Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Rare Volume

Monday, May 28Th

Monday, May 28Th.

The Morning was occupied in collecting and distributing a large quantity of flour. The following is a translation of the statistics of the feast, supplied by Hohana, Assistant Secretary in State Affairs at Ngaruawhia.

"In the year 1860, on the 24th of the days of May, the great assembly of the Waikato tribes has met at Ngaruawahia. The number of the males present were 1400. The number of women and children 1600, in all 3000. These are under the actual numbers, we could not count correctly where numbers are so great.

"Food distributed to the strangers as follows :—
  • Potatoes, 2000 baskets
  • Eels, 36,000
  • Pigs, 84
  • Bullocks, 3
  • Flour, 31 tons And 8 bags
  • Fresh Eels, 580
  • Bags of Sugar, 9
  • Baskets of small Fish dried, 16
  • Sharks, 20
  • Pumpkins and Vegetable Marrow, without number Chest of Tea, 1."

A moderate price allowed for the marketable articles in the above list, would give over a thousand pounds sterling—yet the quantity was by no means large considering the number of individuals on the ground. The supplies were obtained in contributions from the various tribes, each presenting its portion according to numbers and ability, many giving away their very subsistence. The probability is, that hunger, and cold, and nakedness will have to be endured by many of the women and children throughout the remainder of the winter, in consequence of this feast having consumed the produce that would have both fed and clothed them. Native feasts are generally attended with great waste and followed by great want.

page 54
After the distribution of the food, the men re-assembled in Runanga for further deliberation, the meeting was opened by,

Tekorehu stating that a message had been sent by Potatau to the effect that he is favourable to the plan of leasing land to Europeans, and wishful that the Europeans who are now squatting on native lands should remain on those lands.

Paori : I consider we finished our talking on Saturday, and have nothing now to discuss. We have only now to rear our flag. The finishing stroke is the flag staff, which you have dragged from the forest to the place it is to occupy. Tomo, I am for finishing what you have begun.

Ti Oriri: Ruihana's proposal is not yet disposed of—viz., that we send a deputation to investigate the dispute between Taylor and Te Rangitake. One part of it is decided, viz., that some of us go to the Governor, but the other is yet open. I intend to attend the meeting that has been summoned by the Governor that I may learn his intentions. But the Maori side of the question lies open still, let that be settled.

Ruihana : True, one side is disposed of but the other is like this kete, (taking a native basket in his hand, holding it up and asking, what does this kete contain?) There is something inside, and a dog is biting away outside wanting to get at the food it contains. He does not know what it is whether it is eel, or fish, or pork, but he bites his way through and finds it is only a bit of fern root. We are just like this dog, here we are biting away outside the kete, I want to get inside, to see what it contains, whether fish, or eel, or dung. I want to know who is right and who is wrong, whether the wrong is Governor's or Te Rangitake's, and what all this agitation is about. Perhaps when the basket is open it contains nothing after all. But let us see, and if Governor be right, all is plain it is soon disposed of. But if Rangitake be right what then? Why the burden will fall upon the Queen, and upon our Ministers. I appeal to you Ministers, and Queen's men, and pakehas all, I say you go the Governor, and let Thompson go to Taranaki and see what this basket contains. We pray to God and say God be merciful to me a sinner, but we pray in vain while this state of things continues. Your words Mr. Buddle, and the words of all our Ministers are right, on this subject—and therefore I say let us have this disturbance brought to an end.

Te Heuheu: The designs of the pakeha will not be abandoned. Do you think that God is with the Ministers? Let Mr. Morgan go away and become a soldier. If he persevere we shall be scratching each other.* Let the mails be sent by sea, there is room enough there and plenty of steam. The winds too are fair at sea, but on land we have frequent eddies. Our great work is to establish our king. This is my work. And that too is mine, the leasing of our land. This is for me and those who live in the interior of the country. We have no markets for our produce. You live by the water side and can convey your produce to town. But I cannot, I have no means of obtaining a shilling by my produce, not one penny comes near to me. I must therefore depend on my land and turn it to account by leasing. When I see a pigeon in the branches I fire and it falls. You have witnessed the wrath of the pakeha, I have not. You have more reason than I have to support this movement. If he wishes to put his mark on the land by roads, I say no, let him mark the land he has got. Let him send his mails and make roads in his own territory but not in ours. Let us have none of his authority or commands here. Don't let him call the Maori to bring him firewood, or to do his work. I do not say leave the flag staff on the ground, but I do say let the mails be sent back, I wished to return the mail from Rangiohia, but John Baptist prevented me. Do not permit the pakeha to trample us under his feet. Let him take his mana back to England. Let us not part with our mana, no, never.

* Mr. M. having taken an active part in opening a road to Ahuriri through the Taupo Distric has incurred the displeasure of the King party.

The Queen's Sovereignty.

page 55

Ruihana: I do not approve of the remarks of Te Heuheu, they are not straight, they look in another direction. Leave all that out of the discussion, answer my arguments. Let your replies be direct. Whatever is said on either side let it be correct.

Tuhikihia: Your word is correct, I take up what you have said. I shall go to town and see Governor. About the roads and mails, let them go by sea. That is the better way, they will go right over this land. In reference to leasing land, I am in doubt, I shall break down that proposal. It will not do.

Te Oriori: Your proposal Ruihana is accepted. The roads referred to by Heuheu, and the money to be paid for clearing is also disposed of; the Bishop has settled that question. Now let love be shewn to both black and white in the conveyance of mails. The mails are an advantage to both. If roads are opened, let us open them, let not Government money be accepted as payment. I shall open roads through my own land. I am doing so, not by the Governor's request, but by my own desire. You Heuheu may take your own way I shall take mine; if I like to open roads, I shall do so. In the matter of leasing I am a wrong doer. I invited the pakeha to come and rent my land.* But the Governor's mana is not there. There is no mana there but my own. I wish to support Love, and Law, and Christianity. This is my love to allow my land to be leased. But then it is entangled ground, and I shall have opposition in reference to it.

Katipa (of Waiuku): Your path is light Ti Oriori Do that which is right and we shall have light. I thought you had only one thing to dispose of, viz., the flag staff. "Te rua tena o Potaka" (the pit into which you are whirling). Keep to this, don't look towards Taranaki; though you may think you can find a cause, Be not deceived, an object at a distance may look like a "pounamu" (greenstone) to the eye, but the heart may find it is not a pounamu. Te Heuheu, Hoani, Hori, all look here (breaking a stick in two and holding a piece in each hand to represent the Pakeha and the Maori), Which will you have? (then taking both in one hand, he said), I shall have both. My one hand shall hold the two. Therefore, I say, keep to the flagstaff alone, it is the "Rua o Potaka."

Tumuhuia : I am confused about those two sticks, one is rotten. That is evident to us now Moreover no man can serve two masters. One is a hard master, and commands harshly, who will obey him? The other speaks kindly, and we prefer the man that is gentle and kind. On the question of roads, Te Heuheu is perfectly right. The sea is wide enough and open to all, and moreover shortens distance. There you can cut off the corners, but the land is covered with swamps and hills and more difficult to travel. In reference to leasing land I see great difficulties. The land may belong to two or more individuals, and when the rent day comes they will squabble over the shillings. The Pakeha and Maori may live together very peaceably in fine weather, but when foul weather sets in they may not love each other so well. It is easy enough to be kind to the pakeha on a fine day, (i.e., when he is pliable and easy.) but when the weather changes how then? we shall quarrel and difficulties will arise, therefore let us have no land leasing

Iraia: Come Katipa and join us. This is the Pa. Here is the sentinel that keeps watch. Come and see for yourself. On the subject of leasing land I am quite satisfied, I have tried it, we let out cattle runs, but it won't do. No more leasing for me after this. Not at all. Not at all. If you Porokoru persist in land leasing we shall soon have a war. If you persist others will follow your example. This is the path that leads to danger. Let it be abandoned. Leave every other question and send up your flag. I am returning home.

Ruihana: You have fled again. You have left the main question. You have gone to mails and roads and lands. I say give me two postmen, let one go on this side (to Auckland), another to that side (to Taranaki). Let their loins be girt with truth. Let McLean be one, and a Maori the other, and let them bring us the result of their enquiries. If both sides be light, thank yon Sir, (i.e., I shall rejoice)

* He has leased some cattle rnus.

page 57 but if not what shall we do? Our trouble will be heavy. I want to see my way through this quarrel and to have peace restored, that I may be able to take off my cap and look up to heaven, and pray to God and say in sincerity, God be merciful to me.

Te Wetini: I wish to reply to one question. If the Governor's money was laid down for the land at Waitara before it came under our law then he is right. But if it was paid for after the land was handed to us, I do not say what we shall do, that we keep in our pockets, I open not my mouth on that subject, but I can see the depth and height, the length and breadth of that. I lean on our flag; on the whip (a long streamer they hoist, which they call the whip). The wrong committed on the Queen's side, it is for Queen to adjust. The bond of union has been cut, and God and the Maories only now remain in the union. If the land was purchased after it became ours, then I shall shew my love to Rangitake. (Here he recited a native tangi, see p. 17, of Sir George Grey's collection).

"Tera ia te tai o Ngamotu"
Free Translation.
By Ngamotu's shores there lives
A friend from whom I'm severed.
The clouds that fly above me
Sweep o'er the sea girt isle
Where thou in solitude art left,
To bid me not forget thee.
From distant tribes I brought thee
To a land stripped of its glory,
And no longer peopled by the brave.
From distant lands I sigh.
And mourn they people's fate.
Flow tides ! fast now! rise high
To sweep away the Tapu
From Muriwhenua,
And bear me on your waters
To the distant shore.
But though I come not
A bird from hence has reached thee,
Unbidden by me, it fled
To gather to the house of refuge
The tribe of Matariki.
Te Whareporutu defend thee,
And the tribes of Ti Awa
Conduct thee through the floods.
My love ends here,
I must lay it in the grave.
Oh! Ah! Oh!

—This is my reply to Tamati. Let me see the Governor's good and I shall be reconciled.

Thus Te Wetini expressed his sympathy for Rangitake, poured out his desires to take him help, and, when he felt th tide so strong against him, yielded to the opposition and gav up his project.

Kereopa (of Waingaroa): I am not going to feed on talk like this. This talk is like what we heard on Saturday. I thought you were all advocates for peace. I was glad to hear one elder say, let us go and investigate the matter. I approve of Katipa's two sticks, but if McLean's case be not clear, that may separate the two. page 57 Tumuhuia does not like two masters (signs of disapprobation). The speaker was interrupted when he said, let my remarks, which are fair, be met by words as fair.

Te Wharepu: Let us keep to one subject and bring what has been said to one point.

Karaka Te Taniwha: Just so—unite your words. Let me have one about roads. Let the mails go through the land, but let them travel by our Maori roads. Let no new roads be opened. If we send away our pakehas who will work our mills?

Ruihana: Cease to confuse the subject. You can settle your leases and other trifles among yourselves; let us have the great subject set at rest.

Te Atua (Ngatipo): It cannot be made right by the money. The money was not paid before the land was under our mana. Tho money on that land is the mana that rests upon it

Kopara (Ngatihinatu): All subjects are disposed of but one. The question is, was the flag first or the money first? If the land was paid for, before the flag reached it, Governor is right—if not, then the matter cannot rest where it is. If the mana and flag went before we must contend for our land. Our flags have been sent in reply to the applications that come to us. Letters have reached us from many places, saying, give me a flag as protection for my land. And I have sent the flag of King Potatau; I have sent it it to Taranaki, Wi Tako, Hapuka, the men of Heretaunga, Rangitake, and others, have come or sent, saying. Give me a flag. We have replied, Here it is. And now it is planted along the Island to Wairarapa. Don't say, I invited those tribes to come for it. No, they came of their own will to seek protection for their land against the white man's encroachment Let us have patience till our friends who have gone to Taranaki shall return, then we shall know the merits of the case. When we know how matters stand we shall form a second expedition. They may be here to-morrow.

D. McLean, Esq., enquired, "When did that thing of which you speak reach Wairarapa? Wairarapa is mine, it has been sold to the Queen, and is in the hands of Europeans. The men that took the flag to Wairarapa are worthless characters, over head in debt. They have no further claim or right to dispose of that land. This is a trick of yours, in order to obtain adherents. You make false statements, and say that men have joined your movement, who have not done so. You have been unjustly censuring the Governor about Waitara. I promised to give you a history of the case, I will now do so; I am well acquainted with it; I know all about it from the beginning. When Europeans first went to Taranaki, they found the remnant of the tribes you had conquered. Te Rangitake was not there. He had left the land and never expected to return to it. The men yon spared sold it to us, they said give us pakehas and we will give them land. You also (Waikato) sold it to us in all its boundaries; therefore I say that land has been fully ceded and given into our hands in open day light. You (Waikato) gave it to us openly, and how can you repudiate your own act? An act performed by your great chiefs Potatau and Kate. They asked for payment because their friends had fallen there; we gave it to them, and they ceded to Governor Hobson all their claim. After this Ngatimaniapoto and William Naylor released their slaves and sent them to re-occupy the land from whence they had dragged them. But Rangitake was at the South and never thought about returning to Waitara. It was Te Whero Whero who invited him back; Taonui, Hikaka added his word, and Rangitake returned. When the people had returned each man sold his own land, without reference to Rangitake. You wish to know how the matter stands between Rangitake and Taylor. I will tell you. When the former thought of returning to Waitara he sent to Taylor and said let us return to Waitara, you take one side, I will take the other. Waikato gives us permission to return. Rangitake wished to occupy the north bank to protect himself against Waikato, and was prohibited by Sir George Grey from settling on the south side; but he built a pa on the south bank by permission of Taylor's father, and soon after his return began to fight about the land. Men were killed in battle, some were murdered in cool blood. Then two families (hapus) said we will sell our land at Waitara, and page 58 they offered it for sale, but the Land Commissioner was not in haste about it, he let it stand Then the Governor went to Waitara and land was offered. One got up and said I desire to sell my piece, another got up and said I wish to sell mine. I do not want to sell what;s another's but my own. I (McLean) replied, we cannot purchase those small pieces Then Taylor said to Wm. King, Listen, I am about to offer mine. Governor here is mine, but the Governor did not speak. Taylor said again, give me your word Governor, McLean will not you and the Governor consent to mine? Wm. King sat there all the time and heard. When Taylor had urged it once, twice, thrice, four times, the Governor said, if it be an undisputed claim I accept it. Then Taylor laid down his parawai (mat), but Wm. King did not take it away, he only called out and said, Waitara shall not go, and went away. But we did not take it at once You say we were hasty, but we were not. Eight months passed over before the bargain was closed. We enquired of all the people, and could not find any rightful claimants but Taylor and his friends. We said if W. King has a piece in this block, we won't have it; we will leave it outside. Do not say then that the Governor made haste to buy it, he took time enough to investigate the claim. You have said that one man sold the land, but that is wrong, there were seventy persons consenting to the sale. After this I went South and visited the middle Island. I saw Ropoama Te Ore of Arapaoa. I said to him Waitara is offered for sale, he asked by whom? I enquired of him "Is it King's?" He said, "No, his land is on the other side of Waitara, that piece is mine, let me have the money for that." I replied, "No, I am not at present clear about the ownership. Let it be settled, give the payment to me he said again. I do not understand it yet, I said, but give me the names of the real owners. You have then unjustly accused the Governor. He has done no wrong, the land was offered to him, he would not consent at once, he took time to obtain information on the character of Taylor's claim, he had said he would buy no land the ownership of which was disputed, neither would he allow any man who wished to sell his own land be prevented by another. He has kept his word. Whose land has he taken? whose rights has he violated? But you have allowed yourselves to be deceived by false statements. You have charged the Governor with making haste to go to war, but had you waited to hear and understand the subject you would not have done so. The Governor has no wish for war, and would not take up arms but in a just cause, and then not till all other means had failed.

To this address the meeting listened with great attention, but as the evening was advancing, Te Heuheu arose and interrupted Mr. McLean saying "ka po," (it is night). The probability is that he saw how the remarks were telling on Waikato, and Mr. McLean broke off, promising to finish the next day. Many of the Waikato Chiefs were heard to say, "Ka tika te korero o Makarini, ka nui te Marama."—The speech of Mr. McLean was quite straight, great was its light. Potatau also corroborated the statements he had made, and was displeased that Te Heuheu should have interrupted him. Several of the chiefs expressed their displeasure, and Ngatihaua offered to light large fires that he might have an opportunity to complete his statement that night, as they intended to leave early next morning. It was, however, arranged that he should finish next day.

On the 29th, the natives were all busy preparing to erect the Flag-staff, and Ruihana tried in vain to obtain a meeting to give Mr. McLean an opportunity of finish- page 59 ing his address. Mr. McLean waited till noon, but there were no signs of a gathering. He then told the natives be understood their motives in delaying to assemble, and having given them a reasonable time he should wait no longer. He struck his tent and departed.

On leaving, Mr. McLean called, in company with the Superintendent, to say good bye to Potatau, who shook hands with them in the most friendly manner, saying,—

"Go, return home. My word to yon is I mean no evil. I mean no wrong. It is not me, for the black skin to speak to you to the white skin. It is for yon for the white skin to teach me. I am black, but though the skin is black outside, the inside my heart is white. Farewell ! Go in peace to your home. Farewell !"

"Farewell, Potatau, replied Mr. McLean, your thoughts are good. It is well they should continue to be so. It is the people who are leading you astray. Farewell !"

On the 31st the Flag-staff was dragged to its place and planted, amidst further wild demonstrations of Maori exultation. The war dance was again exhibited, a new Flag hoisted, and a volley of musketry fired as a salute. Honana (Under Secretary) stood on the cross-trees and addressed the assembly. He said "The top of this Flag-staff signifies the King, the centre is for the Chiefs, these four ropes represent the tribes, east, west, north, and south. The name of this Flag-staff is Pane—(Potatau's ancestor).

Potatau briefly addressed the meeting, he said—

"It is good that the flag should be erected ot the foot of Taupiri. My Fathers finish this work. The work of former days we have forsaken. Let us cleave to the good work we have begun. Should the flag be dishonoured by these people (the upper Waikato) you (lower Waikato) must uphold it. The principle is now established—support it. I do not say support me. Should the Pakehas come and kill me, never mind, let it be so, do not avenge my death."

After this address the tribes dispersed and the meeting ended.

The principal subjects discussed and settled at this meeting were four.

First—The Taranaki War. The war party, comprising a portion of the Ngatihaua, Ngatimaniapoto, and Waikato, manifested a good deal of pertinacity in maintaining their views, and no feeble resolution to take up arms in defence of W. King. It was obviously with them not a contest for the land but for the principles of their league. They felt themselves committed to W. King and in honour bound to help him. They were made to yield however by the influence of an overwhelming majority. The general voice was against them, The influence of the principal chiefs was thrown into the opposite page 60 scale. The chiefs evidently felt that to take up arms in defence of W. King would be to declare war against the pakehas generally, and the Waikatos especially are not disposed to do that; they say peace, peace, until the pakehas declare war, so that though some may go to W. King's assistance, every man that does so will go on his own responsibility, and without the sanction of the King party, as did the Ngatimaniapoto, already gone to Taranaki.

Second—The Land Question. To prevent further alienation of Native lands is the great object of the league, and on this point the kingites carry with them the sympathies of the majority. There are doubtless many who would prefer the liberty to sell when they please, and some of them had courage enough to declare their sentiments, but the Maori feels a strong attachment to the land of his forefathers, he will weep when it passes away from him. Nor does he require much argument to induce him to enter a league which proposes to render such a calamity an impossibility. We need not wonder that there should be a large majority in favour of such a proposition.

Connected with the land subject is that of Leasing, against which there was a decided opinion expressed, which led to positive prohibition.

Third—The Subject of Roads. This is also a land question. The idea, that when a road is opened the land becomes the Queen's, and that roads lead to the alienation of the territory along the line, has taken fast hold of the Native mind, and also the belief that roads open the way for soldiers and big guns; therefore they decide that none shall be open through the King's territory.

Fourth—The Flag-staff. On this subject there was no public discussion. The lower Waikatos came to the meeting fully resolved to hoist the new flag. This was quite contrary to general expectation; a great change must have taken place in their views since the meeting of 1858. It is certain they are not prepared to carry out all that was intended by the first flag-staff erected by the ultra-kingites; perhaps they wished to get that out of the way and hoist a flag themselves which should represent more moderate views, and which they could support. Thompson and his tribe left before the new flag-staff was erected. It was said that he did not wish to be present, that he considered he had hoisted one flag, and it was not necessary to hoist another.

page 61

The erection of this new flag-staff is considered as the complete establishment of the Maori kingdom. So that contrary to many predictions and despite a good deal of "pooh pooh!" this movement has advanced till it has become a fact. Its progress has been slow and quiet, but sure. Its promoters have worked steadily at their object, regardless of toil or expense. They have been advised, cautioned, reasoned with, ridiculed, laughed at, and told again and again that the movement must fail, but they have kept their end in view and sought by every means at command to accomplish it. This is characteristic of the Maori, who, when he has set his mind on a thing, does not easily relinquish the hope of possessing it, though he meet with many discouragements; nor does he shrink from toil or trouble to obtain the object of his desire. In this instance the people have been true to their own character. The various tribes have given of their produce, their labour, and their money to support this movement. The contributions of several tribes were paid at the meeting—the Ngatihaua contributing above £130. Persuaded that a Printing Press would advance it they have contributed several hundred pounds for the support of a Printing establishment. A Press has been obtained for them.

When told that they are not acquainted with the art of government, they acknowledge it, and coolly ask, "How long were your ancestors in acquiring it? Did they understand it all at once? We also shall gain wisdom by experience: no doubt we shall make mistakes, but then we can correct them as we go along."

The movement now numbers amongst its adherents the following tribes:—The tribes of the Manukau and Lower Waikato, except the Waiuku people; divisions of the tribes of the interior, at Waipa, Otawhao, Rangiaohia, Maungoatautou, Taupo, and Mata-Mata; divisions of the tribes on the East Coast—at Tauranga, Ahuriri, Opotiki, and Heretaunga; divisions of the tribes on the West Coast—at Kawhia and Taranaki, along the Coast to Wanganui;—so that the leaders seem to be surprised at their own progress, and congratulate themselves with the most evident signs of pleasure on the success of their project. It is very probable that many of its adherents have joined it merely as a land league, without pledging themselves to all its objects, or acknowledging Potatau as a King. The tribes north of Auckland, the tribes on the Thames, and those at Waingaroa and Aotea, are not page 62 only unconnected with it, but decidedly oppose it, and publicly express their determination to remain subjects of the British Crown.