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Historical Records of New Zealand

Rev. S. Marsden to Rev. E. Bickersteth

Rev. S. Marsden to Rev. E. Bickersteth.

Parramatta, 25th April, 1831.

Revd. Sir,—

A few days ago I wrote to Mr. Coates giving him some account of the recent ocurrences which have taken place at New Zealand for the information of your Committee.…The Governor as well as the Archdeacon are desirous to do all that can be done to prevent the repetition of similar acts of murder and cruelty. The Governor has issued a General Order prohibiting the importation of the heads of the New Zealanders into N. S. Wales, many having been brought to the colony. I have no doubt but the Governor will point out the necessity of a Resident being appointed to New Zealand to whom the natives may appeal for redress for acts of cruelty, &c., done upon them by the Europeans. Something must be done, or all commercial connexion must cease between N. Zealand and this colony. The natives will most assuredly revenge their own wrongs unless some protection is afforded them. I am not under any apprehension for the safety of the missionaries, as their characters and views are well known by the natives, and their persons respected.…

The original cause of the difference between the tribes on the Middle Island and Kappetee, on the north side of Cook’s Straits, appears to be the following: A chief named Tupai-Cupa, who visited England a few years ago, and who was at Liverpool with Doctor Traill, and kindly treated by him and other friends in that town, which was a subject of his constant conversation when he returned to Parramatta, where he remained with me until an opportunity offered for his return to New Zealand. When he arrived at home he visited the inhabitants on the Middle Island; on his third visit he was killed. His friends have sought satisfaction for his death ever since, and by the assistance of the Europeans they have obtained it to the full. What the New Zealanders are indignant against the Europeans for is their joining either party in their wars. This conduct they will resent, unless those in authority in New South Wales or in page 718 England take measures to prevent. It appears nothing could be more horrid than the conduct of the Europeans in these transactions. The British Government must take notice of them, or expose their own subjects who visit that island to the constant danger of murder. I am fully aware that there may be great difficulty in obtaining legal evidence against the Europeans concerned in the business, as the evidence of the natives may not be admitted, and it seems to be the prevailing opinion that the law as it now stands will not extend to crimes of the above nature committed in New Zealand. Should this be the case some Act should be passed by the British Parliament to redress the wrongs of natives. Many desperate characters who either are or have been convicts escape to New Zealand, and mix up with the natives, and are capable of committing any crime. I have thought it my duty to state what has taken place, and I hope our Colonial Government will immediately adopt some measures to check the conduct of the Europeans in future.

I have, &c.,

Samuel Marsden.

Revd. Edward Bickersteth.