The Past and Present Of New Zealand With Its Prospects for the Future
Chapter VII. King Movement
Chapter VII. King Movement.
It is an acknowledged fact, that amongst all aboriginal tribes which have no fixed laws and institutions, brute force prevails and might is right. In this way all differences are settled by the weaker yielding to the stronger. When civilized man comes into contact with such, this evident superiority is at once seen and acknowledged by the savage; he cannot repress his wonder and admiration at the knowledge which the white man possesses; he feels constrained to admit his superiority, and to regard him in the light of a teacher. Nor is it necessary to say, that could such a power so tacitly conceded be used without being abused, it would give an amazing facility to benefit and raise the inferior to a level more nearly corresponding with that of his teacher.
When the Spaniards first landed on the shores of America the simple natives regarded them as beings of celestial birth, page 108 so much were they impressed with their superiority; but, alas! they soon found out their mistake. When Captain Cook landed at Hawaii he was viewed as a god, and permitting the natives to treat him as one, the Almighty punished him for his impiety, and his life was the penalty. Had he acted as St. Paul under similar circumstances, and given God the glory, he might have become His honored instrument in laying the foundation of their future temporal and spiritual welfare.
Had the first visitors to those newly-discovered races acted consistently with their profession, and sought to use the reverence thus spontaneously conceded for their good, it is impossible to say what might not have been effected.
The history of the civilization of Peru furnishes a proof of this. Two semi-civilized beings—Manco Capac and Mama Ocollo—suddenly made their appearance by the banks of the Lake Titiaca;—dressed in the garb of civilized life, they astonished the savage natives by the superiority of their appearance and variety of knowledge; they regarded them as beings of celestial origin of higher order; and this conviction gave them the greatest influence, which happily they used for their good. Though a single pair they succeeded in instituting law and order; in inducing the scattered tribes to live together, and in getting them to adopt all their plans for their improvement. They gave them a form of religion; they taught them to build houses, give up their wandering propensities, and dwell together in towns.
Gradually they laid the foundation of that civilization, which excited the wonder and admiration of the Spaniards. This is an extraordinary instance of the power of mind over brute force, when two individuals alone could effect such changes, and not only preserve their lives amongst lawless savages, but compel them to be obedient to their commands, and regard them as their Divine rulers; it seems as though they exercised a kind of mesmeric influence over the minds of the multitude which could not be resisted, but constrained them to do whatever they wished, with the firm belief it was for their good.page 109
There is something almost too marvellous in this account to be believed, were it not for the credibility of the authorities who have handed it down. The only parallel instance is that of the Missionaries in the Southern Hemisphere; and New Zealand may be here brought forward as an instance.
Fifty years ago the Missionary first landed on its shores, then rife with human slaughter and cannibalism, where perhaps life was more insecure than any where else. Still alone, unaided and unsupported, he maintained his ground in the midst of those ruthless savages, gradually gaining their respect and obedience. Mr. Marsden, the indefatigable worker for the good of the Maori race, seemed to have obtained an influence over the natives, by imparting to them the feeling that he was their friend, which enabled him to do what no other European dared to attempt. He walked from the Thames to the Bay of Islands, passing through the midst of tribes which were then waging an exterminating war with each other, and he was treated with respect by all. The greatness of the undertaking in that early day, may be estimated by the fact that no Governor of New Zealand had passed through the island from the east coast to the west, until Governor Grey succeeded in the attempt at the close of the year 1866, walking from Maketu to Wanganui; but this was not accomplished without his having a large body of native allies to bear him company. The Missionary from early days could travel safely amongst the natives, though he went alone; and this, too, before any converts were made, because they knew he was their friend, though they might feel inclined to disregard his instructions, but gradually the savage mind gave way, and they became obedient to his word.
It is a sad consideration that the ill-timed present of guns to Hongi by George the Fourth raised the ambitious views of that chief, and led to the most destructive wars that ever raged in New Zealand. Putting aside the religious character of the Missionary and his belonging to a superior race, he was a messenger of peace, striving to put an end to what they knew to be wrong; in short he obtained an ascendancy page 110 over the native mind by these means, which has never since been possessed by any other. When Britain obtained the sovereignty of New Zealand it was solely Missionary influence which gained the native acquiescence, given with the idea that Britain’s monarch would be able to become their benefactor on a far greater scale than the Missionary, and would finish the work he had commenced; that by becoming British subjects, entitled to equal rights and privileges, they would be one with him. Happy would it have been for the Maori race had those ideas been realized, had that moral power which the Missionary transferred to the Government been exercised, increased, and established, by the conviction in the native mind, that the Government they had accepted was a paternal one, which really had their best interests in view; had the Government endeavoured to rule the native race by moral influence only, there is little doubt that there would never have been any necessity for the aid of military force. It was the calling in of the latter which put an end to the former, and became the means of resuscitating that love of war which had been so natural to them, and in the waging of which they were far more expert than ourselves.
The natives were prepared to receive our laws and institutions, and to yield obedience to Queen’s representative; his word was law:—but when they perceived that it was not the advancement of their race which was aimed at, but that of the European alone; that they as a people were ignored, that no power was conceded, no place given to the chiefs in our councils, no voice in framing those laws which they were still expected to obey; but only one grand object was kept in view, the increase of one race at the expense of the other, then a revulsion of feeling gradually took place. The flag which they first assisted in floating over their land now became an object of fear and dislike; nor were their suspicions lessened by designing foreigners and others; they were told the flag was an emblem of their subjection, and unfortunately their fears afterwards were abundantly confirmed by Earl Grey’s celebrated despatch to Governor Grey, ordering him page 111 to seize the waste lands of the natives, contrary to the express provision of the treaty, which guaranteed all their territorial rights to them. This piece of injustice the Church in New Zealand happily defeated, and compelled the originator to deny his own intentions; even the Missionary himself, by being loyal to his own country, gradually lost influence with the native race; in fact this was in no little degree caused by the Government itself, which when it fancied it had obtained all it could from Missionary aid, then began to ignore him as well as the native, then the latter likewise transferred his trust to those who openly disowned the rule of Britain.
This was the true cause of the first war. Hone Heke cut down the flag-staff at Kororarika, to destroy what he was told was the emblem of his country’s degradation. And when that first war was terminated, still no real effort was made to regain the confidence of the native race, by granting those rights which the treaty of Waitangi covenanted to be given.
The British Government wherever it is established destroys the power and privileges of the Aborigines without granting them any equivalent; no offices have hitherto been bestowed upon even those of the highest rank, or any acknowledgment of their dignity given. Their lands too have been rendered useless to them, the better to constrain them to sell. They were not allowed to lease them to the settlers, consequently, however extensive they might be, and however valuable from their close vicinity to the European, they became valueless to their owners. Those who had been faithful to Government during the war received little notice when it was over; whilst those who had been the most troublesome, at its termination received the most substantial proofs of the Government bounty. Tahana Turoa, who rendered great aid to the Government during the first war, when it was over was passed by unnoticed, whilst Rangihaeata, the most hostile of the chiefs, was especially the object of attention, on whom the best gifts were lavished, which made Tahana, say that in future it would be best to be a foe rather than a friend, and acting up to the idea, he has been and still is one of the most determined of our enemies. Some of these remarks refer more to the past than the present, but in referring to the cause of that remarkable change which has taken place in native feeling towards the European, these must be mentioned as having been some of the things which led to it. There has not been, nor is there even yet, any true bond of union between the two races, or between the natives and the Government.
Another cause is their not having been encouraged in their endeavours to raise themselves; for adopting our religion and manners they have in many instances been regarded as hypocrites, and have had little credit given them for sincerity; their faults have been magnified and their virtues ignored.page 113
The natives, too, seeing our real weakness, from the scattered character of the settlements and the natural peculiarities of the country, with the frequency of our panics and the too often trifling causes of them, were thus emboldened to be disaffected. It is a question whether the sepoys, seeing how panic-struck their rulers were, were not in a great measure thus induced to break out into rebellion. “I believe that panic lay at the bottom of half the actual mutinies which have taken place after the first.*”
The idea broached by Jermingham Wakefield relative to the creation of a native nobility, was not so absurd and chimerical as some have thought. By preserving the hereditary dignity of the chief, his fidelity and attachment to the Government would be secured. At present there is no bond to attach him to it, and until there be, the chief will be an enemy to the last.
The native is naturally as shrewd and sensible as the European, and far more so than many. He plainly perceives that he is regarded as an inferior; and the general treatment he receives has confirmed this feeling, and convinced him that, as the European increases, the treatment he will receive must be worse. This conviction has had much to do with causing the present war. Before it began some of the Europeans felt so confident of their own power to maltreat, that they were neither ashamed nor afraid to express their wish “to polish off the black niggers.”
When the second war commenced at Taranaki in 1863, and a party of our men were cut off, by imprudently venturing through the hostile natives’ land, after they had been warned not to do so, the bitter feelings towards the natives in general at Wanganui, where all was peace, were repeatedly shown by some of the soldiers. One, without the slightest provocation, knocked down Hori Kingi, the head chief and firm supporter of the Government, merely because he was a Maori, and some of the same race, but of a different tribe, had killed a party of our men a hundred and thirty miles off.
* “Ludlow’s India,” vol. 2, p. 260.
It is very sad that this feeling has been too generally entertained by the white towards the colored races; however light the shade, all are niggers in their estimation. Such was the case in India; highly civilized as their princes are, they have been treated with the greatest discourtesy. Mr. Ackland gives an instance of British insolence to a rajah of Cuttack, when a party hunting on his land, and making use of his coolies and elephants, could not even wait for the “beastly nigger” to hunt with them! The same writer on India records many similar instances of this systematic illtreatment of natives of all ranks.
Nor has the immoral example set the native by the European been without effect, seeing those duties, which the Bible presses upon them, totally neglected by the mass, they are naturally more likely to be led by it, than by the few who have taught them otherwise.
When, therefore, the chiefs and more enlightened natives perceived that it was the evident desire of Government to obtain their lands and not bestow corresponding advantages, that in fact their nationality must inevitably be swallowed up by the rapid increase of the European, we cannot wonder that they should desire to save their own power and position, as well as that of their race, by establishing a government of their own. And this desire was increased and fixed by the glaring indifference shown to their welfare, permitting them to fight and kill one another, even in the midst of our settlements, without the slightest interference on our part; openly furnishing with arms and ammunition the party which was viewed with favor for agreeing to sell land, although the other side was equally friendly, but unwilling to part with their patrimony.
Government, too, aided and fostered the quarrel, by disallowing the Arms and Ammunition Act, which previously forbade their sale, and thus enabled the Maori to procure any amount of the munitions of war.
In Wanganui one store-keeper alone sold upwards of three tons of powder to the up-river natives. How much more was obtained from others it is impossible to say; but this page 115 will give some little idea of the extent to which it must have been carried, in consequence of that unwise proceeding.
We professed to desire the natives to submit to law. A brief and excellent digest was drawn up in Maori by Sir W. Martin for this purpose; this was highly prized by the natives in general, and became the basis on which they decided all their cases; assessors were appointed, and this work guided them in their judgments. But when it was thought by the Taranaki settlers that the possession of the Waitara was necessary to the well-being and progress of their district; and a native named Teira, the owner of a portion, was willing to sell his part of it, this was considered quite sufficient to obtain the whole; and when remonstrated with by the head chief, Wiremu Kingi te Rangitake, that there were other owners of the block, and in their behalf forbid the sale, surveyors were sent, who were mildly resisted by the women of the tribe. The Government then threatened if they interfered with the chain again, they would be fired upon.* Wi Kingi said, “What! kill us for touching a chain, a thing that has no blood—no life” ! He said this was a case for the Law Court to decide, and not for the soldier. Wi Kingi before was no supporter of the Maori king; this unwise and unjust step decided him;—he placed himself and land under his protection.
* See “New Zealand Settlers and Soldiers,” by Rev. Thomas Gilbert, p. 38.
Nor is this the only instance of such glaring injustice being committed by the agents of the Government itself. If the present war began at Waitara, through a sad mistake of the Governor permitting himself to be led by others, instead of acting on his own judgment, the previous Maori war between Rawiri Waiawa and Waitere Katotore, had also its commencement in the foolish and unjust act of the Taranaki Land Commissioner, who, when Rawiri Waiawa, wishing to prove his attachment to the European and that he did not belong to the native land league, came and offered to sell a piece of the Hua block belonging to him, he was told that it was too small to be worth buying, unless he would include the rest of the Hua block. Rawiri said that he had only a joint interest in it, this, instead of being a sufficient reason for the Government Commissioner, caused him to press him with the assurance, that if he sold, all the other proprietors would be sure to come in likewise. Poor Rawiri was over persuaded to do what he knew was wrong, he consented, although Waitere Katotore and the other owners told him if the chain were carried over his land, he would be fired at, and bid him come armed. The chain was carried, Rawiri and seven others were shot. No notice was taken by the Government of the affair, except that when the settlers petitioned for military aid, it was granted. War began; the followers of Rawiri, helped by the settlers, were opposed to Katotore, who was supported by the Nga-ti-rua-nui. The settlers viewed Rawiri’s death as a murder; but when Katotore himself was murdered by Ihaia, after they had been eating and drinking together in the town, being waylaid and chopped about with the tomahawk, still page 117 this was said, even by a Christian minister, to have been no murder, but a justifiable act according to Maori tikanga—native law; and his murderer was treated just the same as before by his European friends, because he advocated the selling of land, which the murdered one did not.
It appeared, however, that at last the Government had seen some of their errors in the treatment of the Maori. All the head chiefs were summoned to a conference, which from the proclamation seemed to be really a step the right way—a kind of native parliament, over which the Governor would preside. The invitation, however, was viewed with suspicion; few but those who were deriving pecuniary advantage from the Government, felt disposed to accept it. The Wanganui natives appealed to me whether they should go or not. I told them that, having carefully read the Government list of subjects for consideration, I viewed it as a very excellent step. They said, if I would accompany them they would go. The “Victoria,” a beautiful vessel of war belonging to the Provincial Government of Victoria, and liberally placed at the disposal of the Government of New Zealand during the war, was sent for us. About fifty in number were thus collected and brought together to Auckland, where the Mission Buildings at Kohi marama were kindly placed by the Bishop at the Governor’s disposal for the conference to meet in. An excellent opportunity was presented for rectifying many of the errors committed, by consulting them on such measures as they themselves might judge to be expedient for the welfare of their race, and for their union with the European; to make laws, to put a stop to abuses, and devise the best way of ending the war, and restoring that kindly feeling between the two which had previously existed. But what was the surprise and disappointment of every lover of peace and wellwisher of the Government, when the opening address of its official was heard, which only presented one grand topic of consideration for the conference, the selling of land, when the natives were then actually fighting to hinder it. They were told that they ought not to seek a high price for it; that they page 118 should either give it for nothing, or be satisfied with a nominal sum as the Government was then doing, granting forty acres to each person who came out, that the country might be occupied as soon as possible. This was the topic enlarged upon. Even the chiefs most friendly to Government were so obtuse as to be unable to see what benefit could possibly accrue to them by thus introducing a large number of total strangers amongst them, who might prove to be bitter enemies, and at any rate undesirable neighbours. The conference ended without doing any good, at the expense of £2000 to the already impoverished colony. The natives returned to their homes with the impression that the whole was “he mea noa”—no good, if not “he mahi hangareka o te pakeha”—a piece of European deception; the Government lost a grand opportunity of facilitating the restoration of peace, and of regaining the good opinion of the Maori for uprightness and rectitude of intention; a chance which may never occur again.
It may likewise be mentioned that a very heavy duty had been placed on all articles consumed by the natives, especially on tobacco; they soon found this out, and in a great measure avoided it by raising and preparing it themselves. Nor must the machinations of foreigners be overlooked, and especially those of the French priests. It is not to be supposed that they proceeded from any love to Napoleon, but chiefly as a means of obtaining an ascendancy over the native mind, by securing their confidence from an apparent interest being taken in their views, and thus having an identity of feeling with them. The natives were carefully informed that they were not under the law of the Queen, and that the Governor had no authority over them. In promoting the King Movement they were always conspicuous, attending every meeting, and, until his authority was established, they never omitted an opportunity of being present.
Having briefly alluded to some of the many circumstances which have conspired to estrange the native from the European, and to destroy that attachment to him page 119 which so long lingered, it will be necessary briefly to recapitulate the various forms of government relating to the native race which have succeeded each other in New Zealand.
The first may be called a Theocratic, which was that of the Missionary. When they had obtained an ascendancy over the native mind, and the Maori as a people had embraced the Christian faith, the law of God then naturally became the law of the land, and all appeared willing and desirous of living by it, and even before the entire race turned over to Christianity, although the Heathen party refused to join, still they did not dispute the authority of God’s Word.
An Autocratic or patriarchal form of Government next followed. The natives looked up to the Governor as their head and Father; they called themselves his children and he treated them as such, rewarding them, when good, with bon bons, in the form of blankets, sugar, and flour, and also when troublesome coaxing them to be good by similar expedients; in fact they were treated as children; and this was the great mistake, they did not receive the rights due to British subjects, for they were not considered capable of exercising them. This form of government, which commenced with Captain Hobson, terminated with Sir. G. Grey’s first rule. It may be said, that although the three Governors successively appeared anxious for the Maori welfare, and really seemed to desire it; still each had a different plan, and in reality nothing was done to carry on the work of raising the native mind, and expanding it to aim at a higher position than that which it had attained under the Missionary. They had aspirations after a higher state, these were not encouraged but depressed; like children old enough to run alone their parents thought them yet too young to be trusted, and so kept them still in swaddling clothes.
With the departure of Sir G. Grey, a new form of government was enunciated, which for want of a better name may be called a Bicratic. When the new constitution was put in force, one parent was no longer thought sufficient page 120 to take the charge of so large a family. The ministers considering themselves equally responsible with the Government for the well-being of the native as for the European, were not satisfied until they became associated with him in his paternal charge; nay, this was carried still further, they did not rest until they had obtained the sole management of it, though they professed to repudiate the trust when granted to them by the Duke of Newcastle; but their old parent not altogether approving the change, and unwilling to resign it entirely into their hands still legislated as well, and thus between them greater confusion and estrangement than ever speedily arose, and this, to a great extent, is the present state of native affairs.
But it is not to be supposed that a naturally strong-minded race, which can clearly see through the inconsistencies of those they have been called upon to respect and obey, would remain inactive. The chiefs seeing that their position was lost, and that in proportion to the alienation of the land their mana—power, went with it, also the rapid increase of the European, which threatened the national existence of the Maori race in a few years, began to bestir themselves. It is singular that the greatest chiefs are not always the greatest land holders; their followers are frequently possessed of far more than they themselves. They are called blood chiefs in virtue of their descent, but not land chiefs; still they have a general mana over the whole, and so long as its integrity is preserved their influence is proportionately great. To stop, therefore, the alienation of land was to arrest the loss of their power and the encroachment of the pakeha. Before these ideas, however, were fully developed, many councils were held, and much deliberation took place.
The first real step taken was that by Matene te Whiwhi of Otaki in 1853; he went to Taupo and Rotorua attended by several head chiefs. Their ideas were decidedly patriotic and justifiable, they were to obtain the consent of the different tribes to the appointment of a king over the central parts of the island, which were still solely Maori; and organize a form of government to preserve their race and attend to its page 121 interests. It may be here necessary to say a few words about the tribes of this chief and his associates.
Of all the warlike tribes none surpassed the Nga ti Raukawa and Nga-ti-toa under Rauparaha, Rangihaeata, and other chiefs, originally from Waikato; they carried fire and sword from thence to the southern end of the island. Where Hongi terminated his raids these chiefs began theirs, and thus between them the entire island was visited with ruthless warfare, the horrors of which cannot be here enumerated; suffice it to say the young chiefs, of whom Matene was one, combined to put an end to the continual barbarities which were enacted. Through their instrumentality war ceased and a Missionary was obtained; by his countenance and support a perceptible advancement was soon made, and in spite of all obstacles it has continued to this day.
Having thus introduced Matene, we may follow him to Taupo. It is very probable, in broaching his plan of a Maori kingdom, he thought that if successful he would have been the person elected to preside over it, but if this were his aim he was disappointed. Te Heuheu, the great Taupo chief, had no idea of any one being higher than himself, and although his elder brother in former days supported Te Rauparaha in all his wars, yet it was as an ally and equal; he therefore refused to have anything to do with this new movement, nor did he meet with much better success at Maketu and Rotorua. The result of the grand runanga was embodied in a brief and highly figurative letter written to all the tribes.
“Listen all men, the house of New Zealand is one; the rafters on one side are the Pakehas, those on the other, the Maori, the ridge pole on which both rest is God; let therefore the house be one. This is all.”
From this it appears evident that there was originally no intention to interfere with the European, but to confine their efforts to the raising up of their own race; nor can any fault be found with them for so doing. The central tribes could not strictly be considered under British authority, they had not subscribed their names to the treaty of Waitangi; it is page 122 questionable if they had heard of it; they had not been visited by any Governor, nor had the slightest effort been made to introduce British law amongst them; to all intents and purposes therefore they were independent tribes;—they felt laws were needed, and there was no reason why they should not now, in their partially enlightened state, do for themselves what their fathers had hitherto done as savages. The effort of Matene was a very important one; the letter sent by the runanga to the Wanganui tribes was given to me, and immediately forwarded to the Governor, who returned it with a smile at my credulity in thinking it of any importance.
The movement, however, did not stop; soon after, in May 1854, another grand meeting was announced to be held at Manawapou, in the Nga-ti-rua-nui district. A council hall was erected one hundred and twenty feet long and thirty wide, with two entrances; it was called Tai-poro-he-nui, or the finishing of the matter, the plug that was to stop the further running off of the fresh water into the salt, that is, the selling of any more land to the Europeans,—there they formed a league for the preservation of native lands; a tomahawk was passed round, intimating that all would agree to put the individual to death who should break it.
In 1856, Te Heuheu summoned another runanga, at Pukawa, which was still more important than the preceding one. The French flag was there hoisted, some priests were present, and several points were proposed, but even then it was not agreed to elect a King. Until that period, Te Heuheu was decidedly opposed to such a measure, but soon afterwards his views suddenly changed. A French priest paid him a visit, and taking an egg in his hand he said it represented the island, the exterior, or shell, was the Queen’s, but when the egg is broken then the chicken within will come forth; that was the Maori, the interior of the island was theirs, the coast only belonged to the Queen.
A meeting was next summoned by W. Thompson, in the Waikato district. This was attended by the head chiefs of many tribes, and by Te Heuheu of Taupo; it was then first decided page 123 to elect a King, and the choice fell upon Te Wherowhero, the head chief of Waikato, who was called Potatau the First, and in June 1858, he was formally accepted at Rangiawhia, which place he entered preceded by his flag, bearing the device of a cross and three stars, with the name of the country, “Niu Tirini,” in the centre, after him came the chiefs and a number of well-dressed natives. He was received by a procession of the inhabitants of the place, one of the chiefs reading an address of welcome; a volley of musketry was fired by about a hundred and fifty young men, whose dress and discipline did credit to their drill sergeant. They then marched backwards and fell into lines, so as to form an avenue for the King to pass along, saluting him with another volley. The procession afterwards advanced into a square formed by raupo huts and tents, when at a given signal a profound obeisance was simultaneously made by all the assembly of the different tribes to the King. One of the native teachers standing up read a portion of a chapter of the New Testament, gave out a few verses of a hymn, which were sung, and engaged in prayer; in these devotions all appeared to unite; when they were concluded after a few minutes’ silence a song of welcome was chaunted by Te Heuheu, another volley fired, another obeisance made, and Potatau the First was duly installed as the first King of the Maori race.
Hongi attempted to obtain that distinction by force of arms and the fears of his enemies, but in vain. Potatau had that honor conferred upon him by the various tribes of the interior, from conviction that a head was needed, to initiate a form of government amongst themselves to control and sustain their race against the encroachments daily made upon it by the European; but in this step there was no hostility or desire of it expressed. In the grand debate which ensued the constant repetition of the sentiment was heard, “The King on his piece, the Queen on her piece, God over both, and love binding them to each other.” The only point of debate was, whether the Queen was to be allowed a road through the native King’s territory or not, and the majority ap- page 124 peared to be in favor of it. One chief of Rangiawhia declared that, if aught were done unfriendly to the Queen, he would hew down the King’s flag himself, not a disrespectful word was uttered against the British Government, the natives simply thinking that to part with any more of their lands would be the certain road to ruin. The King himself being greatly attached to the Europeans* as well as Thompson and Te Heuheu; the order and quiet which prevailed was exceedingly pleasing, no drunkenness, no brawling, nor rudeness were to be seen. The religious services held in the evening were well attended, nothing occurred that could give offence, but much from which we thought our countrymen might learn a lesson. Such is a description of that interesting event given by an eyewitness.
Had that movement been fostered, had counsellers been furnished to guide, it would not only have been the act of a paternal government, but the means of raising the race and proving that we were legislating for their welfare as well as our own, and thus would have permanently attached them to us. At first the measure was treated with ridicule and then with suspicion, but no step was really taken either one way or the other; we only showed we did not sympathize with them in their efforts to imitate the Sandwich Islanders, their ancestors, to attain civilization.
Poor old Potatau was sincerely attached to the Governor, but he was fast sinking into the grave when raised to his high office. He soon disappeared from the scene, and was succeeded by his son Matutaera, under the name of Potatau the Second. He appears to be a good, but an unambitious man, and probably possessing little strength of mind. His counsellor, Tamihana Tarapipi, who elevated him to the throne, in reality was the main spring of Maori action. A man of mind and energy, a true patriot, he labored to raise his race, and gave himself up to that object solely, without having any ambitious views of his own.
* Te Wherowhero Potatau received a small pension from the Government up to the day of his death.
* The following was communicated by a highly respectable settler at New Plymouth:—The unfortunate Waitara Land Purchase by Governor Browne, was most certainly the work of Mr. M’Lean. So little did the Governor contemplate any land purchase at that time, that Mr. M’Lean was on the very point of leaving for Napier, when he mentioned to an intimate friend his belief that he could buy land from the natives at that moment, if the Governor would prolong his stay a few days. In consequence of this, some of the inhabitants of New Plymouth waited on his Excellency, and begged that he would delay Mr. M’Lean’s departure, to this he immediately assented; and in a few days that gentleman convened a large meeting of the natives in the town, which the Governor attended, and at which the Waitara land was agreed to be bought. He then took his departure, with the understanding that he would shortly return to conclude the purchase; but apparently foreseeing by this time some difficulties, he failed to do so, and left Napier for the Middle Island. Nor did he again appear at Taranaki until the colony was hopelessly involved in war. Mr. Parris having in the meantime investigated the title, and the Governor being satisfied with its validity, authorised the payment of £100 as a first instalment; this being disputed by Wi Kingi, led to the taking forcible possession of the land.
The next fight took place at the Waitara, in June. Although the battle was a bloody one, it was inconclusive. But afterwards, Puketakauere, better known as the L pa from its shape, was abandoned, and the troops then burnt it. In November the Mahoetahi pa was taken, and the Rev. Mr. Brown’s son was shot, being one of the first who entered it.
The town of New Plymouth was in a sad state; beleaguered on every side, fuel was obliged to be obtained from Australia, although there was a dense forest close by. The once-smiling homesteads were plundered and burnt in open day; and in the very sight of the military on Marsland Hill, the only son of Captain King was surprised and killed.
In February 1861, the Battle of Huirangi was fought. The natives boldly attacked the new stockade, from which they were compelled to retire with the loss of thirty-six men. This attack, though unsuccessful, created much surprise and admiration, at such a daring attempt being made to scale the walls of the redoubt. At that time the deplorable state of the town was increased, by all the females and children having been sent off to Nelson, which made the poor settlers’ state still more desolate; their homesteads burnt, and the beloved members of their families transported to another island. But such was the natural consequence of war, and we ourselves commenced it, by destroying the property of the natives. After the Battle of Waireka, we not only burned their houses, but even their mills; and, unable to carry off the large quantity of wheat there stored, it was taken out page 127 and spread upon the ground to be trampled under foot. Such wilful waste was not only very sad, but most impolitic, by setting an example which was, alas, too soon followed, and ended in the total destruction of the previously smiling province; a heavy price for the Waitara, £200,000 alone being afterwards given as compensation to the sufferers! The town’s people, however, bore their misfortunes with fortitude, and even amused themselves by establishing a “Punch” in New Plymouth.
General Pratt on his arrival assumed the command there. It was shortly after, that the repulse of the 40th, under Colonel Leslie, at the Peach Grove, took place, when actually a force of one thousand seven hundred men were put to flight by a volley from forty-one Maories,—a panic seized the whole supposing they were surprised. One man was shot, and his body left behind, as well as an Armstrong gun, and an officer in his flight falling over a trunk of a tree, his sword fell out of its scabbard, and he could not stop even to pick it up. The Colonel ordered his men to retreat; some of them with their officers refused, and turned about and faced the enemy, otherwise the casualties would have been greater.
The General distinguished himself by his sap before the Arei pa, which, after consuming much time and occupying many men, was rendered totally useless, by an officer of the Government rushing up with a white flag at the moment of its completion, when the pa was on the point of being taken. The natives thankfully accepted the offer of peace, as a means of escape from certain destruction, and no sooner was it made than they retired; it was, however, but a nominal one. General Pratt soon after returned to Melbourne. He certainly did not seem to have accomplished much, but he was a brave old veteran, and effected as much perhaps as could have been expected with the force under his command. The native allies when they bid him farewell on his departure, manifested their esteem by giving him various presents of green stone ornaments, and fine native embroidered mats. He never spared himself, but took his fair share of exposure. He was succeeded by General Cameron, who on his arrival assumed the chief command.page 128
Hitherto, Wiremu Kingi te Rangitake had kept himself aloof from both the Nga-ti-rua-nui land league and the King movement; at last he placed himself and the Waitara in the hands of Tamihana Tarapipi. That chief had previously set his face against any interference of the Waikatoes with the quarrel, though some of them were most anxious to engage in it, and a party of them went to the Waitara and fell there; yet that was without the general sanction of the tribe.
No sooner, however, was the quarrel placed in Tamihana’s hands than he gave a proof of his wisdom and forbearance. He wrote an admirable letter to the Governor, proposed that both the European and native forces should be withdrawn from the Waitara, that the case should be transmitted to the Queen’s council in England, and that both parties should submit to their decision. This good and sensible advice was rejected.
At this time also Sir William Dennison, the Governor of New South Wales, wrote an excellent letter to Governor Browne, relative to the King Movement,* but strange to say, none of the letters or memorials met with attention; that of Sir William Dennison was carefully suppressed and not suffered to appear until circumstances drew it forth from its concealment. The Duke of Newcastle referred to it, and the ministers were obliged to obey the public call for it. Sir William Dennison clearly pointed out the error which Mr. Richmond had been guilty of, in totally repudiating the Maori race, and viewing New Zealand as belonging to the European solely, and thus legislating for his good only; had Sir William’s advice been acted upon, whatever might have been the result, justice and equity would have been on our
* Two other excellent letters on the same subject were written at the same time, one from Mr. Turner, a solicitor, of Taranaki, the other from Captain Drury, R.N., which contained four grand points. 1. The absence of all power in the Government to put an end to bloodshed amongst the Maories themselves. 2. The ignoring the Maori right to a fair share of the legislation. 3. The transfer of Maori legislation to the ministry, and 4. The necessity of a chamber of Maori representatives.
side, and we might reasonably have expected the Divine blessing to rest upon us.
The Governor issued a proclamation denouncing the King movement, and offering pardon if it were given up. The Ngaruawahia council replied to it in a calm and telling address to the Government, and Tamihana accompanied it with a letter to the Governor himself.
About the same time the Wanganui natives invited the officers, magistrates, and settlers to meet them at Putiki; nearly all the authorities and principal residents attended, when the chiefs assured their European friends of their desire to be one with them, and in a figurative way offered to enter into a solemn covenant; hearing that the Taupo natives were trying to establish the King’s authority in the centre of the island, all the principal chiefs of Wanganui were resolved to oppose the movement. An invitation was sent to Taupo and Ahuriri, inviting the chiefs of those parts to meet them at Muri Motu. About two hundred from Wanganui went, and an equal number from Ahuriri and Taupo, and although the subject to be discussed was one on which they were quite divided, still the greatest courtesy was observed towards each other; the proposition of the one side was met by a firm refusal on the other. Hori Kingi, to mark his determination, planted a totara post, and pulling off a new black coat, firmly tied it to it, thus showing that he claimed the district, and any attempt to introduce the King’s mana there, would be viewed as an attack upon himself. On the Sabbath, many of the King natives joined those from Wanganui at the Lord’s table, and received the sacrament at my hands. The meeting terminated without any further effort being made on the part of the former, and all retired peaceably to their homes.
The declaration of Governor Browne’s war policy was generally approved of in the Northern Island. An address to this effect was drawn up at Wanganui, and sent to their member, Mr. Fox, for his signature; the friends of peace were as pleased as they were surprised by his refusal to sign page 130 it, and then for the first time, did he and his confreres Dr. Featherson and Mr. Fitzherbert, more generally known as the three F’s, make common cause with the friends of the Maori race. The protest of Mr. Fox made him the head of the opposition, leading to the overthrow of the Whitaker ministry, and his succession to that office.
The recal of Governor Browne and the return of Sir G. Grey, was a change generally hailed with delight. That officer voluntarily resigned the more lucrative governorship of the Cape, where he was most highly esteemed, for that of New Zealand, to which he returned with the hope of restoring peace to the country;—this must be regarded as a proof of his disinterested love for the colony and the Maori race, as well as desire to save them from destruction. The diligence he manifested in collecting their legends and songs, and in acquiring their language, affords the strongest evidence of his true feeling towards the natives, and therefore it was not to be wondered at that his arrival was equally welcomed by both races.
Governor Browne likewise possessed the esteem of a large body of the colonists, who evinced their attachment to him by presenting a handsome token of their respect on his departure. The chief fault which he committed during his reign, was trusting to the judgment of others, whose minds were far below the standard of his own. He fancied he was too old to acquire the language, and to understand the manners and customs of the Maori, and thus suffered himself to be led by those who were not equally interested with himself in the true welfare of the colony; hence the cause of the mistakes he made. Had he acted otherwise the Waitara war would not have taken place.
The natives, indeed, were ripe for war; and even had not that excuse for the commencement of it been given, some other would, doubtless, soon have occurred. Nor did he want the respect of the natives, who, though they found fault with his acts, still viewed him as a straightforward man, comparing him to the Kahu, or hawk, which hovered overhead, and though a bird of prey, still could always be seen; whilst the page 131 plans of his successor not being so readily understood caused him to be compared to the Kiori,—rat, which worked underground, so that it could not be told when it went in, or where it would come out.
Sir G. Grey did not long remain inactive; he immediately addressed himself to the object of his mission. In the commencement of December 1861, he forwarded to the head chiefs of Waikato an outline of the policy he intended to adopt, and then went to them himself, accompanied by Mr. Fox and several other members of the ministry. The Governor’s progress was very satisfactory; the natives everywhere united with the settlers in paying him respect. At Kohanga he found a triumphal arch erected by the former, which was decorated with great taste; in the centre were the letters “V.R.” and the words “Queen Victoria,” and “Sir George Grey.” A few days later a great meeting was held in the open air; eight hundred natives were present, of which two hundred and fifty represented the King party and the upper Waikatoes. The Governor explained to the meeting his future plans; the natives spoke freely to him in reply, and declared their approval of them. They recognised him as “their friend, the skilful doctor by whom the evil which afflicted the land might be healed.” Another said, “He was content; the day was beginning to dawn.”
The very next day another grand meeting was held, when the representatives of five tribes were present. The Governor repeated to them his proposed line of policy. He was answered by the natives one by one, each individual expressing, in language more or less figurative, his attachment to the Governor and loyalty to the Queen. When all had spoken the principal chief stood up, and pointing to a carved image, said, “Governor Grey,—that is Tipa; we who belong to these five tribes take our origin from him; he is our ancestor; the source of our dignity; we give him to you; also his mat and his battle-axe; we cannot give you more.”
According to Maori custom there was no form in which page 132 fealty could be more solemnly offered than this; the ceremony, therefore, had a deep and real significance. In the evening the Governor was paddled up to Maungatawhiri by forty young natives, with the flag of Tipa floating from the stern of the canoe.
At the conclusion of the meeting at Kohanga, Mr. Fox, accompanied by Mr. Gorst, visited the native assembly at Hangatiki, in the Upper Waipa. They were received by a native guard of honor. After the usual preliminaries, Mr. Fox made the following important statement as to the intentions of the Governor towards them, and the terms of peace which he was prepared to grant:—
|1.||The Governor to choose one European and two natives. The natives also to choose one European and two natives. The dispute about Teira’s land to be referred to that tribunal, whose decision shall be final and conclusive.|
|2.||The Governor will not put down the King movement by force, so long as the Queen’s subjects are not interfered with.|
|3.||The Governor will not make war to obtain the murderers, or to recover the plundered property, but when the offenders are taken they will be tried.|
|4.||The Governor will not buy land in future until the vendor’s title has been investigated by the Runanga of the district appointed by the Government.|
|5.||The Crown land at Taranaki, claimed by the natives by right of conquest, to be evacuated by them, or a chain of military posts will be formed on the border.|
|6.||The force encamped at Maungatawhiri not aggressive, but to make roads and to restore confidence.|
|7.||The Governor will not make roads on Maori land against the will of the owners; but all Maori paths are to be opened to Europeans, and no mails are to be stopped.|
These were very reasonable terms and seemed sure of being accepted, coming as they did from the Governor, for page 133 whom so much esteem had been expressed; they appeared to sanction the nationality of the native and to insure its rising to a dignified position in the land of their forefathers. The Maori flag would then have floated harmoniously by the side of the British ensign. Queen Victoria and Potatau the Second would have been the joint monarchs of New Zealand. Such were the aspirations of the day.
On the 26th December 1861, Sir G. Grey returned to Auckland, when orders were immediately issued to the 14th, 40th, and 65th Regiments to march direct for the Waikato district to make roads up to that river. The orders were immediately complied with.
This step the natives considered to be at variance with the declarations so recently made to them, and to destroy their hopes and expectations,—distrust and fear filled their breasts,—this new movement of the military was regarded as a positive proof of insincerity on the part of the Governor and his advisers, it was viewed as a declaration of war, and they prepared for it accordingly.
A decided change of feeling amongst the King natives now took place. Thinking that there could be no cooperation with the Pakeha, they sought to establish their nationality totally distinct from that of the European. The feelings of the time are fully expressed in a song which was then in every Maori child’s mouth.
E noho ana i toku kainga i Niu Tirini
He aha tou arero, tou arero,
He aha tou arero, tou arero;
Ko te wakahoki tenei o paipakore,
Kia peia atu i te taitahae
Haere atu te Porihi ki Oropira, ki te Tikina,
Kai huka, paraoa, piketi, ti;
Heoi ano, he mana nui ki Niu Tirini nei,
Ko te kingi rauna katoa te motu nei,
Ki te ae, ae, ae, amine.
A Jeering Song.
I am living in my home in New Zealand,
What do you say, do you say,
What do you say, do you say,
This is the reply of him bereft of pipe;*
Let the mad drunkards set off to Europe, to the diggings, the sugar, flour, biscuit, tea consumers.
This is all. New Zealand still possesses great power. The King shall encircle the whole island.
So be it, so be it, so be it. Amen.
* This song has a great deal of meaning: the being bereft of pipe refers to the very heavy duty which had been put on tobacco, to make the native, who was the chief consumer, pay as much as possible; but this over-grasping defeated itself. The native, unable to purchase tobacco to the extent he formerly did, began to grow it himself, and from instructions he has contrived to pick up, he now manufactures it; this he calls torore; some of it is so well made that there are great smokers who will give equal weight of our best tobacco for it.
The word Porihi expresses a most contemptuous feeling for the European, as one mad with drink.
Gold-diggings were then coming into notice and all were crazy after them; the Maori Royalists, therefore, thought that they, or Europe would be the best places to drive the sea robbers to.
The followers of the King are taught to do without any of the foreign luxuries which distinguish the European from the Maori.
Rauna katoa is a half-caste word, the English word round being here Maorified, and thus makes a more emphatic expression than any of their own.
A sad proof of the hostile feeling entertained by some of the natives to the Europeans was given at a grand runanga held at one of the council rooms called Te Taka Maui, and Tu tangata Kino; six hundred natives of Taranaki, Nga-ti-rui-nui, and Wanganui were assembled on that occasion; amongst them there was a Waikato chief named Mahi te Reiwa. Many bitter speeches were made against the Pakeha, Mahi rushed forward loudly calling out whitiki, whitiki, (gird up your loins,) when immediately all hurried to their quarters and again quickly returned fully accoutred with guns, tomahawks, and ammunition pouches, and commenced with the preliminary movements of the war dance. In this stage Mahi, with emphatic violence, delivered an address, showing by the movement of his spear how he would sweep the Pakeha from the face of New Zealand. Continuing his harangue he worked himself up into such a state of excitement that with his last shout of defiance to his European neighbours he fell down dead.
This is a second instance of a similar occurrence. At the runanga held at Whatino, in January of the same year, when a similar question was discussed, Honi Kingi Nga-tairakau-nui fell dead in the midst of them. The meeting at Te Taka Maui lasted eight days!
In September 1862, the Governor paid Wanganui a visit; the natives gave him a very hearty reception and told him that they looked to him to restore peace and order to the land. Whilst there he rode up to Kaiwaiki with the Missionary. There he met nearly all the hostile chiefs, who gave him a very cool reception; he did not state to them the object for which he had returned to New Zealand, in fact he did not refer to the condition of the country. He asked them if they had anything to say to him; they replied, No: have you anything to say to us? He then answered, no. He then departed without any kindly feeling being expressed towards him. On his return the natives blamed the Governor for having gone alone and not informing them of his intention; they said it was a very imprudent step, and so it afterwards proved to have been. One of the hostile chiefs, an old Tohunga, was on the point of rushing upon him with his tomahawk and killing him, when Hori Patene, the chief of Pipiriki, seized his arm and would not allow him to go.
The little cloud, no bigger than a man’s hand, was now rapidly becoming blacker and larger, covering the horizon. Some eighteen months previously it unexpectedly arose on the banks of the Waitara; a file of soldiers was innocently thought sufficient to bring the natives to their senses and settle the question. General Pratt departed without the quarrel being any nearer its termination than he found it. General Cameron succeeded; he at once perceived that the Waitara did not present a field large enough to deploy his forces upon, he must have a more extended one for his operations. After a brief visit to New Plymouth, he departed to Auckland, sending a large portion of the troops there. This took place some months previous to Governor Grey’s arrival; but active warfare did not commence until the beginning of 1862. In the meantime, however, all the natives living on the Auckland side of the Waikato were ordered to take the oath of allegiance or at once retire to the Waikato district. A day was fixed beyond which if they remained they would be regarded as enemies. This was page 136 on a Saturday, and on the Sunday numbers of Europeans, women as well as men, went with carts to the native kaingas, and plundered them of every thing they could lay their hands on; their houses were rifled, and their abandoned crops dug up, whilst many of the owners from their concealment in the neighbouring bush beheld the ruthless spoliation of their property, and even recognized some of those engaged in it; this led to several murders. But beyond some skirmishes in the forest attempting to cut off road parties, it will not be necessary to notice any of the events which preceded the General’s crossing the Mangatawiri creek, which was considered the Rubicon by the natives. When the General had made all his approaches to the river good, and finished the road, on a Sabbath morning the Mangatawiri was passed.
* It is doubtful if the natives ever had more than five hundred in the field at once.
But still the chief fortification remained. The first line of rifle pits was taken; and those who gallantly carried them, though lessened in number, pressed on to attack the second line of defence, in face of a heavy fire; that line turned out to be the centre and key of the position. Here those who fled from the first parallel rallied; and so determined was their stand, that the attacking party were forced to retire under the shelter of the first traversed line. Four attempts were made to storm the centre of the position, and four times the assailants were repulsed with loss. The first assault was made by the 40th, then by the Royal Artillery under Captain Mercer, but with a like result in both instances.
The evening was advancing, and the General requested Sir W. Wiseman to land a strong party of sailors and marines to assist in storming the works. The request was immediately complied with; and the gallant tars and marines, led by Captain Mayne of the “Eclipse,” were soon at the scene of action; they rushed to the attack with the greatest impetuosity, in the face of a heavy and continuous fire. The naval brigade was repulsed. Again they rallied, and attempted to storm the place, but were again compelled to fall back discomfited. Captain Mercer fell dangerously wounded close to the enemy’s works, whilst gallantly leading on his men. The same fate befel Captain Mayne, R.N., Lieutenants Downes and Alexander of the “Miranda” and “Curaçoa.” The General exposed himself repeatedly, and the natives might have killed him, but in admiration of his boldness, said, “Don’t shoot him, he is a brave man.” These repeated page 138 repulses proved that the position was far too strong to be carried by storm, without scaling ladders. It was a square redoubt, surrounded by a dry ditch nine feet wide, and protected in front and on the flanks by lines of traversed pits; the parapet was twenty-one feet high; this alone was a formidable obstacle, which was increased by its being defended by determined men. A battery was opened upon it to form a breach, and the firing kept up during the night; this redoubt alone remained in the hands of the natives, all the other works had been taken; and, being entirely surrounded, every chance of escape was cut off; such being the case, at day-break a flag of truce was hoisted; firing ceased, in an instant soldiers and sailors were in the redoubt, and all anger seemed to have vanished at once, and their only feeling to have been one of admiration for their brave foes; the better part of our nature prevailed—the friendly shake of the hand almost instantly succeeded the mortal struggle. One hundred and eighty-three men surrendered as prisoners of war, many of them chiefs of distinction, to whom General Cameron did not hesitate to express his admiration, and even hold out his hand, in token of that fraternity of feeling which true bravery excites wherever it is met with. Two hundred men were supposed to have been killed; and, on our side, two officers and thirty-five men; thirteen officers and eighty-six men were wounded. A party of four hundred natives, under William Thompson, afterwards approached. That chief sent his mere to General Cameron, and appeared desirous of surrendering, but was restrained by his men from doing so.
This battle seemed to have been a heavy blow to the followers of the King. And when the Governor said, that at Nga-rua-wahia, the spot selected as the Maori capital, he should hoist the British flag, and beneath its folds dictate the terms of peace, the natives took him at his word, and abandoned the place, allowing the military to occupy it, without firing a single shot. The Governor prepared to fulfil his word; but afterwards changed his mind, and let his ministers proceed by themselves. By so doing an oppor- page 139 tunity was lost of restoring peace when the natives were inclined to accept it, and they became confirmed in their hostility.
The war, therefore, instead of ending at Rangiriri, proceeded up the Waipa and Horotiu; the troops advanced to Watawata, te Rore, and Rangiawhea, the centre of Maori civilization. At Orakau another grand stand was made. Month after month had passed away in this desultory war; and from the crossing of the Waikato and opening the campaign, to the sitting down before Orakau, nearly two years had been consumed; and yet the little Maori band of patriots remained unconquered, and undismayed by the reverses they had met. They saw the consequences if subdued, as their indomitable leader said, when urged to lay down his arms, “What! and then be sent to the hulk to bear those company who surrendered at Rangiriri, and have our homes confiscated!”
The unhappy differences at head quarters were patent to all, even to the natives themselves, they had their friends, who took care to keep them well acquainted with every thing going on. One of the chief members of the ministry told me, they had been obliged to send away two priests from Tauranga on this account.
Whilst war was raging up the Waikato, there was still a portion of the hostile natives occupying the woods in the rear. At Paparata, a few miles from Papakura, a party of them were surprised in the forest on a Sabbath morning,* during the time of Divine service. How sad to think that the people who gave the Christian faith to the Maori, and taught them to keep holy the Sabbath Day, should have been employed, not only in breaking, but in killing those who were observing it, we blush with shame at our own deeds.†
* December 12th, 1863.
† “On Sunday morning smoke was seen in the bush; an advance was cautiously made to surprise the natives. They proceeded in silence until the sound of a bell was heard, and then the voice of a man singing, as if engaged in leading the devotions of the encampment. The Forest Rifles thereupon crept stealthily forward, Ensign Westrupp and a few men in advance. Two colored men of the party took the lead, and succeeded in getting pretty close to the natives before they were discovered; and as the man on the watch did not give the alarm, it is supposed he thought they were friends coming to them. The advanced file had got within thirty yards of the natives, and Ensign Westrupp ordered them to fire. The order was obeyed, and the Maori sentry fell dead. A rush was made on the encampment, the entire party coming up and delivering fire. The panic amongst the Maories was intense. One man stood upright, without making an effort to escape or defend himself, and was shot down. Another was wounded in the shoulder by Smith; the native fired at him in return, but missed, he then clubbed his double-barrelled gun, and struck at Smith, who parried the blow, and closed with the native. Although the Maori was wounded, he would have proved match enough in this hand-to-hand struggle, but for Ensign Westrupp, who came to the relief of his man, and shot the native in the head, he fell, but again rose to his legs, when another man blew his brains out. That was the only instance of resistance made by the natives, except a few shots which did no harm. Four of the Maori were left dead on the field, and several wounded men were carried away principally by the women of the party. There was an order given not to fire at any of the women. Two chiefs were killed, judging by the tattooing. There were a good number of women and children.” Such is the account given in the public prints of the exploits of Captain Jackson and his company of Forest Rifles on the Sabbath Day. It also says, “We should add that it is believed three more were killed, from the way the bodies were seen to be carried by the women when out of range. It is to be regretted that the Forest Rifles did not follow them up, and inflict greater punishment on them. On the whole, therefore, a highly successful affair has occurred to enliven the monotony of the war, and this time it is entirely by civilians.”—Extract, “Southern Cross,” Dec. 15th.
The troops had been previously employed in scouring the surrounding country, Otawhao, Rangiawhia, Kihikihi, and many neighbouring hamlets, which were sprinkled over the fertile district at the base of Maungatautari. At last they reached Orakau, a roughly-fortified pa, containing between three and four hundred natives, including their women and children. This might be said to be the last post of defence remaining to the Waikatoes in their once-powerful district. They therefore determined to defend it to the utmost, although they must have known the attempt was hopeless; for they had no supply of food or water remaining, their potatoe stores had been destroyed, and at last they had only a scanty supply of dried tawa berries and corn to subsist upon; and for three nights and two days of the siege they had been without water. To attack this position, garrisoned by a band of half-starved natives, a force of more than a thousand page 141 soldiers was selected. The troops in three divisions, accompanied by artillery and cavalry, commanded by skilful officers, surrounded the place. Adepts in strategy as in fight, the natives lured the soldiers in front of a masked earth-work, from which a deadly fire of musketry was poured upon the attacking force. Three times were they repulsed by the Maories; then the artillery was brought up, and, at a range of only a few yards, grape shot was hailed on the devoted garrison; but neither the fire of artillery, nor the repeated attempts of the soldiers, made any impression upon them; it was found that the position was too strong to be carried by assault. The engineering service was then called into play, and a sap was pushed up to the edge of the enemy’s works. Further reinforcements of troops arrived, making a total of fifteen hundred men, with two pieces. A storm of bullets was rained on the heads of the defenders; no less than forty thousand rounds of Enfield ammunition being served out during the day. The struggle went on; at midnight the native warriors made an effectual sortie. In the meantime General Cameron arrived on the scene; a gun was placed in the sap at twenty yards distance from the pa, and being loaded with grape was repeatedly discharged, hand grenades being thrown into it whilst the gun was again being charged. The General disposed his force so as to surround the defenders and cut off every chance of escape; and so confident was he of success—that is, of destroying or capturing the warriors—that he telegraphed to the Governor at Auckland that escape was impossible.
When all was completed for the final attack, the General, desiring to spare the lives of so brave an enemy, sent a message to them, saying, “Friends, hear the word of the General, cease your fighting, you will be taken care of and your lives spared; we have seen your courage, let the fighting stop.” The answer given was, “Friends, this is the reply of the Maori, we shall fight on, ake, ake, ake, for ever, for ever, forever.” “If you are determined to die,” said the General, “give up your women and children and we will take care of page 142 them.” “Who is it,” said they, “that is to die? wait a little, our women also fight.” “Let your word be repeated,” said the General. “Enough, this ake, ake, ake, is our last word, we shall fight on for ever.”
The account is painfully interesting; how sad such a people could not be spared; surely they are worthy of every privilege and right being conceded, which we as British subjects possess. They were doing for themselves just what our countrymen and women too did at Lucknow. The fight was resumed, rush after rush was made at the enemy’s works, but with the same result, they were repulsed, with the loss of half the attacking party. The end of the sap was now within two yards of the native trench, and two attacks on the position had been made, and a heavy fire of grape and rifle bullets kept up. The natives, having neither water nor ammunition left, nor even raw potatoes, on which they had before sustained life, then decided upon a retreat. The well-known chief, Arama Karamao Te Ikarau, standing in the midst of his little band of followers, said, Let us pray; and taking out his Prayer-book all knelt around him, regarding themselves as dead men, whilst he read a few suitable prayers for Divine protection; folding up his book in a new shawl which he girt about him, then bid them follow, and said, “Let us make a rush by that place,” pointing to the spot guarded by the 40th, “and die fighting by the hands of brave men.” He led a portion of the garrison to the lines of that regiment, which they safely passed, but when they reached the second line Arama and some of his party were taken prisoners. Not a single thing, however, was taken from him by the soldiers, not even his new shawl; but tobacco and a pipe were offered him; he was surprised at the general kindness he received, and the good food given them. The 40th, he said, were brave men, they never injured him or his comrades when captured. The General might well think escape was impossible, having so placed the 40th, under Colonel Leslie, as quite to surround the pa; how they passed their lines no account has been able to say. But there were some there as in Lucknow, who trusted in page 143 the God of battles, and God was pleased to manifest His power in their behalf.
When the retreat was discovered a large force was immediately gathered on the edge of the embankment, and fired as quickly as possible at the long line of famished and wearied men, women, and children, hastening away for life. The cavalry was brought into requisition, and the retreating natives were headed and turned. Thus hemmed in the swamp, the work of destruction went on with vigour; one hundred and twenty of those poor wretches were killed, of which twelve were women and several children were wounded. A fine half-caste girl was picked up amongst the flax, with her arm dreadfully fractured by a ball; she was brought into the camp and recovered.
The feelings of our foes were forcibly expressed by those few words which they uttered:—
Heoi ano, ka mutu, ka whawhai tonu matou ake, ake, ake.
This is all we have to say, we shall fight on for ever.
The Colonial Government had already determined to occupy Tauranga, regarding it as an important place on account of its harbour. Troops were sent there; it is difficult to say why; one thing was evident, that the first line of confiscation did not give satisfaction, it was thought better to extend it to Tauranga.
It was not long, however, before hostilities commenced. The Gate Pa was attacked by a large force, naval as well as military. It was spoken of as being in some respects more strongly fortified than Rangiriri; yet the assault was so impetuous, that the first line was carried. The men fancied the place was taken, and immediately commenced looting, when suddenly a party of Maories rushed out of some neighbouring rifle pits, uttering one of their fearful war cries, which caused such a panic amongst our men, that in spite of all the efforts of their officers they fled with a loud yell, abandoning them to their fate; they nobly stood their ground, and died bravely fighting. Colonel Booth fell mor- page 144 tally wounded; Captain Glover was killed, and Lieutenant Glover also, whilst nobly trying to carry off his brother. Captain Jenkins, R.N., had a narrow escape; engaged in combat with a native, he succeeded in shooting him, but could not extricate himself from his dying grasp; the dead body dragged him down into a rifle pit, but after he had been given up as lost he suddenly reappeared and was as active as ever, without having received any injury. Captain Hamilton of the “Esk” was likewise killed, and several other officers. The pa was surrounded, a cordon being drawn round it to hinder the natives from escaping during the night; but they yet managed to make good their retreat, with the loss of some thirty or forty men.
Our killed and wounded were one hundred and three, and of this large number there were nearly twenty officers. The sergeants alone nobly stood by, and perished with them. The gallantry and bravery of both were beyond all praise, they, though abandoned by their men, refused to leave the ground, and stood resolutely at bay, endeavouring to counteract the panic which had seized upon the troops. When the vessels returned to Auckland, and the sailors saw a statement that they also had abandoned their officers, such was their indignation at the editor, that they went in a body to the office, and climbing up the front of it fixed a cable round the building, sending a message to the editor, that if he did not then and there publish an apology, and contradict what he had stated, they would immediately haul down the house; after a short parley their request was complied with. Had it not been so, without doubt they would have been as good as their word.
Poor Colonel Booth and his noble comrades were buried with thirty-five of their men at the same time. Truly, in the midst of life we are in death. When shall we be sufficiently civilized to learn war no more? The weeping willows which wave over the remains of the wife and only son of the venerable Missionary of Tauranga, now sigh over those whose untimely graves cluster around.
The Governor had caused the Waitara question to be page 145 thoroughly sifted, and being found totally untenable, resolved to restore it again to Wi Kingi; but, instead of doing so at that time, he first took possession of Tataraimako.
In the beginning of May in the preceding year, an unfortunate proclamation was issued, relative to the re-occupation of the Tataraimako block, which the natives had conquered and held possession of. Through the mistake of the translator the natives were informed that the law of fighting was established; they therefore gave notice, that from a certain day no European would be allowed to pass through an intervening piece of ground, which was one of their reserves, warning them, that if any presumed to do so they would be fired at. The Governor and General were at Taranaki at the time; and so little notice did they take of the warning, that when spoken to on the subject, they assured the inquirers there was no reason for fear; and both were preparing to ride out there and see the redoubt, when the news arrived that an escort had just been surprised at the Ohakura, and cut off; Lieutenant Tragett, Dr. Hope, two sergeants, and three men being killed, and the carts with their contents carried away.* After this renewal of the war the Governor gave up the Waitara to Wi Kingi. The time was most inauspicious; his motive, then, was misunderstood by the natives, who attributed it to fear.
* May 4th, 1863.
Immediately the news reached New Plymouth that a disaster had befallen Captain Lloyd’s party, a large force went out under Colonel Warre, to render all the aid which could be given. On reaching the spot two shells were fired; this had the effect of informing the men who were hidden that help was at hand, several were thus rescued; an advance was then made to the seat of the combat and a sad sight was presented. Six bodies were found close to the rifle pits stripped nearly naked, and five of them had been decapitated and the heads carried away, one of them was that of poor Captain Lloyd. The bodies were carefully placed in two carts which had been taken for the purpose; being late the force at once returned. Seven were killed and nine wounded in that unfortunate affair. The decapitation of bodies was a new feature in the war. The public prints stated that it was supposed to have originated with a medical man cutting off the head of one of the natives killed in battle at Kaitake,* which he carried off as a specimen of Maori craniology, but that was afterwards contradicted. At any rate this reprehensible practice had occurred on other occasions; a medical man cut off a chief’s head and placed it in a water hole from which a settler’s family derived their supply of drinking-water, who brought this disgusting case before the magistrate.
* People here think the reason the Maories cut our men’s heads off was because Dr. W—cut off the head of a dead Maori who was found in the bush after the taking of Kaitake.—From our own Correspondent. “Spectator,” April 16th 1864.
* A moko mokai is a process of embalming heads, which will preserve them for years, by saturating them with the Pyroligneous acid of wood.
† It is singular that there is scarcely any thing extravagant and absurd done by the Maori which has not its parallel amongst other aboriginal tribes. It seems as though similar ideas flowed through the savage mind under similar circumstances. Thus the cutting off of Captain Lloyd’s head, preserving, and turning it into a god and using it as an oracle, has its parallel amongst the Jivaros, a wild tribe on the east of the Republic of Escuador; they cut off the heads of their enemies, take off the entire skin removing all the bones of the skull, then stuff the skin so as to preserve the original form as much as possible, then sew up the mouth and eyes and consult it as a god.
This singular delusion rapidly spread, and in fact soon threw the King into the shade, who was found to be impotent and unable to deliver them, but these possessing extraordinary powers professed to accomplish what the other had totally failed to do. Gradually the sect increased in importance.
The head of Captain Lloyd was brought to the Wanganui, but the natives of the lower part of the river would not permit its being carried through their district, it was therefore taken further up amongst the hostile tribes, but even there they did not meet with much success. Immediately it was known to be at Pipiriki, the lower river natives went up to Ranana to oppose the intended attack on the settlement.
Mr. Booth, the Church Missionary Catechist, stationed at Pipiriki, unfortunately was returning home with his wife and young family, although strongly advised at Ranana not to proceed, and when he persisted was recommended to go alone; he had no idea of the demoniacal spirit which possessed those Hauhau fanatics; he went and had no sooner arrived than he was first plundered and then threatened with instant death. Most providentially Hori Patene, the son of the chief who was killed at Taranaki, was there, and after passing two nights in full expectation of being murdered, the following morning the young chief arranged a plan by which he got the whole family into their canoe and saw them safely started; a most providential escape and striking proof of the overruling hand of God in behalf of his servants.
The Hauhaus did not long remain inactive at Pipiriki, they sent a message to the loyal natives stationed at Ranana, that they should force their way down to the town. Our allies immediately wrote to the magistrates informing them of the threat and asking for instructions as to what they should do. A meeting of the bench was at once convened, and greatly were those preservers of the peace puzzled as to what should be done. At last one proposed that they should send word page 149 to the natives that they must capture all the Hauhaus, bring them down, and lodge them in the prison. This sage advice was highly approved of, and after a delay of thirty-six hours it solved the difficulty. A letter was accordingly written to that effect and despatched; but the Hauhaus did not wait for its arrival, they came down the river on the 14th of May 1865, at Kawaeroa, a place which they must pass before they met with the assembled natives of the Queen. At the Roman Catholic Mission Station there, a priest, the Rev. Monsieur Lampella, and a lay associate were stationed. These gentlemen having but one alternative, either to join the Hauhaus or their opponents, properly chose the latter. They reached the loyal natives at Moutoa, a small island in the middle of the river, on which they found them drawn up to oppose the fanatics, who landed at the first point, where they were met by Hemi Nape, who occupied the most advanced post. That bold chief kept the enemy in check for some time, until at last he fell. The Hauhaus then rushed forward and drove our men into the river, and, for a moment, held possession of the island. One of them unfortunately espied the poor lay associate hidden behind a toitoi bush, he ran up and killed him with his tomahawk; fortunately the priest escaped, who was hidden behind another bush only a little further off. The enemy’s success was but for a moment; our natives were immediately rallied by Haimona Hiroti, who rushed forward with his men, drove back the fanatics with great loss, and compelled them to take to the water for their lives. Matene, their prophet, himself was killed, after he had swam across the river, whilst trying to climb up the steep bank on the other side. This victory was most decisive; fifty-one of the Hauhaus were killed, and on our side sixteen, including several of our head chiefs.
This signal defeat of the Hauhaus made a strong impression on the inland natives further south, many of whom would have joined them had they succeeded in passing the barrier which arrested their progress. Wanganui would certainly have been ruined, its smiling homesteads plundered and burnt, and the entire district, like that of page 150 New Plymouth, confined to the Town. As it was, many of the King natives abandoned the cause. The powerful body of our native allies clearly proved that it was not the European only they would have to contend with, but their own countrymen as well. The natives proposed to the magistrate to follow up the Hauhaus in their retreat to Waitotara, but that was not acceded to.
The Superintendent of the province no sooner heard of the victory, than he came to Wanganui, went up the river to the loyal natives and expressed his admiration at their courage and devotion. He was the first to appreciate their noble conduct, and to see the important aid they had rendered; he properly viewed them as the preservers of the district, furnished them with arms and ammunition, gave them rations, and treated them as they deserved. They responded with giving him their confidence. A re-action of feeling now took place among the Europeans, who had before regarded them with suspicion; and when those brave men returned to the town, they were received with every mark of respect, the flag being hoisted half-mast high in honor of those who had fallen. A public letter of thanks was written by the members of the Provincial Government, and afterwards a monument of white marble erected in the market-place, in commemoration of the brave men we had lost. A flag, worked by the ladies of the military and settlers, was afterwards publicly presented to them.
On Sunday, September 11th, the prisoners on the Kawau Island escaped. Several had died on board the hulk, where they were much crowded; and when those taken at the Gate Pa arrived, the ministers were puzzled as to what should be done with them. For a time they were left on board the Alexandra, which brought them, as the hulk would hold no more. It was then proposed to the Governor that they should be sent to the Kawau; this at first he declined, but, on their further pressing it, unwillingly consented, having naturally no desire to convert his own private property into a penal settlement. The usual guard of fifty men on board the Marion having been discontinued, it was page 151 not to be wondered that they should avail themselves of the first opportunity to make their escape, which was not long in occurring, as there were boats on the island sufficient to carry them off. There was no let or hindrance to their doing so, not being on parole, and the facilities of escape from the Kawau far greater than those on board the hulk. Their offence, too, was solely political, and there was much to raise public sympathy in their behalf. Two had been sent on parole as ambassadors, to advise and exhort their countrymen in arms to submit, who nobly returned to their prison. Another, Te Ori ori, had nearly lost his own life in saving that of an officer’s. Some had died, and one poor fellow was refused admittance into the hospital, although there was an empty ward; he was taken to some outhouse, a stable it is said, and there died; and was afterwards buried without any inquest being held, on the ground, I suppose, the least said the better. Those at a distance, however, who were unacquainted with these things, gave the Governor the sole credit of their escape, and regarded it as a proof of his cleverness. The circumstance amused the public for a time, which resolved its ideas into some clever lines, which are too good to be lost.*
THE MAORI MOVEMENT.
Two hundred prisoners of war,
Regardless of red tape
And technicalities of law.
Have made a fine escape.
Big wigs and statesmen argued what
The right there was to shut in
These men, who now have solved the knot
By instantaneous cutting.
Some called them subjects of the Queen,
Some, laughing in their sleeve,
Said, foreigners they must have been,
As they all took French leave.
They were moreover on parole,
But that a Maori talker
So oft disposed upon the whole
To translate into “Walker.”
And yet they were, like Britons bold,
Determined to be freed,
And all in freedom’s cause enrolled,
Their conduct was extremely rude,
They’ve left us in a fix,
And have, to cutting Kawau wood,
Preferred to cut their sticks.
Of luxuries they had their share,
Tobacco, wine, Martell,
But did not like our fare,
And never said farewell.
They scorned the Kawau, and its scene
Of picturesque imagery,
And quickly proved they did not mean
To stop in Grey’s menagerie.
That island for its copper mines
Was famed—then, is it strange
When once they thought of copper coins,
They also thought of change?
On Sunday morn, the sun shone bright,
The Parson got his sermon,
The Warden he was Titus White,
The Doctor he was German.
No congregation came to Church,
Although the bell was tolled;
White said, “They’ve left us in the lurch,
Oh! Samivel, we’re sold.”
Then White looked black; the Parson red,
And Sam cried, “Here’s a floorer,
My physic cured them, but I dread
They’ll all get the Psora.”
Little children, do not, pray
When sent into the corner,
Like naughty natives run away
But imitate Jack Horner.
Sept. 1864.THE LONE KAWAU.
The following clever jeu d’esprit, to the tune of Lever’s “Widow Malone,” appeared in a recent number of the Christ Church “Evening Mail:”—
Oh did you hear that the Maories are gone! ochone!
They have left the Kawau every one, every one.
On a fine Sabbath day they were summoned to pray,
But man, woman, and child all were gone, ochone!
They had vanished like mist every one.
When the church-bell rang out loud and clear, O dear!
Save itself no sound falls on the ear, how queer!
Like a funeral knell sound the tones of that bell
For the Maories “departed,” t’was clear, too clear,
That day’s service no native would hear.
When the “tangata mangai”* did cry, O fie!!
These Maories so bashful and shy—my eye!!
Have left Pastor and Church and us all in the lurch
And are gone off to renew their war-cry, Whawhai!!
And for “utu” renew the Whawhai!
Whakama is our portion down. That’s clear!
Spades, blankets and boots, club and spear, O dear!
Each Non est inventus! all the traps that F—sent us—
And gone with the Maories I fear, I fear!
And will ne’er at Kawau reappear.
When the news reached the Government seat—what a cheat!
Was the sound that flew round every street, so fleet,
Went the news of escape, setting people agape,
“Did you ev—?”—“No I nev—!” As men meet, and greet,
So hurried were all in the street,
Then up spake the G—r Gr—y,
“If I had only my own way, I say way,
“These fugitives now would be safe at Kawau,
“But you Ministers worked the wrong way, all astray!
“And now there’s the d—l to pay.
“Quick, give me a ship—me bereft, down there,
“Bind round me the three blankets left, don’t stare!
“Each memento M(a)ori will tell its own story
“Of my kindness beyond all compare, so rare!
“As we gaze on lone Kawau so fair.”
So wrapped up in his blankets and grief, our chief,
Has sailed in the hope and belief, vain belief,
That he’ll coax to Kawau
The two hundred gone now—
’Tis a small fee I’d risk on that brief, (poor brief!)
Unless he sets thief to catch thief.
Here a moral belongs to this tale (’tis stale),
But can cut like the tail of a whale (or a flail!)
“If your prisoners you’d keep,
“You must watch and not sleep—
“Or like Kawau, each prison fence, and rail, and gaol,
“Will be void by the law of ‘Leg Bail.’”
* Tangata Mangai, interpreter.
The escaped prisoners were more than two hundred in number. These men fled to the top of lofty Omaha, where they entrenched themselves, and levied contributions from the flocks and herds of the surrounding settlers. From this spot they were within sight of Auckland, whose worthy citizens did not like such neighbours. As disaffection was beginning to spread amongst the Kaipara natives, and others north of Auckland, the Governor was obliged to enter into treaty with the prisoners, which ended in their having a passage given them to Waikato.
The natives up the Wanganui reported that Tongariro page 153 had been more than usually active, shooting up flames to an immense height, and then ejecting vast quantities of sulphureous mud, causing a flood which lasted three days, rendering the water quite thick and emitting a most disagreeable smell. This the natives called an aitua, or evil omen, a sure indication of coming war; it was seen during the last days of December, and when the soldiers almost immediately followed, it of course established the fact.
The year 1865 commenced with sending a strong military force to Wanganui; twelve hundred men were posted at Kai-iwi to form a camp there, and January 20th the General page 154 himself arrived; he sent for the chief, Hipango, who gave him much information, and offered to go and sweep all the Hauhaus away if a body of two hundred men were granted to support him in case of need, this was declined. The General began the Wanganui war also on the Sabbath, riding out to Kai-iwi during the time of Divine Service, a long string of drays with ammunition followed, making such a noise as quite to interrupt the minister in his duty, and such was the way this war was commenced by a Christian people; it was quitepage break
Wanganui River Scenery.
sufficient to undo much of the labor of years amongst the natives.
Skirmishing soon commenced; an officer was killed and several severely wounded. The General in his progress north after these skirmishes pursued his way along the eastern coast instead of taking the newly-made high road, thus leaving the strongly-fortified Weraroa pa in his rear. Immediately this was discovered, the house of Mr. Hewitt was attacked at midnight, and its owner shot and decapitated; his servant escaped to the neighbouring wood, and in the morning made his way to Stewart’s redoubt close by and gave the alarm; a militia man also was killed the same evening. This dreadful event caused great gloom throughout the district, Mr. Hewitt being one of the principal settlers. His head was carried into the interior and afterwards taken to the east coast.
Again the Hauhaus up the river threatened an attack on the district; they had enlisted Pehi, the head of the Patutoko tribe, the head chief of the river; Mamaku also, the chief of the upper Wanganui natives, was induced to join them. The loyal natives immediately assembled and went up the river to oppose their descent. They found them encamped at Ohotahi and threatening Hiruharema. There was a division of opinion as to what step should be taken: it was a new thing to oppose their head chief, and respect for him led Mete Kingi Pairangi, one of the principal chiefs of the loyal natives, to propose first to enter into treaty with him. This the other leading chief, Hoani Wiremu Hipango, strenuously opposed, and refused to act except in the most decided way; at last all came over to his views, he took the command and immediately proceeded to execute them. This chief, though a man of peace and averse to war, saw that in this case it was inevitable, yet he felt that they, as Christians, should not commence without asking the Divine aid; he requested the teachers of every place to pray for God’s blessing upon their efforts to subdue these fanatics. He carried out his plans in a masterly way, but in the moment of success received his death wound; the pa was page 156 taken, and all surrendered themselves prisoners. Hoani was brought down to town, but the following morning expired. Perhaps no native has been more lamented or missed than this chief; his consistent life and uniform kindness endeared him to all; he was followed to the grave by the military and civil authorities of the place. The Union Jack was used as a pall, and Colonel Logan, the officer in command, briefly paid an appropriate tribute to his memory, spreading the flag presented to the loyal natives over the coffin, it was borne to its last resting-place by some of the settlers, who took it from its native bearers to show this token of their respect, and the Militia fired three vollies over his grave. Wanganui was thus a second time saved through the instrumentality of its natives, who have thus placed the entire district under a lasting obligation to them.
It will not be necessary to follow General Cameron in his campaign further than to state, that he gradually but slowly advanced along the coast, establishing camps as he proceeded at Nukumaru, Waitotara, Patea, Manawapou, and Waingongoro. This was the limit of his progress into the enemy’s country. Weraroa and the inland pas he declined attacking without an additional reinforcement of two thousand men. One engagement may be alluded to as shewing the determination of the hostile natives. At Kakaramea, on the Patea, a party of not more than one hundred natives, including several women, actually opposed the advance of General Cameron at the head of eight hundred men, and that, too, in the open plain! Thirty-five of the poor creatures fell, and amongst them two women, before they gave way.
A party of the fanatical Hauhaus went across the country from Taranaki to Taupo, where they plundered the Rev. Mr. Grace’s house, and afterwards went on to the east coast. The Missionary of that place was then absent in Auckland.