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Letter to His Excellency the Governor from the Runanga assembled at Ngaruawahia

Letter to His Excellency the Governor from the Runanga assembled at Ngaruawahia.

Ngaruawahia, June 7, 1861.

Friend the Governor,—Salutations to you. This, is a word to you from the Maori Runanga. Hearken! This is our thought to you: Tell us of the death for this island first, and let the fighting be afterwards. Let not the proceeding be like that in the case of Taranaki, which we and you worked at in the dark; we did not understand what was the good of that quarrel. Let page 241 you and me deliberate carefully this time; these are our thoughts at the present time. We hear “korero,” (reports), the talk which is going about Waikato, and comes from where you are: that the General insists upon (urges) a war with Waikato. If this report is correct, write to us; let the talk come first, and do you carefully weigh the matter (turn the matter over in your mind.) Let this be the result of reflection, even the withdrawal of the troops, who we hear are clearing the roads. If a stockade is made for the soldiers at Te Hia (Mangatawiri), and at other places, our opinion is this:—Be not in haste to begin hostilities; let us duly remember the words of St. James. “Slow to wrath, swift to hear.” This, O Governor, is what we think; do you look to these things, even fighting with words against the errors or offences of the Maories, and let it (the offence) be clearly laid down, that the eyes of the great and of the small may clearly perceive it, ere you be swift to wrath. This is our policy: We are not going to rise up to fight: rather will we wait until the eyes have seen, the ears heard, and understanding has entered into the heart; then shall we see what is the good of fighting, and there will be a just cause for the chastisement inflicted upon evil men, that is, us Maories.

But now, oh Friend! restrain your angry feelings against all parts of New Zealand. Let our warfare be that of the lips alone. If such be the course pursued by us it will be a long path, our days will be many while engaged in fighting that battle. Let it not be transferred to the battle (fought) with hands. That is a bad road, a short path; our days will not be many while engaged with the edge of the sword. But do you, the first-born of God’s sons, consider these things. Let not you and me be committed to the short path; let us take the circuitous one; though circuitous, its windings are upon firm ground.


Not by the direct path, that means traveller’s fare—short commons. Let us take the circuitous route, that means abundance, or the portion of the stayer at home.

No more, oh friend. It is for you to interpret the meaning of these proverbs. There are more to come. No more at present.

From the Runanga Maori.

His Excellency the Governor of New Zealand.