History of New Zealand. Vol. II.
Chapter xvi. — Colonel Whitmore
1 Where Bryce and Maxwell harried women and children in the begining of December, and Maxwell was afterwards shot in the same month.
1 On the 30th of September, 1868, Mr. Whiteley had written a foreboding letter. He had never felt so desponding during his residence of 35 years in New Zealand. The troops were gone or going. England seemed to desert the settlers and the loyal Maoris. The rebels would ““seek ‘utu’ (payment, revenge) for all the past.” In Abyssinia the English had completed their work and the author of evil was slain, whereas the army was withdrawn from New Zealand before it had done its work.… It has been said the natives are fighting for their lands. But the earth is the Lord's, and for 600 years he has been waiting for them to occupy. Six hundred years more may find them with millions upon millions of unoccupied acres; and Providence indicates that now shall this portion of his earth be occupied by those who are able and willing to bring forth the fruits thereof.” If such was the measured language of a serious letter, it requires but little imagination to suppose that in casual speech the old enemy of Te Rangitake would often bring hatred upon himself.
Meanwhile, Colonel Whitmore and Rangihiwinui pursued Titokowaru on the west coast. Early in March, with about 600 men, an advance was made up the Patea river. Titokowaru's camp was taken. Rangihiwinui commanded the right column, and dashed into the camp so promptly that baggage and moveables were left indiscriminately behind. Rangihiwinui, allowing his men little time to plunder the camp, pushed on, driving the enemy before him. Titokowaru escaped by swimming the river, Rangihiwinui's rapidity having prevented the fugitives from crossing by the main ford. Colonel Whitmore reported (14th March) that though the enemy's actual loss was small, his ignominious flight must ruin his reputation irretrievably. To follow him in tangled forests was difficult. Colonel Whitmore regretted that Ropata with the Ngatiporou was not with him. The value of “so intelligent a chief at the head of the bravest ‘hapu’ of the best bush tribe in New Zealand” it would be impossible to exaggerate.
Great efforts were made to induce Ropata to lead some of his men to the west. In 1868 the Government had accepted an offer made by Mr. Donald McLean to aid in securing the co-operation of the Maoris at Hawke's Bay and the east coast. Ropata arrived at Napier with 80 followers, and consulted McLean, having no desire to go to the west without Mr. McLean's concurrence. McLean by telegraph dissuaded the expedition. The Ministry persisted. Ropata declined to go, alleging that his absence from his district invited attack. The recruiting officer persuaded 19 of the men to go with him. The rest were obedient to Ropata. Angrily declaring that McLean had set “a vicious example” by dissuading Ropata, Mr. Stafford removed McLean from his agency for the Government. The English residents in the surrounding districts passed strong resolutions favourable to McLean and hostile to the Ministry. They prayed that the General Assembly might be convened. Mr. Stafford became less petulant. It was plain to him and to them that by needless insult of a man so trusted as McLean with regard to native affairs generally, and so influential in the districts kept in terror by Te Kooti, he had done much to convert the scant majority of 1868 into a minority in 1869. The friendly Maoris also were offended. Karaitiana Takamoana declared that he page 524 had besought Ropata not to go away,—that Mr. McLean was not the dissuader, and that “if he fall the whole of the Maoris of this coast will fall with him.” As it was well known that without Rangihiwinui on the west, and Ropata on the east, the English appeared to disadvantage in the field, and as the east coast Maoris were unwilling to serve under Colonel Whitmore without the chiefs in whom they trusted, it might be affirmed that from the date of their insulting Mr. McLean the doom of the Stafford Ministry was certain. Failing to obtain the aid of Ropata, Colonel Whitmore devised other plans. “If (he wrote) the Ngatiporou are unavailable, and hounds to carry the trail considered to be improper agents for the purpose, I would suggest that some Australian blacks should be engaged to supply what only very great practice can give to Europeans, and what I have not got in this force—the faculty of tracking fugitives in the bush.” Scorned in his own country, except when his unrivalled hunting and tracking powers were required by Europeans in pursuit of game or of his brethren, in an hour of need the Australian became the hope of the leader of the forces of New Zealand. At the head of 350 men, Rangihiwinui, having ascertained that the enemy were in full retreat to Whakamaru, pushed forward, discovered their camp, sent back for the armed constabulary, and placing them in concealment in front, made a circuit to enclose Titokowaru in rear. Colonel Whitmore arrived at the front. The harangues of Titokowaru and others were distinctly heard. All hearts were exultant at the thought that in a short time Rangihiwinui would bar the retreat, when a mounted rebel, said to have been Katene (McDonell's quondam guide), rode almost into Colonel Whitmore's hands, discovered his danger, fired his revolver, and galloped back to his friends. Colonel Whitmore advanced, but Titokowaru was gone. Rangihiwinui, “after his men had cooked, continued the pursuit, and at sunset fell in with their rear. They attempted to lay an ambuscade for Rangghiwinui's advance, but were attacked so quickly and with such determination that they could not hold their ground; but they sprang off rapidly and dispersed so quickly, after delivering their fire, that only one could be killed. Rangihiwinui, however, pressed on, clambering up a precipice, forcing him to abandon an already page 525 prepared sleeping-place, and inflicting some loss in this and similar skirmishes during the following day.” Titokowaru was in full retreat towards Te Ngaere. To it Colonel Whitmore said, “no guide could be found to show the way, but Rangihiwinui with his usual intelligence made it out correctly.” Across the treacherous marsh three large kaingas or villages were seen. No fires were lit in the English camp, screened as it was by tangled growth on the forest margin. The hapu of Ahitana, not hostile to the English, was known to be peaceably residing at Te Ngaere, but Colonel Whitmore was sure that Titokowaru was there also. At night a woman's voice was heard summoning the Maoris: “Come hither, ye brave, come hither to the food.” By means of long hurdles made on the spot the attacking forces were transported across the swamp at daylight on the 25th March. They saw some Maoris apparently escaping, and others approaching the new-comers with the friendly welcome, “Haere mai.” In this manner the son of Ahitana met Colonel Whitmore, who suspected the villagers of aiding the escape of Titokowaru, who was gone towards Te-Ngutu-o-te-manu. Colonel Whitmore came to the conclusion that about 70 of Titokowaru's people were present at the surprise of Te Ngaere, and walked off while the son of Ahitana met the English commander. Rangihiwinui having traversed the country and ascertained that Titokowaru had fled, the Wanganui men returned to their homes, and Colonel Whitmore marched to Taranaki. A few stragglers dead, or dying of inanition, were seen by Rangihiwinui, but the rebel leader had made his way to the Upper Waitara, north of Taranaki. Scouting parties were left to defend the settlements, and Colonel Whitmore proceeded by way of Auckland to the east coast. A marauding expedition, under a detachment of the Wanganui militia, destroyed at various places on the Waitotara river, settlements, cultivations, eel-weirs, and, in its commander's phrase, “any stock we could not eat.” Scattered families fled in terror from it. At one pah a decrepit old woman was left to fly a small white flag, but she did not save the dwellings.
Amidst all these wars and the wild rumours to which they gave birth, Te Rangitake and his followers loyally kept the peace at Waitara, and refused to Titokowaru a passage through page 526 through their territory. Mr. Parris reported that he had only to speak, and he would command the support of all Maoris unfriendly to the English. But Rangitake kept his pledge of peace. Under these circumstances Te Kooti was deemed more dangerous than the routed Titokowaru, and it was resolved to discontinue the campaign in the west, with reference to which the Minister of Defence, Colonel Haultain, writing in April to the Governor, added his tribute to the general praise of Rangihiwinui's “courage and resource as remarkable as his modesty and devotion.”
When Major Mair abandoned his pursuit at Tauaroa, Te Kooti remained at Ahikereru, whence he could make prompt raids either upon the Bay of Plenty, on Napier, or Wairoa, or could reach Rotorua, or the Waikato, as he might choose. The Civil Commission at Tauranga urged an immediate expedition to crush the freebooter, while short of ammunition. On Saturday, the 10th April, he appeared, where least expected, to supply his wants. He treacherously captured a pah (Huke), on the coast at Mohaka (about 40 miles from Napier), murdered the inmates, 7 Europeans and 57 Maoris, destroyed all habitations, and made off with some casks of ammunition and a few rifles. There was a small pah (Hiruharama) at Mohaka, in which Ihaka Whanga and others defended themselves successfully for two days, and Te Kooti beat a retreat before 400 of the Napier militia arrived to learn that the marauders had escaped with their booty. Colonel Whitmore hastened to the scene, and with armed constabulary and allied Maoris carried war into the Uriwera territory. Colonel Herrick with one force, Colonel St. John with another, and Whitmore with a third, traversed the land, but vainly sought to bring Te Kooti to a pitched battle or to sustain a siege. They captured pahs after desultory skirmishing from rifle-pits, and found them empty. On one occasion the retiring conquerors saw the enemy, of whose immediate proximity they had been unconscious, march quietly into the camp which had been left by the constabulary and the Arawa. Te Kooti himself, after his raid at Mohaka, returned through his mountain fastnesses only to hear at Waikaremoana that Ruatahuna had fallen into the hands of his enemies. He despatched some followers to dog the retiring forces, and took page 527 up a central position from which he might guide his adherents and march suddenly to the interior or to the coast. Want of ammunition distressed him; and the winter cold pinched bitingly those who had scant store of food.
The season had its terrors for the allies. The Arawa declined to march beyond Ruatahuna. Great efforts were made to persuade Ropata Wahawaha of what was called his “sulkiness,” but it was found that his counsel could not be dispensed with, and that without him his countrymen distrusted the capacity of the Pakeha leaders to cope with the wily Te Kooti. How that hunted robber could retain an army seemed mysterious. Outnumbered always, he was not deserted. To a cunning which availed itself of every art of vantage, he joined the show of pious belief. A native gave an account of a meeting at which for five hours he addressed assembled chiefs, and persuaded several to flock to his standard. That which the Ministry dreaded was his escape into the territory of the Maori king, where his influence might stir the latent fanaticism of Tawhiao's adherents.
From his post of espial Te Kooti watched the colonial forces, some of whom were stationed at Fort Galatea on the Rangitaike river. He waylaid troopers with despatches. Colonel St. John was about to go from Fort Galatea to Lake Taupo, to arrange for such an occupation of posts as might foil Te Kooti if he should endeavour to pass towards Waikato. Te Kooti cautiously followed an escort party. At Opepe his advance-guard saw smoke arising where they had thought there was no inhabitant. A body of troopers was there. Te Kooti sent scouts into various ravines to prevent escape, and ordered picked men to saunter up as if they were Arawas, friendly to the English—to go between the troopers and their arms, and to massacre them. The device succeeded. The men were deceived. Ten troopers were reported as killed. A sergeant with two men escaped to Fort Galatea. Te Kooti had not succeeded in making away with Colonel St. John, who, fortunately, had with four others ridden forward before Te Kooti arrived at Opepe. But all the ammunition with the escort party was seized. The successful marauder passed on and murdered 21 Maoris at a village before he took up his abode at Lake Taupo. There he persuaded Te Heu Heu to join him, and thence, after some time, with a powerful page 528 band, he went to Tokangamutu to confer with the Maori king.
What the Ministry most feared had come to pass. When in June they heard that Te Kooti had slain the troopers at Opepe, they knew that there was nothing to bar his way to Waikato. At that time also Mr. Stafford had to encounter an eager Opposition, strengthened by Donald McLean, whom Mr. Stafford had gratuitously insulted and removed from office at Napier. To add to their troubles, some of the armed constabulary at Fort Galatea mutinied, demanding more food; and the Colonel in command was powerless. The Ministry which could complacently approve the slaughter of prisoners, lost temper at remonstrance. They were irritated beyond measure at the thought that two men, wantonly driven to resistance, were able with a few undisciplined enthusiasts to foil the colonial forces. In the North Island there were altogether more than 2000 Europeans and 1000 Maoris maintained in the field to crush the two bandits who defied the Government. In the armed constabulary the men received five shillings a day. The militia and the Maoris were paid alike; receiving four shillings a day, with an additional shilling when serving outside of their own districts. Scouts received eight shillings a day for carrying their lives in their hands. While battling with the discord which he had, in 1860, done so much to create, Mr. Stafford was further provoked by a polite but galling remonstrance from Earl Granville. The Earl observed in the newspapers that a reward of £1000 had been offered for Titokowaru—he inferred alive or dead—and £5 for every Maori rebel brought in alive. He pronounced no opinion, but thought such steps at variance with the usual laws of war. The Governor's despatches had been silent on this and on other questions, such as the breach of faith with the exiles at the Chatham Islands; and the arbitrary seizure of Maoris as hostages on the west coast, which was thought to have produced Titokowaru's outbreak. The Earl wished for explanations. It would have been difficult for a Governor to explain either his complicity or silence. Sir George Bowen contented himself with sending a memorandum from Mr. Stafford. As to Titokowaru, “the report which has reached the Colonial Office is exactly true, as also the inference drawn by his Lordship that it page 529 was implied in the offer that the reward would be given for the body of Titokowaru, alive or dead. Ministers regret if this offer has not been reported in the copious minutes of events furnished to his Excellency by every mail. It is right now to add that a similar reward on the same terms has been offered for the body of Te Kooti.” The offers were exceptional as were the atrocities which produced them, but were not without precedent in the history of India, or of “Fenian outrages in the heart of the United Kingdom.” Mr. Stafford condescended to no further explanation. The colony must, he said, be content to bear the “censures of unreflecting critics.” A more careful defence was made by the Under-Secretary for Native Affairs. It was admitted that, in the matter of supposed horse-stealing, the high-handed carrying away of hostages by Colonel McDonell was irregular, but not that it had any direct bearing on the subsequent acts of Titokowaru. It was admitted that hostages and prisoners were seized; that three of them were released; that a fourth, Ihaka, was remanded for a week; that he escaped from durance, and was present at the murders which a few days afterwards, “according to Maori custom, commenced open war.” At a later date Earl Granville returned to the subject, when his attention was drawn to a newspaper statement that Mr. J. C. Richmond, at Ngatapa, offered £50 for the head of Nikora, £500 for that of Te Kooti, and £1 per head for others, who were shot as soon as brought in. He could make every allowance for indignation at Te Kooti's atrocities, and would not deny the necessity of extraordinary measures, but “a general offer to savages of £1 for every head brought in” was calculated to intensify the worst characteristics of the Maori nature, and to breed in the relatives of the victims a thirst for revenge.
Strange are the contradictions of the human mind! The same high functionary who would make no effort to wipe off the stain cast upon England's scutcheon by the killing of a prisoner of war, now called upon others to do what he had set them the example of shunning. “The statement that prisoners are shot as soon as they arrive is unaccompanied by any information as to what steps are taken to secure that the persons so put to death have been implicated in any of the more criminal acts of the rebels.”page 530
Mr. Richmond was not an unprofitable pupil in Earl Granville's school. He had paid £50 for the head of Nikora. He would have paid £1000 for Te Kooti dead or alive. He said nothing about the deaths of flying men and women shot on the chance that the pursuer had Te Kooti in view. He had offered £5 for every Chatham Island refugee brought in alive, and “in two or three cases the reward had been claimed.” One of such prisoners was afterwards killed; but it was believed that the killer's child had been previously killed by the prisoner. There was an inquest, but the jury returned an open verdict, the neighbours “sympathizing, not unpardonably,” with the accused. If suggestions of censure on the Colonial Government were to be founded on newspaper statements, it could retort by urging that the London ‘Times’ had in February, 1869, advised that the hands of the colonists should be free to choose their measures; that “the two races must be left to settle accounts with each other.” Another English paper had said that the Maoris would perish; but it was not England's business to save them from the consequences of their own acts. This, Mr. Richmond said, was “no doubt cool philosophy,” but colonists had long ago said that if the two races were left to fight out their quarrel over New Zealand soil, the Maori must be swept away, and the nonintervention by England “practically admitted” that it was no business of hers.
Sir G. Bowen was more diplomatic than Mr. Richmond. He explained that Colonel Haultain was absolutely unpopular with the press because he would not yield to the clamour which called for a reward of £5 for every Maori head brought in. He urged that the Colonial Government was endeavouring to mitigate the horrors. He wrote as if he expected to be believed. He claimed no credit for having warned the Secretary of State that horrors would not be averted by the removal of British troops. On a recent occasion the thirst for Maori “utu” was so strong that it was “with extreme difficulty that Maori allies were induced to refrain from indulging in their turn in a cannibal feast” upon the bodies of Hau Haus who had slain some of their relations. He did not explain why he had made no representations on the subject at an earlier date.
Earl Granville was charmed with the “cool philosophy” which page 531 Mr. Richmond echoed back to England. “The subject is one on which I am myself glad to be satisfied, and the present despatch will show that your Ministry repudiated and held in check those feelings of ungoverned animosity which must necessarily prevail in certain portions of a community situated like that of New Zealand.” He delicately hinted, however, that there was a lurking repugnance in Englishmen to condone atrocities, and that when excesses, to some extent “excusable in proportion to outrages on the other side,” occurred, the Imperial Government could “not escape the duty of sifting, by way of reference to the Governor, the truth of the reports which reached England. Indeed” (he added) “it is often impossible to prevent the expression of public opinion against cruelties committed even in foreign countries with which England has no constitutional connection whatever.” Not the crime under his cognizance, but the consequence of its exposure before a blunt English public, had terrors for the Earl. Had he been prescient of a few short years, he would have known that he and his party would be found striving to do what he almost complained of as impossible to prevent. Politicians out of office often find sweet morsels in that which they reject as poison when in power.
In a later despatch (7th July), Sir George Bowen expatiated on the “strong comments” made in the New Zealand Parliament and press upon Earl Granville's interference. The Attorney-General supplied a paper to prove that the natives had no rights under the treaty of Waitangi; that they were included under the Queen's sovereignty; that the rebels had no belligerent rights; and that their conduct had “forfeited all title to the observance towards them of the usages of war, if they ever had such title.” Unwilling to put forward ministerial arguments as his own, Sir George Bowen introduced some of them as current in New Zealand. Why blame a Ministry for measures less stringent than those in Canada, India, Ireland, Ceylon, Cephalonia? Earl Granville disclaimed any desire to interfere. “As to the supposed questioner (whose arguments you appear to adopt), I am not prepared to inquire whether the most severe acts of Lord Seaton, Sir H. Ward, and Lord Torrington, were those for which they were held entitled to public page 532 approval.” As to Titokowaru, the Earl hardly understood the Governor's meaning. He seemed to disclaim the application of martial law, but there was no colonial enactment enabling any chance person to shoot down a murderer untried. When the Earl's despatch was received, the New Zealand Attorney-General (Prendergast) was brought forward to counteract it. He argued that the safety of the State justified the acts of the Government. He quoted books which held that felons fleeing might be shot down, and wrote as if such statements justified the indiscriminate slaughter of Maoris with whom the Queen had entered into a solemn treaty. It was very needless to urge such a defence. Nothing was wanted to repress the humanity of Earl Granville.
Before confronting the General Assembly on the 1st June, the Government, well aware that their discourtesy to Mr. McLean was a danger in their path, strove to make terms with the Maori king.
It will be remembered that soon after Sir G. Bowen's arrival in New Zealand he described the capture and restitution of cattle taken from Mr. Firth as analogous to the Highland raids depicted by Sir Walter Scott in ‘Waverley.’ Mr. Firth, who had followed various callings in Auckland, as a trader in bricks, a miller and merchant, and had in the Assembly supported by his vote the Taranaki war and confiscation of Maori lands, had, after the close of the Waikato war, devoted his attention to the acquisition of a landed estate by peaceful negotiations, which the Land Court Act of 1865 might protect. He had recourse especially to Waharoa the king-maker, through whose patronage he acquired leasehold property convertible (and converted) into freehold. On learning Earl Granville's accession to office, Mr. Firth wrote an elaborate letter on the critical position of the colony in consequence of what he called “the policy of abandonment” adopted by the English Government, which was calculated “to deprive the Crown of a valuable colony, and might lead to the destruction of Her Majesty's colonial empire.” He had used the influence which attached to the friend of the king-maker; and had besought the advisers of the Maori king to discountenance the atrocities of Titokowaru and Te Kooti, chiefs not of high birth.
Divisions in the king's council had prevented Tawhiao from page 533 taking strong measures to coerce Te Kooti; but to “the singularly peaceful attitude maintained by the Maori king” was due the absence of a “general rising among the tribes.” Yet bands of armed murderers traversed the country. The Queen's laws were the scorn of rebels, and were regarded as a mockery by the loyal. The laws of the Maori king were becoming weaker. Anarchy was near. At Poverty Bay three Hau Haus were captured by loyal Maoris. A settler, whose son had been murdered, called on Major Westrup to avenge his son. Major Westrup declined. The settler, with a friend, went to the Maori allies and demanded the death of the captives. A firing-party levelled their arms, and one of the Hau Haus fell dead. The others escaped in the darkness, though one was wounded.
To such a condition was the Imperial policy reducing the colony. Nay, on the judicial bench at Nelson had just occurred a scene of like significance. Mr. Justice Richmond, the former colleague of Mr. Stafford, had declared, “it had now become impossible to carry out the ordinary law in the ordinary way in the North Island…. If we were to be burdened with the responsibilities of independence we should also be permitted to enjoy its powers.” Mr. Firth thought that when a Judge could utter such words “judicially, a very vital and radical change must shortly take place in the relations between England and her colony of New Zealand.” Yet the colonists contemplated a rupture with the mother country only “as a bitter and cruel necessity” imposed by the Imperial policy of abandonment. If Her Majesty's new advisers should adhere to it as irrevocable, “then ancient Rome would not have been the only empire to teach the world that the decay of national spirit is but the precursor of the decay of national power.” Sir G. Bowen in sending Mr. Firth's letter, said: “I am informed that Mr. Firth's opinions are also expressed by a large portion of the press and the general public, especially in the North Island.” It is almost needless to say that Mr. Firth's anticipations did not disturb Earl Granville's equanimity. A leading journal in Sydney said: “In the face of this danger the 18th Regiment is peremptorily recalled. In dealing with such subjects the Liberal Ministry have hardly been so successful as their predecessors. The Conservative Government has shown itself more anxious for the honour of the page 534 nation than for its gold.… The Maori king does not, for the moment, take part in the war. Everything will depend on his views and conduct. If he should rise, all will rise.… Sir George Bowen has a task of immense difficulty—one which will require consummate skill and patience.” These and other expressions of opinion Sir G. Bowen forwarded to Earl Granville, who merely acknowledged their receipt. He behaved with scant courtesy to the Governor. Though with Mr. Richmond's “cool philosophy” about rewards he was “glad to be satisfied” —he did not relieve Sir G. Bowen from implied censure in the matter, although it was admitted by Colonel Haultain that the Ministry neither brought the subject before the Executive Council nor advertised the rewards in the ‘New Zealand Gazette.’
The arrival (April, 1869) of the Duke of Edinburgh, whom the Maoris styled “the Queen's Son,” produced no change. The Maori king was not prevailed upon to meet him. He would take time to consider the question. Mr. Stafford postponed the meeting of the General Assembly, partly because it would have interfered with the reception of the Prince in the provinces, and partly because in the absence of the Treasurer (Mr. Fitzherbert) in England, he was unable properly to deal with financial measures. Wherever the Duke arrived he was received with the profuse loyalty which characterized his tour in Australia. Maori chiefs presented to him green-stone heirlooms prized for centuries. Tamihana te Rauparaha, the son of the dreaded chief who laid waste the country around Cook's Straits, presented one which had been renowned in song and tradition. He was childless, and said:— “As my house is gone like the moa, I bequeath the talisman of my fathers to the son of the Queen of England and of New Zealand.” A meeting, called by the Maori king at Hangatiki, on which the minds of all the English in the North were intent, took place in the end of April. Three thousand five hundred persons attended, of whom 1700 were men in arms. To the relief of the Government the speeches, though couched in ambiguous terms, were pronounced to be peaceful in tendency, and complicity with the atrocities of Titokowaru and Te Kooti was disclaimed. Tamati Ngapora, the king's chief counsellor, who had taken a new name, Manuhiri, had consented to permit Mr. Searancke, the resident magistrate in the Waikato and page 535 Raglan districts, to be present at the meeting. Only one other European, Mr. Louis Hettit, a Frenchman married to a chief's daughter, was present; and Hettit had always been permitted to live on the confines of the king's territory. He was married to a relative of Rewi. Natives loyal to the Queen had been invited, and many were there. The first greetings between them and their hosts, Mr. Searancke was not permitted to see; but a war-dance, in which 160 guests and 400 of the king's men with double-barrelled guns took part, he saw. Speeches followed the dance. One thing seemed remarkable. The king's people had changed their names. All baptismal names had been cast away and old Maori names taken in their places; just as before the Greeks threw off the Turkish yoke they christened their children by names enshrined in ancient story. Tamati Ngapora's name, Manuhiri, described the condition in which his exile placed him. It signified that he was a “guest.” Rewi had become Manga. Nevertheless, his speech was peaceable and straightforward. He admitted that he had formerly done much to create war, but declared that he had now put it away from him. The Aukati, or pale, was strictly enforced against all who were not invited to the meeting. Europeans who strove to accompany invited Maoris were stayed at the boundary. Wiremu te Wheoro, a constant ally of the English, was listened to with profound attention. When he said—”I will return to my place and my treasures (ancestral home), and never will I leave Waikato—the land of my forefathers and my treasures—no, never, never, never,”—the hearts of his hearers throbbed at the thought that they were exiled, their lands were confiscated, the tombs of their fathers profaned by the stranger. For several minutes after Te Wheoro's speech there was silence as among the dead. Not only his words but his character gave him weight. The king-maker had always averred that Te Wheoro was the best of the Waikatos on the side of the Queen. The frank manliness of his appearance would have sufficed to make friends in any part of the world. Though duskier than many of his countrymen his features were of a cast common in Europe. So much importance was now attached by Mr. Stafford to a friendly arrangement with the Maori king that the Queen's son was induced to delay his page 536 departure from New Zealand in the hope that he might meet Tawhiao at Ngaruawahia. Mr. Firth negotiated with Tawhiao, with the cognizance, but not as the envoy, of the Government. The General Assembly was to meet on the 1st June, and Mr. Firth started on his mission on the 27th May. It was thought that favourable terms concluded with the Maori king would foil the onslaught of Mr. Fox, though strengthened by Donald McLean. Mr. C. O. Davis and Mr. Preece accompanied Mr. Firth. The meeting took place at Orahiri on the 1st June. A prayer was offered by Te Aroha. A hymn was sung. A special reporter of the ‘Southern Cross’ newspaper was astonished by the beautiful thoughts of the prayer and the deep reverential tones of the voices joining in unison with the chant,—”Matua, pai marire, rire, rire; Tamaiti, pai marire, rire, rire; Wairua, pai marire, rire rire !” — “Father, good and gracious, grace, grace; Son, good and gracious, grace, grace; Spirit, good and gracious, grace, grace.” Long conferences ensued. Whitiora te Kumete, who in battle at Rangiriri won admiration from friends and foes, now obtained the same tribute for his manly aspect and oratory. Tamati Ngapora, or Manuhiri, was the central figure, in whom the reporter found grace, ease, and dignity. Long colloquy took place between the chief and the interpreter Davis. When the former said, “While we talk of peace there is fighting,” Davis replied, “Why don't you stop the fighting?” The chief answered: “Why don't you stop it?” “Has all ‘mana’ (power, authority) been taken from you?” asked the interpreter. “Has all ‘mana’ been taken away from you, that you do not put a stop to this fighting?” retorted the chief. The first day's conference was resultless. Sorrow mingled with proud resolution pervaded the speech of the chiefs on the second day. “The land is like a stricken bird whose wings are quivering on account of the pain.… To what do you allude when you wish us to speak out? Is it in relation to the streams of thought that day by day and from season to season we each derive separately from the Almighty? You have one stream and I have another, and we each ought to work out the thoughts that present themselves to our minds.… The times have not yet come for terms of peace. The times are in God's hands. If this be the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet which is to come to pass in the last page 537 days, what can be done to prevent it?” Mr. Davis said the business of the day was to do duty towards fellow-men, and not to refer to Daniel's predictions about other events. After long silence Te Aroha said: “Jehovah of Hosts lives, and He has said that peace shall never be made. There was a covenant with Noah, and the sign of it was the rainbow. There was another dispensation and another covenant; and now, in these days, Jehovah of Hosts has said there shall be no peace for ever on the earth.” Mr. Davis replied that Jehovah of Hosts lived, but desired that men should live like brethren. Te Aroha replied: “Turn round and work among your own people. I will work on this side, and as the days go on, the Almighty will be a Judge between us.” Questioned as to terms, Te Aroha said that restoration of the Waikato as far as the post erected before the war at Maungatawhiri was demanded. “Our word has gone forth that the striking of man by man should cease. Now, then, do your part. Remove your armies, for my messengers cannot pass through.” Mr. Firth, interpreted by Mr. Preece, addressed Tamati Ngapora and the other chiefs. He spoke of the Queen's son;—of the deceased king-maker. He did not represent the Government, but believed that the king would be assented to in a certain district. On this Tamati Ngapora remarked: “It is a matter of indifference to us whether you consent or not. We shall have him.” Mr. Firth spoke of murders. The chief said: “What you call murders are not murders according to our custom, because when war begins, the rule is to kill all you see.” Whitiora said: “If I were to kill you now that you are here on a friendly visit, that would be a murder. If I inveigle you under friendly guise, and then kill you, that is foul murder. And here are your foul murders. General Cameron told us to send our women and children to Rangiaohia where they should remain unmolested; but he went away from Paterangi, with his soldiers, after them, and the women and children were killed and some of them burnt in the houses. You did not go to fight the men; you left them and went away to fight with the women and little children. These things you conceal because they are faults on your side, but anything on our side you set down against us, and open your mouths wide to proclaim it. That page 538 deed of yours was a foul murder, and yet there is nobody to proclaim it.”
Mr. Firth continued his oration, and asked for a letter stating the wishes of the chiefs. Ngapora replied: “You are our letter. We Maoris consider it sufficient to speak face to face.” There was more discussion, in the course of which Mr. Firth blamed Rewi for sending men to fight at Taranaki. “Hold there,” interrupted Ngapora; “did not the Europeans go from Auckland?” Mr. Firth replied evasively. “Answer my question direct. Did not the Europeans go from Auckland to Waitara?” retorted the chief. He was told that soldiers did. “How about your Governor,—did not he go?” Mr. Preece said a Governor was not a colonist. Governors were moveable like soldiers. The colonists had not gone to Waitara. “Te Aroha: By whose authority did the soldiers go to Taranaki? Preece: By that of the Governor, the servant of the Queen, not by the Pakehas of the soil. Ngapora: Cease this: you are holding a Court. It would take days to decide. Preece: It would take months. A chief: Years.” There was a long pause. Mr. Firth could only report that he believed the Maoris would be content with the acknowledgment of their king, the stoppage of fighting, a general amnesty, and the restoration of all Waikato. They had not accepted his suggestion that the recognition of the king should be limited to a certain district, and that only portions of Waikato land should be restored to the homeless. Ngapora laid stress upon a letter he had received from Sir William Martin recognizing that all Waikato ought to be restored. Sir William Martin subsequently published his letter in Maori and in English. It then appeared that his proposals were similar to those of Mr. Firth, coupled with earnest and eloquent appeals to Tawhiao and Ngapora to repress “the senseless men, the shedders of blood.” Hearing that they were doing so had caused a gleam of light to arise in his heart. Contemporaneously with this fruitless meeting, Te Wheoro strove to bring about at Ngaruawahia a meeting between Tawhiao and the Duke of Edinburgh. On the 1st June, 400 natives were gathered there. They waited ten days only to find that Tawhiao would not meet the Governor or the son of the Queen. He sent fifty men with a letter to Te Wheoro declaring that they went to see the Prince. “If they page 539 do not, they can come back. That is all.” Fortunately the Prince was too wise to go to Ngaruawahia to encounter disappointment. The Government having failed to bring about the meeting threw blame on the officiousness of Mr. Firth. Towards Te Wheoro there was sympathy even among the king's friends. It was allowed that he had not been justly dealt with, and the final reconciliation of the king was attributed by some to the working of this feeling on the minds of the king's counsellors. Whatever expectations Mr. Stafford had founded on the “mana” of the Queen's son were disappointed.
The General Assembly met on the 1st June. The Prince departed. The field was open for attack upon the Government. Mr. Creighton moved vainly for returns concerning the rewards offered for capture of Titokowaru, Te Kooti, and others. Fox and McLean carried motions for returns. There was no contest on the Address. A proposition for a loan was accepted, and the Governor's hope that in asking for an Imperial guarantee “the last prayer” of the colony to the mother-country might not be rejected was echoed by the House of Representatives, while the Council qualified the application by calling it an “appeal.” A motion for Supply was postponed for a week, and, before the week had elapsed, Fox had moved and McLean had seconded, a brief motion: “That this House has no confidence in the present Government.” Mr. Stafford fought hard for the post he had wrested from Mr. Weld. Adjournment succeeded adjournment. On the 23rd June, Mr. Carleton vainly strove to ward off the blow by moving as an amendment, that “proposals for meeting existing difficulties ought to have preceded any question of personal confidence.” On the 24th June, by 40 votes against 29, Mr. Fox's motion was carried. Mete Kingi Paetahi and Tareha voted with Mr. McLean for the expulsion of the man who had brought so much misery on their country in former days. Mr. Fox became Colonial Secretary and Premier; Mr. Vogel combined the office of Treasurer with sundry others; Mr. Donald McLean became Native Minister and Minister for Colonial Defence; Mr. Dillon Bell, a member of the first responsible Ministry in 1856; and Dr. Featherston, a colleague of Mr. Fox in 1861, cast in their fortunes with Mr. Fox, as they doubtless supposed, but with Mr. Vogel as it proved in fact. Great hopes page 540 were founded on McLean's accession to power. He addressed the chiefs as he would address the heads of ancient Highland clans whom, he said, they resembled. He relied on personal influence and his own word rather than on law. This, which was a trouble to his colleagues, commended him to the Maoris. It also fostered his own vanity, and caused him to disparage arrangements not made by himself. Nevertheless, such was his reputation, that from the time of his joining the Ministry in 1869 until his death at the end of 1876 he was in office as Native Minister with the exception of one brief month in 1872. Ministries were formed and transformed under Messrs. Fox, Waterhouse, Fox, Vogel, Pollen, Vogel, Atkinson, but amongst them ever was Donald McLean. He had ample funds at his disposal; and, squatted on the ground in a Maori whare. smoking the pipe of peace with his host1 and conversing in his language, he was the dispenser of sums at which the lords of the clan of his ancestors would have gazed in astonishment, and of which he did not keep the accurate records usually required by the Treasury.
1 In his youth McLean was employed as goatherd by a Maori chief.
To such prostration had the self-reliant doctrine been reduced, that all the resolutions except the last were accepted without a division. Mr. Stafford moved the rejection of the fifth, and the majority against him was only 32 against 29. Mete Kingi and Tareha, who had supported the other propositions, did not vote page 543 upon the fifth. The Council, when asked to concur with the resolutions, struck out the words, “whether Ghoorka Regiments or other body of disciplined men.” Sir G. Bowen wrote that the introduction of Sikhs or Ghoorkas would have alienated the loyal Maoris. He forwarded a message to Ceylon, whence it was telegraphed to the Secretary of State. It told of the resolutions praying that the 18th Regiment might be detained, and added that an Act had been passed binding the colony to pay the sum demanded by the Imperial Government if the 18th Regiment should be detained. With his explanatory despatch he sent a memorandum, in which Mr. Fox reasoned in a tone very different from that of his book on the war published in 1866. The arrival of Te Kooti at the Maori king's head-quarters vibrated terribly in his breast. “It may truly be said that a general rising of the natives and a special attack on the settled districts of Auckland, is trembling in the balance.” The Ministry thought the removal of the troops would precipitate a conflict. They were grateful to Sir G. Bowen for his previous efforts but asked for more. They could not believe that orders, given months previously at the other side of the globe, would be carried into effect when a large sacrifice of human life was imminent. They could not but believe that General Chute had some discretion in the matter. The Governor was entreated to forward to the General a copy of the piteous memorandum. Sir G. Bowen decided “that it would be improper on his part to obstruct the action of Parliamentary Government by declining to forward” to the General and to the Commodore the appeal of the Assembly. General Chute could not but pity, and pitying, could not but use what power he had to allay Mr. Fox's alarm. He informed the Governor that he had “taken the responsibility of detaining the 18th Regiment in New Zealand pending further instructions from the Imperial Government.” Both Houses, on the 11th August, unanimously passed votes of thanks to the General “for the great promptitude with which he had acted in a critical emergency.” He deserved them. The Maori king also deserved thanks which he did not receive.
Te Kooti made no impression at Tokangamutu. Tawhiao would not admit him to his presence. The marauder affected page 544 to assume authority. At Lake Taupo he had made chiefs surrender to him their green-stone heirlooms. He failed to induce the king's adherents to humour him in the same manner. It was said that Te Paea, Tawhiao's able sister, threatened that if the king's court should countenance Te Kooti she would shake the dust off her feet, and seek a husband among the Pakehas. The outlaw persuaded Rewi to accompany him in excursions, but Ngapora would not listen to him. In August he was so unwelcome a guest that his supplies were stopped. Tawhiao would not permit him to proceed to the west coast. The roads thitherwards were guarded against him, and he was compelled to return by the road by which he came. Tawhiao's armed body-guard was ever on the alert while Te Kooti's visit lasted. Before Te Kooti left the district he went to the house of Mr. Hettit at Otorohanga, where his followers took what they chose. Te Kooti offered as payment a stolen bill of exchange on the Bank of New Zealand. He did not violate the “mana” of the king by violence to Mr. Hettit's person. He took occasion to say that when he returned from the Chatham Islands he intended to interfere with no one, and that Major Biggs was the cause of what he called “the war.” But the court of the Maori king was secluded. The pale (aukati) made it difficult to procure trustworthy information. Rumour was busy. Evil report flitted over events like the will of the wisp over a marsh. Long days elapsed before the colonists knew that Tawhiao had discouraged Te Kooti. A motion by Mr. Tancred on internal defence proposed that settlers should be withdrawn from isolated situations and allowed to select homesteads nearer to protecting force, a moveable corps being held available at every moment. Though withdrawn (27th July) after repeated discussion, the motion shows the condition of the public mind. On the 22nd July, a friend of the Government moved that a Commission, consisting of two Judges of the Native Lands Court, and two other persons not members of the House of Representatives, should be appointed to inquire into the unsatisfactory relations between the European and Maori races. After adjournment, this motion also came to an untimely end. Mr. Stafford, with a majority of 33 to 22, shelved it by moving the previous question on the 27th July, although Mr. Fox and page 545 Mr. Donald McLean were in the minority as well as Mete Kingi Paetahi.
1 Earl Grey in his ‘Colonial Policy,’ published in London in 1853, wrote: “There were no measures of improvement which both on civil and military grounds the Governor considered so important as the construction of roads. It is a remarkable circumstance that at the very time when Sir George Grey was writing from New Zealand to represent the absolute necessity of roads, with a view to military security, the great Duke of Wellington was in this country expressing precisely the same opinion.”
Amongst the returns compiled for the financial statement was an interesting summary showing that in eleven years revenues of £6,877,000 had been collected, of which nearly £3,400,000 had been disbursed for colonial purposes, about £1,400,000 for services within and for the provinces, and nearly £2,200,000 had been handed to the provinces for appropriation. Such had been the provincial leanings in Governments that more than £100,000 in excess of their dues swelled the last item.
The labours of the session found expression in 76 Acts. One empowered the New Zealand Commissioners to treat with the Imperial Government for a force to put down rebellion, and to raise another force for colonial service. The Commissioners appointed were Mr. Dillon Bell and Dr. Featherston. Sir George Bowen made their appointment known by telegram from Ceylon, hoping the Imperial Government would decide nothing without hearing the Commissioners. A New Zealand Cross Endowment Act enabled the Governor to grant incomes from certain reserved lands to holders of the New Zealand Cross. The Stafford Ministry had, on the recommendation of Colonel Whitmore, in March, 1869, obtained the assent of the Governor in Council to an order instituting the “decorative distinction of a silver cross.” It had been conferred on four Europeans and one Maori when Sir George Bowen applied for sanction of his Order in Council. Earl Granville answered in October, 1869, that “under the very exceptional circumstances of the colony” he had recommended, and Her Majesty had been pleased to sanction the Order, from its original date, by her direct authority. To avoid creating a precedent the despatch emphatically pronounced that to no Governor was delegated the authority inherent in the Queen as the fountain of honour.
A languid consciousness of the valour of Rangihiwinui had at page 548 this time begun to pervade Earl Granville's mind. On the 22nd June, he informed the Lords of the Treasury that “strong representations had been made by the present and late Governors of New Zealand of the services rendered by a friendly chief of high rank known as Te Kepa or Major Kemp.” A pension and a sword, or a sword and badge the gift of Her Majesty, had been suggested as an appropriate distinction. Earl Granville thought the pension was a matter for the Colonial Government to consider, but approved of the sword, and of the badge. The Lords of the Treasury concurred. Earl Granville announced (14th July) that a sword would be sent, and would “probably be followed by a silver badge.” The secret was not to be mentioned to Rangihiwinui “until the sword arrives.” Other chiefs would be similarly honoured on the Governor's recommendation. Sir George Bowen with the advice of Mr. McLean recommended Ropata Wahawaha, the hero of Ngatapa, and four others. The task which the Earl had now undertaken suited so well his noble mind that he ruminated much upon it. He revised his first impressions, and after several months wrote as follows: “In my despatch of the 14th July, I informed you that the swords would be followed by badges. On consideration, however, it has been determined that the gift of a sword will be a sufficient mark of Her Majesty's favour.” Rangihiwinui's sword, sent in September, was kept back till other swords arrived. On the 20th June, 1870, he, Ropata, and Mokena Kohere, received their swords in presence of Ministers, members of Parliament, and other notables. The Governor made an oration on the exploits of each chief; Rangihiwinui having recently marched across the island from Wanganui to Opotiki. The inscription was—”Given by Queen Victoria to —– for his unfailing loyalty and valour. May you long wear it in health and honour.” Rangihiwinui's speech has been thus translated. “Victoria by the grace of God, long may you live. May your children, Prince Albert, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the princesses live long. I thank Victoria, Queen of the world, for casting her eyes hitherwards upon me, upon this dark-complexioned, this foolish, unhouselled race. I thank the Queen heartily for sending me this proof of her love across the billows of the great sea. Here it lies;—the sickle with which evil is to be cut down. Your ancestors, the kings, and yourself page 549 have been protected by God. You stand on the most sacred place of your ancestors—the kings of great fame of old. And now you have caused the sun to shine over this obscure island. It is very good that the elder and younger brother should live together as they did in the ark. After that, the elder and the younger brother were divided. Now, in this year, for the first time they are again united. I and my tribes are under the authority of the Queen. This was Hori Kingi's last word, to me, to Mete Kingi, and to all his tribe: ‘When I am gone, remain quiet under the authority of the Queen: be loyal to her.’ And to me especially he said: ‘Be strong in putting down evil that peace may be secure.’ Well! now that your pledge of affection lies before me, I trust that peace will always be with you, O Queen Victoria, and with your children. May peace be with the Government of New Zealand. Let love be in your hearts. Do not keep all the good word to yourselves—let us share it.” Mokena Kohere said: “The first proof of the Queen's affection for us was in sending missionaries; the second was the law; and the third is this. I thank you, Queen Victoria, —I greet you.” Ropata Wahawaha said: “I have nothing to add to the words of Rangihiwinui and Kohere. I thank you heartily, O Queen Victoria; and you, O Governor Bowen.”
Some of the chiefs who frequented society at Wellington were so ignorant of European manners that they were known to seize food in their hands. They had nevertheless a nobility of mind which they may be allowed to show in their own words, and they could trace their unquestioned rank through many generations. Recorded on the genealogical tree, twenty generations testified to the rank of Rangihiwinui's ancestor in the days when the Maoris first sailed to New Zealand. All who had seen him in the field admired his strategy and courage. The Duke of Edinburgh remarked his noble bearing in society. Sir George Bowen wrote: “He is not darker than many Spaniards, and if he were in a London drawing-room people would say of him, ‘Who is that distinguished foreigner?’ His manners, like those of most of the great hereditary chiefs, are excellent.” To him, he declared, was due more than to any man or men the obtaining of peace for New Zealand. On his visit to Wellington when he received the sword from the Queen, he with Ropata Wahawaha, page 550 Mokena Kohere, and eleven other chiefs, was entertained at the Governor's house. The last of the English troops had then been removed from New Zealand, and men's minds were dark with apprehension of what might come upon the land if the Maoris should combine against the Pakeha. There were intrigues among men in power to transfer the allegiance of the colony to the United States of America. Rangihiwinui told the assembled company: “I and the other chiefs would feel it unworthy of us to take advantage of the weakness of the English through the removal of the troops. We will never do that. Kahore, Kahore, Kahore” (No, no, no). He waved his hand as he spoke, and appealed to his brother chiefs, who responded, in deep-toned chorus, “Kahore,” to the deep and powerful voice of the speaker.
Turning from this digression to the session of 1869, it deserves to be mentioned that not only in the press but in Parliament there were murmurs about casting off allegiance to the Queen and seeking the aid of the United States in crushing the Maoris. Sir G. Bowen wrote to the late Chief Justice, Sir W. Martin: “If what has been called the last prayer of New Zealand is rejected (the prayer for retention of troops at the cost of the colony), I fear the colonists will transfer their allegiance to the United States.” In the Acts of the Assembly in 1869, there is little which demands notice. The Military Contribution Act was short and unambiguous. In the event of detention of the 18th Regiment it applied from the Consolidated Revenue such sum as any of Her Majesty's Secretaries of State might certify to be required towards the support of the regiment. It was rapidly passed through both Houses while the attitude of the Maori king was an object of anxiety. A few days afterwards a Disturbed Districts Bill was passed by the Representatives. It was worthy of introduction by Fox, one of the promoters of the Coercive Acts of 1863. It provided for summary trial by courts-martial composed of officers of the colonial forces, and for superseding the ordinary tribunals. In the Council, on the motion of Mr. Mantell, it was referred to a Select Committee, which took evidence from Judge Johnston, of the Supreme Court. In the midst of general panic it is consoling to find the dispenser of justice unshaken. He thought it unwise to abandon the time-honoured principles of trial by established Courts. He page 551 suggested alterations. He quoted against the introduction of “the so-called drum-head court-martial” the weighty words of Chief Justice Cockburn (in Regina v. Nelson and Brand): “It is said that as the necessity of repressing rebellion is what justifies the exercise of martial law, and as to this end the example of immediate punishment is essential, the exhibition of martial law in its most summary and terrible form is indispensable. If by this it is meant that examples are to be made without taking the necessary means to discriminate between guilt and innocence; and that, in order to inspire terror, men are to be sacrificed whose guilt remains uncertain, I can only say I hope that no Court of Justice will ever entertain so fearful and odious a doctrine. There are considerations more important even than the shortening the temporary duration of an insurrection. Among them are the eternal and immutable principles of justice; principles which can never be violated without lasting detriment to the true interests and well-being of a civilized community.”
The Council amended the Bill. The Lower House agreed to the amendments, and the Governor gave the Royal Assent. The Act was to be in force to the end of the next ensuing session of the Assembly and no longer. Earl Granville did not recommend its disallowance, but pointed out clauses which were too stringent, —”in case it should be proposed to re-enact the law.”
1 32 & 33 Vict., No. 57, section 33. “… shall be guilty of a capital felony, and being convicted thereof shall suffer death as a felon.”
1 The agreements were all made in the Governor's name.
The daily needs of a colony found expression in those numerous Acts which come and go like colours on leaves in autumn. The spectacle of a noble but savage family battling for its native soil gives absorbing interest to the 50 years which followed the preaching of the Gospel by Marsden on the shore of the Bay of Islands. To rescue the deeds of the Mauri from oblivion, and present them in their true light, is the duty of the historian. War, which has been called the staple of the story of most countries, was specially so in New Zealand, whose chiefs did not shrink from battling with superior numbers. Nevertheless, the political condition of the colony must be scanned. The Council was still careful about its standing. On the motion of Mr. Menzies, who had been a member since the year 1858, a Committee was appointed “to inquire into certain privileges” of the Council. The Committee examined: 1st. The powers held by the New Zealand Council. 2nd. The powers held by law, rule or usage, by the Houses of Lords and Commons. 3rd. Legislative powers in British colonies, and in the United States of America. They reported their labours without making any other recommendation than that a similar Committee page 555 should be reappointed in the following session. Their quotations from Judge Story's ‘Commentaries on the United States Constitution’ implied that the Committee were not friendly to the extreme claims put forward by some writers.1 They remarked that the assumption of power to tack measures to a Money Bill was “an unconstitutional encroachment,” and that, to stay it, the Lords, to give permanent effect to their own rights, made it a Standing Order to reject upon sight all Bills that are tacked to Money Bills, and thus guarded against the abuse of power by the Commons.
1 If any black-letter student should collect cases to prove that the House of Lords has exercised larger powers than is generally believed, he would produce a work showing an amusing contrast with those which have been compiled to exhibit the powers of the House of Commons. The judicial Hallam amongst Whig writers finds few followers.
After the close of the session the Governor made a provincial tour. At Taranaki, the Ngatiruanui chief, Hone Pihama, met him with words of peace. He had availed himself of events which he could not prevent, and had entered into a contract to carry the mail-letters through the country of Titokowaru, who did not molest the carriers. A band of Ngatiporou allies, from the east coast, located at Waihi, were in ill-humour about the lands to be assigned to them. Sir G. Bowen, at Mr. Fox's request, made promises which were deemed sufficient, and they marched forthwith to secure their new home. He rapturously described the kilted warriors, striding proudly forward with mantles waving in the breeze, their arms flashing in the sun, mounted chiefs galloping to and fro, marshalling their clansmen by voice and gesture, and guiding the waggons which bore the sick and wounded. “As I rode up to each group I was saluted by all alike with ringing shouts and chants of welcome. This fertile country is bounded on the south by the Pacific, as blue and sparkling as the Mediterranean; on the north by the dark forests which reach inland from Wanganui to Taranaki, and above which swells the graceful cone-like peak of Mount Egmont, the holy mountain of the Maoris, celebrated in their traditional songs and legends. Mount Egmont, a now extinct volcano, is a more shapely and graceful Mount Etna.” Mr. McLean accompanied the Governor in his tour, and was evidently acceptable to the Maoris. In October, the vice-regal party was at Kaipara on the north-west coast, and was warmly welcomed. The careful examination of the Rangitikei-Manawatu land dispute by the Court in 1869 was thought to have had good effect in reconciling the Maoris to the law. The execution in November, 1869, of a prisoner, proved to have joined Te Kooti after the latter returned from the Chatham Islands, on “evidence which would have justified his conviction for participation in several murders,” was at the same time a warning to those who might be disposed to join that robber. One prisoner strangled himself page 558 in gaol, and three of Te Kooti's companions were sentenced to penal servitude for life. One of them, Matene te Karo, averred that he had fought for the Government as well as for Te Kooti, and the Attorney-General admitted the truth of the averment. Seventy-three of Titokowaru's followers were sentenced to terms of penal servitude ranging downwards from seven years. After his flight Titokowaru was quiet, but Te Kooti was stirring. When leaving the Maori king's territories he was accompanied by Rewi, and the informants of the Government thought Rewi insane. Subsequently it was surmised that Rewi abandoned Te Kooti when the latter was foiled in battle. When Te Kooti reached Lake Taupo he entered upon a career of defeat, escape, march and countermarch, sudden attacks upon overwhelming numbers, and retreats so rapid that men were aghast at his disappearance they knew not whither. It is a tale which none but a Hau Hau chronicler could tell, except as to his conflicts with the local forces. His first repulse was at the hands of a Maori chief, Henare Tomoana, who was persuaded by Mr. Ormond, Superintendent at Hawke's Bay, to lead an expedition from Napier. Henare Tomoana was about to start, when one Sutton served him with a writ for a debt, for stores, to the amount of £900. Mr. Ormond, who was Government Agent in the province as well as Superintendent, sent a message to Sutton: “I explained (he swore, 1873) that it was for the public benefit that Henare was going out, and asked him to wait till his return. Sutton said, ‘He is going into action, he may be shot to-morrow, and what is to become of my money?’” But Mr. Ormond's interference prevailed. He swore (1873) Henare gave “the writ as a reason why he could not go. I obtained its suspension in some way, and he did go.” The creature Sutton swore (1873): “The action proceeded, judgment being entered in default of plea.… I did not at once enter up judgment, but waited till about a month after Henare's return from Taupo.” Henare Tomoana, unconscious of Sutton's campaign in his rear, marched (August, 1869) to Taupo, and at Turanga, bordering on the east shore of the lake, Te Kooti made a sudden onslaught with numbers superior to those of Tomoana. Nevertheless, sustaining and maintaining a fire, heard far off by friends unable to assist, the brave Tomoana twice beat off his page 559 assailants. He lost but few men, but Te Kooti seized more than a hundred horses, which it had cost Tomoana much to procure.
Rangihiwinui had been sent for with his men of Wanganui. Armed constabulary were despatched to Runanga, commanding an entrance from the Uriwera territory to the plains eastward of Lake Taupo. In July, 1869, Mr. Fox had informed Colonel Whitmore that his services in command of troops would be discontinued, and offered him a Commissariat appointment in the Defence Department which was to entail resignation of his seat in Parliament. Colonel Whitmore declined the offer, and the Ministry sent Colonel McDonell to Lake Taupo in September. Mr. J. D. Ormond, as Government Agent at Hawke's Bay, had under nominal control 220 Ngatikahungunu, 50 Arawa, and a few militia and constabulary. Of a total of 550 men 440 were Maoris. The rapidity of Te Kooti's movements made it doubtful whether the settlements in the province could be protected. Mr. Ormond reported his conviction that if Henare Tomoana had not worsted Te Kooti, the rebel standard would have been flocked to by Waikato, Ngatimaniapoto, and Upper Wanganui men; and the centre of the island, with direct connection with the Uriwera mountains, would have armed against the Queen. In the signal service he had rendered, Tomoana had thought himself insufficiently supported by the European forces near him. He expressed surprise, but accepted with good grace the reasons offered by Colonel Herrick for not relieving him. He showed Herrick a sketch of his own position and that of Te Kooti which proved how hardly he had been pressed. It was surmised by others as well as by Mr. Ormond that success would have brought large accessions to Te Kooti's ranks, and that his failure did much to destroy the “mana” of his “atua,” the “authority” of the “god” whose priest and warrior he claimed to be. Colonel Herrick thought the Government should notice Henare Tomoana's gallantry. Te Kooti at Tokano, at the head of Lake Taupo, took up a position which severed Colonel McDonell and Henare Tomoana, but he abandoned it when he learned that his enemies were arriving in force. Carrying off towards Moerangi all the cattle he conld seize, he left Tokano, where Colonel McDonell effected a junction with Henare Tomoana. Te Kooti having removed his camp and baggage returned to page 560 deal with his enemies. Again he was beaten, Colonel McDonell reporting that he fought well and contested every inch of ground with from 250 to 300 men, skilfully disposed in rifle-pits and fern-ridges. Te Kooti's loss was thought to be thirty men. Lieutenant Gudgeon's narrative informs us that “most of the killed and wounded were left behind. The latter were soon despatched, for Colonel McDonell was not a man to spare scoundrels who openly boasted of having participated in the Poverty Bay massacre; in fact there never was an officer in New Zealand with less of the maudlin sentimentality known as Exeter Hallism than he.” To an English reader it may appear strange that in one sentence a writer can condemn brutality and advocate it. In New Zealand the anomaly was common. Te Kooti saw that his position was critical before such a commander. Moreover, the dreaded Rangihiwinui was approaching. Te Kooti's enemies held the passes towards his wild haunts in the Uriwera mountains. To deter Rangihiwinui, he warned him to leave the quarrel alone, under threat of a raid down the Wanganui river amongst Rangihiwinui's friends. On the 1st October, after detention by severe illness, Rangihiwinui reached the camp, and his Wanganui men were greeted by the Ngatikahungunu with a war-dance. On the 3rd October, Colonel McDonell with more than 400 men assailed Te Kooti's fortified position at Pourere, near Lake Rotoaira. The force was composed of Wanganui, Ngatikahungunu, Arawa, and Europeans. The commander was Colonel McDonell, but like Vendome under the Duke of Burgundy the workman was Rangihiwinui. Colonel McDonell reported: “Rangihiwinui's party came into contact with the enemy's skirmishers about half a mile in front of the redoubt, and quickly dislodged them, following them up wildly and driving them back in confusion and with some loss. … The Wanganuis set the example by charging up the face of the hill on which stood the redoubt, closely followed by the Ngatikahungunu and Arawa. Though exposed to the galling fire of the enemy, who fought well, they had in a short time taken the trenches in the front and right of the redoubt, undermining the parapet, jumping up and firing into it.” Colonel McDonell said: “Rangihiwinui has been my right hand man all through, and a great proportion of the late success has been page 561 owing to his conduct, and the bravery of my old friends, the Wanganuis.” Winiata, of whose prowess his tribe were proud, was shot as he stood exposed on the parapet of Te Kooti's pah, firing rifle after rifle handed to him by comrades below. A despatch from Rangihiwinui to Mete Kingi was published.… “Whanganui and Ngatiteapokoiri made a flank movement. When the advance got close up, the flank party attacked; the enemy seeing that we were advancing to attack fired a volley at us. Whanganui and Te Paneiri paid no heed to it, but went right on. When close up we fired a volley and the enemy retreated. Winiata Pakero made a rush and killed the first man, Te Mano”—(a notable point in Maori war)… “the enemy retreated to their pah… the enemy fired and killed Winiata Pakero; they fired again and killed Pape… then the pah was rushed; Te Wiki jumped up and shot a Hau Hau dead. In about a minute they were lying as thick as a heap of sharks. Thirty of the enemy fell; including prisoners saved alive—seventy. The chief whose life was spared was Wiripo Tohiraukura. The last man killed was Tarei, a son of Te Papo; he was killed by Kingi te Patuotu. Of the Europeans, Captain George was killed. Three of us, the Maoris, were killed; and the European makes four.” Te Heu Heu, whom Te Kooti had captured, offered to surrender to the chiefs. He told Rangihiwinui: “All you have done is fair. I have nothing to say against you, but I do blame Hohepa Tamamutu, and had he led the charge on my pah, I should have aimed at him and shot him.” Again Te Kooti had been wounded. One finger was shot away and his hand otherwise injured as he was putting it to his waistcoat-pocket for a percussion-cap just before the pah was taken. The pursuit had followed a track, but the wounded man was threading his way through the jungle. Where the beaten force re-assembled, Colonel McDonell could not ascertain. He marched and countermarched vainly until it was made known that Te Kooti had taken sanctuary in the territory of the Maori king, which Donald McLean had no disposition to violate. It was fortunate that Mr. McLean was in the Ministry. The same instinct which drove Mr. Fox to quarrel with Sir George Grey about confiscation of land now burst from him in a telegram to Mr. Ormond, about terms with Te Heu Heu. “I page 562 think he ought to give land at Taupo for a small settlement and redoubt, and pledge himself to assist in road-making.” By thus giving point to accusations that acquisition of land was the ruling motive of war, Mr. Fox might have inflamed chiefs hitherto neutral. Mr. McLean gave wiser counsel. He told Mr. Ormond: “I do not think it would be judicious or politic to confiscate any of Te Heu Heu's land, nor do I consider, as far as I know of the case, that such a course would be attended with good results. In the first place, his possessions are very small, and so much mixed up with the land of friendly natives that the trouble of getting a clear title would be greater than the cost of acquiring such land as may be necessary for settlement. I believe that the members of the Cabinet are agreed that the confiscation policy, as a whole, has been an expensive mistake. I am clearly of opinion that cession, in all cases where land is required, is the most politic and satisfactory mode of acquiring territory for the purposes of Government, as it will not require a standing army to maintain possession.” Had these golden words been spoken by a Minister in 1863 and 1864 the island might have been pacified. It was determined to treat Te Heu Heu as having been forcibly misled by Te Kooti; and Te Heu Heu was grateful. He said that Te Kooti was probably at Tuhua, near the uppermost sources of the Wanganui river in the king's territory, within which McLean would not allow him to be pursued. From Auckland, McLean corresponded incessantly with chiefs and officers by letter and by telegram. The name of Topia Turoa may be remembered as that of a chief who was allowed (by Sir George Grey) twenty-four hours to put himself out of the reach of the Government at Wanganui. He was a relative of the Maori king. He sent word (28th October) to Rangihiwinui and Mete Kingi that he had something to tell them from the king, at Ohinemutu, on the Upper Wanganui. Rangihiwinui recommended Colonel McDonell to keep the armed Maoris on the alert at Tokano, while he went to Wanganui to hear the word of Topia's king. He impressed upon Colonel McDonell the urgency of making roads converging at Lake Taupo, so that, if other tribes should join Te Kooti, troops might speedily be moved to confront them. This was in the beginning of November. On the 22nd, Colonel page 563 McDonell reported that he had been reluctantly compelled to send home the Wanganui men because he could not supply food. Fearing an attack, he had asked them to remain without supplies. “They cheerfully consented to stay, and since then have searched for and scraped up food as best they could; the last potatoes they had to go thirty miles for.” Such were the conditions of war in the interior.” The Maoris were, he said, “all that could be desired. I cannot say too much in their praise. Much of their good spirit was no doubt infused by their leaders Rangihiwinui and Captains McDonell and Wirihana.” Old Poihipi Tukeraingi, the fellow-traveller of Captain Meade, was on the alert. No one knew in what direction Te Kooti would be heard of, but there were rumours that Kereopa had joined him. Rangihiwinui in his letters spoke of him contemptuously as “the eye-eater.” Mr. McLean thought the time propitious for making terms with the Maori king, who had looked coldly on Te Kooti. Ngapora and Rewi intimated their willingness to meet their old acquaintance. McLean arrived at Otorohanga on the border of the king's pale on the 6th November. Rewi was expected to go thither to see him, but did not appear. There was some discussion amongst the natives as to the place of conference, and Ngapora invited him to Pahiko. On the 9th November, Mr. McLean with several Europeans and a few Maori friends went thither. Amongst the 200 chiefs present were many of importance from surroundiug tribes. Mr. McLean was received with respect. Prayers were offered up with fervour, in front of the house of the chiefs, before Ngapora stepped forward to shake hands with his visitor. Food was placed before the guests. No chief stepped forward to speak when the repast was finished. Mr. McLean moved towards them, and said that as he understood they wished to depart from custom and to hear him first he would address them. He reminded them of his friendship with their old chiefs—the great trees of the forest—passed away. He recognized their good spirit in discountenancing Te Kooti. Why should they not all act together in suppressing evil? To Ngapora he said: “You and I are no strangers. We have talked together frequently in times gone by. Why are you now silent?” Let their speech be free as to their intentions. If evil, let it be understood;— page 564 if peace, let it be proclaimed. My thought is, let the evil be cast away and let us hold to the good. It is now for you to express your thoughts.” After long silence Rewi rose. “Friends,” he said, “this is the man. This is Makarini. He has come to speak to Potatau.” He chanted an invocation to the spirits of the departed; then turning to the visitor he said: “There is nothing to be said except Welcome, welcome, come and see us,”—shook hands with him, and sat down. There was another long pause, broken only by muttered speech among the chiefs. Then Rewi rose and spoke for them all. “This is my word. Cease, cease, cease. Let fighting end. Here is another word. Let my land at Taupo be restored; you have got the men, but leave the land with me. Te Heu Heu is in your hand: he has been foolish, but deal mercifully, and let him be liberated. I have yet another word;—Te Hura, has he not been punished enough for his evil? Let Te Hura be given to me. That is all. Now—do you answer me.” McLean said: “As to your first word, Rewi, Cease, cease, cease,—I say yes.” Let all work together to restore order. As to Taupo, the troops had not gone there to take land. Nothing would be done without consent of the chiefs who owned it. Te Heu Heu would be released. Would Rewi be answerable for Te Hura if he were set free? Rewi answered, “I will. I do not want Te Heu Heu: he belongs to another people; but I wish to see Te Hura here.” Then turning to the Waikato chiefs he asked if they had nothing to say to “Makarini, the repository of the thoughts, who is able to settle troublesome questions.” McLean had a word to say about Te Kooti. It was right to expel him from the district, but Rewi was wrong to accompany him. Rewi replied: “I will speak to you in future about him. He is in the mountains somewhere now. Should he not be caught by your soldiers, and should he come to me and be peaceful, I shall not molest him; but should he be troublesome in my district I will deliver him to you.… You blame me for accompanying him. I did so to see him out of my district. I did not wish to shield him from you when beyond my boundaries.” McLean suggested that they should select a chief whom they could trust to assist the Government in allaying misunderstandings. Rewi said that enough had been done for that day, page 565 and it was much. There were other days in store. Let the sun shine and the rain fall on the words spoken. It was no small matter that they had spoken with Makarini. If only a fragment of light was yet visible, like the dawn it would soon spread. There were indications that the chiefs were satisfied with the result. Several stepped forward to shake hands with their visitor. Tamati Ngapora told him that he was labouring to deter the Maoris from joining Te Kooti, and promised to warn old Poihipi Tukeraingi in case a war-party should be sent against the allies of the English. Te Hura, for whose release Rewi applied, had been imprisoned for joining an outbreak on the east coast in 1865. He was related to Rewi and Ngapora. On Mr. McLean's advice he, with others, was handed to the king's party on a guarantee for their good conduct by the chiefs. Mr. McLean lost no time in sending a circular letter to chiefs throughout the island to acquaint them with the good relations he had established. Thus, face to face, according to Maori custom, were terms of peace arranged with the man whom the Maoris trusted. There was no contract signed. No protocols were interchanged. They were needless. The word of the Maori was enough. The king's word had indeed gone forth, through Topia Turoa, before Mr. McLean visited the chiefs; and Mete Kingi and Rangihiwinui had been invited to hear it at Ohinemutu. Mr. McLean was able to send to Mr. Ormond the names of the localities in which Te Kooti might be pursued without infringement of Tawhiao's rule. “Preliminaries of peace had been concluded,” he said, “with the Ngatimaniapoto and Waikato tribes.” The care with which ‘Mr. McLean guarded against untoward events in dangerous districts was shown by the appointment, on the 15th November, of a Board to advise the Government on native affairs at Taranaki. It contained the names of the members for the district, of Mr. Parris, and of the Superintendent of the province. McLean added five chiefs to the Board soon after it was constituted. But it was important that the resolve of Tawhiao and his counsellors should be made known amongst the Maoris, and Topia Turoa was the mouth-piece of his king. Rangihiwinui marched towards Ohinemutu, on the Wanganui river, where Mete Kingi and Topia had met in a new house called Aomarama, or the dawning of clear light after the page 566 long estrangement between the Wanganui tribes. On each side were about 200 chiefs. Salutations and speeches preceded the following announcement by Topia: “Friends, fathers, brothers. You are welcome. Come with the talk—the talk of former days. You are not the chiefs of the daylight. I am the chief of the daylight. If you go to the house of a Pakeha friend you are asked what you will eat. I am expected to talk to-day, and I ask what you will take, whether—1st, You wish me to take Te Kooti prisoner; 2nd, Whether he shall be tried; or 3rd, Whether you wish that we may be at peace; or 4th, Whether there shall be fighting between us?” Mete Kingi responded. His love for the men of the Wanganui was not exhausted. Why would they persist in living in darkness? Let the good of the people of Wanganui be the first thought, and not quarrels abroad. “Salutations to you, Topia! You who have come from Tawhiao, the man who is the foundation of the whole matter.… Welcome, welcome to your canoe. Come back to your canoe. Although you have a different master it is right for me to ask you to come back to the feelings and thoughts of bygone days. Your words are large. In the morning it rains, at noon it clears up. Your words are like this.…”
The meeting separated for a repast; but the end was plain. On reassembling, the chiefs heard Topia read a letter from Tawhiao to himself, declaring that all men were to turn against Te Kooti, whose name was to be made a by-word among the people. Topia volunteered to assist in the work. But “see,” he said, “this (a spear) is my only weapon. Do you think it can kill men? If you say it is sufficient against a rifle I will take it; but if not I shall require a better weapon for my purpose to look for this man. These are words! Words!—I am in earnest when I say I will look for Te Kooti.… This house has been well opened. Let the good work go on.” Mete Kingi wished to consult with Rangihiwinui before taking further steps. Topia said he would only strive to capture Te Kooti and about 30 of his immediate followers; and another chief, Pehi, said: “There is a great difference between the guilt of Titokowaru and Te Kooti. The former was fighting for his land.” On the 27th, the chiefs assembled again at Ranana, a place lower down the Wanganui river. Rangihiwinui had arrived. Rangihiwinui page 567 welcomed Topia as a relative who made all hearts whole by his words. Once he had declared: “I will not see Topia; he has allowed the window to be broken, namely, the word of peace between him and Hori Kingi. Now that you have come it is well.” A chief suspected of intriguing with Te Kooti was told by another that he ought to exchange his spear for a “taiaha” (flat-headed wooden weapon), because it had two faces. Rangihiwinui denounced the intriguer with warmth, and Topia as master of the ceremonies interposed, with words of good-will, inviting Rangihiwinui to join in putting down Te Kooti. The meeting concluded with a short speech from Rangihiwinui, who was not deaf to the cautions of wisdom. “Welcome, Topia, the man of influence and the man of words.… I am not a man of words. Fighting is my work. I am a fighting man. With you is the work at this time.”
The Government having been informed of Topia's proposals, and his demand for fire-arms, Mr. Fox went to the scene. A canoe carried 40 guns and 2000 rounds of cartridges. Seven strong Maoris poled the canoe against the rushing Wanganui. But Mr. Fox was not sure that Topia could be trusted. At Ranana he met the chiefs on the 29th November. There it seemed politic to the Maoris to make Rangihiwinui their spokesman, although Topia was present. He told Mr. Fox that unless he wished them to speak first it was for him to address them as visitors come from the war. Mr. Fox greeted them warmly and paid tribute to the valour of the Wanganui war-party returned from Taupo. “Let us, Kemp and Topia, combine, and then we shall have peace. Why should there be fighting and trouble? There is no cause of quarrel; we do not fight about the king, or about land; there is no cause why there should not be peace… The country is large enough for all.” It may be questioned whether the new opinions of Mr. Fox about the Maori king's position and the right of Maoris to their native lands would have been accepted by the Maoris as sincere, if McLean had not been the Native Minister. The man of whose enmity Te Waharoa the king-maker had complained was not the man after their hearts. They put forward Rangihiwinui, who had declared that he was no orator, to make categorical demands. “I have three burdens on my shoulders. They are very oppressive, and page 568 it is in your power to remove them. My first burden is Tongariro;—the land about Taupo. Let that land be given to the original owners, to Hare Tauteka, to Topia, to the children of Hori Kingi, to the chiefs of Wanganui, who have claims there. Do not take the land as the land of the Ngatiruanui tribes was taken. That land, Taupo, belonged to me in common with others. After Te Kooti came, I went there and took that land again. I took it as a servant of the Government. Therefore I say to you, at the head of the Government which I serve, Do not confiscate that land, the land of the men who have been fighting your battles. Let the owners of the land re-occupy. That is one burden which it is for you to remove.” The other burdens were about imprisoned Ngarauru and Pakakohi Maoris. Let them be given to him. Let them live on the Wanganui river. He would be responsible for their good conduct. Others, including Mete Kingi, took up the burdens of the chieftain's speech. Mr. Fox was now face to face with Maoris, as he had desired to be a few years before. But he had not an English army at his beck in 1869. He also felt his burden. As to the Taupo land: “Why should the Government claim it?—the land of Hare Tauteka, of Topia, of Wirihana and the rest? Is it not the land of those chiefs, and of the children of Hori Kingi? The Government will not touch any of that land. It will remain with the owners who have always possessed it.” Mr. McLean was the man to arrange such matters with the chiefs. The assembled chiefs applauded the speaker, and Rangihiwinui said, “that burden is now taken off.” When Mr. Fox said that the Ngarauru men would be allowed to live on the Wanganui river under Rangihiwinui's care, there was loud applause, but the third burden he could not at once remove. When peace might be firmly established, perhaps the offending Pakakohi imprisoned at Otago might be released.1
1 In 1879 the author conversed with Rangihiwinui about his propositions, and Mr. Fox's acceptance of them, with regard to land at Taupo, and the Ngatauru prisoners. He smiled and said: “I made better use of the prisoners than the Government. They tried to keep them at the Chatham Islands. Te Kooti escaped and caused trouble. I induced Mr. Fox to yield those prisoners to me. I made soldiers of them, and they fought well for the Queen under me. Was not that better?”
Mr. McLean had indeed done a good work, and Mr. Fox deserved gratitude for not impeding it. Maugre the blunders by which the Government or their officers had stirred up fresh strife, peace had dawned upon the land. Topia Turoa in the name of the king was ready to war against Te Kooti, who was lurking in the mountains whence flowed the waters of the Wanganui and the Waikato. To the north and east the Maori king frowned on him. On the east and south the Wanganui tribes were standing in the leash. Westward he had just been hunted from Lake Taupo (where Colonel McDonell remained), and the colonial forces seemed to bar his way to his old haunts among the Uriwera. While schemes for his capture were being concocted, it was reported in the town of Wanganui that he had made a raid on a native settlement on the river. Mr. Fox telegraphed to Mr. Ormond that “all Wanganui was furious,” and that Rangihiwinui wished to take 500 men to punish the outlaw. That chief with Topia Turoa and 600 men, of whom each commanded a moiety, proceeded up the river from Ohinemutu, on the 13th December. Te Kooti spurned the warnings of the Maori king, and retorted with threats. Tribes were mustering in all directions, and it was not known whether some would ally themselves to Te Kooti. A chief, Topini, barred the progress of Topia and Rangihiwinui, but on Topia's persistence withdrew his opposition and furnished food. Amongst the 300 whom Rangihiwinui led were some of the Ngarauru, who, made prisoners for aiding Titokowaru, were yielded to Rangihiwinui by Mr. Fox, and now shouldered arms for the Queen.
Everything seemed prosperous to the Colonial Ministers if only Earl Granville would leave the 18th Regiment a little longer. But at this time terms which would “preclude continuance of doubts and surmises,” ordered removal of the troops. It was urged that the “distasteful remedies of abandonment of land, the recognition of Maori authority, and the maintenance of page 571 an expensive force” would not be resorted to while the colony expected assistance from England. The true friend of the colonists would tell them that they must adjust their policy, at whatever sacrifice, to their resources. The Ministers at Wellington drew up a long memorandum which reached Sir G. Bowen while he was on a tour with Mr. McLean at the Thames, in January, 1870. They deprecated change at so critical a juncture while delicate negotiations with Tawhiao were in progress. They pointed out that the despatch written on the 7th October was published in London in the ‘Times’ on the 12th October, and the substance of it, publicly telegraphed to Ceylon, became known in New Zealand before the despatch reached the Governor. The colonists asked neither money nor compassion from England, but appealed to the eternal principles of justice, which were as much the duty of the strong as the heritage of the weak, and which even the most powerful nation should not withhold from the meanest suppliant. They claimed that the colony should not practically be “thrust out beyond the pale of the empire as of infinitely less consideration than a British subject in foreign lands.” Sir G. Bowen stated in his despatch that Mr. Donald McLean entirely concurred with his colleagues. At a later date (2nd April, 1870) the Governor sent a separate memorandum, in which Mr. McLean said that a meeting was about to be held at Raglan, on the west coast, by natives, to consider Earl Granville's despatch, and that “it would be well that Lord Granville's attention should be called to the fact, and should be informed that the despatch, which was supposed to convey his ultimatum, is understood by the natives to mean encouragement to them to make extravagant demands on the colony.” Mr. Fox also denounced bitterly the invitation to leave the empire, which Earl Granville, by implication, offered to the colony. The “Ministerial Memoranda” were published in pamphlet form in New Zealand, with a preface which declared that the policy pursued towards New Zealand “evidently contemplated a disruption of the empire.” The pamphlet was transmitted for general distribution in England. It happened that at this time the tone of Earl Granville and the speculations of Professor Goldwin Smith and others jarred upon the hearts of many Englishmen. Earl Granville had casually said that there page 572 would be no desire to retain a colony willing to separate itself from English sway. A Colonial Society (afterwards the Royal Colonial Institute) was formed in London in 1869, to bind closer the union of the mother-country with all her colonies. The effect was almost instantaneous on the mind of Mr. Gladstone if not on Earl Granville's. Viscount Bury was made President of the Society. In March, 1869, 200 noblemen and others expounded their thoughts after a feast. Conservatives and Whigs were there. Mr. Gladstone, the Prime Minister, proposed the toast of “Prosperity to the Colonial Society,” and with practised tongue played upon the sympathies of his audience. The Marquis of Normanby, in proposing the toast, “the Colonial Empire,” roundly declared that no severance of colonies such as some persons desired would be tolerated by those whom he addressed. He for one entirely repudiated such a doctrine. Earl Granville returned thanks for the toast, and descanted amiably upon the reorganization of the order of St. Michael and St. George, recommended by his predecessor, and promoted by himself. Four Cabinet Ministers graced the board, and the spectre of the disintegration of the empire was not presented to view. Yet, like the effigies of Cassius and Brutus kept out of sight in Rome, it was in all men's minds. Sir Charles Nicholson, who had been Speaker in New South Wales and President of the Legislative Council in Queensland, deprecated the mischievous speculators who would sever the colonies from England. Sir Charles Clifford, recently Speaker in New Zealand, touched the same chord more sharply when he said that to keep the colonists in good humour it was needful “that their feelings should not be maligned.” Under the varnish of Earl Granville's polished manners he saw the spirit of detraction unabashed; and shortly afterwards he signed with Sir George Grey and others the protest which declared that the policy of the Colonial Office tended to drive New Zealand out of the empire.
The new Society was not a power, but it expressed a conviction. The typical Englishman, though not a creature of sentiment, displays feeling when it is least expected by those who do not understand him. When, in 1857, John Bright and Richard Cobden were rejected at Manchester and Huddersfield, when, in 1874, Mr. Gladstone was sent back from a general election shorn page 573 of his strength, the surprise of their friends was measureless. They called the people ungrateful. They ought to have confessed that they had misunderstood them. At the inaugural meeting of the Colonial Society on the 15th March, 1869, Viscount Bury declared that the brilliant but mischievous eloquence of Professor Goldsmith Smith called for such a bond of union as the Society furnished. A greater than Smith ere long advocated hearty union between England and her colonies, and the baleful light of Goldwin Smith well-nigh perished. “Earl Granville” (wrote J. A. Froude) “took pains to exhibit his indifference whether the colonies went or stayed; and it is this indifference, so ostentatiously displayed, which is the active cause of alienation.” By faint denials and polite evasions, and by his translation to the Foreign Office on the death of the Earl of Clarendon in 1870, Earl Granville's influence disappeared. His successor, Earl Kimberley, took a different tone, and Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen, who became Under-Secretary for the Colonies, disclaimed all sympathy with those who would treat colonies with coldness, and would regard as a matter of money the links which bound them to the land of their forefathers. He for his part would do his best to strengthen them. In 1872, he was able to assert that such was the policy of the Government of Mr. Gladstone. “Once more I tell you that unless I am utterly and entirely deceived the policy of the Government is to cement the union between the colonies and the mother-country.” Iteration would have been needless if Earl Granville had not created the impression which the speaker strove to destroy. But, as has been seen, the indifference of the lump of society was leavened at last. There was a feeling that Lord Granville had needlessly wounded loyal hearts. On the 27th July, 1869, Earl Carnarvon suggested that the Government should send some one in whom they had confidence to report on the colony. He cited analogous cases: Lord Durham in Canada; Sir H. Storks in Jamaica; Mr. Gladstone in the Ionian Islands, furnished instances. Lord Granville did not accept the suggestion, but avoided the use of phrases calculated to irritate the colonists. The Bishop of Lichfield entreated the Government not to commit themselves rigidly to the principle that they would under no circumstances interfere in the affairs of the colony. He declared that though page 574 a few colonists might at times rush into violence, the great majority were inclined to live in peace with the natives. In mercy, both to colonists and natives, let power be retained to interfere in urgent need. It is almost needless to say that his eloquence was less potent with Earl Granville than it had been in former years with Maoris. The planished crust of civilization can be harder than the heart of a savage.
About the same time that Sir George Bowen was sending home the remonstrances of his Ministers against Earl Granville's despatch of the 7th October, 1869, the New Zealand Commissioners arrived in England, and the negotiations of Mr. McLean with the Maori king's adherents became known. Earl Granville seized the occasion to offer to the negotiator the distinction of Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. Unconscious of the offer which was being wafted to him, Mr. McLean was intent on the pursuit of Te Kooti. Mr. Vogel was busy in Australia negotiating a mail contract between Sydney, Auckland, and San Francisco. Maori affairs were by common consent confided to Mr. McLean. Topia Turoa and Rangihiwinui, impeded by stormy weather and want of supplies, reached Taumarunui, near Tuhua, to find that Te Kooti had deserted his cultivations, which were so extensive as to imply that he had intended to dwell there. Rangihiwinui sent back 100 of his men to guard the Wanganui country, and pursued with Topia. Suddenly Te Kooti appeared close to the English settlement, Cambridge, on the Waikato river, far from his recent lurking-place, and seemed to threaten settlements at the Waikato on one side and Tauranga on the other. He was received in a friendly manner by a chief, Hakaraia, of Tapapa. He sounded the son of the king-maker, Te Waharoa. He sent a message to Mr. Firth, the friend of that chief, and the would-be negotiator for peace with Rewi and the Maori king. He told Firth his lands were safe because he had been the friend of Te Waharoa. He would not fight on them. Mr. Firth thought this a Maori overture and telegraphed to Mr. McLean. If the Government would spare the lives of Te Kooti and his companions he might surrender. Te Kooti asked for a conference with Mr. Firth, who agreed to meet him at the monument of Te Waharoa at Matamata. Mr. McLean had hastened to Tauranga to order affairs there in case of page 575 attack. Dr. Pollen, the agent for the Government at Auckland, refused to parley with Te Kooti in spite of Mr. Firth's urgent averment that a general amnesty might ensure a lasting peace. It was agreed that no effort should be made to capture the outlaw during his interview with Mr. Firth. Te Kooti told Mr. Firth that he wished to live in peace with Hakaraia at Tapapa, and that if the Government would let him alone he would never fight again. On returning to Cambridge, Mr. Firth found a message from Dr. Pollen, guaranteeing safe-conduct for Te Kooti as a prisoner to Auckland. Te Kooti wrote back to Dr. Pollen: “Friend, I have seen your reply. My word to you is that I have promised Firth to cease fighting. But as for me I will not go to Auckland. Let me remain in peace. Slaying shall cease; but if you pursue me let it be so. Friend, let your trying to kill me cease. That is all.” If Mr. McLean could have foreseen the future he might have accepted these terms. But Te Kooti's capture was deemed certain. Topia and Rangihiwinui were on the march. Colonel McDonell effected a junction with them. Between Te Kooti and his haunts among the Uriwera was the lake country of the loyal Arawa. The Ngaiterangi at Tauranga had pledged themselves to assist McLean. McLean's chief obstacle was found in Earl Granville's despatch of the 7th October. He wrote to the Governor (14th February) that some of the rash advisers of the king “read in the despatch an incentive to combined national movement. The furiously disaffected are of course delighted with it. It has even worked mischief with that section of the colonists who have habitually felt themselves at liberty to interfere without authority, and lend their countenance to rebellion. Thus Mr. Firth, the lessee of a large quantity of native land, made an attempt to procure for Te Kooti, who had promised not to interfere with his land, something like a free pardon. Ministers have lately had to exercise a great deal of firmness.” With such feelings in McLean's mind the overtures of Firth were disregarded. Mr. Fox also was indignant. He rated Dr. Pollen for suspending operations during Firth's interview with Te Kooti. The Government would not accept any position thus forced upon them by a man who like Mr. Firth “officiously interfered” by visiting Tawhiao in 1869. Dr. Pollen at once tendered his resignation of office, but, apprehensive of page 576 going too far, Mr. Fox in the name of the whole of the Ministry begged him to withdraw it, and Dr. Pollen remained Government Agent at Auckland. When the papers were presented to the Assembly, Mr. Firth took umbrage at the allusions to him and wrote a defence, which was also printed. He wrote also to the Secretary of State. Confident in his own intentions and in the estimation in which he was held, and attributing Mr. Firth's zeal partly to a fear lest he should lose his land held under lease, McLean paid no heed to him, and the Government forces were pushed forward to hem in Te Kooti, who knew their movements, and told Dr. Pollen to keep back the troops if he wished for peace. Colonel McDonell, Rangihiwinui, and Topia, with a force of 370 Wanganui, 150 Arawa, and 100 Europeans, advanced northwards rapidly from Lake Taupo, and on the 24th January came in contact with Te Kooti's picquets at Tapapa. Rangihiwinui's usual office of activity fell to his lot. With 200 men he dived into the forest to take a position on the enemy's rear in the night. The remainder of the force was to move at daylight on the 25th January. Colonel McDonell thought it fortunate that he was prevented “by circumstances” from moving so early as had been agreed upon, for “just as he was preparing to start,” from the bush close to his camp the alert Te Kooti made an attack upon him in a dense fog. The enemy was driven back with trifling casualties. Topia Turoa and his men pursued and lost several men, though not so many as they killed. In the afternoon Rangihiwinui returned. He had heard the firing at Tapapa and dashed directly on Te Kooti's camp, which he destroyed, capturing more than 100 horses. The loss of his horses was thought a deadly blow to the fugitive. But for several days no man could learn whither he had gone, although more than 800 men were in arms against him in the district. On the 29th January he was found at Kurunui. Thinking it too late to attack him on that day, McDonell returned to Tapapa, leaving Rangihiwinui to watch him on a rifle-pitted hill. In the morning Te Kooti was gone. Rangihiwinui pursued through the bush, and on a track leading towards Tauranga shot an enemy in the rear-guard of the fugitives; but having no supply of food was compelled to return to his camp. The robber's career seemed to be run. Contemned by the king, beaten by page 577 the English allies loyal to the Queen, he could raise no tribes to assist him. The Uriwera, fearing confiscation of land for their previous hostility, might, like himself, live and die snapping like wolves at their foe, but the Arawa domain was between him and the Uriwera, and the Arawa were in arms against him. A strong force was posted at Rotorua. Nevertheless, such was the desperate character of Te Kooti that he was still the object of terror. McLean instructed Colonel McDonell to guard the Rotorua passes, and specially to prevent the outlaw's escape westward into the domain of the king. The alarms of dwellers in Tauranga may be guessed when it is remembered that it was visible from the hills in which Te Kooti lurked. Fortunately H.M.S. ‘Blanche’ and ‘Rosario’ were in the harbour. Through the tangled wood and the fern, marauding parties, far outnumbering his own, in zigzag courses strove to find and crush the outlaw.
Topia and Rangihiwinui advanced on his trail towards Paengaroa. Colonel Fraser was traversing the dense forest between Tauranga and Rotorua, when, on the 3rd February, from an ambuscade, shots laid low two Arawa and one European. The outlaw retreated safely, and it was remarked that he had accepted the new conditions of his warfare. There was no war-cry of defiance, no shout of exultation. His path was silent as death. Topia and Rangihiwinui reached Paengaroa on the 4th, and lamented that the skirmish with Colonel Fraser had disturbed their prey. Colonel Fraser, “glad to see them,” “sent them for food, and to occupy Oropi,” about twelve miles from Tauranga, thus unwisely checking their pursuit. The Civil Commissioner at Tauranga, about 17 miles from Paengaroa, wrote: “I am unable to explain why Te Kooti's trail was not followed up.” Rangihiwinui proposed immediate pursuit, but he was over-ruled by the European commander. Colonel Fraser's reason was thus stated: “On the 6th, it rained torrents.” Te Kooti was regardless of such impediments. On the 7th, he was far away to the south, at Lake Rotorua, where Lieutenant Mair strove to stay him with the loyal Arawa. A Maori woman had seen some of Te Kooti's band emerging from the forest of Ngongotaha, on the west of Lake Rotorua. She fled to escape capture. As Mair was gathering in his patrols, the robber sent an envoy to propose terms of peace between the page 578 Uriwera tribe and their neighbours. He knew himself outnumbered. His men were distressed with their toils through mud and jungle. He wished to obtain time. Before it was discovered that the peace proposals were a trick, he had sped two miles on his way. Availing himself of every favourable position to shield with picked men the retreat of the main body —Kereopa the eye-eater being conspicuous in a determined charge,—through broken ferny ground and swamp and fell, he pursued a track till the sun had set, and then suddenly turned into the Tumunui bush, into which it was thought useless to follow him. The pursuers were fatigued. So hot and close was the pursuit for 16 miles, that, with a glass, Lieutenant Mair could distinguish Te Kooti and his wife and the guide who led them. Through the night the flight continued. A brief halt was made to cook food at Ohau, and at daylight the path to a grim lodgment in the Uriwera territory was assured. Colonel Fraser, who had checked Topia and Rangihiwinui in their pursuit, was urged by Mr. Clarke, the Civil Commissioner at Tauranga, to hasten to Rotorua through the Mangorewha forest to help Lieutenant Mair. He marched on the 8th February to Tauranga to obtain passages by sea to the south, in order to land his troops and march inland to Kaingaroa, in the Uriwera territory. Mr. Clarke complained that Colonel Fraser had not perceived that men could not be landed on the coast in the heavy sea then running, and that the only available vessel was incapable of carrying his men except by repeated voyages.
On the same evening in which Te Kooti shook off his pursuers and dashed into the Tumunui bush, the wondering Colonel McDonell arrived at Tauranga to gain intelligence—”having not the least idea of what was going on.” While pursuing Te Kooti, Rangihiwinui had sometimes been without any food but fern-root for his men. It was plain that but for Colonel Fraser's interference, Topia and Rangihiwinui might have prevented Te Kooti's escape from Paengaroa. Ropata Wahawaha with the Arawa chiefs consulted with Mr. McLean. Confusion ensued from divided command, Ropata said, and Maoris were impatient of European orders “while engaged in field operations.” It could not be forgotten that at Ngatapa Whitmore would have sacrificed his force but for the sagacity of Ropata. The page 579 Government informed the commander of the field force Colonel McDonell, that after full consideration they had determined that no European should interfere with the new expedition, but that the chiefs of each tribe should command their followers.1 In after years Mr. McLean informed the General Assembly that Ropata declared that his zeal was stimulated by McLean's resolution that life should be spared. Ropata's good faith was proved by his capturing some hundreds of his countrymen on these terms. Ropata was to lead a force from the Poverty Bay coast to the Waikaremoana and Ruatahuna districts. Another column was to move from Hawke's Bay to the Waikare Lake, and Colonel McDonell with the help, and giving due weight to the opinions, of the native chiefs, was to dispose the native forces for purposes of protection of the Bay of Plenty. All Europeans were withdrawn to Maketu. To Topia and Rangihiwinui Mr. McLean wrote that the chase after Te Kooti was handed to the Maoris, “because according to what the chiefs say, the reason for failure was the complication caused by European officers.”
1 Lieutenant Gudgeon, in his ‘Reminiscences of the War,’ makes no allusion to this announcement on the part of the Government, except by casual mention that the campaign near Tapapa “was the last in which European forces were employed,” and that “fortunately for the Government they found two men to be depended upon in Kepa te Rangihiwinui and Ropata Wahawaha.” It seems desirable to tell the truth which, if Gudgeon knew, he did not tell.
Early in March, Rangihiwinui had a skirmish near Opotiki, and made peace with a Uriwera chief, Tamaikowha, who was thought not to have joined Te Kooti. The terms were to be open to all the Uriwera tribes. Ropata, who had expected to meet Rangihiwinui at Maingopowhatu (a celebrated pah in former times, situate on a rock 500 feet high, on the highest range in the mountain country), was disconcerted by the peace, though he reluctantly consented to it. He himself captured all whom he could find—about 50 men, women, and children—with a view to keep them, not as slaves, but as a means of making a durable peace. The captives suffered from cold. He asked for clothing for them, and spades with which to cultivate for food. A raid by Te Kooti, near Opotiki, being reported, Ropata marched thither, meeting Rangihiwinui at Ohiwa, and expressed surprise at that chief's inaction. The blow struck by the outlaw was at Opape, eight miles from Opotiki. He swooped upon it and captured all the Whakatohea natives there, about 200 in number. Most of the young men were away with Rangihiwinui. Mr. McLean wrote (26th March) that the fate of the prisoners was unknown, but their massacre was apprehended. Colonel McDonell and some Maori chiefs threw blame upon Rangihiwinui. He did not discuss the question in his official despatches, but with Topia and a strong force, marched, on the 20th March, before midnight, up the valley of the Opotiki river, crossing over page 581 to the Waioeka river, so as to take Te Kooti in flank. On the 24th March, he captured several villages and pahs before assailing with 300 men a large pah, Maraetahi, in which (he wrote to Mr. McLean) were Hakaraia and Kereopa the eye-eater. “Having reached the pah, dispositions were made to surround it. The pah was attacked and the prisoners taken by Te Kooti—I mean the people of the Whakatohea—were recovered by us; those who were taken at Opape. Of the Whakatohea there were,—males, 57; females, 83; children, 78. Total, 218. Belonging to Te Kooti—males taken alive, 23; females, 38; children, 26. Men killed, 18. Grand total, 323. There were amongst the killed three chiefs—Hakaraia of the Ngaiterangi; Timoti, who commanded the vessel that brought the prisoners from the Chatham Islands; and Hakopa, a cousin of Te Kooti's. As for Kereopa, it was during the confusion that took place about the Whakatohea, or that which ensued, that he managed to escape. Moreover, none of the Wanganui men knew him by sight.” Naming chiefs who “all did their work equally well,” he added: “This finishes my report.” Of himself he said nothing. Writing to Mr. Fox, he said that “Hakaraia, the son of Satan, was killed.” Scouts were sent out to discover Te Kooti's position. Ropata, meanwhile, ascending by the rugged Waioeka river to the Maraetahi pah, had surprised a picquet as he approached Maraetahi, but the inmates fled when one man was shot, and a man and woman were captured. Rangihiwinui and Topia were approaching silently from the rear of the pah, and heard the firing. They intercepted many of the fliers, killing and capturing. Rangihiwinui wrote to Mr. Fox: “They came upon the pah suddenly, not having sent scouts. Some of them say that the squad in front were dull fellows; had it been Ropata's own ‘hapu’ some of them would have been caught.” Topia wrote to Mr. McLean: “Friend, I think we should have caught Te Kooti if it had not been that Ropata attacked the pah in which he was. I think if I had had the storming or taking of the position we should have captured that fellow Te Kooti.” Ropata wrote: “The proverb says, ‘It is a work to which one may return again.’ What could we do in so rugged a country? Had Te Kooti escaped from an attacked pah, there would have been cause for disappointment. As it was, he kept page 582 to the unfortified bush, and before we could overtake him your people were faint with the fatigue of climbing and descending the precipices of this rugged country.”
1 N. Z. 1870; A. No. 8, B. p. 35. The Whakatohea contrasted the march of the Wanganui men with that of Europeans. The latter were heard far off by “the jingling of their pannikins and their oaths, whereas the Maoris moved without noise” (H. T. Clarke's teport). A return (1870. D. No. 36) laid before the New Zealand Assembly, explains in some measure the inferiority of the European. In July, 1869, there were about 1400 men in the armed constabulary force. In 12 months 330 had been discharged for drunkenness, 263 for uselessness, and 38 for insubordination. In June, 1870, the number enrolled had fallen to 776, but by that time the victories of Rangihiwinui and Ropata had made the State independent of its “discarded unjust serving-men.”
As old Waka Nene had mainly built up English influence in 1840, so now in 1869 it may be said that the security of many settlements rested in the hands and hearts of Rangihiwinui and Ropata, and the countenance of the Maori king reflected in the conduct of Topia. It was fortunate for the colonists that the chiefs confided in the word of Mr. McLean. The ignominious flight of Te Kooti from the pah at Maraetahi was fatal to him. There he had thought himself safe behind the almost inaccessible gorge of the Waioeka. There he had taken refuge after his rout at Ngatapa. There he had caused a whare karakia, a temple for prayer, to be built, and furnished with mats manufactured with great care. There now his atua, or god, was dishonoured and degraded. Ropata discovered that the outlaw had secreted gunpowder in the neighbouring woods for extreme needs. With prisoners as guides, the chief rooted out from two places in the forest 20 quarter-casks of powder and a bag of bullets. Captain (late Lieutenant) Gilbert Mair was with the Arawa contingent, scouring the Kaingaroa plains and Rangitaiki river amid frost and snow. Mr. McLean went to Opotiki to consult the chiefs of the victorious expedition. They showed their men suffering from bruises and sores, and wished to return home. Campaigning in winter in mountain snows was hardly to be expected, and Mr. McLean yielded to their wish. He told Rangihiwinui that the peace with the Uriwera was not sanctioned by the Government. Some of the Whakatohea chiefs had been suspected of intrigues with Te Kooti. To ward off raids from such a foe they might almost be excused for overtures, and it was a portion only of the tribe which was accused. Many of them had joined the campaign against Te Kooti. Mr. McLean prudently accepted their defence, page 584 holding Ropata and their other neighbours responsible for them in future.
It was ever the curse of New Zealand that some European, after a notable success, presumptuously provoked strife. Colonel St. John at Opotiki became now the sinner. Mr. McLean was not faultless perhaps, for he took no steps to acquaint Tamaikowha with the views of the Government on the terms of peace made with that Uriwera chief by Rangihiwinui. Tamaikowha informed Rangihiwinui, Topia, and others, including Captain Mair, that the Uriwera tribe accepted the peace, and that there would be no trouble if the land were not invaded. Colonel St. John started on the 24th April, by what he called Kemp's (Rangihiwinui's) track, with 50 Whakatohea to surround Tamaikowha in his sleep, at Wakarae, where he was visiting, and holding communication with the Arawa. A dog barked as the circle was contracting, and Tamaikowha, dashing down a precipice, escaped in the darkness. Two of his sons were captured. His uncle, Tepine, was “tomahawked.” Such was the narrative sent by this pestilent disturber to Mr. McLean. He even wrote boastfully and coarsely of what he had done. Mr. Clarke, the Civil Commissioner, submitted that the action was not judicious. Tamaikowha had not been told that the terms of peace were disapproved by the Government. The stealthy attack upon him would be “considered a ‘Kohuru’ (murder), and nothing will convince the natives to the contrary. I think means should have been taken to inform Tamaikowha that Rangihiwinui's truce could not be acknowledged.” The act of Colonel St. John, done by a Maori to a European, would have been called murder, as Whitiora plainly told Mr. Firth at Orahiri. Mr. McLean did not prosecute the Colonel, but reminding him that he had not adhered to his instructions, which were “to capture Te Kooti if possible,” he said: “The course you have taken is not only likely to endanger the safety of the settlements at the Bay of Plenty, but also to impress the natives with the conviction that an act of treachery has been committed by an English officer. I cannot deprecate your action too strongly in this instance, which leaves me no alternative but to remove you from the command at Opotiki.” Letters were received from Uriwera chiefs, saying, that the “recent murder” page 585 by Colonel St. John deterred them from friendliness. The resident magistrate at Tauranga wisely induced some friendly chiefs to write letters denouncing the act as unauthorized by the Government. He sadly said, however: “From a man of Tamaikowha's well-known ferocity, I fear that the least that can be expected in way of retaliation will be a murder or two on the beach.” Mr. McLean took the occasion of meeting some chiefs at Whakatane, to declare that after what had passed, if Tamaikowha would surrender he should not be punished; and eventually through Ropata's means Tamaikowha was reconciled. An expedition marched in May to Lake Waikaremoana at the head of the Wairoa river, capturing a few prisoners; and Captain Mair from another direction went to Fort Galatea on the Rangitaiki river, where a friendly native induced several chiefs to tender allegiance. One of them, a Wanganui man, had been with Te Kooti for several months, but had left him in disgust, having lost faith in his atua (god). He told the names of the few who clung to the outlaw. A noted hostile chief, Te Waru, had separated from Te Kooti, and was thought to be at Waikaremoana with a band which yelled derisively at their pursuers, who vainly eyed them from the opposite shore of the lake, on the 8th May. Colonel St. John, though summarily treated by Mr. McLean, was not driven from the service, but was permitted to take part in further operations. Te Kooti, meanwhile, was skulking at Te Wera among the fastnesses of the Upper Waioeka. His lair was unknown to his enemies. Even in the hunted savage there lurked some kindly feeling. He had returned after his flight from Maraetahi, and buried his dead after the conquerors had disappeared. He was now frowned upon even by the Uriwera. Ropata headed a brief expedition to the mountains, and returned with 28 prisoners. Amongst them was the husband of a woman captured by Ropata on his previous journey to Opotiki. As Ropata had prophesied, the poor wretch had then followed the captors of his family, and finding at one of Ropata's camps some rags which had belonged to his children, was found wearing them round his neck. Ropata was kind to prisoners, as he had stipulated with McLean that he should be permitted to be, and several voluntarily surrendered in consequence of letters sent to them by him. Forty-two of page 586 the Uriwera gave themselves up on the 7th June, and on the same day Mr. Hamlin, who was again at Waikaremoana with friendly natives, crossed the lake and occupied Matuahu, the principal position of the enemy who had fled. Large stores of potatoes were found there, and Mr. Hamlin thought that he had discovered the last resort of the Hau Haus. He destroyed potatoes enough to feed “a thousand men for fifteen months.”
The plundered robbers meanwhile lurked in frost and snow, delving for scanty sustenance—living, it was said, on rotten maize and fern-roots. Te Waru was thought to be near Maungapowhatu, and Te Kooti was at Te Weranga on the rugged watershed of the Waioeka. Several Uriwera chiefs surrendered, and through one of them (Hapurona) Mr. Clarke invited others to yield. Excepting Te Kooti, Kereopa, and one or two other murderers, all lives would be spared. Hapurona's manner proved that fear of confiscation of land was intense among the Uriwera. Mr. Clarke wrote: “With respect to your lands, the Government will not hold them. The confiscated block will not now be extended. Respecting Tamaikowha, the peace of Rangihiwinui will be acknowledged if he will come out, and there will be no thought towards him on account of his alleged crime. Do not think about Tepine (the chief toma-hawked under Colonel St. John), the Government disapprove of the death of that man.” It is the strong man who is bold enough to confess to a wrong, and thus disarm complaint, or diminish distrust. Mr. McLean's candour was not unrewarded. More of the Uriwera surrendered. Six of them, as the winter hardened, were found (by Mr. Hamlin's native scouts) dead in the snow. It was resolved to withdraw the force from Waikaremoana to Wairoa, carrying back the captives, and making the lake so desolate and foodless that none could dwell on its borders. Hapurona had met his brother chiefs at Ruatuhuna, north of Waikaremoana. As the Uriwera now held aloof from Te Kooti, operations could be continued against him without endangering Hapurona's efforts to induce his countrymen to surrender.
In June, occasion was taken to present to Ropata, Rangihiwinui, and Mokena Kohere, then in Wellington, the swords sent to them by the Queen. Rangihiwinui returned to his own place. He and Topia claimed and received payment for their page 587 followers at the rate of four shillings a day. For less than £15,000 they had done successfully what an enormous expenditure under others had failed to do. It would be difficult to exaggerate the military deserts of their companion, Ropata Wahawaha. He took the field again in the end of July. At Opotiki he negotiated again for the peaceful surrender of the Uriwera. He urged that the Uriwera prisoners in Wellington should be liberated, in which case the wanderers might surrender. Mr. McLean replied that they should not be hung. Ropata sent a chief, Kawakura, to prevail on Tamaikowha to surrender. He consented, but haughtily said that it would have been better if he who had done him wrong by midnight murder had apologized. Te Kooti, deserted, weak, and starving, was yet venomous. He made a faint repetition of his former surprises. With about two-score of miserable followers he appeared in midwinter (the 26th July, 1870) at Tolago Bay, on the east coast. As on a previous occasion, he hoped to deceive the friendly Maoris, master them by treachery, and obtain ammunition. A Maori addressed him as Te Kooti. He said, “I am Major Ropata, do not fear.” While blandishment was tried in one direction, surprise was attempted in another. Some of the band assaulted a pah in which the coveted gunpowder was supposed to lie, but were beaten off, and the discomfited marauders retreated to the mountains by the way they had come, followed by Captain Porter with 100 men. An attempt was made to surprise Te Kooti at dawn on the 31st July, but it was clumsily executed, and only a woman was caught. She said that there were only 21 men and five women left with Te Kooti. Ropata, with 70 men, meanwhile arrived at Tolago Bay, and started on the 3rd August on the outlaw's track. Of the prisoners captured at Maraetahi, 34 had at this time been tried at Wellington. Thirty were sentenced to death for “levying war against the Queen;” two were acquitted for want of proof, and two the Attorney-General declined to prosecute. The sentences of death were commuted to penal servitude. It will not be necessary to trace Ropata's succeeding campaigns, but his diary of a winter journey in 1871 may be quoted: “9th June. Too slippery to travel.… 10th June. The wet might be page 588 travelled through if it were not for the biscuit, as both hot and cold water destroy it; however, it is no use talking about the wet, as it is man that has defied the winter. 11th June. Sunday. Started again without taking into consideration that it is Sunday. All that was thought of was the fine weather, so that some portion of the way might be got over, and that if possible success might crown our efforts in finding the place where this wretch (Te Kooti) has taken up his abode.… 12th June.… In speaking about Te Ahimanu, the narration makes it appear a short distance, but when travelled it is a very long road—nothing but climbing hills and going down into valleys; by the time the top of one hill has been gained it is night, and by the time the bottom has been arrived at it is night again. This country is very rough; there is nothing equal to it; and the days are so short that no distance can be travelled before dark. If it were a beach or plain it could be travelled by night, but there is nothing here but cliffs, creeks, hills, bush, fern, and everything that is bad. 13th June.… Oh! these troubles. But I and the Ngatiporou will yet seek revenge for these difficulties if we can only come face to face. Perhaps we shall all die from the cold and snow, and the biting wind. No; we will not die from the cold. If we were the offspring of Ruaimoko we might! But as it is we are the offspring of Tongia, who thought of weaving and making the rough garment the Pake.… Thinking of our ancestor Tongia causes these remarks: his thoughtfulness has descended on us.… Perhaps some of our friends think that we only go through ordinary troubles of an expedition. Can it be decided by those who are in comfortable places what the extent of the work is? No; its magnitude can only be imagined or arrived at by treading it with the feet.…”
1 In juxtaposition with Ropata's diary it may be well to include here, some prayers, which the learned Mr. Colenso tells us were written by Te Kooti with his own hand in his pocket memorandum-book; very much worn with constant usage, and more than once repaired by stitching it together with fibres of New Zealand flax.
A Prayer used in the Chatham Islands.
O God, if our hearts arise from the land in which we now dwell as slaves, and repent and pray to Thee and confess our sins in Thy presence, then, O Jehovah, do Thou blot out the sins of Thy own people, who have sinned against Thee. Do not Thou, O God, cause us to be wholly destroyed. Wherefore it is that we glorify Thy Holy Name. Amen.
A Prayer on going to bed.…
A Prayer offered in the night while in bed.…
A Prayer on rising from bed.…
Another Prayer on rising from bed.…
A Prayer for deliverance from foes.
O Jehovah, Thou art the God who deliverest the people repenting, therefore do Thou listen hither this day to the prayer of Thy servant concerning our enemies. Let them be destroyed and turned to flight by Thee. Let their counsels be utterly confounded, and their faces be covered with sadness and confusion. And when thou sendest forth Thy Angel to trample our enemies to the earth, through Thee also shall all their bones be broken to pieces. Glory to Thy Holy Name. Amen.
(These prayers were printed at Napier after Mr. Colenso had faithfully translated them.)
From the ghastly picture of the dusky murderer on the gallows, the mind turns with relief to another portion of the Governor's despatch. Rangihiwinui, with other chiefs, pleaded at Wanganui with Sir G. Bowen in December, 1871, for the release of the prisoners captured by their swords,—offering to be responsible for the good conduct of those who might be released. Fifty-eight still remained in Dunedin, and the punishment of Kereopa was allowed to be the signal for their release. Mr. page 591 McLean counselled it, and went in person to the south to bring them back with distinction. Early in 1872 there was no political prisoner in New Zealand. Though it is needless to narrate in detail the toils of Ropata in the Uriwera mountains, it may be well to mention in this place one of the results. When, in December, 1870, the Duke of Edinburgh with Sir G. Bowen visited Turanga and Maketu, and was escorted by the Arawa to their lakes, Te Waru availed himself of the presence of the Queen's son, and with 46 followers tendered his submission at Maketu. “Though dejected” (Sir G. Bowen wrote), “he maintained, in the presence of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh and myself, the usual dignified bearing of Maori warriors.” He surrendered under the terms of proclamations which guaranteed freedom and land to him. He was never accused of murder. Significant returns1 were laid before the Assembly. Within the year ending in June, 1869, it appeared that 279 rebels had been killed and 242 wounded. In the succeeding year 116 were killed, 453 were captured, and 361 surrendered. The loss on the side of the Government was mainly under Colonels McDonell and Whitmore, on the west coast. The Europeans killed in the year ending June, 1869, were 143; the wounded were 101. In the following year there were 12 killed and 26 wounded. Amongst the Maoris slain by the rebels, 57 were killed by Te Kooti at Mohaka, in April, 1869. His ferocity can be explained, but not excused, by the fact that a Colonial Minister had offered a price for his body dead or alive, had paid £50 for the head of Nikora, and had sanctioned the slaughter in cold blood of every rebel captured at Ngatapa, a place which bears in the published returns the ominous reputation of having seen 136 Maoris killed, and not one prisoner.
1 N. Z. P. P. 1869, A. No. 3, G; 1870, D. No. 37.
On the 14th June, 1870, a few days before the presentation of swords to Rangihiwinui, Ropata, and Mokena, the General Assembly met at Wellington. The Governor congratulated it on the field operations conducted by Majors Rangihiwinui, Ropata, and Topia, and intimated that measures for renewing the great work of colonization would be brought before them. It was significant of Mr. Fox's state of mind, that in the Governor's speech the opening of steam communication with the principal port of the United States on the Pacific was dwelt upon as a substantial benefit, while the fact that it “also afforded speedy communication with Great Britain” was added as a minor matter. No allusion was made to the removal of the last body of English troops—the disappearance of the English flag— the silencing of the stirring sounds which reminded Englishmen that the symbol of their country's military power was amongst them. It had been taken from them when they had almost abjectly entreated Earl Granville to delay its departure, and when the Assembly had solemnly guaranteed by law to provide for the necessary cost of maintaining it. Colonel Elliot, in February, had sent off the last detachment. After a thankless service, in which it could not but be plain to them that they were compelled to fight in wars unjustly provoked by some of their countrymen, the severance had come, and the kindly feelings of man toward man made the parting bitter. At Auckland, Napier, Wanganui, and Taranaki, they were accompanied to the shore with demonstrations of regret at their departure. In March, Mr. Fox summed up his feelings in a lengthy memorandum sent by himself to the New Zealand Commissioners in England, and by the Governor to Earl Granville. The Earl's policy, he said, tended to the disintegration of the empire. “The action of the Imperial Government was not only unfriendly, but scarcely reconcilable with page 594 any other motive than a desire to drive New Zealand from the empire.” If the new policy should be persisted in, Ministers were convinced it must create in the minds of colonists “a rankling feeling of alienation from the mother-country,” which would be “handed down to the future inhabitants of New Zealand.” Before the calling of the Assembly, Mr. Fox had asked the Governor to send a memorandum (from Mr. Fox), to open up direct negotiations with the Government of the United States; but Sir G. Bowen proffered no more than to send it to the Secretary of State, through whose good offices it might find its way to its destination from the Foreign Office. These dilatory pleas (approved by Lord Kimberley) suited ill with Mr. Fox's temperament, and his letter found its way into the newspapers. Sir George Grey was reported to be inclined to a declaration of independence. Dr. Featherston, one of the Commissioners in England, and Mr. Sewell, also in the mother-country, were said to be of the same mind. Independence or annexation to the United States were openly spoken of in New Zealand. The London ‘Spectator’ insinuated that but for a sudden change of style in despatches from the Colonial Office, and the guarantee accorded to the New Zealand Commissioners for a new loan, separation had become probable. The induction of Lord Kimberley at the Colonial Office in July, 1870, produced a change. Under the provocation received from Lord Granville, Mr. Fox was not anxious to give prominence in the Governor's speech to the advantage of “speedy communication with Great Britain;” nor were his colleagues in good humour. Mr. Vogel and Mr. McLean, in telegraphing the “brilliant successes” of Rangihiwinui and Ropata to the Commissioners in England, added: “But for England's desertion we believe we could establish permanent peace.” In March, 1870, Mr. Fox formally desired that the Panama mail line might be “the commencement of friendly relations” with the United States, and that the American Government would “in future be willing to allow the New Zealand Government to communicate with them direct in matters affecting the relations between the two countries.” The theories of Professor Goldwin Smith and the acts of Earl Granville were apparently on the high road to success. Donald McLean's native policy assured the position of the Ministry.page 595
With the session of 1870 the existing House of Representatives was to close its labours. The Treasurer, Mr. Vogel, determined to avail himself of the majority at the disposal of the Government by initiating a new policy. He laid upon the table vast piles of financial tables, and he proposed in his Budget speech to borrow six millions sterling for defence, immigration, public works, and other purposes. By 48 votes againsi 7 the second reading of the “Defence and other purposes Loan Bill” was carried on the 2nd August, and by 45 votes against 7 the Immigration and Public Works Loan Bill was carried on the 3rd. Never was the path to debt followed with greater unanimity. Railways were to be constructed. More loans loomed in the distance, to construct them. Mr. Vogel thought that 1500 or 1600 miles of railway would be required; that with 2 ½ millions of acres of land and £7,500,000 the railways might be made; and that about £1,000,000 more would be needed to carry out his other proposals. He exhibited elaborate calculations (such as were never wanting to a projector), which showed that in ten years the rapidly-increasing receipts would over-balance the expenditure of the colony. The Commissioners in England had reported that the Imperial Government was willing to guarantee a loan of one million sterling for public works and immigration, which would save £20,000 a year by means of the superiority of a guaranteed to an unguaranteed loan. He proposed to propitiate the provinces by giving to each of them a grant of £2 per head of population. The whole grant would be half a million sterling. Otago and Southland would thus obtain £140,000; Auckland, £124,000. The grant was to be diminished gradually till it fell to 30s. per head. Caught with the glitter of the thirty pieces of silver, a majority accepted the bait.
The decline in the character of the representation where a crowd of gold-seekers overwhelm at the polling-booths those who have a wholesome and permanent interest in the soil was as marked in New Zealand as in Australia. Thousands of the same men who had taken part in degrading the Legislature of Victoria, now exercised similar influence in the land of the Maoris; and the general toleration extended to the new Treasurer proved that the decay in moral worth had infected large sections of the community. It placed its future in pawn, page 596 and was at the mercy of the pawnbroker. In him it could find only a prophet whose god was money, but for the time it had discarded from its care the weightier matters which contribute to the true welfare of a people. Like a young spendthrift in the hands of a Jew, and bent on a wild career, it trampled on the maxims of prudence and the ungrateful compunctions of conscience. Mr. Vogel's financial propositions were substantially accepted. Four millions sterling were authorized, by enactment, to be raised for immigration and public works, and one million was devoted to defence and other purposes. The provinces secured their portion by a Payments to Provinces Act.
Mr. Fox deserves credit for the passing of a Bill to found the University of New Zealand. On the 20th July, a Joint Committee of both Houses reported that it was desirable to establish at once a Colonial University, and there was no opposition to the passing of the necessary Bill. There were peculiar facilities for appropriating reserves of land to the University in New Zealand. Grants of 10,000 acres in various places were allotted. Mr. Tancred, one of the earliest responsible Ministers in the colony, was elected Chancellor of the University as soon as it was formally constituted, and Mr. Hugh Carleton Vice-Chancellor. For such posts the new blood of the colony furnished no competitors. Mr. Fitzherbert, Mr. Stafford, and other members of the General Assembly appeared on the list of the governing body. Thus at the very time when it adopted a policy which pointed to money as the τὸ καλόν, the be-all and the end-all of national prosperity, the foundation was laid of a counteracting principle which might recall men's minds to higher purposes. To give their due to those who worship at the shrine of Plutus, they commonly, because it is considered a mark of liberal views, are ready to sanction expenditure on that intellectual culture for which they care so little. With vulgar indifference they patronize the knowledge to whose behests they pay no heed. Mr. Richmond from the Opposition benches moved a series of resolutions declaring the propriety of legislation to provide for the education of the people in all parts of the country. He contemplated school-rates, inspection of schools, and secular instruction by the State combined with facilities for imparting religious instruction out of school-hours and at the charge of parents or page 597 friends. A conscience clause was to be strictly maintained in denominational schools which might be subsidized by the State. An amendment to excise the details of the plan and commit the House to no more than a general recommendation, was rejected, and Mr. Richmond carried his resolutions without a division. A resolution to secure the independence of Parliament by excluding place-men and by barring ex-members from offices of emolument for a stated time after vacating their seats, was thrown out by a narrow majority of four, the Ministry contending against the curb thus sought to be placed upon them. They were willing to profess purity, but not to give to the country any security against corruption. An attempt to abolish existing provincial boundaries and divide the colony into two provinces, of which the North Island was to be one, was got rid of by the previous question. The convocation of the Assembly at Wellington was not universally consented to. There were some, amongst whom were two of the Fox Ministry, who desired that the next session should be held at Auckland. A Representation Bill engrossed the serious attention of the Representatives. Mr. Fox proposed to confer more members on the Middle Island than on the Northern Island, but after obtaining the assent of the House to general resolutions, referred them to a Committee of 20 members for revision. All resistance on the part of Mr. Stafford was overwhelmed by Government majorities, and the Bill was passed. The Maori representation, by four members, was left untouched. The European members were fixed at 74. Vote by ballot was enacted in a separate measure which was amended in the Council. The Representatives appointed a Committee on the 10th August to prepare reasons for disagreement, but the Committee was discharged on the 24th, and the one disputed amendment was agreed to. A minority opposed the Immigration and Public Works Bill in the Council, but the second reading was passed by 25 votes against 8. Mr. Mantell, Colonel Whitmore, Colonel Kenny, and Mr. Pharazyn were in a minority which recorded a protest against the measure, because it would bind the future colonists weightily and unfairly;—gave too great latitude to the Government, and provided no sufficient check upon its acts; afforded no security that the works would be prudently undertaken, be remunerative, or proportioned to page 598 the growth of population and revenue; contemplated alienation of extensive tracts of land without conditions as to settlement and occupation, and would therefore restrict the growth of population and of the revenues on which the loan was to be secured; and because being dangerously vague and speculative it was calculated to inflict “much misery in the early future, and perhaps shame and disaster in the sequel.”
Many such predictions are falsified in colonies, not because the evils they denounce are baseless, but because the spread of population in virgin territories carries with it so many unforeseen advantages that, not by reason, but in spite, of legislative blunders the growing community advances. Maugre all ill-treatment colonies often thrive; but, to borrow an illustration from Sydney Smith, their growth no more arises from their treatment than the ruddy cheeks of an urchin in the street are due to his ragged clothes. The protest in the Council did not retard Mr. Vogel. The victories of Ropata, Rangihiwinui, and Topia, and Mr. McLean's truce with the Maori king, had lulled apprehensions about native affairs; and mounted on his new battle-horse the propounder of the loan scheme determined to ride off in the flush of success to negotiate in London the loans which had been authorized, and thereby to pave the way for a career amongst London brokers.
One of Mr. McLean's devices in 1870 to convince the Maori king of the advantages of friendly relations deserves mention. Te Whero Whero, or Potatau, before taking up his abode at Ngaruawahia had resided near Auckland on land granted to him by the Government. McLean laboured to induce Tawhiao to accept the mesne profits from the land abandoned by his father, and after some reluctance, or show of resistance, Tawhiao consented to receive the money (£600) through the hands of Mr. Hettit, a settler connected by marriage with Rewi. The transaction, though kept secret, was one which gave power to McLean; for if it were made public the enemies of Tawhiao would not fail to taunt him with receiving a pension. A Bill to provide for the construction of railways authorized under the Immigration and Public Works Act, and the concomitant Loan Act, underwent serious discussion. The Council had made alterations, some of which were opposed by the Government. page 599 The Representatives disagreed with the amendments, and asked for a free conference, which was held. Agreement was not arrived at in conference. The Council returned the Bill with a message inquiring whether the Representatives “still insisted upon their objections to the amendments.” Mr. Vogel moved that the vote to disagree with the amendments in the Bill be rescinded, and by 24 votes against 15 his motion was carried.
Both Houses took up the subject of the Imperial policy towards the colony. A Committee of the Council prepared an address to the Queen, “relative to the line of conduct lately pursued by Her Majesty's Government towards the colony of New Zealand.” It enumerated the woes of New Zealand, and regretted “that a feeling of estrangement and even antagonism towards the colony has been lately manifested by your Majesty's advisers.” Earl Granville had rashly and prematurely published unfriendly despatches before the colony could guard against their ill effects. The policy pursued “had raised a belief that there is a desire to drive the colony into separation from the mother-country, which belief has already caused great bitterness of feeling, and is likely to result, if the policy be continued, in lasting enmity.” Her Majesty was besought to command Ministers to “preserve the integrity of the empire until it shall appear to your Majesty, to the British Parliament, and to the colonists themselves, that it is no longer desirable that New Zealand should continue to be a dependency of the Crown.” In the last resort they prayed that a Commission might be sent from England to inquire into their grievances. The Speaker, the Chairman of Committees, and some of those who from early days had been respected by their fellows and honoured by the Crown, were members of the Committee, and if there had been no prospect of change the address might have been carried. But kind words of some of Earl Granville's colleagues had made their way to New Zealand; the Commissioners, Bell and Featherston, had been courteously received in England, and there was a yearning in men's minds towards the land of their forefathers. An amendment was moved to declare the inexpediency of addressing Her Majesty, but asserting the contentment of the Council with the vigorous statement of the case of New Zealand in the ministerial memoranda which had been page 600 sent to England for distribution. Eventually it was resolved: “That in the opinion of this Council the best interests of New Zealand will be consulted by remaining an integral part of the British Empire. That this Council regrets the course adopted by the Home Government towards the colony, but as the causes of dispute have been satisfactorily discussed by the Colonial Government, and as an indication of a desire to preserve a friendly feeling towards the colony has been made by the Home Government, it is undesirable to make any further reference to past misunderstandings.” A shorter and less affectionate motion was made in the House of Representatives. Mr. McGillivray, a new member of the House, moved on the 30th June: “That this House is of opinion that the Imperial Government has failed in its duty to the colony”—and it was not until the 28th July that after adjourned debates the motion was withdrawn. At that date the intention of the Government to raise loans to pay fixed sums to provinces was known to be acceptable to the members and to their constituencies. The Treasurer wished to go to England with the credit of the colony in his hand, and it would have been irksome to him if he had been encumbered with such a resolution as that of Mr. McGillivray. In debate, Mr. Miller, on the side of the loyalists, declared that the colonists should address the mother-country in the language of Horace to Mecænas, and was loudly cheered when he uttered the words: Non ego perfidum dixi sacramentum.
Amongst the papers laid before the Assembly in the session of 1870 were letters and despatches which passed between Sir George Grey and Earl Granville early in the year, on the subject of the prisoner of war put to death without trial. The Commissioners saw Lord Granville in January, 1870. They reported that their reception was friendly and courteous. They consulted Lord Napier of Magdala about the employment of Sikhs or Ghoorkas, from which for various reasons he dissuaded them. They were unable to shake Earl Granville's resolution to recall the 18th Regiment, but they induced him to “absolutely disavow any wish on the part of the Government to abandon New Zealand, or to bring about separation between this country and the colony;”—a disavowal which he communicated in a despatch in which he condescended to say, that his views respecting the page 601 modified recognition of Maori authority, and the extent and consequences of the confiscation policy, might be right or wrong, and that he fully admitted that the decision on such questions rested entirely with the New Zealand Government; —an admission to which Mr. Fox retorted that it was much to be regretted that the Earl had so positively published statements which he confessed might be right or wrong, knowing that the publication would seriously embarrass those who, on his own showing, were responsible in the matter. As to the Earl's disavowal of a separate policy, Mr. Fox's colleagues accepted it “as meant to convey the feelings of the time Earl Granville was writing. They cannot suppose that it in the least affects the accumulated evidence from different parts of the world that Her Majesty's Ministers previously favoured a policy having for its end a more or less speedy disintegration of the empire. It is gratifying to think that the representations made on behalf of New Zealand may have had some share in leading to this change.”
Though sometimes vaguely stared at as if the gazer expected to see them tattooed, the Commissioners were welcomed in England, not as foreigners but as fellow-subjects, by distinguished persons. They accepted an offer of a guarantee of a loan of one million sterling for immigration and public works as a measure of conciliation which would be deemed in New Zealand “a proof of goodwill,” and their telegram to that effect (received in those days by ship-carriage from Ceylon) had a soothing effect upon the minds of members then occupied with financial considerations. Earl Granville trusted that the waiving by the Government of certain objections to guarantees of loans would “be received by the colonists of New Zealand as a proof of the deep interest which Her Majesty's Government feel in the welfare and prosperity of this great possession of the Crown.”
A more acceptable proof was the substitution of Earl Kimberley for Earl Granville in Downing Street. A Bill was brought into the Imperial Parliament to give effect to the loan guarantee. Mr. Fox relented under these accumulating proofs, and in the prorogation speech the Governor congratulated the Assembly “on the friendly feeling towards New Zealand which the Commissioners sent to Great Britain to communicate with page 602 the Imperial Government have succeeded in establishing.” Mr. Sewell, also, who was said to have advocated separation, consented to these amicable phrases. He had returned to New Zealand, and in June, 1870, joined the Fox Ministry as Minister of Justice. The labours of the New Zealand Assembly terminated on the 13th September. Amongst other enactments was one which, first brought forward by Mr. R. R. Torrens in Adelaide, had commended itself to all Australasian colonies. It simplified the transfer of real property. It swept away the cobwebs clinging to titles and prevented them from again accumulating. The Registrar or Commissioner of Titles having once given a certificate, the title was disburdened of doubt, and conveyances from hand to hand became as easy, to use a favourite simile of the author of the measure, as the transfer of shares in a ship. The principle was greedily accepted by the public. In one or two of the colonies, where the personal advocacy of Mr. Torrens was wanting, lawyers succeeded in encumbering the enactment with technicalities which he excluded in South Australia, but neither legal nor administrative opposition, however obstinate, could stay the march of the reform. The session produced about a hundred Acts. In all these the influence of a new order of things was reflected. The electoral rolls of 1869 showed that miners' rights or other special qualifications gave more than 20,000, while all other interests in the colony gave less than 37,000 votes for the House of Representatives. The folly and the fate of the colony is to be read in these figures. Wherever the spirit of gambling and recklessness cared to meddle, it was dominant.
In 1870, a question about tariffs distracted, not the colonists, but their rulers. Protective duties in Victoria had caused discussion about tariffs, and the provision which debarred any Australian colony from imposing differential duties. Intercolonial conferences dealt with the subject on more than one occasion in Sydney and Melbourne; and Mr. Vogel, soon after he became Treasurer, represented New Zealand at one of them. When it was found that prohibitive duties cramped commerce their advocates sought a remedy, not by freedom of intercourse with the world, but by special relaxations favourable to immediate neighbours with whom it seemed absurd to wage restrictive war. The page 603 general obligations of the empire in foreign relations were pleaded politely by Earl Kimberley, and were not denied, but it was averred that they ought not to bar the colonies from admitting produce inter se free from duty or otherwise.
1 ‘Fortnightly Review,’ February, 1870.
Lord Kimberley acknowledged Sir George Bowen's despatch, but did not discuss the question. When, for a few weeks in 1872, Mr. Fox and his colleagues lost office, the same request was made on their behalf “in conformity with (what Sir George Bowen termed) the established practice.” It would be difficult to establish a worse practice. In a community gathered together from all lands, adventurers may for a time by popular professions obtain popular honours. To make their brief success an established passport to permanent honour may sully the favours of Downing Street, but cannot ennoble the receivers. At the end of 1870, a different debt of honour was paid in New Zealand. Te Puni, the Ngatiawa patriarch, the protector of the New Zealand Company at Wellington in the days of its weakness, died nearly 90 years old at his residence, Petoni. His last public appearance had been at a levee held by the Duke of Edinburgh at Wellington in 1869. The Government ordered a funeral at public cost. Members of the Ministry were pall-bearers with Maori friends. The Bishop of Wellington read the service. Mr. Donald McLean addressed the Maoris eloquently in their own tongue, acknowledging the gratitude due by the colonists to Te Puni. The pioneers of English civilization stood round the grave, with Maoris, as the old chief was laid to rest according to the rites of the Church of England to which he belonged. The Volunteer Rifles and Artillery attended in full force to pay military honours. In due time a special message of sympathy from the Queen was sent to the family and tribe of Te Puni. At the end of 1871, another chief, Taringa Kuri, a Ngatiawa, supposed to be the only remaining Maori who had seen Captain Cook, died at an age computed to exceed 100 years; and Waka Nene, the Ngapuhi chief, passed away about page 605 the same time. Old Maoria with its representatives was fading visibly away. The honours paid to Te Puni were rendered just before the colonists were again called upon to welcome the Duke of Edinburgh. At Tauranga he was welcomed, with the Governor, by 700 of the Arawa and Ngaiterangi tribes. A chief, who had fought against the English at the Gate Pah, was loud in his loyal and figurative congratulations. Thence to Maketu the Prince proceeded, and saw the spot where Maori tradition declares that the Arawa canoe landed the tribe, who, like the Argonauts, took the name of their vessel, but gave a more enduring title to their descendants. They took pride in giving a guard of honour to the son of the Queen; they enjoyed the exhibition of his activity and endurance in the journey through the territory to the hot lakes, and to the matchless terraces of Rotomahana. At Ohinemutu, on their return, they paused on Sunday by the waters of Lake Rotorua. A missionary read the service of the Church of England. A little knot of Englishmen were with the Prince; a large congregation of Maoris repeated the responses and joined in the hymns in their own sonorous language, amidst that lake and mountain scenery, under which irrepressible fires are raging;—on a spot renowned in Maori legend, and where, within living memory, human victims had been sacrificed, and the abomination of cannibal feasts had been held. It was on the following day that at Maketu the chief, Te Waru, with 46 followers, surrendered on the terms which had been offered to him by McLean through the mouth of Ropata te Wahawaha.
The Duke of Edinburgh was popular with all with whom he came into contact, and his influence may have created a kindly feeling in other minds as well as amongst the Maoris. Moreover, Lord Kimberley had earned a new reputation for Downing Street. The readiness with which he had gained it proved the wantonness with which Earl Granville had turned men's minds to disaffection. In a memorandum, dated 30th December, 1870, on the subject of colonial defence, in case of war “between Great Britain and any foreign nation,” Mr. Fox “reiterated the expression of the loyalty of the colony to the Crown, and of anxiety that it should always be preserved as an integral portion of the empire.” Armed with letters of introduction from the page 606 Governor, Mr. Vogel, as Treasurer and Postmaster-General, sailed for America and England to negotiate postal arrangements with the United States, and arrange in London the financial affairs of New Zealand.
The General Assembly was dissolved by proclamation at the end of 1870. It had been elected for five years in 1866, and was thereford on the eve of effluxion. It remained to be seen whether the elections in 1866, which confirmed Mr. Stafford's power, would reflect a similar reply in 1871; or whether, under the bribe of untold money for the general government and for the provinces, the policy of discounting the present by drafts on the future—the bane of many an heir—was to be endorsed. The ballot was for the first time used in New Zealand at the election in 1871. Though no ground of expediency in practice can justify the conversion of a public trust to a private act, the opponents of the ballot in New Zealand, as well as in other countries, were constrained to admit that it tended to peace and order. The magician who had bewitched the dazzled colonists thought it wise to be absent; his presence might mar success. The colony, committed to his policy, could hardly repudiate it, while, with common consent, he was promoting it abroad. The butcher-claimant of the Tichborne estates, when the mother of the dead heir visited him in Paris, turned his face to the wall and would not speak. The woman was more likely to believe in him in proportion as she saw him less. Recognition being once established, the rest would follow. The office of Agent-General for New Zealand in London, created by the Public Works and Immigration Act of 1870, was conferred upon Dr. Featherston, who had acted with Mr. Dillon Bell as one of the Commissioners in England.