Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Maori and Missionary: Early Christian Missions in the South Island of New Zealand

Chapter Nine — The New Edinburgh Scheme

page break

Chapter Nine
The New Edinburgh Scheme

The “New Edinburgh” Scheme Originated with Mr. George Rennie, a Scot who represented Ipswich, England, in the British Parliament. Mr. Rennie subsequently secured the interest in his plan of Captain William Cargill, a veteran of the Peninsula War, and, since his retirement from the Army, a banker. These two were later joined by the Rev. Thos. Burns, a minister of the Free Church of Scotland since “the Disruption”, who proved a tower of strength to the movement. Eventually, owing to disagreement with his colleagues who planned to make the “New Edinburgh” settlement a close preserve for Free Church adherents only, Rennie withdrew from the scene. After some delay an association formed by lay members of the Free Church was brought into being, and this body approached the New Zealand Company and secured from it its aid towards the purchase of suitable South Island land for the project.

Definite negotiations were commenced, and Captain FitzRoy, Governor of New Zealand, acting under the authority of the Colonial Office, arranged to secure a site for the proposed Scottish settlement, and granted to the New Zealand Company's agent, Colonel Wakefield,1 power to purchase land from the Maoris at a suitable locality. In all these transactions the interests of the Government were placed in the hands of Mr. J. J. Symonds, assistant police magistrate at Wellington, whilst Mr. Frederick Tuckett was appointed principal surveyor.

Tuckett was charged with the duty of selecting a site for the new settlement and the chief town. He chartered the brigantine Deborah of 121 tons (Captain Wing) and sailed from Nelson on March 31st, 1844. Tuckett had with him two assistant surveyors, Messrs. Barnicoat and Davison, and five men as boatmen. The other passengers were the Rev. Charles Creed, who was on his way to Waikouaiti, and the Rev. J. F. H. Wohlers, who was in search of a suitable locality for a Mission Station. There were also Dr. David Monro and Messrs. Wilkinson and Wither, who joined the party for the love of travel, and Mr. J. J. Symonds, who joined the ship at Wellington. On their way down the coast Port Cooper (Lyttelton) was visited, and then Moeraki, from which place Tuckett walked to

1 Contributions to the Early History of New Zealand, Dr. Hocken.

page 108 Waikouaiti. The Deborah proceeded to the Otakou Harbour. Tuckett,1 with the aid of Maori guides, walked over the mountains to Koputai (which took him two days), where he saw the Deborah anchored in the bay which now bears the name of the ship. The survey of the harbour was at once proceeded with. Tuckett then, by boat, visited the head of the river, as the whalers called it, where Dunedin now stands. Of this trip Mr. Wohlers wrote: “We went in a boat through a passage by Port Chalmers up to the inlet, to where Dunedin now is…. We landed on a low, flat place; somewhere to our right (our faces landward) I believe there was a creek. We went to the left upon higher ground…. Mr. Tuckett walked farther over the hills to have a good look over the country and he was much pleased when he came back with the beautiful valleys he had seen. He also thought that the place would suit the site of the chief town. However, he would not fix his choice until he had seen the country as far south as Foveaux Strait.”

Such was Otepoti, New Edinburgh, the Dunedin of the future. The Maori people were friendly and agreed to the survey of the harbour. Following this, Mr. Tuckett travelled overland to the Molyneux, and the Deborah was to meet him there. He was accompanied by Dr Monro and several Maoris as guides and carriers. They proceeded through the Taieri district and on to the Mataau River (Molyneux). The rest of the journey southward was performed on foot, by a ship's boat and by the Deborah. The Bluff was visited, also Aparima or Jacob's River (now Riverton). Stewart Island was visited, three days being spent there. On June 1st the Deborah began her return journey and called at the Molyneux again In order to explore thoroughly the country, Tuckett and his party left the vessel and the coast and travelled inland to the Otago Harbour where, on the 11th of June, they met the Deborah; and the expedition was at an end. Otepoti, at the head of the Otago Harbour, proved Tuckett's choice of site for the chief town of the settlement.

The following account of the proceedings accompanying the sale of the land is contained in Notes on Early Life in New Zealand by George Clarke:

“In June, 1844, I received instructions to go to Otago and to

1 Frederick Tuckett was appointed by the New Zealand Government to select a site for the New Edinburgh settlement. Born in 1807; studied engineering under Brunel. Came to New Zealand and was present at the Wairau Massacre and narrowly escaped. There would have been no massacre if his advice had been followed. He was the pioneer of the Nelson system of Bible in Schools. After going back to England he cent the German missionary, Wohlers, aid for his Mission work at Ruapuke. He also sent him books and material useful for building. He “fell out” with Symonds, the Government representative, on points of detail when they bought the Otago block. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and took an interest in the temperance cause. He died in 1876.

page 109 assist in the purchase of land for the Scottish settlement. Colonel Wakefield was to act for the Company, I for the natives, supervise and endorse the whole transaction on the part of the Government. When we got to Otago we anchored a mile or two inside the heads, off a native village on the eastern side of the harbour. We pulled up in a boat to what is now Port Chalmers. It was then a little forest of Kahikatea (white pine) trees; we pitched our tents on the edge of it. The wood swarmed with pigeons, and I shot as many as we could eat from the tent doors, etc.”

According to Dr. Hocken,1 by this time “about 150 natives had arrived at Koputai to discuss the terms of the sale. Eighteen or twenty canoes or boats were drawn up on the beach. The Deborah was anchored a short distance from the landing place. The Maoris assembled at sunrise, as it was their custom, for morning and evening prayers, being members of the Mission. The discussion (korero) regarding the terms of the sale of their tribal lands continued at intervals during each day.” The first hitch in the business was the question of Native Reserves. Dealing with this aspect of the proceedings Mr. George Clarke reported: “The Maoris knew too much about the Company's purchases in the North and did not believe in making over the whole block and then leaving it to us to say what proportion should be assigned to them, nor would they hear of parting with their village cultivations and burial grounds. I had a hard fight with Tuckett and Wakefield to make the reserves and put them into the deed. These proposed reserves lay almost wholly in the Peninsula on the eastern side of the Bay, while, naturally enough, Col. Wakefield was as anxious to buy the Peninsula as the Maoris were to retain it…. There were, at this time, some two or three hundred men on the ground, most of them from different parts of the coast. The principal chiefs were Tuhawaiki and Taiaroa…. There were some twenty heads of septs a little lower in rank. One day we crossed over with them to look at the ground which they wished to retain, and, walking to the top of the hill (Ohinetu), Tuhawaiki asked Colonel Wakefield and myself to sit down, stretching out his arm and pointing with his finger:

“‘Look here, Karaka,' he said. ‘Here and there and there and yonder; those are all burial places, not ancestral burial places but those of this generation. Our parents, aunts, brothers, uncles, sisters, children, they lie thick around us. We are but a poor remnant now, and the pakeha will soon see us die out, but even in my time we were a large and powerful tribe, stretching from Cook Strait to Akaroa, and Ngatimamoe to the south of us were slaves. The wave which brought Te Rauparaha and his allies to the Strait, washed him over to the Southern Island. He went through us fighting, burning and slaying. At Kaikoura, at Kaiapohia and at other of our strongholds,

1 Contributions to the Early History of New Zealand, Dr. Hocken.

page 110 hundreds and hundreds of our people fell, hundreds more were carried off as slaves, and hundreds died of cold and starvation in their flight. We are now dotted in families, few and far between, where we formerly lived as tribes. Our children are few and we cannot rear them. But we had a worse enemy than even Rauparaha, and that was the visit of the pakeha with his drink and his disease. You think us very corrupted; but the scum of Port Jackson shipped as whalers or landed as sealers on this coast. They brought us new plagues, unknown to our fathers, till our people melted away. This was one of our largest settlements, and it was beyond even the reach of Te Rauparaha. We lived secure, and feared no enemy; but one year, when I was a youth, a ship came from Sydney, and she brought the measles among us. It was winter, as it is now. In a few months most of the inhabitants sickened and died. Whole families on this spot disappeared and left no one to represent them. My people lie all around us, and you can tell Wide-awake (Wakefield) why we cannot part with this portion of our land, and why we were angry with Tuckett for cutting his lines about here.”'

This historic speech, pathetic and appealing, was a masterpiece of Maori oratory.

“The next question we had to settle was the exact boundary of the block of land that the natives were willing to sell. Except the Maori occupants of the Eastern Peninsula, and one or two small stations on the coast, there were no inhabitants in the whole district. The nearest white settlement was a decayed whaling station about 30 or 40 miles away. What is now the City of Dunedin and its surrounding farmsteads was only a run for wild pigs. On the eastern side of the block there was, of course, the ocean; on the western there were the distant ridges and peaks pointed out to us and named, and beyond which it was practically no-man's land. On the north the line was well known and sharply defined, but the southern was vague, and might easily be the occasion of dispute hereafter. I refused to take this line on the mere description of the tribe or the word of the surveyor, and, to the disgust of all but my friend Mr. Symonds, insisted on seeing it with my own eyes and having it carefully pointed out by a selection of the Maoris formerly deputed to do so. It was mid-winter and very cold, and the prospect of more than a fortnight's tramp through the snow, carrying all our provisions with us, was not at all inviting. However, we agreed at last to make up a party comprising Symonds, Wakefield and myself, with a number of delegated Maoris, and started to make' the southern limit. We pulled from Port Chalmers to what was then a bare and silent waste, but which is now Dunedin. Then we pushed on, striking first across the country, and coming down to the coast. The ground was undulating, covered with snow…. Some miles before us we could see a small island of forest…. We page 111 reached the island of forest late in the afternoon, and pitched our tents on its edge. The forest was infested with wild pigs that made it unsafe to wander alone, and the trees were alive with wood-pigeons…. Next day we emerged on the beach…. At length we reached the mouth of the Taieri River, where we found the remains of an old whaling station and a couple of houses, in one of which was a Maori woman and a half-caste child. Her husband was away, but we got from her a supply of potatoes, and the loan of a large boat, in which we pulled to the head of the Taieri lake…. So we went on till we reached the boundary, I then returned by the same track.”

A further discussion took place at Koputai. The three principal chiefs, Karetai, Taiaroa and Tuhawaiki, signed a memorandum by which they agreed to sell the whole of the area of Otago to the Molyneux, leaving out specified reserves for themselves. The sale price agreed on was £2,400 (or 1 1/2. per acre). The agreement for the 400,000 acres was signed on the 20th June, payment to be made a month from that date.

The negotiators then dispersed, and the Maoris left to visit their friends in the nearby kaikas.

In five weeks from the above date, on the 25th July, the party returned to Koputai, and the Maoris gathered in numbers for a further korero. Commissioner Spain was now present, being appointed to enquire into the claims. Mr. George Clarke prepared the Deed of Purchase. The particulars of transaction were explained to the Maoris assembled. They agreed to the terms, and on the 31st July the deed was signed and the payment made. Of the amount, Tuhawaiki received £900, together with £300 to be divided among the people of the Taieri and Molyneux districts. Karetai and Taiaroa received £300 each and £600 was divided among the other Otago. natives. The deed was signed by twenty-five chiefs, and the witnesses were John Jermyn Symonds, P.M., Frederick Tuckett, George Clarke, Jun., Protector of Aborigines, and David Scott. When the payment was completed, possession of the area was given by the chiefs by removing the “tapu” according to Maori custom, and the bones of the chief, Kohi, who had been interred in the locality, were taken away. His whare was destroyed and the place was made “noa”; the Union Jack was hoisted, and the Korero was at an end, and the Maori people gradually departed to their various kaikas.1

1 “Koputai” is associated with the earliest history of the Otakou Harbour. The name means the “bulging out” tide. Traces of the Maori occupation have been discovered in the form of stone chisels, adzes and various native tools. It probably dates back to the Waitaha period. In early years it was known as a landing place for the Otakou Maoris. The last known hapu there was that of Kohi in the early forties. It appears that several chiefs, Taiaroa, Karetai and others, among them Kohi, bought a boat which they owned in common. Kohi was ill and thought that he was going to die and he feared that his son Timoko would not receive his rightful share in the boat. He therefore had the boat burned. The other shareholders when they heard what had taken place were angry. The sick man persuaded the others to allow himself to be strangled in punishment. They buried him in the Koputai Bay. The story is written in full in Dr. Shortland's Journal.

Seeing that Watkin visited every kaika and hapu in the harbour, it is possible that he included Koputai in his pastoral itinerary. He reported a service at the Tawhiroko hapu, near Taylor's Point, which is within the Koputai area.

page 112

The land transaction between the Maori people and the New Zealand Company presents a problem at once complex and perplexing. To the Maori people of modern days it is the cause of much disappointment and heart-burning. There seems to have been muddle and misunderstanding from the beginning. It was the policy of the New Zealand Company, as at Wellington, to reserve “one-tenth” of the land bought for the sole use of the Maori people.

Mr. J. J. Symonds, Magistrate, who represented the Government in this transaction, explicitly and definitely declared the right of the natives to the reserves.

The Maori people regarded the price (a little less than one and a half penny per acre) as a minor part of the transaction, the real price being the “tenths”.

The following is a copy of the Deed of Purchase:

“Know all men by this Document, We, the chiefs and men of the Ngai-tahu Tribe in New Zealand, whose names are undersigned, consent on this Thirty-first day of July, in the year of our Lord, 1844, to give up, sell and abandon altogether to William Wakefield, principal agent to the New Zealand Company of London, on behalf of the said Company, all our claims and title to the lands comprised within the under-mentioned boundaries; the names of the said lands are Otakou, Kaikarae, Taieri, Mataau and Te Karoro; these are the boundaries, the Northern boundary line commences at Purehurehu, runs along the sea shore, crossing the entrance of Otakou Harbour to Otupa, thence along the coast to Poatiri; the Eastern boundary is the Ocean from Poatiri to Tokata; thence the Southern boundary runs along the summit of the Kaihiku Range, and crosses the Mataau River, thence along the summit of Wakari to Mihiwaka and Otuwararoa, then descends to Purehurehu on the coast. We also give up all the Islands, Kamautaurua, Rakiriri, Okaiha, Moturata, Paparoa, Matoketoke, Hakinikinu and Atonui; excepting the following places which we have reserved for ourselves and our children, that is to say, a certain portion of land on the Eastern side of Otakou, called Ornate, the boundary line commences at Moepuku, crosses over to Poatiri, and thence along the coast to Waikakaneke then crosses to Pukekura, and runs along the side of the Harbour page 113 to Moepuku. Also a certain portion of land at Pukekura, the boundaries of which are marked by posts, containing one acre more or less; also, a portion of land at Taieri, the boundary of which commences at Onumia, and runs across in a straight line to Maitapaka, the Taieri River forms the other boundary; also a portion of land at Karoro, bounded on the south by the Karoro River, on the East of the ocean; the Northern boundary includes the Kainga of that place, and extends inland about one mile; which said Reserved Places we agree neither to sell or let to any party whatsoever, without the sanction of His Excellency the Governor of New Zealand.

“We have received as payment for the above first mentioned lands the sum of two thousand four hundred pounds in money on this day.”

This was signed by twenty-five chiefs, including Tuhawaiki, Karetai (paramount chief of Otakou), Taiaroa, Korako, and others.

It will be noted that the “tenths” are not mentioned in the Deed, and the Maori people claim that this is due to the understanding between the Company for a subsequent and honourable settling up of their “tenths” when the survey had taken place. They claim that they trusted “the powers that be” honourably to fulfil an unwritten agreement.

Mr. J. J. Symonds in September, 1844, stated that he did not mention in the Deed the reservation of the “tenth” part of the land, because he thought that it was “beyond the comprehension of the natives to understand”, and that he left the allocation of the “tenths” to the Governor. He also states that the New Zealand Company intended to make such reserves after the land had been surveyed, but before this intention could be carried out or fulfilled the Company ceased to function.

It may be conceded that the Maoris were anxious to sell their lands in return for the benefits they would receive as the result of European occupation. It must also be conceded, and could not be expected, that the Maori people at that time had a true understanding or grip of money values. Mr. George Clarke, Protector of Aborigines, years afterwards said that “so far as he knew, that from the date of the sale to this he had not heard a single Maori putting in a claim to be compensated for rights that had not been fully extinguished.”

In reply to this, it must be remembered that when Mr. Clarke witnessed the signing of the Deed he was about twenty-one years of age, and that when he wrote the above, which was about sixty years later, when he was eighty years of age, his memory would be obscured.

Mr. Clarke was apparently mistaken in his statement, for the Rev. Charles Creed in his report to London on September 11th, 1844, wrote: “The land question, also, which has caused so much page 114 excitement in the North Island, has during the last few months greatly agitated the natives of this district. Their conflicting claims often produce unfriendly feelings … who, before, were living in peace with one another. We hope the subject will be amicably settled.”

It is quite clear that, whilst the Deed of Purchase was signed in July, 1844, the friction and trouble began among themselves as early as September of the same year.

The Rev. J. F. H. Wohlers wrote in 1862: “The Government had bought most of the country from the natives for a ridiculous price, and had guaranteed them to build schools and churches but had not kept its promise.”

The following is a summary of the position in favour of the “tenths”:

July 31st, 1844: Deed of Conveyance, Otakou Block (tenths not mentioned), but natives relied on proclamation of March 26th, 1844. June 12th, 1844: Superintendent, Southern Division, to His Excellency the Governor, demands the tenths. August 31st: Reserves cannot be made till survey completed. Commissioner A. Mackay, 1.8, page 74, reports: On July 5th, 1850, the New Zealand Company surrendered their Charter to the Crown and the whole of the lands in their possession, subject to existing contracts—became demesne lands of the Crown. No doubt can exist that the New Zealand Company fully admitted the rights of the natives to have a tenth of the land set apart for them in the Otago block in the same manner as was carried out in northern settlements, and the reservation and selection of these lands were left to the Colonial Government; but for some unexplained cause, Governor FitzRoy omitted to give the necessary directions to have the lands selected, notwithstanding the desirability of doing so was brought to his notice more than once by the Superintendent of New Munster.

In 1887, Mr. A. Mackay was again appointed a Commissioner and reported in favour of the “tenths”.

In 1896, Crown Suits Act, 1881—Extension Bill—Legislative Council reported principle of “tenths” does apply to Otago Block.

Such is the outline of the case in favour of the “tenths”–a most difficult and perplexing problem. The Maori people claim that they implicitly trusted the authorities to honour an unwritten agreement, and they had from time to time made application for a just settlement.1

1 Mr. Charles Hunter-Brown was much interested in land claims and the general welfare of the Maori people of Otago and Southland. In the early sixties he was engaged by the Government under Sir George Grey to investigate native affairs in the Urewera country. Then for two years he held the appointment of Maori magistrate in Hawke's Bay. Later he was gazetted as Commissioner for Native Affairs for Canterbury, Otago and Southland (1865). He toured Banks Peninsula with the Rev. J. W. Stack, adjusting Maori claims. Thence to Moeraki, Waikouaiti, Port Chalmers, Otakou Heads, Bluff, Ruapuke, Riverton and Colac Bay. He reported to Wellington, but was so disheartened because of the attitude of the authorities that he resigned his commission.

page 115

There are many writers who reason that it would have been no injustice to the Maori people if the Government had appropriated, without payment, lands not in use by them. As a matter of history, certain nations have sometimes seized native lands and have given no payment or compensation. Even by their own code, hundreds of years ago, the Kati-mamoe tribe invaded the South Island, conquered the Waitaha tribe then in occupation, and possessed themselves of their territory. Prior to the coming of the Europeans and Kaitahu tribe in turn, invaded the South Island, conquered the Kati-mamoe people, killed thousands of them, enslaved those who had escaped the patu, and took their land. Therefore, it is argued by many, if the pakeha had taken possession of Maori lands, without payment, the Maori people would have no cause for complaint by their own code.

In answer to this, it must be remembered, however, that in the case of Otago, there was an agreement, duly signed by both parties, which should have been honoured to the last detail. The neglect of this was the cause of the complaint of the Maori people.

Be it said in justice to the Labour Government, that when the Rt. Hon. Peter Fraser, Prime Minister, visited Otakou on November 27th, 1941, he stated that the late Prime Minister, Mr. Savage, had promised to face up to the long-delayed Maori land problems and claims, and that the Government would do its best to honour that promise. Shortly afterwards the Government voted £300,000 in satisfaction of the Kai-tahu claims.

The Ngai-tahu Trust Board was set up under the provisions of the Ngai-tahu Claim Settlement Act, 1944. The Act provided that the annual sum of £10,000 should be paid for a period of thirty years from 1944 to the Ngai-tahu Trust Board in settlement of all claims and demands, and that the money should be applied, under proper safeguards, for the benefit of the Maori people in this district.

It must be admitted that the Government has done its best to face up to and settle a long-delayed claim which has caused much misunderstanding and heart-burning among the Maori people.