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Letters on the Present State of Maori Affairs

From Aterea Puna — For all the Tribes — To Mr. Fitzgerald

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From Aterea Puna
For all the Tribes
To Mr. Fitzgerald.

New Zealand, Nov. 16, 1864.

Friend, Mr. FitzGerald,—Salutations. May you have heaith and your days be prolonged—may God preserve you. Salutations.

Here is your name wafted hither and thither throughout New Zealand, and the heart is cheered on account of your speeches which our ears have heard, as you exhibited your love towards the Maori cause. Be strong, both you and your companions, to raise on high your principles, for we hear that your sentiments are excellent on the Maori side.

Friend, we have heard that on the 21st of November the Assembly will meet to investigate what is just and unjust in relation to the affairs of this island. This is the reason whythe Maori side wish to reveal to you some matters which the Maoris have seen and heard

This is Potatau's word:—"Hearken, O tribes. Formerly, your god was the maneating Uenuku, but now you worship the Great God of Heaven. Let there be no fighting between the Europeans and the Maoris. The only great treasures for us to retain are religion, love, and law."

This is Governor Browne's word which page 28was proclaimed to the Maori tribes:—"I will not buy land from one individual, but all the tribe must give consent, then only will I buy land; and should one old woman oppose the sale, the land will not in that case be purchased" [by Government]. All the Maoris were pleased with the word of Governor Browne. After this Governor Browne sent a letter to Potatau. These were the words:—"I am going to Taranaki on an errand or mission of peace." Not long after the utterance of this peaceful message fighting commenced at Taranaki immediately after his arrival there, and we heard, what proved to be a fact, that William King had been driven from his own land by the soldiers, his pa burnt, his horses, cows, and pigs, with other property seized [by the military]. After a lengthened war at Taranaki, on the part of Governor Browne, he left without making peace, and matters remained in confusion or disorder.

Then came Governor Grey to Auckland, and the chiefs of Waikato waited on him to ask,—"O Governor is it peace or war?" And the Governor said:—"This is the Queen's word, "Go to New Zealand, and let there be nought but peace." "Then Tamati said to the Waikatos [i. e., the chiefs who were present at Government House]—"Do you hear this word?" and they all said "Yes."

After this Governor Grey went to Taupari, and these were the words which he uttered at the meeting there, six hundred men being present. He said, "I have come hither in peace, with feelings of good will. I shall not fight."

After this the Governor uttered a sentence to the Chiefs of Waikato, at Kohanga. He page 29said, "I am unwilling to make war on the Maoris; even unto 22 years I shall not be evilly disposed towards them, that is to say, I will not make war on them" [even though they incur my displeasure.]

This sentence [of the Governor's] was proclaimed to all the people, and the Maoris expressed their great satisfaction.

After this, Governor Grey said to some of the Chiefs of Waikato, in his house at Auckland,—"Let some of the Waikatos come to the bank of the Mangatawhiri stream [to reside] to watch the evil doings of both Pakeha and Maori." And when the Waikatos heard this sentence, they agreed to it. The horses and horned cattle were driven down from Waikato for the purpose of ploughing the land [at Mangatawhiri]* and when the houses are about to be erected the soldiers crossed the Mangatawhiri to the Maori land with their implements of war.

Hearken to this all the world. The Maori tribes uttered and proclaimed to the European people in the days of Governor Browne, extending unto Governor Grey's time, that Mangatawhiri was the boundary between the Maoris and the Pakehas. This word was printed in a newspaper or document, and proclaimed before Governor Grey went to Taranaki.

When Governor Grey went to Ngaruawahia, in Waikato, his word was spoken, and this is it,—"I have come hither in peace and love."

On the following day the Waikatos assembled with Tamehana, at Tukupoto, at Mr. Ashwell's place, on which occasion one

* See letter from Native Office, addressed to Takerei on this subject.

page 30of the Chiefs of Waikato asked the question, "O Governor! what do you think of our King?" The Governor said, "I have come hither in peace and love only." The persons congregated there were rejoiced to hear this. William Thomson then stood up and said—Is this the love you mean, that we are to love one another with brotherly affection? Is it the love that James refers to when he says, "Let each exalt and honor the other?" The Governor said, "I have told you already that I have come hither in peace and love." Thomson then said, "If this be so, go forth and see all the tribes of the Maoris." The Governor then said, "I am going to Tataraimaka," and Tamehana replied, "Do not go, let me do that work [i.e., let me remove the Maoris from Tataraimaka prior to your visiting Taranaki.] But the Governor said, "No; that land is mine, and the matter rests with myself only." Tamehana urged the Governor [to allow him, Thomson, to settle the Tataraimaka affair] but the Governor refused.

After this the Governor went to Taranaki with his soldiers and his implements of war to kill men [or with his men-killing implements]. Now, while the men went forward to take possession of Tataraimaka, he held in his hand Waitara. Here it was that the eight soldiers were killed, it having been proclaimed and made known by the Maoris that no Pakehas were to travel [beyond certain lines]. These were killed according to the custom of the Maoris, and this killing is not considered murder by Maoris, but is by them called "urumaranga," or one of the incidents of war, for the war had been commenced when the soldiers went there with their guns to fight. Another point is this, page 31peace had not been made. The Waikatos and the Ngatehauas agreed to give up Tataraimaka to the Pakehas, and William Thompson wrote a letter to Taranaki requesting that Tataraimaka be given up to the Pakehas.

Now we come to Rewi's and Te Herewini's letters addressed to the Ngatiawa*These letters contained songs or chants for dancers. This was Herewini's chant, "I will be urgent on account of Waitara, where I planted my karaka berries in the eighth month; I will be urgent." The chant contained in Rewi's letter was, "Kareanui pains my heart." Kareanui was a kumera house [which had been robbed by a marauding party] and signifies Waitara. This is the opinion of the Maoris generally.

This is another portion of the chant—

"Let it be rehearsed at Kawhia,
Pounce upon them;

The Maoris consider that this also refers to Waitara

Relative to the eight soldiers who were killed at Oakura, the payment was the capture of the pa at Katikara, when 31 Natives

* Mark this; to Ngatiawa, the owners of Waitara, not to Ngatiruanuis and Taranakis, who held Tatarimaka. If Rewi's letter was addressed to Ngatiawas only, much light will be thrown upon this subject, which seems to have been darkened by numerous opinions.—Tr.

Kawhia, not Tataraimaka: this is exceedingly important, as Rewi has been blamed as the author of the Taranaki or Oakura affair.—Tr.

i. e. That should the Governor with his soldiers move on to Waitara for the purpose of taking possession, then the Governor was to be resisted by force.—Tr.

page 32were killed and their bodies mutilated by the soldiers after their death.* According to Maori ideas, this affair was avenged, the payment being neck for neck; and it was imagined that the fighting was over and peace would be made. The Pakehas, moreover, seized a block of land besides killing the Maoris [at Katikara].

After this, the Maoris who were residing on their own estates at Mangere, Ihumatao, Pukaki, Te Kirikiri, Tuhimata, Pokeno, Patumahoe, and Tuakau, were hurriedly driven away and their property seized or stolen. Some of them were captured and put into prison, and some died during their captivity.

The cause of their being driven away was not known, nor is it now known [by the Maoris]. Governor Grey said to the Maoris when they were driven away, that they must go to the other side of the Mangatawhiri stream. The Maoris thought, therefore, that the other side of the Mangatawhiri was to be tapu or sacred, for he had told the Maoris to go thither beyond the boundary of the Enropeans, and sit down there [noho ai]. At the time of the ejectment the soldiers were the first to cross the Mangatawhiri, and the people who were driven away were behind the soldiers.

Relative to certain letters written by Maoris and Europeans stating that a plot had been formed by the Maoris to cross the

* This statement is corroborated by eye witnesses, but the number of bodies is given not exceeding 24—Tr.

The Maoris were unable to cross the Mangatawhiri prior to the soldiers crossing it, for the Maoris had their women and children with them, whilst the troops were unencumbered and marched rapidly on.—Tr.

page 33Mangatawhiri, that is, to enter the boundaries of the European lands to kill [the settlers], there is no foundation whatever upon which these letters can rest, for the word of the Waikatos, Thompson's, and other tribes was, that the Pakehas should be the aggressors, and, extending to the Ngatimaniapotos, there was but one decision with reference to this subject.

According to Maori ideas, war was declared against the Maoris when they were driven off on the 9th of July from their own lands within the boundaries of the Manukau; and when the soldiers crossed the Mangatawhiri the blood of men was spilt, and a real war begun between the Pakehas and the Maoris.

Now, according to Native custom, or Native mode of warfare, there has been no murder committed by the Maoris from the commencement of hostilities, when the soldiers crossed the Mangatawhiri, even until this time. No murder has been committed by the Maoris on the Pakehas.*

The Pakehas, who were killed by the Maoris, and who it is stated by the Pakehas were murdered, we say no, it was a "huaki"—a surprise. Regarding the Pakehas who were killed at Ramarama, Pukekohe, Te Iaroa, Papakura, Te Wairoa, and Mangemangeroa, they were all killed in fight.

The Maori side is still endeavoring to find out the cause of the war—the reason why the Pakehas invaded the Waikato. We have thought whether it were our preventing the road being made from Auckland to Welling-

* What we call murder the Maori calls killing. He is supposed to take every advantage of the enemy secretly or otherwise.—Tr.

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—whether on account of the Maoris forming a land league to retain their own possessions—whether on account of the Maori King—whether the driving away of Mr. Gorst—or the removal of the timber from Te Kohekohe to Te Ia the land of the Pakehas—and the Maoris have discovered that the foundation of this war is a desire on the part of the Pakehas to possess themselves of the Waikato country.

Now as to this custom of you Pakehas in confiscating land, it is not customary among the Maoris. Look, now, when did the Ngapuhis take land? In their great wars with Kaipara, Taranaki, Thames, Waikato, Rotorua and other places, no land was seized or taken by the Ngapuhis, not one piece ever so small. And the law of God says, "Thou shalt not covet any thing that is thy neighbors." Sufficient.

From the Maori side,

(Signed) Aterea Puna,
That is for all the tribes