclined to believe that the maintenance of 2,000 men in New Zealand, disposed as he suggests, would be an excellent ‘investment’ for this country—that the stimulus which the sense of security would give to occupation and protection would soon amply repay it in a pecuniary point of view. But this is not the policy in vogue with Parliament or the country, and the next best thing is to adhere definitively to the scheme of reduction and force the colonists to defend themselves?” “Probably,” Lord Carnarvon replied, “but the aspect of affairs at New Plymouth is threatening and affords reasonable grounds for anxiety.” The despatch was referred to the War Office.2

Merivale, in a minute of August 24, 1858, on a speech by C. W. Richmond, Colonial Treasurer, on native affairs, wrote: “An able speech, but not one which would shake my own opinion of Sir George Grey's merit as an administrator. It may be that he trumpeted his own success too much. It may be that he talked too pompously of systems, when (as Mr. Richmond asserts) he introduced none. The truth is, he had the Maoris ‘well in hand.’ He could govern them and lead them towards civilization, and he did so. Very possibly this was mainly owing to his personal qualities; his knowledge of their

1 C.O. 209, 145.

2 Ibid. It may be noted that during the financial year 1857–8 there were in the colonies 47,000 troops. The British Exchequer disbursed for Colonial military defence £3,590,000, while the colonies' own total expenditure for the purpose was £378,000. Cf. Cambridge History of the British Empire—South Africa, p. 391: “The heavy expense of the Kaffir War of 1850–3, the menace of the native war in the Sovereignty, and the collapse of British administration there, caused a violent reaction in England in favour of that section of public opinion led by Cobden and Molesworth which demanded that the colonists should undertake and pay for the conduct of their own internal affairs.”

page 53 character, his nobleness of spirit and intention, even the romance and enthusiasm which lay in his character and responded to theirs. All this vanished when he left; inferior, though well-meaning, men succeeded: and his work has in great measure crumbled away—showing, perhaps, that he unconsciously attributed too much to his regulations, too little to his personal qualities. But a merely conceited man would have done just the reverse.” Lord Carnarvon wrote: “I entirely agree.” Sir E. Bulwer Lytton's comment was: “The speech has many striking thoughts, and affords but little substantial hope.”1 On May 25, 1858, the Southern Cross had written of Grey: “No one ever understood the art of displaying his plumes, borrowed or proper, to greater advantage, than did the ‘model governor.’ But day by day the fact is becoming more apparent that he bequeathed his difficulties to his successor.”1

On November 1 T. F. Elliot, Assistant Under-Secretary, wrote on a despatch from Gore Browne enclosing a memorial from New Plymouth concerning power to deal directly with the natives for land: “The New Zealand settlers have from the first origin of the colony been as willing to rush into rash disputes with the natives as unwilling afterwards to fight them out manfully. Insolent and aggressive in spirit, they have failed in the hour of action, and they are the last members of the Empire who can with any fair countenance seek to involve the national forces in difficult native wars in which their own part has so little redounded to their honour.”1

In the House of Representatives on June 25, 1858, F. A. Weld said he felt sure that if the Home Government were to say, in a moment of emergency, we need all our troops, that in such cases there was not an hon. member in that House, nor a man in the colony, but would willingly submit to any inconvenience or even risk that might accrue. But such was not now the case. The Home Government had not appealed to our national sympathies. They had simply said, “Keep our men, if you like to pay for them.” They had placed the whole question on the narrowest and most short-sighted commercial grounds. Gore Browne, in a despatch of July 15, wrote: “The colonists say that if they had been informed that respon-

1 C.O. 209, 145.

1 C.O. 209, 145.

1 C.O. 209, 145.

page 54 sible government entailed payment for any part of the military and naval protection they would not have accepted it until they were able to comply with the terms.”1

After reading all the papers, Sir E. Bulwer Lytton, in a minute of October 23, expressed himself as certain that a force of at least 2,000 men was not one too many in New Zealand if great disasters were to be averted.2

On August 19 Gore Browne forwarded “far from satisfactory” accounts of the progress of the King movement. He trusted that “time and absolute indifference and neglect on the part of the Government will teach the natives the folly of proceedings undertaken only at the promptings of vanity and instigated by disaffected advisers.” “In the entire absence of naval protection and the expected reduction of the military force,” he added, “no other course is open to me, even should my anticipations prove incorrect.”3 The Governor also forwarded a translation of a letter from native chiefs of Rangiao-whia to Wiremu Kingi of New Plymouth: “Friend, I have to tell you that the Council has agreed to visit you, and that a King has arisen (or has been appointed) for New Zealand—laws have been agreed upon and the authority of the land has been vested in the King throughout his territory…. At the meeting at Rangiaowhia, 1,529 persons were seen to bend their knees to King Potatau, and at the meeting at Ngaruawahia 860 men (gave in their submission).”4

The Governor, in a despatch of October 14, on native

1 C.O. 209, 146.

2 Ibid., 145. Cf. Life of Lord Norton, by W. S. Childe-Pemberton, p. 172. John Robert Godley wrote of Lytton on August 21, 1858: “Sir E. Lytton talked incessantly and charmingly, quite realizing my idea of an illogical, eloquent man of genius…. He is literally made about his responsibilities and fancies he is going to reform the whole Colonial empire. He gets up in the middle of the night to write despatches, and is furious if they don't actually go in twelve hours.” Lytton tendered his resignation in December 1858, for health reasons. He was estranged from his wife and “the brightest moment of his public career coincided with the darkest hour of his private affliction.” (See Life of Edward Bulwer, by the Earl of Lytton, 1913, chapters 4 and 6.) On remonstrance from Lord Derby and Disraeli, Lytton withdrew his resignation, but secured release with the defeat of the Government in the general election and a vote of no-confidence at the end of May 1859. The new Secretary of State was the Duke of Newcastle.

3 C.O. 209, 146.

4 Ibid., 147.

page 55 affairs, wrote: “The difficulties and intricacies which have arisen from the juxtaposition and relative interests of the two races have led to the admission of those who possess the confidence of the Assembly to a participation in the management of native affairs as a matter of expediency, the extent of which is briefly as follows: I admit the right of the Assembly to legislate in the manner it thinks proper, reserving to myself the right to veto as provided by the Constitution Act. I retain to myself the executive and administrative part of native affairs, admitting my responsible advisers to full information, and granting them the right to advise me, but reserving to myself the right to act upon my own judgment when I differ from them. This arrangement was announced to the assembly when responsible government was granted, has been approved by Her Majesty's Government and accepted by the Assembly. I see no reason to think that any alteration of this arrangement would be either advisable or advantageous.” The Governor transmitted a memorandum on native affairs by the responsible ministers in which they said: “Ministers desire to see the Department of Native Affairs conducted by one of the Ministry as its acknowledged head, but subject to the supervision and control of the Governor.”1

The “Native Territorial Rights Bill,” proposed by ministers, was opposed by the Governor and the Native Department. The Governor declined to recommend it for the Queen's assent. It contained a provision asserting a right to levy a tax of ten shillings an acre on land alienated by natives to Europeans. Gairdner, in a Colonial Office minute on the subject, took the view that “there is a marked exhibition of ability and subtlety on the one side, and of clear manly common sense on the other,” in the controversy between ministers and the Governor, traversed in voluminous minutes, letters, reports, and despatches. The Bill was disallowed.1

Gairdner wrote on an Admiralty letter of December 7, 1858: “We have at last wrung from the Admiralty a promise that a war steamer shall be sent to New Zealand, though it will probably not be long detained on that unpleasant station.” Lord Carnarvon: “This is certainly a point gained—thanks

1 C.O. 209, 147.

1 C.O. 209, 147.

page 56 to unwearied writing.” Sir E. Bulwer Lytton's comment was: “I am heartily glad of this concession, which I urged much on my colleagues.”1

In a despatch of January 25, 1859, Gore Browne reported that attempts had been made by Maoris at Kawhia “to levy contributions from Europeans in the name of the Maori King” and that serious disturbances had broken out among the Maoris at Wanganui. “I regret also to state,” he added, “that I am about to withdraw the European magistrate from the Bay of Islands on the East Coast owing to the disaffection evinced by the natives in that district.” The Governor trusted that time and “the supreme indifference manifested towards the restless agitators who foment the troubles, will produce the desired effect.” The Colonial Office minute, written by Gairdner, read: “This is not a satisfactory report, but the firm and temperate policy of Governor Browne will probably serve to check any serious difficulties. In the meantime the military force has been increased and the Admiralty have reported the assignment of an armed steam vessel for that station.”1 The Colonial Office minute on the Governor's Financial Statement forwarded by the Governor on January 27, 1859, was: “This certainly shows a favourable result. The New Zealand colonists are always proud of their progress except when they wish to get rid of a liability and then they are apt to plead poverty.”1

In a despatch of February 12 the Governor stated that the Government was willing to support an entire company of the Royal Engineers in New Zealand at its own expense.1 The offer was referred to the War Office, who replied: “The offer to pay the men while employed in civil labour, however specious, means in fact nothing more than that the colony would be glad to obtain trained surveyors at much less than the market price, the cost of their passage besides being paid by this country.” In a Colonial Office minute Gairdner wrote: “It would perhaps be better not to send this letter, as it would probably irritate the colonists. The same meaning might be conveyed in more courteous terms.”

Merivale was sympathetic towards the colony: “Surveying operations are all in all for a young colony,” he said. “The need

1 C.O. 209, 150.

1 C.O. 209, 150.

1 C.O. 209, 150.

1 C.O. 209, 150.

page 57 for them ought not to be treated as an ordinary case of supply and demand. If, therefore, the application does mean what the War Office suggest, namely that the colony wants to get trained surveyors below market price, then the colony wants the very best thing for its own development, and the best thing for the trade of the mother-country, which is to receive an impulse from that development. If this country could give engineers for nothing, it would be of the greatest possible advantage to both parties.” Chichester Fortescue and the Duke of Newcastle agreed with Merivale, but the Duke decided that in view of the condition of Europe at the time, he could not press the matter on the War Office.1

In a despatch of March 29, 1859, the Governor stated that he had visited Taranaki, where he found “the settlers dissatisfied with the Government and ill pleased with the Maoris, who, though they possess large tracts of land which they cannot occupy, refuse to sell any portion of it.” The Governor said he had had an interview with the Chief Wiremu Kingi and a large part of his tribe and had taken the opportunity to declare that every man, whether Maori or Pakeha, who committed a crime within the European boundaries, would be arrested and brought before a judge and any sentence pronunced would be carried into effect.

During the meeting Te Teira offered to dispose of land at the mouth of the Waitara river. The Governor promised to buy it if he could prove his title to it. “William King (Wiremu Kingi) then rose, and, while asserting no claim to it, said he would never permit that land to be sold. Then, waving his hand to his people, he and they left the meeting with some want of courtesy to myself…. I have little fear that William King will resort to violence to maintain his assumed right, but I have made every precaution to enforce obedience should he presume to do so.”2 Thus was the fatal purchase made which was to be the occasion, if not in fact the final cause, of long and bitter warfare. Possibly no other single act in all the long and controversial history of New Zealand has led to more conflict in deeds or in words.

On June 13 Gore Browne described his visit to Wellington

1 C.O. 209, 152.

2 Ibid., 150.

page 58 during which, he said, “Epuni informed the native secretary that a European had disturbed the minds of the natives in the Wairarapa district, and had caused great apprehension by telling them that the object of my visit was to mature a plan for the destruction of their race.” Proceeding to Wanganui from Otaki, the Governor found that “an emissary from the party who profess allegiance to the Maori King” had preceded him. He was able “to disabuse the minds of the natives of many impositions to which they had been subjected by designing persons.” “The chiefs subsequently,” he said, “opened a negotiation for the cession of all their lands (subject to proper reserves) from Manawatu to the European boundary on the north-west side of Wellington, being a distance of some forty-five miles. In making this offer they openly declared their distrust of the settlers' government and of the commissioners appointed under the Native Reserves Act, 1856, of whom several are native chiefs, but offered to place themselves in the hands of myself and Mr. Maclean.” Here Gairdner, in the Colonial Office, noted in the margin: “This is remarkable”—as indeed it was.

“From Wellington,” the Governor continued, “I proceeded to the New Province of Hawke's Bay, where also I had interviews with some important chiefs. Here too I found the emissaries of the party professing allegiance to the Maori King had preceded me, but I have reason to think that their influence was in a great degree neutralized by my visit.” Referring to the King movement, the Governor stated that in 1857 Potatau had given him an assurance that he would control the then probable movement, that he had no desire to be King, and that he would always be a faithful subject to Her Majesty. The Governor said he had every reason to believe that the old chief had adhered to his promise.

“At the time alluded to,” he said, “I appointed Mr. Fenton to be magistrate of that district, this officer being enthusiastic in his desire to introduce law amongst the natives. It soon, however, appeared that the tribes of the Waikato were divided into two parties: one chose Potatau as their head and was composed of all the old and important chiefs: the other consisted of young men who called themselves the Queen's party and desired to be assimilated with the English. page 59 I will not assert that Mr. Fenton's indiscretion was the cause of this formation of two distinct parties in this district, because it is possible that this movement was beyond his control, but he unwisely allied himself with the latter party. Potatau explained that his position as the great chief of the Waikato had been recognized by all the Governors, but that now young men were encouraged to disregard his authority and that some slights had been put upon him. I soon found that if Potatau had chosen to assume the position his followers desire to thrust upon him, all the chiefs of importance in the South would join him (an opinion in which I am fully confirmed by my recent tour), and I have strong reason to believe that many of the leading men on the other side only wanted to see if he really would establish a national party, when they would also join him. As soon as this came to my knowledge, I declared that I would recognize no parties at all: that Her Majesty was the only Sovereign of New Zealand, but that I fully acknowledged Potatau (as all my predecessors had done) as the great chief of the Waikato. This tranquillized affairs, but I was accused of putting an extinguisher on the Queen's party who were alone thought deserving of consideration.”

The Governor reported that Fenton had been appointed assistant law officer in 1858 and removed from the Waikato.1 He was now awaiting a report before sending another magistrate to the district. On the general state of the country the Governor reported favourably: “Any one may travel from one end of the island to the other without fear of molestation. The mail is now carried by Maoris, and single individuals wander fearlessly through districts in which the missionaries witnessed horrors almost incredible.” “I believe,” he added, “that the individualization of property and the exchange of a communal title to a Crown grant are most desirable, and will

1 Cf. J. E. Gorst, The Maori King (1864): “To extinguish Mr. Fenton was no doubt a great triumph for the Native Department but has since turned out rather a costly one for the British Empire.” The report of a select committee of the House of Representatives, dated October 31, 1860, noted “the entire want of harmonious action between the Ministry and the Department of the Native Secretary.” Fenton's report is in C.O. 209, 156. For an impression of Fenton and of the general state of the Waikato before the wars, see More Maoriland Adventures of J.W. Stack, edited by A.H. Reed (1936).

page 60 contribute more than any one thing to the amalgamation of the two races.”1

In a despatch of June 15, 1859, the Governor noted that land in Wanganui was selling at £2,000 per acre.1 In a despatch of the same date, he referred to the deadlock at Wellington between the Superintendent, Dr. Isaac Featherston, and his Council. Chichester Fortescue,2 the new Under-Secretary of State, wrote: “It is difficult to read with patience this account of the working of the machinery of government at Wellington—two rival powers both created by all but universal suffrage, a miniature assembly of (I suppose) some dozen members, a President of the little republic. And the latter required to ‘reign’ through ‘responsible advisers,’ that is, the hostile majority of a Council, which he defies, trusting to his own popular origin and support.” The Duke of Newcastle added this comment: “The colonists will probably soon find out that an elected superintendent is incompatible with the system he is supposed to work.”3

To fears of Maori aggression was now added dread of foreign attack. France and England were on the verge of war. In a letter to the officer commanding the troops, Colonel Gold, dated August 2, 1859, the Governor wrote: “As the erection of batteries and the supply of arms, etc., from England are matters requiring considerable time, while the colony would in all probability be in greater danger from the French squadron at New Caledonia immediately after a declaration of war than at a later date, I beg to suggest for your consideration such preparations as could be made at a moment's notice.… I have already ascertained that at least one hundred volunteers trained to artillery can be obtained at a moment's notice, and arrangements are being made for enrolling them and establishing a fixed rate of pay.”4

In a despatch of August 14, the Governor referred to the Admiralty's statement that the Niger, steam frigate, would be sent to Sydney for service in New Zealand. “I have, however,” he said, “heard nothing of the Niger, and am reminded that similar assurances of naval protection have been repeated

1 C.O. 209, 150.

1 C.O. 209, 150.

2 He became Baron Carlingford in 1874.

3 C.O. 209, 150.

4 Ibid., 151.

page 61 more than once since 1854.”1 The Governor reiterated his former appeals for greater military strength. The 65th Regiment then consisted, he said, of 924 rank and file fit for duty, spread over the colony. “I cannot but see with some uneasiness,” he added, “the continuance of the movement in favour of a Maori King. With the means at my disposal nothing can be done, or could ever have been done, to arrest it;2 nor do I apprehend any immediate danger from it. Should any unfortunate circumstance lead to a collision, the union of a large body of natives under a single chief, with their central position in the fastnesses of the country, would give them a great advantage. There are seldom wanting in New Zealand disaffected Europeans who for selfish purposes desire to foment discord between the two races; and by the last mail from Wellington I learn that a deserter and others have been disturbing the minds of the natives in that neighbourhood and exciting them to arm: that they were purchasing arms extensively and being drilled, and that they have used meanaces which had alarmed both the settlers and the civil authorities. I trust these fears will prove exaggerated, and that the evil influence has not spread beyond the district. If, however, blood were once shed by the Europeans, even in self-defence, it would be impossible to foresee the consequences. Some unprotected family would probably be murdered in revenge: the murderers would find countenance and support in their tribe, and the flame of war once kindled, would extend throughout the island. There can be no doubt of the ultimate success of Her Majesty's arms in any contest with the native race, but the consequences to the scattered European population of this colony, in even a successful conflict, could not fail to be ruinous and distressing in the extreme and to prevent such a calamity the protecting force should be of strength sufficient to make it apparent to the natives that successful opposition is impossible.”3
Fortescue, who, in a minute to the Duke of Newcastle,

1 The Niger arrived at Auckland in October 1859 (C.O. 209, 151).

2 Cf. Buddle, The Maori King Movement: “If,” said an intelligent Waikato chief, “some means had been initiated at an earlier period to give the Chiefs a status in connection with the Government and some part in the administration of our affairs, we should not have had a Maori King.” See also Keesing, op. cit., p. 48.

3 C.O. 209, 151.

page 62 dismissed as of little importance the possibility of foreign attack, added: “But the other danger is a serious one—the presence of a large body of warlike, excitable and now, it seems, excited natives—living under, or rather by the side of, a Government suited, as the Governor truly says, to a high state of civilization, which allows them to arm themselves to any extent and does not control with a strong hand European agitators making mischief among them. Then there are the facts that the settlers are often scattered and utterly unprotected, that there would be very great difficulty in raising a permanent militia force, and that a war between settlers and natives would be far more revengeful and sanguinary, and would leave far greater evils behind it, than one carried on by regular troops. As to the amount of protection which ought to be supplied, a steam gunboat capable of entering the harbours and an increase of the 65th to 1,200 men would probably suffice. I believe you are opposed to the idea of a man-of-war specially attached to the colony and paid by it. Might not then the opportunity be taken to obtain an increased military contribution to about the same amount as the colony offers to make for the gunboat, giving them the latter free, and drawing the very sound distinction, as it seems to me, between the general naval defence of the Empire, which the Imperial Government will undertake, and the military defence of its particular portions to which each ought to contribute.”

The Duke of Newcastle wrote: “I should be glad to see the regiment in New Zealand raised to 1,200 men, and this ought to be done, but I cannot recommend another battalion…. If a native insurrection were to take place, two things should be borne in mind: (1) that no military force which could be sent there could undertake to protect scattered settlers, and (2) that the soldiers should act in force against the enemy in the field and the small posts must be withdrawn and their places occupied by volunteers. This is the best way to prevent the sanguinary excesses which will occur when civilians only half trained to arms and smarting under the loss of property, and perhaps of relatives, are called upon to take the field unchecked by the presence of regular soldiers.”1

1 C.O. 209, 151.

page 63

In a despatch of August 22, 1859, the Governor said that he had received a letter from the Superintendent of Wellington (Dr. Featherston) “in which he states that Sir George Grey's scheme for disarming the natives and rendering another war wellnigh impossible has been successful to a degree which he himself could not reasonably have anticipated, but that the state of affairs has been entirely changed, and the fruits of his policy lost, by the issue of a proclamation by myself on June 25, 1857, superseding Sir George Grey's regulations and substituting others in their place.” The Governor stated that the Superintendent was in error in referring to Sir George Grey's proclamation of 1846 as being the one in force previous to 1857. It should have been the one dated August 20, 1851. “You will perceive,” he added, “that instead of relaxing the restrictions on the sale of arms the proclamation of 1857 made them rather more stringent.” The Governor said that only 43 guns had been legally sold in Wellington since the proclamation. “That they have been sold illegally,” he added, “is no fault of the proclamation or of mine, for the police and all means of prevention are in the hands of the Superintendent. The sale of gunpowder is, however, permitted freely by the proclamation.” He explained that this was due to his finding that all the unfriendly natives were abundantly supplied with arms and ammunition, and “that our friends complained that we would neither protect them nor enable them to protect themselves: that smuggling was carried on almost openly; that prosecutions had signally failed, even when the breach of the law was notorious.”1

Fortescue wrote on this: “I think the answer should contain an approval of the course taken by the Governor. The tone of the correspondence between Mr. Featherston and the General Government is very characteristic of a New Zealand superintendent and very different from what it would be were he the deputy of the Governor. The latter seems to have no power to enforce police regulations, even on these critical native subjects.” The Duke of Newcastle's instruction was: “Approve the Governor's proceedings.”1 A Select Committee appointed in 1858 by the New Zealand House of Representa-

1 C.O. 209, 151.

1 C.O. 209, 151.

page 64 tives, decided that “it would not be judicious at present to make any attempt to re-impose the former restrictions on the sale of arms and ammunition.” Referring to the sale of ammunition in a despatch of September 21, 1859, Gore Browne said that the Superintendent of Canterbury had used his power to remove all restrictions on the importation of gunpowder to that province, thus rendering the maintenance of restrictions in other parts of the colony useless.1

In a despatch on the administration of native affairs, Gore Browne wrote: “The natives have seen the land they alienated for farthings resold for pounds; they feel that dominion and power, or as they term it ‘Substance,’ went from them with the territories they alienated, and they look with apprehension to the annihilation of their nationality. The consequence of this feeling has been the formation of a league to prevent the alienation of land, commenced by the tribes in the Waikato before my arrival in the colony and which has since been combined with the so-called King movement.”

“The Europeans,” the Governor went on, “covet these (Maori) lands and are determined to enter in and possess them, recte si possunt, si non quocunque modo. This determination becomes daily more apparent. A member of the Auckland Provincial Council stated in the Council that ‘the fault lay in the system of acquiring land from the natives. We were called upon to leave them the best land and sacrifice ourselves to sympathy for the natives—and all that kind of humbug. The settlers had no room for their stock and would be obliged to set Government at defiance…. People would soon begin to act on the old principle of letting land belong to those who can keep it.’”

The Governor saw clearly the dangers of such a policy: “The immediate consequence of any attempt to acquire Maori lands without previously extinguishing the native title to the satisfaction of all having interest in them would be a universal outbreak in which many innocent Europeans would perish, and colonization would be definitely retarded, but the native race would be eventually extirpated.” He recommended that the Governor should be assisted by a permanent council for

1 C.O. 209, 151.

page 65 native affairs, to be nominated by the Crown. He also proposed, somewhat doubtfully, that the responsible ministry should have the power to recommend two persons to Her Majesty.1

In a Colonial Office memorandum on this despatch it was stated: “Much discussion from time to time occurred in consequence of the steadfast desire by the responsible ministers to press their interference in native questions, a claim which Colonel Browne has hitherto succeeded in resisting with great firmness and temper on essential points…. All the evidence goes to show the strong and striking difference which is attached by the natives to the influence of the Queen and her representative, and to that of the Ministers, whom they at once recognize as a body having no permanent existence in themselves and dependent on the will of the Legislature, a body which they regard as their natural adversaries.”1 In a despatch of ebruary 22, 1860, on his visit to the Poverty Bay district, Gore Browne stated that the Maoris were much wanting in courtesy to him. “They objected,” he said, “to the Union Jack hoisted at the magistrate's residence during my stay, said they should not recognize the Queen, and that unless I visited them for the purpose of restoring the lands which the Europeans had cheated them out of, they did not wish to see me.” The Governor noted that since the Rev. T. S. Grace had presided over the church during Archdeacon W. Williams's absence in England the Maoris had openly and distinctly objected to the prayer for the Queen used in the Church of England service. The Duke of Newcastle's comment was: “Mr. Grace may very probably become responsible for bloodshed.”2

In New Plymouth the dissatisfaction of the settlers with the lack of land for occupation was growing acute. In a leading article of January 7, 1860, the Taranaki Herald said: “At the close of another year we are again discouraged to find that next to nothing has been effected by the Land Purchase Department for the Province. Our transactions during that period after so much promise and expectation, show a purchase of fourteen thousand acres of back forest land! A small payment, it is true, has been made for some land at the Waitara, but the opposition affect to treat this as a mere present, and the view—and we

1 C.O. 209, 151.

1 C.O. 209, 151.

2 Ibid., 153.

page 66 should add the opposition itself—is strengthened by the reprehensible procrastination of the Government in following up the purchase…. It is a fact patent to everyone that the land Teira sold was exclusively his own, and the Government openly paid him an instalment on account of it…. Limited as Teira's land is said to be, it is his own, and a great principle is involved in the issue. It is besides acknowledged by the natives to be the key to purchases of land in Taranaki on a scale commensurate with the requirements of the province, and we therefore implore the Government not to let another year pass over as resultless to us as 1859 has been.” The year 1860 was to be far from resultless, and the direct appeal of the settlers to the Government was not without influence in precipitating a conflict destined to last for more than ten years.