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William Rolleston : a New Zealand statesman



One of the most remarkable incidents in our history occurred in 1880-81 at Parihaka—a Native settlement south of New Plymouth. During most of the time the events were in progress, Rolleston was Minister of Native Affairs. But, in the final stage, his place was taken by Mr John Bryce, for reasons which will appear later. The background of the story is briefly as follows:

After the Taranaki War came to a halt in 1865, a Proclamation was issued by the Government confiscating over 1,130,000 acres between Wanganui and the White Cliffs. At the same time it was stated that the rights of loyal natives would be preserved, and the rebel natives were invited under a Peace Proclamation to come in within a certain time. If they did so, provision would be made for them, otherwise they would be excluded. But the confiscation was not enforced, and the natives were not driven from the territory. By liberal arrangements of the Government, they were restored to a large part of the country. They remained in friendly relations with us for nearly three years. Then in 1868 the Chief Titokowaru raised the standard of rebellion, and swept away nearly all the settlements over a large area. He was defeated and fled through the fastnesses of the great forests. Part of the land was again thrown open for settlement, and some of the tribes were brought back and settled on reserves set apart for them.