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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 10

L. — To the Editor of the New Zealand Spectator


To the Editor of the New Zealand Spectator.


Friend,—Will you print our letter is your paper.

When we read Mr. M'Lean's false answer to the following questions put to him we were very sad; we were sad because, though he knew nothing about our claims to that land at Waiters, or the connections of the various tribes and their chiefs, he nevertheless gave evidence at random on these subjects. But we will point out the errors of his answers, that all the Pakehas may understand, and that they may not ignorantly condemn William King and his tribe. These are all the answers that we have in Maori—from the New Zealand Spectator, October 6, 1860.

1. The Hon. Mr. Richmond—Had the Ngatituaho and Ngatihinga aright to the disputed block, independent of the hapus of the Ngatiawa?—Yes; decidedly. We say—It is quite false to assert that it belongs to these tribes alone, we now hear for the first time from Mr. M'Lean that it belongs to these tribes alone.

2. Do the sellers, including Ropoama and his people at Queen Charlotte's Sound, properly represent these two hapus?—They do. We say—This is false, some of those men are not real members of those tribes, some are slaves from Totorewa and from Ngaitahu; the principal men of those tribes are those (at Waitara) who are being trampled upon, Patukakariki and others.

3. After the inquiry you have made do you know of any outstanding claim?—I have referred to one man who may have a claim, that is Patukakariki, though I do not know that he has. We say—This an- page 70 swer is intended to deceive. He did not make proper inquiries of the people to whom the land belonged; but he is quite right to confess his ignorance, for he is only talking at random about what he knows nothing in denying Patukakariki's and our claims to that land.

4. Do you believe that any considerable claim can be outstanding?—I do not. We say—This is false. We, who are connected with that land, say that there are persons who have real claims, that is, to the lands cultivated by their ancestors and parents; he has no right to deny their claims.

5. As to Te Patukakariki, did he oppose Teira's offer?—No, he never did. We say—He did (see .15), and everybody has heard that the Government survey was resisted by women. Now, some of those women were Patukakarika's wife and his two daughters. "What more could they do to shew that they opposed the sale?

6. Has he ever made a claim?—He never, to my knowledge, mado a claim to that particular block. We say—He did strongly assert a claim to that block of land, both he and his nephew, Paora Karewa. lie (Mr. M'Lean) heard it with his own ears on the day that Teira gave his parawai to the Governor; but he had determined not to

7. Do you think he possibly has a chum to any extent 1—I think he may possibly have a claim to a small extent. We say—He has a claim; he has several pieces within the block. All the pieces held by individuals within the block, whether by those who have been driven off it, or by us, or by those who sold it, are equally small; each person may have two, or one, or four, as the case may be.

8. Do you consider that Riwai Te Ahu has a valid claim to any part of the block?—I do not consider that he has. We say—He has a just claim. Mr. M'Lean could know nothing justifying his denial of it; he is stating what is false when he denies the claim; it was his desire to have the land that made him say this.

9. Has King ever made a claim of proprietary right?—William King has never made such a claim, to my knowledge. We say—This is quite false. Mr. M'Lean would not listen to what he said, in the same way that he would not listen to what Patukakariki said (Question 6).

10 Under the peculiar circumstances of the Taranaki case, had King in your opinion any right to interfere with the sale by another hapu of their lands?—Decidedly he had not. We say—It is only this land-jobber who would venture to deny William King's right to withhold the land: we say that he had a clear right to withhold the land, for it did not belong to those hapus alone, or to other tribes, or other ancestors. Was it his animosity to William King that made him say this?

11. Has any similar interference by the chief been recognised in Taranaki, either in favour of King or of any other?—Never in connection with any of the purchases made there. We say—That the land purchaser refused to listen, and that chiefs who opposed sales did not always think proper to enforce their claims.

33. Mr. Fox—You have stated that Riwai Te Ahu had no claim. How can you be sure of this if you have never investigated claims at Otaki, where he lived, nor notified the sale to him?—I am sure of it page 71 from this fact, that he once preferred a claim to land there, which I investigated. I was under the impression that it was of considerable extent, but I found on inquiry from the parties through whom he claimed, and whose names he gave, that his claims were really insignificant, and were situated near the river Waiongana. Even those small claims the natives disputed, as the land was occupied by a sister of his, The extent of the laud as represented to me is not larger than the floor of this house. I communicated the result of my inquiries to Riwai, who was disappointed at it.

I, Hapakuka Mache, say, That Riwai Te Ahu has land which belonged to his ancestors between Mangoraka and Waiongana in that portion of land which Katatore offered for sale before his death. It is the right to this piece of land which Mr. M'Lean denies. Again, he says, "I found on inquiring from parties through whom he claimed, and whose names he gave." I, Riwai Te Ahy, say, This is false. I never named any persons of whom he should make inquiries; he asked Mahau, in the town at Taranaki, a person who had no connection whatever with the lands of our ancestors. Again he says, "His claims were really insignificant." All lands held by individual Maories are small pieces (it is only Pakehas who have 100 or 200) acres each); these pieces may be small, but they are inherited from ancestors. It is not a man's fault that his laud is small; what is unjust is to seize lands which belong to others. He further says, "Levi seemed disappointed;" yes, because he only inquired of Mahau, who knew nothing about the land.

34. In investigating Riwai Te Ahu's claim, was he present, and had he the opportunity of examining the witnesses on whose evidence his claim was negatived by you?—I believe I have answered that question already. He was not present, and indeed it would have been of little use if he had, as he knew almost nothing about his claim, which he referred wholly to me. Riwai Te Ahu—Was Mr. M'Lean likely to know better than I did? He said to me at Otaki, March 25, 1858, "If the land offered by Katatore is purchased, I will settle about your piece of land there." I assented to his proposal, assuming that he would act in good faith.

35. Believing that Patukakariki has possibly a claim to the disputed block, why have you not endeavoured to ascertain it, and to treat with him?—He has had frequent opportunities of preferring his claim. I have already read a letter dated 18th of March, 1859, inviting him and others to come forward and prove their claims. We say—Who can tell whether he would have been attended to; for when he and his nephew, Paora Karewa spoke, at the time the parawai was given, they were not attended to, and what could they say more than they had said then 1

36. How was that letter published and circulated?—It was not published at all; it was written by me to the chiefs of the district, without being otherwise notified than by being put into their bands. We say—It was useless his writing. Patukakariki and the other chiefs would not come to him, when they had objected all along to the sale, and no attention was paid to what they said.

37. Was a copy delivered to Patukakariki?—The letter was addressed to William King, Patukakariki, and all the people at Waitara. page 72 We say—Mr. M'Lean bad heard the words of William King and others when they refused to sell Waitara; why then write? Why should they pay any attention to his letter?

38. Is not Patukakariki the head of the hapu to which Te Teira belongs? If he is not, who is?—I never recognised him as such-I know the contrary. I admit, however, that he is a chief of some importance. The principal chief of these hapus died some years ago. Ropoaina, at Queen Charlotte's Sound, represents them. We say—The father of Te Patukakariki was the principal chief of those (two) tribes; his name was Karewa; he is dead; he died long since, about twenty-three years ago. We alt knew him as the chief. Where did Mr. M'Lean learn that Patukakariki was not the chief of those tribes? and where did he hear that the chief of those tribes was desid? We should like to know the name of the chief who, he says, is dead.

39. Suppose that Patukakariki's claim is a good one, is he bound to prefer it? and if he does not, what law will bar its future assertion?—I really do not think that I am called upon to state what his claim is. I had to hear his title adduced, which universal custom recognises as the manner in which he should prefer his claims, We say—Mr. Pox is quite right; he is only inquiring of the person who professes to know all about it. If they did not wish to sell their land, why should they go, more especially when what they had said on previous occasions had not been attended to?

46. You have heard of the eleven claims mentioned by the claimants as existing at Otaki: have you investigated them?—I have not investigated those claim, with the exception of the one to which I have referred in answering a previous question. We say—Take not of his prevarication. Listen: that is a different piece of land about which he had spoken; it is at Waiongana, abuut five or six miles distant, in the block offered by Katatore before his death. Sec at question 33, what was said about that land. But this, about which he was questioned, is the land now being fought about at Waitara, Having nothing to say, he said what was false, it being quite impossible for him to prove that our claims at Waitara are not good and valid.

48. Did you ever hear of a meeting at which Te Teira offered to give up to the parties opposing the sale some lands belonging to him outside the block in exchange for the lauds he was offering to the Government 1—I did not hear of a meeting at which any proposal of that nature was made in reference to the land he was offering to the Government. I am aware that there was a meeting at which there was some discussion about the accommodation of their claims. This was a considerable time pr or to the purchase. We say—See how clever he is at quibbling. Teira did make that offer; we heard it from Tipene Ngaruna, who was present at the meeting at Waitara.

58. What are the rules of alienation in the Ngatiawa tribe?—In the Ngatiawa a family of three or four people has been regarded as empowered to dispose of its common property We say—We of this Ngatiawa, now hear for the first time of this mode of proceeding (in alienating land), but perhaps he is in an underhand way laying down a new rule for this Ngatiawa, or does he mean for Ngatiawa at Tauranga (of whom we know nothing).

page 73

59. Have they long enjoyed this right?—It has been so for the last eighteen years. We say—Vie have never heard of this custom all these years. We now hear it for the first time in this answer.

64. Did not Patukakariki protest repeatedly, three or four times, at public meetings against the sale of the disputed block?—Never against the sale of the block in question; but he has protested against the sale of other land. We say—What other portion of Waitara was ever sold by any natives to any other land purchaser, that he should have had an opportunity of objecting? No, it was that same block of land which they are fighting about. What Mr. M'Lean says is quite false, that "he has protested against the sale of other land."

65. Has he claims within the block?—I have stated, lie may have chums; he has never proved any title. We say—See, he merely conjectures, from utter ignorance of the facts. We positively assert that he has land there.

66. Do you believe he has claims?—It is altogether conjectural; it is probable he may have a claim within the block. We say—If he does not know, why does he venture to give evidence about that land, and thus expose his ignorance?

75. Mr. Bell: In the evidence of Archdeacon Hadfield, he says that Te Teira is not a Chief at all, but a "tutua:" is that your opinion as to his position in the tribe t—Certainly uot. We say—Archdeacon Hadfield was quite right. He lived five years with us in our pa at "Waikanae; he was therefore well able to "know who were Chiefs, and who were men of no rank at oil; but this person, who contradicts another, has never lived among us, that he should know who are Chiefs and who are not,

79. Mr. Domett: Did you advise the Governor that the title of the sellers of Te Teira's block was good, before the purchase of the block was made?—I advised the Governor to accept the offer, and proceed with the purchase of the block, because it appeared to me that Te Teira had an unquestionable title. We say—He had a claim to his own little piece of land scattered among those of all of us. It is very wrong to doggedly persist, without any ground for his assertion, in saying that our pieces of land belong to Teira only.

80. Mr. Fox: "When did you give that advice to his Excellency?—In March, 1859. We say—Exactly so; then U is he who has misled the Governor.

81. Had the title at that time been fully investigated?—The offer was made publicly, which was the first and best evidence you could get of title, and a more minute investigation into the titles of the various claimants was afterwards instituted. We say—That afforded no evidence for a decision; the greater part of that Assembly were Puketapu natives and natives from the town, and he would not listen to Patukakariki, and Paora Karewa, and William King, when they openly protested against the sale that day in the presence of the Governor, when Teira gave his parawai; perhaps he thought that they had no right to interfere, or, which is more probable, he had determined in his own mind that if they refused their assent the soldiers should take the land.

84. Was a contemporaneous, or nearly contemporaneous, notice of page 74 the meeting of March, 1859, at which Teira's block was offered, published in the Maori Messenger?—A notice of that meeting was published in the Maori Messenger. We say—There was do mention of Teira's having offered land for sale in the Maori Messenger. Ngamotu, Taranaki, March 8, 1859, and Auckland, March 31, 1859. The account of the meeting to which he alludes was in these two Kareres.

95. Mr. Richmond: Archdeacon Hadfield has stated that Ropoama refused to come up to the meeting at Kohimarama, because he disapproved of the transactions, falsely alleging illness as an excuse: was this the case?—It was certainly not so; he was scarcely able to stand. I sent a boat for him. He expressed himself willing to come, but he was really so unwell that he might have died at sea. In fact, I could not think of bringing him. In the short interview which I had with him on board the steamer, he again expressed his intention of selling his claims to the Government. We say—What Archdeacon Hadfield said is quite correct; we beard it from the natives who came across from Queen Charlotte's Sound. Illness was not the reason why he and Hone Tuhata remained. No; they staid on account of the Governor's proceedings against William King. Notice the fact that not even one of those people went to Kohimarama.

We conclude by saying that Mr. M'Lean had better leave off telling untruths about William King's land.

From us, (Signed)

Heruni Te Tupeotu .

Epiha Poihi.

Hohepa Ngapaki.

Henere Te Marau.

Tamati Te Hawe.

Rawiri Ngawaka.

Wiperahama Putiki.

Wiremu Tamihana Te Neke.

Paora Matuawaka.

Kiripata Pake.

Tipene Ngaruna.

Hutana Awatea.

Teretiu Tamaka.

Hone Tamaka.

Riwai Te Ahu.