The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69
[History of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi]
Memoranda of the Arrival of Lieut.—Governor Hobson in New Zealand, and of the Subsequent Assembling of the Native Chiefs at Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands, the Residence of the late British Resident, James Busby, Esq., on Wednesday and Thursday, the 5th and 6th days of February, 1840, for the Purpose of meeting His Excellency.
January 29th. 1840,—This morning Her Majesty's ship "Herald," Captain J. Nias, arrived in the Bay of Islands and anchored in the harbour, having on board Lieut.—Governor Hobson and his suite.
30th.—Early this morning circular letters were printed at the press of the Church Missionary Society for the assembling together of the Native chiefs at Waitangi, to meet the newly-arrived Governor, on Wednesday next, the 5th day of February.
Two Proclamations were also issued by the Governor—the first stating that he had been appointed Lieutenant Governor over any territory which is or may be acquired in sovereignty by Her Majesty within the Islands of New Zealand, and that this day he entered on his office; the second stating that Her Majesty docs not deem it expedient to recognise as valid any titles to land in New Zealand which are not derived from nor confirmed by Her Majesty; and that all purchases of land in any part of New Zealand made after the date of this Proclamation page 12 will be considered as absolutely null and void, and will [unclear: n] be confirmed or in any way recognised by Her Majesty.
In the afternoon the Governor landed at [unclear: Kororareka] and, walking to the church there belonging to the [unclear: Church] Mission (the only large building), publicly read his [unclear: Letter] Patent and his two Proclamations.
* The flag was taken down while the proceedings were going forward.—J. B.
* Mr. Busby has here, in the margin of the MS., "?,.J. B." My allusion was to the rather sombre appearance of the fern, and manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) scrub, and rushes, on the barren hills around.
† A small body of them had accompanied Captain Hobson from Sydney.
‡ The common Maori name by which the Roman Catholic bishop and the priests were known.
* Mr. Busby was on the Governor's immediate left, and the Rome Catholic bishop next to him.—J. B.
* The gifts of the Roman Catholic bishop.—J. B.
† This garment was afterwards much admired and talked of by the Natives themselves. I have only seen one similar one, which I early (in 1836) had obtained from Rotorua.
A few little matters having been adjusted, the Governor arose, and, addressing himself briefly to the whites, said that the meeting was convened for the purpose of informing the Native chiefs of Her Majesty's intentions towards them, and of gaining their public consent to a treaty now about to be proposed to them. He then addressed himself to the Natives, in English, as follows, the Rev. H. Williams acting as interpreter:—
"Her Majesty Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, wishing to do good to the chiefs and people of New Zealand, and for the welfare of her subjects living among you, has sent me to this place as Governor.
"But, as the law of England gives no civil powers to Her Majesty out of her dominions, her efforts to do you good will be futile unless you consent.
"Her Majesty has commanded me to explain these matters to you, that you may understand them.
"The people of Great Britain are, thank God! free and, so long as they do not transgress the laws, they can go where they please, and their sovereign has not power to restrain them. You have sold them lands here aw encouraged them to come here. Her Majesty, always ready to protect her subjects, is also always ready to restrain them.
"Her Majesty the Queen asks you to sign this treaty and so give her that power which shall enable her to restrain them.
"I ask you for this publicly: I do not go from on chief to another.page 17
"I will give you time to consider of the proposal I shall now offer you. What I wish you to do is expressly for your own good, as you will soon see by the treaty.
"You yourselves have often asked the King of England to extend his protection unto you. Her Majesty now offers you that protection in this treaty.
"I think it not necessary to say any more about it. I will therefore read the treaty."
Here His Excellency read the treaty in English, and the Rev. H. Williams read the translation of the same, which had been prepared in the New Zealand language, to the Natives.
The treaty having been publicly read in English and in the Native tongue, liberty of speech was granted to any one who felt inclined to speak on the subject, or to make any inquiry relative to the same.
Some brief preliminary proceedings followed, during which Mr. Busby addressed the Natives to the effect that the Governor was not come to take away their land, but to secure them in the possession of what they had not sold; that he (Mr. Busby) had often told them that land not duly acquired from them would not be confirmed to the purchaser, but would be returned to the Natives, to whom it of right belonged; that this the Governor would be prepared to do. Suddenly,
Te Kemara, a chief of the Ngatikawa, arose and said, "Health to thee, O Governor! This is mine to thee, O Governor! I am not pleased towards thee. I do not wish for thee. I will not consent to thy remaining here in this country. If thou stayest as Governor, then, perhaps, Te Kemara will be judged and condemned. Yes, indeed, and more than that—even hung by the neck. No, no, no; I shall never say 'Yes' to your staying. Were all to be on an equality, then, perhaps, Te Kemara would say, 'Yes;' but for the Governor to be up and Te Kemara down—Governor high up, up, up, and Te Kemara down low, small, a worm, a crawler—No, no, no. O Governor! page 18 this is mine to thee. O Governor! my land is gone, gone, all gone. The inheritances of my ancestors, fathers, relatives, all gone, stolen, gone with the missionaries, Yes, they have it all, all, all. That man there, the Busby, and that man there, the Williams, they have my land, The land on which we are now standing this day is mine, This land, even this under my feet, return it to me. O Governor! return me my lands. Say to Williams, 'Return to Te Kemara his land.' Thou" (pointing and running up to the Rev. H. Williams), "thou, thou, thou bald-headed man—thou hast got my lands. O Governor! I do not wish thee to stay. You English are not kind to us like other foreigners. You do not give us good things. I say, Go back, go back, Governor, we do not want thee here in this country. And Te Kemara says to thee, Go back, leave to Busby and to Williams to arrange and to settle matters for us Natives as heretofore."
This chief spoke in his energetic, peculiar manner, as if very angry; his eyes rolling, and accompanying his remarks with extravagant gestures and grimace, even for a Native. The officers of the man-o'-war, and all strangers, were wonderfully struck with his show of himself. To any one unacquainted with New Zealand oratory it is morally impossible to convey a just idea of his excited manner, especially when addressing himself to Mr. Busby and to the Rev. H. Williams on the subject of the land*
* And yet it was all mere show—not really intended; as was not long after fully shown, when they gave their evidence as to the fair sale, of their lands before the Land Commissioners, I myself acting as oreter.
Moka, chief of the Patuheka Tribe, arose and said, "Let the Governor return to his own country: let us remain as we were. Let my lands be returned to me—all of them—those that are gone with Baker. Do not say, 'The lands will be returned to you.' Who will listen to thee, O Governor? Who will obey thee? Where is Clendon? Where is Mair? Gone to buy our lands notwithstanding the book [Proclamation] of the Governor."
On this being interpreted to the Governor, His Excellency said "that all lands unjustly held would be returned; and that all claims to lands, however purchased, after the date of the Proclamation would not be held to be lawful." This was also interpreted to Moka by the Rev. H. Williams; when
Moka rejoined, "That is good, O Governor! that is straight. But stay, let me sec. Yes, yes, indeed! Where is Baker? where is the fellow? Ah, there he is—there, standing! Come, return to me my lands." This he addressed to Mr. Baker, coming forward as near as he could to the place where Mr. Baker was standing on the raised platform, and looking up, waiting for a reply. To which question Mr. Baker quietly replied, "E hoki, koia?"—equivalent in English to, "Will it, indeed, return?" On which Moka continued, "There! Yes, that is as I said. No, no, no; all false, all false alike. The lands will not return to me."
At this juncture a white man came forward, and, ad- page 20 dressing His Excellency, said that the Native speeches were not half interpreted by Mr. Williams, neither were His Excellency's remarks fully interpreted to the Natives; that a Mr. Johnson* was present who could interpret well, &c.
The Governor: "Then, pray, Mr. Johnson, do me this great favour and come forward and interpret for me. I am anxious that the Natives should know what I say, and also that I should know what they say. Mr. Johnson, do you fully understand the Native language?"
Johnson, (coming forward): "Why, I can't say I do, but I know how to speak to them, and know also what they say when they speak to me; and"_____
The Governor: "Then pray tell mc what has not been interpreted."
Johnson: "No, Sir, I beg to be excused. The gentlemen of the mission ought to be able to do it, and can do it very well; only let Mr. Williams speak out loud so that we may hear—we here in the back part of the tent; and let all that the Natives say be interpreted to the Governor. They say a great deal about land and missionaries which Mr. Williams does not translate to you, Sir," &c.†
* Johnson was an old resident (dealer in spirits, &c.) of Kororareka.
† This can only refer to their immense amount of repetition: otherwise Mr. Williams translated fairly what they said.
Mr. Busby, having also obtained permission of His Excellency to speak a few words to the whites on his purchasing of land, rose and said in English, "I deny that the term 'robbed' has been used by the chiefs Te Kemara and Rewa with reference to my purchase of land, as indicated by the white man who spoke, and coupled by him with Mr. Williams by gestures, though not plainly by name. I never bought any land but what the Natives pressed me to buy, for which I always paid them liberally. Allusion has been made to my possessing large tracts of land: I am happy to say that I do hold some land; but I did not make any extensive purchase until I was out of office, and then, on my finding that, after having served the Government for fifteen years, not any provision was made, nor was likely to be made, for myself and my family, I purchased land. I only regret that I had not done so at an earlier period, and that to a larger extent. In all my purchases, also, I have reconveyed to the Natives both habitations and cultivations, by an unalienable deed of gift, according to the number of persons thereon."
Tamati Pukututu, chief of Te Uri-o-te-hawato Tribe, rose and said, "This is mine to thee, O Governor! Sit, Governor, sit, a Governor for us—for me, for all, that our lands may remain with us—that those fellows and creatures who page 22 sneak about, sticking to rocks and to the sides of brooks and gullies,* may not have it all. Sit, Governor, sit, for me, for us. Remain here, a father for us, &c. These chiefs say, 'Don't sit,' because they have sold all their possessions, and they are filled with foreign property, and they have also no more to sell. But I say, what of that? Sit, Governor, sit. You two stay here, you and Busby—you two, and they also, the missionaries."
Matiu, a chief of the Uri-o-ngongo Tribe, rose and said, "O Governor! sit, stay, remain—you as one with the missionaries, a Governor for us. Do not go back, but sit here, a Governor, a father for us, that good may increase, may become large to us. This is my word to thee: do thou sit here, a father for us."
Kawiti, chief of the Ngatihine Tribe, rose and said, "No, no. Go back, go back. What dost thou want here? We Native men do not wish thee to stay. We do not want to be tied up and trodden down. We are free. Let the missionaries remain, but, as for thee, return to thine own country. I will not say 'Yes' to thy sitting here. What! to be fired at in our boats and canoes by night! What! to be fired at when quietly paddling our canoes by night! I, even I, Kawiti, must not paddle this way, nor paddle that way, because the Governor said 'No'—because of the Governor, his soldiers, and his guns! No, no, no. Go back, go back; there is no place here for the Governor."
* "Piritoka," and "piriawaawa,"—words of deep metaphorical meaning: anglice, homeless wanderers, skulks, loafers.
Here there was an interruption by a white man named Jones (a hawker and pedlar of Kororareka), and by the white man who had previously addressed the Governor, and also by another young white man, who all three spoke to the Governor at one time from different parts of the tent, calling on His Excellency to have the speeches interpreted for the whites to hear, and also to have them interpreted correctly. Johnson was again called for to come forward, who, on the Governor desiring him to do so, interpreted the speech of the last speaker, Wai, commenting on the same, after first remarking that "it was great lies."
Pumuka, chief of the Roroa Tribe, rose and said, "Stay, remain, Governor; remain for me. Hear, all of you. I will have this man a foster-father for me. Stay, sit, Governor. Listen to my words, O Governor! Do not go away; remain. Sit, Governor, sit. I wish to have two fathers—thou and Busby, and the missionaries."
Warerahi (George King), a chief of the Ngaitawake Tribe, rose and said, "Yes! What else? Stay, sit; if not, what? Sit; if not, how? Is it not good to be in peace? We will have this man as our Governor. What! turn him away! Say to this man of the Queen, Go back! No, no."*
* After him a chief of Waikare spoke of the unjust dealings of the whites, saying that for a very little thing—a shilling—they wanted a pig as big as himself, and much more to the same purpose. Would the Governor cause them to give as large a payment as the article they got?—J. B. (Meaning its fair value.) Not much noticed in the bustle.
Hakiro (son of Tareha, but who on this occasion appeared and spoke on behalf of Titore,* deceased, principal chief of the Ngatinanenane Tribe) arose and said, "To thee, O Governor! this. Who says 'Sit'? Who? Hear me, O Governor! I say, no, no. Sit, indeed! Who says 'Sit'? Go back, go back; do not thou sit here. What wilt thou sit here for? We are not thy people. We are free. We will not have a Governor. Return, return; leave us. The missionaries and Busby are our fathers. We do not want thee; so go back, return, walk away."
* I may here briefly state, in a note, that Titore was one of the most powerful and best of the many Ngapuhi chiefs of high rank—so much of Nature's true nobility of manner and appearance about him; his voice, too, was mild, yet firm, possessing more of the suaviter than the fortiter, so contrary to the usual loud bluster of the Maori, especially of those chiefs residing on the shores of the harbour, whose manners were not improved through their common intercourse with shipping and low-class whites, I had visited him on his death-bed (he died comparatively early, from consumption), and, though he was not a Christian, I was much pleased with his demeanour. Our parting was a mournful yet very affectionate one. There is a very fair likeness of him (there called "Tetoro") given as a frontispiece in Captain Cruise's "Ten Months' Residence in New Zealand," taken before the invention of photography.
Tareha was clothed with a filthy piece of coarse old floor-matting, loosely tied round him, such as is used by the commonest Natives merely as a floor-mat under their bedding. He was evidently dressed up in this fashion in order the more effectually to ridicule the supposition of the New-Zealanders being in want of any extraneous aid of clothing, &c., from foreign nations. He also carried in his hand, by a string, a bunch of dried fern-root, formerly their common vegetable food, as bread with us. His habit, his immense size—tall and very robust (being by far the biggest Native of the whole district)—and his deep sepulchral voice, conspired to give him peculiar prominence, and his words striking effect: this last was unmistakably visible on the whole audience of Natives.
Rawiri, a chief of the Ngatitautahi Tribe, arose and said (first sentence in English), "Good morning, Mr. Governor! very good you! Our Governor, our Father! Stay here, O Governor! Sit, that we may be in peace. A good thing this for us—yes, for us, my friends, Native men. Stay, sit. Do thou remain, O Governor! to be a Governor for us."
* Here I should state that those chiefs, Rewa, Moka, Tarelia, and Hakiro, were all from Kororareka, their residence being close to the Roman Catholic bishop's.
Hakitara, a chief of the Rarawa Tribe, rose and [unclear: said] few words; but, in consequence of several talking (both whites and Natives) the one to the other at this moment remarking on Hoani Heke's speech and manner, and fron Hakitara speaking low, what he said was not [unclear: plain] heard. He spoke, however, in favour of the Governor remaining.
Tamati Waka Nene, chief of the Ngatihao Tribe, [unclear: ro] and said, "I shall speak first to us, to ourselves, Native? (addressing them). "What do you say? The [unclear: Governor] return? What, then, shall we do? Say here to me, O yes chiefs of the tribes of the northern part of New Zealand what we, how we?" (Meaning, how, in such a case, [unclear: are] henceforward to act?) "Is not the land already gone? is not covered, all covered, with men, with strangers, foreigner—even as the grass and herbage—over whom we [unclear: have] power? We, the chiefs and Natives of this land, are down low; they are up high, exalted. What, what do you say page 27 The Governor to go back? I am sick, I am dead, killed by you. Had you spoken thus in the old time, when the traders and grog-sellers came—had you turned them away, then you could well say to the Governor,' Go back and it would have been correct, straight; and I would also have said with you, 'Go back;'—yes, we together as one man, one voice. But now, as things are, no, no, no." Turning to His Excellency, he resumed, "O Governor! sit. I, Tamati Waka, say to thee, sit. Do not thou go away from us; remain for us—a father, a judge, a peacemaker. Yes, it is good, it is straight. Sit thou here; dwell in our midst. Remain; do not go away. Do not thou listen to what [the chiefs of] Ngapuhi say. Stay thou, our friend, our father, our Governor."
Eruera Maehe Patuone (the elder brother of Tamati Waka Nene, who has for some time been living in the island of Waiheke, in the Thames, and who only came up from thence a few weeks back) rose and said, "What shall I say on this great occasion, in the presence of all those great chiefs of both countries? Here, then, this is my word to thee, O Governor! Sit, stay—thou, and the missionaries, and the Word of God. Remain herewith us, to be a father for us, that the French have us not, that Pikopo, that bad man, have us not. Remain, Governor. Sit, stay, our friend."
* When Te Kemara said to the Governor, "There is no place left for thee," I said that "my house would be occupied by the Governor which intimation served to produce the change in his demeanour.—J. B.
This incident ended this day's meeting.
His Excellency then gave public notice that on Friday the 7th instant, at 10 a.m., the meeting would be reassembled.
Three cheers were then given for the Governor, in which all lustily joined. Soon after the several parties separated apparently, I thought, pleased.
A truly laughable event (serio-comic, I might call it happened as the Governor and his suite, with the captain and officers of the man-o'-war, were embarking. The anecdote is too good to be wholly lost. I was one a those who escorted the Governor to his boat, some distance off on the sandy beach below. His Excellency was talking with me, by the way, about the printing of the treaty and other kindred matters. To get to the [unclear: boat] had to go down a short, easy, though rude pathway in the side of the hill (Waitangi House being situate on high ground). We had arrived near the boat, which the sailor were launching—it being low water—when a Native chief an elderly man from the interior, who had only just arrived (a few others had also kept dropping in during the morning)—almost another Te Kemara—rushed down the decline, burst before us, laid his hands on the gunwale, of the captain's launch to stop her (the sailors, half-amazed, looking at their chief), and, turning himself round page 29 looked staringly and scrutinizingly into the Governor's face, and, having surveyed it, exclaimed in a shrill, loud, and mournful voice, "Auee! he koroheke! Ekore e roa kua mate." (I felt "wild" at him.) The Governor, turning to me said, "What does he say?" I endeavoured to parry the direct question by answering, "Oh, nothing of importance. A stranger chief only just arrived from the interior, running hither to catch you, and bidding you his greeting." But, as His Excellency's desire to know was keenly aroused, with that of Captain Nias and his officers by his side, and perhaps that of many of the whites present, including the sailors, who had ceased dragging down the boat, the Governor rejoined imploringly to me, "Now pray do, Mr. Colenso, tell mc the exact meaning of his words. I much wish to know it all." So, being thus necessitated (for there were others present who knew enough of Maori), I said, "He says, 'Alas! an old man. He will soon he dead!'" His Excellency thanked me for it, but a cloud seemed to have fallen on all the strangers present, and the party embarked in silence for their ship.
In the afternoon a quantity of tobacco (negro-head) was distributed among the Natives, or, rather, was intended to be so, for they soon upset the superintending officer (who was obliged, nolens volens, to put up with the loss of his dignity), and so got the tobacco among them, by which, however, some got a large share, and some got little, and others none at all. This occurrence occasioned much dissatisfaction among the Natives, and for some time I feared the result.
Notwithstanding the public notice given by the Governor that the next meeting would be held on the Friday, 7th, it was found on consideration this evening that it would be advisable to hold the same on to-morrow, Thursday, 6th, inasmuch as the number of Natives gathered together was large, and they had no supply of food with them; neither was there any place at hand (or within several miles, and only situate on the opposite shores of the bay) where they might obtain any. Several of the Native chiefs page 30 said they could not possibly remain so long at Waitangi; that they should be "dead from hunger," &c. It was therefore proposed that the second meeting should be held on the next day, Thursday, instead of the Friday, as first agreed on, and that the Governor should be made acquainted with this necessary alteration in the day.