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The Old Whaling Days

Chapter XXIII. — The Coming of the Crown, 1840

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Chapter XXIII.
The Coming of the Crown, 1840.

In this Chapter the Treaty of Waitangi will be dealt with only so far as it immediately concerns the South Island of New Zealand, and no further back in its history than the arrival of Governor Hobson in Sydney. Should the author ever undertake the history of the North Island of New Zealand, the series of events which took place in England, and which produced the New Zealand Company and the New Zealand Governor, will there be dealt with, meantime both matters are taken up at the same point—their respective arrivals at the theatre of their future operations.

At the end of 1839, and while the American Scientific Expedition under Commander Wilkes was in that port refitting, Captain Hobson arrived in Sydney on board H.M.S. Druid, and sailed again for the Bay of Islands on 19th January. He had no sooner left than Governor Gibbs published three Proclamations giving effect to the changes decided on by the Imperial Government. The first extended the boundaries of New South Wales to include “any territory which is or may be acquired in sovereignty” within the Islands of New Zealand; the second appointed Captain Hobson Lieutenant-Governor of the New Zealand territory acquired, or to be acquired; the third required all titles to land to be derived from, or confirmed by, a Crown Grant, and stated that all titles already granted would be investigated by Commissioners, but all purchasers from Chiefs or tribes after the date thereof would be void. That date was 14th January, 1840.

Hobson arrived at the Bay of Islands on 29th January, and on the following day, at the settlement of Kororarika, read the Commissions enlarging the boundaries of New page 364 South Wales and appointing him Lieutenant-Governor. The new Governor then issued two Proclamations of his own; the first, intimating that he had entered upon the duties of his office, and the second, dealing, on the lines already mentioned, with the position of lands purchased from the Natives.

Hobson lost no time in getting matters under weigh to secure the sovereignty of the Islands of New Zealand, as, until that was obtained, he had jurisdiction only in name. The document prepared by him for the signature of the Chiefs was the celebrated Treaty of Waitangi, and, on 6th February, it was signed by 46 Chiefs at Waitangi.

While this was going on in New Zealand, Governor Gipps was taking advantage of every opportunity to secure support to the proclamation of British Sovereignty. It will be recalled that a deputation of five Maori Chiefs waited on the Governor, on 31st January, in reference to the titles of the land they had sold. After that deputation they had another interview with His Excellency, who explained to them that he desired their consent to the proclamation of British Sovereignty, taking care at the same time to make it clear that he would not confirm the sales of land they had already made. The Chiefs signified their assent and promised to sign a Deed to that effect. As a result Governor Gipps gave ten sovereigns each to the two leading Chiefs, but made the mistake of not having his deed prepared there and then, and signed contemporaneously with the handing over of the gold. Some few days afterwards the Chiefs returned to His Excellency with the information that they would not sign the Deed under the conditions laid down. It is not on record whether the twenty sovereigns were returned or not.

At this same time the well known W. C. Wentworth of Sydney joined with him as partners C. Brown, R. Campbell (tertius), Jones, and Unwin, and they associated themselves with some six others to purchase from these Chiefs then in Sydney, and some others in New Zealand, to whom they afterwards sent the Deed for execution, the whole of page 365 the South Island, and some 200,000 acres in the North Island, subject to some prior sales which the Chiefs had made. Wentworth claimed 20,000,000 acres of land, subject to claims of others which might reduce the total to 10,000,000 acres. For this he paid the Chiefs £200, and was to give each of them an annuity of £100. In view of this speculation the sum of £20 given by His Excellency failed to impress Tuhawaiki and his colleagues, the Deed was not executed, “the Gubbarnar” was “no good,” and Wentworth, probably the ablest man in Sydney at that time, was, for the time being, victorious.

While engaged in procuring further signatures to the Treaty, Hobson took ill and was compelled to delegate his task to others, amongst whom was the Revd. Hy. Williams. To him he assigned the district bordering on Cook Strait, and as far north as the Wanganui River. Mr. Williams had already visited this country to establish the Revd. O. Hadfield at Otaki, and the wide influence which he was believed to have acquired through the influence of that Missionary and his teachers, with the Maori chiefs on both sides of Cook Strait, pointed him out as an ideal man to secure signatures, in a district where the leaders of the New Zealand Company were believed to look with no favourable eye upon Governor Hobson's actions.

Mr. Williams proceeded South and reached Port Nicholson about the third week in April. As was expected, considerable opposition was encountered from the officials of the Company, and it was not until he had been there about ten days that he managed to induce any of the Chiefs' to affix their signatures to the Treaty. On 29th April thirty-four of those belonging to Port Nicholson signed in the presence of Mr. Williams and Mr. G. T. Clayton. From Port Nicholson the party proceeded to Queen Charlotte Sound, then to Kapiti, Waikanae, and Otaki, and on to Wanganui. From the last-named place the Reverend gentleman returned to Kapiti, intending to proceed to the South Island, but, hearing that H.M.S. Herald had been sent down to do the work required there, he returned page 366 to the Bay of Islands and, on 11th June, reported to Hobson the result of his labours.

That the mission was a most successful one can be seen by a perusal of the copy of the Treaty which he returned. Summarised, the following was the result of the mission for signatures:—

Date. District. Signatures.
29th April Port Nicholson 34
4th May Queen Charlotte Sd. 14
5th May do. 13
11th May Rangitoto 13
14th May Kapiti, Otaki, Manawatu 4
16th May Waikanae 18
19th May Kapiti, Otaki, Manawatu 9
21st May do. 3
23rd May Wanganui 10
26th May Kapiti, Otaki, Manawatu 7
31st May Wanganui 4
4th June Motu Ngarara 2

Once he got a start Mr. Williams seems to have swept the whole country. To secure, in so short a time, the consent of so many, scattered over such an extent of country, was a marvellous tribute to the mana of the great Anglican Missionary. And amongst those whose signatures were secured was the redoubtable Te Rauparaha himself. Of that 131, 105 had been secured before 21st May.

When Captain Hobson took ill the Herald was despatched to Sydney for supplies. The news of the illness of the Governor caused considerable alarm in the mind of Governor Gipps, and that gentleman made provision for any emergency which might happen, by instructing Major Bunbury, who was on the eve of proceeding to New Zealand in command of a detachment of the 80th Regiment, to take over the Governor's duties should Captain Hobson be unable to perform them. On arrival at the Bay of Islands, however, Hobson was found page 367 to be very much improved, but very averse to proceeding to the South Island to secure the adherence of the Southern Chiefs. It was understood to be more on account of his personal relations with Captain Nias of the Herald than anything else, and Major Bunbury was induced to take in hand the mission. In this mission the Major was to proceed to the South Island, secure signatures to the Treaty, and carry out the Instructions which had been given to Hobson.

On 27th April, Major Bunbury went on board H.M.S. Herald, “charged with a Diplomatic Mission,” says the Captain's log of the man-of-war, and with him was Edward Marsh Williams, a son of the Revd. Henry, to act as interpreter. Two days afterwards the Herald sailed and exchanged compliments with D'Urville's Expedition returning from the Antarctic. The same day Coromandel was reached. For a pilot for the southern ports it was decided to take William Stewart, our old friend who, when mate of the Pegasus in 1809, surveyed Stewart Island, and after whom it received its name. He was now engaged in the timber trade with Gordon Browne at Mercury Bay. From Coromandel a native was sent to Stewart with a message that his services were required, and the Herald sailed round to the Bay and took him on board, on 14th May.

On 16th May, Hobson was advised of the success that had attended the Herald as far as Coromandel, and, later on, he received Williams' report of the 34 Chiefs having signed the Treaty on 29th April. All that was very satisfactory, but on 21st May there came to the Governor most alarming intelligence. He “learned,” not only from the New Zealand Gazette, but from “authentic sources,” that the settlers who had located themselves at Port Nicholson, under the New Zealand Association, had formed themselves into a Government, had elected a Council, appointed Colonel Wakefield president, and had proceeded to enact laws and appoint magistrates—“high treason” was the description which he gave of the proceedings to the Secretary of State.

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This dark news was received by the Governor at 8 o'clock on the evening of 21st May. No time was lost. Within an hour the O.C. of “the troops” was called on to detach 30 men of his command for duty at Port Nicholson, and Acting Colonial Secretary Shortland, J.P., with Lieutenant Smart, J.P., of the 28th Regiment, commanding the mounted police, and five of his men who were constables, were appointed to proceed to Port Nicholson and quell the Rebellion. That same night, before the Government officials were allowed to retire to rest, two Proclamations were drawn up and signed by Hobson, without awaiting the reports of those who had been sent out to complete the Crown's title, and the following day the barque Integrity was chartered to take the Expedition down to Port Nicholson.

The first Proclamation related to the North Island only, and read as follows:—


In the name of Her Majesty Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: By William Hobson, Esquire, a Captain in the Royal Navy, Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand.

Whereas by a Treaty bearing date the 6th day of February, in the Year of Our Lord 1840, made and executed by me, William Hobson, a Captain in the Royal Navy, Consul and Lieutenant-Governor in New Zealand, vested for this purpose with full powers by Her Britannic Majesty, of the one part, and the Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and of the separate and independent chiefs of New Zealand, not members of the Confederation, of the other, and further ratified and confirmed by the adherence of the principal Chiefs of this Island of New Zealand, commonly called “The Northern Island,” all rights and powers of sovereignty over the said Northern Island were ceded to Her Majesty the Queen of page 369 Great Britain and Ireland, absolutely and without reservation.

Now therefore I, William Hobson, Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand, in the name and on the behalf of Her Majesty, do hereby proclaim and declare to all men that, from and after the date of the above-mentioned Treaty, the full sovereignty of the Northern Island of New Zealand vests in Her Majesty Queen Victoria, her heirs and successors, for ever.

Given under my hand at Government House, Russell, Bay of Islands, this 21st Day of May, in the year of our Lord 1840.

William Hobson,

By His Excellency's command

Willoughby Shortland,

Colonial Secretary.

We have already seen that prior to 21st May Williams had secured the consent of 105 of the Cook Strait Chiefs, and, that after that date, 26 more gave in their names. The position was even more favourable for the remaining portion of the North Island. With the departure of Williams, therefore, from Cook Strait, the title of Great Britain to the North Island, but more particularly to that portion of it with which we are dealing, may be regarded as completed.

The second Proclamation referred to both Islands, and read as follows:—


In the name of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: By William Hobson, Esquire, a Captain of the Royal Navy, Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand.

Whereas I have it in command from Her Majesty Queen Victoria, through her Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, to assert the sovereign rights page 370 of Her Majesty over the Southern Islands of New Zealand, commonly called “The Middle Island” and “Stewart's Island,” and also the island commonly called “The Northern Island,” the same having been ceded in sovereignty to Her Majesty:

Now, therefore, I, William Hobson, Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand, do hereby proclaim and declare to all men that, from and after the date of these presents, the full sovereignty of the Islands of New Zealand, extending from 34 degrees 30 minutes North to 47 degrees 10 minutes South latitude, and between 166 degrees 5 minutes to 179 degrees of East longitude, vests in Her Majesty Queen Victoria, her heirs and successors, for ever.

Given under my hand at Government House, Russell, Bay of Islands, this 21st day of May, in the Year of our Lord 1840.

William Hobson,

By His Excellency's command

Willoughby Shortland,

Colonial Secretary.

Hobson stated that he issued the second Proclamation, which affected the Southern islands, actuated by “a perfect knowledge of the uncivilized state of the Natives, and supported by the advice of Sir George Gipps previously given.” What he was referring to can be gleaned from a perusal of his instructions.

When Lord Normanby forwarded to Hobson instructions to obtain by treaty the sovereignty of New Zealand from the Maori Chiefs, to whom they had acknowledged the country to be a separate and independent State, Hobson raised a most important question. The recognition of independence had only been to some of the Chiefs of the North Island, and had no application whatever to the Southern Islands. Hobson also held that civilization was not so well established in the South as in the North, and that it appeared page 371 scarcely possible to observe even the form of a treaty with the Natives there. He suggested that under these circumstances the flag might be planted in the South Island under the right of first discoverers.

Lord Normanby's reply was to the following effect:—

“If the country is really, as you suppose, uninhabited except by a very small number of persons in a savage state, incapable from their ignorance of entering intelligently into any treaties with the Crown, I agree with you that the ceremonial of making such engagements with them would be a mere illusion and pretence, which ought to be avoided. The circumstances noted in my instructions may perhaps render the occupation of the Southern Island a matter of necessity or of duty to the Natives. The only chance of an effective protection will probably be found in the establishment by treaty, if that be possible, or if not, then in the assertion, on the ground of discovery, of Her Majesty's sovereign rights over the island.”

When, therefore, Hobson grew alarmed at the condition of things at Port Nicholson he determined to fall back upon the portion of his instructions, the “assertion on the ground of discovery, of Her Majesty's sovereign rights over the island.” Hence the form of the second Proclamation.

This Proclamation, it will be noted, follows Normanby's instructions and asserts the sovereign rights of the Queen over the Southern Islands, but it makes no mention of “the grounds of discovery” as the basis for so asserting. It is also to be noted that the assertion is extended equally to the North Island, although that island had been specially dealt with in the first, or “ceded,” Proclamation. The first Proclamation “proclaims and declares” sovereignty over the North Island “from and after” the date of the Treaty—6th February—while the second Proclamation “proclaims and declares” sovereignty over the same ground “from and after” the date of these presents—21st May. If the first Proclamation was good the second was unneces- page 372 sary, so far as any mention of the North Island was concerned. It of course added to the complication when two different dates were given for British sovereignty taking effect. To complete the list of strange things visible on a perusal of the Proclamation we must note the specification of the northern boundary of New Zealand “from 34 degrees 30 minutes North.” That places it to the North of the Equator and makes it comprise the vast area between the latitude of 34° 30′ N. and 47° 10′ S., and longitude 166° 5′ and 179° E.

No suggestion is made that anything, to which attention has now been called, affects the validity of Britain's title to New Zealand. To occur in a document of such importance as these Proclamations makes the origin of little peculiarities a matter of the greatest interest, and to any inquiry in that direction the author can only make the suggestion that they would all have been avoided if, instead of preparing and issuing the Proclamation between 8 o'clock and the hour when he retired to rest on the evening of the 21st May, His Excellency had slept over the draft for a night, and had attached his signature when his brain had been freshened by a few hours' rest.

Two days after issuing his Proclamation declaring British Sovereignty over New Zealand, Hobson issued one dealing with the position at Port Nicholson. It read as follows:—


Whereas certain persons residing at Port Nicholson, New Zealand, part of the dominions of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, have formed themselves into an illegal association, under the title of a Council, and, in contempt of Her Majesty's authority, have assumed and attempted to usurp the powers vested in me by Her Majesty's letters patent, for the Government of the said Colony, to the manifest injury and detriment of all Her Majesty's liege subjects in New Zealand.

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Now, therefore, I, William Hobson, Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand, command all persons connected with such illegal association immediately to withdraw therefrom, and I call upon all persons resident at Port Nicholson, or elsewhere, within the limits of this Government, upon the allegiance they owe to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, to submit to the proper authorities in New Zealand, legally appointed, and to aid and assist them in the discharge of their respective duties.

Given under my hand at Government House, Russell, Bay of Islands, this 23rd day of May, in the year of our Lord, 1840.

William Hobson,

By command of his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor.

Willoughby Shortland,

Colonial Secretary.

On 25th May the Expedition set sail in the Integrity and reached Port Nicholson on 2nd June, but it was not until the afternoon of 4th June that Mr. Willoughby Shortland “J.P.,” Lieutenant Smart, “J.P.,” the “troops,” and the mounted policemen all landed, read Hobson's Proclamation and hoisted the British flag. Three hearty cheers and a royal salute by the Europeans (including the “high treason” settlers), and a haka and general discharge of musketry by the Maoris, ended the rebellion and established British authority, on the day before it was proclaimed by Major Bunbury at Stewart Island. Thus was Port Nicholson prepared for becoming one day the seat of Government, where successors of Hobson have the oath of allegiance administered to them by citizens of the once “high treason” city.

When H.M.S. Herald sailed from Mercury Bay on 16th May, Captain Nias directed her course for Akaroa, but, owing to the bad weather experienced, she did not reach her destination until the twenty-seventh. Here four days page 374 were spent, during which time Major Bunbury communicated with the Native Chiefs ashore and obtained the signatures of two of them—Iwikau and John Love. The former was a brother of the great Tamaiharanui, and the latter was described by Bunbury as “a very intelligent well-dressed Native who spoke English better than any I have met with.” Very few Natives were found at Akaroa. The European settlers were got into communication with. The Major saw the cattle, some 30 in number, which Captain Leathart had left there, and one of the two stockmen in charge showed him a copy of an Agreement dated, Sydney, 18th February, 1839, wherein Taiaroa transferred the land around the harbour to Captain Rhodes, by whom it was afterwards transferred to Captain Leathart.

In connection with this transfer from Taiaroa to Captain Rhodes dated at Sydney and witnessed by a Sydney Solicitor, Charles Wild, it will be remembered that when the Dublin Packet reached Sydney, on 1st February, 1839, she had on board Taiaroa and his attendant, “Tom Bowling.”

From Akaroa Captain Nias set sail for Stewart Island, and cast anchor at Port Pegasus on 4th June. The following day Major Bunbury went with Stewart to the site of the latter's old shipbuilding yards, a distance of some four or five miles from where the Herald was atanchor, but no inhabitants were to be found; the settlement had long been abandoned. As the locality was evidently deserted it was decided to take advantage of Hobson's Instructions and proclaim British Sovereignty at once. Accordingly that afternoon a party of marines were landed and the usual formalities complied with. The entry of the event in the “log” of H.M.S. Herald is as follows:—

June 5, P.M. The island called Stewart's Island, New Zealand situated between the meridian 157 & 158 East of Greenwich & 45.48 South parallel with all the Bays Rivers Harbours Creeks &c in and all the Islands lying off were taken possession of in the Right by the discovery of the late lamented Captain page 375 Cook in the name and for Her Most Excellent Majesty Victoria Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland &c &c and her Majesty's Colours were accordingly hoisted at Sylvan Bay Southern Port in the 5th day of June, 1840. by Captain Joseph Nias Commanding H.M.S. Herald with a detachment of Royal Marines & by Major Thos Bunbury K.T.S. 80th Regt. who were commissioned for that Purpose. This notification having been made the Marines who were drawn up on the spot presented Arms & saluted the Colours, after which they Fired a Feu de joie, presented arms & gave 3 cheers accompanied by the Officers of the Ship & a part of the Ship's Company. 3.45 Party returned up Boats.”

It will be noted that the discovery made by Cook 70 years before was invoked when the ground was found to be unoccupied. It is doubtful to what extent Bunbury was justified in treating it as unoccupied territory when the local Chief (Tuhawaiki) lived at Ruapuke, within sight of the Island. Again it is difficult to reconcile the appeal to Captain Cook's discovery with the action of Downing Street in 1825, when it was intimated to the World that New Zealand was not a possession of the Crown, and, strange to say, it was in connection with a transaction of this same Captain Stewart, the pilot of the Herald.

Governor Hobson had, on 21st May, made proclamation asserting British sovereignty, and here, on 5th June, was the flag hoisted and saluted, and the usual notification made. Stewart Island was now British territory, de facto as well as de jure.

Of course the spot where the flag was hoisted is a matter of great historical interest. The captain's log says that the Herald was moored across Sylvan Bay with Hebe Island N.E./N. and Dryads Island N. ¾ E. Bunbury says that near the anchorage was an island which became a peminsula at low water, and where was buried, in a bottle, the notification of the day's proceedings signed by a number of the page 376 ship's officers. A careful analysis of this information, made on the spot, should enable the locality to be determined with a fair amount of accuracy.

On 9th June, the Herald sailed from Pegasus for Rua-puke, to secure the signature of Tuhawaiki. This Chief had returned from Sydney in the same vessel with Mr. Hesbeth, who, it will be remembered, accompanied him when he landed there. As the Herald neared the land Mr. Hesbeth came off in a boat and provided a pilot, who happened to be one of Captain Stewart's old men, now in the employ of Tuhawaiki. That evening the Maori Chief came on board. When he arrived he was decked out in the full dress staff uniform of a British A.D.C. with gold lace trousers, and cocked hat and plume. He appears, too, to have acted up to the standard which he set himself, and his behaviour at the Captain's table won the admiration of Bunbury. He was attended by a Native orderly sergeant in uniform.

When asked to sign the Treaty, although he had resisted the blandishments of Governor Gipps in Sydney, he consented without hesitation. He was aware of the nature of the document, but, notwithstanding that, Major Bunbury had everything carefully interpreted to him. Mr. E. M. Williams, the interpreter, told the author, that, on account of the difference in the dialect between the northern and southern Natives, he had some difficulty in making himself understood, but a Native, familiar with the Ngapuhi dialect, who happened to be there, acted as an intermediary, and the Treaty was explained.

The following day Major Bunbury. Lieutenant Hewett of the Royal Marines, Captain Stewart, and Mr. Williams returned the visit. They were met by Tuhawaiki in his uniform and the orderly sergeant was at the head of six soldiers, dressed in British uniforms, but without hats or boots. Tuhawaiki asked to be allowed to send his soldiers on board to see the marines go through the manual and platoon exercises. The request was granted and the sword exercise was added to the list, to the intense delight of the page 377 Maoris, and their Chief, who repeatedly called out to his men to watch and see how this branch of military work was done.

The Chiefs who signed at Ruapuke were John Tuhawaiki. Kaikoura, and Taiaroa.

Although the old Chief had decided to surrender to the importunities of the pakeha and sign the Treaty, he tried to get some recognition of the arrangements he had made for the disposal of his island home. He presented, for Bunbury's signature, a letter stating that Ruapuke was the property of himself and of his tribe, to different individuals of which he had allotted portions. Bunbury endorsed upon it the following:—“I have seen this paper, but am not prepared to give an opinion or any information on the purport of it. The Treaty guarantees the full and exclusive possession of their lands and other properties to the Natives.”

The Herald weighed anchor and made sail from Ruapuke Roads at noon on 11th June.

On the thirteenth Otago was visited and a gun fired at eleven o'clock as a signal to the shore residents. The anchor was not dropped, but the Major went ashore in the gig and, during an absence of only 4½ hours, secured the signatures of John Karitai and Korako, and the Herald sailed that day for Cloudy Bay. In the harbour at the time were two American and two French whaling vessels.

Bunbury in his Report regrets that he was unable to meet Taiaroa at Akaroa, and that when they called at Otago, Taiaroa had gone to Moeraki. The name of that Chief, now-ever. appears as one of the two who signed at Ruapuke. What the explanation is the author is unable to say.

Cloudy Bay was reached on the afternoon of 16th June, and at four o'clock Major Bunbury went ashore to get signatures. The first visit was to Guard's Cove, but was not successful, the operation being opposed by the head Chief Nohorua, brother of Te Rauparaha, and some of his relations, who alleged that their lands would be taken from them if they signed. They promised to come on board, page 378 however, the following morning. When they did they were joined by other Chiefs from the neighbouring coves, and one very intelligent man, Maui Pu, who spoke a little English, explained the Treaty to the others. He told the Europeans that the difficulty in the way of getting signatures was the fear that the Queen might afterwards come and take their lands. Mr. Williams and Captain Stewart, both of whom knew the Maori language, were astonished at the clear manner in which Maui Pu explained the different portions of the Treaty. He was also so eager that he went ashore to explain it to the Chiefs there. Finally Nohorua gave way, and agreed to affix his signature, if his English son-in-law, Joseph Thoms, witnessed it, his expressed reason being that if his grandchildren should lose their land by this action their father would share the blame. And thus Joseph Thoms comes to be a witness to the Treaty. In all, nine Cloudy Bay Chiefs signed:—Maui Pu, Eka Hau, Puke, Nohorua, Waiti, Te Wi, Te Kauai, Pukeko, and Kaikoura.

When all these had signed, Major Bunbury came to the conclusion that the cession of the Middle Island was complete and that sovereignty should be proclaimed. The officers and marines were accordingly landed at the Pa of Horahora-Kakahu, called by Captain Nias, Showhaka, the ship was dressed up, the Union Jack was hoisted, and Major Bunbury read a notification (called by him a Proclamation), after which a royal salute of 21 guns was fired by H.M.S. Herald, a feu-de-joie was given by the marines, and three hearty cheers by the onlookers.

The ceremony was witnessed by five American, one French, and one Bremen, whaling vessels.

The entry in the Herald's “log” of this interesting event is as follows:—

June 17. P.M. at 2. The island called Tavai Poenammoo or Middle Island of New Zealand situated between the Meridians 166 & 174.30 East of Greenwich & 40.30 & 46.30 South parallel with all the Bays Rivers Harbours Creeks &c in and all page 379 the Islands lying off having been ceded in Sovereignty by the several Native Independent Chiefs to Her Most Gracious Majesty Victoria Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland the said Island was accordingly taken possession of and formerly proclaimed and Her Majesty's Colours Hoisted at the Paa of Showhaka Cloudy Bay under a salute of 21 Guns on the 17 day of June 1840 by Capt. Jas. Nias commg H.M.S. Herald and by Major Thos Bunbury K.T.S. 80th Regt. who were commissioned for that purpose which was returned by the Royal Marines firing a Feu de Joie.”

The author reproduces, in extenso, the entries of these incidents in the Captain's log, to show what importance was attributed to the function, and the procedure adopted in the Royal Navy for recording the important act of “proclaiming” British sovereignty.

While at Port Pegasus and dealing with Stewart Island, Captain Cook's discovery was put forward as the basis of the sovereignty proclaimed, at Cloudy Bay it was based on cession by the Native Chiefs. Though Te Rauparaha was not found, his signature had actually been obtained by the Revd. Hy. Williams. We, therefore, have this position:—The Sovereignty of the Middle Island is first asserted by Proclamation dated 21st May, and then, on subsequent dates, is ceded by treaty; finally, a man-of-war, with an officer on board, specially commissioned for that purpose, officially notifies the assumption of sovereignty, and hoists the British flag which is then saluted in the usual formal fashion. However much the position can be challenged prior to the arrival of H.M.S. Herald in Cloudy Bay, this at any rate is certain, that when the sound of the artillery died away on that 17th June, 1840, the Middle Island of New Zealand had been added to the British Empire, had become a portion of the Colony of New South Wales, and had been placed under the governorship of Captain William Hobson.

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When the author called the attention of Mr. W. H. Skinner, Commissioner of Crown Lands for Marlborough, to the importance in New Zealand history of the site of the old Cloudy Bay pa, that zealous officer took steps at once to have it protected by a permanent reservation, and the author understands that the protection is now an accomplished fact.

It is departing from the strict impartiality of the historian to call the attention of the reader to the fact that Major Bunbury's mission was completed and the South Island was British terrritory, while yet the French Expedition, bound for Akaroa, was more than a month's sail distant from the New Zealand coast; and no desperate naval race between the rival war-ships of Great Britain and France, six weeks after this, could have any bearing whatever upon the validity of Britain's title to the southern portion of Ao-tea-roa.

Thus did the Crown come.

Mr. Edward Marsh Williams, the interpreter on the Herald, lived to the great age of 91 years, and passed away at Te Aute in 1909, after seeing 69 Anniversaries of the Treaty of Waitangi. As one of the principal actors in that great event he has easily earned special mention here. Mr. Williams was the last of the Herald's party.

Major Bunbury's life has been given to the world under the title of “Reminiscences of a Veteran,” published in London in 1861, and now exceedingly rare.

On some future occasion, if a number of contingencies permit of its being done, the author may again take up the pen and ask his readers to accompany him over another period of early New Zealand history. For the present—

Hora diem terminat, autor opus.