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Petition of Wi Tamihana Te Waharoa. — [translation.]

page 244

Petition of Wi Tamihana Te Waharoa.

To Mr. Fitzgerald;

To the General Assembly of New Zealand.

Wellington, July 24, 1866.

O friends, my friends who are dwelling at Wellington—whether they be Maories or pakehas—be not wondering in your minds as to the cause of my coming here—be not anxious as to what it might be—the chief cause is the great news of the doings of the Parliament which has come to my dwelling place, which found me dwelling at my place called “Great Darkness” and Sorrow-of-heart.” The report of its doings reached me, and said, “William, there is a great power at Wellington; although a matter be of exceeding great weight, it can be lifted by that power—though it be ever so fast (bound). it can loose it.” That name, therefore, became to me a subject of hope—vein hope—“how could it be accomplished in spite of the difficulties of Taurangatao, which lay heaped up before him.” Until time your parent, the Governor, saw me—no sooner had he expressed his wish that I should come hither than both my soul and body rejoiced within me. No thought was taken of tribe, wives, or children, by reason of the joy of heart. The joy of my heart arose from the fact that I was coming into your presence—there to give utterance to those matters which were causes of so much anxiety to me every-day.

1.That some measure be devised to straighten those curvatures, by reason of which we all fell into error.
2.For Waikato to be given back to me.

One matter only shall occupy my attention throughout this appeal, that is, to recount the cases in which we have fallen into error.

(1.) The case of Te Waitere.—All the people, and I myself, said, “Ihaia had committed a murder,” and then it was said that “the blood of Te Waitere should be upon his head whose hand had shed it.” But he was supported by the many thousands of England: because of which it was not possible to bring the offender to justice—that was the origin of the evil (in the first instance).

Then commenced your evil name (with us) and our evil name with you—and so on up to the time of the King movement— page 245 then grew rapidly* that tree which was planted by Ihaia—it bore fruit—evil fruit. When I saw that fruit was evil, I sent and cut it down. After that tree had fallen then it was said that out of the King movement originated the proceedings of that man, and thus it was that the fruit which had been produced was evil fruit. Then I compared the case in point with the Divine precepts—but I saw not in what way it was wrong. Then I compared it with the customs of men, but saw no fault, for I went so far as to mention the case of the Queen, of Nicholas, of Buonaparte, and of Pomare also. I also looked into the word of the Lord in the book of Moses, and compared the case with everything bearing upon it. After that, I sat down and pondered the same (in my heart), and so on up to the time of the visit of our parent Grey to Taupiri. We then went with the gathering to see him. There were two words at that meeting which were engraved by the Runanga on the tablets of their memory.

1. My word to him (the Governor) proposing that I go first to Tatarimaka. But he (the Governor) altogether opposed it, and it was not again referred to. After that Heta Tauranga rose up and said, “O Father, the Governor, my kingdom will not be put an end to by you if we still work on together in a tranquil manner, but if you fight then will it be put a stop to.” Then the Governor replied, “O son, I will not smite thee with the sword, but I will smite thee with my good works.” Upon this that young man turned to the congregated Maories and said, “Have you not heard the word of your parent?” The meeting replied, “Yes.” There were many other words—but these were the matters we felt most anxious about. After this letter of Rewi was sent, the Governor arrived alone (at Taranaki). That letter had already got there, and my letter also got there at that time. When it arrived there, Taranaki and the whole of Atiawa saw it, and when it was read they burst into fits of uncontrollable laughter—the only return to me was shame. No sooner had the Governor got there with his pakehas than death fell upon them. I remained at home, and thought perhaps it was owing to the action taken by Rewi and Te Herewini that this evil had taken place so suddenly. Then my thoughts reverted to what I had said to Wiremu Kingi, that the case of the Waitara should be investigated—to which he did not consent. I then again proposed that Tataraimaka be given up to the Governor, but this was not con-

* Great.

But by fighting only will it be put an end to.

page 246 sented
to at all by any of the Taranaki tribes. Because of this, I said this fault is not Rewi’s and Te Herewini’s—if their letters had never reached Taranaki still those pakehas would not have been spared—inasmuch as their hands had not relaxed their hold upon Tataraimaka; that was why I felt so anxious about Taranaki at that time. At the time of the return of the Governor and his soldiers, I was still endeavouring to find out about the death of the pakehas at Taranaki—whether it was right or wrong that they should die. I came to the conclusion that it was right they should die—that it was not murder, for they themselves were carrying guns, so it occurred to my mind that they were not unwarned, and that they were aware that they would meet with Maories.

Now, O friends, this is where I find fault with carrying this war into the Waikato. It was not brought here upon any clear understanding, in which case you and we could have sought out some good reason for fighting betwixt ourselves, but on the other hand it was done in darkness, and its manner of conduct was dark likewise, and it was impossible to restrain the turbulent spirits,* and it became a pain gnawing the vitals in consequence of us (you and us) having rushed headlong to death—that is to say, into error. For I had said in my own mind, Leave the race that is cowardly to be cowardly still, and the race That is wise to do that which is just, so that the life of the man that should live and the death of the man that should die may be manifested. But it so happened that they both rushed headlong to evil, and fell both of them into the ditch. Had our war been left as I proposed, to be carried on by word of mouth only, then would it have been found out how groundless the alleged grievance of the Maori or pakeha was.

Behold, I was not apathetic in performing that which was good, inasmuch as my word went forth for those which were defenceless to remove to Auckland, lest they suffer by reason of the laws of New Zealand; but my word was not accomplished by you, and when you saw that unarmed ones had fallen, then you applied an evil murderous name to us; but I thought that we were not accountable for those slain, but rather you yourselves were; for you were taken up with poohpoohing my advice, and left it to be a bad name for me. For you said that I was bent on fighting because my word had gone forth so quickly, for the

* Desperately bent on accomplishing mischief.

page 247 unarmed to be removed to Auckland. In that case you are wrong again, because having seen that I was bent on fighting, why did you not have all such people removed, lest they be overtaken by my fighting, as it had occurred to you that such would be the case?

O friends, I did have respect for the laws of England. Your word did come after me, saying that you were averse to ambuscades and killing those that were wounded; whereupon I exhorted my tribes to give over committing such acts, they accordingly forsook such acts, and shaped their course by the laws of England, from Meremere right on to the time of the fall of Rangiriri. Then my wives and children fell there. Then again I was condemned by the laws of England because of the women and children who died with the men of strong hand that fell in the fighting pa. I then left that lesson (learnt there) in my mind; then the word of General Cameron came to me for peace to be made. I agreed, and gave up my “mere paraoa,” in token of having relinquished my weapon. I then went to Ngaruawahia, I was there, the General and his word were also there coming up after me. When I saw (what that was) I gave up Ngaruawahia to lie in the peacemaking, and went on to Maungatautari. When I got there the word of England came up after me,—“The Horotiu river will not be traversed by the steamers,” but they “will continue to sail on the Waipa in pursuit of Rewi; Ngaruawahia shall be the boundary as far as Tamihana is concerned—the steamer shall not go to Horotiu.” Was it not Bishop Selwyn who told us this? Was not this second word also spoken by his mouth?—“That the Maori people dwell quietly at their own places up to the banks of the Horotiu. So, therefore, the women and children, and the men also, dwelt quietly at their own places up to the time that the Bishop and his soldiers arrived before Paterangi. But I and my tribes did go then to help Rewi and his tribes; then it was I acted in accordance with the word of England, which condemned me for the death of women who fell in the fighting pa. I divided off Rangiaohia to be a place of abode for the women and children, and I drafted off some men to carry food to Waipa—that is to Paterangi. No sooner did the General see that we had all assembled there, than he turned round and commanded his soldiers to go to Rangiaohia, to fight with the women and children. He did not heed the fact that we had collected at Paterangi upon his word desiring us “to gather together into page 248 one place to fight, although we should number 2,000”—“I will not fear; I will go straight on and fight them”—that is to say, us.

So we assembled at Paterangi. One word of his we greatly desired; it was this: “If I fight the Maories whilst they are gathered together, and I prove stronger than they, peace shall be made; if they prove stronger than I, let peace be made;” and I was much pleased at that proposal, thinking that it would be heeded, when behold he went off to Rangiaohia instead, so I was troubled by a fruitless pursuit of his words, which were not fulfilled.

Three of the laws of England were at that time broken by the laws of New Zealand; for this is New Zealand law.

1.Ambuscades; that is to say, secret attacks.
2.Killing women and children.
3.Burning people alive with fire.

When I found the English people adopted that mode of action, I called to the Maori people, and enjoined them not to return again to those practices. “Leave it to be for England to take up the putrefactions of my ancestors, viz., killing women and children, and burning people alive in their sleeping houses.” The Maori people assented to me and what I said to them.

O friends, because of this did I fully consent to the fighting; because of my women and children having been burnt alive in the fire which was suffered, rather than the edge of the sword to consume their flesh. I would not have regarded it had it been only the men; there would then have been a reason to have thought less of what the rage of the fire had done on account of their having shot seven pakehas; my relatives were treated in the same manner at Rangiriri—they were burnt alive in the fire. I did not grieve for that, but a thought came to my mind lest what England had taught should be set aside by the teaching of New Zealand; but when those doings were enacted again at Rangiaohia, then came up fresh in my memory that which had already been done at Rangiriri. Within me are collected the many things which have troubled us all—but I will confine myself to these. At the time of the fight at Rangiaohia I discovered that this would be a very great war, because it was conducted in such a pitiless manner. After that (Rangiaohia), the steamer sailed up the Horotiu river. I then said to the people who were living beside the river at their usual places of abode, “Come, let page 249 us off to Maungatautari—leave this place to be without occupants, lest evil spring up here.” So they hearkened to what I said, and we all gathered to Maungatautari. The steamer also came there. Then I said to my people again, “Let us leave this place to be alone.” They again assented to me and what I said, but we did fight then with the soldiers, for the space of about ten minutes; then we left off and went to the mountains, to Patetere, and left the river of Waikato. Because of my great desire for peace, therefore did I remove my people from thence lest further grief should be occasioned by the death of relatives, in which case it would not have been possible to suppress the evil.

Now, O friends, this is how I have been saved from evil—because of my constant striving to do that which is good, ever since the introduction of Christianity on to the time of the King movement, and up to the present days of darkness. After we had embraced Christianity, when my tribe sought payment for our dead who had fallen I did not give my consent. Then I said, “Stop, strive to repay in a Christian manner. Let peaceful living be the payment for my dead.” They consented. I then drew all my enemies to me; they all came, not one continued a stranger to me; but all became related to me in the bonds of Christian fellowship. Then I said, what a good payment this is for those that are dead, this living peacefully!

In the King movement were brought to an end the land brawls which had previously existed between father and son, between brother and brother. I then again said, what a good recompense this is for such cowardly conduct (this peace existing amongst relations during) the King movement; and men dwelt in a tranquil state.

During the time of this cowardly * war, my desire for peace-making commenced at Rangiriri, and continued to the time of Ngaruawahia, Maungatautari, Patetere, Tamahere, during the visit of Mr. George Graham—Tamahere at the time of Governor Grey. Because of my continued desire for the establishment of peace, therefore have I come to Wellington. I again say, what a good recompense this is for this kind of work, a heart (continually) striving to consent.

Follow, O Assembly, after me, and measure my steps from the beginning up to the present day. Weigh also my words from the first until now, for everything is weighed—articles of food

* Groundless.

Continually anxious to make peace.

page 250 are weighed, and clothing is sold by measure; land is also meted out, and should not the mind of man be weighed? will it not be measured to discover its weight, or its dimensions? That is all.

Your friend,

Wi Tamihana te Waharoa.