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Renata's Speech and Letter to the Superintendent of Hawke's Bay on the Taranaki War Question; in the original Maori, with an English translation.


page 21S


This is the Reply to Renata's Speech spoken by him here at the Pawhakairo. This speech is by Mr. Fitzgerald, Superintendent of Ahuriri.

My friends Renata, and all of you, listen. Do not imagine that only your hearts are grieved. We also are in a state of sadness. Yes, all the Pakehas in this country are sad about this. It is not an agreeable thing for a magistrate to try one of his intimate friends or his brother. But what is to be done in a case of wrong? Is evil to be allowed to prevail? Also with one amongst us a father of children, if one or his children does wrong, a great wrong, rebels against his father, is it right for this father to shut his eyes? Can he possibly help whipping him? If the father rejects the use of the rod, in a very short time all the children will rebel, and turn round and trample upon him: for this reason the father inflicts chastisement and pain upon his children, that they may obey and be good children, and do honor to their father. This is what the Governor is doing. It is not that either whipping or fighting is a good thing: it is a bad thing; a hard, a bitter, a painful, a sorrowful thing; a thing of great sadness. But he is doing it as one administers a dose of physic, that by it, though it be bitter, good may accrue. Who will speak in favor of that manner of life now going on at Taranaki? It is far better with us here at Ahuriri; we live together, eat together, buy and sell together, and sleep in peace; that is much better. Now, as to what you say about the Governor, that he should listen to what you say, and consent to your proposals, the Governoi follows his own course, because he is from the Queen; he stands in the place of the. Queen: he is above all of us, and he alone is the controller of his own actions: his chief business is to give forth good regulations, by which life and peace and good fellowship may be permanent amongst men. The goodwill of the Governor towards the Maori has been plainly seen these many years past. Yes, he is very sad about this war, and on account of those of us who have been killed, and he desires to put a stop to the war, and to make peace; but the rebellious heart of man must be first put down, that the peace may be a lasting, not a hollow one. Now, it is quite right for the people to say to the Governor good and true words, and to make their voices distinctly heard when they have a grievance; but we have no right to find fault with him about the war, because in our opinion his quarrel with W. King is a just one. The Governor is the great man of these islands of New Zealand over Pakehas and Maoris. Well, he heard of the cause of quarrel between W. King and Te Teira about the land at Waitara, on hearing of which he said that it should be carefully investigated, it was investigated accordingly, and at great length, and it was seen that Te Teira was in the right, but W. King obstinately held out. Then the Governor went to Taranaki, that he might himself see both parties, and hear what they had to say, page 22Sthinking that his decision would be respected. (Had W. King been an English gentleman the Governor would not have gone, but have sent his people; but he had great regard for W. King; because the Governor knew W. King was an obstinate man, and the Governor had no wish for bloodshed, on which account he went) Well, when he got there, they assembled together, and the matter was discussed at great length. The Governor asked W. King in presence of the Assembly about the piece of land, whether it belonged to Te Teira. W. King did not say that land is not Te Teira's, all he said was, "I will not suffer it to be sold;" and when he had said this he arose and walked out Now, my friends, what I say is true; we of the General Assembly at Auckland have seen the truth of this story; therefore we agree in the propriety of what the Governor has done at Tarnnaki, even a though it is a very sorrowful business. For if the Governor had not acted as he did, he and the Queen would have been trampled upon, aye, and all the laws and all good regulations would all have been destroyed together. He is the chief of the Pakehas and the Maori, and let all obey him; as also say the holy Apostles, "Let every one submit himself to the higher powers" And this is another word, "Let the nations of believers be pliant to receive all regulations, whether from the Almighty or from Governors who have been sent by him to punish the evil doers, and as a reward unto the good.

Now, my friend Renata, and all of you, listen to me. Do not imagine that it is only we, the Pakehas, who uphold the course adopted by the Governor at Taranaki; there are a great many Maoris who say the same thing: and if there be a few Pakehas who say the Governor is wrong, those are not good Pakehas: they are chattering, growling, grumbling Pakehas, aye, bad Pakehas. For all that a right-minded man wishes is to uphold and maintain the great regulations and laws, so that peace may prevail upon the earth. As for this matter, it was most carefully investigated when I was in the House of Representatives at Auckland. How careful was the enquiry of that Assembly; its diligent researches, its careful and penetrating questions Nothing could equal it; it was greater than I could tell. This was our chief employment at that Assembly by which our days were taken up, that we might truly arrive at the root and the truth. And when it was ended and quite finished, it was decided by us that the Governor was in the right. Aye, and it was also determined by that meeting that no peace could be made with William King till he had laid down his arms and submitted himself to the law. Let William King do this, and afterwards let him set forth his grievance, and he will be listened to if he is in any degree in the right. This is simple enough; it is evident to the whole world, and cannot be gainsaid, that there can only be one bead for the body, one chief authority over us all; one fountain from which all regulations and laws spring, that we may all be under one system, that we may be one united people, as is the case in all properly regulated countries. For it has been written, "A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand; and if a city or a house be divided against itself it cannot stand." Now, you say that the soldiers having gone hence to fight at Taranaki, is a cause of complaint to you; but none of the troops have left this: true, two of the officers have gone to Auckland, but two more have arrived from Wanganui to relieve them. At all events, none of us have anything to say to the troops; they are set apart for that particular purpose, that is, to fight in time of war; for that purpose were they made soldiers, and for that purpose have they come here, that is, to pro-page 22Steet those who are living peaceably, and to fight with wrong-doers, with men who trample upon the laws, that is their occupation, and they must obey orders. If you, my friends, go to Taranaki, it will be a source of grief to us; for we have all lived peaceably together for many years past, and we do not wish that our Maori friends should act thus, for we well know that if ten men should go, that same ten will not return. Better that we should act a sensible part (kia manawanui tatou); do not you cut down the tree that has been so well planted by us and those who are gone.

And now, my friends, Renata and all of you, I and all of us know to what this quarrel at Taranaki tends, and what will be the end of it. But of the precise time at which it will end, and how little or how much fighting must first take place, I can of course have no idea. Possibly William King and his foolish friends may be able to drag it on some time longer; it may be in his power to lengthen out this trouble, this sorrow and grief which causes such pain to so many people that may be within his reach. But notwithstanding that he may do this, there can be no mistake about the end; and the end is this,—that man must let down his bristles and his pride, and must obey his sovereign the Queen; this is the end; there cannot be any other; sooner or later it must come to this. But if it be long, this island will be covered with soldiers and fighting men; for the Queen will never suffer her Governor and her laws to be made light of, and trampled under foot; whatever she undertakes must inevitably be brought to a successful termination: for Her Majesty lives, and she has full power to carry out this affair.

It is true that some of the Waikato tribes have joined with William King. Perhaps this is the very tribe that sold its possessions in Taranaki to the Governor, and can therefore have no grounds for s pporting William King. Is not this seeking a quarrel with the Governor? Probably this has been done to increase the rent in the garment so wide hat it can never be sown together again: that is to say, they fancy that by fighting and divisions they will establish their Maori King in Waikato as an enemy of the Queen. Alas! do you not consider, my friends? Alas! cannot you divine the root of this course adapted by Waikato? From whom do you suppose emanate jealousy, and divisions, and rebellion, and the evil heart? Who is the one who soweth seeds of evil in our hearts? Now I know that this proceeding of Waikato is not good; from it can emanate no good thing, but only evil; it is a very great crime that setting up of a pretended King by Waikato: yea, I am persuaded that there is evil in it, as well lor the people of Waikato as for all others who join with them. You will find that out anon. For it cannot be right that there should be two great men as heads over one people. Neither are the Maoris able to fight against the Queen of England, and prevail against her; it is impossible. This is the desire of the Pakeha, to see the Maori nation advancing and improving even as his own has done. This can be accomplished by the Maori people supporting the Governor. The Maori nation cannot exist or advance divided from the Pakeha. There has never been a nation that, having once become acquainted with the use of money, could afterwards do without it. And where will the Maori get money if there are no Pakehas? My friends; reflect care fully over what I have said to you.

Now, as to what you said about guns and powder. What is the use of a quantity of powder being stored up by anybody? The only possible reason for laying it by in quantity can be for the purpose of fighting. In former times, if a tribe were seen building a page 24Spa, the reason was known: and so nowadays, the Government takes alarm when the Maoris are seen buying arms and ammunition in large quantities. For instance, there is very little powder and a very few guns in the hands of the settlers hereabouts; for powder is not a thing that is better for long keeping. A Pakeha sportsman buys a very little powder at a time; but the Maori is always buying, always keeping, and always storing up. My friends, to what purpose?

Now for this saying of yours, "There was one system of purchase formerly, and a different one afterwards,"—that is, with regard to the blocks of land that have been bought. I have not much to say on this subject, because I answered you upon it at our last meeting here. Yes, indeed, it has been seen that you are yourselves the chief cause of this new system of purchase. It has not arisen with the Governor or with his Land Purchase Staff, but with yourselves. We know this: for you locked up the land. The land was free (rangatira) formerly; aye, free from your forefathers down even to yourselves. But now you have locked it up (kua hereheretia); for you have said, "No man shall be allowed to sell his piece, even though it be his own individual property." Verily, friend Renata, this is really the cause from which sprung the new system of purchase,—not from the Governor, but from yourselves. All these customs are like those of the tapu Maori, and of the setting up of claims to land (rahui), which do not suit the present times; for these customs are of the dark ages, but now the sun has shone upon you, and your eyes are opened, so that you can see; and you cannot now go back to these old customs which have passed away.

I have nothing to say in reply to your disparagement (kupu whakaiti) of Te Teira, for his genealogy has been printed and published long since. Is not this word ahout Manuka a childish word? for there are numbers of Maori chiefs, north and south, with names no better than that of which you make light.

You have acted rightly in putting stop to mischievous attempts, such as those you tell me of, of Tipa and Wanganui. We also follow the same rule of putting down the evil trickg of silly and insane persons.

What you say ahout likening the settlement to Parininihi is very good. Let that word remain and be observed. We shall see hereafter whether the Governor or a Maori will be the first to scale one of these cliffs.

As to what you say in the latter part of your speech about the jeering remarks of certain Pakehas think no more of that, For you know full well that these things are not said by right-minded and well-disposed Pakehas; and which of us pays any attention to the barking of a cur, to the cry of a gull, to the roaring of the surf? You say quite truly, "This matter is in the hands of the Almighty."

And then this other word of yours, let me apply this word to yourself, "If you persist in fighting, it is well; the end is with God, about you as well as about us. This is our wish, that we should all of us join together in putting down this evil, that it may come to an end." Yes, my friend, this is a very good sentiment, but let us not apply it to this particular evil only, but to all causes of difference. Therefore I say to you, to this tribe, lay a firm hold on the regulations of Government that you may see life and length of days, and prosperity increasing without end (kia kite ai koe i te ora rahi, i te ora matotoru, i te ora mau tou, tupu tou.) That is all I have to say at present. Shake hands, the whole tribe of you. Salutations to you. How do you do?