History of New Zealand. Vol. II.
Chapter xv. — Sir George Bowen
Sir George Bowen.
The new Governor set on foot inquiries as to the condition and future prospects of the Maori race. The Native Minister asked officially for information from the principal officers in “native districts.” The loyal natives throughout the colony were not slow in testifying their loyalty to the new Governor. Old Poihipi Tukeraingi, from Taupo, was first in the field, having written his address before Sir G. Bowen reached New Zealand. It was graciously acknowledged. Te Puni, the Ngatiawa chief, under whose protection the English had first found it feasible to settle at Cook's Straits, and without whose aid Colonel Wakefield could not have transferred the settlement from Petone to Te Aro, attended the new Governor's levée, under the load of many years. The old man told the Governor, who visited him, that old custom had passed away, and that most of his kindred had in the strife of recent years been led into Hau Hauism, or had become debauchees. Te Puni was isolated in Christianity within a quarter of a century of embracing it with his tribe. The Maori king had recently inclined to ancient custom by abandoning his name Matutaera (Methuselah), and adopting a pure Maori name—Tawhiao. A loyal chief, improving the illustration used by Sir George Grey, that he would dig around the Maori king till, like a tree, he fell, said to Sir George Bowen: “O Governor, Matutaera is now like a single tree left exposed in a clearing of our native forests. If left alone it will soon wither and die. My word to you, O Governor, is to leave Matutaera alonne.” Wiser than in 1860, or in 1863, the Colonial Ministry had reached the same conclusion.page 447
There was a great meeting early in 1868. Summoned by Tawhiao, numbers reported to exceed 3000 assembled at Tokangamutu in the Ngatimaniapoto territory. Rewi was there, and in enigmatic language, whose intent could only be surmised by Europeans, declared “fighting must cease. The sale of land must cease. Leasing land must be put a stop to. Such doings as selling and leasing must cease; then only will peace be made.” For the same reason that the Pakeha Maori extolled the Native Land Act, the patriotic Maori shrunk from it. But the meeting was considered ominous. It was feared that malcontents might combine against the new Governor. But between the sullen isolation of Tawhiao and Rewi and the savage incursions of the Hau Hau fanatics there was no coherence. Violent men found violent deaths. By war and disease the Maoris were decimated year by year, while Europeans multiplied. Sir George Bowen had hardly assumed office when the Ministry apprehended troubles about the Rangitikei-Manawatu block. Mr. Richmond (Native Minister) wrote urgently to Hori Kingi, to Parakaia of Ngatiraukawa, and to Rangihiwinui of Muaupoko. The Ministry began to look with favour on the appeal to the Native Lands Act, which had hitherto been avoided. The Court would settle the land dispute; let no blood be shed. The Governor looked to Rangihiwinui confidently, as one whose habit it was to maintain law and order. Parakaia answered that he had already exerted his influence, and was pleased that the Court was about to sit. Quarrelling would not be allowed. Rangihiwinui answered that he had written to urge the tribes to remain quiet.
The condition of the Maoris, in 1867, has been partly traced in previous pages. Their numbers were diminishing, in some places with frightful rapidity. The Central Waikato, who under Te Whero Whero (in spite of their defeat by Hongi's fire-arms) were regarded as the most powerful as well as most numerous of Maori tribes, had fallen from their high estate. Numbered at 18,400 in 1845, there were found only 2279 on their old territory in 1867. On them the waste of war had fallen with peculiar severity. The starved appearance of captured women and children betokened that the desolation of homes had been an effective weapon in General Cameron's campaign. There were exiles of their race wandering among friends, but the people page 448 whose gigantic proportions caused the wonder of General Pratt as he saw them on the field at Mahoetahi had in seventeen years dwindled to a dispersed remnant, who, if their hereditary abodes told truth, had been eight times decimated under the influence of civilization and war. The Ngatimaniapoto known as a Waikato tribe had suffered less than their northern brethren, and their lands in the Waipa had barely been touched by confiscation, although Rewi's old abode, Kihikihi, had been seized.
The tribe second in importance and numbers in 1845, the Ngapuhi, had now become the first. Yet they had decreased from 12,000 to 5804. Never at war against the English, the principal chiefs had frequently offered to furnish military aid against their countrymen. The same rate of decay marked the fortunes of other tribes, but as the divisions and subdivisions obtained at different periods vary in the reports, it would be difficult to make trustworthy comparisons of details. The general decline is told in the totals. In 1845 the estimate was 109,550; in 1848 it was 100,000; in 1858 a census gave a return of 56,049; in 1867 the same test showed only 38,517; but there were many whom no census collector found in the forests. Yet, amid the precipitous ruin of their nation, old men stood forth to prove the hardiness of the race. Waka Nene, in the north, with more than eighty winters' weight upon his head, still attended meetings, and with firm figure and voice declared that, as at Waitangi, so now, he pronounced that it was good for the Maori to accept the sovereignty of the Queen and the law of the Pakeha. Te Puni, his Wellington contemporary, similarly inclined towards the English, had also passed the ordinary term of human life. The Arawa had suffered in the service of the English, and were numbered at less than 2000. The Ngatiporou, if former returns were trustworthy, had decreased less rapidly than other tribes. They were 4500 in 1867.
The friendly tribes were reported to be, in the North Island: the Rarawa, 2671; Ngapuhi, 5804; Ngatiwhatua, 709; Wanganui, 1427; Ngatiapa, 325; Rangitane, 250; Muaupoko, 125; Ngatikahungunu, 2952; Arawa, 1951; Ngatituwharetoa, 500. The “hostile” were the Ngatimaniapoto, 2000; the Uriwera, 500. One tribe was summed up as the Ngarauru, “mostly returned rebels,” 400. The “mostly friendly” were said to be page 449 Ngatiawa, 1952, many Hau Haus; Ngatiruanui, 750, many Hau Haus. The “partly friendly, partly hostile,” were—Ngatimaru, 3670; Ngaiterangi, 1198; Waikato, 2279; Taranaki, 400; Whakatohea, 573; Ngatiraukawa, 1071; Rongowhakaata, 1000; Ngatiporou, 4500—many of each tribe being Hau Haus. In the Middle Island the Ngaitahu and Ngatimamoe were numbered as 1500, all friendly.
Amongst the reports furnished to the Government was one by the Pakeha Maori, F. E. Maning. He summed up the state of affairs as “a doubtful armed truce,” the result of physical exhaustion on the part of the natives, and pecuniary expenditure which the colonists found it impossible to continue. The rapid course of events is illustrated by the fact that not even Mr. Maning in writing of the war and its causes referred so far back as to the Waitara seizure in 1860. He admitted that natives had alleged that acts by Europeans drove them to arms; but knowing the abounding pugnacity of his comrades of old days he thought that they rushed to war of their own choice, weighed down by the conviction that, unless the English progress could be checked, the tribes would be trampled under foot and robbed of their country. If they had such a floating conviction, Governor Browne's conduct at Waitara would crystallize it into a hard fact, and make a resort to arms, in their own eyes a necessity, in the opinions of their English friends a certainty. Their wilful preference of Rewi's counsels to those of Te Waharoa proved how truly Mr. Maning gauged their warlike obstinacy, but did not remove the original wrong done to them. To the Native Lands Act of 1865 he looked as the only possible curative for their national ills. Already they valued its provisions, and in one district a tribe by no means numerous was receiving rents amounting to £40,000. Hau Hauism was not in his opinion worthy of notice. Such pretended revelations had been known in former times. It would die out with the hopes of the Maoris of success against the English. Various officers reported on various localities. The Maori king still maintained “the boundary line,” “Te Aukati,” over which no European was allowed to step, and which even a Maori friendly to the English could not pass. The Hau Haus at Tauranga imitated Tawhiao by establishing an “Aukati” in page 450 March, 1868, and the Civil Commissioner found it potent in preventing him from procuring information as to the disaffected districts. He was able to assert, however, that “the Uriwera and Whakatohea adhere to the horrible practices introduced by Kereopa, and every European or Arawa who falls into their hands is slaughtered without mercy, and their bodies subjected to the most revolting indignities.” The resident magistrate at Napier thought the New Zealand Government had no more to fear from Hau Hauism than had that of the United Kingdom from Fenianism, to which Hau Hauism bore “in many respects a strong resemblance”! The superstition was, he said, “generally abandoned when in March, 1866, Sir George Grey visited Napier, and by his personal influence induced Te Hapuku” with all his followers to take the oath of allegiance and surrender their flags. Since the Waikato war, even friendly natives had become lax in religious observances; and debauchery increased as the Maori associated more and more with the lower classes of Europeans. No enthusiasm had been excited amongst the natives by the Maori Representation Act. Some said (at Kororarika) that they ought to have been consulted as to the number of representatives, and that as the Pakehas had begun they ought themselves to carry out the plan. Some thought each tribe ought to have a representative. In depopulated Waikato no interest was displayed. At Napier, the resident magistrate was disappointed at the lack of attention to the proposed benefits. At Waimate the chiefs were apathetic-Taonui said that there would be “a word to attend to if the Maori members were to be equal in number to the European; but what were four among so many? Where will their voices be as compared with the Pakeha voices? How are the Maori members to understand the Pakeha,—the Pakeha the Maori? Is each man to have an interpreter by his side? If not, are they to listen and not understand?—to speak without being understood? Give the Aye without knowing what they say Aye to; and, by-and-bye, when some new Act bearing upon the Maoris is put in force, be told, Oh! you assisted to pass it? It will not do.” There was less apathy at Wairoa in the west, and amongst the Ngatiporou, than elsewhere. At Taranaki, Mr. Parris reported that the development of such a question as page 451 representation was rendered a matter of impossibility by the condition of the district during the war, and under the general confiscation of territory. Even the Native Lands Court in that unhappy district was a dead letter. There were no native lands to deal with. The treaty of Waitangi was overthrown. All Maori rights were deemed extinct, and the Settlements Act was the vehicle for re-distributing the land by sale, by gifts to friends, by dole to returning rebels. If an inconvenient judgment of the Compensation Court was apprehended, the Ministry eluded it by secret composition, and everything was deemed satisfactory. As for Tawhiao, with his adviser Rewi, they were supposed to be peacefully inclined if not interfered with in their pale, or Aukati. But contributions from distant tribes still flowed in to Tawhiao's exchequer, and the name of king was not without adherents. The Provincial Council at Auckland, in the end of 1867, had agreed to a resolution that to “secure the pacification of the country and the welfare of both races a general amnesty should be proclaimed with as little delay as possible.” The Government consulted Donald McLean at Napier. That gentleman apprehended danger from such a measure, but recommended a few objects of mercy. Mr. Stafford, in February, 1868, told Sir George Bowen that the Ministry could not advise the grant of an “indiscriminate amnesty of all political offences.” It would not tranquillize and would not be understood by the natives. Moreover, such an amnesty would include murderers. There were 173 political offenders at the Chatham Islands, whom 82 women and children had been permitted to join. Eleven of the prisoners had been allowed to return. The Under-Secretary of the Native Department, Mr. Rolleston, had recently inspected the Chatham Islands. The prisoners complained that they were compelled to work when ill. An old chief, declared by the doctor to be in good health, was thought by Mr. Rolleston to be in bad health, and the magistrate for whom the old man was working agreed with Mr. Rolleston. A sergeant, questioned by Mr. Rolleston, admitted that he might “have occasionally used rough measures in cases where the doctor said the prisoners were shirking their work on the unfounded plea of sickness. On their refusing to turn out I may have given them a kick.” Mr. Rolleston appealed to the resident magistrate against such page 452 “insult and tyranny.” The work to which the prisoners were put was described as building, planting potatoes, road-making, general, &c. The majority worked for the Government. The rate of pay was one shilling a day with rations. A few worked under contract with residents on the island, and thus, it may be hoped, escaped the boot of the sergeant-guard. The prisoners permitted to return to their native place, Turanga, wrote to the ‘Waka Maori’ newspaper, and speaking for their own people still confined, said they were grateful for being kindly treated, and would not join the Hau Haus if released. Horomona Tutaki was one of those recommended to mercy by Mr. McLean. His son Tamati Petera was not so fortunate. Tamati was ill, and Horomona begged that he might take him also to his home. Mr. Rolleston found Tamati too ill to be moved. “On asking Horomona whether he would stay and take care of him, he said he would. The sight of the two men with tears in their eyes was one of the most touching I have seen.” Such was the general aspect of the Maori race when Sir George Bowen arrived. His predecessor had left the land at rest. War there was none: but a band of Hau Haus of the Uriwera tribe had been lurking in the vicinity of Opotiki, and were supposed to be bent on mischief. They had been encountered by the military settlers on the 8th February, 1868, and six of them were killed,—only two Europeans being wounded. The losers had retired to the mountains. On the west coast, under Titokowaru, a large meeting held at Te Ngutu-o-te-manu, served to show the difficulty under which a Governor not trained to the task himself must labour in obtaining information. Mr. Parris, who had in 1859 lent himself to the conspiracy against Te Rangitake, reported in April, 1868: “I look upon the movement of the tribes in this province in convening these meetings as the best earnest of their desire for peace.”
Within a few months murders had been committed, property stolen, Maoris assailed, and Titokowaru was denounced as a rebel. Schools had ever been ardently sought for by the Maoris. The Arawa had made moving appeals for help. For this they held meetings, and though poor, pledged their substance. Land was given by the chiefs without stint. In wading through the records of the time one finds official statements which tell their own page 453 story in few words. 1st February, 1867: “Sir George Grey is supporting a school at his own expense, so that if the views of the committee can be carried out, schools will be available for children in the Maketu, Rotoiti, and Rotorua districts… The movement originated altogether amongst the natives, and they seem extremely anxious that their children should have the advantage of English teachers.” At a meeting of chiefs £100 a-year was guaranteed at Maketu, for Arawa schools, and a like amount was asked from the Government. One chief undertook to call on each parent, weekly, for the school fee of sixpence for each child. At one place a resolution, carried unanimously, enumerated the chiefs who were to contribute towards a schoolmaster's salary. But even in adopting European usages the chiefs gave them Maori peculiarity. A European tenant failed to pay his rent. The Maori landlord offered to fight for the amount “double or quits.” The tenant, a powerful man, was willing. In the struggle the settler was severely hurt and yielded. The Maori forgave the debt, saying, “Keep it to pay the doctor.” A chief surrendered, and was asked why he did so, when but a few days before he had been fighting. “The fact is, inflammation has damaged my right eye, and I can no longer shoot properly. In that last fight with you I missed two men whom I ought easily to have killed. The next day I went pigeon-shooting to get my hand and eye into unison, but I missed several times. So, as I could not shoot anybody, I came in and took the oath of allegiance.”
Such being the condition of the Maori race early in 1868, it may be well to take a comprehensive view of the European colonists and the results of their labours. From 172,158 in 1864 the white population had increased to 226,618 in 1868. Sixteen thousand homes had been acquired in the same period, and there were more than 54,000 inhabited houses in 1867. Sheep had multiplied from 2,761,583 in 1861 to 8,418,579 in 1867; cattle from 193,285 to 312,835; and pigs from 43,270 to 115,104 in the same period. The postal revenue had risen from £39,000 to £55,000. The value of exported gold was £1,800,000 in 1864; £2,700,000 in 1867. Wool exported was valued at rather more than £1,000,000 in 1864; more than £1,500,000 in 1867. The ordinary revenue had gradually risen from £815,000 to £1,225,000. The territorial, more fluctuating, under the page 454 operation of confiscation seizures and the Settlements' Act, was in 1864, £714,770; 1865, £500,045; 1866, £776,429; 1867, £561,730. An electric telegraph had been created in 1866, and some scores of thousands of messages had forthwith coursed along its veins. In one item there was diminution. The withdrawal of so many British regiments had contracted the shipping returns. The inward tonnage had fallen from 426,000 tons in 1864 to 309,000 in 1867. The increase of population had been mainly in the Middle Island. Auckland and Taranaki were almost stationary, while Wellington, as was natural for the metropolis, had increased. But Canterbury, with its offshoot Westland, and Nelson had grown; while Otago, though not leaping forward as in the first flush of the gold-fields' excitement, maintained its pride of place as the most populous of all the provinces. Immigration had declined after the richest gold-fields were occupied or exhausted. The maximum nett gain by immigration had been 35,000 in 1863. In 1867 it was nearly 5000. Judged by the standard which measures welfare by figures only New Zealand was rapidly rising. In the catalogue, the men, the goods, the gains of the colonists could go for much. But the “higher” gifts which bounteous nature hath inclosed in man, are sullied by the absorbing chase of gold. All were not demoralized, but the restless activity of its votaries, by influence and example, introduced a low morality into their private circles, and, eventually, into the Government. A gambling love of adventure intruded into halls of council. When corruption once eats its way, it overbears even those who scorn while they submit.
The immigration to Otago had not failed to cast upon New Zealand its share of the doom which can “place thieves, and give them title, knee, and adoration, with senators on the bench.” Yet, as in the man corrupted by temptation but supported by conscience, so in the community, ever by the side of the base a good genius will struggle. The men whom love for their fellows had sent as missionaries to the Maoris laboured also among their European kin. Bishop Selwyn was eminent. Not even his stand against the mean desires of the Taranaki settlers alienated public respect. He had found earnest fellow-workers in his Master's vineyard. With some of them the reader is acquainted. page 455 The names of Henry Williams, Archdeacon of Waimate; his brother William, the Bishop of Waiapu; Octavius Hadfield and Robert Maunsell ought not to die while Christian heroism is honoured among men. The devoted demeanour of native congregations and the deep-toned unison of the Maori responses, once everywhere observed, had, in many places, been overthrown in 1868 by neglect or by savage orgies; but a Church had risen up amongst the Europeans. Bishop Selwyn attended a conference of Bishops in England in 1867. He was invited to fill a vacancy in the See of Lichfield. The Prime Minister and, it was said, Royal persuasions represented consent as a duty, and he severed his connection with the land of the Maoris. It may be doubted whether it was on the whole the most desirable ending of his apostolic career in the south. But his prayers for justice to the Maoris having been spurned by the Government, and the faith of Maori disciples having been crushed under sense of wrong so that some looked upon him as an enemy, he may have accepted the belief that he could no longer serve his Master best in New Zealand. He did not welcome the change. He said at Oxford: “Twenty-six years ago I was told to go to New Zealand, and I went. I am now told to go to Lichfield, and I go.” He paid a parting visit to the colony in 1868. J. C. Patteson, who had been made Bishop of Melanesia in 1861, went from Norfolk Island to see his spiritual father once more, and thus described Selwyn's departure from Auckland. There were “crowded streets and wharf (for all business was suspended, public offices and shops shut), no power of moving about, horses taken from the carriage as a mixed crowd of Maoris and English drew it to the wharf. Then choking words and stifled efforts to say, God bless you, and so we parted.” In this world they were to meet no more. The General Synod of the Church in New Zealand presented to their retiring head an affectionate address, and to him was entrusted the duty of selecting the future Bishop of Auckland. The title of Bishop of New Zealand expired with his tenure of office. An address from a Maori congregation deserves a place in these pages. It was presented by the Rev. Matiu Taupaki, who led his countrymen in their affectionate efforts to do honour to the memory of Henry Williams:—page 456
“Sire, the Bishop. Salutations to you and to our mother (Mrs. Selwyn). We, the people of the places to which you first came, still retain our love for you both. Not to see you is a grief to us, and here we shall not see you again. We heard gladly that you were to return to us. Great was our joy. And now, hearing that it cannot be so, we are again sad. Sire, great is our affection for you both who are now being lost to us. But how can it be helped, seeing that it is the word of our great Queen? Our thought regarding you is that you are as the poor man's lamb taken away by the rich man. Our parting wish for both is this—Go, and may God preserve you both. May He also provide a man to take your place of like powers with yours. We shall no more see each other in the body, but we shall see one another in our thoughts. But we are led, and protected, and sanctified by the same Spirit. Such is the nature of this brief life, to sunder our bodies; but in a little while, when we shall meet in the assembly of the saints, we shall see each other, face to face, one fold under one shepherd. This is our lament for you in few words:
“Love to our friend who has vanished suddenly;
Is he a small person that he was so beloved?
He has not his equal amongst the many;
I long for the food which he dispensed…”
The special history of the Church of England in New Zealand will properly be sought in works devoted to that subject. The characters of Samuel Marsden, Bishop Selwyn, Henry Williams, and a few others who belonged to that Church, have made it necessary to weave into this narrative much which would under other circumstances have been excluded. Without Marsden the Maoris might not have welcomed the Gospel. Without Henry Williams, Hobson could not have negotiated the treaty of Waitangi. But for the manly protests of Selwyn, Sir W. Martin, and Archdeacon Maunsell, the nefarious schemes of Earl Grey might have found fruition in 1846. Without Selwyn it is probable that the career of John Coleridge Patteson would not have given assurance to the world that the highest type of the hero has not departed from the earth. But the internal organization of the various Christian denominations is hardly a matter of general history. When the State assumes the position that the public conscience is absolved from reverence for, and inculcation of, the highest truths, it removes them from its public life. Professing that where there are differences of opinion the State page 457 ought to do nothing, it applies to the moral world a rule which it dares not to apply to the physical. It will have its reward. Indifference pleaded as a necessity degenerates into contempt. That which the State neglects or despises will become the object of aversion in the eyes of the ignorant, the worthless, and the designing. The idle plea that the State cannot support one form of religious teaching without persecuting others is refuted in modern times in many lands. An honest attempt to provide secular education at the cost or partial cost of the State, and to afford ample facilities for the inculcation of religious truth by parents or friends of children has never been unsuccessful. But the abandonment of the higher interests of man by the State has been followed in some cases by a crusade on the part of the Government against their promotion, and thus in the name of liberty of conscience an almost unmatched violation of it has been perpetrated.
1 The biographer of Bishop Selwyn roundly declares (1879) that the course adopted in Melbourne and Canada furnished an example to be shunned. He asserts that the members of the Church there “derive their powers of synodical action entirely from the State”; but he does not prove his assertion. If they had the right originally, local legislation was not needed in that regard. If they could not have it originally, the New Zealand Church was without it. What the Canadian Act conferred was not any spiritual power, but the faculty of appearing when called upon to do so as a lawful body exercising control over temporalities.
It need hardly be said that in founding schools and colleges the Bishop was untiring. At Auckland, Sir William Martin aided in preparing Maori students for the ministry; and thus without money and without price performed services which in this world neither could nor would be rewarded. Of the Maori clergymen thus trained, Bishop Selwyn was able to say, when he bade farewell to New Zealand: “Our native clergymen need not return, because they have not swerved; it may be said of each of them, like Milton's seraph Abdiel, ‘Among the faithless, faithful only he.’ Though they be few in number, they have ever been faithful to that faith which they have espoused, and still the native Church is full of vitality and hope.” In New Zealand no apostate priest was found ready to abjure his faith. The Carmagnole of the Hau Haus was terrible, but it had not the ingredient which the miserable Gobel added to the horrors of 1793. Selwyn's testimony to the faithfulness of the native clergymen in 1868 was confirmed by Hadfield (then Bishop of Wellington) in 1881. In the other provinces the Church of England had made progress, but was not specially endowed as in Canterbury, the scene which Gibbon Wakefield had chosen for his experiment, when, reflecting on the higher aspects of national colonization, he deliberately accepted it as the duty of colonizers to make adequate provision for religion. In Otago, for the same reason, with an impartiality which redeemed him from all suspicion of bigotry, if not of serious preference in matters of faith, he promoted the formation of a Scotch Presbyterian settlement. The land reserves, though not set apart by the power of the State, remained for the benefit of the Presbyterian Church when the general affairs of the settlement were absorbed into the political systems of government, provincial and general. Bishop Selwyn, with wise forethought, procured in newly-formed townships, sites for the uses of the Church, and thus at trifling cost page 461 obviated difficulties which in after-time might have been found insurmountable. The Wesleyan body sent early missions to the Maoris, and though they had not been presided over by men of the stamp of Marsden, Williams, Patteson, and Selwyn, they had made many converts. When European population increased, the Wesleyan pastors, as usual, laboured strenuously in their vocation. In every province their functionaries were multiplying with the expansion of population. The Roman Catholic mission had been sent to the islands, when it was hoped that they might become not an English but a French possession. When the French scheme of annexation was frustrated in spite of the French Bishop's opposition, which was adroitly veiled when made, and was denied with the hardihood of the sinning St. Peter when its acknowledgment seemed impolitic—a hardihood which the French Peter did not repent—the Roman Catholic mission laboured with earnestness. The Church of Rome had many votaries amongst the European immigrants. At Wellington there were places of worship numerous and various enough to meet the wants of a metropolitan population. Taranaki, retarded in many ways by the sins of the people, was not without places to preach in, but preachers were sometimes wanting. Te Rangitake had a church at Waitara, which did not decay, but was burnt. There was some sense of the fitness of things in the destruction. When the congregation were to be slaughtered or driven away, there was an incongruity in sparing their church. The work was to be thorough. Thus only could Colonel Browne and his Ministers maintain the dignity of their country and the honour of the Queen.
The mission in Melanesia was in a manner connected with New Zealand, because its first founder, Selwyn, and its martyr, Patteson, laboured there to instruct pupils, whom at the risk of life by heroic humanity they gathered from the islands of the Pacific. The tale, however, is not so closely connected with the history of New Zealand as to demand detailed narration in these pages. It may be mentioned that in 1847 Selwyn made a voyage in H.M.S. ‘Dido,’ to explore. He volunteered and was allowed to act as chaplain and instructor on board, while the chaplain of the ‘Dido’ remained at Auckland. Soon afterwards in a petty schooner, the ‘Undine’ (21 tons), he commenced a series of page 462 voyages in the Pacific. In process of time larger vessels were procured. During Selwyn's visit to England in 1854, John Coleridge Patteson dedicated himself to the work in Melanesia until his martyrdom. In 1856, Patteson had visited with his Coryphæus twenty-seven islands, and was able to preach in their own tongues to Maoris, Solomon Islanders, and others. Pupils from the islands were collected at Kohimarama, near Auckland, and there taught, until in 1867 the establishment was transferred to Norfolk Island.1 Patteson conversed in more than twenty languages with his pupils. In 1861, he was consecrated Bishop of Melanesia by Selwyn and his brother Bishops of Wellington and Nelson. In 1868, Patteson joined the New Zealand Bishops in a farewell address to Selwyn when he left New Zealand for Lichfield; and, when his child in the spirit was slaughtered in vengeance for the crimes of others at Nukapu, in 1871, it was observed that Selwyn seemed suddenly older. But his faith was triumphant over grief; for though his voice was tremulous, he added to the words, “We thank Thee for all Thy servants departed this life in Thy faith and fear,”— “especially for John Coleridge Patteson.”
1 The descendants of the mutineers of the ‘Bounty’ were carried to the island. On the 7th September, 1856, Bishop Selwyn administered the rite of confirmation (at Norfolk Island) to 85 persons, the descendants of Adams and his brother outlaws. Adams had inculcated Christian precepts. Bishop Selwyn's wife spent two months on the island in preparing old and young for confirmation, and the Bishop found them duly qualified.
One of the early efforts of English colonies is to provide, as soon as they can afford it, regular communication with the mother country. Business relations demand it, and men prompted by adventurous or ambitious spirits recognize the pressing claims of their daily avocations. Ignorance of events may mean ruin to him, the fruit of whose toil is dependent on distant markets. But a holier motive permeates colonial society. While a settlement is young its component parts are chiefly exiles from homes, where reside mothers, sisters, and all the kindred whose memory is interwoven with the very chords of life. The families of enterprising colonists may have consented to their banishment, but yet it is banishment; and a brave wife has often accompanied her husband with the consciousness at her heart that she was too old to be transplanted from her native land. Striving then to do her duty in her new sphere, contending with new privations, embracing new duties, teaching her children, and learning the while, herself, in order to be able to page 464 teach what she had not been taught, such a heroine made many a home in the colonies full of hearts yearning for closer communion with the friends of youth. Added to these motives, the crude curiosity of mankind eager for new things, sufficiently accounts for the fact that postal communication finds early prominence in colonial affairs. To a newspaper editor the world without his columns would be a blank. Conferences on the mail services were held between representatives of various colonies, and there was much correspondence upon the route to be adopted and subsidized.
Amongst their efforts to beautify the land of their adoption, the New Zealand colonists bestirred themselves in importing animals. Prince Albert presented various deer. Pheasants found a congenial home in the land of fern. To the chaplain of the Bishop of New Zealand, the successful introduction of the common bee was due. Acclimatization societies were established at Auckland, Wanganui, Ahuriri, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, Otago, and Southland. The land, famous for its natural scenery, bid fair by the acquisition of beautiful forms from other climes to rival them all in its charms. Within a few years of the liberation of skylarks, their carol was poured as profusely upon Maori air as over the heathery downs of England.
After a welcome at Auckland from thousands of Englishmen and Maoris in March, the new Governor paid a visit to the Bay of Islands, where the Ngapuhi tribe were enraged at the cowardly attack in Sydney, by a Fenian assassin, inspired by rebellion and drink against the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alfred. The prince was to have visited the tribe, and they expressed their indignation at the arrest of his plans. Sir George Bowen met them on the historic site where the treaty of Waitangi was made in 1840. There, again, the old warrior, Waka Nene, met the Queen's representative in 1868. Though now weighed down by more than four-score years the old man rose, and in presence of Maoris and Englishmen, who knew that his control had mainly brought about the treaty of Waitangi, struck the ground vigorously with his staff, and reminded them that on that spot more than a quarter of a century before he had counselled the fathers of the living generation to place themselves under the shadow of the Queen and of the law. He page 465 knew that he had then counselled well, and now he urged the sons of his former friends to live in peace and brotherhood one with another, and with the Pakeha in the time to come.
In May, 1868, Sir George Bowen visited the Waikato district. At Ngaruawahia he was received by military settlers and by Maori allies. Near the tomb of Te Whero Where, friendly chiefs addressed Sir George Bowen, and he volunteered to cause the tomb of the Maori king to be repaired and preserved in honour of that “famous chief of old time who had never made war against the Queen.” One of the chiefs had asked if the treaty of Waitangi was still in force, and prompted by his advisers, the Governor replied that it was. The son of the king-maker was one of those who met him at Hamilton, and though on each side were scars of recent wounds, the Ngatihaua and the military settlers intermingled with friendly courtesies. He described to the Secretary of State the novel scenes through which he had passed, and the effect produced upon his mind. He had been warned, and now saw, that New Zealand was a reproduction of Scotch life in the 18th century. The strife of tribes was but a southern repetition of the feuds of the Campbells and the Macgregors. Even the carrying about of the head of Captain Lloyd was exceeded, according to Macaulay, by the exploits of the Macgregors, who placed the head of an enemy before a sister, maddened at the sight; and the Macdonalds surrounded a church and burned the congregation, mingling the harsh triumph of bagpipes with the shrieks of victims. The Maori “aukati,” the impassable line with which the Maori king had surrounded his territory, was but the Irish “pale,” with the difference that the invaded, and not the invaders, established it in New Zealand. Mr. Firth and Mr. Buckland had lost 200 cattle, 50 by escape of the beasts from their drivers, 150 by seizure by Maoris who drove their booty to king Tawhiao. Mr. Firth saw Mr. Stafford, and deprecated violence, and the Government did not make the outrage a cause of war. Mr. Firth wrote letters to Tamati Ngapora, the king's chief adviser, and to the son of the king-maker. Tamati Ngapora sent back the stolen cattle. Orders were given to collect the stragglers, and Mr. Firth was informed that those which had been killed should be paid for. Mr. Firth declared that there could be but one page 466 opinion of the very handsome manner in which the king and his counsellor had behaved. Sir George Bowen told the Secretary of State that the case was a reproduction of the cattle-lifting, described by Sir Walter Scott in ‘Waverley,’ where Fergus McIvor anticipated the part of the Maori chief. He did not expend his illustrations without a purpose. The New Zealand Ministry did not desire that the last regiment should be withdrawn. Their fears found an echo in the Governor's despatch. He was informed that loyal tribes would be disheartened, and construe the removal into an expression of the Queen's displeasure. In short, the loyal clans would view the “entire withdrawal of Imperial troops with feelings similar to those with which the Hanoverian clans in Scotland 150 years ago, while exposed to the vengeance of their Jacobite neighbours, would have regarded the removal of the English garrisons from Inverness, Fort William, and Stirling.” After their assertions of self-reliance the Ministry could with ill grace ask directly for the retention of the troops, but it was hoped perhaps that the classic illustrations of the new Governor would divert the mind of the Secretary of State from his determination.
1 ‘An Explanation,’ &c., by Lieutenant-Colonel T. McDonell. Printed at Wanganui: 1869.
1 Katene's frankness was peculiar. He once, by the fireside, said to an English officer: “Do you trust me?—Yes.” Katene paused and put his hand on his companion. “You are right and you are wrong. Right, because now I mean well to you—wrong, because you should not trust a Maori. Some day I may brood upon my wrongs—my ancestral land ravished—my tribe destroyed—my ‘mana’ departed. At that moment I shall be your foe. Remember my warning.”
The Governor had recently written to the Secretary of State: “I shall apply myself diligently to the study of the native language and annals”; and when the manifesto of Titokowaru reached him he must have sighed for more knowledge or more trustworthy advisers. He reminded the Secretary of State that “positive and reiterated orders” prevented the 18th Regiment from assisting to subdue Titokowaru. A redoubt, Turo-turo Mokai, held by an officer and 25 of the local forces, was surprised, and before Major Von Tempsky dashed up from Waihi in time to see the conquering Maoris retire, Captain Ross and seven others were killed or wounded. Of the attacking force about 12 were wounded or killed. One of them was a near relative of Katene. While McDonell was absent from the district, charges of theft had been brought against Katene, and the resident magistrate sent him to gaol for three months, at Patea. McDonell, on his return, caused the gaoler to escort Katene to McDonell's quarters, and there discussed his future plans with his scout and guide. The conversation was long, and McDonell invited Katene to remain in his house, promising that, as a reward for information, Katene's sentence should be remitted in the morning. Katene preferred to return to the gaol where he had his bed. McDonell went with him. The gaol was locked, and the gaoler was absent. Katene climbed up to a gable window, and said to McDonell: “It's easy to get in, but easier to get out.” “Why, then, did you stay?” “Oh ! I thought matters would go rightly on your return. If not, you would not have found me here.” When this cool and daring scout approached Turoturomokai with McDonell, the first object he saw was his dead relative. McDonell dreaded lest the Maori lust for revenge page 471 should prompt Katene; but the latter betrayed no symptom of displeasure. He talked confidentially with McDonell until two o'clock on the following morning, and left his commander lulled in temporary security. But in a moment he acted. Silently he roused his people, and bade them muster at his tent. “You know where I have been?—Yes, in McDonell's whare.” “I have,” replied Katene; “and he is distrustful. He means to murder you as spies and traitors. But for me it would have been done to-night.” Te Hira (a Wanganui chief who resided with Katene's people) was seized, bound, and gagged; and before day-dawn, Katene, with all his people, had rejoined Titokowaru. Colonel McDonell's force having been raised to 700 Europeans and 300 Maoris, he prepared to attack Titokowaru in his pah. The Governor suggested that if the colonial forces should receive a check, there might be a general rising. The intentions of the Maori king were unknown. Mete Kingi, a member of the House, wrote to Tokangamutu to sound the king. His old comrade, Hori Kingi, described the success of the mission. The herald was “passed on by Tahana Turoa to Wiremu Pakau and Ropata, by whom he was passed on to Pehi Turoa and Topia Turoa, and then passed on to Topine te Mamaku.” Thus aided, he reached a station whence a Maori, by name Marino, carried Mete Kingi's letter to Tokangamutu. There, oracularly, Rewi and Tamati Ngapora allowed it to be believed that they condemned Titokowaru. His evil-doing was with himself alone, even though through it he sink down to the world of spirits—was Rewi's word. Tamati Ngapora said: “Hearken, Rewi, there is nothing to say. Leave Titokowaru to be pecked by the seagulls. He sought it himself.” Hori Kingi begged his Maori representative to write and let the tribe know if he should “hear anything important at the Assembly.” The Native Minister, Mr. J. C. Richmond, took comfort from the result of the mission.
Such was the state of affairs when, on the 9th July, 1868, Sir George Bowen met the General Assembly at Wellington. Writs had been returned for the election of the four members for the northern, eastern, western, and southern Maori districts: Frederick Nene Russell, a nephew of Waka Nene; Tareha; Mete Kingi Paetahi; and John Patterson, a Maori with an page 472 English name. At the western district there had been irregularity. Every representative body founded on the basis of the English House of Commons takes a pride in following with nicety every detail which shows or implies the independence of its members.1 Before the speech from the throne is taken into consideration, a Bill is invariably read a first time to assert a right of deliberation independently of the cause of summons by the Crown. Mr. Stafford introduced on this occasion a Bill to declare valid the election of Mete Kingi Paetahi. The general provisions of the electoral law disqualified him, inasmuch as he was the holder of an office of emolument under the Government. On the following day the Bill was passed through all its stages. The Council passed it with celerity; on the 16th July, the Governor assented to it in the Queen's name, and Mete Kingi Paetahi took his seat. In the oriental imagination of the chief, who, like so many of his countrymen, could count the generations of his family from the time when his ancestors landed in Maoria, what thoughts must his new position have aroused! After strife with trading hucksters, with debauched wastrels of seafaring life, with settlers, with Ministries, with Governors, with an English army, there had yet been left such vital force in the Maori noblemen, that now, though in disproportionate strength, they took their seat in the Councils of the land. Bad advisers, and consequent war, had thwarted the honourable intention of the English Government when the treaty of Waitangi was signed, but yet at last an instalment of justice had been wrung from a conjunction of evil circumstances, and the voice of a Maori could be raised in the halls of the English runanga. The spectacle, which might minister to the pride of the Maori, reflected also credit upon the Colonial Government.
1 They are not so careful in other respects. The mace, the symbol of authority, is in England surrendered to the Lord Chamberlain at the close of the session, and is replaced in the hands of the House, by the royal authority, only at the commencement of the next session. This venerable relic of a constitutional principle, on which the summons of a Parliament is founded, has not been imitated in the Colonies.
1 N. Z. P. P. 1869; A. No. 3, G.
2 N. Z. P. P. 1870; D. No. 36. Colonel Haultain, who had been Minister for Colonial Defence in 1869, but was out of office in 1870, moved for this return in order to justify the character of the force!
3 1870; D. No. 7.
Mr. Fitzherbert's mission to England was successful as regarded the Imperial claims. Though the Duke of Buckingham thought that a complete scrutiny would have proved a debt from the colony, yet recognizing the pressure upon its resources, and the fact that it had taken upon itself the entire duties of internal self-defence, he considered that “simultaneously with the removal of troops, installation of a new Governor, and the establishment of a complete system of self-reliance.” the Imperial Government might properly consent to close the accounts by a mutual release. It was agreed that the colonial claims should be abandoned with the cancelling of the Imperial. The Colonial Office and Mr. Fitzherbert were complimentary to one another, and Mr. Stafford applauded Mr. Fitzherbert.
Mr. Fox at an early date moved that “an impression had gained ground throughout the colony that his Excellency's Government proposes to effect organic changes in the institutions of the colony,” that there was anxiety about native affairs, and that the Government ought to declare its policy. After repeated adjournments the motion was rejected (12th August) by 34 votes against 25. In discussing one of Mr. Fox's hostile motions, Mr. Dillon Bell was loudly cheered while he denounced Mr. Stafford's policy towards the natives. The Maori member, Mr. Patterson, through the interpreter, demanded equal laws for the Maori and the Pakeha. “If I vote for the Government, it may not profit me; if for the Opposition, the result may be the same. Honourable members may be all right or all wrong. I will leave the House when the time for the division arrives.” On another occasion Mete Kingi said: “I have listened to the talk here for two months. The talk is all about money. Men's lives are nothing.” Out of fashion in Wellington he might be, but he struck a higher chord than was touched by the party manœuvrers in the Assembly.
The question of retaining the 18th Regiment was not swept out of the way as the Duke of Buckingham had imagined. On the 18th August, the Representatives resolved to fall back upon the old arrangement, that while the colony expended £50,000 a page 475 year on native purposes, the English Government should retain a regiment in the colony free of charge. The elastic construction which could be put upon the phrase “native purposes,” qualified the obligation of expenditure. The Legislative Council had in July been asked to resolve in plain terms, without reference to any past arrangements, that it was expedient on grounds of Imperial and colonial policy that one regiment should remain; but the motion was rejected by one vote. A few days afterwards, however, the Council resolved without a division to entreat Sir George Bowen to delay the departure of the 18th Regiment until he could tell the Secretary of State the condition of the colony.
Again the war-cloud hung over the land. Again it rose from violent acts or breach of faith under a Ministry headed by Mr. Stafford. The obstinate Maori would neither submit in his fastnesses nor remain in banishment. Prisoners on board of a hulk at Wellington, on a stormy night, let themselves down through a porthole, and three-score—men, women, and children— reached the shore, and regained their old haunts. On the 4th July, 1868, the prisoners at the Chatham Islands, disappointed at being kept in exile contrary to their expectations that after two years they would be released, rose as one man, took possession of their guards, of all the money and ammunition they could find, seized a schooner, the ‘Rifleman,’ of 82 tons burden, and sailed towards their homes in the north. A return, obtained by Mr. Mantell in the Legislative Council, revealed the fact that there had been no “writ, warrant, or other form of authority” for the exile or detention of the prisoners. The capture of the island was so startling in its suddenness that no explanation could be furnished. Te Kooti Rikirangi, who was unjustifiably seized at Waerenga-ahika by Major Fraser, in 1865, was the Maori leader. Under pretence of holding religious services, he introduced some novelties as a prophet of a new Karakia, or worship. He had arrived on the island on the 15th June, 1866, and the expected two years of probation having expired, became restless when no hope of release was held out. The resident magistrate separated Te Kooti from other prisoners, and forbade him to hold religious services. These precautionary measures were reported on the 1st July. They failed. On the 4th, 163 men, 64 women, and 71 children, escaped in the ‘Rifleman.’ page 476 Three men and one woman only remained behind. One constable was killed with a tomahawk, in the act of resistance; but the rest of the guard were merely bound. One man said: “They laid me down very gently, and bound me hand and foot. They tied my hands behind my back, and left me on the ground with my face downwards.” Mr. G. S. Cooper was sent by the New Zealand Government to inquire, and reported: “Upon looking back upon this extraordinary episode in the history of New Zealand, it is difficult to say whether one's wonder is excited more by the precision, rapidity, and completeness with which the enterprise was planned and executed, or by the moderation shown in the hour of victory by a gang of barbarous fanatics, who in a moment found their former masters bound at their feet, and their lives entirely at their mercy.” There was apparently some prospect that the escaped prisoners would eschew violence, and be content with replacing their feet on the land of their birth. But mismanagement destroyed the prospect; and the colony learned how much it had owed to Sir George Grey when he resisted the importunities of Mr. Fox on the escape of the prisoners from Kawau. Though the Ministry could produce no warrant under which the prisoners had been detained, they denied that the refugees had been absolutely promised their freedom after two years of good behaviour. Yet a belief in the promise was widely spread. Bishop Selwyn declared in the House of Lords: “They were told if they conducted themselves well, at the end of two years they would be set at liberty. They behaved in the most exemplary manner; but at the expiration of the two years they were informed that they were not to be set at liberty, whereupon a look of despair at once came over them, as if every hope they had of life were cut off.” The first official instructions to the resident magistrate at the Chatham Islands distinctly pointed to release in connection with the end of the war. He was told that it was not “desired to detain them longer than may be necessary. They should be informed therefore that their return will depend upon their own good conduct, and the termination of rebellion. A few of the best-behaved will be allowed to return periodically, and it is to be hoped that none of them need be kept prisoners for any lengthened period.” The verbal promises made under page 477 these instructions can be inferred. Mr. Stafford, under whose Government they were issued, was still in office in 1868. There was no rebellion in New Zealand at the expiration of the time which the prisoners had associated with their probable release; but Mr. Stafford gave no sign, although he received urgent letters informing him of the restlessness of the prisoners under their disappointment. It could not be alleged that he was ignorant of the expectations of the prisoners. In May, 1867, the Government sent Major Edwards of the New Zealand militia, to the Chatham Islands, with orders to report upon all matters connected with the Maoris and their guard. The prisoners assembled to meet him. They stated: “That they had been promised they should be sent back to New Zealand, a few at a time, probably after they had been one year at the Chathams, if they behaved well, and that the whole were to be sent back as soon as the war was over.” Major Edwards told them that he “felt sure that the promise, if made, would be carried out, and that their good conduct would have its due weight.” If Mr. Stafford or his colleagues did not admit that the promise quoted had been made, their neglect to correct the report convicts them of duplicity or of mismanagement. In April, 1868, Mr. Ritchie, a resident at the islands, reported to Mr. Stafford that there was a growing determination amongst the whole of the prisoners to leave their prison. He urged that a special Commissioner should be sent to make careful inquiry. Mr. Stafford curtly replied that other reports which reached the Government did not confirm Mr. Ritchie's statements. He cared not to make inquiries about Maoris who might be aggrieved in an island-prison. He would not stoop to untie such a knot. Te Kooti suddenly cut it by seizing the ‘Rifleman’ the day after she arrived at the Chatham Islands. The surprise was complete. The chief officer vainly resisted the Maoris who, from two boats, scaled the vessel's sides, and stationed sentries in the forecastle and cabin. Te Kooti was almost the last to visit his prize, and on taking charge declared that unless the crew would navigate the vessel to Poverty Bay they would be killed. All the firearms at the islands were seized by the Maoris. An attempt to sail on the evening of the 4th was defeated by adverse wind; but on the 5th the ‘Rifleman’ sailed. A head-wind was encountered, page 478 and one morning a Maori was thrown overboard by his companions “to bring a fair wind” from the Atua, or god, of winds. But though he resorted to ancient superstitions to stimulate devotion, Te Kooti kept his powder dry. An armed guard paced the deck day and night. A Maori with carbine and sword stood by the helm to watch the steersman's course. The crew were not allowed to cook. On Friday evening (10th July) the ‘Rifleman’ was anchored at Whareongaonga, six miles south of Poverty Bay. The crew were kept below, while the women and children, and some others, landed at night. On Saturday morning the Maoris carried off the cargo (consisting chiefly of provisions), returned with two casks of water for the crew, and said they might now go where they liked with the ship, as the Maoris “bad done with them.” Before the ‘Rifleman’ reached Wellington, the electric telegraph had warned the Government of the catastrophe, and no man knew whether before leaving the Chatham Islands the prisoners had murdered the Europeans there. A steamer was despatched thither.
Captain Biggs, who commanded the colonial force at Poverty Bay, heard, on Sunday the 12th, that the prisoners had landed. He mustered 50 Europeans with 53 Maoris, marched towards the runaways, and demanded their arms. They refused to surrender them. Finding that they outnumbered his force he abstained from carrying out his original intention to attack them, determined to act on the defensive, and urged the Government to send “a force at once to retake the prisoners.” The Government complied. Colonel Whitmore was despatched to the spot, and Commander Palmer of H.M.S. ‘Rosario’ was sent to help him. Captain Biggs was eager to assist. Ridges with sheer steep rocks encompassed the outlaws, who, confronted by the Maumaukai Ranges, and impeded by their plunder, were many days in toiling to a spot where Captain Westrup of the Poverty Bay Mounted Rifles with 66 Europeans and 22 Maoris endeavoured t bar their way. He detached 44 men to a position commanding their path, near Paparatu, and Te Kooti promptly changed his front, dashed upon Captain Westrup and captured his camp, provisions, and horses. Many of the men fled in disorder, and Westrup himself with about 40 men was compelled to retreat across the country under guidance of a page 479 friendly chief, on the 20th July, and report his defeat to Colonel Whitmore, who did not conceal his dissatisfaction when he found that the forlorn fliers were not prepared to turn back and pursue Te Kooti without delay. Whitmore himself had some Napier volunteers with him. Hearing that the nature of the country would make it impossible for the encumbered fugitives to reach Opoiti, on the Wairoa river, in less than a month (though the distance was only 27 miles in a straight line), he organized scouting parties to hem them in, consoling himself with the reflection that the heavy floods and stormy weather which harassed his own men would prevent the enemy from moving. A force of friendly Maoris and European volunteers was gathered together at Wairoa in Hawke's Bay and marched under Major Richardson. Te Kooti, determining to transport the women and children to shelter, cut his way for about ten miles through the forest; and on the 24th, at Te Konaki, on the Hangaroa river, encountered Major Richardson, whom he fought for three hours before he could force his way. Major Richardson complained that his allies fought badly; but the only sufferers on the Government side were Maoris, though the Major said the rebels used their rifles with precision. A want of ammunition was also regretted by Richardson. It was plain that war to the knife was declared, and the Government called out the militia, strengthened Colonel Whitmore with a detachment of armed constabulary, and determined to show what would have been the result if Sir George Grey had consented to adopt Mr. Fox's policy at Omaha in 1864. General Chute, writing at this juncture from his head-quarters at Melbourne, urged that the battalion of the 18th in New Zealand ought to be concentrated as much as possible. On the ground that the withdrawal of the detachments from Taranaki and Napier would necessarily encourage Titokowaru and Te Kooti in insurrection, Mr. Stafford deprecated, and Sir George Bowen, in despatches to General Chute and to the Secretary of State, vehemently remonstrated against, such a disposition of the battalion as would concentrate it at Auckland where it was not needed. The Duke of Buckingham vielded to the Governor's entreaties. Colonel Whitmore strained every nerve to surround Te Kooti. The adroit use which the latter had made of his followers had deceived Westrup and Richardson. Colonel page 480 Whitmore ascertained that the fighting men had been fewer than had been thought, and that the women must have taken part in the previous skirmishes. He rapidly marched from Turanga to the Waihau lakes, where Major Fraser joined him with a force which had marched round by a regular track. Te Kooti had passed on, cutting his way with desperate energy so as to transport his impedimenta through the broken country between the Waihau lakes and Puketapu. The road thus made facilitated the march of Colonel Whitmore's force, which closed with Te Kooti at Puketapu on the 8th August. An indecisive engagement at Ruakiture, in which Te Kooti was wounded in the foot and lost about eight men, did not stop his retreat. Five were killed and five wounded in Colonel Whitmore's force. Two officers fell in a charge made by the Maoris, while the words of their women urged them on. Colonel Whitmore found that Te Kooti's tactics differed from the wont of Maoris. “He held a desperate body of men in reserve to charge whenever he sounded the bugle. His fire was deliberate and never thrown away: every shot fell close to its mark if it did not reach it, and there was no wild volley discharged during the action. He began the fighting himself, and no opportunity was afforded me to summon him to surrender.” In former wars the Maoris had only guns. At the Chatham Islands Te Kooti had seized 32 rifles. For the third time within a month of his landing Te Kooti had been brought to bay by his pursuers, and had worsted them. An officer who served against him has been heard to say that in such a warfare the generalship of Te Kooti could not be surpassed. Colonel Whitmore fell back to procure supplies, and Te Kooti after giving his followers rest at Puketapu resumed his march to the interior. In a month he was heard of a hundred miles from the coast. The savage was aroused within him, but he was calculating in his revenge. His position was strange. He had escaped from imprisonment unwarranted by law. Wounded, and dragging his wounded to the fastnesses of the hills, he was scotched but not killed, and his rabid followers were soon to horrify not only New Zealand but England by the massacre at Poverty Bay.
1 The text is compiled mainly from official reports. In Colonel McDonell's pamphlet (1869) he says, that having directed the native contingent, who were “heavily engaged” in the rear, to move in a parallel line on his left flank, he gave the word to move off. “The enemies' fire increased, and our casualties increased also.… I presumed Von Tempsky was following in our rear (McDonell had informed Von Tempsky of the directions given to the native contingent), when some of his men rushed up crying out that he and the other officers were killed.” Proceeding to the rear he learned the truth. “I would have gone further back to see if I could do any good, but the enemy still attacked our rear.… I accordingly pushed on.… Inspector Roberts, who fortunately did not follow our track, escaped the enemy, camped in the bush for the night (with his party), and reached Waihi the nest morning.… The men who had bolted into camp were for the most part drunk when I arrived.… The drunkenness which demoralized some men of my force after the defeat, and for which I was censured, arose out of the recklessness of the men who had bolted, and the action of the Taranaki Government. To raise a revenue they had passed a Bottle Bill, under which every storekeeper in that province on paying the licence fee could sell liquor by the bottle.… Ministers refused to grant me power (to close those grog-shops).… One Government opened the flood-gates of intemperance, the other refused me the power to shut them.…” (The Wanganui native contingent) “during the many years they served under me fought cheerfully and bravely, and I never had cause to doubt either their courage or their loyalty.” McDonell attributed the disasters to the Pokaikai Commission—false economy—and bad instructions from the Defence Minister, Colonel Haultain, in “urging the second attack upon To Ngutu-o-te-manu,” &c., &c.
1 Mr. Fitzgerald, in a published letter (1870) on the self-reliant policy of the colony, thus described the state of affairs: “Titokowaru had not, it is admitted, above 80 men with him when he began.… The head-quarters at Patea were a scene of perpetual drunkenness and debauchery which would have destroyed the discipline of the best soldiers in the world.” Mr. Fitzgerald still advocated the Weld policy of self-reliance, but maintained that the Waitara war was unrighteous, and was undertaken with the assent of the colonists, whose clamour drowned the voices of such men as “Sir William Martin and some few others who tried to stem the tide of popular feeling in favour of war.”
1 The condition proposed by Earl Carnarvon in 1866 was that the regiment might be detained “in case the grant of £50,000 per annum for native purposes shall be continued.” Mr. Stafford, on the 15th March, 1867, handed to Sir George Grey a ministerial memorandum “declining to accede to the proposed conditions.” Some of the reasons alleged were connected with the relative positions of the Governor and the General, but the declining of the terms was absolute. In what way the condition was “virtually fulfilled” in 1868, it would be hard even to guess. Returns laid on the table of the House, in 1869 (B. No. 2, Table R.) showed that in no one year after 1864–5 had the sum of £50,000 been devoted to native purposes. In the year 1867–8 the sum set down was £24,316 3s. 6d. Yet the term “native purposes” had been made elastic.
A petition from the Ngapuhi was described by the Public Petitions Committee as the dawn of a new era in the life of the native race. The tribe claimed equallaw for Maori and European; they resolved to assist the magistrate when called upon to arrest an offender. They declared that nothing was so beneficial as education in restraining the commission of crimes; “therefore schools for Maori children should be established, whereas there is not a single Maori school from the town of Auckland to the North Cape.” The glowing phrases of the Public Petitions Committee were embodied in a motion, but the Representatives only consented to say that the presentation of the petition was highly satisfactory. They agreed, however, that “a practical response” should be accorded. But friendly communication with the ever-friendly Ngapuhi did not smooth rough places at Wanganui. Colonel McDonell was made a scapegoat and obtained leave of absence. Colonel Whitmore assumed the command. When Mr. Stafford argued in the Assembly that the colony had virtually fulfilled the Earl of Carnarvon's stipulation for the expenditure of page 488 £50,000 on native purposes, his memory was as idle as had been the care of the Government for the friendly Maoris of the north. The petition of the Ngapuhi, whose authenticity was vouched by the Maori member for the northern district, was one of the first-fruits of the Maori Representation Act. Although driven by Titokowaru to combine with Mr. Stafford in the attempt to retain Imperial soldiers, Mr. Fox relaxed no effort to seize the helm of affairs. Beaten in the House in August, he moved in Committee on the financial statement that “this House has no confidence in the policy of the Government.” In that arena where deadly thrusts in argument neither kill nor disarm, inas-much as a discomfited casuist can reiterate statements already confuted, Mr. Fox battled for many days. When the Government resolution was reported to the House the two sides tested their strength in a division, which gave 37 votes to Mr. Stafford and 30 to Mr. Fox. The Government did not carry the whole of their propositions, but in their main object to abolish the system of provincial charges on the general revenue, and charge on the Consolidated Fund, the Interest and Sinking Fund, on colonial and provincial loans, the expenses of government, and of harbour defences, they were successful.
Mr. McLean was an important ally to Mr. Fox. On the 16th September, he moved that the House viewed with alarm the condition in which the Government placed the colony “in relation to defence and native affairs.” The fate of his motion was put off from day to day. The House, meanwhile, reckless of parliamentary usage, devoted itself to Bills on carrying newspapers, distress and replevin, the claims of one John Jones, of one George Green, protection of animals, public-houses, escheat, bankruptcy, Civil Service, bakers and millers, weights and measures, a Government-house site, juries, petty sessions, and various other matters which would formerly, even in New Zealand, have given way to questions affecting the Government. But the influx of a gold-seeking population, for the most part intent on personal gain or aggrandizement, had overborne the colonizing element of former days. The Middle Island had not only furnished criminals and murderers whose deeds shocked the community as a whole; it had returned legislators whose aim was low, and whose means were akin to their aim; but who page 489 were rapidly becoming a majority, and looked forward with hope to a general election. The political gamester was on the watch for the chances of the game. McLean's motion was decided upon on the 26th September. The numbers for and against it were equal. Thirty-two gazed at a like number of opponents, while the Speaker gave his casting vote with the Noes. It was plain, however, that Fox and Vogel were marshalling their forces, and that the confidence reposed in McLean would lead to victory. On the 30th September, Mr. Fox demanded an appeal to the people, but was defeated by 33 votes against 24. Public meetings were called in various places to demand a dissolution, and many of Mr. Stafford's constituents at Nelson called upon him to resign. The general opinion as to affairs at Wanganui is shown by the fact that while the combatants were thus excited against one another, the successes of Titokowaru made Mr. Fox meekly second Mr. Stafford's proposition to retain the 18th Regiment. The Government being allowed to proceed with its estimates the session was closed in October. Eighty-one bills were passed. Conspicuous among them was one to provide for land endowment of a university to be afterwards established. The Bill had been introduced by Dr. Pollen in the Council, and was agreed to in both Houses without a division. A few days before the end of the session Mr. Hall, who, in the absence of Mr. Fitzherbert in England, made financial statements, earnestly appealed to the Representatives for support against impending dangers. He asked for £83,000 more than had been previously provided for. “On the west coast we are in presence of a formidable difficulty… dark clouds hang over other parts of the colony… the difficulty has increased while Parliament has been in session.… If we do not shrink from whatever sacrifices may be necessary, if we will for the time stay the political and domestic strife by which we are now distracted, and afford hearty support to whatever men for the time may have the government of the country… but if we cannot suspend our political wrangling… then I am bound to say I have the gloomiest forebodings for the future.” The members must have felt, as the student now sees, that such an appeal would have been more fitly made on behalf of Mr. Stafford if he had not, in 1865, unduly obstructed Mr. Weld in order to page 490 obtain possession of the Treasury benches. One thing stands clear to sight. There was almost a panic when a Minister could speak thus, and his propositions could be accepted by the Representatives. On the 1st October, the newspapers published the alarming statement that the Maori king was about to declare war, and that Kereopa was mustering a band to join Titokowaru.
The Legislative Council had given indications of distrust in the tendency of the Executive Government. Moulded by a majority of the Lower House, a Ministry might induce a Governor to create an equally plastic majority in the Upper House, of which the members were nominated by him. A Committee was appointed to report on the powers and privileges of the Council, with a view “to extend its influence and preserve its independence.” The Committee analyzed the composition of the second chambers of other colonies. In former years the number of members of the New Zealand Council had been limited. In Governor Browne's reign the limit was 15. In 1861 Governor Grey was instructed by the Duke of Newcastle not to appoint more than 20. In 1862 the same nobleman withdrew the limitation. Thereupon the Council, in an address to the Queen, prayed that some limit should be imposed lest their independence should be impaired. Three-fourths of the number of members who sat in the Lower House should be the maximum of the number in the other. The Duke of Newcastle saw no reason for the exercise of a prerogative to limit the number of members which the law of the colony did not limit. For his change of opinion he alleged reasons which arraigned his former conduct. By taking away a limitation he virtually paralyzed one branch of the Legislature. He refused to undo a wrong he had done, alleging that no New Zealand law compelled him to do right. The Council endeavoured to legislate in 1865. In 1866 they passed a Bill to limit their numbers, but the Lower House allowed it to lapse in Committee. In 1867 the Council took up the subject, but were persuaded to leave it in the hands of the Government. The Committee of 1868 recommended a Bill to limit the number of members, and, further, that the Government should be urged to submit important measures at an earlier date than was habitual, the only remedy in the hands of the Council being to refuse to entertain any Bills sent from page 491 the other Chamber at so late a period of the session as to forbid mature consideration. The Bill to limit the number of members was quashed (5th October) by postponement for six months in the Lower House, the majority being 30 to 18. Four days afterwards a Bill to apply the ballot to elections for the Lower House was similarly shelved in the Council. Correspondence was asked for to show that, in 1867, Mr. Stafford, in order to carry a Bill, brought pressure to bear on members of Council who were also holders of paid offices. Mr. Crawford, who held other offices besides that of sheriff, had voted against the Government, not from political predilections, but because he shrunk with the instinct of a sheriff from accepting absolutely and at large all provincial liabilities as a colonial burden. In a friendly letter he explained his motives to Mr. Stafford. The Houses adjusted their differences on the Bill by conferences, and the session was closed before Mr. Stafford replied to Mr. Crawford's letter. He had waited till the matter was decided, and did not refer to the Bill. But as an opinion had been generally expressed that there were too many officers of Government in the Council, he wished to know whether Mr. Crawford would prefer to retain his offices or his seat in the Council. The sheriff said that when the two positions might be found incompatible he would elect to retain his offices, and Mr. Stafford told him that his resignation of his seat would be accepted; on which hint Mr. Crawford resigned his seat.
The constitution of the Upper House and its ductility were becoming serious questions to Mr. Stafford. The onward progress of the ordinary revenue had been checked. In the customs receipts there was a deficiency of £80,000. A member of the Council, Colonel Russell, proposed, but could not carry, a motion to consider the financial policy of the Government. Mr. Mantell, besides obtaining a return which proved that the Maori prisoners had been deported to and detained at the Chatham Islands without warrant or authority of any kind, procured another return, which revealed gross neglect. In 1865 it was arranged (Mr. Weld being in office) that Bills specially affecting the Maoris should be translated and printed in Maori for their information. Mr. Stafford became Premier in October, 1865. The return showed that after July, 1865, no Bill had been page 492 translated and printed for Maori information. The Native Lands Act 1865, the Native Schools Act 1867, and the Maori Representation Act 1867, were the only documents which the Stafford Government had condescended to circulate among those for whose behoof they were enacted.
After the successes of Titokowaru the Council resolved (8th October) to address the Queen. They urged that colonial responsibility had only been accepted in reliance on the future co-operation of the Imperial Government, and that if their equitable claims should not be recognized, a Commissioner ought to be sent from England to inquire into their grievances. The Address, laid on the table on the 14th October, was never adopted. Colonel Russell, its framer, on the second day of debate withdrew his motion on the subject. It had stated that the withdrawal of troops had created in the minds of both loyal and rebel natives a feeling that the colonists were condemned and abandoned by the Queen, and that should such feeling become general a war of races might ensue, in which the English would be exposed to easy aggression, and the Maori would “be fierce and elated, with little to lose, and secure of refuge in swamp and forest.”
In October, a Civil Commisssioner reported that on the Upper Thames and Waikato districts the Hau Haus were so jubilant as to tell him to his face that Titokowaru would regain the whole country; while friendly natives were abashed, and half inclined to believe in the invincibility of the rebels. It was rumoured that cannibal orgies had been held over the victims at Ngutu-o-te-manu, and that human flesh had been sent to the Maori king; but that he indignantly rejected the offering. War, massacre, and devouring of human flesh became, if not topics of common speech, subjects of common thought. Englishmen living at home in ease could scarcely picture to themselves the state of affairs. Orders for the withdrawal of the last English soldier were in the colony. Military settlers were compelled to be always armed, but did not feel secure from surprise. It had been the custom to issue to friendly natives a supply of arms, to be returned to the Government when fighting had ceased. The issues of such arms had been,—at Taranaki, 172; Bay of Plenty, 316; Auckland, 187; Wanganui, 725; East Coast, 2209 = 3609. They had not in all cases been returned at the end of a campaign, page 493 though closely inquired for. The weapons of the Maoris in former wars had been common guns. Te Kooti had rifles, and no man knew how many Titokowaru had secured. Ammunition was difficult to procure, but by picking up hostile bullets intercepted by earth-works and otherwise,—by moulding lead,—by using broken nails or pebbles,—by rough manufacture of bad gunpowder, the Maori had hitherto maintained some kind of supply. Where a raid might be made could not be predicted, and when made it could not be speedily reported to Wellington. The Maori king was supposed to have at his disposal more than 1500 armed men. While the country in which he had laboured for more than a quarter of a century was thus distracted, Bishop Selwyn bid it farewell. Had he been listened to in 1860, New Zealand might not have been rent by war and blotted by massacre. He did not recriminate, but, in reply to an important address, trusted that he might soon hear of reconciliation, and “that New Zealand may again exhibit the blessed sight of the Maori and the English growing up together as one nation in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in dutiful allegiance to the Queen.” The experience of recent years hardly warranted such a hope. Only inability to do wrong afforded prospect that a New Zealand Ministry would do right.
1 Lieutenant Gudgeon gives a different version. “Seventy men followed Rangihiwinui, and the remainder would have done so, had not Colonel Whitmore in his ignorance of Maori customs stopped a young chief, and ordered him to hold a position on the right to prevent any flanking movement on the part of the enemy. This irritated the main body, who said: ‘If all of us may not go into the fight, none of us will.’ Consequently 300 men remained outside the bush and never fired a shot. Had they gone on, the pah, strong as it was, might have been surrounded and the enemy starved out” (‘Reminiscences of the War in New Zealand,’ p. 198). Mr. Gudgeon's surmise may have been sanguine, but at least it is clear that the Wanganui men had cause to distrust their European commander.
While the public mind was striving to master the situation, and resolve what ought to be done to remedy defeat in the west, a shudder of horror was sent to all hearts by tidings that in the east, Te Kooti Rikirangi, having placed women and children in safety in the hills, had descended like a wolf upon Poverty Bay, and before dawn on the 10th November had massacred every man, woman, and child whom he could seize. It was said that, from their lair in the hills the robbers had come down so famished that some died on the road. There had been no warning. There had been apprehension of an attack in the Wairoa district, south of the track by which Te Kooti had fought his way to the hills. Major Biggs had received authority to place an officer with nine men to guard, and act as scouts, between Poverty Bay and Te Reinga. The officer (Gascoigue) extended his inquiry towards the north, where a Maori track led from Ngatapa to Poverty Bay. Biggs thought the labour superfluous. Donald McLean's influence had been used in enlisting a large force. Six hundred Maoris, of the Ngatikahungunu, Ngatiporoou, and Wairoa tribes were to march under Colonel Lambert from Wairoa. They marched within 20 miles of Puketapu, but returned without encountering Te Kooti. He was on the track to Poverty Bay, which Biggs thought it needless to guard. In the watches of the night Te Kooti and his myrmidons pounced on their victims. page 497 Major Biggs, who had demanded Te Kooti's arms when he landed, challenged some sound which he heard, and was instantly wounded. He retired for his gun, and while loading it was again shot, and fell. He implored his wife to fly, but she determined to remain by his side. Her heroism was equalled by that of a servant, who refused to leave her mistress. A boy, one of the few who escaped, told the tale. Though the house was surrounded, by crawling under a platform in the uncertain light he reached the scrub, from which he saw a Maori beating out with the butt-end of his musket the brains of Major Biggs. The houses at Poverty Bay were scattered. From one the inmates, warned by the boy, ran with the strength of despair: weak women carrying children, and reaching Turanga, six miles distant, by five o'clock. Fire followed slaughter. A strange contrast was there. While murder stalked from house to house, an old man slept soundly in a little hut, and rising after dawn “to help Hyperion to his horse,” was proceeding to milk his cows, when he found his footsteps amongst the bodies of the dead. He ran in horror to a house he knew, and found dead bodies there. Unseen by the triumphant savages, he fled to Turanga, and there overtook the other refugees. At the house of Captain Wilson (late military settler) the murderers had found the door barred, and fire was applied. The captured inmates were led some distance before the work of slaughter began. Mrs. Wilson fell wounded, and apparently dead, as her husband was bayoneted. After long swoon she saw around her the bodies of her husband and three children and a man-servant. One boy, eight years old, was missing. She lay there all day, during which an old Maori, Hori Warakihi, passed and took away her shawl. On the following day she crawled back to her old home, and ensconced herself in an outhouse, with nothing to refresh her except water in a small tea-kettle. On the third day her missing boy gladdened her sight. When his father was killed, he scrambled away, unseen or despised. He had sense enough to endeavour to hide. In the undisturbed hut of the old man who had slept through the massacre, he found food which he thought “it would not exactly be stealing to eat.” He found a bed in the house from which the women had fled to Turanga, and though Maoris entered while he was there they did not discover him. On page 498 Wednesday he was hidden in a sweetbriar bush, “the best place he ever saw to hide in.” That day he saw the murderers set fire to the houses as yet unburnt. He strayed towards his old home, and saw the bodies of his father, brother, sisters, and the man-servant. “He thought the Maoris must have taken his mother to eat her as she was not there.” He wandered to Toanga, where the Maori, Hori Warakihi, whom he knew, gave him bread and meat. On Thursday he mechanically recurred to the desolate home, and found his wondering mother. The fowls had not fled. He found some eggs. They had no fire. He went back to Hori Warakihi, and the old man gave him potatoes. The suffering woman sent the child to obtain fire from the houses recently in flames. Food being thus obtained, woman's wit went to work. The savages were still in full career. On a card, after four hours' struggle with weakness, she wrote: “Could some kind friend come to our help, for God's sake. I am very much wounded, lying at a little house in our place. My poor son James is with me. Come quick.—Alice Wilson. We have little or no clothing, and are in dreadful suffering.” Several bayonet-wounds and blows had been borne by the desolate creature, whose child was to bear her message through murderers red with the blood of her house, and busy in finding and murdering their countrymen loyal to the Queen. Twice the poor boy failed to find his way. A third time he saw a dog which he knew. He followed it as it trotted before him towards Turanga. Two miles from the fort he met some reconnoitring friends, and he hid in the bush, fearing they were Maoris. The dog barked, and the child was discovered. The child and mother had then been seven days in starvation and torment. The widowed and child-bereft woman was taken to Napier, but no kind care sufficed to cure her wounds. Te Kooti had murdered many, but not all the Turanga Maoris. He invited all to join him. Many did so. He retired but a short distance. Rumour multiplied his followers, who were said to be 600. Thirty-two whites and a larger number of Maoris had fallen before he retraced his steps. The few surviving English were gathered in the redoubt at Turanga. A small vessel carried some to Napier. Volunteers sailed thence, and in a few days 30 Europeans and 220 Maoris, Ngatiporou and others, were assembled at Turanga. page 499 The Ngatiporou, applied to for more help, declined to leave their homes unguarded, and sent only 37 additional men; but on learning that Te Kooti had been murdering the Maoris, 220 more sailed at once. A mixed force, composed chiefly of Ngatikahungunu, marched forward under Lieutenant Gascoigne, and at Patutahi and Makaretu had much skirmishing. They received their supplies by means of pack-horses, and the wily Te Kooti, while engaging his enemy in front, detached a strong party to cut off a convoy. He seized eight kegs of ammunition and more food than the robbers could carry. Gascoigne's men were fearful for their communications, and anxiously waited the arrival of Ropata, who was on the march from Wairoa, and joined the force in the beginning of December. A council of war was held, and it was resolved by the chiefs to drive Te Kooti from the rifle-pitted hill on which he had held his pursuers at bay. Till Ropata and his dreaded warriors were close to their lines the Hau Haus held their position at Makaretu, but then turned and fled, leaving plunder to their foes. Thirty-seven Hau Haus were killed. Some of the wounded were despatched in cold blood. The Ngatikahungunu offended the Ngatiporou by sparing the lives of two prisoners related to themselves. In the morning Ropata scanned the country in front, and descried on the forest-crowned crest of Ngatapa, the mountain lair which his enemy hoped to hold even from him. But Pakeha and Maori believed in Ropata as in Rangihiwinui.
In less than nine years after the light-hearted robbery of Rangitake the New Zealand Government were glad to ask aid from chiefs who were more loyal to the treaty of Waitangi than they were themselves. No one doubted that if they should combine, the Maoris in the North Island could wreak their will upon the settlers. Would sudden success in the east and the west raise national hopes and spread the atrocious fanaticism of the Hau Haus? The ‘Wellington Independent’ repeated its nostrum (19th November). Rewards for extinction of the enemy should be offered “to Maoris and Europeans alike, and should not be paid except on the production of the head. These savages should be dealt with as wild beasts which, unless exterminated, render the colonization of a country impossible.” Sir George Bowen's official despatches reveal the public alarm. page 500 “Fears are generally expressed that all the English settlements in the disturbed districts are in imminent danger.… Many competent judges are of opinion that the presence and exhortations of the Governor would afford the best chance of inducing the Wanganui tribe to take up arms for the Queen, and of securing the neutrality of other tribes now wavering in their loyalty.” Mr. Stafford accompanied the Governor overland to Wanganui. Not now, as in 1860, to cast the lustre of the Queen's representative on unlawful rapine from a loyal chief, but with words of goodwill in his mouth, and alarm in his heart, the same responsible Minister who signed the proclamation of martial law at Taranaki attended a civilian Governor to vivify those loyal sympathies which he had formerly done so much to quench. At Waikanae Sir George Bowen conferred with the chief Wi Tako, who journeyed with him to Otaki. Again the old man addressed words of peace to his countrymen. Most of them seemed to be Hau Haus, but not prepared to join Titokowaru. But Sir George Bowen observed in them a gloomy irresolution which might end in taking the side likely to be successful. In the Rangitikei district he saw Mr. Fox, the former Prime Minister, who with others had determined not to fly from his home. Redoubts and block-houses were ready at each village, to receive women and children in time of need. All adult males were enrolled and armed. As the Governor scanned the thriving crops, divided by green hedges budding in the spring, he sighed to think that the hand of the marauder might in a moment scatter there the desolation which Titokowaru had already inflicted at the north of Wanganui. Gathered at Wanganui were the families whom Titokowaru had driven from their homes. One night there was a cry that Titokowaru was at hand. Crowds fled to the block-houses which even men strove to enter for refuge, and the authorities were compelled to bar them out and reserve the shelter for women and children. The critical moment had come. The Maoris were to be appealed to. Sir George Bowen visited their camp at Putiki on the 17th November. Rangihiwinui escorted him across the river. Shouts of welcome, the war-dance, and a feast, preceded conference. Some chiefs cast blame on English officers, and there was recrimination amongst the Maoris. The Governor extolled the page 501 loyalty of the Wanganui warriors in many a well-fought field adjured them to treasure the last words of Hori Kingi te Anaua, who bequeathed to them the duty of loyalty to the Queen, and called on them to banish jealousy and strife, and once more fight for the Queen and the law. Rangihiwinui stepped forth and declared his readiness to lead a new “taua,” or war-party, enrolled for permanent service for the Queen. Other chiefs followed his example. Sir George Bowen did not fail to urge that the removal of troops at such a crisis would be disastrous, and that another battalion should be sent to New Zealand. Earl Granville, with cynical self-consciousness, answered: “It appears to me at this distance that you over-rate the magnitude of the danger of the colony.” More than six hundred “wives, mothers, and daughters” of the Wanganui settlers made piteous wail to the Queen, imploring that Imperial troops might be left to guard them, and “avert their extinction.” On Earl Granville was devolved the task of informing the petitioners that the Queen felt warm sympathy for them, but that he was unable to advise compliance with their prayer.
There was a strange cry from the far south where no danger to life was in question. Mr. Macandrew, Superintendent of Otago, demanded Imperial help. “Self-reliant policy has failed. … The colonists regard the wars with the Maoris as matters of Imperial concern; they did not come to New Zealand to fight the Maoris:… they had no notion but that the rebellious Maoris must be subdued by paid soldiers, supplemented by the local militia.” The Governor ought to use the extreme powers submitted to him and summon the Imperial troops, or to dissolve the Assembly and “have a fresh election” to convince him that the great majority of the “colonists disclaim being a party to the insult which is shown to the empire in refusing to use Imperial troops to assert Her Majesty's sovereignty, and to protect the lives and properties of British subjects from the atrocities of fanatic cannibals.” Macandrew wished his letter to be sent to England for “submission to Her Majesty.” The Queen, if she had known the facts, might have sighed, with Shakspeare's heroine, at the fantastic tricks which the angry ape of Otago was anxious to play with the thunderbolts of war.
1 Those who violated the flag of truce did not conceal but reported the fact (N. Z. P. P. 1869; A. No. 10).
Many reasons induced the Government to transfer active operations to the east coast. Colonel Whitmore had failed to inspire confidence amongst the forces in the west. Chiefs who were indignant at his aspersions on some of them for cowardice planned an expedition of their own. Colonel Haultain forbade it. Mete Kingi at a conference (23rd November) defended the Maoris for their unwillingness to be led by Colonel Whitmore. They were ready to fight in their own way, and without pay, but not to be led to a foolish slaughter like sheep. With a commander unacceptable to the Maoris, and who condemned the backwardness of the English, there was no prospect of immediate success at the west. Recruiting officers had been sent to Australia, but as yet no levies had been made. Colonel Whitmore went to the east. A ship of war sailed to Tauranga, where the settlement could be protected by ships. Sir George Bowen entreated the commodore to retain at least two of his squadron, and besought General Chute to visit the colony, to show that the fighting men of the Queen were not careless about its fate. Men who run no personal risk are often ready to stir others to deeds of danger. To them it seems as becoming for others to shed blood, as for themselves to spill ink. The crack-brained Smith O'Brien was goaded on by writers who prophesied that Ireland was about to “rise as a nation,” and “kill and capture” the Saxon intruders. He rose and became famous among the cabbages of Ballingarry. Punishment fell upon him, but was avoided by conspirators who from secure garrets had spurred him on. The newspapers in New Zealand were thorough in their demands. Rumours of the bloodthirsty expressions of some colonists and of a portion of the press in New Zealand reached England. The morality of the ‘Times’ was startled from slumber. “Abstinence from excesses which would not be allowable in European warfare is necessary for English honour, and any different policy would be page 504 intolerable.” The enemies of the Maori were indignant with the ‘Times.’ The ‘Wellington Independent’ (26th November, 1868) declared: “If the Imperial Government were willing to help us, and to crush that rebellion which has been the result of its own bad faith in the past, then English opinion might be entitled to some weight here as to the manner in which the rebel natives might be dealt with. But when John Bull, buttoning up his breeches-pocket, tells us, who are fighting for our very existence against a merciless foe, that we are to be very temperate and merciful, we naturally rejoin that he had better mind his own business. We know very well what to do, and how to do it.” At a later date (17th December, 1868), it seemed to admit that help was needed. “Let the mother country give us money and arms to settle a difficulty mainly brought about by Imperial mismanagement, and we venture to predict that in our hands the New Zealand native rebellion will soon be brought to an end.” Nor was this fiery breath confined to the press in Wellington. The ‘Hawke's Bay Times’ (December, 1868), speaking of rewards offered for prisoners, declared: “The fatal clause which requires the rebels to be brought in alive will completely nullify the effect intended. Death on the spot is what they deserve, and will most likely receive if they fall into our hands.”
1 In a return (N. Z. P. P. 1869; A. No. 3. G.) no such casualty is ascribed to the 28th December. I am unable to reconcile the discrepancy.
Sir George Bowen, hopeless of sympathy, wrote long despatches. He enclosed a note from the Chief Justice, one sentence of which spoke volumes. “The colony must brace itself up to hold its own until the time arrives when the native race may feel constrained to respect us in our strength as they now despise us in our weakness.” The Speaker, Sir David Monro, publicly advocated a suspension of the Constitution in the North Island. Let the Queen be asked to resume control of native affairs. The colony had failed to cope with them. Let the North Island be subject to an Imperial Commission. When murderers marched amid the glare of burning homesteads, there was no time for a “discordant Parliament to be wrangling and coming to no result.” The self-reliant policy was, in the Speaker's opinion, impossible in a country where provincial interests prevented unity and national spirit in the Parliament. In reply, Mr. Fitzgerald (one of Mr. Weld's Ministerial colleagues of 1865) deprecated the demand for troops, but urged that England should furnish money and arms. But Mr. Fitzgerald, the advocate of self-reliance, had misgivings when he looked at the colonists of the day, worsened as they were by the swarm of gold-seekers. “The men around one no doubt talk glibly of their political privileges, but I doubt whether they have the same deep love for liberty as had the men of Massachusetts.… No one who reads the history of the Pilgrim Fathers, and witnesses the events passing around him in this colony, but must painfully feel conscious that the colonist of the 19th century is in some respects a lower type of man than his forefathers of the 16th.” In January the Governor transmitted to England a petition adopted at Auckland, praying for the suspension of the Constitution as the only remedy for “the evident incapacity of the Colonial Government.” A petition from Southland joined in the prayer that the Constitution might be suspended. From north and south there was the same cry of discontent,—the same appeal for help. Sir George Bowen page 506 implored for delay in removing the troops. In case of their withdrawal many competent judges thought a general rising probable, accompanied by tragedies dreadful as those of Delhi and Cawnpore. He liberated his conscience by declaring that to remove the soldiers at such a juncture would create in the minds of the rebels such feelings as might have actuated Nana Sahib and his fellow-mutineers, if, after the massacre at Cawnpore, the English army had been withdrawn from India. Peace might be hoped for on three conditions: A garrison of two battalions of the line; prohibition of fresh settlements in insecure positions; a peaceful arrangement with Tawhiao not inconsistent with the suzerainty of the Queen. Thus, after exhaustion of blood and treasure, Sir William Denison's advice rejected in May, 1860, by Governor Browne and his Ministry was forced upon the same Premier in 1868, and with his consent was recommended to the Crown. Earl Granville had but one song to sing, and he hummed it at his leisure. Kereopa was far from his fireside. The troops must be withdrawn. The other propositions appeared to him judicious, but were for the Local Government to decide upon. As to the meeting at which Sir George Bowen addressed the chiefs of Wanganui, the Earl condescendingly remarked: “I approve both of your proceeding thither, and the language which you used to the assembled tribes.”
1 The readiness with which promises were made, which were sometimes not meant to be fulfilled, is exemplified in this instance. It has been seen that the conquering Europeans were in the habit of rifling burial-grounds and sacred places in search of treasures, or in the revelry of spoliation. Ngaruawahia, occupied by General Cameron in 1864, had become the site of a town appropriately named Newcastle, after the noble Lord who became an accomplice after the fact in the deed which involved the Waikato tribes in war. An innkeeper dug at the foot of the flagstaff of the Maori king, and found there a mass of green-stone which the Maori artificers had begun to shape into a mĕrĕ. He intended to sell it. Mr. Searancke, a Government official, demanded it. The thief refused to yield it, and fearing that Mr. Searancke would overcome his resistance, broke the green-stone into three pieces. Sir George Bowen promised with effusion, in 1868, that it should be restored. This he did through an interpreter, and his words were officially recorded. The reader might imagine that it was impossible to find the relic. It was nothing of the kind. In 1879 it was in the Auckland Museum. It bore this label: “Green-stone found at the base of the flag-staff at Ngaruawahia; said to carry the ‘mana’ of the Waikato.” The three fragments were preserved. The stone had been about 14 inches long, 5 inches and a half wide, and an inch and a half thick. It might possibly be pleaded that to restore the shattered symbol would have been an insult. But if such humane motives prevented the restoration, the word of the Governor ought not to have been pledged to it. In 1879 a member of the Ministry was induced to visit the museum and read the label which commemorates the vanquishing of Tawhiao, and the fragility of the word of a Government.
When Ropata and Hotene, after chasing Te Kooti from Makaretu on the 3rd December, saw the robber's eyrie perched on the mountain peak Ngatapa, the allied Ngatikahungunu under Tareha expressed a desire to attack the enemy forthwith. Hotene, grieved at the mercy extended to the two prisoners who had been spared, declared the omens bad, and it was only after much persuasion that differences were so far reconciled by Lieutenant Gascoigne and Mr. Preece, that the Ngatiporou agreed to attack Ngatapa on the following day in concert with Tareha. The latter, however, when informed of the arrangement, declared that he had been insulted and should take his men home, and he kept his word. Ropata, nevertheless, with Mr. Preece, proceeded on the 5th December to the attack. Wairoa natives under Ihaka Whanga accompanied Preece. An advance-guard, of which Preece was one, reached the fortress, and sustained a volley, which in spite of the remonstrances of Ihaka Whanga and Preece created a panic, and the men fled half a mile, leaving Ropata close to the pah. Mr. Preece returned to him, and gallantly the two with 16 Maoris scaled the forest cliff until they found themselves exchanging shots with the enemy at a distance of less than 30 yards. Ropata having established his dangerous position entreated Preece to go back and bring up more men. Preece went and found that most of the runaways had fled to Makaretu, and that Ihaka Whanga had failed to stir his people. Nine men returned with Preece to Ropata, who was furious, and hastened back for more. He persuaded 30 to return with him. Holes to serve as rifle-pits page 509 on the edge of the cliff were scooped out, with a bill-hook and hands, and at three o'clock in the afternoon Ropata with his small band stormed an outwork. A messenger reported the success to Ihaka Whanga, and 30 more men joined Ropata, whose position was more perilous in the outwork than in his earth-holes, for retreat without exposure was impossible. The re-enforcement carried welcome ammunition. At dusk Preece again went back for more ammunition, and in Ropata's name entreated the main body to advance. But the superstitious recalcitrants said “it was too dark.” With Ropata his own relations were as daring as himself. One climbed a tree and fired downwards on the foe. Another, Watene Tukino, cried out: “You brought us here. Why don't you order a charge into the pah and settle the affair one way or another. I will never go back.” He repeatedly mounted the parapet and fired at the enemy. He kicked the dust at their faces and yet was unhurt. But there was method in Ropata's rashness. When he had fired his last shot he withdrew before dawn and strode through the camp of the fugitives who had abandoned him before the pah. Sullenly scorning the deserters, Ropata's men looked not upon them, but camped apart in silence. The shamed offenders feared to approach the chief. Captain Porter who was with them was deputed to intercede. Ropata gave him no heed for some time. At last he said: “My people have betrayed me. I will have nought to do with them. I will go back to Waiapu for others; and when I come back if I find the Ngatikahungunu here I will attack them for deserting me.” He marched towards Turanga, and his remorseful tribesmen followed at a distance. On the way he met Colonel Whitmore, who had just arrived by sea from Wanganui with a large force of armed constabulary, and was proceeding to Ngatapa. Whitmore begged him to return. He answered: “I never break my word. I have said I will go to Waiapu, and I will. I will come back with other men and attack the Hawke's Bay tribes who abandoned me.” It was long before he consented not to attack the Ngatikahungunu; but he yielded at last, and as his journey to Waiapu could not be stayed, Colonel Whitmore facilitated it by placing a steamer at his disposal. Fires were seen at Ngatapa, and so confidently was it thought that Te Kooti had fled, that Colonel page 510 Whitmore prepared to send back some of the constabulary to Wanganui. The vessel in which they embarked ran aground and they were relanded. Te Kooti, meanwhile, sent a marauding party which killed two Europeans and one Maori. The smoke at Ngatapa had not risen from houses abandoned to the flames, but from the destruction of the scrub near the fortress in order to deprive assailants of that shelter under which Ropata had captured an outwork.
1 The emaciated condition of Te Kooti's prisoners was pleaded by one officer as an excuse, if not a justification, for the slaughter of the Ngatapa captives. Yet even that officer saw with a pang, the killing of the resolute chief who in death seemed to breathe defiance.
1 ‘Reminiscences of the War in New Zealand,’ p. 255. London: 1879.
The force of the rebels being shattered, and the forest encumbered with their remains, Ropata was left to pursue Te Kooti. Captain Westrup was to assist, or nominally to guide him. Having made so terrible an exhibition of his own ruthlessness and the complicity of Mr. Stafford's Government, Ropata soon afterwards spared 80 persons, women and others, not known to have been fighting against him. Gudgeon says that when asked the reason of his clemency he replied (satirically we may presume): “I thought you Pakehas might call me a butcher.” The Governor meanwhile, undisturbed by the horrors of the warfare thus countenanced by his advisers, returned from a tour to Canterbury, described by him as the continuance of “a policy initiated with success” by his predecessor. He was accompanied by Wi Tako and other chiefs, whose self-love was (he said) gratified by the honours they received in company with the Governor, while their shrewd and observant minds became impressed with the hopelessness of a struggle with the hordes of Nelson, Christchurch, and Dunedin.
At this time Sir G. Bowen received a reply to his earnest appeal for help made when Colonel McDonell was routed near Ngutu-o-te-manu in September, 1868. The Duke of Buckingham was sorry for the disaster, but could not suppose that 220,000 Europeans, with the loyal Maoris, were unable to dispose of a few hundred rebels. He found “no reason to vary the instructions already given.” The last soldier must leave New Zealand on the arrival of the transport ship, and it was difficult to imagine such a state of affairs as would induce Sir G. Bowen to take the responsibility of detaining any troops after receiving his instructions.
1 P. P. 1869, p. 353.
2 Ibid. p. 431.